Monday, July 24, 2017

Top 10 Silent Lease Rights for Tenants

Just because it’s silent doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Did you know that the state of New York provides residential tenants with many rights that supersede even the most grueling landlord-favorable lease terms? 

Andrew Lieb, Esq. shares the top ten tenants' rights that should be fully understood by landlords, tenants and real estate brokers who engage in the rental market on Dan's Papers. 

Click here for the full article. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tenants’ Rights: Subletting and Assigning

Can a landlord prevent a tenant from subletting or assigning their lease?
Andrew Lieb, Esq. shares this answer in The Huffington Post. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Lieb at Law: Are Pocket Listings Legal?

A real estate broker whispers to you that they have an off-market listing that is to die for, but you have no idea what an off-market listing is. More so, the way the real estate broker told you about the listing just sounds to you like something is not right about the transaction. Is this pocket listing even legal?
A pocket listing means that the real estate broker has a listing that is not being advertised to the public markets. Isn’t that an illegal monopoly? In the State of New York, contracts or agreements that refrain trade are illegal and void pursuant to the General Business Law §340, or what is commonly referred to as the Donnelly Act. The Donnelly Act is New York’s version of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act where the state and federal laws require identical basic elements.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Estate Tax Lien Releases Incident to Real Estate Transactions

When selling real estate with an executor’s / administrator’s deed or as heirs at law, incident to the death of the owner, seller’s counsel must address both federal and state estate tax liens that automatically attach to real property on the date of death. Importantly, these liens attach and are effective without recorded notice. 

Read the full article published in The Suffolk Lawyer by Andrew Lieb, Esq.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

BRAND NEW VIDEO CE | Brokerage Lawsuits ONLINE | 4 CE Credits | Lieb School

Brokerage Lawsuits ONLINE is a 4 credit online video real estate CE approved by NY DOS for license renewal. 

This course was developed and instructed by Andrew Lieb, Esq., a premiere NY real estate litigator and compliance trainer that focuses his legal practice on real estate brokerage litigation. 

While enjoying the comfort of your home, you can learn how to sue them for your commission! It’s not simple and it usually takes forever to obtain a favorable resolution. More so, litigation creates exposure for the real estate brokerage and salesperson regardless if they are the plaintiff or the defendant.

This 4 hour course will explain the process of different dispute resolution options such as negotiations, mediation, arbitration and litigation. After completing this course, you will be able to articulate the impact of the Real Estate License Law on such lawsuits, the availability of pre-action Affidavits of Entitlement and Mechanic's Liens to real estate brokers, and how ethics complaints work before the Department of State.

More so, you will understand how the law determines if they are right in their claim or defense by explaining the potential lawsuits for commission and the most common claims against brokerages.

(Works on IPADs, TABLETs, PCs & MACS)


Thursday, June 22, 2017

New York State First Home Savings Program Passes Both Houses

A new tax incentive is almost available for purchasing your first home. Legislation has passed both the NYS Senate and Assembly (it is returned to the Assembly before going to the Governor).

The program will work for the purchase or construction of a home, townhome, condominium or unit in a cooperative housing corporation.

Under the account, up to $100,000.00, exclusive of gain, can be invested and withdrawn without state personal income tax if the money is used for purchasing or constructing a first home purchase.

Better yet, parents can create these accounts for their children, where a child would be called a “designated beneficiary” under the statute.

However, to constitute a first time home buyer, whether as a designated beneficiary or on one’s own account, an individual cannot have had any prior “ownership interest in a principal residence at any time” both in the “United States or abroad.”  To clarify, an individual does not have an ownership interest if they expect to inherit property or even if they own the remainder interest under a trust.
If the first time purchaser qualifies there is a requirement to utilize the home as a primary residence for “not less than two years after purchase.”

Stay tuned as the legislation makes its way to the governor's desk and then, parents can start saving for their children's first home like they do on a 529 Plan for college. 

Sexual Harassment Trainings Needed

All industries with employees and independent contractors need an inclusive culture through policy and training.

Read NARs article and quotes from Lieb at Law's Managing Attorney Andrew Lieb, Esq.

Mr. Lieb is available for outside compliance counsel, policy drafting and implementation and discrimination trainings. Contact or call 631.878.4455

Uncivil Discourse

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lieb at Law: Top Tips For Strategically Negotiating Real Estate Deals

Negotiating is first and foremost about preparation.

The following is the first half of a negotiating list that is your go to guide for your next real estate transaction. Whether you are buying or selling, renting or just contracting for a home improvement, you will need to negotiate the deal. To get ready, go over this list, tailor it to your situation and then practice, practice, practice with friends and family. Don’t skimp on practice: any weakness in your negotiating game will be exploited by your counterpart.

You must take control to successfully negotiate your next real estate deal. This is the first in a two-part series.

Friday, June 2, 2017

NY Radio CLE (for Attorneys only): Law You Should Know: Real Estate Brokers and the Law (1 CLE Credit)

Law You Should Know: Real Estate Brokers and the Law
CLE Provider: Nassau Academy of Law
Featured Guest: Andrew Lieb, Esq.
CLE Credit: 1 Credit in Areas of Professional Practice

Wednesday June 7th at 3pm
Sunday June 11th at 7am

on 90.3FM in Nassau County
broadcast over the internet

To Obtain CLE Credit for the Program
Prior to Listening to the Program: Download an affirmation form

Tune into 90.3 FM and be sure to listen for a program verification code that will be announced by the host. 
Listen for the Code!
 Code must be written on the affirmation form in order to receive CLE credit. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fees for Brokerage License Increased on April 20, 2017

Fees for licensing have increased by $5 as of April 20, 2017. For real estate brokers the fee is now $155 and for real estate salesman (a/k/a, real estate salespersons) the fee is now $55.

Real Property Law 441-b(1) now reads (words in brackets are the former statute and capitalized words represent the now current statute):

The  fee  for a license issued or reissued under the provisions of
this article  entitling  a  person,  co-partnership,  limited  liability
company  or  corporation  to  act  as a real estate broker shall be [one
hundred fifty] ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE dollars. The  fee  for  a  license
issued  or  reissued  under  the  provisions of this article entitling a
person to act as a real estate  salesman  shall  be  [fifty]  FIFTY-FIVE
dollars.  Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision seven of section
four hundred forty-one-a of this article, after January first,  nineteen
hundred  eighty-six, the secretary of state shall assign staggered expi-
ration dates for outstanding licenses that have been previously  renewed
on  October  thirty-first  of  each  year  from the assigned date unless
renewed. If the assigned date results in a term that exceeds twenty-four
months, the  applicant  shall  pay  an  additional  prorated  adjustment
together  with  the  regular  renewal  fee. The secretary of state shall
assign dates to existing licenses in a manner which shall  result  in  a
term of not less than two years.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top 10 Questions for Landlords to Ask Themselves Before Leasing to a Friend

Many homeowners on the East End rent out their property for various parts of the summer season in order to recoup their carrying costs on the property and to have an additional source of income. Some even rationalize their initial purchase of their vacation home by calling it an investment property, where they plan to designate a set period of time that the property will be used for investment purposes and another limited time where it’s designated for pleasure. So when a friend asks to rent this vacation property, knowing of its availability, it may sound like a godsend: you can have an easy experience, avoid using a real estate broker, and save on brokerage fees while also helping out a friend who will love your property as you do. However, before letting your friend lease your property, you need to ask yourself: do I want to lose my friendship with this prospective tenant if the rental doesn’t work out?
If your answer to this question is that it’s completely inapplicable to you because your plan is to simply allow your friend to live at your expense and you have no problem with the financial burden resulting from the lost income stream, you should nonetheless consider possible liabilities that your friend can cause you. Beyond the liabilities of town/village code violations for noise violations, parking violations, rental permit violations, and so on, there is property damage and don’t forget feeling unappreciated when you are doing a good deed.
Regardless, all landlords should ask themselves the following questions before just jumping to the conclusion that renting to a friend is a good idea:

Friday, May 12, 2017

Top 5 Estate Planning Considerations for the Effective Transfer of Real Estate Ownership

Your real estate investment is your legacy. Here are the top five estate planning considerations for keeping your property in the family, in order to produce income for generations to come.

Read the full article by Andrew Lieb, Esq. published in Dan's Papers here. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Real Estate Brokerage Regulatory Updates - 4/12/17 NYS Board of Real Estate meeting summary

On 4/12/17 the NYS Board of Real Estate continued its mission of optimizing the regulation of real estate brokers in our state by holding its meeting in NYC and Albany. To remind real estate brokers and salespersons, the public is welcome at these meetings where the public can bring comments from the floor. It is encouraged that Lieb School students attend these meetings to have your voices heard. 

"[T]he Board has general authority to promulgate rules and regulations affecting real estate brokers and salespersons in order to administer and effectuate the purposes of Article 12-A of the Real Property Law."

A complete video of the meeting is available on youtube.

While there was no quorum, the following was discussed:
  1. An education audit program was conducted from December through March on licensees seeking license renewal where approximately 360 such audits were conducted resulting in a finding of approximately 80% compliance and approximately $27,000 in fines;
  2. Many schools are offering classes at 1 and 2 hours in response to the change in regulations;
  3. The possibility of changing the Preliminary Statement of Complaint so real estate brokerage firms can make complaints about their salespersons and associate brokers with the Department of State;
  4. That the Department of State received a question about clarifying whether property managers must comply with the Corporate Title Opinion Letter from April 26, 2013 and will address such question accordingly; and
  5. A public comment that NYS Department of State should coordinate with the Attorney General's Office to enforce unlicensed activities, particularly against auctioneers. 

The next meeting is scheduled for September 13, 2017. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lieb at Law is hiring | Associate Attorney | Litigation

Fast paced and tech savvy law firm seeks Associate Attorney who can hit the ground running. Ideal candidate is a work product producer with impeccable research, writing and oral advocacy skills. You will be thrown into complex litigation and will quickly learn to thrive while engaging with the leaders of the field.

This role will start off working across all aspects of the firm's litigation practice inclusive of real estate litigation, contractual litigation, premises liability, ownership disputes, plaintiff personal injury, estate litigation and more. You will draft legal memos, pleading, discovery demands, discovery responses and motions. You will negotiate and prosecute personal injury claims against insurance adjusters and then, defend real estate brokerage and title claims while reporting to insurance adjusters. You will also help prepare for depositions, mediations, arbitrations and trials.

Proven competency quickly leads to more challenging and rewarding litigation opportunities such as oral arguments, depositions, trials and appeals. Those that succeed will be charged with developing their own personal niche as their career evolves. Business opportunities exist.

Types of clients include high net worth individuals, start-ups, national real estate brokerage firms and title insurance companies.

The firm offers an environment that supports personal and professional growth without micromanagement or dogmatic resistance to fresh and innovative ideas. Competence trumps experience and career growth is limited only by your own ability, ambition and desire to learn. We will push you to evolve and earn career "wows".

This position is located in Center Moriches, which is in Suffolk County within the Riverhead / Westhampton Area. Clients span across Metro New York area.

Compensation: Commensurate with experience, includes full benefits package.

  • Minimum of 1 year Litigation Experience
  • Experienced in court appearances, motion writing, legal research with Westlaw, pleadings, discovery, oral arguments a plus, depositions a plus, client management a plus. 
To Apply: Email Cover Letter and Resume to or submit your application ONLINE here. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Foreclosure Considerations When Representing Private Lenders

Foreclosure litigation involves much more than simply enforcing a contract. Follow this top 10 checklist when representing private lenders to successfully navigate the nuances of foreclosure practice.

Read the full article by Andrew Lieb, Esq. and Jay Sheryll, Esq. here. 

NY Department of State Update for License Renewal (Applications and Fees)

This is a direct note from the New York, Department of State.

This notification is to inform you of an increase in Real Estate original and renewal application fees, effective immediately.

The new application fees are as follows: Real Estate Broker Application $155, Real Estate Branch Office Application $155, Real Estate Salesperson Application $55.   

Please stop using the old applications immediately.  The new applications are available on the Department of State website, here are the links:  (Sales Application Haitian Creole)

Also, as a result of an ongoing Real Estate Licensee Qualifying Audit, we are finding that many licensees are noncompliant. The majority of noncompliant licensees state they did not know, and were not told, that prior to applying for a license education, requirements include completion of the 75 hour course, passing the final school exam and receiving a certificate of completion.

It's Fair Housing Month

Lieb School reminds our real estate brokerage students to treat everyone equally in the terms, conditions and privileges of housing during the 2017 Fair Housing Month (and the rest of the year). Remember, you should only discuss the quality of the property, the terms of the offer and the weather when acting in real estate brokerage. Each prospect should be viewed as dancing dollar bills, not by their demographic profile, during real estate negotiations.

Lets make the world a more inclusive place one transaction at a time.

Friday, March 31, 2017

JUST RELEASED | Agency 1 Hour ONLINE | Satisfies DOS Requirement | $5.00

This 1 hour Video CE course instructed by Andrew Lieb, Esq. was designed to be the ultimate refresher course on agency. Students will learn to select the appropriate agency forms for varying scenarios, how to translate agency terms into simple English in order to communicate with transacting parties, and how to properly fill-out the forms in compliance with New York license law.

This is a skills class where students can expect to perfect their agency disclosure abilities. In fact, agency disclosure skills are the most important skill for real estate salespersons today. Learn how to fulfill your license requirement, protect yourself from litigious clients and customers, and most importantly, how to leverage the law by making agency into a value add when offering your services to prospects.

This 1 credit CE course fulfills your NY continuing education requirement on the law of agency (except for new agents who must take 2 hours).

Special Price: $5.00

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Radio Interview with Andrew Lieb, Esq.: Top 5 Legal Concepts That Can Make or Break a Spec Development

This radio segment features Andrew Lieb, Esq. discussing the top 5 legal concepts that can make or break a speculative development real estate project.

Topics Include:

  • Getting Financing
  • Structuring the Venture
  • Setting a Realistic Vision
  • Owning the Plans
  • Hiring the Contractor

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Guidance for Borrowers Seeking Home Loan Modifications Under the Making Homes Affordable Act

On Monday, February 27, 2017, Fannie Mae, acting as administrator of Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), implemented portions of the Supplemental Directive 16-02 regarding the termination of Making Homes Affordable Program (MHA).

Now, borrowers who have applied for a modification on or before the termination of the MHA on December 31, 2016 under HAMP Tier 1, HAMP Tier 2, Streamline HAMP, Second Lien Modification Program (2MP), Treasury Federal Housing Administration HAMP (Treasury FHA-HAMP), and Rural Development HAMP (RD-HAMP) must have modification effective dates on or before December 1, 2017. Additionally, closing dates for a transaction under Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA) must be on or before December 1, 2017.

In conjunction with the termination of the MHA on December 31, 2016, Supplemental Directive 16-02 provides guidance to servicers regarding non-Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) Mortgages of borrowers who have requested assistance prior to December 31, 2016. Specifically, this Directive applies to: the HAMP, the Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP), HAFA, 2MP, Treasury FHA-HAMP, and RD-HAMP. In addition, this Supplemental Directive provides guidance with respect to the eligibility of certain GSE HAMP Loans to receive pay-for-performance incentives through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

So, the MHA has ended. However, no need to worry if you have applied on or before December 31, 2016 for a home loan modification through MHA because you still have time to receive the benefits of the MHA if you complete the modification process by December 1, 2017.

Alternatively, if you have not yet applied for a home loan modification, New Yorkers may continue seek mortgage modifications under Civil Practice Law and Rule §3408.

New HUD Secretary Confirmed by Senate

Dr. Ben Carson, former Republican Presidential Candidate and Neurosurgeon, has been confirmed as the new Housing and Urban Development Secretary (HUD).

HUD, formed by an act of Congress in 1965, is tasked with implementing federal policies directed at the housing market.

As Secretary, Dr. Carson will have vast power in regards to the organization and structure of the agency, specifically the field structure at the local level. Nonetheless, Dr. Carson’s discretion is bound by the confines of federal mandates.

As real estate industry professionals, we wish Dr. Ben Carson much success in his new role. 

FinCEN Renews Order Requiring Full Disclosure of Persons Behind All Cash Purchases of High-End Real-Estate

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the US Department of the Treasury renewed a Geographic Targeting Order (GTO), on February 23, 2017, requiring “U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to pay ‘all cash’ for high-end real estate in six major metropolitan areas.” The counties covered in this renewal are: all New York City Burroughs, Miami-Dade County, Broward County (FL), Palm Beach County (FL), Los Angeles County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County (CA), Santa Clara County (CA), San Diego County, and Bexar County (TX).

Each county will have a different monetary threshold for transactions covered by this GTO to become applicable. In New York, covered transactions shall be all cash payments for real property at or above a total purchase price of $1,500,000 in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. In Manhattan, covered transactions are set at or above a purchase price of $3,000,000.

A title insurance company involved in a covered transaction will be required to file a FinCEN Form 8300 detailing, inter alia, the identities of any persons representing the purchaser and any “Beneficial Owners” (an individual who owns 25% or more in equity of the purchaser) “within 30 days of the closing.” For New York, this GTO will continue to prevent anonymous high-end purchasers in the five boroughs.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tracking Proposed Legislation to Extend the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act into 2017

The remnants of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act only apply in 2017 to debts that were subject to a written agreement which was entered into in 2016. So, as of today, all new agreements that forgive debt (i.e., short sale, deed-in-lieu or mortgage modification with principal reduction) will expose the debtor to income tax, which tax will be based upon their corresponding debt savings.

H.R.110, the Mortgage Debt Tax Forgiveness Act of 2017, seeks to "amend[] the Internal Revenue Code to make permanent the exclusion from gross income of income attributable to the discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness."

S.122, the Mortgage Debt Tax Relief Act, seeks to "amend[] the Internal Revenue Code to extend through 2018 the exclusion from gross income of income attributable to the discharge of indebtedness on a principal residence."

While H.R.110 is preferable to forever eliminate a tax on unfortunate homeowners incident to having their debt forgiven, please support either bill by contacting your local congressman and having your voice heard.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Top 10 Real Estate Laws of 2016

Now that 2017 is here it is important to be aware of the changes in the law for our industry. This is not a list about the best events from 2016, but, instead, a list that highlights the new legal landscape that you face as real estate attorneys in 2017. Being familiar with these laws, regulations and opinions may help you to better address your client’s goals and to make you money while helping you to avoid malpractice.

Topics Include:

  • Defaults waived in foreclosures
  • Real Estate broker continuing education changes
  • Premises liability for neighboring properties to the situs of trip and fall expanded
  • Storm in Progress Doctrine includes wintery mix
  • Vested right to develop requires reasonable reliance
  • Vested right to develop requires legally issued permit
  • Justiciability of positive declaration pursuant to SEQRA
  • Condominium lien priority
  • End of anonymous LLC members in NYC
  • Citizenship for real estate investment trusts

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Important Administrative Decision - Bedbugs in NYC

In DOS v. Fletcher, a real estate broker was charged with incompetency and untrustworthiness for acting as a landlord's agent and failing "to assure that their client provided [the tenant] with the bed bug infestation history" for the unit.

As background, the Administrative Tribunal was addressing New York City's Administrative Code at §27-2018.1(a), which states:

For housing accommodations subject to this code, an owner shall furnish to each tenant signing a vacancy lease, a notice in a form promulgated or approved by the state division of housing and community renewal that sets forth the property's bedbug infestation history for the previous year regarding the premises rented by the tenant and the building in which the premises are located.

According to the Department of State, the "act of omission was a violation of the respondents' obligation to deal fairly and openly with a prospective renter."

Moving forward, all New York City Landlord's Agents MUST assure that their landlords provide the bedbug disclosure to avoid being charged with a license law violation.

Important Administrative Decision - Craigslist Advertisements

In DOS v. Paramonov, a licensed real estate salesperson was charged with engaging "in false and or misleading advertising for rental properties" by listing "apartments in the 'no fee' category" of Craigslist because "he did not have enough money to post advertisements in the broker's section of the website."

The respondent was fined for his dishonest and misleading advertisements.

Moving forward, real estate salespersons need to remember that their advertisements must be completely aboveboard. If there is a broker's section of a website, the real estate salesperson must utilize it at all times in order to comply with their license law.

Commission Rates in Real Estate Brokerage are Discretionary to the Broker and Property Owner

A Lieb School student recently took a final exam for our Conflicts of Interest ONLINE course and explained how commission rates are set by the Department of State.

They are NOT.

In fact, the Department of State says the following about commission rates:

Commission Rates

The commission or compensation of a real estate broker is not regulated by statute or regulation, therefore the amount and terms are negotiable. A real estate broker shall never offer a property for sale or lease without the authorization of the owner. Therefore, prior to the listing or marketing of a client’s real property, it is incumbent upon the real estate broker and the client to mutually agree on a reasonable rate of compensation. 

As a result, real estate salespersons and property owners should carefully negotiate commission rates where they also set the consideration that the real estate brokerage will provide to the property owner in exchange for higher or lower rates. To illustrate, a real estate brokerage that is willing to create a video about the property should be able to demand a higher rate than a real estate brokerage who will not create any digital advertising. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Real Property Special Edition- The Suffolk Lawyer 2017

2017 is all about change. With a new Republican administration in the White House and a Republican Congress we will experience many changes in statutes, regulations and public policy throughout 2017, which will affect real estate transactions, litigation and our counsel to our clients related thereto. Our clients will have changed perspective and ever-changing needs. While not all change is good, it’s healthy to accept change and embrace it, regardless of one’s personal politics.

As an attorney, change is an opportunity, and those of us who best navigate change will emerge as the leaders of our profession as new laws require new legal leaders. Yet, to leverage change we must first have a firm grasp of the current state of the law. This special section in The Suffolk Lawyer delves into what is, to what will be in real estate law. We address client management, complex niche transactions, litigation incident to transactions, solutions to the foreclosure crisis and we even shed some light on the new administration as it relates to housing.

In this edition Kenneth J. Landau, Esq. sets the tone by giving us a new take on the KISS Principle as it relates to real estate transactions in his article “Give Your Real Estate Clients (A) K.I.S.S.” Then, the team of Jordan Fensterman, Esq., Howard Fensterman, Esq., and Andrew Kasman, Esq. provides instruction to the practitioner on the crossroads of health law and real estate in “Nursing Home Transactions.” Thereafter, Dennis Valet, Esq. sheds some light on claims against real estate brokers that typically result from a case of buyer’s remorse in “Caveat Emptor and Why You Shouldn’t Sue That Real Estate Broker.” Next, past Real Property Committee Chair Irwin Izen, Esq. educates the bar on a recently enacted statute that charges the New York Mortgage Agency to both create and administer the New York Community Restoration Fund in “More Help for Distressed Homeowners.” Lastly, Sabine Franco, Esq. sheds some light on the nominated HUD Secretary, Ben Carson, in “Expectations for HUD.”

These articles are designed to ground us, educate us and inspire us. They are the foundation of what is today because without learning about today we cannot be prepared to leverage tomorrow. In my fifth year as the Special Section Editor for Real Property, I need to thank our Editor-in-Chief, Laura Lane, who has made this all possible. Thank you to Ms. Lane and to all our writers. I hope that you enjoy this edition.   Andrew Lieb, Esq. 

Click here for the full edition in The Suffolk Lawyer 

Caveat Emptor and Why You Shouldn't Sue That Real Estate Broker

When the discovery of a latent defect in a newly purchased home triggers a severe case of buyer’s remorse, the real estate brokers involved in the transaction often find themselves in the crosshairs. The erroneous expectation is that these licensed professionals hired for the purpose of bringing two parties together in a meeting of the minds are the guarantors of a problem-free transaction. In reality, a real estate broker’s liability is limited to the duties owed to the complaining party. Some of these duties are derived from general common law negligence and agency principles, while others are specific to real estate brokers by way of statutes, regulations and administrative decisions. Because consumers tend to purchase or rent a home only a handful of times in their life, their familiarity with the rules governing these agency relationships is often lacking. 

So, when is it really your real estate broker’s fault? 

Read the full article by Dennis Valet, Esq. in published in The Suffolk Lawyer Here. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Lieb School Facts: Exclusive Right To Sell Agreement

To learn more, Lieb School offers online continuing education classes that are comprised of video's from a live classroom setting that was instructed by premiere lecturer Andrew Lieb, Esq. Content is thereafter broken down in order to simplify the learning experience so that students can absorb our field's complex materials without being overwhelmed.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Retired Attorneys can engage in real estate brokerage without a brokerage license

On May 5, 2016, the Department of State was asked:

"[W]hether a 'retired' attorney is exempt from the licensing requirements imposed by the NY RPL."

The DOS opined that "licensure as a real estate broker or salesperson is not required if practicing as a 'retired' attorney because there is oversight by the Appellate Division for breaches of trust and confidence."

The takeaway is that attorneys, even retired attorneys, need not be licensed by the DOS to broker transactions for compensation.

Real Estate Salespersons MUST comply with zoning laws on their own property

On April 12, 2016, the Department of State was asked:

"As the law states a real estate professional must abide by all laws in the State of New York when a Real Estate Broker is conducting a real estate brokerage at a residential residence, zoned residential and in violation of building codes. In this situation, it is considered breaking the law under Article 12A?"

The Department of State opined that "a broker who violates a local zoning law in relation to his or her own property and transactions demonstrates untrustworthiness pursuant to Section 441-c of the New York Real Property Law ("NY RPL")."

As a takeaway, if you are licensed as a Real Estate Salesperson or Associate Real Estate Broker make sure your home is completely in compliance with local zoning (and your rental properties). By failing to comply with zoning laws, not only can you receive a citation from your City, Town or Village, but you can jeopardize your livelihood. 

Moving forward, all agents should hire land use counsel or an expeditor immediately to legalize those basements, dormers and pools. Don't risk your license to save some tax dollars.

Real Estate Broker paying commission to Real Estate Salesperson's corporation

On March 10, 2016, the Department of State was asked:

"[what is] the procedure for a broker's payment to a salesperson or associate broker's corporation rather than to the salesperson or associate broker individually?  

In addition, could you tell me whether said corporation can only be in the name of the salesperson or associate broker? 

Finally, must the salesperson or associate broker be the only shareholder in the corporation or can several salespersons and/or brokers have a corporation together when, for instance, they are working as a team?”

In reading Real Property Law §442, the DOS opined that it is permissible for a Real Estate Broker to pay commission directly to a Real Estate Salesperson's corporation, but ONLY where all shareholders of the corporation or members of the limited liability company are duly licensed and associated with the paying Real Estate Broker.

The takeaway is Real Estate Brokers are charged with confirming that associated Real Estate Salesperson's entities are solely owned by the Real Estate Salesperson(s) associated with the Real Estate Broker.

Moving forward, Real Estate Brokers should require an ownership affidavit setting forth all owners of the entity from any Real Estate Salesperson who requests direct payment to an entity where such affidavit should also provide an indemnification and hold-harmless coupled with the payment of legal fees and costs to the Real Estate Broker should the information be false and lead to damage to the Real Estate Broker.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

ALERT - Amended Real Estate Brokerage Regulations

The Real Estate License Law regulations at 19 NYCRR 175.1, 175.7, 176.3, 177.3, 177.7 & 175.25 have been amended. 

The industry now has new understandings of escrow requirements, compensation, advertising, qualifying education and continuing education as of January 4, 2017. 

Summary of New Understandings:

  • As to escrow, we now know that we must deposit all escrow money within 3 business days and hold it in a secure place like a safe until such time as its deposited in the bank.
  • As to compensation, we have learned that if we are paid by more than one source, we no longer have to receive consent from all parties, just our client.
  • As to advertising, we understand that business cards must include our license type.
  • As to qualifying education, we know that we now need to learn 1 hour on the new topic of License Safety, but the topic of Property Insurance has been reduced to only 1 hour from 2. 
  • Finally, with respect to continuing education, we no longer have to take a minimum of 3 hours in a course module, but can take only 1 hour when such a course is available (Lieb School is launching a 1 hour Agency Disclosure course very soon) and each hour is now only 50 minutes long (for bathroom breaks, etc.) whereas it used to be a 60 minute requirement. 

The full amended regulations are as follows:

Section 175.1 of Title 19 NYCRR is amended to read as follows:
            Section 175.1. Commingling money of principal.
A real estate broker shall not commingle the money or other property of his principal with his own and shall at all times maintain a separate, special bank account to be used exclusively for the deposit of said monies and which deposit shall be made [as promptly as practicable] within three business days.   Until such time as the money is deposited into a separate, special bank account, it shall be safeguarded in a secure location so as to prevent loss or misappropriation.  Said monies shall not be placed in any depository, fund or investment other than a federally insured bank account.  Accrued interest, if any, shall not be retained by, or for the benefit of, the broker except to the extent that it is applied to, and deducted from, earned commission, with the consent of all parties.

Section 175.7 of Title 19 NYCRR is amended to read as follows:
            Section 175.7. Compensation.
A real estate broker shall make it clear for which party he is acting and he shall not receive compensation from more than one party except with the full knowledge and consent of [all parties] the broker’s client.

Section 176.3 (a) of Title 19 NYCRR is amended to read as follows:
            Section 176.3. Subjects for study--real estate salespersons.
            (a) The following are the required subjects to be included in the course of study in real estate for licensure as a real estate salesperson, and the required number of hours to be devoted to each subject:

Salesperson's Course
Subject Matter: Hours:
License Law and Regulations ................................... 3
Law of Agency ................................................. 11
Legal Issues .................................................. 10
The Contract of Sales and Leases .............................. 3
Real Estate Finance ........................................... 5
Land Use Regulations .......................................... 3
Construction and Environmental Issues ......................... 5
Valuation Process and Pricing Properties ...................... 3
Human Rights and Fair Housing ................................. 4
Real Estate Mathematics ....................................... 1
Municipal Agencies ............................................ 2
Property Insurance ........................................... [2] 1
License Safety ........................................... 1
Taxes and Assessments ......................................... 3
Condominiums and Cooperatives ................................. 4
Commercial and Investment Properties .......................... 10
Income Tax Issues in Real Estate Transactions ................. 3
Mortgage Brokerage ............................................ 1
Property Management ........................................... 2
Instruction ................................................... 75
Final Examination ............................................. 3
TOTAL ..................................................... 78

Section 177.3 (g) of Title 19 NYCRR is amended to read as follows:
 (g) a detailed outline of the subject matter of each course or seminar containing at least 22½ hours of instruction, or of each course module containing at least [three hours] one hour of instruction, together with the time sequence of each segment thereof, the faculty for each segment, and teaching techniques used in each segment;

Section 177.7 of Title 19 NYCRR is amended to read as follows:
            Section 177.7. Computation of instruction time.
            To meet the minimum statutory requirement, attendance shall be computed on the basis of an hour equaling [60] 50 minutes.

Section 175.25 (d)(2) of Title 19 NYCRR is amended to read as follows:
            Section 175.25. Business cards.

(2) Notwithstanding subdivision (c) of this section, business cards must contain the business address of the licensee, license type, and the name of the real estate broker or real estate brokerage with whom the associate real estate broker or real estate salesperson is associated. All business cards must also contain the office telephone number for the associate real estate broker, real estate salesperson or team.

Friday, January 20, 2017

HUD Suspends Planned 25 Basis Point Reduction of FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums

The Trump Administration has suspended a planned fee reduction of the annual mortgage insurance premiums required on FHA loans. In a letter released just hours after Donald Trump was sworn into office, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that "Mortgagee Letter 2017-01, reducing Mortgage Insurance Premiums for loans with Closing/Disbursement date on or after January 27, 2017, has been suspended indefinitely."

The planned fee reduction, announced by the Obama Administration earlier this month, was set to reduce the annual fee by twenty-five (25) basis points, or one quarter of one (1) percent, from 0.85% to 0.60% for loans less than or equal to Six Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($625,000.00). The planned reduction corresponded to a savings of approximately Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) in the first year of a Two Hundred Thousand Dollar ($200,000.00) loan.

The FHA mortgage insurance premium rate has varied between 0.55% and 1.35% during the Obama Administration as a reflection of changing market and credit risk. 

Explaining the decision to suspend the planned fee reduction, the letter stated that "FHA is committed to ensuring its mortgage insurance programs remains viable and effective in the long term for all parties involved, especially our taxpayers. As such, more analysis and research are deemed necessary to assess future adjustments while also considering potential market conditions in an ever-changing global economy that could impact our efforts". 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Newsday - "Long Island home prices rise as listings dwindle, report says"

Check out Newsday's front page for the article.

For real estate brokers that sounds like a mixed bag; higher numbers, but less listings.

For individual salespersons, this is the time where the top associate brokers will shine and separate themselves from the rest. Its time to roll up your sleeves and bring your A-Game.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Enforcing a Commercial Lease Against a Guarantor

Landlords cannot sue a guarantor in a Summary Proceeding because there is “no relationship of landlord and tenant … [where guarantor] was not a primary or joint obligor but assumed a secondary liability which accrued only upon default by the principal.” See Marburt Holding Corp. v. Picto Corp.,(1st Dept., 1958). Therefore, to enforce a guarantee, a landlord must pursue a Plenary Action against the guarantor following the conclusion of the Summary Proceeding. Nonetheless, landlords need not fret about the difficulty and cost incident to instituting a Plenary Action against a guarantor because landlords can proceed pursuant to CPLR §3213 and utilize the Doctrine of Collateral Estoppel in order to avoid the protracted litigation that is typical of a Plenary Action.

Read the full article by Andrew Lieb, Esq. published in The Suffolk Lawyer here. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

2016 SURVEY RESULTS ARE IN! Agency Disclosure ONLINE ranked BEST Real Estate CE

Nearly 100 NY Real Estate Agents concluded that Lieb School’s Agency Disclosure ONLINE CE course is the best real estate course on the market.

Surveys were conducted after each student completed the course. Below are some highlights: 
  • Best Instructor Ever.
  • Andrew is riveting and brilliant. A joy to watch and learn from.
  • Andrew can take a difficult to understand topic and make it easy to follow and comprehend.
  • Andrew Lieb is the only instructor that can keep me interested and awake when the content becomes boring. He is intelligent, well prepared, & entertaining. He is the only instructor for me.
  • I think Andrew Lieb is passionate and extremely knowledgeable. He makes an otherwise confusing subject easy to interpret and absorb!!!!
  • I loved the live interactions. Great sense of humor and outgoing personality made it interesting.
About The Course
  • THEEEEE BEST!!!!! Enough said. Period.
  • The best overall experience I've had. Thanks!
  • He breaks it into parts that makes so much sense, and keep you on your toes. No sleeping in this class@ :-) Even online, he makes it very interesting! 
  • I have had the opportunity to take this course in person and online and felt that this online format allowed me to better understand the subject. Particularly the section where you go through each possible way of filling out the form and what type of agency makes sense for what type of consumer. I feel more knowledgeable and confident with agency after completing this online course.
  • Was in the dark, now I see the light!!!!!!
  • This course exceeded my expectations and gave me a fresh perspective on the use of the Agency Disclosure form. I will be amending the way I present the form given the information I received and my improved understanding of the document.