BLOG / 10.13.20 /Eric P. Blaha

Co-Ops & Condos fitness facilities re-opening questions

Watch Eric Blaha answer some FAQ from Co-Ops & Condos regarding the re-opening of fitness centers. SBJ YouTube FAQ Video October 13, 2020 featuring Eric Blaha

BLOG / 09.28.20 /Michael Coppa

Socially Distanced Closings

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the closing process in the real estate industry. Many offices that used to host typical real estate closings now prohibit or discourage in-person closings, and closing participants are reluctant to spend extended periods in conference rooms that can seem cramped and unventilated. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the NY …

BLOG / 09.23.20 /Ryan P. Houck

Update: Condo Board Collection of Unpaid Common Charges in the Face of COVID-19 Regulations

With all of the Executive Orders from Governor Cuomo and the Administrative Orders issued by the Chief Administrative Judges of the State and City of New York in response thereto, Condo Boards and Managing Agents are justifiably confused as to what, if anything, a Condominium Board can do to collect unpaid common charges. Currently, no …

BLOG / 09.14.20 /Ryan P. Houck

Update: Condo Board Collection of Unpaid Common Charges in the Face of COVID-19 Regulations

With all of the Executive Orders from Governor Cuomo and the Administrative Orders issued by the Chief Administrative Judges of the State and City of New York in response thereto, Condo Boards and Managing Agents are justifiably confused as to what, if anything, a Condominium Board can do to collect unpaid common charges. Currently, no …

BLOG / 08.30.20 /Jeffrey D. Buss,Kenneth R. JacobsandThomas W. Smith

Latest Covid-19 Developments: Gyms

NEW YORK STATE AUTHORIZES GYMS TO REOPEN (SORT OF) New York State is allowing gyms to reopen as early as August 24th, unless the locality delays openings (but not later than September 2nd). Sounds like great news, until you read the details. The six-page “summary” of reopening guidelines for gyms and fitness centers appears on …

BLOG / 08.26.20 /Ryan P. Houck

New COVID-19 Directives Extend Moratorium on NY Eviction Proceedings

by Ryan Houck In response to Executive Order 202.55 signed by Governor Cuomo on August 5, 2020, the Chief Administrative Judges of the State and City of New York recently promulgated a new set of directives addressing pending landlord-tenant cases. Judgments Already Issued. For residential cases commenced prior to March 17, 2020, a Petitioner (Co-op) …

BLOG / 07.03.20 /Eric P. Blaha,Jeffrey D. Buss,Kenneth R. Jacobs,Emanuela Lupu-Ferrante,Thomas W. SmithandDomenick J. Tammaro

LATEST COVID-19 DEVELOPMENTS: NEW LAWS REGARDING EVICTIONS AND FORECLOSURES; PPP PROGRAM EXTENDED; Q&A ON REOPENING ISSUES

NEW LAWS REGARDING EVICTIONS AND FORECLOSURES; PPP PROGRAM EXTENDED; Q&A ON REOPENING ISSUES MORATORIUM ON RESIDENTIAL NON-PAYMENT EVICTIONS EXTENDED INDEFINITELY.  Last night Governor Cuomo signed the “Tenant Safe Harbor Act”, which bans issuance of a warrant of eviction against a residential tenant or other lawful occupant who has suffered a “financial hardship” during the “COVID-19 …

BLOG / 05.28.20 /Eric P. Blaha,Jeffrey D. Buss,Kenneth R. Jacobs,Emanuela Lupu-Ferrante,Thomas W. SmithandDomenick J. Tammaro

COVID-19: Guidelines for Reopening Buildings

Guidelines for Reopening Buildings The pressure to relax the guidelines for access to condominium and cooperative buildings, including their common facilities, has been growing. Boards need to develop a plan for handling the increased risks that come with increased traffic within the premises and social interaction among owners. The following assumes that you have guidelines …

BLOG / 05.11.20 /Eric P. Blaha,Jeffrey D. Buss,Kenneth R. Jacobs,Emanuela Lupu-Ferrante,Thomas W. SmithandDomenick J. Tammaro

Coronavirus: EXECUTIVE ORDER RE SECURITY DEPOSITS AND EVICTIONS; PPP SAFE HARBOR EXTENSION; SAFE CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES; ARE YOU PREPARED FOR LOOSENED RESTRICTIONS?

Executive Order Allows Use of Security Deposits for Rent, Extends Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures. On May 7th Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.28, which provides in part that (i) residential landlords and tenants can agree with each other to use security deposits to pay rent arrears; (ii) requires landlords to use a security deposit …

BLOG / 05.05.20 /Eric P. Blaha,Jeffrey D. Buss,Kenneth R. Jacobs,Emanuela Lupu-Ferrante,Thomas W. SmithandDomenick J. Tammaro

Coronavirus: PPP UPDATE; GLIMMERS OF HOPE FOR “BUSINESS INTERRUPTION” COVERAGE?

More Fun with PPP. The scramble by cooperatives and condominiums for a definitive decision about eligibility for Paycheck Protection Program loans has generated further confusion. The list of Frequently Asked Questions published by the SBA on April 24th included this one: “35. Question: Are agricultural and other forms of cooperatives eligible to receive PPP loans? …

BLOG / 04.27.20 /Kenneth R. Jacobs,Thomas W. SmithandTatiana A. Shestova

Coronavirus: Dealing with Commercial Tenants Seeking Rent Abatements

Many commercial tenants are asking their landlords for rent relief due to their business losses during the lockdown. How are landlords responding? Spoiler Alert: No Magic Bullet or Standard Formula. We have consulted with landlords with billion-dollar portfolios and with only a single tenant. All of them have advised us that they are dealing with …

BLOG / 04.16.20 /Eric P. BlahaandKenneth R. Jacobs

Coronavirus: CONDUCTING EFFECTIVE “VIRTUAL” ANNUAL MEETINGS

Spring Annual Meeting Season is Here! But how can associations run effective meetings without owners being physically present to participate? Even though “social distancing” seems to be slowing the spread of COVID-19, we expect that Governor Cuomo will extend the portions of Executive Order 202.8 that suspend longstanding legal requirements that ownership meetings must be …

BLOG / 04.15.20 /Kenneth R. Jacobs

Coronavirus: NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER – ONGOING ISSUES

Cooperatives and condominiums appear to be adjusting to the “new normal” – limited access, leaner staff, frustration at so many halted projects, etc. Below is a status report on current and upcoming issues that we see. Face Coverings for Building Employees. Executive Order No. 202.16, finalized yesterday, requires employers to provide “face coverings,” at employer …

BLOG / 04.04.20 /Eric P. Blaha,Kenneth R. Jacobs,Emanuela Lupu-Ferrante,Thomas W. SmithandDomenick J. Tammaro

Coronavirus: CO-OP ELIGIBILITY FOR PPP LOANS QUESTIONED BY SBA. DOES A PPP LOAN MAKE SENSE FOR YOU?

A. SBA Questions Co-op Eligibility. In our earlier E-blast, we suggested that the SBA might take the position that Co-ops might not be eligible for PPP loans. So far that appears to be the case. The SBA appears to be basing its position on portions of its “Standard Operating Procedure” handbook for loans to businesses, …

BLOG / 04.03.20 /Eric P. Blaha,Kenneth R. Jacobs,Emanuela Lupu-Ferrante,Thomas W. SmithandDomenick J. Tammaro

Coronavirus: PPP FEVER- NEW APPLICATION FORMS!

PPP applications were made available on Tuesday night. By Wednesday, approved SBA lenders were overwhelmed with requests for assistance. This morning, Treasury issued new application forms that are completely different from the old ones! [CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION] Meanwhile, we are getting the following feedback from lenders and asset managers: 1. They will give first …

BLOG / 04.01.20 /Kenneth R. Jacobs

Coronavirus: Paycheck Protection Program Application Form Out!

PPP APPLICATION FORM OUT! The Treasury Department has just issued the form of Application for Paycheck Protection Program applications. The form of application is attached to this E-Mail, together with guidance from Treasury for prospective Borrowers. Who to Believe? The Borrower’s Guidance accompanying the application states that loans will have a maturity of two years …

BLOG / 03.31.20 /Kenneth R. Jacobs

Coronavirus: State & Federal Updates – Who’s “Essential” Now?

STATE UPDATES The list of occupations deemed “essential” – which means that employers don’t have to close, and their employees don’t have to remain at home – is being refined daily. Doormen were excluded, only to be reinstated a day later. Landscapers have now been deemed “essential”, to the relief of many suburban communities. Property Managers are also considered essential to …

BLOG / 03.12.20 /Kenneth R. Jacobs

Legal Issues Dealing with Coronavirus in Condos and Co-ops

Boards face new legal issues in dealing with the coronavirus epidemic, requiring them to balance the interests of the community against the rights of individual residents. What steps can Boards take to protect their residents against the spread of coronavirus in the building while avoiding liability for either acting too invasively or not doing enough? …

BLOG / 02.25.20 /Eric P. Blaha

NYS’s Latest “Guidance” Raises New Concerns Under the Tenant Protection Act

For real estate owners, managers and brokers seeking to make sense of (and engage in damage control from) the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“TPA”) passed nearly 8 months ago, the clarity provided by the NY Department of State in its latest “Guidance for Real Estate Professionals” issued on January 31, 2020, …

BLOG / 02.25.20 /Jacob E. Amir

Tort and contract claims against Coop Board Member survive pre-answer dismissal motion

Members of a cooperative’s board of directors enjoy the protections of both the corporate shield and the business judgment rule, such that they may not be held personally liable for property damage or personal injury when a claim is made in connection with actions taken by directors in their official capacity as board members. But …

BLOG / 01.21.20 /Kenneth R. Jacobs

Are Cooperative Corporations Carrying Enough “Lost Business Income” Insurance?

Imagine that your 30-unit building suffers a catastrophic fire. Maintenance charges (rent) usually abates for the affected tenants after a casualty. How certain are you that your coverage for lost maintenance, known as “Business Income” coverage, will last through the full restoration? Coverage limits are expressed in terms of maximum coverage, time and allowed expenses.  …

BLOG / 11.15.19 /Eric P. Blaha

New Law Allowing Remote Shareholder Attendance and Electronic Voting May Change … Everything!

Low attendance at Co-op annual or special shareholder meetings can result in a lack of a quorum and can delay or even prevent boards of directors from taking actions that require shareholder approval.  Thus, co-op boards and shareholders alike may welcome a new law authorizing boards to permit remote shareholder attendance and electronic voting at …

BLOG / 11.14.19 /Michael Coppa

New Transfer Tax Requirements for LLC’s

NY State and NYC transfer tax laws were recently amended to require that transfer tax returns filed by limited liability companies (“LLC’s”) for the sale or purchase of residential real property include the names, addresses and taxpayer ID numbers of all of the individual members of both the LLC itself and of its non-natural members.  …

BLOG / 10.17.19 /Eric P. Blaha

Are Boards Always Protected by the “Business Judgment” Rule?

New board  members  in New York quickly learn that most of their decisions are protected under the “business judgment rule,” which states a court should defer to a co-op [or condo] board’s determination so long as the board is acting “for the purposes of the cooperative, within the scope of its authority, and in good …

BLOG / 10.15.19 /Emanuela Lupu-FerranteandJack Malley

Co-op and Condo Boards Must Pay Overtime to Live-In Supers

In our practice, we have seen an uptick in lawsuits by live-in superintendents and other full-time employees against cooperatives, condominiums, homeowners associations (HOAs), and even managing agents (who are defined as employees under federal regulations). These lawsuits are frequently commenced after the employee has been terminated, and they typically allege that the employer failed to pay overtime wages …

BLOG / 09.16.19 /Kenneth R. Jacobs

Department of State Issues Guidance Exempting Co-ops from Limits on “Application Fees”

The NYS Department of State has just issued “Guidance for Real Estate Professionals” regarding the Housing Stability Act. One of the Q&A’s reads as follows: “DOES THE ACT RESTRICT APPLICATION FEES FOR RENTALS? “Yes…. Under the Act a ‘landlord, lessor, sub-lessor or grantor’ is now prohibited from collecting an application fee greater than $20.00…[However,] the …

BLOG / 07.15.19 /Kenneth R. Jacobs

How the “Tenant Protection Act” Affects Co-ops and Condos: Limits on Late Fees; Recovery of Expenses in Evictions; Timetables to Cure Defaults; Ban on Escrows for Maintenance; Limits on Application Fees Charged by Managing Agents

The newly passed “Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019” (the “ TP Act ”) makes sweeping changes expanding tenant rights in rental apartment buildings. However, since Co-op corporations also have a landlord-tenant relationship with their shareholders, many of these changes will significantly affect enforcement of the Cooperative’s rights as well. 1. TP Act …

BLOG / 07.12.19 /Kenneth R. Jacobs

Legislative Update: “Prevailing Wages” Required to Receive Co-op/Condo Tax Abatements; Mandatory Garage Inspections

Most of our attention has been focused on the effects of the newly passed “Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019” (the “ TP Act ”) on rental apartment buildings. However, several other recently enacted state and local laws also affect cooperatives and condominiums in New York City and the surrounding counties. 1. “Prevailing …

BLOG / 03.21.19 /Jack Malley

U.S. Department of Labor Rejects New York Law Regarding Wages Paid To Live-In Superintendents

On March 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (the “U.S. DOL”) issued an opinion that resolves a conflict between federal law and the New York Department of Labor Building Service Industry Minimum Wage Order (the “NY Wage Order”). Although U.S. DOL opinion letters are not binding law that courts must follow, courts often give great weight to the guidance set forth in them, and employers can rely on such guidance as a good faith defense to a wage claim arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”).

BLOG / 03.15.19 /Kenneth R. Jacobs

Shareholder Meeting Requirements

SO YOU’VE CALLED your annual meeting, sent out proxies, put up reminders, and promised refreshments The big day comes – and you don’t have a quorum. What do you?