Old Westbury, NY asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: I'm renting an apartment in Long Island. Lease legal Question

My lease contains a clause stating that the tenant and landlord waive all rights to jury by trial. What does this mean?

2 Lawyer Answers
Anthony Armando Nozzolillo
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Merrick, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Greetings

That provision means that if there is ever a dispute, resolution must occur before a judge or arbitrator. You cannot seek a trial by jury; neither can the Landlord.

Peter J. Weinman and Steven Warren Smollens agree with this answer

Steven Warren Smollens
Steven Warren Smollens
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: That is a Jury Waiver Clause. New York Courts consider the lease as an agreement made by parties with the same power to negotiate terms and conditions of the contract, even though everyone knows that there is no level playing field. A lease for most residential tenants is a take-it-or-leave-it matter. An ordinary tenant has no leverage to negotiate a right to trial by jury and so eliminate the jury waiver clause.

Lerner v. Rivera, 25 Misc. 2d 558, 206 N.Y.S.2d 865 (N.Y. Mun. Ct. 1960), Lera Realty Co. v. Rich, 273 App. Div. 913 (N.Y. App. Div. 1948)

It is not valid in a personal injury matter and in a property damage lawsuit [https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/RPP/259-C]

Otherwise, the lease creates a surrender of a constitutional right to a trial by jury in a dispute relating to the lease and the landlord and tenant relationship. In some special circumstances, some tenants in housing accommodations regulated by Federal Rules and Regulations have the jury waiver clause invalidated [premises was located in a building receiving federal funding under the Home Investments Partnerships Program, and 24 CFR §92.253(b)(6) provided that the lease may not contain an agreement by the tenant to waive any right to a jury trial].

Peter J. Weinman agrees with this answer

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