As a renter receiving a notice to quit is a scary thing.  It is important to remember though that a notice to quit is only the beginning of the eviction process.

The Notice to Quit

The notice to quit legally ends the tenancy for the property.  A notice to quit will have the reasons for the eviction along with a “quit date”.  The quit date is the date by which the tenant must leave the property or face a full-fledged eviction action.

The Eviction Action

Once the quit date has passed a landlord may begin the eviction action.  This involves service of the complaint and filing with the court.  This is the first time that the eviction enters a public record.  If the tenant files the correct paperwork with the court a hearing date will be set, usually 6 to 8 weeks from start of the action.  At the hearing date the parties will mediate the dispute in front of a neutral court mediator.  Most cases settle in mediation with the parties choosing an exit date and interim payments.  Landlords may even agree to reinstate a tenant provided certain payments are made and conditions are met.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement in mediation a trial will be held, usually that same day.  Residential eviction trials typically last between 2 and 4 hours.  The only issue at trial is whether or not the tenant can stay in the property.  The judge will not determine if the tenant owes the landlord any money for back rent or damage to the property.

Judgment and Stay of execution

If judgment enters after trial the judge may enter a stay of execution on the judgment.  A stay of execution means that the landlord cannot have the tenant removed from the property by a marshal for that time period.  The judge can order a stay of execution of up to 3 months in cases of non-payment of rent and up to 6 months in other cases.  The amount of time the judge gives the tenants is completely within their discretion.  Judges consider a wide variety of factors including children’s school schedules, employment status, and how easy it will be to find a new place to live.  Once the stay of execution is up the landlord can execute of the judgment.

 Summary process execution

A summary process execution is the legal device that allows a landlord to physically remove a tenant and all their possession from the property.  The removal must be done by a Connecticut State Marshall, usually in coordination the municipal housing agency and police.  The landlord bears the cost of the execution which can vary widely.  When the execution is complete the tenant no longer has a right to live in or enter the property.

The Timeline

From the day the tenant receives a notice to quit to the day they are removed from the property anywhere from 3 to 9 months may elapse.  So much of eviction process depends on how aggressively the landlord pushes the matter and how vigorously the tenant defends it.  When the landlord charges ahead and the tenant puts up no resistance the whole process may only take a couple months.  On the other hand when a tenant digs in their heels and the landlord does not force the issue the case may linger for much longer.