Category Archives: New York Law


Commercial leases often include options to renew or extend the term of the lease.  The option clauses also often contain time-sensitive or notice-specific provisions for the exercise of the option.  Needless to say, options to renew are a fertile source of litigation.

Our examination starts with the seminal case of J.N.A. Realty Corp. v. Cross Bay Chelsea, Inc., decided by our Court of Appeals in 1977; followed by J.N.A. progeny and decisions on other variations of option to renew disputes.

J.N.A. Realty Corp. v. Cross Bay Chelsea, Inc., 42 N.Y.2d 392, 397 N.Y.S.2d 958 (Court of Appeals, June 16, 1977)

The Court of Appeals summarized the prior proceedings:

  1. N. A. Realty Corp., the owner of a building in Howard Beach, commenced this proceeding to recover possession of the premises claiming that the lease has expired. The lease grants the tenant, Cross Bay Chelsea, Inc., an option to renew and although the notice was sent, through negligence or inadvertence, it was not sent within the time prescribed in the lease. The landlord seeks to enforce the letter of the agreement. The tenant asks for equity to relieve it from a forfeiture.

The Civil Court, after a trial, held that the tenant was entitled to equitable relief. The Appellate Term affirmed, without opinion, but the Appellate Division, after granting leave, reversed and granted the petition[.]

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Last month, we reviewed recent decisions addressing actions for specific performance of real estate contracts of sale.  The “other side of the coin” is actions for return of real property contact downpayments.  Some recent examples follow:

413 Throop, LLC v. Triumph, the Church of the New Age, 2017 NY Slip Op 06516 (App. Div. 2nd Dept. September 20, 2017)

In an action for specific performance of a contract to purchase real property, Supreme Court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint and to cancel the notice of pendency and granted defendant’s cross-motion for return of the down payment.

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Actions for specific performance of contracts for the purchase and sale of real property abound.  The plaintiffs allege that they are ready, willing and able to perform.  And the defendants either refuse to close or assert that their performance is excused by the failure of a condition precedent.  Several recent examples follow.

Chun Peter Dong v. First Korean Church of N.Y., 2017 NY Slip Op 05063 (App. Div. 2nd Dept. June 21, 2017)

Supreme Court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint for specific performance of a contract to sell real property and declared that the contract was not binding and enforceable.

The Appellate Division summarized the facts:

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