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.