LIEB BLOG

How current events impact your business and real estate holdings

Showing posts with label Landlord. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Landlord. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2021

Assaulting and Injuring a Landlord Is Not Enough for Eviction

In the Matter of Bryant v. Garcia, the First Department found that the termination of a tenant’s tenancy was too much of a penalty for hitting the landlord’s employee.

In this case, the tenant was a 64-year-old woman who has been a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) tenant for more than 40 years and who “suffered a momentary loss of control when she struck respondent’s employee, whom she believed to be in a relationship with her former partner” per the First Department. Due to the incident, the NYCHA terminated her lease and the tenant is now seeking to vacate that determination.

The Court granted her request and found that because the tenant has lived there for more than 40 years without incident and that the NYCHA has not showed any other proof that the tenant presents a safety concern, a lesser penalty than terminating her lease is warranted. Now, it’s up to the lower court to determine what the lesser penalty should be.

What do you think the penalty should be? Should assaulting and injuring a landlord be enough to evict?



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Commercial Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoriums Extended through January 1, 2021

Through Executive Order 202.70, Governor Cuomo extended the moratoriums for the initiation of a proceeding or enforcement of an eviction of any commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent or a foreclosure of any commercial mortgage for nonpayment of such mortgage to January 1, 2021. This means that no eviction or foreclosure proceeding may be commenced against commercial tenants for nonpayment of rent or mortgage until such date. However, commercial tenants may still be evicted through holdover eviction proceedings or sued under breach of contract theories for missed rent.

There are no moratoriums in place for residential properties by Executive Order but residential evictions based on non-payment are governed by the Tenant Safe Harbor Act. Courts may be prohibited issuing a warrant of eviction or judgment of possession against a residential tenant experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship, if the tenant raises it as an affirmative defense and the Court determines that the tenant is suffering such hardship. Listen to our podcast HERE for what this means to residential landlords.


Friday, July 17, 2020

Security Deposit Voucher Recipients PROTECTED by Source of Income Discrimination Laws

The NYS Appellate Division recently clarified that "[t]he fact that the security vouchers are a guarantee of payment, rather than a cash payment, does not render them not 'income,' as they are an item of value, worth a payment of up to one month's rent on the tenant's behalf to compensate for unpaid rent or damages to an apartment."

Landlords, brokers, and property managers be warned - you cannot deny a prospective tenant based upon the source of their money for their security deposit as well as for their rent.

Click to read the full Appellate decision, Estates NY Real Estate Servs. LLC v City of New York.

Discrimination lawsuits are everywhere, but they are easy to avoid so long as you treat everyone equally irrespective of their membership in a protected class.

If you get sued for discrimination, lawyer-up fast and watch what you say. Many defendants dig their grave when they get sued for discrimination by acting irrationally. Protect yourself and your company now with trainings at liebcompliance.com


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Eviction and Foreclosure Stay Continued for Commercial Properties Not Residential

On July 6, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.48 which affects the validity of many existing executive orders but most notable of which, is that it extends the stay on evictions and foreclosures proceedings to August 5, 2020 for commercial properties, but not for residential properties.

Essentially, Executive Order 202.48 extends the validity of Executive Order 202 up to 202.14, as continued and contained in Executive Order 202.27, 202.28, and 202.38 for another thirty (30) days through August 5, 2020 with some exceptions.

Real estate professionals should be aware that it does not extend the eviction and foreclosure moratorium in place as ordered in Executive Order 202.28 for all residential tenants and mortgagors. However, for commercial properties, an eviction and foreclosure stay is still in place until August 5, 2020.

As such, landlords and lenders should take note of the following:
  • Residential evictions may now be commenced but courts are prohibited from awarding warrants of eviction and judgments of possession for tenants experiencing financial hardship for non-payment of rent that accrues or becomes due during the COVID-19 period pursuant to the Tenant Safe Harbor Act. Money judgments may be awarded. For more information, read our blog HERE;
  • Residential foreclosure proceedings based on nonpayment due to COVID-19 are prohibited until August 20, 2020 pursuant to Executive Order 202.28;
  • Commercial foreclosure proceedings based on nonpayment due to COVID-19 are prohibited until August 5, 2020 pursuant to Executive Order 202.48;
  • Commercial evictions based on nonpayment are prohibited until August 5, 2020 pursuant to Executive Order 202.48; and
  • Commercial holdover proceedings may be commenced beginning June 21, 2020 pursuant to Executive Order 202.8.

Landlords and lenders are advised to contact counsel to ensure that all laws, executive orders, and court directives in place due to the coronavirus pandemic are followed. As noted in our recent blog HERE, eviction and foreclosure proceedings now require that the petitioner/plaintiff file additional forms with the commencement documents pursuant to recent directives from Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks dated June 18, 2020 and June 23, 2020.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Commercial Personal Guaranties Deemed Unenforceable in NYC Council’s COVID-19 Relief Bill – Litigation to Follow if Enacted


On May 13, 2020, the NYC Council approved Int. No. 1932-A, which makes substantial changes to personal guaranties in commercial leases. The bill is on the Mayor’s desk to be enacted.

The bill’s purpose is to provide relief to NYC commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19. It temporarily prohibits the enforcement of personal liability provisions in commercial leases or rental agreements. It would amend the Administrative Code of the City of New York by adding Section 22-1005 and adding Paragraph 14 to Subdivision a of section 22-902 of the NYC Administrative Code.

If enacted, the bill would render guarantee provisions unenforceable against natural persons who are not a tenant in commercial leases or other rental real property. The law would only impact liability for the payment of rent and other charges caused by an occurrence of default, and subject to the following conditions:
1. The tenant must satisfy at least one of the following:
a)     The tenant was required to cease serving patrons food or beverage for on-premises consumption or to cease operation under EO 202.3;
b)     The tenant was a non-essential retail establishment subject to in-person limitations under guidance issued by the NYS Department of Economic Development pursuant to EO 202.6; or
c)     The tenant was required to close to members of the public under EO 202.7; and

2. The default or other event which caused the natural person to become personally liable for such obligation occurred between March 7, 2020 and September 30, 2020, inclusive.

Under the bill, an attempt to enforce a personal liability provision that the landlord knows or reasonably should know is unenforceable, pursuant to the above, shall be deemed commercial tenant harassment, which could result in compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees and court costs. See N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 22-903.

Sounds too good to be true for many tenants and often when it’s too good to be true, it’s untrue. Expect this law to be challenged on constitutional grounds should it be enacted. Specifically, the bill seems to impair the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution because it retroactively affects personal guaranties entered into prior to the bill’s passing. For such a claim to succeed, the initial inquiry under the impairment of contracts clause contains three components:
  1. Whether there is a contractual relationship;
  2. Whether a change in law impairs that contractual relationship; and
  3. Whether the impairment is substantial. U.S.C.A. Const. Art. 1, § 10, cl. 1; American Economy Ins. Co. v. State, 30 N.Y.3d 136 (2017).
While tenants will surely argue that the bill doesn’t substantially impair the parties’ contractual relationship, as the bill only covers rent and payments for the period of March 7, 2020 to September 30, 2020, landlords will counter that the personal guarantee was a material term of the lease and a substantial reason that the landlord agreed to enter into the contract.

For analogy, the Court of Appeals has previously struck down similar government interference in contacts. In Patterson v. Carey, the Court of Appeals struck down a law which curtailed toll authority bondholders’ ability to increase their tolls for Jones Beach State Parkway on constitutional grounds. 41 N.Y.2d 714 (1977). 

If the NYC bill passes, it would likely undergo similar challenges and review as the law in Patterson and be deemed unconstitutional. The bill’s impairment to contractual rights agreed upon by landlords and guarantors would be substantial, especially considering that the bill does not merely delay a landlord’s right to enforce the guarantee during the period stated in the bill, it extinguishes it altogether.

Mayor DeBlasio has until June 12, 2020 to either sign, veto, or do nothing. If the Mayor signs the bill or does nothing, the bill will automatically become law. If the Mayor vetoes the bill, it is sent back to the Council. The Council can then override the Mayor’s veto with a 2/3 vote.

In the meantime, both landlords and tenants should contact their attorneys to ensure that their interests are protected and to prepare for expected lawsuits to follow. For ideas on how to creatively resolve lease issues due to coronavirus and for tips on important lease provisions when renegotiating, listen to our podcasts HERE and HERE.