Connecticut Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Connecticut landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to the Connecticut Landlord Tenant Act.

CT Landlord Tenant Law

  • Connecticut General Statutes Title 47a - Landlord and Tenant

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.

If a prospective tenant is accepted and moves in, this application fee cannot be used as part of the security deposit.

If a prospective tenant is accepted but chooses NOT to move in, the landlord has to return what's left of the application fee (if any). In this case, the tenant is responsible for the landlord's cost of finding a replacement tenant (which includes lost rent during this period).

Background and Credit Check

You can screen tenant applicants with a background check or full credit report from RentPrep.

A background check will show a person's history of addresses, evictions, bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

A full credit report comes with a basic background check, credit check plus criminal check. A basic background check shows a person's history of addresses, evictions and bankruptcies.

Landlords do not need the tenant or applicant's consent to run background and credit checks.  Fair Credit Reporting Act § 604(a)(3)(F)

Avoiding Discrimination

The Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from discriminating against prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, sex, *familial status, national origin or physical/mental handicap.  42 U.S.C. § 3604

*Familial status - pregnant women and families with person(s) under 18.

In addition, Connecticut tenants are also protected under the Connecticut Fair Housing Act. This act also prohibits landlords from discriminating prospective tenants based on their age, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or (lawful) income source.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-64c

Landlords must follow the above Fair Housing laws UNLESS the dwelling has two or less rental units and the landlord lives in one of them.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-64c.(b)

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Tenancy Agreement

(also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement)

Whether you're a landlord or tenant, it's important to have a written lease agreement with terms and conditions that favors you and follows your state laws.

To save time and avoid mistakes, you can customize your own lease agreement at LawDepot. This site will ask you a set of questions related to your tenancy and create a state-specific agreement based on your answers.

If you are renting the property for one year or less, your tenancy agreement can be verbal or written. If you are renting for more than one year, your lease agreement must be in writing.

Unless the tenancy agreement specifies a fixed term lease, the landlord and tenant will enter into a month to month tenancy by default. If the tenant pays rent weekly (instead of monthly), then the tenancy will be week to week.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-3b

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Connecticut landlord tenant law Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-6 requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Name and address of person authorized to manage the property
  • Name and address of property owner or owner's agent (person authorized to act on owner's behalf)

What Landlords Must Disclose

Connecticut landlord tenant law also requires the landlord to disclose the following to the tenant:

  • Fire Sprinklers: The landlord must inform the tenant whether there are operating fire sprinklers in the dwelling unit. If there are sprinklers, the latest maintenance and inspection date has to be included as well. This information is to be printed in bold with a 12 point uniform font.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-3f
  • Lead Paint: If the property was built before 1978, the landlord must inform the tenant if the property contains lead-based paint (before signing the rental agreement).

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Connecticut landlord tenant law Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-4.(a)(1) to (9), your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • make the landlord or tenant give up any legal rights under the Landlord and Tenant Act
  • permit the landlord to get a confession of judgment against the tenant
  • limit the landlord or tenant's liability if either party fails in their duties
  • make the tenant give up any right to his or her security deposit interest
  • allow the landlord to deprive a tenant of their land, belongings or property without a court order
  • make the tenant surrender the rental property if he or she owes rent
  • make the tenant pay more than 15% of the landlord's attorney fees (if the landlord wins a lawsuit against the tenant)
  • make the tenant pay late fees if he or she is less than 9 days late in paying rent  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-15a
  • make the tenant pay for extra heating or utilities costs IF heating and utilities are already included in the rental agreement

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Security Deposit

According to the Connecticut Landlord Tenant Act, the maximum security deposit amount the landlord can ask for will depend on the tenant's age.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21.(b)

If the tenant is 62 years old or younger, the maximum deposit amount will be 2 month's rent.

if the tenant is more than 62 years old, the maximum deposit amount will be 1 month's rent.

Connecticut landlord tenant law requires the landlord to hold the security deposit in a trust account of a bank, savings loan association or licensed escrow agent.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21.(h)

The tenant gets to keep any interest earned by the trust account (unless he or she agrees to forgo it in the lease agreement). This interest rate is set by the Banking Commissioner every year. The landlord is not allowed to increase the rent for the purpose of paying interest on the deposit.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21.(i)

The landlord must give each tenant a written notice stating the name and address of the financial institution where the deposit is held and what is the amount held. This notice must be delivered within 30 days of receiving the security deposit from the tenant (or previous landlord after a property sale).  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21.(h)(4A)

If a banking commissioner makes a written request to the landlord for any information related to a tenant's deposit, the landlord has to provide it within seven days.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21.(h)(4B)

This information can include:

  • Name and address of financial institution where the deposits are held
  • Account number of each escrow account

Deductions and Returns

Connecticut landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.

Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Connecticut landlord tenant law) include:

  • Rent owed
  • Utility payments owed (to the landlord)
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant failing in his or her duties - See Tenant Duties and Responsibilities below  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21.(13),(d)

The landlord is NOT allowed to take money from the security deposit due to damage from *normal wear and tear. *Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration of the property (and its contents) from normal everyday use.

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit and interest. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing.

Depending on whichever date is later, the landlord has to return the deposit within either:

  • 30 days after the tenancy is terminated OR
  • 15 days after the landlord is informed of the tenant's forwarding address  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21.(d)(2)

If the landlord fails to follow Connecticut landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover up to two times the amount of security deposit.

If only the interest is not returned, the tenant can recover up to $10, or twice the amount of interest owed, depending on whichever amount is greater.

A banking commissioner can investigate claims that the landlord has violated the laws for the returning or deducting security deposits and fine the landlord for each offense.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21.(j)

For more information on the fine amounts, you can refer to the Connecticut landlord tenant statutes on "Penalties".  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21.(k)

If Property is Sold

Once the property ownership is transferred, the new owner will be responsible for refunding any security deposit or prepaid rent to the tenant (at the end of the tenancy). Therefore the new owner should make sure that the previous owner transfers all security deposits and prepaid rents along with the property.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-21.(h)(3)

The previous owner is no longer responsible for the tenancy once ALL three conditions are met:

  1. The previous owner withdraws from the escrow account and transfers all security deposits, interests and prepaid rents to the new owner.
  2. The previous owner informs the tenant in writing that the property is being sold.
  3. The new owner disposes of the old escrow accounts as ordered by court.

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Hartford, Connecticut CT

Connecticut Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

According to Connecticut landlord tenant law, the landlord cannot force the tenant to pay rent (or security deposit) by cash or electronic fund transfer.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-4c

The tenant has to pay the rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and payment method.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-3a

By default, rent is payable once the tenancy begins and shall be paid at the same day of every month for a week-to-week or month-to-month tenancy. Rent is to be collected at the rental property in equal installments.

Whenever the tenant pays his or her rent in cash, the landlord must provide a receipt stating the payment date, amount received and payment purpose.

Late Rent

According to Connecticut landlord tenant law Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-15(a), the landlord may charge a late fee in the following situations:

  • If the tenant is 4  (or more) days late in paying rent for a week to week tenancy
  • If the tenant is 9 (or more) days late in paying rent for all other types of tenancy

If the tenant pays the rent by check, the tenant won't be liable for damages if the check bounces.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-565a.(d)

If the landlord wants to impose late rent charges, it has to be specified in the tenancy agreement. While there are no state laws on late fees, landlords cannot overcharge or impose unfair terms. Otherwise the tenant can refuse to pay and challenge the late fees in court.

Most states consider reasonable late fees to be around 3 to 5% of the rent amount.

Raising Rent

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When can the landlord raise the rent?
  • How many days notice does the landlord have to give before raising the rent?
  • How many days notice does the tenant have to give if he or she is moving out due to the rent increase?
  • Maximum amount or percentage of rent increase (optional)

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Property Maintenance

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Connecticut Landlord Tenant Act Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-7.(a) requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition:

  • Compliance: Obey building, health and housing codes (that affect health and safety)
  • Repairs: Make all repairs to keep the property safe and habitable
  • Common Areas: Keep all common areas clean and safe
  • Maintenance: Maintain all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen facilities in safe working condition
  • Waste Disposal: Provide waste disposal outlets and arrange for waste removal
  • Heating: Supply running water, hot water and heating (as far as conditions allow)
  • Bedbug Infestation: Pay for all bedbug inspection and treatment costs  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-7a.(b)(1)

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Connecticut landlord tenant law Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-11 also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition:

  • Compliance: Obey all provisions of building, health and housing codes which affect health and safety
  • Cleanliness: Keep the property and plumbing fixtures clean and safe (as far as conditions will allow)
  • Waste Disposal: Dispose all waste from the property in a clean and safe manner
  • Proper Usage: Use all facilities and appliances properly. This includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen and common area facilities (e.g. elevators)
  • Property Damage: Avoid property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Neighbors: Avoid disturbing neighbors and also disallow others from disturbing neighbors
  • Bed Bugs: Inform the landlord promptly of any suspected bedbug infestations in the rental property.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-7a.(b)(1)

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property

If the landlord fails in his or her responsibilities, the tenant may terminate the lease (if it affects the tenant's health and safety).  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-12

The tenant must give the landlord a written notice stating the problem and give the landlord 15 days to fix it... or else the tenant will terminate the lease in 15 days. If the problem is fixed within 15 days (of the landlord receiving this notice), the tenancy shall continue.

If a similar violation occurs within six months (of the previous violation), the tenant may simply give the landlord a written notice to terminate the lease and move out after 14 days. The notice must state the violation date and when the tenant intends to terminate the lease and move out - This termination date must be within 30 days of the violation.

Note: This Connecticut landlord tenant law Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-12 does not apply to a week to week tenancy.

If Landlord Fails to Provide Essential Services

If the landlord fails to provide an essential service (such as heat, water, electricity, plumbing or sanitation), the tenant has three choices:

1. The tenant can make repairs and deduct the cost from rent

The tenant has to inform the landlord in writing that he or she intends to pay the utility bill(s) and deduct the cost from the rent. The tenant should keep the receipts for all related costs.

2. The tenant can move to substitute housing for the time being

The tenant can give the landlord written notice that he or she is moving into substitute housing. The tenant doesn't have to pay rent until the problem is fixed. If the substitute housing costs more, the tenant can ask the landlord to pay for the difference as long as the amount recovered does not exceed one month's rent.

The tenant may move out immediately if the same violation happened within the past six months.

3. The tenant can sue the landlord for damages

If the problems caused by the landlord are deemed to be willful, the tenant can terminate the rental agreement and sue the landlord to recover up to two times actual damages or two month's rent, depending on whichever is greater.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-13

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Property Access

When Tenant's Permission is Required

According to Connecticut landlord tenant law Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-16.(a), the landlord is only allowed to enter the property for the following reasons:

  • Performing property maintenance or repairs
  • Supplying essential (or mutually agreed) services and utilities
  • Inspecting property for damages
  • Showing property to prospective buyers, tenants or contractors
  • Court order granting landlord access to the property

For the above situations, the landlord must inform the tenant in advance before entering the property. For most states, informing the tenant 24 hours in advance is considered reasonable. The landlord can only enter the property with the tenant's consent and during reasonable hours.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-16.(c)

When Tenant's Permission is NOT Required

According to Connecticut landlord tenant law, the landlord may enter the property without permission in the following situations:

  • Emergencies such as smoke, fire, flooding or explosion  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-16.(b)
  • Tenant has informed landlord that he or she will be away from the property for a long period of time. During the tenant's prolonged absence, the landlord is allowed to enter the property for the reasons found in the above section "When Tenant's Permission is Required"

If Tenant Refuses Landlord's Valid Request to Enter Property

The tenant cannot deny access if the landlord has a valid reason to enter the property. Otherwise the landlord can EITHER

  1. obtain a court order that requires the tenant to let the landlord in OR
  2. terminate the lease agreement by giving the tenant a written notice

In addition, the landlord may also sue the tenant for actual damages and reasonable attorney's fees.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-18

If Landlord Enters Property Illegally

The landlord must have a valid reason and obtain the tenant's permission (whenever required) to enter the property. If the landlord fails to do so or harasses the tenant, the tenant can EITHER

  1. obtain a court order that stops the landlord from entering the property illegally or harassing the tenant OR
  2. terminate the lease agreement by giving the landlord a written notice

In addition, the tenant may also sue the landlord for one month's rent PLUS court costs and attorney fees. If actual damages exceeds one month's rent, the tenant may sue for the full amount.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-18a

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Subletting

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property? If yes, is the landlord's written consent required before the tenant can sublet?
  • Is the landlord allowed to screen and reject every prospective subtenant?
  • Can the landlord ask for additional rent and security deposit if the tenant sublets?

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East Haven, Connecticut CT

East Haven, Connecticut CT

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Connecticut landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit before terminating a tenancy.

There is no specific Connecticut landlord tenant statutes on how many days in advance to inform the other party if you are terminating a week to week or month to month tenancy. We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the number of days between themselves and include it in the written rental agreement.

TENANT

If you are the tenant, the following are the minimum number of days for giving your landlord a notice to quit:

Landlord failed to maintain property

30 days

Landlord entered property illegally

Not specified

Tenant or dependent is a victim of domestic abuse

30 days

Property damage due to fire, disaster or unavoidable accident

14 days

Tenant or Dependent is a Victim of Domestic Abuse

If the tenant or tenant dependent's is a victim of domestic violence, he or she may terminate the rental agreement early without penalties by submitting the following documents to the landlord:

  • Notice to release tenant from the rental agreement within 30 days
  • Copy of any protective order issued to tenant as a victim of domestic violence
  • Copy of (law enforcement agency) report stating that tenant has informed the agency that he or she is a victim of domestic violence  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-11e

Property Damage Due to Fire, Disaster or Unavoidable Accident

If the property is badly damaged by fire, disasters or (unavoidable) accidents, the tenant can move out immediately THEN notify the landlord within 14 days that he or she intends to terminate the tenancy. This notice must be in writing and the tenancy will terminate once the tenant moves out.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-14

After the tenant moves out, the landlord has to return all security deposits and prepaid rents (after deductions) to the tenant. According to Connecticut landlord tenant law, the tenant shall not be charged for rent once the tenant moves out.

If the property is still habitable, the tenant shall stay out of any damaged area. The rent amount shall be reduced based on the extent of property damage.

Notice to Quit Contents

If you are the tenant, your notice must contain the following:

  • Address of rental property
  • Termination date and time
  • Signature of person giving the notice

If you're the landlord, your notice must ALSO contain the following:

  • Why the tenancy is being terminated
  • Any corrective action tenant may take to avoid termination of tenancy and when it must be completed (if applicable)
  • Landlord may sue to remove tenant from the property if tenant doesn't move out by termination date

Giving Notice to Quit

The tenant can deliver the notice to the landlord in person or mail it to the address where the rent is paid.

The landlord can serve the notice to the tenant in the following ways:

  • Deliver the notice to the tenant in person
  • Leave the notice at the property if the tenant is absent
  • Send the notice by registered or certified mail

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Eviction

According to Connecticut landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

15 + 3 days: Connecticut landlord law requires the landlord to send the tenant two notices - A 15 day notice to remedy followed by a 3 day notice to quit (see Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties below for more details).

Tenant did not pay rent

9 + 3 days

Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties

15 + 3 days

Tenant deliberately caused property damage

15 + 3 days

Tenant harassed, abused or assaulted another tenant or subtenant

15 + 3 days

Tenant was involved in illegal activities on property

15 + 3 days

Tenant abandoned the property

10 days

Whether you are a landlord evicting someone or a tenant facing eviction, it's important that you handle matters correctly according to your state laws.

If you have any questions or doubts on eviction, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

If the tenant is late in the rent payments AND the *grace period has passed, the landlord can send tenant a three day written notice to terminate the tenancy. *Once the rent is due, the tenant has a grace period of 9 days to pay the rent. This is lowered to 4 days for a week to week tenancy.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-15a

This notice must state the rent amount owed and inform the tenant that he or she can choose to pay or move out.

If the rent is paid within the grace period, the tenant may stay. If the landlord accepts any late rent payment (knowing that the rent is overdue), the landlord cannot terminate the tenancy for late (or non) payment of rent.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-19

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties

FIRST NOTICE

If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in a *significant manner, the landlord can send the tenant a 15 day written notice to remedy or quit. *Significant manner refers to situations that affects human health and safety.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-15

Similarly if the tenant fails to perform his or her duties (as required by Connecticut landlord tenant law) in a significant manner, the landlord can also send the tenant a 15 day written notice to remedy or quit.

The 15-day notice to terminate tenancy may be used for serious nuisances which include (but are not limited to):

  • Threats of violence towards another tenant or the landlord
  • Substantial or deliberate destruction of property
  • Conduct which poses an immediate and serious danger to the safety of others
  • Usage of the property (or any area within 1500 feet) for prostitution or illegal drug sales

This notice to remedy or quit must state what is the tenant's violation or failure in duty. If the tenant's violation can be corrected and if the tenant corrects the problem within 15 days, then the tenancy shall continue.

SECOND NOTICE

If the tenant fails to correct the problem within 15 days, the landlord shall send him or her a written three day notice to quit stating that the tenant has three days to move out or the landlord shall proceed with eviction.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-23

However if the tenant violates the tenancy agreement (or fails in his or her duty) in a similar manner within six months, the landlord can evict the tenant by sending him or her a written three day notice. In this case, the tenant must move out. The landlord can give an immediate eviction notice if the tenant engaged in vice activities or illegal drug sales.

Unlawful Eviction

According to Connecticut landlord tenant law, the landlord CANNOT force the tenant to move out by shutting off utilities (electricity, water, gas, sanitation), changing the locks, taking the tenant's belongings or taking possession of the property by force without a court hearing.

If the landlord forces the tenant to move out (with the unlawful methods above) or shuts off utilities, the tenant can terminate the rental agreement and sue the landlord for up to two month's rent or two times the amount of actual damages (whichever is greater).  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-13.(a)(3)

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Abandonment

When is it Abandonment?

According to Connecticut landlord tenant law Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-11b.(a), the tenants are considered to have abandoned property when the tenants have removed their belongings and EITHER of the following has occurred:

  1. Tenant is late in paying rent for more than two months
  2. Tenant has stated in advance that they do not intend to occupy the property after a specified date

If all the tenants have abandoned the property, the landlord may mail a written notice to each tenant's last known address (with a return receipt requested). The notice must state the following:

  1. Landlord believes that the tenant has abandoned the property
  2. Landlord intents to re-enter and take possession of the property unless the tenant contacts landlord within 10 days of receiving the notice
  3. Landlord intents to remove any personal belongings and re-rent property if tenant does not contact landlord
  4. The landlord shall dispose any personal belongings that are not claimed by the tenant after 30 days.
  5. Landlord's telephone number and mailing address  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-11b.(b)

If this notice is returned as undeliverable OR if the tenant fails to contact the landlord within 10 days of receiving it... the landlord may re-enter and take possession of the rental property. The tenancy will also be terminated.

Dealing with Abandoned Belongings

If the tenant abandoned the property and left his or her personal belongings behind, the landlord must inform the tenant where the belongings are stored AND give the tenant at least 30 days to remove them.  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 47a-11b.(d)

If the tenant does not remove the belongings within 30 days, the landlord may dispose belongings.

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Resources

Connecticut Landlord Tenant Law: Connecticut General Statutes Title 47a - Landlord and Tenant

Connecticut Landlord Tenant Handbook: Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants in Connecticut

If you have any questions or need legal advice, you can ask a local landlord tenant lawyer online.

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