January 8, 2014
by Meghan E. Smith
Bendett & McHugh, PC – USFN Member (Connecticut, Maine, Vermont)
In a recent decision, the Connecticut Superior Court held that although the property was held by a subsidiary of a bank that took title through a foreclosure, the bank was not the “record owner” of the property, and the summary process action was dismissed. [OneWest Bank v. Connolly, 2013 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2063 (Sept. 17, 2013)].
The subject property was foreclosed by a bank. That bank then transferred the property to a subsidiary it owned, which would be conveying the property in the REO sale. Thereafter, the bank served the occupants of the property with a notice to quit, listing the bank, rather than the subsidiary, as the owner. The subsidiary later conveyed the property to an LLC, which filed a motion to substitute party plaintiff in the summary process action. The defendants objected to the motion on the ground that the notice to quit was defective.
The court found that even though evidence showed that the record owner was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the landlord listed on the notice to quit, the landlord named on the notice to quit was not the record owner at the time the notice to quit was served, thereby rendering the notice to quit defective.
The landlord listed on the notice to quit must be the owner of the premises by virtue of an instrument recorded on the local land records. It is important to check the chain of title prior to serving a notice to quit in order to identify the current record owner; otherwise a landlord risks having to restart the eviction action.
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