LIEB BLOG

Legal Media Analysts

Friday, December 10, 2021

Owners & Landlords Are No Longer Able to Recover Legal Fees Unless Given Authority by the Court

A new law on landlord's ability to collect legal fees was signed by Gov. Hochul on December 21, 2021 and is effective immediately. The law, S2014, means a lot to owners and landlords in New York. The Bill prohibits owners and landlords from charging lessees any legal fee, surcharge, or other charges for legal services in connection to operating or renting a residential unit, unless the owner/landlord has the legal authority to do so. A lessee is only responsible to pay legal fees if directed by a court order. However, you only get a court order if you go to court and do not resolve issues beforehand. As a result, legal fees for out-of-court negotiations, lease drafting, amendments, and the like are no longer recoverable.


Do you think that owners and landlords will be less likely to resolve disputes without going to court if they can't recover their legal fees? 


It’s no secret that legal work can be costly. So, it is typical for landlord-petitioners to try and recoup the money that they spend retaining an attorney and all of the expenses that come with legal work and legal actions. Aside from legal representation, additional legal fees can include court fees, notary public charges, and administrative charges, to name a few. This bill is aimed at the costs of lease preparation, pre-litigation negotiations, and all the work that landlords need in order to avoid a court case. 


Co-ops are technically landlords to their residents and as a result, all legal fees imposed by the Board for sales, document review, and the like may no longer be recoverable based on this law.  There is no carveout for Co-ops and that needs to be addressed. Perhaps, Governor Hochul should have told the legislature to get it right before she signed the Bill into law.


This is just another obstacle for owners and landlords, which increases the cost of business, and eventually, the rent paid by tenants.





No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts and ask your questions here.

Only restrictions are no spam, discrimination, and/or harassing others.

By commenting here you assign us a irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual and royalty free license on your copyright to reproduce your comment, in whole or in part, as we unilaterally deem fit.