Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Changes to New York Foreclosure Law Impose Stringent Penalties for Failing to Negotiate in “Good Faith”

Recently Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a comprehensive piece of legislation, which makes sweeping changes to New York’s requirement that Lenders and Borrowers negotiate in “good faith” during Mandatory Foreclosure Settlement Conferences.

Under New York foreclosure law, in a residential foreclosure action, commenced on or after February 13, 2010, involving a 1-4 family owner occupied property, it is required that a Mandatory Foreclosure Settlement Conference be held within sixty (60) days of service of the foreclosure summons and complaint. The purpose of the Mandatory Foreclosure Settlement Conference is to provide a venue for Borrowers and Lenders to settle the foreclosure action without further court action, via a loan modification, deed-in-lieu, short sale or other loss mitigation option. At this settlement conference, it is required that both parties negotiate in “good faith.”

However, the implementation of New York’s Mandatory Foreclosure Settlement Conference and its “good faith” negotiations requirement, has had its fair share of complications. To mitigate these complications, this recently enacted legislation, which takes effect on December 20, 2016, places stringent guidelines on the documentation and information that both parties must come to the conference with and requires that both parties, or representatives thereof, appear at the conference with full authority to settle the case.

Additionally, the legislation imposes more stringent penalties upon both parties should they fail to negotiate in “good faith.” Where it is found that a Lender has failed to negotiate in “good faith,” one or more of the following penalties may be imposed:
  • A toll of the accumulation and collection of interest, costs and fees during any undue delay caused; 
  • A civil penalty of up to twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00); 
  • Actual damages, fees (including attorney’s fees) and expenses incurred by the homeowner as a result of the Lender’s failure to negotiate in good faith; or 
  • Any other relief that the Court deems just and proper. 
On the other hand, where it is found that a Borrower has failed to negotiate in “good faith,” the Court is required to remove the case from the conference calendar, meaning that the Lender will then be permitted to move forward towards obtaining a Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale. 

Since the Federal Making Homes Affordable (“MHA”) program is due to expire on December 31, 2016, these additional consumer protections, provided by the State of New York, will ensure the availability of continued protections for the State’s distressed homeowners by requiring that Lenders come to the Mandatory Foreclosure Settlement Conferences ready, willing, and able to settle foreclosure actions, or face the consequences.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New Real Estate License Law Regulation - Discrimination is Serious for your License

Effective May 18, 2016 the license law has been updated in the State of New York and discrimination clearly will no longer be tolerated by salespersons and brokers. The regulations is:

19 NYCRR 175.17(b)

No real estate broker or salesperson shall engage in an unlawful discriminatory practice, as proscribed by any federal, state or local law applicable to the activities of real estate licensees in New York State.

A finding by any federal, state or local agency or court of competent jurisdiction that a real estate broker or salesperson has engaged in unlawful discriminatory practice in the performance of licensed real estate activities shall be presumptive evidence of untrustworthiness and will subject such licensee to discipline, including a proceeding for revocation.

Nothing herein shall limit or restrict the Department from otherwise exercising its authority pursuant to section 441-c of the Real Property Law.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dan's Taste of Summer - Exclusive Promo Code for 20% off Tickets

Exclusive PROMO code for 20% off tickets: LIEB

Dan's Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan's GrillHampton on Friday July 22,and continues on Saturday, July 23 with Dan's Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company, both on the waterfront at Fairview Farm at Mecox, 19 Horsemill Lane, Bridgehampton. 

New to the lineup this year is the oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney's Montauk, 290 Old Montauk Highway in Montauk on July 30 Dan's Harvest East End, the can't-miss food and wine classic, rounds out the series on August 20 at McCall Vineyard and Ranch, 22600 Main Road, Cutchogue.

For tickets and more information on all Dan's Taste of Summer events, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Top 5: Look No Further Than Lieb

Before making a real estate decision, read these five articles written by Andrew Lieb, Esq.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

What You Need To Know About Short Term Rentals In Southold

In September 2015, Southold passed a law, Southold Town Zoning Code §280-4, prohibiting all transient rental properties, also known as short-term rentals. Thereafter, local folklore emerged about grandfathering a house around the law. Don’t believe the folklore.

As a matter of background, prior to the transient rental law, Southold homeowners were generally able to rent their homes with no minimum durational restrictions. Now, all dwellings located in Southold, except for those on Fisher’s Island, are prohibited from leasing their homes for a period of less than 14 nights. Moreover, when a property is listed on a short-term rental website, the law presumes the dwelling is being used as a transient rental property. This law does not affect the hospitality industry as applied to licensed bed and breakfasts, hotels, and motels. Therefore, if you wish to stay in Southold for a duration of less than 14 nights, you must stay at a motel, hotel, or bed and breakfast.    

As to grandfathering a house around the law, for a non-conforming use to legally continue it must:
  • Not been enlarged, altered, extended, reconstructed or restored; and 
  • Never be changed to a conforming use. 
This last requirement is why Southold residents will functionally be unable to grandfather around the Southold transient rental law. Simply stated, once a homeowner’s property is used for a conforming use that nonconforming use no longer falls under the grandfathering exception. In a short-term rental, once the rental period is over, possession is transferred back to the homeowner in a conforming use. So, the only way to get grandfathering is to always have continuous occupancy at a home by tenants without ever having a break in rentals. This functionally doesn’t happen. Sometimes the best way to challenge a law that you don’t like isn’t to find a way around it, but instead to become active in local government and have the law changed to your liking.