Customer's Bank v. Boxer
An individual who allegedly provides property repairs in exchange for occupancy may not qualify as a bona fide tenant who is entitled to protection under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. The plaintiff bank filed a foreclosure complaint in connection with the subject property in Stamford, Conn. The defendant, Carlton Tucker, allegedly leased the premises from the former owner, pursuant to a barter arrangement, in which Tucker provided repairs in exchange for his occupancy. To qualify as bona fide, "The lease or tenancy requires the receipt of rent that is not substantially less than fair market rent for the property or the unit's rent is reduced or subsidized due to a Federal, State or local subsidy." The court found that the property repairs that Tucker provided did not qualify as the payment of "rent," for purposes of the PFTA, or Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, and that Tucker did not qualify as a bona fide tenant. "The PFTA," wrote the court, "is a remedial statute which is intended to protect only those persons who meet its definition of a bona fide tenant." Quid pro quo arrangements do not qualify as the payment of rent. Even if the court considered Tucker's quid pro quo arrangement, Tucker did not provide evidence about the value of repairs that he provided, to permit the court to find that the value of repairs was equivalent to fair market value. The housing court rejected Tucker's claim he was entitled to protection under the act, as a result of his barter payments, and granted the plaintiff bank's request for immediate possession.