LIEB BLOG

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Showing posts with label Rental. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rental. Show all posts

Monday, January 10, 2022

Suffolk County Renters: BEWARE!

Suffolk County renters: BEWARE! Those looking to rent in Suffolk County, New York should proceed with caution when searching for a rental home. 


In an effort to protect Suffolk County tenant/residents from rental fraud, the County Legislature has amended Local Law No. 30-2021. Rental fraud is committed when a person or entity leases a residential or commercial property to another, when that person or entity does not have an ownership interest in the property or authorization from the owner to lease the property. Properties that are vacant or foreclosed upon are typically the kinds of properties that are used for rental fraud. 


The law now states that "persons seeking to rent or lease real property MAY [emphasis added] demonstrate ... ownership interest or authorization to rent, lease or sublet real property." Ownership interest for real property can be demonstrated to a potential tenant via a fully signed and valid deed or a fully signed lease agreement. Similarly, a person can demonstrate they have authorization from the property owner to rent or lease the property by providing a potential tenant with proof of agency. 


The problem with this new law is that the Legislature does not actually require those looking to lease out their real property to prove that they are indeed the owner of the property. If the Legislature actually wants to protect potential tenants from rental fraud, they need to revise this law immediately and require that persons seeking to rent out real property provide proof of ownership or agency authorization incident to such rental.


Those who commit rental fraud and are caught will face penalties subject to a fine of up to $1,000.00 and/or up to six months imprisonment. Do you think the punishment fits the crime? 


In the meantime, potential tenants can and should take additional steps to protect themselves where the Legislature has fallen short. As rental fraud has become a hot topic in Suffolk, potential tenants should do their research, as well as request proof of ownership from those who are leasing properties. If a lessor refuses or cannot provide proof of ownership or agency authorization, it may be best to continue the house hunt.




Saturday, December 21, 2019

New Law: Prospective tenants can obtain history of gas & electric charges incurred

On December 20, 2019, Senate Bill S3585 became law.

This bill's purpose is that it "[r]equires gas and electric utility companies to make available to any landlord and lessor of residential rental premises, upon the request of a prospective tenant or lessor of a residential unit, information concerning gas and electric charges incurred from prior occupants of the dwelling."

The bill's justification explains that "[p]eople should have the right to inquire from a gas and electric company the amount of the bills being paid for heat and electric service by the prior customer before they move into a residence. They should not have to rely on a landlord or homeowner's word about how much it costs to heat a residence."

This new law, Public Serivce Law section 66-p, is effective on 4/18/2020.

Thursday, July 07, 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.