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So, you’re going to housing court, P.2

In our last post, we talked briefly about nonpayment cases in New York Housing Court. As we noted, it can be important to work with an experienced attorney in nonpayment cases, since doing so ensures that one has guidance in navigating the process and advocacy for one’s rights. Here we’d like to talk briefly about holdover cases, which are actions brought by a landlord to evict a tenant or another individual not for mere nonpayment, but for other reasons.

There are a variety of circumstances in which landlords may initiate a holdover case, but they are always related to an allegation that the individual is breaking the lease or otherwise not acting as a tenant should act. The latter can refer to situations where the individual staying in the rental property is not a tenant at all. Landlords are usually required to provide written notice to the tenant to give them a chance to correct the problem as well as written notice of termination of the lease, but not always. 

So, you’re going to housing court? P.1

It is not always possible, as some readers know from personal experience, to resolve landlord-tenant disputes privately. In some cases, it is necessary to have a court intervene to protect one or both parties’ rights. There are a variety of types of dispute that can arise between landlords and tenants, though they generally fall in several categories which we’ll be exploring in upcoming posts on this blog.

One type of landlord-tenant dispute that can arise is a nonpayment case. In nonpayment cases landlords bring a claim alleging that the tenant failed to pay rent, with the aim of either forcing them to pay or having them evicted. Prior to initiating such a lawsuit, a landlord is required to inform the tenant of the delinquency. A landlord can’t just pop the news of a lawsuit without any warning. If the lease agreement requires that this warning be in writing, it must be sent at least three days prior to the court papers being served. 

Manhattan landlord loses contract dispute involving nonpayment allegations

Landlords can face a variety of legal disputes in the course of business, and these disputes can involve a variety of parties, including government agencies, real estate brokers, and tenants. Because landlords enter into multiple contracts in the course of their business and acquire numerous obligations, there is the possibility of facing contract disputes along the way.

For New York landlord Steven Croman, who currently owns roughly 75 commercial and residential building in Manhattan, a recently completed contract dispute proved to be rather costly. Croman was reportedly sued by a commercial real estate broker who claimed that Croman failed to pay a $165,000 commission on the purchase of a $5.5 million property. Croman refused to make the payment on the basis that the broker was not involved with the final sale since Croman entered into direct talks with the seller and eventually switched over to a different broker for the actual sale of the property.   

Affordable housing predicted to be key issue in coming year

In our last post, we reminded our readers of the types of issues that can arise in rent-regulated housing situations and suggested that it is important for both tenants and landlords to understand their rights so that they are better able to navigate disputes when they come up. To take one example from a recent New York Court of Appeals decision, tenants have the right to sue their landlords when the landlord illegally raised their rent.

The problem of illegally raising rent for rent-regulated units is not an isolated one, as thousands of tenants across the state of New York are now able to sue their landlords in class-action litigation because of the decision. Prior to the decision, individual tenants dealing the illegal rent increases could still have sued their landlords, but the costs of doing so were prohibitive to many. 

Affordable housing predicted to be key issue in coming year

With the year coming to a close, some commentators have begun to offer their predictions about likely real estate trends in 2015. Among the various issues highlighted by New York real estate news source The Real Deal is affordable housing. In particular, it is predicted that the de Blasio administration will continue to work hard in the coming year to implement strategies to address the lack of affordable housing.  

Increasing affordable housing, as many New York City readers know, is a key goal for Mayor Bill de Blasio. Among the various efforts in the area of affordable housing, rent stabilization is an important one. As we've mentioned in previous blog posts, though, rent stabilization is currently at the heart of a good deal of landlord-tenant disputes as different areas of the city undergo gentrification. 

Let me clarify: ensuring definiteness in real estate contracts, P.2

In our last post, we began discussing the issue of enforcement of real estate contracts, specifically the difficulties that arise with contract enforcement when the terms of the contract are not adequately defined.

As we've already noted, New York law has identified two ways that the terms of a contract can be clarified. The first and obvious one is that the contract itself defines its terms clearly enough that it provides objective criteria for determining whether the contract is being followed.

Let me clarify: ensuring definiteness in real estate contracts, P.1

Contracts are an important aspect of real estate transactions, as any real estate attorney can tell you. Although many of the agreements used in real estate transactions are standardized, entering into a real estate transaction should always be done cautiously and with due consideration for the circumstances of the case and the needs of the parties involved.

In other words, real estate contracts should be specially tailored to address each transaction and to ensure they meet all requirements under state law. And because real estate contracts provide the terms governing the transaction, they should provide each party a clear picture of their rights and obligations with respect to the transaction.

Take action to express your view on rent regulation lease guidelines renewal

Rent regulation is something most of our readers have heard of, and something with which some of our readers have directly dealt. Rent regulation refers to a set of laws that affects not only rent increases in the City of New York, but also establishes rights and obligations for tenants and landlords. Each year, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board renews the lease guidelines applying to apartments which have been established as rent stabilized.

When renewing the lease guidelines, a variety of factors are taken into consideration when setting the increase in rents and other matters. These include the economic condition of the residential real estate market in the city of New York, as well as increases in the projected cost of living for areas in which rent regulated buildings are located, and other factors. 

Proposed bill would enhance enforcement of mold repair law

Mold is something that many of us have had to deal with, either in our apartments or homes. According to the New York Department of Health, when mold contamination becomes extensive, it can cause health problems, not to mention damage to the home itself. Mold growth can begin in a variety of ways, including, leaky pipes, flooding, roof leaks, improper insulation or ventilation, humidifiers, and anytime or any place where enough moisture is combined with organic materials.

Landlords are bound to address mold contamination in the properties they lease, but landlords don’t always do right by their tenants in this regard. In some cases, landlords will address the immediate mold problem, but not the underlying cause of mold growth. Back in 2012, the City Council passed a law which required landlords to also address the underlying conditions of mold growth, particularly mold growth affecting ceilings. If not properly addressed, such mold growth can lead to ceiling collapse. 

New law requires independent title insurance agents to obtain license

In our last post, we spoke briefly about the importance of title insurance in real estate transactions. As we noted, title insurance is an important investment to ensure the soundness of the title when making a real estate purchase, though many people don’t appreciate its importance.

While many people choose to work with big name title insurance companies, others go through an independent agent or a company acting as an independent agent in title insurance sales. Under a new law passed earlier this year, sellers of title insurance who were not previously required to be licensed to sell title insurance in the state of New York are now required to so, particularly independent title insurance agents and insurance companies. Under the new law, any title insurance agent, firm, association, or corporation acting as an agent of an authorized title insurance corporation is required to have such a license. This includes attorneys who sell title insurance on the side. 

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Gary J. Wachtel, Esq.
450 Seventh Avenue,
Suite 1905,
New York, NY 10123
Phone: 917-503-9616
Fax: 212-371-7722

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