• Connecticut Appellate Court
  • AC 35465
  • Mar 04 2014 (Date Decided)
  • Alvord, J.

A bona fide lease or tenancy for purposes of applying in Connecticut the PTFA, Title VII of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, known as the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-22, §§701-704, 123 Stat. 1660, is a lease or tenancy that requires the receipt of periodic monetary payments or periodic payments of something of value to the landlord in satisfaction of the tenant’s obligation that are, as stated in §702(b), “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.” Customer’s Bank acquired title by judgment of strict foreclosure to property and served resident Carlton Tucker with a notice to quit, providing 90-days’ notice consistent with the PTFA. Tucker failed to contact the bank, tender rent or occupancy payments or provide proof of a valid lease agreement. The bank’s supplemental notice to quit revoked the first and directed Tucker to leave earlier. He remained. The bank commenced this summary process action, alleging, inter alia, that Tucker was not a ‘bona fide’ tenant under the PTFA. Ultimately agreeing, the trial court rendered judgment of immediate possession for the plaintiff. The defendant appealed. The parties disputed whether the defendant’s tenancy satisfied the third prong of the test in §702(b) for a bona fide lease or tenancy, specifically, whether “the lease or tenancy requires the receipt of rent that is not substantially less than fair market rent for the property…” and, raising an issue of first impression, whether “rent” within the PTFA can include funds spent improving the premises in lieu of rental payments. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The defendant had to establish that his oral agreement with the prior owner for repairs and improvements in lieu of rent required the receipt of periodic payments of something of value delivered to the prior owner in satisfaction of the defendant’s obligation and that the value was reasonably commensurate with the property’s fair market rent. Sufficient evidence supported the trial court’s conclusion that the defendant did not establish the value of repairs and improvements made was commensurate with the fair market value rent of the property. The trial court properly concluded that the defendant did not qualify for PTFA protections.