LIEB BLOG

How current events impact business & real estate

Showing posts with label New York. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New York. Show all posts

Friday, May 15, 2020

Victim of Domestic Violence experiencing PTSD deemed Disabled and entitled to Reasonable Accommodation under ADA


In a recent New York City Civil Court decision, the Court held that disability due to domestic violence can entitle a tenant to a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Specifically, in Schuhab HDFC v. Delacruz (Case Number: 64402/17), the court held that the tenant’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from domestic violence should entitle her to a probationary order as reasonable accommodation. Under the Fair Housing Act, a landlord is required to provide a handicapped tenant with a reasonable accommodation for the tenant to keep the apartment (42 U.S.C.3605(f(3)(B)). In this case, such reasonable accommodation was in the form of a probationary stay – instead of the tenant getting evicted right away, she was allowed to stay subject to several conditions to prevent any adverse effect to other tenants and guests.

As background, the case was commenced as a holdover landlord-tenant eviction proceeding by Schuab HDFC against the tenant on the grounds that the tenant used or permitted the premises to be used for the distribution and/or sale of controlled substances. The tenant’s defense was that she neither knew of or acquiesced to the illegal activity. She also requested the court grant her a reasonable accommodation in the form of a probationary stay in the premises as a result of her disability from being a victim of domestic violence.

The Court’s decision narrates and incudes the instances of domestic violence that the tenant suffered from her former partner, the resulting PTSD, and the circumstances which led to her partner’s use of the premises for drug activity as testified by the tenant. While considering the tenant’s testimony and her psychiatrist’s input, the Court agreed in finding that the tenant suffers from PTSD and such disability should entitle her to a probationary stay under the Fair Housing Act.

Consequently, the Court granted the landlord a final judgment of possession against the tenant and other occupants, but also granted the probationary stay in the tenant’s favor as a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. The tenant is required to exclude her former partner from the premises, avoid and preclude others from participating in drug-related activity in the premises for a period of two (2) years. In the event of a breach, Petitioner may move for the issuance of a judgment of possession and warrant of eviction.

Real estate professionals should be aware of this decision in order to ensure compliance with the Fair Housing Act and limit exposure to claims of discrimination for refusing to provide reasonable accommodations.





Monday, December 16, 2019

New Law: Notice of Conveyance to Current Owner of Record

On December 12, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Senate Bill S5372 which amends Real Property Law § 291. Effective March 11, 2020, upon receiving a request to record a new conveyance, the county clerk or city registrar shall mail a written notice of the conveyance of real property to the current owner of record. Such notice must have the heading printed in 20-point bold type and read as follows:

NOTICE OF SALE OR TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP OF YOUR RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY.
To:______________________________
Name of owner of record
Our records show that you are listed as the current owner of record for residential property:
Block # __________ Lot # ________
Located At: ___________________________ street address
in the county of __________________ New York
On ____________, documents were filed at this
date

office to change ownership and transfer title of your property.

To: ______________________________
name of new owner
If you have any questions regarding the validity of the documents, and wish to dispute the recording of the transfer, you should obtain legal counsel. If you believe you are a victim of a crime related to this recording, contact your local law enforcement agency or, if in the City of New York, the office of the sheriff.

The person seeking to record a new conveyance shall bear the costs of the written notice which shall cover the cost of mailing the notice to the owner of record. However, failure to mail such notice or the failure of any party to receive the same, shall not affect the validity of the conveyance of the property.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

No More Straws at Suffolk County Restaurants

Effective January 1, 2020, Suffolk County restaurants, grocery stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores are only allowed to provide paper / food straws (biodegradable and/or backyard compostable single-use beverage straws or stirrers) to consumers and you don’t get them unless you request them.

These restrictions are pursuant to L.L. No. 20-2019 or §700-13 et seq. of the Suffolk County Code.

There are exceptions though - straws are still allowed for prepackaged individual serving beverages with a small plastic straw included such as juice or milk boxes and pouches. Straws may also still be provided with drinks purchased at a drive through window or self-service beverage station provided that it is biodegradable and/or backyard compostable. Lastly, consumers with a disability or medical condition may still request a plastic or other non-biodegradable straw or stirrer.

Violations are subject to a civil penalty of $100 for the first violation, $200 for any second violation occurring within 12 months of the first violation, and $400 for any third or subsequent violations within 12 months of a prior violation. Each day a violation occurs is a separate and distinct offense.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Why Employers Should Outsource Sexual Harassment Trainings & Policies

Many employers are saying that they will write sexual harassment policies and conduct the mandatory trainings themselves, but they will quickly find that doing it themselves is a big mistake.

Beyond the heavy burden of compliance with Labor Law 201-g (NYS) and Local Law 96 (NYC), employers who do the trainings themselves will have to repeatedly train their staff every time they have a new hire (NYS requires as soon as possible from start date whereas NYC requires training within 90 days). 

Moreover, there are ramifications for employers who do not have their employees take the training (i.e., it's a misdemeanor and likely will trigger an EPLI insurance provider to disclaim coverage in a prospective sex discrimination lawsuit). With risk avoidance being the key to these new laws, a sexual harassment vendor should offer the following:
  1. A system to track that employees took the training in anticipation of a Department of Labor audit;
  2. A system to track that the sexual harassment policy and complaint form were distributed in writing and agreed to be followed (i.e., clickwrap) by the employee - distribution of these documents is also required;
  3. A branded policy and training, with both addressing all types of discrimination, beyond just sexual harassment, because the employer may face a discrimination suit on a different protected class and wouldn't want to have to explain to a jury why they only cared about sex discrimination, not the applicable protected class (e.g., race, marital status, disability, etc.); and
  4. Most importantly, a digital on-demand product because the training needs to be instantly available to new employees 
Lieb Compliance offer employers a web-based, on-demand interactive video training platform. While we understand that there are many vendors who train on sexual harassment, most of them don't offer online trainings in compliance with both Labor Law 201-g and Local Law 96. Further, most don't offer to digitally distribute a branded company policy and a tailored complaint form, which are both required under laws. Still further, our competitors rarely offer an opportunity for employers to require that their employees affirmatively agree to be bound by their policy through a digital clickwrap receipt. Please understand that our system goes above and beyond to make compliance easy. We include security checkpoints, randomized quiz questions, note-taking, and the ability for employees to ask questions of the instructor. We even offer monthly user reports so employers can monitor their team's compliance.  


Many "lawyers" teach, but being licensed isn't enough, being dynamic is everything when presenting emotion-ridden topics to employees. Our courses are led by Andrew Lieb, Esq., who founded Lieb Compliance and is our Chief Compliance Officer. Andrew is a prolific author and has trained tens of thousands of employees and independent contractors nationally on compliance topics. He's taught on the college level (human sexuality), he's taught corporate compliance and he even operates a New York State licensed school. Simply stated, he's our secret sauce. 

We encourage you to learn more about our Sexual Harassment Prevention Trainings and Services.



Monday, January 12, 2015

New NYS Foreclosure Prevention Program is Closing its First Loans

Yesterday, the New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, announced in a press release that the first loans have closed in the New York State Mortgage Assistance Program (NYSMAP) to help homeowners across the state pay off their mortgage arrears and/or liens in order to avoid foreclosure.

This program was launched on Long Island in September and was opened to the rest of the state in mid-October to provide funds to homeowners so that they may apply and be approved for loan modifications. Since one of the most common reasons for loan modification denial is the inability to pay off mortgage arrears, unpaid property taxes, and liens on properties in foreclosure, these NYSMAP loans are specifically designed to help homeowners pay off these types of debt up to $40,000. The program has already received 41 loan applications and approved 9 loans from Long Island alone. Mr. Schneiderman is predicting that hundreds of loans across the state will be approved over the next year, helping homeowners obtain loan modifications and keep their homes into the future.

Click here at nysmap.org or call 855-466-3456 to see if you are eligible for a loan through NYSMAP.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New York Foreclosure Settlement Conferences are Tools to Help Homeowners Stay in Their Homes

New York is one of many states across the country that has implemented court-mandated settlement conferences for residential foreclosure actions.

It is important to understand how these conferences work so that homeowners can take full advantage of this opportunity to delay and avoid foreclosure. The initial conference must be scheduled within 60 days after the proof of service of the complaint has been filed with the county clerk and allows the borrower to meet with his or her Lender and a court referee or judge to discuss potential workout options, such as loan modifications or payment plans. If the borrower decides to apply for a loan modification, the Lender provides the borrower with a document request for the loan modification application, and the court referee sets deadlines for the submission and review of the application. Typically, there are numerous conferences throughout the application process in order to ensure that the borrower is complying with the Lender’s document requests and that the Lender is properly reviewing the application. If a borrower believes he was improperly denied a loan modification, his attorney may request a bad faith hearing with the judge to determine whether the Lender should be sanctioned for bad faith negotiations. These settlement conferences not only help homeowners delay the foreclosure process but also can stop the foreclosure process all together.

Not every person who has a property in foreclosure in New York State is entitled to these mandatory pre-trial foreclosure settlement conferences. The law in New York (CPLR 3408), extends the conferences only to owner-occupied residential properties, so if a homeowner has a vacant property or a rental property in foreclosure, he or she is not entitled to a CPLR 3408 conference as of right.

Further, CPLR 3408 does not apply in federal court, but settlement conferences are still available at the federal level. Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows federal courts to hold pre-trial conferences for the purpose of settlement negotiations and encourages judges to take an active part in the settlement negotiations. The procedures differ at the federal level but the purpose is still the same. These conferences are often the difference between a homeowner staying in his or her home and losing it.