LIEB BLOG

How current events impact business & real estate

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Podcast: Breakdown of New Eviction & Foreclosure Moratorium + Tips on Timing The Market

On episode 206 of The Lieb CastWe give an update on timing the real estate market and clarify new updates to the eviction & foreclosure moratoriums. Search "The Lieb Cast" on any podcast player. 





Podcast: Interview with Attorney Suing Texas Governor over Mask Mandate Ban

On episode 205 of The Lieb CastWe bring on the Attorney who is representing the group of disabled children in Texas suing Governor Abbott over school mask mandate ban.  We predict the unraveling of several lawsuits to follow. Search "The Lieb Cast" on any podcast player. 






Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Leslie Mendoza, Esq. quoted in Newsday Article about Foreclosure Moratorium

Take a read of Maura McDermott's latest article in Newsday, "NY's COVID-19 foreclosure ban is set to expire, but homeowners can still get help," where she quotes our very own Leslie Mendoza, Esq.


Leslie explains that while the "[t]he state’s temporary foreclosure ban 'merely delays any kind of discussion between the borrower and the lender in terms of resolving the delinquencies,' the CFPB rule should help many homeowners get a modified loan, as long as they qualify for one."


To learn more about whether you qualify, read the article and always speak to a great lawyer.




Landlords with Elevators - What do you do for disabled people during outages?

The MTA needs to explain what reasonable accommodations it made for passengers with disabilities to access the subways during its frequent and inconvenient elevator outages according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Brooklyn Ctr. for Indep. of the Disabled v. Metro. Transp. Auth.


This raises an important question for all landlords - what do you do to provide access for disabled people when your elevators don't work? 


According to the Court, "[a]n “accommodation must overcome . . . non-trivial temporal delays that limit access to programs, services, and activities.” 


While the the MTA offered accommodations such as busing alternatives, notice of outages, and permanent signage explaining alternative routes, the Second Circuit said that wasn't enough to summarily dismiss the case.


Have you audited your accommodation offerings recently? If not, you should. 





Friday, August 20, 2021

New Law Cuts Down Banking Overdraft Fees for its Customers

In one of his last acts as Governor for the State of New York, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation on August 19, 2021, which requires banks in NY to take action to prevent overdraft fees against its customers. 


Previously, under the NYS Banking Law, if a customer's check exceeds the funds available in the customer's checking account, that check and any subsequent checks received by the bank would be dishonored by the bank. In other words, even if there were sufficient funds to satisfy these subsequent checks, the banks would still dishonor those checks because the initial check was rejected, and therefore, the banks would be able to charge overdraft fees on each rejected check. 


This new legislation (S1465) requires banks to honor any subsequent checks presented to a bank if the customer's account has sufficient funds to cover those checks, even if the initial or prior check was dishonored due to insufficient funds in the checking account. 


The rationale behind this new legislation stems from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; specifically, the struggles in our economy and the struggles that many families continue to endure when it comes to paying their bills. This new legislation will ensure that banking customers will not be charged excessive overdraft fees and will allow customers to hold onto more of their money.


How big of an impact will this new legislation have on our economy going forward? 



                                   



Thursday, August 19, 2021

Federal Judge allows CDC Eviction Moratorium to Remain in Effect

On August, 13, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich held that the CDC eviction moratorium, which was extended by the Biden Administration through October 3, 2021 (“New CDC Moratorium”) should remain in effect.

This means that tenants may still be protected, subject to certain rules, until October 3, 2021.

As background, the CDC’s previous moratorium, which was first enacted in September 2020 and was challenged all the way up the US Supreme Court, expired on July 31, 2021.

Yet, before it expired the Supreme Court upheld its effectiveness until an appeal was decided on its merits, which remains pending. Now, the moratorium, which we discuss more fully here, remains in effect because Judge Friedrich ruled that it remains subject to the prior stay. on the basis that the New CDC Moratorium is subject to the D.C. Circuit Court’s stay.

Stay tuned for changes as Judge Friedrich’s decision is currently under appeal.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Housing Discrimination - Updated Protected Classes List - As Applicable to Downstate New York

We are always updating our CE courses at Lieb School because the law is constantly changing. 


While the law changes on every topic, there is no field that seems to be evolving today more than anti-discrimination law. So, we thought it important to share our updated definitive lists of protected classes within downstate New York for Fair Housing and Discrimination Law.


Note - While these lists are similar for employment discrimination law, there are minor differences in protections between the two fields and you should consult with an attorney should you have any questions.


Fair Housing Act:

  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. National origin
  4. Religion
  5. Sex
  6. Familial status
  7. Handicap

New York State Human Rights Law
  1. Race
  2. Creed
  3. Color
  4. National origin
  5. Sexual orientation
  6. Gender identity or expression (transgender)
  7. Military status
  8. Sex
  9. Age
  10. Disability
  11. Marital status
  12. Lawful source of income
  13. Familial status
  14. Arrest / sealed conviction record
  15. Domestic violence victim status (lease / occupancy only)

New York City Human Rights Law
  1. Race
  2. Creed 
  3. Color 
  4. National origin 
  5. Gender 
  6. Age 
  7. Disability 
  8. Sexual orientation 
  9. Uniformed service
  10. Marital status 
  11. Partnership status 
  12. Immigration or citizenship status
  13. Lawful source of income 
  14. Presence of children 
  15. Occupation
  16. Victim of domestic violence, stalking or sex offenses

Westchester Fair Housing Law:
  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Religion
  4. Age
  5. National origin
  6. Alienage or citizenship status
  7. Ethnicity
  8. Familial status
  9. Creed
  10. Gender
  11. Sexual orientation
  12. Marital status 
  13. Disability 
  14. Source of income
  15. Status as victim of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or stalking

Nassau County Fair Housing (Open Housing)
  1. Race
  2. Creed
  3. Color
  4. Gender
  5. Disability
  6. Age 
  7. Religion
  8. Source of income
  9. Veteran status 
  10. Sexual orientation
  11. Familial status 
  12. Marital status
  13. Ethnicity  
  14. National origin
  15. First responder status
  16. Visible traits of an individual such as natural hair texture, protective hairstyles & donning of religious garments or items and shall include segregation

Suffolk County Human Rights Law:
  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. Creed
  4. Age
  5. National origin
  6. Alienage / citizenship
  7. Gender
  8. Sexual orientation 
  9. Disability
  10. Marital status 
  11. Sex
  12. Familial status
  13. Military status 
  14. Visible traits of an individual, such as natural hair texture, protective hairstyles & donning of religious garments or items
  15. Lawful source of income
  16. Veteran status
  17. Victim of domestic violence

To remind everyone, the federal law is the floor under which states and locales may not fall. Plus, there are often city / town / village anti-discrimination laws that are also relevant and must be respected in housing.

Discrimination is wrong and should be eliminated through trainings, policies, and lawsuits. As a society, we have to utilize all of the tools in our arsenal to make housing available to everyone irrespective of demographics.

Help us to get the word out on this one. It's important because unless everyone knows the protections, no one is really protected.





Monday, August 16, 2021

First Week Working in Real Estate Law: Expectations vs. Reality

Hi, my name is Adriana Sutich and I’m the newest member of the Lieb at Law, P.C. team. I’m waiting on admission to the Bar and then, I will be a closings attorney with the firm. At that time, I’m going to use my married name, Adriana Mason, Esq. Until then, I wanted to share my initial experience as an almost-attorney so that we could get to know one another. 


Before I started working at Lieb at Law, P.C., I had very limited knowledge of what it was like to work in real estate law.  I have a sister-in-law who works at a title company, and a family friend who used to be a real estate attorney, and when I asked them to describe what working in real estate is really like, the phrase that kept coming up was “fast-paced.” So, I knew before I started working here that real estate transactions move along quickly. This makes sense, as it is understandable that people who are buying or selling their home want to get to the closing table as quickly as possible.  In my experience, this definitely proved to be true.  In my first few days, I saw numerous instances where we would get a new deal, have the contract out that same day, the buyer’s attorney would have it signed and returned a day or two later, and then it was on to the next steps. 


What I didn’t anticipate, though, is how many things can go wrong in anticipation of a closing, and how quickly they can fall apart, sometimes at the last minute.  Some examples of last-minute events that can derail a closing include: 

  1. A document needed for the closing not arriving in the mail in time. In my first few days, I saw a closing fall apart 45 minutes before it was supposed to start, for this exact reason.
  2. The property was not in the exact condition as agreed upon for closing. If there are personal belongings, boxes, or anything still on the premises that isn’t supposed to be there, the closing will be postponed. 
  3. There are scheduling issues. It is difficult to get all the necessary parties to be available at the same time for a closing, so if someone must cancel, the closing will have to be postponed, and the scheduling will have to start all over again.

These are just a few situations that I’ve seen during my first few days on the job. I’m sure I will encounter countless other examples as time goes on. 


What other unanticipated events do you think that I will see next?


I’m going to keep sharing my experiences so stay tuned to what I learn next.  




Friday, August 13, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Allows NYS Landlords to Resume Evictions

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked part of New York’s eviction moratorium, specifically Part A of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Protection Act of 2020 (CEEFPA), which imposed a moratorium on evictions for tenants who provide their landlord with a signed hardship declaration. What this means is that New York State landlords can now resume their eviction matters.

As a reminder, CEEFPA allowed tenants to simply sign and provide a Hardship Declaration to their landlords to halt any eviction proceeding against them. The Supreme Court found that this self-certification by the tenant and CEEFPA’s limited avenue for a landlord to challenge the tenant’s declaration “violates the Court’s longstanding teaching that ordinarily ‘no man can be a judge in his own case.’”

The Supreme Court’s decision is a big win for landlords and it came at a time when everyone is wondering whether CEEFPA’s eviction moratorium, which was set to expire on August 31, 2021, would be extended. However, New York landlord-tenant courts and county sheriffs have yet to implement rules which reflect the Supreme Court’s decision. We’ll keep you posted.

Although the New York eviction moratorium is now essentially nonexistent, it should be noted that the CDC moratorium is still in place until October 3, 2021. However, with the CDC moratorium basically having the same framework as CEEFPA, it's possible that it will also come under the same scrutiny as CEEFPA and also be struck down. What do you think?



Thursday, August 12, 2021

Will NY Governor Hochul End the Employer Wage Theft Loophole?

One of the first decisions that Governor Hochul will likely have when she is sworn in should be relatively simple. 


The new Governor should sign S858, which was delivered to the Governor on August 9, 2021, and which amends Labor Law 193 to stop employers from utilizing a narrow definition of deductions to steal wages. The amendment states "THERE IS NO EXCEPTION TO LIABILITY UNDER THIS SECTION FOR THE UNAUTHORIZED FAILURE TO PAY WAGES, BENEFITS OR WAGE SUPPLEMENTS."


As background, the Labor Law authorizes employees to sue to recover "unpaid wages, attorney's fees, and in many cases liquidated damages" for violations of Article 6 of the Labor Law. However, oddly enough, Article 6 does not contain any express obligation to pay wages. Rather, the Labor Law requires timely payment of minimum wage overtime, etc. Employees have used Section 193 ("Deductions from Wages") to try to recover for an employer's complete failure to pay wages with mixed results because Section 193 applies to unlawful deductions from wages, not a failure to pay full wages or an employer, for example, unilaterally reducing an employee's wages for a given pay period for poor performance (not technically considered a "deduction"). Employees, thus, are often left to proceed under a cause of action for breach of contract, which does not permit recovery of liquidated damages and attorneys fees. This new proposed law, which the new Governor should sign, clears up any confusion by clarifying that any non-payment is a deduction and damages are recoverable, including attorneys' fees.


According to the Bill's justification, "employees must be paid what they are owed, no matter what."


If you haven't been paid, you have 6 years under the Labor Law to pursue your wages.


Have you been paid everything that you are owed? If not, you should contact an employment attorney.