Monday, December 29, 2014

Tenants of Properties in Foreclosure May Be in Trouble in 2015

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), tenants comprise 40% of the families facing foreclosure.  In the past, many tenants did not know their homes were in foreclosure until they were forced to move out with little to no notice after the foreclosure sale date. Landlords had incentive to keep the foreclosure a secret from their tenants so that they could collect rent in the meantime. As a result, tenants had little recourse and were among the families hurt most by foreclosure.

In 2009, the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act was enacted in order to protect tenants of properties in foreclosure from being evicted from their homes without due notice. Under this Act, a tenant had the right to stay in the property until the end of his or her lease unless the new owner intended to live in the property. If the property were to be owner-occupied, a 90-day notice was required before the tenant could be evicted. Month-to-month tenants also required 90 days’ notice. No longer were tenants forced to move out within a few days of being given an eviction notice.

The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act was set to expire on December 31, 2012 but Section 1484 of the Dodd-Frank Act extended it to December 31, 2014. Two bills, S.1761 and H.R. 3543, were introduced in 2013 to permanently extend the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. However, neither bill has been passed, and it is unlikely that they will be passed in the next 2 days. It is possible, however, that the bills can be enacted retroactively in 2015.

Without this Act, tenants will not have the same heightened protections during the foreclosure process. It is imperative that a bill is passed to ensure that tenants are given due notice after a foreclosure sale date.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

No Fracking Way - New York to ban fracking based on adverse health data (lawsuits likely to follow)

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will issue a legally binding findings statement to prohibit High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) in the State of New York.

New York's move should motivate the Erin Brokoviches of this world to start their lawsuits against companies involved in fracking based on the plethora of adverse health data exposed.

This DEC's statement comes on the heels of the Acting Department of Health Commissioner recommending that fracking should not move forward in the State.

According to the Commissioner "I have considered all of the data and find significant questions and risks to public health which as of yet are unanswered,". The review by the Department of Health, entitled "A Public Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development", is the basis for the DEC's decision to ban fracking.

The review states, in pertinent part, that "there are significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF, the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impacts which could adversely affect public health."

The review summarizes "some of the environmental impacts and health outcomes potentially associated with HVHF activities:
• Air impacts that could affect respiratory health due to increased levels of particulate matter, diesel exhaust, or volatile organic chemicals.
• Climate change impacts due to methane and other volatile organic chemical releases to the atmosphere.
• Drinking water impacts from underground migration of methane and/or fracking chemicals associated with faulty well construction.
• Surface spills potentially resulting in soil and water contamination.
• Surface-water contamination resulting from inadequate wastewater treatment.
• Earthquakes induced during fracturing.
• Community impacts associated with boom-town economic effects such as increased vehicle traffic, road damage, noise, odor complaints, increased demand for housing and medical care, and stress."

Today is a bad day to own a fracking company. Yet, so many lives will be bettered as a result of this new rule.


New Show Brings Your Neighbors to "Court" - Andrew Lieb's New Reality TV Show Featured on Dan's Papers

Real estate has long been the star attraction on the East End, and soon it will star in the pilot of a new reality TV show. The brainchild of real estate attorney and Lieb School founder Andrew Lieb, Neighbor Court will hear real estate disputes between neighbors and, with Lieb himself as the Arbitrator, resolve the situations while entertaining and educating the public about the laws that rule the market in which we buy, sell, rent and live.

To read the full article, written by Eric Feil of Dan's Papers click here

Find Full Casting Call for "Neighbor Court" at DansPaper.com

Friday, December 12, 2014

Casting Call! Andrew Lieb's Reality Show Pilot Seeks Neighbors in Dispute



We're looking for people who have had some sort of colorful, interesting dispute with a neighbor, and who are willing to go on camera to resolve the dispute in a reality court TV show with Andrew Lieb, Esq. as the Arbitrator. We will render decisions in a fun and educational atmosphere (“edutainment”). Both neighbors must participate. We are looking for a variety of locations and stories, so you can live in any type of neighborhood, or dwelling: houses, condos, co-ops, rental apartments, etc. Issues can range from your neighbor’s invasive landscaping, to the wrongful removal of your trees, to the maintenance of a shared driveway, to a loud share-house next door, or to being harassed by a neighbor.

From waterfront vacation homes to everyday living, submit your story and contact information to info@liebschool.com to participate.

*No legal representation or advice is offered and/or provided incident to your participation in Neighbor Court and you should always consult with an attorney prior to determining if you should participate. 

SUBMIT YOUR STORY TODAY


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ALERT - Throw Out Your Old Form Leases Immediately

Residential leases are now required to contain a notice to tenant(s) concerning the existence of sprinkler systems.

“Sprinkler system” shall mean a system of piping and appurtenances designed and installed in accordance with generally accepted standards so that heat from a fire will automatically cause water to be discharged over the fire area to extinguish it or prevent its further spread.
See Executive Law 155-a.

Read the new law at Real Property Law 231-a.

The law specifically requires:

  • Notice in bold face type;
  • Notice that a maintained and operative sprinkler system in the leased premises is in - EXISTENCE OR NON-EXISTENCE; &
  • The last date of maintenance and inspection of any EXISTING sprinkler system.
The Bill's Justification states that "According to the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, the availability of smoke detectors, coupled with a maintained and operative sprinkler system installed in a residence, decreases the risk of dying in a fire by over 80%."

As a person that is into living, that statistic is jaw-dropping in support of the existence of sprinklers in residential housing. At the least, this new law provides tenants with the knowledge to make an informed choice as to whether to live in a premises without a sprinkler system. 

Real estate professionals should now immediately throw out any of their old leases and make sure to have a new residential lease prepared that complies with Real Property Law 231-a. Also, cooperative boards must not forget that they are leasing property as well. So, cooperatives that amend their proprietary leases must comply with RPL 231-a or risk the lease being held void. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Help is Here to Prevent Mortgage Modification Scams

Do you feel that you are a victim of a mortgage modification scam?

According to the Attorney General: "Thousands of New Yorkers are scammed by companies who take advantage of homeowners in distress." 

To combat these scams, the Attorney General established AGScamHelp.com, which offers "free, qualified mortgage assistance relief services from a network of trusted partners operating across the state under the New York Attorney General Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP)." 

The new site offers both English and Espanol.

The site also enables one to report a scam in a loan modification.

So, protect yourself if you need a modification. Remember, attorneys can provide valuable assistance in defending a foreclosure, but be careful of "attorneys who bring baseless lawsuits just to charge consumers a fee". Rarely, if ever, can attorney get your mortgage removed from your house. Instead, attorneys can assist in modifications, short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure incident to defending a lender's lawsuit.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lieb at Law is Hiring an Associate Litigation Attorney

Lieb at Law, P.C., a thriving litigation firm, is expanding our team and seeking the next Associate Attorney to help raise the bar and lead our profession in a collaborative and inspiring setting. This is an exciting opportunity for someone looking to gain hands-on litigation experience inclusive of appearances and conferences, depositions, trials, negotiations, and motion practice.  The firm offers an educational environment where once you prove your competency you can set your own career benchmarks inclusive of partner track and the opportunity to get published.  You will be exposed to Complex Commercial, Corporate and Real Estate Litigation; Plaintiff Personal Injury; Outside Counsel Corporate Litigation; and Real Estate Brokerage Litigation. We are a paperless office that uses cutting edge technology.


Minimum Requirements Include:
  • 6 Months to 3 Years of Experience as an Associate Attorney
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Deductive Reasoning Skills

This position is exclusively out of our Center Moriches Office which is located in Suffolk County in the Riverhead / Westhampton Area.

To apply: Submit Cover Letter and Resume to Careers@liebatlaw.com

Include Salary Requirements

Candidates will only be considered that submit a compelling cover letter inclusive of why they want to interview for a career opportunity with Lieb at Law, P.C. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Good Faith Decisions on Short Sales - Updates Coming 12/1/2014

Effective December 1, 2014, the Courts of the State of New York will oversee negotiations between lenders and borrowers to achieve a short sale or deed-in-lieu within foreclosure settlement conferences. The Courts are empowered to sanction parties who negotiate in bad faith.

Previously, borrowers were only allowed to attend the conferences to discuss workout options, such as loan modifications and payment plans, which would allow borrowers to keep their homes. If borrowers were denied loan modifications, their cases would be released from the settlement conference part, and they would be forced to do short sales or deeds-in-lieu on their own without court intervention or oversight. Oftentimes, these exit strategies took a very long time because many borrowers with second mortgages had difficulties settling their second mortgages or were unable to keep up with the lender’s numerous and complicated document requests. Many borrowers simply gave up and allowed their properties to go to foreclosure rather than spend thousands of dollars on legal fees for help with a short sale that was never going to be approved.

Now, with court oversight, it is anticipated that lenders will now be making quicker decisions on short sale and deed-in-lieu applications within the State of New York, and there should be fewer foreclosures overall. The court referees will set deadlines for the submission and review of short sale and deed-in-lieu applications and will ensure that the borrower is complying with the lender’s document requests and that the lender is properly reviewing the applications.

Despite this new rule, it is likely that short sales will continue to decline because the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 expired at the end of 2013. Under this Act, borrowers were not required to pay income tax on cancelled mortgage debt as a result of loan modifications, short sales, or deeds-in-lieu. Now that it has expired, borrowers who choose to do short sales may be hit with large tax bills after they sell their properties for less than what is owed on the mortgage. Therefore, even though the short sale and deed-in-lieu application process will be quicker with court oversight, borrowers may still choose to not move forward with these exit strategies because they cannot afford the taxes.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fair Housing CE Requirements for NY Real Estate Agents

Every 2 years, licensed real estate brokers and salespersons in the State of New York are required to take 22.5 continuing education credits. The ONLY mandatory class requirement is at least 3 hours of instruction pertaining to fair housing and/or discrimination in the sale or rental of real property or an interest of real property, within the 2 - year period immediately preceding a renewal.

Lieb School's free CE entitled, The Fair Housing Act satisfies this requirement. This course will be held at 230 Elm in Southampton on December 10th, 2014. Enrollment is only available online through www.liebschool.com

Thanks to our sponsors, this event will be fully catered. Sponsors include Behind the Hedges, DE Capital Mortgage, and Douglas Elliman

Friday, November 14, 2014

No Drone For You - The FAA Bans the Use of Drones in Real Estate Brokerage

Dennis Valet, Esq., an Associate Attorney at Lieb at Law, P.C. writes about the FAA banning the use of drones in real estate brokerage. This article was featured in The Suffolk Lawyer.

Click Here To Read The Article

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New York Foreclosure Settlement Conferences are Tools to Help Homeowners Stay in Their Homes

New York is one of many states across the country that has implemented court-mandated settlement conferences for residential foreclosure actions.

It is important to understand how these conferences work so that homeowners can take full advantage of this opportunity to delay and avoid foreclosure. The initial conference must be scheduled within 60 days after the proof of service of the complaint has been filed with the county clerk and allows the borrower to meet with his or her Lender and a court referee or judge to discuss potential workout options, such as loan modifications or payment plans. If the borrower decides to apply for a loan modification, the Lender provides the borrower with a document request for the loan modification application, and the court referee sets deadlines for the submission and review of the application. Typically, there are numerous conferences throughout the application process in order to ensure that the borrower is complying with the Lender’s document requests and that the Lender is properly reviewing the application. If a borrower believes he was improperly denied a loan modification, his attorney may request a bad faith hearing with the judge to determine whether the Lender should be sanctioned for bad faith negotiations. These settlement conferences not only help homeowners delay the foreclosure process but also can stop the foreclosure process all together.

Not every person who has a property in foreclosure in New York State is entitled to these mandatory pre-trial foreclosure settlement conferences. The law in New York (CPLR 3408), extends the conferences only to owner-occupied residential properties, so if a homeowner has a vacant property or a rental property in foreclosure, he or she is not entitled to a CPLR 3408 conference as of right.

Further, CPLR 3408 does not apply in federal court, but settlement conferences are still available at the federal level. Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows federal courts to hold pre-trial conferences for the purpose of settlement negotiations and encourages judges to take an active part in the settlement negotiations. The procedures differ at the federal level but the purpose is still the same. These conferences are often the difference between a homeowner staying in his or her home and losing it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

10 Surprises When Inheriting Real Estate

Following the death of a loved one, you may become the recipient of an unexpected parcel of real estate. Yet, with every windfall comes great obligations, so be prepared for the surprises you may encounter when inheriting property.

Andrew Lieb's latest article featured in The Huffington Post includes the following topics:


  1. Mortgage Transfer
  2. Reverse Mortgage
  3. Rental
  4. Homeowners Insurance
  5. Testamentary Substitutes
  6. Estate Tax
  7. Capital Gains Tax
  8. Probate
  9. Heirs at Law
  10. Right of Election
You can view the article by clicking here. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Short Sales Incentivized

On October 30, 2014, Supplemental Directive 14-04 was issued by Treasury.

2 major changes for those considering a short sale or deed-in-lieu are offered by this Directive.

FIRST - Relocation assistance available to the property owner, who occupies the property as a principal residence and is required to vacate as a condition of the short sale or deed-in-lieu, will be eligible for $10,000 as opposed to $3,000 for transactions that close on or after February 1, 2015.

SECOND - Perhaps most importantly, for transactions closing on or after February 1, 2015, the gross sales proceeds that may be paid to a subordinate mortgage lien holder (e.g. 2nd mortgage) used to be capped at $8,500, but now there is no cap requirement. Instead, servicers can create their own cap provided its not less than $12,000.

To explain the second change above, a first mortgagee may approve a short sale, but the second mortgagee may deny it because there is no fair market value to support a payment to the mortgagee (i.e. the house is underwater as to the second mortgage). This change permits the first mortgagee to pay the second mortgagee (out of their monies from the short sale) to approve the short sale and extends what was a cap of $8,500 in payment to a minimum new cap of $12,000 and potentially no cap at all.

Many deals die because of the second lienholder - this Supplemental Directive should save a lot of deals.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ocwen Mortgages May Get a Reprieve from Foreclosure

On October 21, 2014 the New York State Department of Financial Services sent correspondence to Ocwen's General Counsel raising issue "with Ocwen's systems and processes".

The issue presented by NYS DFS deals squarely with Ocwen engaging in bad faith negotiations to modify mortgages. 

Borrowers in New York should be arming their applications for violations of CPLR 3408's good faith negotiation requirement as they review this correspondence and asking the Courts to sanction Ocwen should they have experienced the issues highlighted in the correspondence.

Of note are the record keeping inaccuracies attributed to Ocwen by NYS DFS, which impact RPAPL 1303 and 1304 as well as issues with standing and, in particularly, the attorney verification requirements embodied CPLR 3012-b. How can a Court trust their applications to foreclose in light of this correspondence?

The correspondence claims that "these issues remain unresolved today". This is very concerning. 

Real Estate Roundtable: Best Advice for Buyers Now

What's the single piece of advice you'd give any prospective buyer right now?

Andrew Lieb along with a select group of industry insiders on the East End share advice to prospective buyers on Dan's Papers. Click here to learn more. 

Mortgage Modifications Update - New Base Net Present Value Model v5.0

This revised tool is used by "servicers participating in HAMP as a tool for deciding whether to modify a troubled mortgage that is eligible for subsidies under the program".

A main thrust of this new version of the NPV tool is for non-owner-occupied properties.

Additionally, investor incentives for successful modifications are enhanced by way of this new Model v5.0.

If you want to actually know how modification decisions are made, knowing this document is a must.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Biggest US Landowner - 3,437.5 Square Miles

Business Insider has a terrific article, The 25 Biggest Landowners In The US, where we meet who controls the soil in our country.

The data behind the article was provided by The Land Report.

Most fascinating are the blurbs under each landowner that explains what you do with all of that land - there are ranchers, aerospace testers, foresters, lumber-manufacturers, equestrians, conservationists, farmers, and much more.

In perspective, Manhattan Island in New York City is 22.7 square miles or better stated - John Malone owns more land than 151 Manhattans.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lease Guaranties & Modifications - Be Sure to Draft Modifications Carefully

The Appellate Division recently addressed a situation where a guaranty accompanying the original lease was enforced post-modification of that underlying lease in 4 USS LLC v. DSW MS LLC where the court ruled that the Guarantee could "recover under the terms of the lease, prior to its modification".

This means that where you make a deal to modify the terms of your lease, you may still be personally liable under the old guaranty for past breaches of that previous lease.

The takeaway from this case is to address the guaranty documents in the modification documents and expressly state the intentions of the parties as to past breaches and their enforceability post-modification.

Real estate agents often only think about getting the functional results that their clients expressly state accomplished - this case is a reminder of the necessity to clean up the past before emerging into the goals stated by your clients for the future.

Otherwise, the past can come back to bite you.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Andrew Lieb's Radio Segment: Save a Deal From Pitfalls (Real Life - 88.3FM)

Here is a clip from Andrew Lieb's radio segment last week on Real Life 88.3 Peconic Broadcasting - You can check it out here. Topics discussed include real estate tips to close a deal for sellers and agents. Learn how to be proactive to save a deal from pitfalls.

Surprises About Homeowners' Insurance You Probably Didn't Know

If you or your clients are in the process of purchasing property and want a resource guide that explains Homeowners' Insurance, check out Andrew Matthew Lieb's latest article featured in The Huffington Post.

Surprises About Homeowners' Insurance You Probably Didn't Know


Topics Include:


  • Categories of Insurance
  • Deductibles
  • Property Damage Coverage
  • Off-Premises Coverage
  • Household Workers' Coverage
  • Rental Issues
  • Notice Requirements
  • Mitigation Requirements
  • Duty to Defend
  • Declaratory Judgment Option: 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Amendment Allows For Borrowers to Re-Modify Loans That Have Already Received a HAMP Modification If They Experience a New Hardship

Great news for those struggling with their mortgage after previously receiving a modification! Now, you can re-modify your mortgage due to recent amendments to the Making Homes Affordable (MHA) Handbook. On September 30th, Treasury released Supplemental Directive 14-03, which provides new guidelines, updates and clarifications that servicers must follow.

To better understand these new amendments, previously, a servicer could not re-modify a loan that received a HAMP permanent modification until either the loan lost good standing or more than 5 years had passed since the permanent modification effective date.

Now, the new rule permits a loan that was previously permanently modified under HAMP to be re-modified regardless of loss of good standing so long as, either, the borrower has experienced a change in circumstance, or at least 12 months have passed since the HAMP Modification Effective Date. This amendment will allow for borrowers to re-modify loans that have already received a HAMP permanent modification if they experience a new hardship or if one year has passed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lieb at Law is Hiring a New Law School Graduate (Law Clerk / Entry Level Junior Associate)

Join a thriving law firm that leverages informational imbalances and leads our profession through advocacy and advice supported by cutting-edge technology and know-how.

You will be exposed to real estate litigation and assist in cases from real estate brokerage through landlord / tenant, premises liability, personal injury, foreclosure defense and more.

This is a litigation support position, inclusive of drafting legal memos, pleadings, discovery and motion practice. Deductive reasoning skills required. Must be a self-starter with ambition and drive.

Those that succeed in this position can earn a Junior Associate Attorney position once licensed. Partner track available for the highest level achievers.

This career opportunity is out of our Center Moriches office.

To Apply: Submit Cover Letter, Resume and Writing Sample to careers@liebatlaw.com 

Click here to learn more about Lieb at Law. 


Friday, October 3, 2014

Just Released: New York Metro Super Lawyers Magazine (Andrew Lieb is Featured)

2014 New York Metro Super Lawyers Magazine

The digital version of the New York Metro Super Lawyers Magazine contains the entire print publication. Andrew Lieb is featured on page 151.


The New York Metro Super Lawyers supplement will be in The New York Times newspaper on Sunday 10/5/2014. Andrew Lieb is featured on page 143.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lieb Awarded Super Lawyers Rising Star 2014

Andrew Lieb, Esq. wins Rising Star Award by Super Lawyers!

We are thrilled to announce that Andrew Lieb has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers.

About Rising Stars

The Rising Stars list is developed using a patented multiphase selection process:
  • To be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less.
  • No more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in a state are named to Rising Stars. 
To view Andrew Lieb's profile on Super Lawyers, click here

*Andrew Lieb will be featured in the October 5th edition of the Sunday New York Times. Remember to pick up the issue and share with your network! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Town in U.S. to Require Digital Carbon Monoxide Detectors


In New York, the Town of Brookhaven has become the first Town in the United States to require digital carbon monoxide detectors in every residential property. 

This new law comes after a fatal carbon monoxide exposure incident involving a restaurant manager in Huntington Station this past February. 

This new law amends Chapter 30 of the town’s code which previously mandated all buildings with human occupants to have carbon monoxide detecting devices or systems. The newly amended law maintains this mandate but now requires all homes to have carbon monoxide detectors or devices with digital outputs. While conventional detectors only sound an alarm when the carbon monoxide level has reached a dangerous level, the digital detectors display the amount of carbon monoxide gas present even at very low levels. This change in the law is significant because even low levels of carbon monoxide exposure can lead to health problems.  

Failure to comply with the Town Code may result in substantial fines and criminal charges. Additionally, homeowners who fail to update their carbon monoxide detection system may be held responsible for injuries or fatalities on their property related to exposure.

Per the amended Code, new homes are required to immediately install digital carbon monoxide detectors and existing homes must install digital carbon monoxide detectors by August 1, 2021.

Why Not to Rent Property to a Family Member

Before letting a family member stay at your house, read and share Andrew Lieb's latest article published in the New York Section of the Huffington Post.

The answer depends on two very important factors:
  1. Do you really need the money from your rental?
  2. Are you actually related to your family member?

The comprehensive article is available through the following link. Full Article

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rate Hikes and Litigation: Changes to Federal Flood Insurance Program (Andrew Lieb's Article Published in the American Bar Association)

Changes to the federal flood insurance program in March attempted to address deep concerns about skyrocketing rates for those in flood-prone areas covered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), but upcoming deadlines implementing these changes raise the specter of litigation.

To read the full article, visit The Journal of Real Estate Litigation and Condemnation of the American Bar Association. Full Article 

5 Tips Landlords Must Know Before Wrapping-U​p Seasonal Rentals (Andrew Lieb's Latest Article Published in The Huffington Post)

Just because the term of the lease is over does not mean that the landlord automatically gets their seasonal rental property back. Additionally, smart brokers put a clause in their agreements that provides for a commission being due should the tenant purchase the rental property from the landlord.  

Andrew Lieb shares even more tips in the Home Section of the Huffington Post.  

The comprehensive article is available through the following link.  Full Article 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

5 Tips for Landlords in Wrapping-Up Your Seasonal Rentals

  1. Gaining Repossession: Just because the term of the lease (a/k/a duration) is over does not mean that you, the landlord, automatically gets your seasonal rental property back. In many States, such as New York, the tenant must surrender possession of the property prior to the landlord retaking possession regardless if the lease period has ended. In best practice, a written lease agreement will provide not only when the term is over, but also the mechanism of how, when and where the tenant is supposed to surrender possession (e.g., tenant shall surrender possession by way of turning over the keys to the subject premises to the landlord, in-person, at the subject premises at 12:00 p.m. on September 30, 2014 or at such other time, date and manner as is mutually agreed upon by and between the parties in a signed writing). Such a surrender clause is particularly important for landlords because a landlord who engages in a self-help eviction (i.e., going into the property without the tenant’s permission and changing the locks) is exposed to a lawsuit by the tenant for treble damages for the tenant’s lost use and occupancy of the property. Beyond protecting oneself from a self-help claim, landlords should also motivate the tenant to leave on time by utilizing a holdover liquidated damages clause (i.e., predetermined monies due and owing in the case of a holdover tenant – staying after the expiration of the lease). Courts in many States, such as New York, will enforce this type of clause at a level of three times the previous rent due for the duration of the holdover period.
  2. Damage Inspection: There are 4 steps to a proper damages inspection: (1) Establishing a baseline condition of the property when the tenant takes possession (i.e., countersigned and dated pictures should have been taken); (2) Distinguishing between actual damage and ordinary wear and tear (i.e., definitions should be included in the lease for each category); (3) Determining the condition of the property upon the tenant surrendering possession (i.e., tenant and landlord walk through the property while memorializing the condition in pictures that are countersigned and dated); and (4) Obtaining 2 estimates for repairs from licensed home improvement contractors to establish the cost of repairs.   
  3. Refunding the Security Deposit: A landlord is a trustee for the tenant’s security deposit monies. Where a landlord wrongfully withholds the security deposit, the tenant may be able to sue for those monies on theories such as breach of contract, conversion and breach of fiduciary duty, among others. Additionally, many States, such as New York, provide a tenant with a reciprocal right to sue for attorneys’ fees whenever a lease provides the landlord with such a right (i.e., landlord’s right to attorneys’ fees in the event of breach is standard practice in leases). Consequently, a tenant can frequently hire an attorney, who will be paid for by the landlord, to recover their security deposit.
  4. Lease Renewal: The best tenants continue to renew season after season. For the landlord, this not only makes your budget for operating the property predictable, but also avoids the landlord from having to continually make yourself or your agent available to show the property to prospective replacement tenants. The protocol for the tenant exercising a lease renewal option should be set forth in the current lease agreement, including how notice to renew should be rendered (i.e., mailing a certified mail return receipt letter to the landlord indicating that the tenant shall exercise its renewal option). Additionally, the lease should provide how the rental fee will be adjusted for future seasons by what is typically referred to as a rent escalation clause, (i.e., either at a percentage increase such as 3% or tied to an index such as the Consumer Price Index). Oral renewals and text messages should be avoided as they often result in litigating.   
  5. Brokerage Agreement: Many real estate brokerage agreements provide for additional monies being due to the broker in the event of a renewal of the lease by the current tenant or a member of the tenant’s family. Additionally, smart brokers put a clause in their agreements that provides for a commission being due should the tenant purchase the rental property from the landlord. Reviewing the brokerage agreement that was applicable when the tenant first let the property is a great first step before lease renewal to know how a landlord’s net profits will be effected in future years.



Friday, August 29, 2014

Listen to Andrew Lieb Discuss Real Estate Tips for Hampton Purchasers on 88.3 FM Today

Andrew Lieb Shares Real Estate Tips on 88.3FM today at 5:50pm
Tune into 88.3FM (WPPB Peconic Broadcasting) for Realife with John Cristopher from Brown Harris Stevens.

Today's Line Up of Guests:

5:30pm: Cia Comnas, Executive Managing Director of Brown Harris Stevens discusses the "hot" areas in the Hamptons and what it takes to be a successful agent in the Hamptons.

5:40pm: Greg Heym, Chief Economist for Terra Holdings enlightens us about the recent release of data for the numbers in the City and here in the Hamptons.

5:50pm: Andrew Lieb, Esq., owner of Lieb at Law and Lieb School wraps up Realife as he shares some of his secrets that a buyer should know before they purchase a home in the Hamptons.

http://peconicpublicbroadcasting.org/programs/real-life-wppb

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tips to Avoid a Lawsuit While Getting Home Improvements (Andrew Lieb's Latest Articles)


Andrew Lieb shares secrets to avoid litigation while getting home improvements in the Huffington Post and Dan's Papers.   Full Article 

If you plan to do a home improvement project, there will certainly be enough on your mind without having to worry about the legal issues. 

Here is your reference guide to avoid litigation while getting the job done:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Historic Storm Prompts Town of Brookhaven to Initiate Flood Relief Efforts

On August 1st, record setting rain doused Long Island causing extensive flood damage. The Town of Brookhaven has been working with the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to perform damage assessments for residents in affected areas. Damage assessments are an effort to qualify victims for federal or state funding or special programs. Supervisor Ed Romaine has asked the federal government to provide FEMA assistance to storm victims and has vowed to push County, State and Federal officials to provide assistance to storm victims.  The Town has estimated $10-15 million in damage to private homes as a result of the torrential rain. Additionally, an estimated $15 million in damage to our roadways has been estimated by the Town Highway Department. Although the South Shore of Long Island sustained very little damage, some North Shore communities that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, now have another storm to clean up after. So far, the Building Department has inspected more than 75 homes and deemed nine uninhabitable.

Residents who feel that their homes may have sustained structural damage from the storm are urged to call 631-451-TOWN (8696). An inspector will be sent to their home to assess the damage and determine if the home is safe to occupy.

For insurance related issues, residents should call 1-800-339-1759 to speak directly with representatives from the New York State Department of Financial Services.

As of Wednesday, August 20th, a “211 Hotline,” originally activated after Sandy, will be implemented again to assist residents with the clean-up in their flood damaged homes.

Residents with large amounts of debris from flood clean-up should call 631-451-TOWN to schedule pick-up from the Town’s Department of Waste Management.

Should I get solar? Not yet, transparent panels are the future

Transparent solar panels may be here sooner than you think.

Accordingly to Slash Gear, a team at Michigan State University has developed "a transparent luminescent solar concentrator which looks clear to the eye but can still harvest energy from wavelengths of light invisible to humans". Unfortunately, the team has not achieved panels that are efficient enough for use on your home just yet, but it seems that great strides are being achieved relatively quickly.

So, before you say yes to solar panels being placed on your roof, maybe you should just wait a few years to redo your sunroom with transparent solar panels and generate some power in the process.

Monday, August 18, 2014

FREE public seminar - HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE


The Nassau County Bar Association and the Nassau Academy of Law Invite You to Attend

Protecting Home & Hearth
Home Insurance Everyone Needs

Monday, September 15, 6:30 p.m.

Nassau County Bar Association (Mineola)


Speakers:
Andrew Lerner, CIC, The Lerner Agency
Charles Licht, Public Adjuster
Michael A. Markowitz, Seminar Chair

To Register:
516-747-4070 or email ckatz@nassaubar.org



Friday, August 15, 2014

Andrew Lieb discusses Broker Commissions today on Real Life WPPB 88.3FM

Andrew Lieb Shares Real Estate Tips on 88.3FM today at 5:50pm
Tune into 88.3FM (WPPB Peconic Broadcasting) today (8/15) for Real Life with John Cristopher from Brown Harris Stevens.

Today's Line Up of Guests:
  • 5:30pmAspasia Comnas, Executive Managing Director of Brown Harris Stevens discusses the community spirit that exists in the Hamptons and her participation in Escuela de Samba Boom.
  • 5:40pmJesse Matsuoka, owner of Sen restaurant in Sag Harbor talks about the Hamptons but also his time in Japan and witnessing the greatest Sumo wrestling match of the century.
  • 5:50pmAndrew Lieb, Esq, owner of Lieb at Law and Lieb School discusses broker commissions and how sellers can be responsible for owing more than one commission. 
You can listen live on the website too:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Pressure for Lenders to Negotiate in Good Faith


If you are a struggling homeowner and have sought relief via a loan modification, there may be new pressure on lenders to negotiate a modification. Last week, New York’s Appellate Division, Second Department, ruled in US Bank N.A. v  Sarmiento that Wells Fargo, a well-known lender, could not collect interest or fees on a loan that had accrued while a borrower, Sarmiento, pursued a loan modification. Sarmiento attended 18 settlement conferences and remained persistent in obtaining a loan modification yet the decision indicates that Wells “delayed and prevented any possible resolution of the action.” Wells is cited for various delays and miscommunications which when considered wholly, led to the determination by the court that Wells failed to negotiate in good faith. This court decision yielded a long-awaited definition of “good faith” with regards to negotiations in foreclosure conferences.  The court concluded that Wells’ conduct indicates a “disregard for the settlement negotiation process” which increased the balance on Sarmiento’s loan.

This decision gives hope to borrowers frustrated with the often drawn-out process of obtaining a loan modification. If a lender loses documents, repeatedly requests the same information, fails to review the application in a timely manner, denies an application without adequate grounds or deliberately or recklessly delays the process in any way, a borrower now has the option to demonstrate the lender’s failure to negotiate in good faith. This could translate to thousands of dollars lost in interest and legal fees for lenders.


Hopefully, this will put pressure on lenders to remain timely and organized in their evaluation of a borrower’s loan modification application for if they don’t comply with good faith guidelines, they could be at risk to lose a great deal of money. But remember, “good faith” is a double edged sword, as borrowers must also negotiate in good faith by putting forth a purposeful and honest effort at a settlement conference to reach a resolution.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Developing Air Rights

Read this terrific article - Want to buy some air? Some cities have plenty to sell - to appease your interest in air rights and development.

2 Takeaways:
a) Developing a deck (the platform in the air where development happens) to build upon is quite expensive; &
b) Financing is limited as there are minimal real property rights associated with air rights, which can be foreclosed upon (collateral).

Based upon the expense and lack of collateral, perhaps development for air rights is ripe for crowdfunding to get the job done. In crowdfunding, accredited investors (net worth of more than $1 million or have earned $200,000 in each of the previous 2 years) can provide the requisite funding in consideration of equity stakes in the development company, to get the project funded, built, and ready for tenants.



Friday, July 25, 2014

10 Secrets to Closing the Deal

Highlights from Andrew Lieb's latest article featured in Dan's Papers...10 Secrets to Closing the Deal

  1. Confirming Deeded Ownership
  2. Setting the Listing Price
  3. Staging and Active Concealment
  4. Proactive Home Inspection
  5. Broker's Loyalty
  6. Budgeting for Transaction Costs
  7. Certificate of Occupancy
  8. Survey and Boundary Line
  9. Avoiding Capital Gains Tax
  10. Clearing Liens
Read the full article in Dan's Papers 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Real Estate Agents Forbidden to Use Air Drones for Listings



If you are a licensed real estate agent and have ever used or are still using air drones to take photographs of properties to improve your listings, stop now and do not do so again. The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has recently provided clarification on the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, prohibiting the commercial use of model aircraft.  

Under this Act, a model aircraft is defined as an unmanned aircraft that is flown recreationally within visual sight of the aircraft operator. There are numerous statutory requirements that aircraft operators must adhere to when flying model aircraft, such as the weight of the aircraft and where and when the aircraft can be flown. However, the most important statutory requirement for real estate agents is that the aircraft must be used only for recreational purposes.

Millions of Americans have joined aircraft clubs in order to build and fly model aircraft and have used model aircraft to take aerial photographs and video of their communities, gardens, and farms. This is allowed. If you are using a model aircraft to take photographs for pleasure and do not intend to use or sell the photographs for your business, then you do not violate any statutes. Real estate agents, however, use model aircraft for commercial purposes, violating the statutory requirement of recreational use. For example, many real estate agents use model aircraft to take aerial shots of properties for their listings, especially if the properties are large and have a high sales price. With high commissions at stake, real estate agents are willing to put forth the extra effort to take these aerial photographs and improve their listings to catch a worthy buyer’s eye. It is important to note that if a real estate agent is caught using model aircraft to take photographs of properties for listings, the Federal Aviation Administration, under this Act, may fine this real estate agent (or exact punishment in any other way it deems necessary) for the violation of this statutory requirement.

Since the Federal Aviation Administration has the power of enforcement, it is wise to avoid using model aircraft for commercial purposes at all costs.

Stay tuned for an update on what kind of fines the FAA can exact on violators.

Agency Disclosure - Free CE on 8/14 in Hauppauge


Instructor: Andrew Lieb

Sponsor: Citibank

Credits: 3

Cost: Free

Every broker must send their agents to this continuing education course to learn Agency Disclosure.

This course will answer the maddening questions that are always in the back of every real estate agent’s mind in brokerage: How do I fill out the form? Who do I work for? How can I get both sides of the deal? Can the Department of State fine me if I mess this up? Why does my broker care so much? Does this affect my commission? How about my license?

You will learn the whole enchilada about agency from disclosure in the presence of another broker to disclosure by electronic means to disclosure at an open house to disclosure when your client / customer refuses to sign the form, and so much more. You will be familiarized with the applicable statute, the relevant regulation, court cases that decipher your duties and DOS Administrative Decisions that fine violators. This course even includes a skills component where you will learn how to fill out the Agency Disclosure Form in every possible scenario. Finally, you will get it right. It’s mandatory to practice Agency Disclosure and after taking this course, you will.

Seats fill up quickly.  Click Here To Enroll



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hamptons Real Estate by the Numbers



The Great Recession is finally showing signs of letting up, but this is old news to real estate agents in the Hamptons where the housing market recovered long before Main Street felt any relief. In 2013, the Hamptons and North Fork of Long Island saw approximately 2,600 real estate transactions – a 70% increase over 2009 when the Great Recession was at its lowest point. That number is poised to grow this year. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the eye popping numbers from the Hamptons this year.

The $147,000,000 Estate.  This summer, Barry Rothstein, founder of the hedge fund Jana Partners, purchased an 18 acre beachfront estate in EastHampton for a reported $147,000,000, making it the most expensive single family home ever sold in the United States. The average home price in Suffolk County is approximately $347,200, meaning Mr. Rothstein could have purchased 423 homes for the price of his Hamptons estate.

High End Homes.  According to Douglas Elliman Real Estate’s Q1 2014 market report, the average sales price in the Hamptons checks in at $1.7 million.  To show how skewed that number is by high end luxury sales, the median sales price is $880,000 – roughly half the average.  According to hreo.com, the Hamptons multiple listing service, 282 homes are listed for sale at $10,000,000 or more, a bargain compared to the $147,000,000 Rothstein Estate.  In the 1st Quarter of 2014 alone, there were 37 sales over $5,000,000. Nationwide, purchases costing $1,000,000 or more represent 2% of all home sales. Of the homes listed on hreo.com, more than 67% check in at $1,000,000 or more.

“Average” Homes Disappearing.  Hreo.com searches reveal that there are only 183 homes for sale in the Hamptons region, which stretches from Remsenberg to Montauk, listed at $350,000 or less, the average home price in Suffolk County. Of the 5,330 listings on hreo.com, only 3% are at or below the Suffolk County average. For those of you keeping track, there are more homes for sale over $10,000,000 in the Hamptons than there are homes under $350,000. Meanwhile, nationwide, the median home price is $188,900. At that budget, there are 27 homes for sale in the Hamptons, all of which are 1 bedroom summer retreats. Even mobile homes in the Hamptons come at a premium, with this mobile home checking in at a cool $199,000

Summer Rentals. According to some estimates, the population of the Hamptons increases by 500% from winter to summer. As a popular vacation spot, it should come as no surprise that many Hamptonites choose to rent a summer home instead of buying. What may shock you, however, is the price of some of these rentals. With the rental season already well underway, there are still 186 homes for rent in the Hamptons on hreo.com at a cost of over $350,000 for the summer, meaning there are more Hamptons summer rentals still available over the Suffolk County average home price than there are homes for sale at or below the Suffolk County average.

When looking to make your summer escape to the Hamptons, remember to bring your wallet with your sunscreen!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

ELIGIBILITY OF FLOOD RISK REDUCTION MEASURES UNDER THE HAZARD MITIGATION ASSISTANCE (HMA) PROGRAMS

On June 18, 2014, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security that coordinates the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States, announced a new policy entitled “Eligibility of Flood Risk Reduction Measures under the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Programs.” This new policy, which applies to Federal, State, tribal, and local authorities involved in the administration of HMA Programs, describes a change in FEMA’s HMA Program guidance concerning the types of physical flood risk reduction projects FEMA may consider for funding under its HMA Programs.

The HMA Program authorities are provided by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended, to use assistance made available from the National Flood Mitigation Fund for carrying out and planning activities designed to reduce the risk of flood damage to structures covered under contracts for flood insurance. FEMA’s HMA Programs include the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program (PDM), a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), and the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program. The HMGP and the PDM Programs provide assistance to State, tribal, and local governments for hazard mitigation activities that are cost-effective and substantially reduce the risk of future losses from major disasters. These HMA Programs are one way FEMA supports mitigation against flooding and other disasters.

Prior to this new FEMA policy, the 2013 HMA Unified Guidance stated that only “minor localized flood reduction projects” are eligible for funding under the FMA, PDM, and HMGP. Further, the guidance stated that “major flood control projects” related to the construction, demolition, or repair of dams, levees, dikes, floodwalls, seawalls, breakwaters, groins, jetties, and erosion projects related to the beach nourishment or re-nourishment, are ineligible activities under all programs (emphasis added). However, FEMA has now revised the HMA Program guidance after a review of relevant legislation, regulations, and policy to allow for the construction, demolition, or mitigation of dams, dikes, levees, floodwalls, seawalls, groins, jetties, breakwaters, and erosion projects related to beach nourishment or re-nourishment under the HMGP and PDM Programs.

Under all HMA Programs, approval of an eligible project must not result in a Duplication of Programs (DOP) with other federal agencies. This doctrine of Duplication of Programs prohibits FEMA, or any other federal agency, from using its assistance to fund projects or programs if funding for similar activities is available under a more specific federal authority, unless there is an extraordinary threat to lives, public health or safety, or unimproved real property. The DOP issue is of particular concern in determining eligibility for flood risk reduction projects because other federal agencies may be funding similar flood risk reduction measures under more specific authorities. This new FEMA policy addresses the DOP issue by speaking about how the DOP may affect the eligibility of HMA flood risk reduction projects and how applicants may screen projects for potential duplication prior to application.

HMA Programs are established by Sections 203(PDM) and 404 (HMGP) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C §§5133, 5170c-(b)(2) and by Section 1366 (FMA) of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (NFIA), as amended by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, 42 U.S.C §4104c. The HMA Programs are also governed by Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Part 9, Part 10, Part 13, Part 59, Part 65, Part 79 (FMA), Part 80, and Part 206, Subpart N (HMGP).


For more information on FEMA’s Eligibility of Flood Risk Reduction Measures under the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Programs Policy, visit http://www.fema/gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance-policy.