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New York Real Estate Law Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for New York on
Q: What are the consequences of an illegal basement apartment in Brooklyn?

I'm thinking of converting my cellar into a one bedroom "apartment". It will have a full three fixture bathroom, a kitchen fixture, a door connecting to the outside and most likely a 3x2 window to the outside. I'll be adding a fire alarm and a monoxide detector as well for... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jul 10, 2020

Why not just make it legal and convert your home into a two family? You are not correct about there being no inspections. Also, you cannot enforce a lease of an illegal space. It also will hinder any sale or refinancing. Finally, it violates your insurance, and could lead to a lack of coverage.... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: How long does it take to close on a house that was sold at auction? ( New York )

The property was auctioned on January 29, 2020 . As of today’s date July 10,2020 there has been no closing.

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Jul 9, 2020

In NY you are generally required to close within 30 days of winning an auction.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Business Formation for New York on
Q: My landlord is Evicting me I wrote a letter stating I would be out on this date but I can’t move out now

Do I still have to move out on that day or dose that peice of paper we wrote and signed mean nothing because it wasn’t notarize and I haven’t been evicted yet

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Jul 9, 2020

Whether or not the agreement you made was notarized is not what protects you in this instance. Instead, Gov. Cuomo's moratorium on evictions in connection with the COVID-19 crisis provides you with protections. See Executive Order 202.28. In addition, the landlord still needs a judgment of... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: my grandparents who are now both deceased the house is foreclosed. auction no one brought. can I call the bank?

the house went up for auction twice but didn't sell. can I call the bank and attempt to get the mortgage reinstated ?

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Jul 8, 2020

Of course, you can always call the lender. However, if you are not the original borrower, it is unlikely the loan could be reinstated but if you qualify they may be able to offer you a loan to essentially purchase the property.

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: Hi, what happen if I break the commercial lease due to slow business due corona ?

can landlord go after me( my personnel asset ex: bank account .... ) if I break the lease again due to the slow business cause of corona

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jul 7, 2020

As we sit here, the NYC law was changed to nullify personal guarantees. Thus, the landlord cannot do so. However, there are constitutional and jurisdictional issues that make this law suspect, so it is unclear now what will happen. If you want to break your lease, now is the time to do so, as... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for New York on
Q: I am in court hearings with my neighbor. Please tell me how much court proceedings cost.

This is a civil court. This is a land issue.

A neighbor wants to use my part of a property. There is no easement.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jul 6, 2020

One of the real estate attorneys here could answer your question in the best manner, but you await a reply for three days. It's unlikely that an attorney could give you a turnkey price based on the brief description provided. An attorney might want to set up a paid consult to learn what the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: In order to sell a family owned home in New York City, is it necessary to produce the original deed?

Assuming of course that the deed was properly filed with the City at the time of the original purchase.

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jul 2, 2020

You do not need the original deed. The recorded imaged deed is relied upon by buyers and their lawyers.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for New York on
Q: Can I break a comm. office sublease in NYC if I discovered the Cert. of Occupancy is for storage only, not office use?

It’s a hosting agreement, avoids the word ‘lease’, so perhaps not technically a sublease.

I never took occupancy.

Landlord was ok with us delaying start date due to Covid19, but now wants to begin term.

In researching NYC phase 2 Covid19 reopening guidance, I... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jul 2, 2020

It depends on the terms of your lease. If you took "as is" and there is no representation that it is for office use, you might have problems. If there is such a representation, you have a defense if the landlord comes after you for the money.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: What is the normal cost of a real estate attorney in Albany NY for a home purchase?

This is for an out of state buyer who is doing a first time purchase of a home in NY. What should a buyer be asking when trying to determine the most cost effect way to hire a real estate attorney?

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jun 28, 2020

The real estate attorneys here could give you the most meaningful input, but you're waiting for a reply and as a general matter, a good way to find out could be to contact attorneys and ask their fees. As with attorneys in any field, you could ask their area of focus, their experience, and... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: Florida short term vacation rental will not reimburse my stay even after governor issued state of emergency & travel ban
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Jun 26, 2020

Unfortunately, this situation is arising in many settings due to COVID-19. The outcome can depend on how the underlying contract has been drafted - it definitions, force majeure clauses, and how those elements could be interpreted, along with traditional contract law issues such as impossibility,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for New York on
Q: Can you use your security deposit to cover rent in NYS (due to COVID) if you are at the end of your lease?

My partner and I suffered substantial income loss due to COVID and we advised our landlord that we would like to use our security deposit for our June rent. Our lease is up on 7/31 and we will likely move out as we can no longer afford our rent because of income reductions. We have an excellent... Read more »

Sharon M. Siegel
Sharon M. Siegel answered on Jun 23, 2020

You can use your security to pay the rent. Technically, you are supposed to replenish it, but it is not necessary.

3 Answers | Asked in Business Law, Contracts and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: how to get my deposit back when the contract expired?

This is a contingency contract depended on we sell the property located in FL. Because this pandemic happened, we didn't sell a property located in FL. So we don't have money to purchase the Property located in Steuben county, NY. The seller refuses to return our deposit ($10K).

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 22, 2020

First, the contract will have terms. Second, if you are in the right, you may have to sue.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: My daughter signed an apartment lease @ a SUNY school for her senior year with other room mates. She now finds out that

all her classes will be online. Can the lease be terminated due to Covid-19 affecting her ability to attend school in person. The lease amount is in excess of $11k.

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 20, 2020

It depends upon the terms of the lease. Try to negotiate something now.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: I had to pay a lien on house $42,000 in 2015. Now my mom wants to investigate again to get back that $42,000 can she?

I tried to get in touch with hpd and since then have not emailed or returned my call. I had to pay a lien on house $42,000 in 2015. Now my mom wants to investigate about why she was charged so much and never received a court case but was by default can she reopen the case five years later against... Read more »

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 12, 2020

No. The time has long passed.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: I need help with an irrevocable trust of my grandmother regarding her house. She has died how do I obtain my portion?

The trust divided her house into 4 ways. 1 of the beneficiaries has died leaving 3 of us left. 1 of the 3 is currently living in the home refuses to leave or settle the house affairs. I do not know how to obtain my piece of the house. I do not have money to hire a lawyer to settle this. The house... Read more »

Gary Lane
Gary Lane answered on Jun 12, 2020

Who was appointed as the Trustee (administrator)? It is their job to distribute the assets. If they cannot do it voluntarily, as hoped, then their alternative is to file in Probate Court, to force the sale and distribution. They should hire an attorney if they are not one. The cost would come out... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: I loaned 20,000 to a family member for a housing flip. They still haven’t paid back. Can I charge interest?

The contract never gave a direct date of when the project was to be done. But it’s been finished for over a year now and I still haven’t received the money. Can I charge interest even if it wasn’t specified on the contract that I would do so?

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 9, 2020

You can ask for prejudgment interest at the statutory rate of 9%. You might get it. Depends on what the contract says.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: I moved into an apartment. Signed a one year lease 2/2020. Since then I have lost my job due to covid closing.

I now am out of money and falling behind on all my debit. Can I get out of my lease?

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Jun 3, 2020

Generally, losing your employment or even the Covid crisis wouldnot constitute a legal basis to break your lease. However, that doesn't prevent you from negotiating with your landlord to be released. If you can present the situation in a way that persuades your landlord he/she would be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: How do I obtain a "Letter of Satisfaction" for a mortgage that my name has been taken off of without my knowledge?

My name is currently on the deed and all of the original mortgage finance papers filed with the state. My ex Husband did a loan modification without my knowledge and my name is not on that modification.

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel answered on Jun 2, 2020

I am not sure what your concern is. You are on the deed, so you own the property. If the old mortgage is still appearing, you can call that bank and get a satisfaction filed. If you are not on the new mortgage you do not have to pay it, so it seems in your interest. How your ex accomplished... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: Is there a limit for how long it takes an application to rent an apartment in NYC? Can I get my deposit back if so?

It has been 3 weeks since I applied and I am running out of time to find a place. I was told the unit would be available by June 1, which is obviously not happening. I don't want to miss out on places just to find out I've been denied. Help!

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay answered on Jun 1, 2020

The HSTPA of 2019 gave tenants in NYS substantial new rights. This includes limiting fees associated with renting an apartment to only $20 for a credit check. If you were charged additional fees, you may seek to recover them.

3 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for New York on
Q: We are doing a private home sale in New York. Can we ask the buyer to provide mortgage down payment information?
Vincent Gallo
Vincent Gallo answered on May 30, 2020

Of course, you’re entitled to know if they can really afford to purchase your house.

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