Nuisance Abatement Unit
THE NUISANCE ABATEMENT UNIT is a specialized unit in the Asset Forfeiture Bureau of the Office of the Chief State's Attorney.
For more information about nuisance abatement, contact:
Office of the
Chief State's Attorney
300 Corporate Place
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
Nuisance Abatement combines civil remedies and innovative problem solving with traditional policing and criminal prosecution to address the quality of life in communities throughout Connecticut.
Nuisance Abatement prosecutors work with the State's Attorneys, police departments, municipal agencies and neighborhood groups to clean up nuisance properties.
The Nuisance Abatement Unit's three primary programs are:
The Nuisance Abatement and Quality of Life Act (Connecticut General Statutes Section 19a-343, et. seq.) authorizes state prosecutors to bring civil nuisance actions against persons and property that are involved in certain types of illegal activity.
Unlike ordinary criminal prosecutions, nuisance abatement actions focus on cleaning up properties that are magnets for illegal activity, in addition to punishing wrongdoers.
The Nuisance Abatement and Quality of Life Act requires a minimum of three arrests or the issuance of three arrest warrants indicating a pattern of criminal activity on the property during a one-year period before a nuisance abatement action is brought.
Not every criminal arrest or arrest warrant makes a property eligible for nuisance abatement action. The law specifies ten areas from which arrests must be made to precipitate a nuisance abatement action:
- Drug trafficking
- Illegal gambling
- Obscenity involving minors
- Illegal liquor sales
- Motor vehicle "chop shops"
- Inciting injury to persons or property
- Sexual assault
- Felonious assault
Public nuisance actions are filed in the Superior Court for the Judicial District where the property is located. The prosecutor will seek court orders or negotiate a stipulated agreement for whatever relief is necessary to stop the criminal activity underlying the nuisance. Many remedies may be possible, ranging from screening prospective tenants for a property to closing the premises.
Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots
The Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots, or M.A.R.C.H. Program is designed to attack chronic nuisances created by both commercial and residential properties.
Residents alert their Community Policing Officers to nuisance properties, including illegal social clubs, bars and stores that are magnets for criminal activity or problem houses or apartment buildings. The police department then prepares a list of nuisance properties based on a history of complaints and criminal incidents.
The Nuisance Abatement prosecutors assemble a team of municipal and state inspectors and arrange for administrative inspections of the nuisance properties. The team will visit each location and each individual agency will conduct an inspection.
Inspectors may cite landlords for violations and arrests may be made. If conditions on a property pose an immediate danger to the health or safety of the tenants or surrounding neighbors, an administrative agency can ordered the building closed.
In addition to coordinating prosecutions with the Nuisance Abatement Unit, the M.A.R.C.H. team can also coordinate follow-up action with the local Housing Court prosecutor.
Landlord Intervention Program
The Landlord Intervention Program, or L.I.P., seeks to work with landlords who are willing to make good faith efforts to clean up their properties.
The Chief State's Attorney's Office, in partnership with neighborhood groups and police departments, is identifying properties where individuals are engaged in chronic illegal activity endangering both law-abiding tenants and the surrounding neighborhood. Examples of such criminal activity include drug sales and prostitution.
Once a location is identified, the Nuisance Abatement Unit notifies the landlord of the problems and asks for a meeting between the landlord or property manager and the Nuisance Abatement prosecutors and police. The two sides will work to develop a written Memorandum of Understanding spelling out the steps the property owner will take to clean up the property.
These steps can include:
- Evicting undesirable tenants.
- Authorizing increased police patrols of the property.
- Making changes or repairs to improve building security.
- Attending a Landlord Training Class.
If the owner or manager takes the actions agreed to in the Memorandum of Understanding and the nuisance ceases, the State in turn agrees not to bring a Nuisance Abatement prosecution based on the past problems with the property.
If the landlord or manager fails to honor their commitments, or if the nuisance persists despite their efforts, the Nuisance Abatement Unit may bring a public nuisance action. Further, if a landlord is actually profiting from illegal activity on the property, the State may even prosecute a forfeiture, asking for confiscation and condemnation of the building.
Content Last Modified on 3/27/2012 8:00:14 AM