BLOG / 02.15.24 /Avi Strauss

The Right to Sue for Specific Performance

A potential purchaser is right to invest ample time, money and effort in the due diligence process before signing a real estate contract of sale. Once the contract is signed, the purchaser can finally allow themselves to dream about the tantalizing possibilities presented by the acquisition. It is therefore frustrating – if not downright devastating …

BLOG / 12.11.23 /Ryan P. Kaupelis

Providing for the Recovery of Legal “Fees on Fees”

The ability of a party to recover the legal fees and expenses that they incur in connection with a lawsuit can often dramatically change settlement negotiations, the legal strategies a party takes prosecuting a lawsuit, the amount of resources that a party is willing to invest in a lawsuit, and – ultimately – the outcome …

BLOG / 12.01.23 /Margaret D. Baisley

Residential Alterations: Don’t Sign That Contract!

Recently, we have seen numerous residential alterations projects go awry because co-op and condo owners are signing bare-bones agreements without any attorney’s review. It is a grave mistake for property owners to focus only on the planning of their renovation, while ignoring the importance of retaining a competent construction law attorney to review their contractor’s or architect’s …

BLOG / 12.15.21 /Kenneth R. Jacobs

Mayor De Blasio Imposes Vaccination Requirements On Private Businesses

New York City announced today that effective December 27th, all employees at private sector businesses must have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. According to the New York Times, “There is no testing option as an alternative.” The City expects to publish more detailed rules for implementation and enforcement by December 15th. Mayor …

BLOG / 11.01.21 /Eric P. Blaha

PACE Loans Ease Compliance with the Climate Mobilization Act

Owners of buildings over 25,000 gross square feet should be focused now on compliance with NYC’s Climate Mobilization Act (Local Law 97) that sets increasingly stringent limits on carbon emissions in 2024 and 2030 (and then every 5 years until carbon emissions are reduced by 80% in 2050). Owners should be wary of steep fines …

BLOG / 11.01.21 /Matthew J. Smith

Amendments to NYS Fair Chance Act Grant Further Rights to Job Applicants and Employees with Prior Arrests or Convictions

New York State’s “Fair Chance Act” was amended effective July 29, 2021, further limiting the rights of employers to screen job applicants and employees based on criminal history and background checks. The 2015 Fair Chance Act (the “FCA”), covering most employers with four or more employees, amended the NYC Human Rights Law by prohibiting employers …

BLOG / 02.22.21 /Eric P. Blaha

State Incentives Reduce Sticker Shock of Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations

GM recently announced that it will eliminate fossil fuel vehicles by 2035. It seems inevitable that multifamily property owners, including co-op and condo boards, will need to make arrangements to install electric vehicle charging stations to meet anticipated demand by resident owners long before then. As part of NY’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions …

BLOG / 02.22.21 /

You Say Delay, I Say Disruption: The Fine Line Separating Owners and Contractors That Should Be Defined in Construction Agreements

The standard AIA construction contract (and typically non-AIA contracts) will have a provision entitled “no damage for delay” that includes language setting forth that if an owner delays or disrupts a project, a contractor may not recover money damages. Rather, the contractor’s remedy is limited to seeking an extension of time for completion of the …

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


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 / 02.25.20 /

Buyer deemed not “able” to purchase where seller fails to obtain short sale approval from seller’s bank

Buyers seeking to enforce their contractual rights by an action for “specific performance” to compel the sale of real property have to demonstrate that they are “ready, willing and able” to acquire the property. Apparently, the determination whether a buyer is “able” to complete the purchase does not refer simply to the buyer’s capabilities, but …

BLOG / 02.25.20 /

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 /

In Leasing or Purchasing Real Estate from a Not-for-Profit, the Purchase Money Mortgage is Probably Not an Option

As a New York Times article from last October[1] described, religious institutions strapped for operating funds or wishing to utilize their real property as investment vehicles can enter into sales or long-term lease agreements with developers. However, New York State Religious Corporation Law requires religious institutions to obtain judicial and/or New York State Attorney General …

BLOG / 11.15.19 /

Criminality for Corporate Lien Law Diversion

Lien Law Section 79 criminalizes the diversion of trust funds from the purpose created by the trust. In layman’s terms, that basically means that a contractor who receives payments from a property owner for a project must use the payments for the purposes intended under the project (e.g., labor, subcontractors, vendors, etc.). Diverting those funds …

BLOG / 08.22.19 /

Subcontractors, Prevailing Wages and the Construction Fair Play Act

Jacob Amir contributed an article in Cornerstone, the semi-annual publication of the Associated General Contractors, New York State, a leading trade association representing contractors and related companies in the building and highway construction industry.

BLOG / 11.28.18 /

Don’t rely strictly on a title report for disclosure of recorded zoning declarations affecting real property

A recent decision from the Suffolk County Supreme Court reiterated that zoning ordinances are not “defects” in title covered under policies of title insurance. Purchasers and developers are reminded to do their own due diligence, and go beyond the title report, to understand what existing and recorded zoning limitations might affect their prospective property interest.

BLOG / 08.06.18 /

Defining “Substantial Completion” for Lien Law and Contract Purposes

Jacob Amir contributed an article in Cornerstone, the semi-annual publication of the Associated General Contractors, New York State, a leading trade association representing contractors and related companies in the building and highway construction industry. Jacob’s article addresses the importance of defining “substantial completion” for purposes of Lien Law and general contract claims brought on behalf of contractors.

BLOG / 07.18.18 /

Expiration of tenant’s license issued under the New York Conservation Law permits owner to remove tenant for engaging in “illegal activity” under the Real Property Law

Lease agreements typically contain a provision whereby the agreement is deemed breached and the tenant may be evicted for engaging in “illegal activities.” Eviction based upon an illegal activity is also codified in New York Real Property Law § 231(1), which sets forth that a lease agreement becomes void where an occupant or lessee uses a premises for any “illegal trade, manufacture or other business”, thereupon permitting the owner to seek an eviction.

BLOG / 05.16.18 /

Tenant deemed successful party in landlord’s “action to recover possession” seeking to reform lease to exclude tenant’s use of backyard of demised premises

Standard lease agreements include a provision that the successful party is entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and costs incurred on any action or proceeding brought for non-payment of rent or recovery of possession of the subject premises. Where the contract limits the attorneys’ fees provision for the benefit of the landlord (e.g., that landlord is entitled to recover), the law gives the tenant a reciprocal right to recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs if the tenant is successful in the action.

BLOG / 04.19.18 /

Court Rules that Non-Participating Brokers Do Not Owe a Fiduciary Duty to a Brokerage Firm’s Client

It is well-established that real estate brokers owe a fiduciary duty of loyalty and to act in the best interest of their clients. Where the brokerage firm is comprised of several brokers, the client may naturally assume that both the listing broker, and the firm at large, will work in the best interest of the client’s needs and desires. A recent decision from the Westchester County Supreme Court warns clients against making this assumption.