Real Estate

Monday, April 21, 2014

Real Estate Tips for Small Businesses on Long Island

Many small businesses enter into a lease for commercial space on Long Island at some point. It’s important for business owners in Nassau and Suffolk counties to pay attention to some very important business issues when they enter into a real estate lease, whether you are considering leasing space for office, manufacturing or retail use. 

Set forth below we have some tips that may assist you in the commercial leasing process, and hopefully help you avoid unexpected financial and legal issues. 

1. Don’t assume the landlord’s routine “form lease” is non-negotiable.

Prospective tenants are often presented with a pre-printed lease including their name and various terms and conditions. A commercial property owner or manager will say that the document in front of the possible lessee is the landlord’s typical form lease, but don’t think that means there is no “wiggle room,” so to speak, to amend that lease to better fit your needs or more explicitly state the terms of the agreement. Be sure to read through the provisions of the lease, and then address the specific needs you have that the “form lease” doesn’t satisfy with the appropriate person. 

2. Put all notice requirements on your calendar.

Going over your lease with the proverbial fine tooth comb bearing in mind that some conditions are negotiable will help you pay attention to aspects of the agreement you wouldn’t have normally noticed or questioned. For example, your lease agreement may contain several provisions that require you to send notices to the landlord under certain circumstances, such as the amount of notice you have to give the landlord if you wish to renew or terminate your lease at the end of the term. You may have to give a year’s notice or more in some cases, so make a note of these dates in your calendar to ensure you comply with all notice requirements and do not forfeit any rights under your lease agreement.

The  experienced real estate litigation attorneys at Harras Bloom & Archer LLP provide counsel and assistance to small businesses throughout Long Island in the commercial lease process. For more information regarding the firm's legal services, contact our Long Island office at 631-498-5505.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Commercial Lease Activity in New York City Soars

A Commercial Real Estate Attorney Can Ensure Your Interests Are Protected

Even a 40-year history at the same address can lose its appeal when increasing commercial real estate prices lead to a higher-than-expected purchase offer, United Cerebral Palsy of New York City (UCPNYC ) recently learned. The New York Times reported on December 3 that Toll Brothers offered the UCPNYC $135 million for its four-story headquarter property located in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan.

What’s notable about this transaction is that the purchase price is more than twice as much as an offer the UCPNYC received just six years ago. “The sum was beyond our wildest imagination,” said the chief executive of the UCPNYC, which has owned the building since 1973. “It couldn’t come at a better time.” Flat government support has tempted numerous New York non-profits to sell high-value properties, lease new headquarters and use sale proceeds to bolster foundation coffers: St. John’s University recently sold its property at 101 Murray Street, and the City University of New York recently sold its property at 20 East End Avenue. Both will lease newly renovated space instead.

While non-profits face eroding government income, a strong residential condominium market has lifted the value of commercial property. The result is high-value, profitable transactions for both commercial property owners, such as established non-profits, and residential real estate developers.

If your non-profit or other organization is considering leasing commercial property in New York City, Long Island or the surrounding area, it’s important that your full rights and interests are represented and protected in your lease contract. Issues to consider include:

  • What will the monthly lease cost be and how will its exact amount be determined?
  • Who will pay for utilities?
  • Who will pay for renovations and improvements?
  • Who will pay for maintenance?
  • How will disputes be resolved?
  • What are potential points of conflict and how can they be addressed and resolved before a dispute arises?
  • How will conflicts be resolved: through mediation, arbitration or litigation?

The attorneys of New York City and Long Island law firm Harras Bloom & Archer LLP have represented countless clients in commercial lease negotiations and commercial lease disputes. Our services include:

  • Fully assessing property conditions, code, zoning and municipal approval issues, market lease rates, and other issues, then aggressively representing client interests throughout lease negotiations.
  • Zealously assisting clients in avoiding lengthy litigation proceedings; aggressively representing clients in mediation, arbitration and litigation proceedings when lease disputes arise.

Lease disputes and challenges may involve property conditions, unpaid lease payments and other issues between the tenant and landlord, or may involve challenges involving the city or another government entity. As a full-service real estate law firm, we can handle all issues faced by your organization relating to land use, commercial leases and property, as well as land lease and purchase transactions.

For more information regarding our real estate and lease legal services, contact Harras Bloom & Archer LLP at our Melville, Long Island office at 631-393-6220 or our New York City office at 212-922-9545.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Construction Dispute Leads to Severe Legal Sanctions

Developer Barred from Construction Work in New York State

New York has numerous laws devised to protect homebuyers from unscrupulous conduct on the part of real estate developers. When misconduct occurs, victims of fraud or poor workmanship can use the legal process to obtain the compensation they deserve, as illustrated in a case reported by, a consumer assistance organization.

In late 2013, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that condominium developers Joseph Scarpinito and Shiraz Sanjana were barred from “doing condo and securities-related work in New York," including offering condominiums and co-ops for sale. An earlier investigation found that the developers, who built an 8-story condominium building called The Mirada at 161 East 110th Street, had:

  • Failed to remedy construction defects which resulted in pervasive water leaks
  • Failed to obtain a permanent certificate of occupancy from the City’s Department of Buildings
  • Illegally retained $3.2 million of purchasers’ deposit monies
  • Illegally concealed their identities (with the assistance of their attorney)

In addition to being barred from construction and securities activities in New York, Scarpinito and Sanjana are required to pay $3.2 million to the 67 homebuyers at the Mirada.

As the results of this investigation demonstrate, parties in construction disputes can turn to civil court proceedings to obtain a fair outcome and compensation. If your firm is involved in construction dispute, either as a plaintiff or defendant, contact the New York and Long Island law firm of Harras Bloom & Archer LLP for experienced and knowledgeable legal help.

Our firm focuses on the areas of commercial real estate, business and commercial litigation and land use and zoning law. We represent key stakeholders, including owners, contractors, real estate developers, engineers, investors, lenders and trade associations, in disputes involving the construction of:

  • Condominium and coop developments and single-unit housing
  • Highways and roads
  • Hotel and resort facilities
  • Manufacturing, distribution and utility facilities
  • Office, retail and other commercial developments and real estate

Our objective is to protect each client’s bottom line. We accomplish this goal by combining a comprehensive understanding of real estate law, contract law and local municipal regulations with an attentive understanding of clients’ real estate project objectives and financial considerations. We are also highly experienced in weighing engineering and construction management factors and how they apply to individual cases.

Most often, clients’ interests are best served by skillful and well-prepared negotiations, or through structured mediation or arbitration. Our team, however, has litigated numerous cases involving businesses, the New York City Department of Buildings, local adjudicatory boards and other governmental entities. As our success stories webpage illustrates, we have achieved high-value resolutions for our clients in numerous construction disputes resolved through litigation. We handle cases involving property located throughout the Long Island and New York Metropolitan areas.

If you have questions regarding construction defect and other construction-related disputes in New York, contact Harras Bloom & Archer LLP. Call our Long Island office or New York City office at 631-498-5505 or 888-981-8659.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Real Estate Brokerage Dispute Solutions

Real estate brokers’ roles in property purchase and sale transactions are most often clearly defined. Yet disputes can arise that call into question the competency and fair dealing of both real estate brokers and the parties with whom they work. Contract disputes can also arise regarding the interpretation of key clauses. For example:

  • A broker may have difficulty collecting on a brokerage agreement
  • A client can allege that a broker made an error and sue the broker
  • Brokers and clients can disagree regarding whether a commission should be paid
  • Disputes can arise between a brokerage firm and an agent
  • Issues can arise regarding an agent's license, breach of fiduciary duty, earnest money and deposits and broker negligence

The Nassau and Suffolk County real estate attorneys of Harras Bloom & Archer LLP have decades of experience resolving a range of real estate-related disputes, including disputes involving brokerages, brokers and agents. We also provide legal counsel regarding the avoidance of disputes. Our services include but are not limited to the following:

  • Legal counsel to brokers and agents on how to anticipate potential problems and to avoid liability in order to avoid expensive and time-consuming disputes. Our counsel generally includes the negotiation, preparation and drafting of real estate brokerage contracts, including listing agreements. 
  • The resolution of disputes between brokerages and other parties. We are highly experienced real estate litigators who can assist at any point of a real estate dispute.

A common issue that leads to brokerage disputes is disagreements in the interpretation of real estate brokerage contracts. These contracts outline the rights and duties of both the broker and the buyer or seller whom he or she represents. The contract should describe when the broker is entitled to a commission and for what amount/in which percentage. However, disagreements can arise regarding:

  • Whether a fee will be paid only if there is a closing of a sale
  • The specifics of the broker's duties, such as showing the property, creating marketing materials and promoting the property
  • The owner's obligation to provide the financial information necessary to close a deal
  • Tail provisions covering the rights of all parties following the signing of a contract, including the broker's right to a commission regarding leads he or she has generated
  • The broker’s right to a commission if the owner took action that prevented a sale

We represent all parties facing legal challenges involving brokers and brokerages. As skilled real estate transaction and litigation attorneys, we can quickly and efficiently investigate the facts of the dispute that will likely have a bearing on the outcome. We have argued for real estate clients’ rights before judges, juries, arbiters and mediators in hundreds of cases, and our team’s skills and experience range from decades of client advocacy in the courtroom to service as a New York State Supreme Court referee in numerous real estate dispute matters. We can provide effective, results-driven representation both to keep you out of the courtroom and to get you out of the courtroom with your interests protected.

The  experienced real estate litigation attorneys at Harras Bloom & Archer LLP provide counsel and assistance to all stakeholders in transaction and contract disputes. For more information regarding the firm's real estate brokerage legal services, contact our Long Island office at 631-498-5505.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Encumbrance and Lien Legal Counsel in New York City and Long Island

Encumbrances and liens are complex legal instruments that serve as a charge upon real property for the satisfaction of a debt or duty. At the New York City and Long Island law firm of Harras Bloom & Archer LLP, we offer a broad array of real estate-related legal services, including assistance to clients facing challenges associated with all types of property-related liens, such as:

  • Judgment liens, which can be entered by a court against a property in a civil lawsuit when a party owes money he or she cannot otherwise pay.
  • Tax liens, which may be imposed by law upon a property to secure the payment of unpaid property, personal or income taxes. 
  • Mechanic’s liens (also known as a material man’s lien or supplier’s lien), which are filed by an individual or business whose labor or supplies improved a property and who did not receive payment.

Here are the lien services we offer here at Harras Bloom & Archer LLP:

Resolving lien disclosure disputes. When an individual or organization purchases real property such as a residential or commercial building or parcel of land, it is important that the property be free of encumbrances and liens. When a property seller fails to disclose all existing liens against a property, the property’s value may be diminished and the property buyer may lose money due to diminished asset value. We are experienced negotiators and litigators and can effectively represent parties on either side if lien disclosure disputes.

The filing of liens. Contractors, creditors and others may need legal counsel regarding the advisability and feasibility of filing a lien, or regarding the court processes involved in correctly creating and filing a lien. We have advised hundreds of clients in all steps of the lien filing process and can properly draft, serve and file your lien.

The contesting of liens. Parties often disagree regarding the facts involved in lien disputes. For instance, a lien filer may claim that all or a portion of a property-related debt is unpaid; a property owner may, in contrast, believe the debt to be fully satisfied. We can accurately determine the facts pertaining to lien disputes and work effectively to achieve resolution.

The enforcement of a lien. The filing of a mechanic’s lien or other lien does not necessarily result in payment of the funds owed. We can utilize the leverage provided by judicial foreclosure sales to help obtain the funds you are owed.

Vacating and removing a lien. Once your property is cleared of a lien, you may petition the court for a decree to release the property from the lien. We can handle this process for you.

The attorneys of Harras Bloom & Archer LLP are skilled in handing lien transactions and disputes, and possess a high degree of legal knowledge and courtroom experience. For more information regarding our real estate and lien services, contact us at our Long Island office at 631-498-5505.

Harras Bloom & Archer LLP is known for providing sophisticated legal representation to sophisticated clients serving Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, New York City and surrounding areas.

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| Phone: 631-393-6220
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| Phone: 631-393-6220

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