A detailed guide for Connecticut renters facing eviction without a lawyer that includes a form filler to help you complete any court forms you may need to file.

Eviction Defense Form Filler

Getting Started

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Notice to Quit

If you have received a paper that says “Notice to Quit Possession” and that you must leave by a certain date or legal proceedings can be started, this is called a notice to quit.

You do not have to move out by the date on the notice to quit. If you stay past the date on the notice to quit, your landlord must ask the court for permission to evict you by starting a court case.

Pre-Termination Notice
If you have received a paper that says you have a certain number of days to fix a problem or request a meeting before the landlord may start the eviction process, this is called a pre-termination notice.

Note: until a marshal delivers a Court Summons and Complaint, you do not need to complete and file any court forms. At that time, the form filler on this page can help you complete the required forms.

Responding to a Motion for Default

This court paper explains that your landlord is asking the court to decide the case in your landlord’s favor because you missed a court deadline or event.

If you have received this type of paper, you have very little time to take action before the court can decide that your landlord wins. For more information, go to Missed Court Deadlines or Missed Court Events.

This guide’s Form Filler can help you complete papers you may need to submit. You can also get hard copies of the court’s motion to open the judgment after default at the court clerk’s office.

Responding to the Summons and Complaint

If you have received a court summons and complaint, your landlord has started an eviction court case against you.

You must submit required paperwork no later than 2 days after the return date listed on the court summons. You must respond by this strict deadline even if you have not yet been able to get help from a lawyer. If you miss this deadline, you can automatically lose and be forced from your home very quickly.

This guide’s Form Filler can help you complete the papers you need to submit. You can also get hard copies of the appearance and answer forms at the court clerk’s office.

Because you have received eviction papers, remember to also apply for legal help as soon as possible.

Notice of Mediation or Hearing

If you have received a paper about an upcoming mediation, court hearing, or trial, this is called a court notice.

You must attend the event on the notice. If you miss it, you may lose the opportunity to defend yourself and the court can quickly issue an execution (the order that gives a marshal permission to remove you and your belongings).

Because you have received eviction papers, remember to also apply for legal help as soon as possible.

Notice of Judgment

This court notice explains that you or your landlord won the court case.

If you missed a deadline or event and lost your case by “default,” you can ask the court to reopen your case and give you another opportunity to defend yourself. You can also ask the court for more time by filing a stay of execution application within 5 days of the judgment. Go to Your Options After Losing Your Case for more information.

This guide’s Form Filler can help you complete the papers you need to submit. You can also get hard copies of the court’s motion to open the judgment after default and stay of execution application at the court clerk’s office.

If the court has already issued an execution, jump to What Can You Do if the Court Has Already Issued an Execution? for more information about the limited, time-sensitive options you may have left.

The Execution

If you have received an execution, you may have less than 24 hours to act before a marshal can remove you and your belongings.

This guide's form filler can help you complete forms you may want to immediately give the court. For more information about the time-sensitive options you may have left, go to Your Options After an Execution is Issued.

What Eviction Papers Have you Received?
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Overview of the Eviction Process

Your landlord must get the court’s permission to force you to move. To get this permission, landlords are required to take several steps. Key steps include:

Key Steps in an Eviction
1
Notice to Quit

A marshal (or other approved person) delivers a Notice to Quit to your home.


Summons and Complaint

The landlord starts a court case by having a marshal deliver a Court Summons and Complaint to your home.

2

3
Winning a Judgment

The landlord wins a Judgment against you.


Execution

The landlord asks the court to sign an Execution, the order that gives a marshal permission to remove you and your belongings.

4

This process moves fast and can feel intimidating. But if you participate, you may be able to stay in your home or get more time to move.

  • Read and save everything you receive from the court and your landlord.
  • Follow all deadlines and attend all court events. If you miss a deadline or court date, you can automatically lose and be forced from your home very quickly.
  • Document and save all communication with the court and your landlord.
  • Apply for free Legal Help.

  Review the Navigation Panel or use the Table of Contents to select what step of the eviction process you want to read about next, or click one of the buttons below.

This guide also has a Form Filler tool that can help you fill out forms you may need to defend against an eviction. To access the Form Filler, click on the button in the top-right corner that looks like .

Illegal Evictions

Only a state marshal with an execution signed by the court may physically remove you and your belongings from your home.

It is illegal for your landlord to lock you out, remove your belongings, or cut off your utilities. Your landlord must go through the court process.

If your landlord has illegally locked you out, you can:

It is a crime to illegally lock out a tenant. The police may ask for proof that it is your apartment. Try to have a copy of a rent receipt, a utility bill with your name and address, or the lease ready to show them.

It is a personal decision whether to call the police. If you don’t feel safe or comfortable calling the police, you have other options below.

SLS may be able to provide free legal advice and connect you with a free lawer who can help you address the situation.
You can go to the court clerk’s office and start a lawsuit that asks the court to order your landlord to let you back in, return your belongings, and pay you one month’s rent for breaking the law plus the cost of any damaged property.

For more information on how to start this lawsuit, read the article at www.ctlawhelp.org/en/evictions-process-laws-connecticut#s7.
 

Note: Your landlord also cannot enter your home without your consent, unless there is an emergency, a court order, or you have abandoned it. For more information on when landlords can enter and when you must let them in, read the article at www.ctlawhelp.org/en/tenants-renters-rights-laws#s2.

Checking if Your Landlord Started a Court Case

To start an eviction court case, your landlord must have a marshal serve you with a court summons and complaint. The court summons tells you a case has been started and what your deadline is to respond.

The marshal may serve these papers by handing them to you, handing them to someone else that answers your door, or leaving them wedged in between your apartment’s door and door frame. But sometimes tenants never receive or see these papers.

If you’re not sure if a case has been started against you, you can double check by calling the court clerk’s office in your area and asking the clerk to confirm if there is a case under your name, the name of any of your co-tenants, and/or your address.  For a list of court clerk’s office locations and phone numbers, go to court clerk’s office.

You can also use the court’s case look-up tool at http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov to search for cases using your name; your address; and/or the names of your co-tenants, landlord, or property management company. For more information about the court’s case look-up tool, go to Online Case Page.

Pre-Termination Notices

In some cases, your landlord must give you a pre-termination notice before they can serve you with a notice to quit. (Sometimes this pre-termination notice may be combined with a notice to quit.)

A pre-termination notice gives a tenant a certain number of days (usually 10 or 15) to fix a problem identified by the landlord and/or request a meeting (sometimes called an “informal conference” or a “grievance hearing”) with the landlord about the problem.

Whether you have the right to receive a pre-termination notice, fix the problem, and/or have a meeting with your landlord before they can serve a notice to quit depends on the type of problem involved and if you live in public housing or another type of government-subsidized housing. If you think you should have received a pre-termination notice and did not, you should try to connect with legal help.

If you already received a notice to quit, go to The Notice to Quit. If you already received a court summons and complaint, go to The Court Summons and Complaint.
What Can You Do After Receiving a Pre-Termination Notice?

You may have the right to a grievance meeting if you live in public housing, a project-based Section 8 building, or another type of government-subsidized housing. This meeting is sometimes called an “informal conference” or the “grievance process.”

If the notice says you can request a meeting, make this request by the deadline provided. Try to submit the request in writing and save a copy.

If you request and attend this meeting, you may be able to resolve the issue and avoid the eviction process. If you are not able to resolve the issue at the meeting, you may have the right to request a formal grievance hearing.

If you miss the deadline to request this meeting, you may lose the right to a meeting and your landlord can start the eviction process by giving you a notice to quit.

Even if the notice does not offer a meeting, you should still talk to your landlord and try to work out a solution by the deadline provided.

Try to communicate by text or email and confirm phone calls or in-person conversations in writing. You can also record in-person conversations without your landlord’s consent, but you must get their consent to record phone calls.

If you did cause the problem
Fix the problem, and show the landlord proof you have of how you fixed things (Example: repair receipts and photos).

If you did not cause the problem
Show the landlord any proof that supports your argument that you did not cause the problem (Example: lease showing that your friend has their own apartment and is not living with you).

If the problem happened because a member of your household has a disability, you can ask your landlord to overlook it by requesting a reasonable accommodation.

A reasonable accommodation is a change to a rule that will help a person with a disability have an equal opportunity to live in the housing of their choice. A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. A reasonable accommodation could, for example, allow an emotional support animal in a building with a no-pets policy. A tool to create a request letter is available at www.ctfairhousing.org/raletters .

Apply for legal help as soon as possible. The sooner you speak with a lawyer, the more likely it is that they will be able to help. But if you cannot get a lawyer to represent you, you can represent yourself.
What if I can’t resolve the problem?

If you do not resolve the problem by the deadline on the pre-termination notice or through the grievance process (if you are entitled to that), your landlord may be able to start the eviction process by giving you a notice to quit.

Read the next section to learn more about the Notice to Quit and what you can do after receiving one.

The Notice to Quit

The notice to quit is a legal paper that tells you (1) to move out (“quit possession”) by a certain date and (2) states your landlord's legal reason(s) for starting an eviction case.

You do not have to move out by the date on the notice to quit. If you stay past the date on the notice to quit, your landlord must ask the court for permission to evict you by starting a court case.

To start a court case, your landlord must have a marshal serve you with a court summons and complaint after the date on the notice to quit.

If you received a notice to quit but have not yet received a court summons and complaint, you do not have to file any court forms yet.

Once a marshal serves you with a court summons and complaint, you must quikcly respond by submitting required court forms. At that time, you can return to this guide and use the Form Filler to complete the required forms.

Note: Landlords can write their own notices to quit, so what the notice looks like varies. Sometimes landlords use the court’s notice to quit form, but they do not have to.
What can you do after receiving a Notice to Quit?

The notice to quit must be handed to you, left with another adult that answers your apartment door, or left wedged in between your apartment’s door and door frame. It cannot be left, for example, in an outside mailbox, a common hallway, or a porch.

Your landlord must hire a state marshal or other another approved third-party to serve the notice to quit. The notice to quit may not be served by your landlord or your landlord’s representative.

Any problem with the notice or how it was served might help you defend against the eviction. Write yourself a note about where you found the notice and save the notice in a safe place.

Talk to your landlord to see if you can resolve the situation without your landlord starting a court case. Document all communication with your landlord. Try to communicate by text or email and confirm phone calls or in-person conversations in writing. You can also record in-person conversation without your landlord’s consent, but you must get their consent to record phone calls.

If you reach an agreement, write the agreement down, make sure both you and your landlord sign the agreement, and get receipts for any payments you make. (But remember that your landlord must always get the court’s permission to evict, even if you sign an out-of-court agreement.)

Generally, an out-of-court agreement should state that the Notice to Quit is "withdrawn." This means that your landlord will have to serve a new Notice to Quit if they want to start the eviction process again.

If you make an agreement but your landlord still ends up serving a court summons and complaint, do not ignore these court papers. Always respond to court papers, even if your landlord told you they would not proceed with the eviction. If you do not respond, you can automatically lose and be forced from your home very quickly.

  1. Call 2-1-1 (TTY: 1-800-671-0737) at any time of day to confirm if there are any open rental assistance programs in your community. 2-1-1 can also provide referrals for food, utility, and emergency shelter assistance.
  2. Connecticut’s emergency rental assistance program, UniteCT, closed to new applications on February 15, 2022. If you applied on or before February 15, 2022, and you have not received a decision, you should check on the status of your application and confirm UniteCT has all required documentation from you. 
Go to Rental Assistance for more information.

Eviction court cases become public records as soon as the court summons and complaint are filed in court. Even if you win or the court case is still open, future landlords can see the record.

If you do not want an eviction court case showing up on your record and you have a safe place to move, consider moving voluntarily by the date on the notice to quit and notifying your landlord of your move. This would prevent an eviction case from appearing on your record.

Reminder: No one can force you to move by the date on the notice to quit. If you do not move by the date on the notice to quit, your landlord must start a court case if they want to force you to move.

Even if you are unable to move before the date on the Notice to Quit, you may want to start look for new housing and documenting your search. If a court case is started, proof that you have been searching for new housing may help you get more time to move from the judge or in a court agreement with your landlord.

To start a court case, you landlord will instruct a marshal to deliver a court summons and complaint to your apartment sometime after the date on the notice to quit.

Keep an eye out for these papers. After you receive the court summons and complaint, you must quickly respond by submitting paperwork to the court. At that time, this guide's Form Filler can help you complete the required forms.

Go to the next section, The Court Summons and Complaint, for more information.

Apply for Legal Help as soon as possible. The sooner you speak with a lawyer, the more likely it is that they will be able to help. But if you cannot get a lawyer to represent you, you can represent yourself.

The Court Summons and Complaint

If you have received a court summons and complaint, your landlord has started an eviction court case against you. Because you have received eviction papers, remember to apply for free legal help as soon as possible.

No later than 2 days after the return date, you must respond by submitting two types of court papers:

  • An appearance, and
  • A written response to the complaint. In this guide, we will discuss the two most common types of written responses: a motion to dismiss and an answer.
    Note: There are four types of responses - if you want to learn about the other two types, which are less common, talk to a lawyer or read this court procedure fact sheet.

This guide’s Form Filler can help you calculate your response deadline and complete these papers. You can also get hard copies of the appearance and answer forms at the court clerk’s office.

What would you like to do next?
Step-by-Step Instructions for Responding

You must respond by submitting court papers no later than 2 days after the return date listed on the court summons. If your deadline falls on a day the court clerk’s office is closed (Saturday, Sunday, and Legal Holidays), you can file your court papers the next day the court clerk’s office is open.

You must respond by this strict deadline even if you have not yet been able to get help from a lawyer. If you miss your deadline to respond, you can automatically lose and be forced from your home very quickly.

Reminder: This guide's can calculate your deadline for you after you enter your case docket number.

The return date is listed on the court summons in the top right corner:
example court summons
Write down your deadline to help you remember it. If you still have questions about what your deadline is, call the court clerk’s office.

Any problem with the court summons and complaint or how they were served might help you defend against the eviction.

  • These papers must be handed to you, left with another adult that answers your apartment door, or left wedged in between your apartment’s door and door frame.
  • These papers cannot be left, for example, in an outside mailbox, a common hallway, or a porch.

Read this section to help you decide whether to submit a motion to dismiss or an answer with your appearance. A motion to dismiss is only appropriate if there are specific kinds of problems with the case your landlord started against you.

If you decide not to submit a motion to dismiss, you will need to submit an answer. If you do not want to consider submitting a motion to dismiss, jump to Step 3.

A motion to dismiss asks the court to throw out the eviction case because your landlord did not follow all the required steps for starting the case. This is called “dismissing” the case.

Some reasons why the court should dismiss a case are included in this guide's sample motion to dismiss. Click here to view the sample motion to dismiss. Review the motion's list of reasons starting on page 2 to see if any apply to your case.

Note: There may be additional reasons to submit a motion to dismiss in your case that are not included in our sample. If you can, ask a lawyer for advice about whether there are reasons to submit a motion to dismiss in your case.

What happens after I submit a Motion to Dismiss?

After you submit a motion to dismiss, a judge will decide whether to grant or deny your request to dismiss the case. The judge will likely hold a hearing to help them decide.

At this hearing, the judge will ask you to explain your motion’s argument for why you think the case should be dismissed.

If the judge grants your request to dismiss the case, the case will be thrown out. If your landlord still wants to evict you, they will have to start over again by starting a new court case.

If the judge denies your request to dismiss the case, you will then have three days from the judge’s decision to submit an answer form (or one of the other four types of written responses).

Where can I get a Motion to Dismiss?

The court does not publish a motion to dismiss form, so you cannot get a hard copy of this type of form at the court clerk's office. But this guide includes a sample motion to dismiss you can fill in using the and then print out.

If you decide not to submit a motion to dismiss with your appearance, you must submit an answer that responds to the claims your landlord made in the complaint. In the answer, you give the court your side of the story. Click here to view the court's answer form.

For each numbered paragraph of the complaint, you must state in your answer whether you:

  • Agree—the information in that paragraph is true,
  • Disagree—the information in that paragraph is not true, or
  • Do Not Know—you don’t have enough information to know if the information in that paragraph is true.

Section 1 of the court’s Answer form includes check boxes for you to mark off:

example answer

You also tell the court about any defenses, which are reasons why your landlord does not have the legal right to evict you. Section 2 of the court’s answer form lists some of the most common defenses. Carefully review each listed defense to see if any apply to your situation:

example answer

Section 2 of the court’s answer form also provides a box that says, “Additional Information.” In this box, you can write in other defenses not listed on the answer form that you think apply to your case. You can also use the space to write in more details about the defenses you selected. If you need more room, attach additional pages to the form. You can also attach any evidence that supports your defenses (like receipts, emails, or code enforcement letters).

example answer

Examples of other defenses not listed on the official answer form that apply to some types of cases include:

  • The harm my landlord has suffered is small, it can be repaired (for example, you can pay the money you owe back), and it is outweighed by the great harm I will suffer if I am evicted.
  • I did not pay rent because I reasonably relied on something my landlord said that led me to conclude that I did not need to pay.
  • After the notice to quit was served, my landlord accepted my rent or offered me a new lease.
  • I live in a building with 5 or more units and my landlord is discriminating against me or my co-tenants
    • Because of race or skin color
    • Because they think we come from another country
    • Because of a physical or mental disability or illness
    • Because we asked them to fix something to help with a disability
  • My landlord is retaliating against me because I joined a tenants’ union in the last 6 months. (This defense does not apply in cases where the reason for the eviction that the landlord listed in the complaint is one of the following: (1) the tenant has not paid rent or (2) the tenant is using their unit for a purpose that is illegal or violates the rental agreement.)

    Retaliation reminder: Section 2 (d) – (f) of the answer form lists other types of retaliation defenses that may apply if you contacted your landlord, a city office, or your local Fair Rent Commission about conditions in your apartment. Remember to review these possible defenses as well. For more information about Connecticut’s retaliation defenses and when they apply, read Connecticut General Statutes Section 47a-20, 47a-20a, and 47a-33.


There may be additional defenses in your case that are not described above or on the official answer form. If you can, seek legal help for advice about defenses in your case. You can also research defenses on your own using legal information available online and at Court Law Libraries.

Where can I get an Answer form?

Hard copies of the court's answer form are available at the court clerk’s office. You can also use this guide's to help you complete the answer and then print it out. 

Now complete your appearance and either motion to dismiss or answer. You can either:

Use this guide’s to help you complete these papers (You will then need to print them out and deliver them to the and the other parties in the case), or

Go directly to the court clerk's office where you can pick up and fill out free hard copies of the appearance and answer forms.

Tip: You can print and make copies at a court service center. Go to court clerk’s office for more information about court service centers.

The court must receive your appearance form and either a motion to dismiss or an answer (or one of the other four types of written responses) no later than 2 days after the return date on the court summons.

On or before the day you deliver these papers to the court, you must also deliver copies to your landlord’s attorney (or directly to your landlord if no attorney) and to any other tenants who submitted an appearance.

For more information, read Delivering Paperwork to the Court and Other Parties.

Delivering Paperwork to the Court and Other Parties

Filing is the official process of delivering paperwork (or any other items) to the court. You must properly deliver papers to the court, your landlord’s attorney (or to your landlord if they do not have an attorney), and any other tenants that filed an appearance.

There are four ways you can deliver your paperwork to the court

  Hand-deliver papers to the Court Clerk’s Office

This is the safest way to file because you will know for sure that the court received your papers.

If you hand-deliver your papers, the court clerk will stamp your papers with the date and time they were received. Ask the court clerk to give you a copy of the stamped papers for your records.

At the court clerk’s office you can get hard copies of the appearance, answer, and other official court forms. You can also ask the court clerk general questions about deadlines, court events, and how the court process works.

Fax papers to the Court Clerk’s Office

Call the court clerk’s office to confirm the correct fax number.

Call the office back to confirm your paperwork was received.

Keep a copy of your fax confirmation sheet.

Mail papers to the Court Clerk’s Office

It is not good enough to mail the required papers by the deadline. The court must receive the papers by the deadline.

If you are not sure if the mailed paperwork will arrive by your deadline, you should instead hand-deliver or fax them.

Electronically file papers after creating an e-filing account

Before you can file electronically using the court’s e-filing system, you must create an e-filing account and request electronic access to your case. This process requires an email address and a valid photo ID.

The court’s review of your request may take several days. If your deadline is coming up, it is safer to hand-deliver or fax your paperwork.

To enroll, go to https://eservices.jud.ct.gov/External/NewUser.aspx and click the “Enroll” button under “Self-represented Parties.”

For more information about electronic filing, visit https://jud.ct.gov/external/super/E-Services/efile/SRP_Enroll_Activate_and_RequestAccess_Quickcard.pdf.

Always make copies of the paperwork for yourself, your landlord’s attorney (or your landlord if they don’t have a lawyer), and any other tenants who submitted appearance forms.

The court clerk’s office may be willing to make these copies for you if you ask. You can also print and make copies at a court service center.

On or before the day you deliver papers to the court clerk’s office, you must deliver copies to your landlord’s attorney (or directly to your landlord if no attorney) and to any other tenants who submitted appearance forms.

  • The certification of service section of forms includes space for you to write in who you are delivering copies to.
  • You can get the names and addresses you need—and confirmation of who agreed to accept their copy electronically (meaning by email)—from staff at the court clerk’s office or from their appearance forms posted on your online case page.
  • To see if somone agreed to accept their copy by email, look at their appearance and check if they marked the “yes” or “no” box on the line that states “I agree that documents can be delivered (served) to me electronically in this case.”

After you file paperwork, the court will schedule a court event or decide what to do based just on what you said in the papers. If a court event is scheduled, you will get a court notice in the mail with information about the type of event and how to attend. This court notice is also posted on your online case page.

If you filed an appearance and an answer, the court will schedule court mediation and a trial. Read Going to Court Mediation and Trial for more information on how to prepare for these court events.

If you miss a court event, you can automatically lose and be forced from your home very quickly.

Overview of Court Mediation and Trial

After you give the court your appearance and answer, the court will schedule a court mediation and a trial.

Court mediation is a meeting with a mediator employed by the court (also called a housing specialist) and your landlord. If your landlord has a lawyer, this lawyer will be at the meeting representing your landlord and your landlord may or may not join them. It is important to remember that a mediator works for the court, meaning they cannot give you legal advice or advocate for you. The goal of court mediation is to see if you and your landlord can make a court agreement about how to resolve the case, instead of going to trial.

Trial is a court hearing where a judge decides if you can be evicted and, if so, how much time you will have to move before the court can issue an execution (the order that gives a marshal permission to remove you and your belongings).

Although court mediation is held before trial, you should prepare for both now . If you don’t reach an agreement at court mediation, there will be a trial—and the trial may even be held on the same day as your court mediation. Having your trial arguments and evidence ready for trial will also make you a stronger negotiator at court mediation.

When and Where Are Court Mediation and Trial Held?

The court will mail you a court notice with the date, time, and location of each court event. The court also posts this notice on your online case page.

The court notice will tell you if your court event will be held in person at a courthouse or remotely by video. If the court schedules an in-person court event and you would like a remote court event held by video instead, read Remote Court Event Tips.

Read the next two sections for more information about how you can prepare for court mediation and trial.

If you miss court mediation or the trial, you can automatically lose and be forced from your home very quickly. Need to request a new date? Read What Can You Do if You Cannot Attend a Court Event?
You have the right to a court interpreter at court mediation and trial. For more information, go to How to Request an Interpreter.
If you have a disability that makes it difficult to go to court or otherwise participate in your court case, you can ask for a reasonable accommodation. For more information, go to How to Request a Reasonable Accommodation.

Preparing for Mediation

Court mediation is the process of meeting with a court mediator and the landlord (or the landlord’s attorney) to try to reach an agreement about what should happen with the case, instead of going to trial.

Read the below sections to learn about what to expect at mediation. Then use the mediation worksheet in Sample Forms to help you decide what agreement terms you want to offer.

Remember to also get ready for trial in case you do not make an agreement at court mediation. For more information about trial, go to How Can You Prepare for Trial?.

What Will Happen at Court Mediation?

First, the court mediator (also called a housing specialist) will ask each side to share their side of the story and what they would want in an agreement about what will happen with the eviction case.

Use the court mediation worksheet in Sample Forms to help you decide what terms you want to offer.

Some agreement terms may be better for you than others. It is up to you to speak up about what you want, negotiate, and decide if you want to accept an agreement or go to trial.

Common types of agreement terms include things like:

  • An agreement that your lease will be reinstated after you complete certain terms (such as a payment plan for the back rent);
  • An agreement that that you will move out by a certain date; and/or
  • An agreement that your landlord will complete repairs by a certain date.

After hearing from both sides, the mediator may suggest things to include in an agreement. With the mediator’s help, you and your landlord or landlord’s lawyer can then talk through possible agreement terms. You are not required to make an agreement at court mediation.

Remember that the mediator is a court employee who tries to help tenants and landlords make court agreements. The mediator cannot give you legal advice or advocate for you.

You may feel some pressure to accept an agreement. If you are feeling bullied by the landlord or landlord’s attorney, tell the mediator how you feel. 

If you do not understand a suggested term, ask the mediator to rewrite it using clearer language.

If you need more time to consider your options, ask to take a break. You can also ask your landlord to agree to reschedule the court mediation (this is called a “continuance of the mediation”) so you have more time to work on the agreement.

If you do not make an agreement, the court will hold a trial:

  • If your court mediation is held in person at a courthouse, the trial will likely be scheduled for the same day as your mediation. If your mediation is held remotely by video, the trial will likely be scheduled for a different day.
  • Remember that if you go to trial, the judge cannot make any repair orders or force your landlord to accept a payment plan for back rent. At trial, the judge will only decide whether and how quickly you can be evicted.
  • Even if you decide not to make an agreement, court mediation can be helpful because it allows you to preview what your landlord plans to say at the trial.

If you do make an agreement, it will be written out by the mediator, submitted to the judge for approval, and become an official court order that the judge can enforce. (The mediators typically use the court’s stipulated agreement of the parties form. An example of this form is included in Sample Forms.)

Before accepting an agreement, make sure you understand all the agreement terms.  This is important because:

  • Once the agreement becomes a court order, it may be impossible to change;
  • If your agreement includes judgment entering (meaning you agree that you or your landlord wins the case), the agreement also gives up your right to a trial; and
  • If you break the agreement, your landlord may be able to ask the court to immediately issue an execution, the order that allows a marshal to remove you and your belongings. (If this happens, you should immediately file an objection to the execution to request a hearing. The court’s objection to the execution form is included in the Form Filler and is available at the court clerk’s office.)

Preparing for Trial

If you and your landlord do not make an agreement in court mediation, you will have a court hearing called the trial.

Your goal at the trial is to explain to the judge why you should not be evicted and to offer any evidence you have that supports your arguments.

After hearing from you and your landlord, the judge will decide if you can be evicted and, if so, how much time you will have to move before the court can issue an execution (the order that allows a marshal to remove you and your belongings). 

Read the below sections to learn about how you can prepare for trial. Use the trial worksheet in Sample Forms to help you decide what evidence and which witnesses to bring, and draft what you will say to the judge.

Evidence is anything you plan to present at the trial to support your arguments for why you should not be evicted. This might include documents (like photos, rent receipts, or housing code enforcement reports), video or audio files, and/or witnesses.

Examples of Evidence

Proof that you made the agreed upon rent payments, like:

  • Copies of receipts, canceled checks, screenshots of your online payment account, or your lease agreement
  • Emails, text messages, or letters between you and your landlord
  • A witness who saw you make the payments

Proof that your landlord refused your attempts to pay, like:

  • Emails, text messages, letters or returned rent check

Proof of condition problems with your apartment, like:

  • Copies of inspection reports (If your landlord has refused to make repairs and you have not complained to the city yet, you should do so as soon as possible and ask for an inspection to document the problems. You can then request a copy of the inspection report.)
  • Photos of problems
  • Letters, emails, or text messages that show you asked your landlord to fix the problems
  • Receipts for repairs or hotel costs you paid out of pocket because your landlord failed to fix the conditions
  • A witness that has seen the conditions
If you think your landlord might have documents or information that might help support your argument, you can ask your landlord for them through a process called Discovery.

Print out three copies of any electronic evidence you plan to present, such as emails, text messages, or photos (one copy for the judge, one copy for your landlord, and one copy for you). You will not be able to show the judge your phone’s screen—you must print everything out. (Printers and copiers are available at Court Service Centers.)

Make two copies of any physical documents you plan to present, such as your lease, rent receipts, or letters (one copy for your landlord and one copy for you). The original should be given to the court.

Deliver your evidence to the court:
  • If your trial will be held in person at a courthouse
    You do not need to deliver your evidence to the court clerk’s office before the day of your trial. Just bring a copy of any electronic evidence and the original version of any physical documents or video/audio files with you to the trial. You will have the opportunity to offer the judge copies of your evidence during the trial. Remember to also bring an extra copy of your evidence for yourself.
  • If your trial will be held remotely by video
    Deliver one copy of any electronic evidence, any original physical documents, and any video/audio files to the court clerk’s office at least 24 hours before your trial. Ask the court clerk to upload your evidence “as exhibits." The court clerk will then present them to the judge during your remote trial. (Go to Remote Court Event Tips for more information.)

Deliver copies of your evidence to your landlord’s lawyer (or your landlord if they don’t have a lawyer) at least 24 hours before the trial.

  • If they have agreed to accept documents electronically, you can email the copies instead of mailing or hand delivering them. (Go to How Do You Deliver Paperwork to the Court? for information on how you can check if they have agreed to this.)

If you want the judge to hear from other people (these people are called witnesses), arrange for them to attend your trial.

Witnesses may be able to support your argument. For example, if you were arguing that your apartment is not habitable because of the bad conditions, and your cousin observed the bad conditions, you could have your cousin serve as a witness and tell the judge about the bad conditions they have seen.

There are also some situations where the person that created a document you want to present might also need to serve as a witness to confirm that the document is what you say it is.

The court will not accept a written statement from a witness as evidence. Your witness must speak at the trial for their information to count.

If your witness is not available on the day and time of your trial, you can ask the court to reschedule your trial by filing a motion for continuance. Go to What Can You Do if You Cannot Attend a Court Event? for more information.

If you think your witness may not attend voluntarily, or if they need a court order to get excused from work, you can ask the court clerk’s office for a subpoena. A subpoena orders the person to attend your trial. (You may also use a subpoena to order someone to bring documents they have to your trial. For example, you can subpoena a housing code inspector to bring an inspection report to your trial.)

The process of applying for and serving the subpoena may take several days, so you should request one as early as possible

  • The court has an official subpoena form available at the court clerk’s office and here. Fill out the form and then ask a court clerk to sign it.
  • After the court clerk signs the subpoena, you will have to hire a state marshal to serve the subpoena on your witness at least 18 hours before the trial. State marshals charge about $40 for this service, but you can ask the court to cover this cost by also submitting a fee waiver request with your subpoena request.
     

    The court’s fee waiver form is also available at the court clerk’s office and here. Instructions for filling out the fee waiver form are available here.

    After you submit the fee waiver at the court clerk’s office, the court will accept or deny your request. If they accept the request, they will cover the cost of the marshal.

Write out how you want to explain to the judge why you think you should not be evicted. This is called your argument. First, summarize your main points. Then, go into more detail. Make sure to explain to the judge why you think any defenses you included in your answer apply.

Write out a list of the evidence you plan to present that supports your arguments for why you should not be evicted.

Write out what challenges you will face if you are forced to move, and how much time you would need to find a new place. (The judge may ask you about these details at the end of your trial.)

 

You can use the trial worksheet in Sample Forms or scrap paper to write out the above. It can also be helpful to practice your argument in front of a mirror or with someone you trust.

If you plan to bring witnesses, the judge will give you the opportunity at the trial to ask them questions. Write out the list of questions that you will ask them.

Talk to your witnesses about what you plan to ask them, so they know what to expect. But remember that their answers must come from them and be honest.

If your trial will be held in person: make sure to share the courthouse address and court room number with your witnesses. If your trial will be held remotely by video: make sure to share the event link with your witnesses or plan to join from the same location.
It may help you to stay calm and act respectfully, even if the landlord or landlord’s attorney is not. Here are some tips for how to present yourself during the trial:

Wait until the judge or a Court Clerk asks you to speak.
Never interrupt the judge or anyone else speaking.

Always speak directly to the judge.
Do not speak to the landlord or the landlord’s attorney unless you are responding to their questions, or the judge has given you permission to ask them questions.

Address the judge as “your honor.”

Be on time.
If you are not on time and miss the court event, you can automatically lose and be forced from your home very quickly. If you are running late or having problems signing into a remote court event, immediately call the court clerk’s office. (For more information on what to do if you miss your court event, go to What Can You Do if You Miss a Court Event?.)

If your trial is being held remotely by video, try to participate with your camera on.
It will be easier to communicate with the judge if they can see your face. If you do not have access to a phone or computer with a video camera, or access to stable internet, you can call the court clerk’s office and ask to use a computer with a video camera at the courthouse for the event.
For more tips, watch the "Getting Ready for Court" video at www.ctlawhelp.org/en/getting-ready-for-court or play the RePresent trial prep game at www.ctlawhelp.org/en/represent.

First, the judge will call out the case name and let you know that the trial is “on the record” (this means that it will be recorded). Then, the judge will ask you to state your name and a court clerk will swear you in by asking you to raise your right hand and swear to tell the truth.

Next, the judge will ask your landlord’s lawyer (or your landlord if they do not have a lawyer) to explain why you should be evicted.

  • Your landlord may bring witnesses and show the court other evidence to support their argument.
  • If your landlord brings a witness, you may ask that witness questions after your landlord’s lawyer and the judge are done asking the witness questions. Wait until the judge tells you that you can ask questions. Don’t interrupt.

After your landlord’s attorney is finished, the judge will ask if you want to respond. First, explain your arguments for why you should not be evicted to the judge. Then offer to show the judge any documents, photos, or other evidence you have.

If you brought witnesses, give the judge their names and ask if you can ask them questions. After you get the judge’s permission to question your witness, ask your witness to state their name. Then, ask your witness questions that allow them to provide answers that will help support your argument.

For example, if you are trying to prove that no rent was due because your apartment was in such bad disrepair, you can ask your witness to describe the conditions they have observed in your apartment.

Once you are done asking your witnesses questions, the judge and the landlord’s attorney may ask your witness questions.

The judge and the landlord’s attorney may also ask you questions.

  • If you don’t understand a question, say “I don’t understand. Can you rephrase the question?”
  • If you didn’t hear a question or forgot the question, ask for the question to be repeated. It is critical that you fully understand the question before you answer it. Never try to guess what the meaning of the question is.
  • If you are not sure what the answer to the question is, you can say, “I don’t know.” If you think something is true but you’re not 100% sure, you can add a qualifier like, “ About 10 other units have cockroaches, but I’m not sure exactly how many .”

After both presentations are finished, the judge must decide whether you can be evicted—this decision is called the Judgment.

  • The judge may immediately announce the decision verbally in court, or
  • The judge may wait to decide later and send a written decision by mail. You can check to see if the judge has made their decision by calling the Court Clerk’s Office or checking your online case page.

If you win the case, you get to stay in your home. You will have to continue to pay rent each month and comply with all of the other terms of your lease. If your landlord still wants to evict you, they will have to start the process over by delivering a new notice to quit.

The judge may give you as little as 5 days (not including the judgment date, Sundays, and legal holidays) to move on your own before the court will sign an execution. The judge will tell you in their decision the exact amount of time you have to move on your own before the court will sign an execution.

You can apply for more time to move or appeal the judge’s decision, but you only have five days from the date the judge makes their decision (“the judgement date”) to do so.

For more information on how to request more time, how to appeal, and what you can do after an execution has issued, go to What Can You Do if You Lost Your Case? and What Can You Do if the Court Has Already Issued an Execution?.

Requesting Information from Your Landlord Through Discovery

You may want information from your landlord to help prove at trial that you should not be evicted. The legal process for getting information from your landlord during the court case is called discovery. Discovery is conducted by serving the landlord with different types of written requests.

Note: Asking for information through discovery is optional, and a little complicated. You also may already have what you need, or there may be a better way to get the information--like by requesting inspection records from your city’s code enforcement office.

If you do not plan to use discovery, you can skip this section.

Requests for Production and Interrogatories

This guide's Form Filler includes a sample request for production of documents and interrogatories form.

To ask for documents your landlord has that you believe will help you defend against eviction, you can complete the request for production of documents section of the form.

Examples of documents your landlord may have that could help you prove your defenses include:

  • Payment records/receipts;
  • Maintenance records;
  • Emails, text messages, or letters to/from your landlord


To ask for your landlord’s answers to questions that you believe will help you defend against eviction, complete the interrogatories section of the form.

Your landlord has 60 days to respond to any requests for production of documents and 30 days to respond to any Interrogatories. If your landlord refuses to give you the information by their deadline or submits an objection to the request with the court, you can ask the court to order your landlord to give you the information. But discovery requests do not stop the clock in your case.

You must still meet your court deadlines and attend all court events, even if your landlord has not responded to your discovery request yet.

You can ask the court to delay your court event while you are waiting for the information by filing a motion for continuance. But the court does not have to grant your request. (

For more information about requests for production, interrogatories, and other types of discovery, see Chapter 13 of the Connecticut Practice Book and the court’s pre-trial procedure palm card at www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/palm_cards/Pretrial_Procedure.pdf.

Remote Court Tips

The court will mail you a notice with the date and time of your court mediation, trial, or hearing. This notice will also explain if the event will be held remotely by video or in person at a courthouse.

If the court schedules an in-person court event and you would like a remote court event held by video instead, you can make this request by filling out a caseflow request form. The judge will review your request and decide whether to hold your court event remotely.

  • This form is available at the court clerk’s office and here.
  • Check off “Other” and write in that you are requesting that your court event be held remotely by video.
  • Include any details about why a remote court event would be better for you (Example: I am an immunocompromised person, and I would like to participate by video instead of in person to help protect myself from contracting Covid-19.)
If your event will be held remotely by video:

The notice will explain that you need to send your email address to a court email address. Do this as soon as possible.

After you send in your email address, the court clerk’s office will email you a calendar invitation with a link to join the event via a video conferencing app called Microsoft Teams.

If you have not received the invitation email by the day before your court event, call the court clerk’s office and ask them to re-send it.

Remember to also share the calendar invitation email and event link with any witnesses you have (or plan to join from the same location).

You can ask the court clerk’s office to give you access to a private room inside the courthouse called a “Remote Room” where you can join your event using a court computer with a video camera.

You can also ask the court clerk’s office for permission to dial in by telephone using the phone number listed in the email invitation. (But it may be better to connect by video so the judge or other participants can see you.)

If you or a witness will need an interpreter, call the court clerk’s office and request one as soon as possible.

For more information about court interpreters and translations, go to How to Request an Interpreter.

It may be easier to communicate with the judge or other participants if they can see your face. If your device does not have a camera or you are unable to connect to the video conference for any other reason, you can call the court clerk’s office and ask to use a computer at the courthouse.
The event link will be active before the day and time of your court event, so you, and any witnesses, can practice signing into the event ahead of time. Try to do so at least 24 hours before your event so you have time to fix any tech issues.

If you miss a court event, you can automatically lose and be forced from your home very quickly. Go to What Can You Do if You Miss a Court Event? for more information about your time-sensitive options.

Remote court events can take as little as half an hour or as much as multiple hours. Many cases scheduled for the same time may be called before yours and your court mediation, trial, or hearing could take a significant amount of time.

You may need to take the day off work and find childcare so you can stay as long as needed. It is very important to stay logged in and wait for your name to be called.

For more information about how to participate in remote court events and use Microsoft Teams video conferencing, visit https://jud.ct.gov/remotejustice.

Rescheduling Court Events

If you know you are not available at the date and time of a scheduled court event, you can ask for a new date by filing a motion for a continuance.

The court’s motion for continuance is included in this guide's Form Filler and is also available at the court clerk’s office.

File your motion for a continuance as soon as possible so the court has enough time to review your request.

Some reasons why you might need a new court date include:

  • You have work at the scheduled time and can’t get the time off.
  • You don’t have childcare during the scheduled time.
  • You are sick or caring for someone who is sick.
  • You need more time to get help from a lawyer.
  • Your UniteCT rental assistance application is still being processed. Include your UniteCT case number. (Go to Rental Assistance for more information on what you can do if your UniteCT application has not been approved or denied yet.)

Explain in your motion why you need a new court date, and what alternative dates and times would work for you.

You should also call the landlord, or the landlord’s attorney if they have one, and ask if they will agree to the postponement. If your landlord or landlord’s attorney agrees to the postponement, you should say that in your motion.

The court may not grant your request, so you should still do everything you can to prepare for and attend the scheduled court event. If the court denies your request and you miss the court event, the court can issue a default judgment.

You can call the court clerk’s office or check your online case page to see whether the court granted your request for a new date. Go to court clerk’s office and Online Case Page for more information.

Note: If the court schedules an in-person court event and you would like a remote court event held by video instead, you can make this request by filling out a caseflow request form. Go to Going to Court Mediation and Trial for more information.

Missed Court Deadlines

If you missed the court deadline to submit your response to the summons and complaint, or other paperwork, immediately go to the court clerk’s office and submit the missing paperwork.

This is very time sensitive because the court can issue a default judgment against you for missing the deadline. A default judgment means that you automatically lost the case because you missed a court deadline or event. 

You will just need to submit the missing paperwork. This is likely (1) an appearance form and (2) an answer form. Review The Court Summons and Complaint for more information about these papers.

You must file a motion to open judgment after default form along with your missing paperwork.

File the motion within 5 days (not including Sundays and legal holidays) from the default judgment date. If you do not file a motion to open judgment within these 5 days, your landlord can immediately get an execution.

Motion to Open Judgment Tips
  • The court’s motion to open judgment after default form is included in this guide's . Hard copies are also available at the . There is a court fee to file a motion to open judgment, but you can ask the court to waive the fee by completing a fee waiver form.
  • In your motion to open judgment, include any good reasons you have for missing the event or deadline, any proof that supports your excuse, and information about any defenses to the eviction you think you have.
  • For more information about potential defenses, review the "What is an Answer" section of and the answer form.

You must file an audita quarela application [tooltip] and a motion to open judgment after default form along with your missing paperwork.

An execution is the order that gives a marshal permission to remove you and your belongings. After issuing a default judgment, the court can issue an execution in as little as 5 days.

If an execution has been issued, go to What Can You Do if the Court Has Already Issued an Execution? to learn more about your extremely time-sensitive options.

Missed Court Events

If you missed a court event, immediately call the court clerk’s office. Explain to the court clerk’s office why you missed the event. Occasionally, the court will reschedule the event, instead of issuing a default judgment.

If the court clerk’s office tells you that a default judgment will be issued, go to the court clerk’s office in person and file a motion to open judgment.

File the motion within 5 days (not including Sundays and legal holidays) from the default judgment date. If you do not file a motion to open judgment within these 5 days, your landlord can immediately get an execution.
Motion to Open Judgment Tips
  • The court’s motion to open judgment after default form is included in this guide's . Hard copies are also available at the . There is a court fee to file a motion to open judgment, but you can ask the court to waive the fee by completing a fee waiver form.
  • In your motion to open judgment, include any good reasons you have for missing the event or deadline, any proof that supports your excuse, and information about any defenses to the eviction you think you have.
  • For more information about potential defenses, review the "What is an Answer" section of and the answer form.

Your Options After Losing Your Case

If you lose your case, you may have as little as 5 days before the court can grant your landlord's request for an execution. At the end of the trial, or in the written decision sent by mail, the judge will tell you exactly how much time you have.

If you want to ask for more time to move or appeal the case, you must file court paperwork within 5 days of the judgment date (not including the judgment date, Sundays, or legal holidays). Read the below to learn more.

If the court has already issued an execution, jump to What Can You Do if the Court Has Already Issued an Execution? for more information about the limited, time-sensitive options you may have left.

If you automatically lost your case because you missed a deadline or court event, you can ask the court to reopen your case and give you another opportunity to defend yourself. To do this, file a motion to open the judgment after default as soon as possible.

Read "Motion to Open Default Tips" in What Can You Do if You Miss a Court Event? for more information.

If you lost your case, you may be able to request more time by filing a stay of execution application within 5 days of the judgment date (not including the judgement date, Sundays, or legal holidays).

Note: The 5-day period begins when the judge enters the judgment, not the date when you receive a copy of the written decision in the mail. The judgement date is also listed on your online case page and on the written decision.

The court’s stay of execution application form is included in Sample Forms and is also available at the court clerk’s office.

What if more than 5 days have passed since the judgment date?

You may still submit a stay of execution application after 5 days have passed since the judgment date, but the court is less likely to grant your request. If the court has already issued an execution, go to What Can You Do if the Court Has Already Issued an Execution?.

What should I include in my Stay of Execution application?

The application form includes space for you to explain how much time you need to move and why you need the extra time. Try to provide as much detail as possible.

Note that if the case was started for “lapse of time” (failure to move after the lease expired), the judge can give you up to 6 months.

Depending on your circumstances, the following types of additional information might be helpful to include if it is true:

  • You applied for UniteCT on or before February 15, 2022, your application is still pending, and you request that your case be put on hold until you receive a decision on the application. Go to Rental Assistance for more information about UniteCT.
    • Note: Include your UniteCT case number. You can locate your application number and check the status of your application by logging back into your application.
  • You are actively looking for a new place, but despite your best efforts, you have not been able to secure one yet. Include any details that show that you are actively looking, such as addresses of places you’ve applied and why your application was denied.
  • You or another family member is disabled, elderly, or at high-risk of serious illness from COVID-19. If the disability or illness is making it more difficult to secure new housing, say so and explain how.
  • You have rented a new apartment, but you will not be able to move in until [insert date].
  • Your children are in school, and you want them to finish the school year at their current school.
  • Without additional time to find a new place, you will become homeless.
  • You are able and willing to pay the rent for the additional months you are in the unit. (Include any additional details you have about how much you can pay and by what date(s)).
  • Other reasons or special circumstances that explain why you need more time and how much more time you need.

After submitting the application, the court may schedule a hearing to decide whether to give you more time. Be prepared to explain to the judge why you need the extra time. Like at a trial, you can bring evidence and/or witnesses to the hearing that support your argument for why the judge should give you more time.

The judge may or may not decide to give you more time. You will receive the judge’s decision either at the hearing or in a notice mailed to you and posted on your online case page sometime after the hearing.

  • If the court gives you more time, but you are still unable to move by the end of the extended stay period, you can submit another stay of execution application.
  • Note: If the judge decides to give you more time, the judge may also require you to pay a certain amount of rent to your landlord during the extended stay period. If the court orders you to make any payments, you must do so or the court may allow the execution to be issued early.

Remember that the court does not have to give you more time, so you should continue to seek alternative housing and prepare to move. Go to What Can You Do if the Court Has Already Issued an Execution? for more information about executions and marshal move outs.

If you lost your case, you may appeal and have your case reviewed by a higher court if you file paperwork within 5 days of the judgment date (not including Sundays and legal holidays) and pay your rent to the court:

  • To stay in your unit while you appeal your case, you must pay any rent that is owed to the court and continue to pay your rent to the court while the appeal is processed.
  • If you miss even one rent payment, your appeal may be thrown out and the court can issue the execution.
  • Because you must pay all your back rent, appealing is often not an option if you cannot afford to pay the rent.

The appeal must be submitted to the Connecticut Appeals Court. The purpose of the appeal is to review the trial court's decision to see if there were any legal mistakes.

  • Call the Appeals Court Clerk’s Office to confirm what forms you need to file and by what date: (860) 757-2200. Appeals forms are also available at www.jud.ct.gov/webforms/.
  • Appeals are very difficult without a lawyer. To apply for free legal help with the appeal, call the Statewide Legal Services hotline at (800) 453-3320 (Open Monday through Friday from 9 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 2 pm).

Your Options After an Execution is Issued

If the court has already issued the execution, consider:

After the court has issued an execution, the only way to ask the court to postpone or prevent the eviction is by filing an audita querela application.

The audita querela application is a special request that asks the court to (1) temporarily stop the marshal from using the execution to remove you and (2) hold an emergency hearing to give you the opportunity to explain why the court should postpone or prevent the eviction.

A copy of Statewide Legal Services’s (SLS) audita querela application form is included in this guide's . Note: The court does not publish an official audita querela application court form and this application is not available at the court clerk's office.

The court must receive your audita querela application before the date and time of the scheduled move out. This is extremely time sensitive. If the court receives your application after the marshal has already moved you out, the court cannot undo the eviction.

To apply for legal advice about whether filing an audita querela application would be appropriate in your case and what information to include in your application, call the SLS Hotline at 1-800-453-3320 (Open Monday – Friday, 9 am to 12 pm & 1 pm to 2 pm).

If you applied for UniteCT rental assistance on or before February 15, 2022, you may ask the court to put your eviction case on hold until your UniteCT application is approved or denied. But to get this hold, you must tell the court in writing that you have a pending UniteCT application.

To inform the court and make this request, include your UniteCT case number and the status of your application in an audita querela application (discussed above). For additional information on UniteCT, go to Rental Assistance.

As a last resort, you can try to negotiate with your landlord for more time to move. The landlord has the authority to instruct the marshal to cancel or delay the move out. But the landlord does not have to agree to give you additional time and can change their mind at any time.

Note: If you need more time, it is always safer to file an audita querela application and ask the court to stop the marshal. Ideally, do both —  first file an audita querela application, and then ask your landlord for more time.

2-1-1 staff can help you apply for emergency shelter and assess if you qualify for any other programs that can help pay for moving, storage, food, and/or a security deposit assistance.

Try to pack and move as much as you can before the scheduled move out. Focus first on packing your essentials—like medications and ID cards—so you always have them with you.

After the marshal uses the execution to move you out, the marshal will move any remaining belongings to a storage facility. The town must pay for the belongings to be stored for at least 15 days. To get your belongings back, the town may charge you fees. After 15 days, the town may sell your belongings at a public auction. Buying them back at the auction may be cheaper than paying the fees.

Call your town or city hall to confirm how long they are able to store your belongings, where you can pick up your belongings, and how much they charge in fees. The rules vary by town. You can also ask for fees to be reduced or eliminated due to your financial hardship.

Once the court issues the execution, your landlord can hire a marshal who will schedule the move out. For more information about retrieving your belongings, read "Calling Your Town Hall" above.

Apply for  as soon as possible. A lawyer may be available to assist you with the audita querela application. However, if you are not able to reach a lawyer quickly, you should still file your audita querela application as soon as possible.

After the stay of execution has expired, the court can grant your landlord’s request for an execution at any time. The execution is the order that gives a marshal permission to remove you and your belongings from your home.

A marshal may have already given you a copy of an execution signed by the court with the date and time the marshal will return to remove you. This confirms that the execution was issued. You can also confirm if an execution has been issued by checking your online case page or calling the court clerk’s office.

Once the court issues the execution, your landlord can hire a marshal who will schedule the move out. The marshal must give you at least 24 hours’ notice of the date and time when they will return to remove you and any remaining belongings.

  • The marshal will provide this notice by handing you the execution or leaving it at your door. The date and time of the scheduled moved out will be listed on the execution. (The execution says “Summary Process Execution” in the top left corner. For an example, go to Sample Forms.)
  • At the date and time listed on the execution, the marshal can remove any remaining belongings even if you are not home.
  • The marshal must move all belongings to a storage facility. The town then pays for your belongings to be stored for at least 15 days. For more information about retrieving your belongings, see "Calling Your Town Hall" above.

How to Request an Interpreter

You have the right to a free court interpreter during all phone, video, and in-person conversations with court staff and judges if it is hard for you to understand or speak English.

Information about court interpreters is available in Spanish (Español), Portuguese (Português), Polish (Polski), Haitian Creole (Kreyòl ayisyen), and Mandarin (普通话) at www.jud.ct.gov/Publications/ES285.pdf .

You can make your request by calling or visiting the court clerk’s office. When you call the court clerk's office or visit the courthouse handling your case, tell the court staff what language you speak and ask for an interpreter. They will locate a by-phone or in-person court interpreter to assist you. You can also request an interpreter for any witnesses you plan to bring.

The court will not allow a friend or family member to interpret during a court event. You must request and use a court interpreter.

Note: If you need an interpreter for a hearing, mediation, or trial, make sure you request an interpreter ahead of time. Try to make your request no later than 2 days before your court event.

Immediately contact the court clerk’s office and ask for an interpreter. Then explain that you need the court paper you received to be translated. The paper may include time-sensitive information, so you should make this request as soon as possible.

Some, but not all, official court documents are available in Spanish (Español), Portuguese (Português), and Polish (Polski) at www.jud.ct.gov/webforms .

How to Request a Reasonable Accommodation

If you have a disability that makes it difficult to go to court or otherwise participate in your court case, you can ask for a reasonable accommodation.

In a court case, a reasonable accommodation is a change the court can make that will help person with a disability to participate in the case. A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.

Some examples of reasonable accommodations the court may make include:

  • Providing assistive listening equipment
  • Providing documents in accessible formats, like Braille, large print, or audio
  • Moving a court proceeding to an accessible location
  • Scheduling a court hearing at a special time
  • Scheduling more frequent breaks during a court proceeding
  • Arranging for a court hearing to be remote
You can make a request by phone, in person, or in writing

If requesting by phone, call the court clerk’s office or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) contact person at the courthouse handling your case.

If requesting in person, visit the court clerk’s office handling your case. You can make your request orally or submit a completed copy of the court’s request form available at https://jud.ct.gov/WebForms/forms/ES264.pdf.

To make your request in writing, email the ADA contact person at the courthouse handling your case.

Note: You can find the name and contact information for the ADA contact person at the courthouse handling your case by visiting https://jud.ct.gov/ADA/towns.htm and clicking on the town where your courthouse is located.

Use the Below Script to Make a Request by Phone

Provide your name, phone number, address, and the case name.

Describe your disability.

Ask for the change in the rule, policy, or practice that you need. Make sure the change is related to your disability. Example: If you are afraid to leave the house because of a mental health condition, you can ask for your court events to be held remotely instead of in person.

The court may give you a decision right away. If they need to get back to you, tell them the best way to contact you (phone call, email, or letter).

Note: You do have to explain how your disability affects your ability to do everyday things, but you do not have to provide medical details, like a medical diagnosis. You can do this by describing what you cannot do because of your disability. Example: you could explain that you are unable to leave your house because of a mental health condition.

If your request for a reasonable accommodation is granted, the court will explain how you will be accommodated and any next steps you need to take.

If your request for a reasonable accommodation is denied, you have the right to challenge the denial by filing a complaint. The denial will explain how to file this complaint. File your complaint as soon as possible, and no later than 10 days afterreceiving the denial.

More information about reasonable accommodations and denials is available at www.jud.ct.gov/ADA/faq.htm .

Every state courthouse has a wheelchair accessible entrance. But this entrance may not be through the front of the building.

To confirm where the accessible entrance is located, visit www.jud.ct.gov/directory/court_directions.htm and follow the links to reach the directions webpage for the courthouse you plan to visit. Information on where the wheelchair accessible entrance is located is listed under the “Wheelchair Access” heading.

Rental Assistance

If you are behind on rent, apply for any available rental assistance right away.

2-1-1 Hotline

Call 2-1-1 (TTY: 1-800-671-0737) at any time of day to confirm if there are any open rental assistance programs in your community. 2-1-1 can also provide referrals for emergency shelter, food, and utility assistance.

UniteCT
Connecticut’s emergency rental assistance program, UniteCT, closed to new applications on February 15, 2022.
You can check on the status of any application submitted on or before February 15, 2022 by logging back into your application.

If you or your landlord applied for UniteCT on or before February 15, 2022 and your application is still being processed, you may ask the court to put your eviction case on hold until your UniteCT application is approved or denied. But to get this hold, you must tell the court in writing that you have a pending UniteCT application.

You can use the UniteCT motion for stay form in this guide's Form Filler to inform the court that you have a pending UniteCT application and request that your case be put on hold until your application receives a decision.

If UniteCT approves your application for back rent assistance, your landlord must formally withdraw (“drop”) any eviction court case that is currently pending. This is required under the participation agreement .

If you need help with your UniteCT application:

  • Tenant Resources are on the UniteCT webpage at bit.ly/UniteCT
  • Contact one of the UniteCT Resource Centers listed on the UniteCT webpage, or
  • Call 1-844-864-8328 for a referral to a local UniteCT Resource center.

Court Clerk’s Office

The court clerk’s office is where you go to submit court papers. Read the below sections for more information about the resources available at court clerk’s offices and court service centers.

The court clerk’s office is where you go to submit court papers.

You can also call or visit the court clerk’s office to:

  • Get answers to general questions about deadlines, court events, and how the court process works;
  • Confirm the status of your case;
  • Request a reasonable accommodation so you can participate in your case;
  • Request an interpreter; and
  • Address tech issues or get help accessing remote court events.

If you visit the court clerk’s office in person, you can also:

  • Get hard copies of official court forms
  • Get your paperwork notarized by a court clerk (some but not all paperwork requires notarization)
  • Get your court papers for completeness

Note: Court staff can’t give you legal advice or tell you what you should say in your paperwork. But they check that you’ve completed the required sections of forms, and notarize them if needed.

The court clerk’s office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except legal holidays.

Directions, phone numbers, and fax numbers for each court clerk’s office location are available at www.jud.ct.gov/directory/court_directions.htm. The address and phone number of the office handling your case is also listed at the top of the summons.

Note: Every state courthouse has a wheelchair accessible entrance. The court's directions webpage for each courthouse explains where the accessible entrance is located under the “Wheelchair Access” heading.

Court Clerk’s Office

Phone Number

Fax Number

Ansonia-Milford Judicial District

203-877-4293    

203-876-8640

Bridgeport Housing Session

203-579-6936  

203-579-7291

Danbury Judicial District

203-207-8600

203-207-8642

Hartford Housing Session

860-756-7920

860-756-7925

Litchfield Judicial District

860-626-2100

860-626-2101

Meriden Judicial District
 
203-238-6666 203-238-6322

Middlesex Judicial District

860-343-6400

860-343-6423

New Britain Housing Session

860-515-5180

860-515-5138

New Haven Housing Session

203-789-7937

203-773-6795

New London Judicial District

860-443-5363

860-442-7703

Norwalk Housing Session

203-846-4332

203-965-5370

Norwich Judicial District

860-887-3515

860-887-8643

Tolland Judicial District

860-896-4920

860-875-0777

Waterbury Housing Session

203-591-3310

203-596-4080

Windham Judicial District

860-928-7749

860-928-7076

Court service centers and public information desks have additional resources to help you prepare your court papers.

Court service centers have:

  • Printers
  • Copiers and scanners
  • Fax machines
  • Public computers with internet access and word processing software
  • Public telephones

Public information desks have:

  • Public computers with internet access
  • Public telephones

A list of all the court service center locations is available at www.jud.ct.gov/csc/loc.htm.

A list of all the public information desk locations is available at www.jud.ct.gov/pid/.

Online Case Page

You can find information about your case on the court’s website. To reach your online case page, use the “Case Look-Up” tool at http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov .

Information Available on Your Online Case Page

Court Dates
Under “Scheduled Court Dates,” you can view the date and time of any upcoming court events.

Notices
Under “Notices,” you can view any court notices the court has mailed you.

Paperwork
Under “Motions / Pleadings / Documents,” you can view most papers that your landlord and any other co-tenants have given the court, and any court orders.

Court Address
Under “Case Information,” you can see the address of the state courthouse handling your case.

List of Who is Participating in the Case
Under “Party & Appearance Information,” you can see everyone who has filed an appearance in your case.

Email Alert Sign-up

On your case page, you can sign up to receive email alerts when there is any additional activity in your case.

To sign up for email alerts, click the link in the top right-hand corner—where it says, “To receive an email when there is activity on this case, click here.”

Reminders:

  • Even if you sign up for email alerts, you should still carefully read any court notices you receive in the mail.
  • If a remote court event is scheduled, you must still separately email the court clerk’s office to provide the office with your email address so that you can participate. (When a remote court event is scheduled, you will receive a court notice in the mail with instructions on how to email the court clerk’s office.)

Definitions of Legal Words

Answer
Your written response to the allegations in your landlord's complaint. See The Court Summons and Complaint.
Appeal
A request that a higher court review the judge's decision in your case. See What Can You Do if You Lost Your Case?
Appearance
A court form that tells the court you want to participate in the case and gives the court your contact information. You must fill out and give the court your appearance within 2 days of the return date. See The Court Summons and Complaint.
Argument
Your explanation for why the judge should agree with you.
Audita Querela Application
A packet of forms that asks the court to stop the marshal from using an execution and to hold an emergency hearing. See What Can You Do if the Court Has Already Issued an Execution?
Case Name
What your court case is called. In an eviction case, it is "the Name of Your Landlord vs. the Name of the Tenants." Example: John Smith vs. Jane Doe.
Certification of Service
The Certification of Service is a section on court forms (usually at the bottom) that tells the court how and when you will deliver copies of the form to your landlord and any other parties in your case. You must give gives copies of anything you give the court to your landlord (or your landlord's lawyer, if your landlord has one) and any other tenants listed on the summons. You must complete the Certification of Service section of your forms. See How Do You Deliver Paperwork to the Court?
Complaint
The court paper that the landlord uses to start the court case. It explains why the landlord thinks the court should allow the eviction.
Court Clerk
A court employee who staffs the court clerk's office.
Court Clerk's Office
The office where you go to submit court papers. The office also schedules court events and can answer questions about your case. See court clerk’s office.
Connecticut Practice Book
The rules that the court, plaintiffs (landlord), and defendants (tenants) must follow. See Other Resources.
Court Service Center
Locations at various courthouses where you can access public computers with internet access, printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. See court clerk’s office.
Decision
A judge's determination as to what should happen in your case.
Default Judgment
A default judgment is a decision by the judge that the landlord wins "by default" solely because you failed to meet a court deadline or attend a court event. If the court issues a default judgment, the court can then quickly issue an execution. See What Can You Do if You Miss a Court Event? for time-sensitive information on what you can do if you have already received a default judgment.
Defendant
The person who has been sued in a case. In an eviction case, the tenant is the defendant.
Defenses
The reasons why your landlord does not have the legal right to evict you. You include defenses in your answer. See The Court Summons and Complaint.
Discovery
The legal process you can use to get information from your landlord to help prove your defenses to the eviction. See Requesting Information from Your Landlord Through Discovery.
Dismissal
The court can decide to throw out the eviction case because your landlord did not properly follow all the required steps for starting the case. Ending the case this way is called "dismissing" the case. You can ask the court to dismiss the case by filing a motion to dismiss. See The Court Summons and Complaint.
Docket Number
The number the court assigns to your case. It's usually located at the top of court papers. It's also listed on your online case page. The court clerk's office can also give you the docket number.
Eviction
The name most people use to describe eviction cases. Your landlord cannot get a marshal to forcibly remove you and your belongings unless the landlord has won an eviction court case and the court has issued an execution.
Evidence
Evidence is anything you plan to present at the trial to support your arguments for why you should not be evicted. This might include documents (like photos, rent receipts, or housing code enforcement reports), video or audio files, and/or witnesses.
Execution
A court order that allows a marshal to remove a tenant and their belongings from their home. See What Can You Do if the Court Has Already Issued an Execution?
Exhibit
A document (like a photo, rent receipt, or housing code enforcement reports), a video or audio file, or another object introduced as evidence.
File
The official process of submitting of paperwork to the court. This includes delivering the papers to the court, your landlord's attorney (or to your landlord if they do not have an attorney), and any other tenants that filed an appearance. See How Do You Deliver Paperwork to the Court?
Hearing
A hearing is like a trial. The judge will hear from both you and your landlord on whatever topic the hearing is about. This is your chance to explain why the judge should decide the question in your favor—like whether the case should be thrown out based on your motion to dismiss, or whether the court should give you more time to move based on the stay of execution you filed.
Housing Session
The housing sessions are courts that deal exclusively with landlord-tenant cases. The housing session clerks' offices can help you fill out forms. See court clerk’s office.
Housing Specialist
Also called mediators. They work for the courts and meet with tenants and landlords during mediation. See How Can You Prepare for Court Mediation?
Judge
The person who hears and decides court cases.
Judgment
A judgment is a decision by a judge as to who wins the lawsuit. A "judgment in favor of the plaintiff" means your landlord won the case. After the judge enters a judgment for the landlord, the landlord must then ask for and receive an execution signed by the court. Only a marshal with an execution signed by the court can remove you and your belongings. See What Can You Do if the Court Has Already Issued an Execution? for time-sensitive information on what you can do if you have already received an execution.
Judicial Branch
The branch of the Connecticut government that oversees all state court cases, including eviction cases.
Lapse of Time
One of the legal reasons a landlord may use to start an eviction case. It means your landlord is claiming that your lease agreement expired. If your landlord wins this type of case, the judge can give you up to 6-months of time to move before an execution can issue.
Mediation
The process of meeting with a mediator (also called a housing specialist) and the landlord (or the landlord's attorney) to try to reach an agreement about what should happen with the case, instead of going to trial. See Going to Court Mediation and Trial.
Mediator
People who work for the courts and meet with tenants and landlords. Also called housing specialists. See How Can You Prepare for Court Mediation?
Motion
The official way of asking the court to do something.
Motion for Continuance
The way you ask the court to reschedule a court event. The court's motion for continuance form is available at the court clerk's office and in this guide's Form Filler. See What Can You Do if You Cannot Attend a Court Event? for more information about when the court may grant this request.
Motion to Dismiss
The way you ask the court to throw out your case because your landlord did not follow all the required steps for starting the case against you. The court's motion to dismiss form is available at the court clerk's office and in this guide's Form Filler. See The Court Summons and Complaint.
Motion to Open Judgment
The way you ask the judge to reopen the case and and give you another opportunity to defend yourself. The court's motion to dismiss form is available at the court clerk's office and in this guide's Form Filler. See Missed Court Deadlines.
Never Had a Right or Privilege
One of the legal reasons a landlord may use to start an eviction case. It means that your landlord is claiming you are a trespasser and never had permission to be in the apartment.
No Longer Have a Right or Privilege
One of the legal reasons a landlord may use to start an eviction case. It means that your landlord is claiming you originally had permission to be in the apartment, but that permission has ended. If your landlord wins this type of case, the judge can give you up to 6-months of time to move before an execution can issue.
Non-Serious Nuisance
Conduct which interferes substantially with the comfort or safety of other tenants or occupants. Unless the conduct qualifies as a serious nuisance, your landlord must give you a pre-termination notice before giving you a notice to quit for committing a non-serious nuisance. See Pre-Termination Notices.
Notice to Quit Possession
A legal paper that tells you to "quit possession" (meaning to move out) by a certain date. You do not have to move by this date. But if you stay, your landlord can start a court case against you. See The Notice to Quit.
Notice of Judgment Summary Process
A written notice you will receive by mail once the court has decided if you or your landlord has won the case. See What Can You Do if You Lost Your Case?
Objection to Execution
If your landlord asked the court to issue an execution, you can try to stop the court from proceeding to issue it by filing this objection. The court's objection to execution form is available at the court clerk's office and in this guide's Form Filler. If the court has already issued an execution, you must instead file an audita. See What Can You Do if the Court Has Already Issued an Execution?
Online Case Page
Information about your court case is publicly available on the court's website. To reach your online case page, use the case look-up tool at http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov. See Online Case Page.
Parties
The people or legal entities (such as LLCs) that are named as plaintiff(s) and defendant(s) on legal papers. 
Plaintiff
The person or company that begins a case. In a summary process case, the plaintiff is your landlord or the management company for your apartment.
Pleadings
Papers that may be filed by the landlord or tenant at the beginning of the court case, like the motion to dismiss and the answer.
Pre-Termination Notice
A legal paper that gives a tenant a certain number of days to fix a problem identified by the landlord and/or request a meeting. Whether you have the right to receive a pre-termination notice depends on the type of problem involved and if you live in public housing or another type of government-subsidized housing. See Pre-Termination Notices.
Request for Production of Documents
The legal process to ask your landlord for documents that will help you prove your argument. See Requesting Information from Your Landlord Through Discovery.
Remote Court Event
A court event held by video conference rather than in person at a courthouse. See Remote Court Event Tips.
Return Date
The date that determines your deadline for responding to your landlord's complaint. You can find it on the summons. You do not have to go to court on your return date. See The Court Summons and Complaint.
Self-Represented Parties
Any parties in a court case who are not represented by an attorney. Self-represented parties are also called pro se parties.
Service/serve
The legal method for delivering a copy of court papers to everyone else participating in the case. There are strict requirements for how the landlord serves the notice to quit and the summons and complaint packet. See How Do You Deliver Paperwork to the Court?
Serious Nuisance
Serious nuisance is one of the reasons a landlord can start an eviction court case. It is defined as (1) inflicting or threatening bodily harm, (2) substantial and willful destruction of your unit, (3) conduct that presents an immediate and serious danger, or (4) the sale of illegal drugs or prostitution.
Stay of Execution
The time you are given between losing the case and when the court can issue an execution is called the stay of execution. After a landlord wins an eviction case, you will receive at least 5 days to move before the court will agree to issue an execution. During mediation, you and your landlord can enter into an agreement that gives you a longer stay period. If you lost at trial, the judge decides how much time you will get. See What Can You Do if You Lost Your Case?
Stay of Execution Application
Asks the court to give you more time to move after you lost the case. You must submit this application within 5 days of the judgment date. See What Can You Do if You Lost Your Case?
Stipulation
A written court agreement between you and your landlord that is approved by the judge. Also called a "settlement." Once approved, it becomes an official court order that the judge can enforce. See How Can You Prepare for Court Mediation?
Summary Process
Summary process is the official name for an eviction court case. It has this name because eviction cases are designed to be processed in a "summary" or quick fashion. Because these cases move extra fast, it's important to immediately respond to court papers and attend your court events.
Summons
The summons tells you that your landlord started a court case and explains what you must do to fight the case. The return date is on the summons. See The Court Summons and ComplaintHere is an example of what the summons looks like.
Summons and Complaint
A packet of court papers that explains that your landlord started a court case and explains what you must do to fight the case. One of these papers will say “Summons” in the top-left corner. See The Court Summons and ComplaintHere is an example of what the summons looks like.
Subpoena
An order that a person attend a hearing or trial. If you need a witness to attend your trial, you can get a subpoena from the court clerk's office. See How Can You Prepare for Trial?.
Testimony
Verbal statements made during a hearing or trial by you, the landlord, or other witnesses.
Trial
An official court hearing with the judge where you and your landlord can explain to the judge why the eviction should or should not be allowed. The judge will then decide if you can stay and, if you must leave, how much time you have to move voluntarily before the landlord can get an execution. See Going to Court Mediation and Trial.
Withdrawn
What the court calls a case if the landlord formally stops pursuing a tenant's eviction and ends the case. To withdraw the case, the landlord has to file a form called the withdrawal and state that they are withdrawing the case against all defendants. Unless and until the landlord files this form, you should assume the case is continuing, follow all court deadlines, and attend all court events—even if your landlord has told you they are dropping the case or won't evict you. If you aren't sure if your case was withdrawn, ask the court clerk's office.
Witness
A person who speaks at a court hearing or trial about what they saw, heard, or did.
Court Event Notice
If a court event is scheduled, you will get a court notice in the mail with information about the type of event and how to attend.
Motion for Default
This court paper explains that your landlord is asking the court to decide the case in your landlord’s favor because you missed a court deadline or event.

Sample Forms

You can use this guide’s Form Filler to help you fill out forms that you may need to defend against an eviction. Access the Form Filler at any time by clicking on the button in the top-left corner that looks like

Examples of the forms you might need to fill out are also included below. You can also get free hard copies of the court’s official forms at the court clerk's office. Printers are available at court service centers.

Forms published by the court include their form number in parenthesis above.

All other forms are samples prepared by the Connecticut Fair Housing Center or Statewide Legal Services and may need to be adjusted to reflect the circumstances of a particular tenant.

Using any of the above forms does not create any attorney-client relationship or any other fiduciary relationship between you and the Connecticut Fair Housing Center.

For legal advice and/or representation, contact a lawyer. Go to the Legal Help section of this website for information on how to apply for free legal help.

Other forms published by the court are posted here.