New York’s Lowest Rent is $1.00 per Month | Long Island Landlord Tenant Lawyer

Many renters in Nassau County are like pilgrims on a lifelong quest: the quest for lower rent. They feverishly talk with new acquaintances about their monthly fees, scan the buildings they drive past for advertisements, and drool over “urban legends” about rent-controlled apartments that date back a hundred years.

No Urban Legend

There may have been urban legends in the past about rental units for one dollar a month, but this story is happening right now, at a desirable apartment building in Harlem. Renters in Nassau County would feel like they had won the lottery if they found themselves in the renter’s unusual situation.

The renter had answered an ad online and signed a lease for $2,100 per month—a typical rate for the building. After some time, however, he became aware that the apartment was in the midst of a strange “legal limbo.” After a fire in the apartment building, the owners had allowed previous tenants to pay $1.00 per month in rent as a placeholder during repairs. But when the repairs were finished, the landlord did not contact the previous tenants to let them know they could come back. Instead, he listed the unit online for $2,100 per month.

Taking Advantage of the Situation

It looked to the renter as if he might have legal grounds to insist on the $1.00 monthly rate for himself. Since the super-low rate was technically the lease price for the apartment at the time he signed up, the court agreed and required the landlord to lower the rent by exactly $2,099. Unless subsequent legal action reverses that decision, we can expect the current renter to hang on to his lease as long as possible!

Back Down to Earth

Most renters in Nassau County will never encounter the kind of legal mistake that gave the Harlem renter such an incredible benefit. And even if they did, they would probably not recognize it as an opportunity to be pounced upon. Sadly, there are many more common kinds of legal mistakes that renters don’t recognize, costing them money and headache. Neglect by busy landlords, changing rent fees without warning, and racial discrimination are just some of the difficulties that renters in Nassau County are likely to encounter. If this describes your situation, call the law offices of Neil Weissman to ask for a free consultation. The law promises you fair treatment, but it often takes action on your part to make that happen.

Some Key Foreclosure Terms Explained | Long Island Foreclosure Lawyer

Staring down a stack of foreclosure documents is a frightening prospect. The simple fact that a lender is attempting to force you out of your home makes it difficult to focus on solving the problem, much less understanding the technical legal terms in the paperwork itself. As with any sensitive legal matter, you should consult with a lawyer in New York to help you resolve the situation in the best way possible. In the meantime, here are some plain English explanations of some of the terms you are likely to come across in a foreclosure case:

Acceleration

When a borrower violates the terms of his loan agreement (mortgage), the lender doesn’t simply “cancel” the loan. Instead, most loan agreements include a clause that gives the lender the right to call the entire remaining balance due if the borrower fails to comply with the contract—most often, in the form of missing scheduled payments. Obviously, the borrower is hardly ever able to pay back that large amount of money, and that gives the lender the possibility of taking back the home. Calling the mortgage balance due all at once is acceleration.

Due Process

If your foreclosure proceeding makes it into the courtroom, you are likely to hear attorneys debating the issue of due process. Drawn straight from the U.S. Constitution, this term simply refers to whether or not the lender has explicitly followed all the rules pertaining to the foreclosure. Even a seemingly minor mistake, such as printing an incorrect address, name, or monetary value on a document, could be enough reason for a judge to stop a foreclosure, at least temporarily. The rules are important, even the minor ones, and are instituted to protect both borrowers and lenders from illegal practices.

Renegotiation

Renegotiation is the best chance for many families who face foreclosure. Following the housing crisis of the past decade, state and federal regulators have begun encouraging—and in some cases forcing—lenders to engage in renegotiation instead of foreclosure. By sitting down with the borrowers and their lawyers, lenders can often arrive at a compromise that allows the borrowers to stay in their homes while paying whatever they can. The lender may lose some money in the deal, but usually not as much as a foreclosure would cost.

Understanding what a term means is only the first of many steps. Attorneys make it their business to know how these terms play out in the real world, and how previous cases affect the way courts and lenders think about them. If you are in foreclosure trouble, call a Long Island foreclosure lawyer at the Law Offices of Neil Weissman for help today.

Latest Eviction Notice: Addressed to Madison Square Garden | Long Island Landlord Tenant Lawyer

Renters who are “between jobs” or simply refuse to pay their rent are not the only NYC residents who receive eviction notices. One local tenant has received a notice to vacate the premises within ten years, which is much more time than most tenants receive! You may have heard of this tenant: it’s a little sports and entertainment venue called Madison Square Garden.

Landlord Wants the Space

The reason for the eviction is a common complaint on the part of landlords: the property’s owner wants to use the space that MSG occupies for a different purpose. Apartment building landlords often want to raise the rent on their units, but can’t do so until the current tenants move out. Or, they might receive an offer from a restaurant or other commercial operation to rent the space at a higher monthly rate. In this particular case, the city wants to expand Penn Station into the area. The new Penn Station would hopefully enhance the public transportation system and attract tourism.

Waste of Money?

Moving Madison Square Garden would, obviously, be a gigantic undertaking—although, it’s been done several times before. There’s one detail that makes it even harder to imagine, though: the facility is right at the end of a massive renovation that cost nearly $1 billion. If MSG has to move, all of that work and money will have very little benefit.

Many renters are familiar with the feeling. They decorate their apartment to make it feel like a home, but when they move out, they leave all the work for someone else to enjoy. Worse yet, some landlords require tenants to restore units to their original conditions before moving out.

What to Do About an Eviction

Is a legal battle on the horizon for Madison Square Garden? With a ten-year deadline, any proceedings are likely to have a fairly slow start. The venue’s operators do have the option to reapply for a renewal within that time as well.

New York City tenants rarely have such leisurely options, though. An eviction notice is a warning signal that prompts fast action and the hiring of an attorney to help with the situation. Whether the eviction is completely inappropriate, or whether it arises from a misunderstanding between the tenant and the landlord, a lawyer can step in to help preserve his client’s legal rights no matter what happens.

Banks Continue to Mess Up | Long Island Landlord Tenant Lawyer

Many people felt a sense of relief when the U.S. court system finally passed judgment on several banks that had unfairly treated homeowners in the process of foreclosure. Nassau County was the home of some of those victims, who hoped that the decision would help them get back on their feet. With the promise of compensation checks in the mail, people all over the country who had already lost their homes began to make plans for the future once again.

Not So Fast!

Unfortunately, for a large number of these disappointed homeowners, their troubles were far from over. As they had discovered during their foreclosure proceedings, the banks specialized in foot-dragging, inefficiency, and mistakes—some of them so blatant as to appear intentional. That lack of care extended to the process of making payments to the victims, as 400,000 entitled people never got the checks they were promised.

Foreclosure, Nassau County and other New York residents found, was only the beginning of their headaches. It seems that the banks were unable to accurately address their checks to a full 10 percent of those that should have received them.

Why the Mistakes?

If you are in a particularly generous mood, you may be willing to excuse the oversight. But given the banks’ track record of mistreating borrowers with stall tactics and bullying, many suspect that the people writing the checks aren’t particularly worried about making sure they get to their destinations safely. As an example, consider the Detroit woman who received an advance notification that her check was on the way. The postcard was addressed incorrectly, but her postal carrier corrected the mistake and got it to her anyway. The woman contacted the bank to notify them of their error, but the check still ended up going to the wrong address.

Legal Troubles Continue

If you are still waiting to receive a check that you should have gotten in compensation for an illegal foreclosure, Nassau County attorneys are ready to help. Once the news headlines announcing the verdict against the banks have faded away, those banks must follow through on their obligations. Victims deserve the payments they were promised, but sometimes that takes a little more pressure in the form of legal action. You may be very tired of the legal process and feel like it’s not worth it to continue fighting, but we are here to relieve you. Call us to find out how we can help.

Competitors for “Worst Landlords in History” Title

If you open up the Guinness Book of World Records, you won’t find an entry for “worst landlord.” Many tenants in Nassau County may feel like they could send in a submission for that title on behalf of their landlord, but they would probably lose if they were competing against a couple in California. These building owners have gone to such unbelievable lengths to force their tenants to move out that they are now in custody facing multiple felony charges. Tenants in Nassau County and other parts of New York might feel a little better about their situation after hearing what went on in this San Francisco apartment building!

Pressure to Leave

The trouble started when the neighborhood began rising in value. That’s usually a good thing, but not for landlords who have rent-controlled tenants living in their building. The landlords are stuck charging the same rates, while they could raise rates if the tenants moved out. On the other hand, the tenants are less likely to give up their great rent prices as the neighborhood improves around them.

Without any legal way to get the tenants to vacate their apartments, the landlords decided to make life miserable for them. Tragically, this is a tactic that many renters in the New York area are familiar with. However, it is illegal, and if you suspect that your landlord is trying to bully you out of your apartment, you should seek legal help right away.

Drastic Measures

Even when tenants in Nassau County feel pressured to move out, they don’t usually face the kinds of tactics that this San Francisco couple used. For example, they called tenants, threatening their lives and even reporting them to the police as trespassers. These actions caused a great deal of trauma and stress for the innocent renters, but the landlords went further. They tried to lock tenants out, stole their possessions, and cut off utilities. In one apartment, they inexplicably cut holes in the floor with a saw while the tenant watched.

Spending Time Behind Bars

After the landlords fled the country and led police on a wild international chase, they were finally returned to the United States to serve over four years in prison.

Tenants in Nassau County can be thankful that they don’t have to deal with such violent, unreasonable landlords! But any kind of bullying by building owners is unacceptable. Contact our office if you need legal advice on dealing with your individual situation.

Required Contents of an Eviction Notice | Long Island Landlord Tenant Lawyer

There are few worse feelings than opening a piece of mail and finding that it contains a notice of eviction. In New York, officials recognize that losing your house is a major disaster in your life. For that reason, there are very specific, detailed laws about just what that eviction notice must contain. On the surface, these requirements might seem minor, but when it is your life that’s being affected, even the smallest details become very important. An incorrect date or missing signature can easily make the difference between keeping your home or becoming homeless.

If you are facing eviction in New York, you definitely need the help of a lawyer to make sure that your rights are respected. Here are just a few of the things that your attorney will look for in an eviction notice to determine its legality.

Proper Authorization

A landlord may not simply send a tenant a notice that they have to leave or be evicted. The notice must carry authorization in the form of a signature and contact information of a sheriff or marshal. In an attempt to circumvent the cumbersome legal process, a landlord may sometimes threaten a tenant with eviction on their own without authorization—this is a form of bullying and carries no legal weight. The notice must also contain the name of the court that issued the eviction order.

Identification of the Action and Property

Perhaps you wouldn’t think to look for it, but a notice of eviction must identify itself as just that, in precise terms. A handwritten note is not enough; the notice must have the correct title and also appear on the correct state-mandated form.

To avoid any confusion, a notice of eviction in New York must clearly identify the property in question. This may be as simple as the address of a rented house, but if it concerns an apartment or condo, the notice must also include the unit number or numbers. The names of the people toward whom the notice is directed must also appear on the form. Any mistakes in these designations may invalidate the notice.

Correct Dates

The dates on an eviction notice are very important. New York law dictates how much time must pass between an eviction notice and the actual eviction, and if a landlord moves too quickly, the court will most likely stop the process.

Call us if you have received an eviction notice. We will work to preserve your rights and give you the help that you need during this stressful time.

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The Tax You Didn’t Know You Were Paying | Long Island Landlord Lawyer

Two adjacent buildings by Lev Kekushev. Center...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When do you pay taxes? Whenever you buy something at the store; at the beginning of the year when you do all that dreaded paperwork; when you fill up your car with gas; and whatever month your license plate expires. But how about this one: once a month, when you write your NYC landlord a check.

Unless you are fortunate enough to live in a rent-controlled apartment (and sometimes even if you do), a sizable portion of your monthly rent payment is most likely, although indirectly, a tax. It doesn’t look like it to you, but chances are very good that your NYC landlord is passing on to you a rental property tax that is higher than that of most other cities.

Why Are Rental Taxes So High?

In NYC, landlords deserve some pity. The taxes on rental properties are much higher than those on normal residences, condos, or other non-rental units. The taxes are so high, in fact, that most landlords have a difficult decision to make: either convert their properties so that they don’t fall under the rental tax, or raise rent amounts to offset the tax. And because rental properties are so hard to find in the city, building managers can usually find enough people willing to pay the high prices.

Rent Issues

In one sense, the high tax on rental properties “works” for the city, because it doesn’t really result in rental properties standing vacant. In other cities, renters would be likely to simply move to an apartment with lower rates, but the competition in New York City usually makes that impossible. There’s almost always someone waiting in line to pay whatever the unit costs. The victim, of course, is the renter who is trying to find an apartment in a good neighborhood that is within their price range. A reform of the rental property tax system might make that task a little easier.

Questions about Rent?

Unfortunately, pressures like the high rental tax on NYC landlords sometimes tempt them to circumvent the law to make ends meet. Renters might receive unexpected notices of rate hikes in violation of their lease agreements, or feel bullied into moving out so that their landlord can raise prices on their unit. If you have any questions about the legality of your building manager’s actions, give us a call for a free consultation.

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New York Foreclosures Increase in Contrast to National Trend | Long Island Landlord Tenant Lawyer

Long Island Landlord Tenant Lawyer

The good news for the United States is that the number of foreclosures per year is steadily going down. But for residents of New York and New Jersey, that’s only a small comfort. In those states, foreclosures have actually been increasing lately, contrary to the national trend. Today, New York foreclosure rates are higher than those of any state in the country except for Florida. New Jersey follows in third place.

Additional Problems

High foreclosure rates create all kinds of other economic problems for the market, not to mention the personal tragedy that each foreclosure represents. The more foreclosures there are in progress at any one time, the harder it is for lenders, lawyers, and other agents to process them. This causes a backlog of houses that sit and deteriorate, but can’t be sold until the foreclosure paperwork is complete.

Oddly enough, recent new regulations intended to protect homeowners facing foreclosure in New York are partly to blame for this backlog. It now takes much longer to execute a foreclosure, as long as a year in some cases. Some of those houses sit uninhabited for months, developing mold and other decay problems that will make them harder to sell.

Real-Life Tragedy

These problems are real, and they have real impacts on the economies of New Jersey and New York. Foreclosures, though, are not just about numbers; they’re about individual lives. A family threatened with foreclosure doesn’t have time to worry about real estate markets or even overall foreclosure rates. They simply want to keep their home or, at the very least, receive fair treatment from their lender throughout the process. The new regulations do much to protect these people from unfair practices, but there are still plenty of opportunities for banks to violate homeowners’ rights when pursuing foreclosure.

Turning Things Around

What is the answer to the New Jersey/New York foreclosure crisis? On the large scale, state lawmakers hope that renegotiation of loans will enable more homeowners to avoid foreclosure altogether. Crackdowns on shady practices by large banks will also, hopefully, serve as a warning to others and restore trust between lenders and borrowers.

On the individual scale, the answer for a homeowner facing foreclosure is to engage the services of a local attorney. Whatever the outcome of the process, a Long Island Landlord Tenant lawyer and Foreclosure Attorney can work to protect the homeowner’s rights and make sure all activity is legal and fair. Call us today for a free consultation.

Landlord’s Actions Attract the Governor’s Attention

English: Andrew Cuomo, 11th United States Secr...

English: Andrew Cuomo, 11th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and 64th New York State Attorney General as a candidate for Governor of New York, outside of City Hall, little American flags on his tie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While eviction notices are devastating for tenants, it’s easy for them to feel as if the rest of the world doesn’t know and doesn’t care about their problems. That’s especially true for low-income tenants like immigrants. But news headlines are taking up an ongoing drama in New York City between a landlord and his tenants, mainly because New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken personal action in the situation.

Tenant Harassment?

Most of the tenants facing unusual requests and harsh demands from their landlord would not have known that they were being treated unlawfully if not for the efforts of tenant rights organizations. As the story unfolded, it became clear that rent-paying tenants were getting strange demands from their building’s owner: fees they didn’t recognize, offers of payment to leave the building, and even challenges to their legal immigration status. These tactics, if proven, are clearly illegal and constitute bullying against innocent tenants.

Standing Up for Immigrants

Tenant rights advocates are excited to see the state Governor taking such an interest in the situation, and hope that it will serve as a warning to landlords that want their tenants to move out for some reason. If a tenant is not violating the terms of his agreement, there is no legal reason for the landlord to try to force them to leave. Too often, though, immigrants feel they have no option but to submit to unreasonable demands and leave their homes.

Why Force Renters Out?

A major reason for landlords to try to bypass legal routes and force tenants to leave is an opportunity to raise rent prices. If new tenants may be willing to pay higher rent amounts than those of the current tenants’ leases, it is tempting for landlords to encourage the current tenants to leave. Immigrants are certainly not the only groups that experience this activity; seniors who have occupied their apartment for many years often find themselves in a highly desirable space. Even renters who are disabled or very ill sometimes feel pressured by their landlords to move out.

In a perfect world, landlords would always treat their tenants with respect and dignity. But in the real world, maintaining a stable relationship between tenants and landlords sometimes requires the services of a landlord tenant lawyer. New York City renters who receive strange requests or new demands from their building managers should take them to an attorney right away.

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Lawsuit over Apartment Renovations

Apartments

Apartments (Photo credit: Beedle Um Bum)

Do the tenants in the apartment above yours ever make a lot of noise? If so, you have probably found that it doesn’t take long for the noise to raise your blood pressure a bit. But when the racket continues for hours, almost anyone would consider it unreasonable and disruptive. If you are familiar with this dilemma, you’re in a good position to sympathize with a tenant in New York who has finally had enough of the loud noises coming from the apartment above his.

A Pricey Home

The apartment in question is on the more expensive side. The renter pays $43,000 per month for a two-story unit on the 72nd floor, and for that price, he feels entitled to a pleasant environment and freedom from excessive noise. But the renter had been using the apartment as a secondary residence, and the noise did not pose a critical problem until he and his wife moved in on a permanent basis.

Unusual Noise

The specific nature of the noise in question is important. This is not simply high volume on a stereo; it is the sound of renovation and construction, such as jackhammering, drilling, and other such noise. What’s more, it has been happening on a regular basis between 10 and 5 on weekdays for almost two years. For a wealthy tenant in New York, constant construction noise overhead is rather difficult to accept.

Taking it to Court

Finally, the tenant decided to refuse to pay his $43,000 monthly rent fee until the noise stopped. The landlord of the apartment building agrees with the tenant, and has sued to end the years-long renovation project. The court will have to decide whether the tenant is entitled to continue working on his unit or whether he must stop for the sake of the other tenants’ peace and quiet.

The Other Side of the Coin

Is the renovating tenant in New York really doing anything wrong, though? The surrounding tenants may not like the noise, but the renovator’s lawyer insists that the activity is in accordance with the law and with the landlord tenant contract. For example, the work only goes on during regular business hours, not on nights or weekends. A judge has already declined to sign a temporary order stopping the work, perhaps giving an indication of how the court will ultimately view the case.