Category Archives: Real Estate

Catch Basin Overflow Causes Water Damage in Port Jervis

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was City Liable to Homeowner for Resulting Loss?

A “catch basin” maintains proper drainage and traps debris to prevent pipes downstream from becoming clogged. Solid waste settles to the bottom. And water drains out of the pipe. But was there liability when a city-maintained catch basin overflowed onto neighboring property?

Irene Klostermeier sued the City of Port Jervis to recover damages for trespassing and nuisance caused by water runoff onto her property. The complaint alleged that a storm drain on Klostermeier’s property, that the City of Port Jervis replaced in 2015, failed to properly drain storm water, causing water to pool at a catch basin at the end of her driveway and seep onto her property. The complaint also alleged that, while work on the storm drain was in progress, the City parked heavy machinery on Klostermeier’s driveway, which damaged the driveway.

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Sibling Challenges 1990 Lease by Parents to Son and Daughter-In-Law

This was originally posted on the SGR Bloog.

Was Photocopy of Lease Dispositive Evidence of Lost Original?

Many real property disputes arise out of written contracts, such as a lease. The “original” lease is the “best evidence” of the agreement. With the passage of time, the original document often cannot be found. As a recent case illustrates, the Court must then determine if what is propounded as a photocopy is an evidentiary substitute for the original.

Peter and Elizabeth Casanas, husband and wife, sued Carlei Group, LLC, alleging that in 1990, they executed a lease with the owner of the building located at 73 West 82nd Street, in New York County, for apartment 3C/3W, in which they resided. And sought a declaration of their rights as lessees.

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Does “Active Concealment” Trump “Caveat Emptor”?

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Did Seller Hide Defect in House from Buyer/Inspector?

It is a customary practice for a homebuyer to personally—or through a professional—inspect the residence either before a contract is signed or the transfer of title takes place. And New York is a “real property (caveat emptor) buyer beware” jurisdiction when it comes to such inspections. But what is a Court to do when the buyer discovers defects after the sale closed and claims that the conditions were deliberately concealed by the seller?

In a small claims action, Alexandra Daquila-Imbruglia sought to recover $10,000 from Universal Building Solutions Corp., its principal, Christopher Reno, and Our Island Real Estate, Inc., based on the alleged concealment of a defect in a house that she and her husband purchased.

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All Not Bucolic at Esplanade Gardens in Manhattan:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Board Members Challenge Termination in Court

Did the Board of Directors of a residential coop have the right to terminate two directors? Were the dismissals subject to Court review under the business judgment rule?

Esplanade Gardens, Inc. is a six- building 1,872-apartment Mitchell-Lama coop on West 145th St. in Harlem (est.1967).

Robyn Tolliver and William Ross alleged that they were wrongfully removed from their positions as members on the Board of Esplanade.

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Residential Tenant Vacates Apartment Before End of Lease Term:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Did Landlord Have/Fulfill Duty to Mitigate Damages by Reletting?

In 2019, the New York State Legislature amended the Real Property Law to mandate that landlords “shall, in good faith and according to the landlord’s resources and abilities, take reasonable and customary actions to rent the premises” vacated by a tenant during the term of a residential lease. Thus, landlords under residential leases now have the same obligations as commercial landlords to attempt to mitigate their damages when a tenant vacates the premises in violation of the lease. Needless to say, as a recent case illustrates, the Court may be called upon to determine if the actions taken by a landlord to re-let a vacated apartment were reasonable and customary.

The 14 East 4th Street Unit 509 LLC moved for partial summary judgment on its first and fourth causes of action, for breach of contract for unpaid rent and attorney’s fees, respectively, as well as to dismiss affirmative defenses and counterclaim of Michael Toporek—who opposed the motion and cross-moved for summary judgment on all East 4th’s causes of action and on his counterclaim.

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Foreclosure Action Notice Requirements Get Granular Examination:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Decides if Separate Envelopes Required for Each Borrower

A recent case raised a micro-cosmic issue of first impression before the Court: whether a plaintiff in a foreclosure action may satisfy the requirements of RPAPL 1304 by mailing a single 90-day notice jointly addressed to two or more borrowers.

Micro, because it required a deep dive into the minutia of foreclosure law. Cosmic, because a negative answer could be fatal to the suit.

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Halloween Party Guest Injured in Fall from Loading Dock:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was Owner of Apartment Building Liable for Damages?

Occasionally, as recited in a decision, the facts of a dispute boggle the mind. A recent case is illustrative.

On October 27, 2012, Steve Savitz attended a Halloween party hosted by Ari Taub at his apartment building, a former warehouse that had been converted into a residential rental building, owned by Lido Knitting, Inc. The building was equipped with a loading dock, which was used by the tenants for dropping off and picking up bulky items at the building. The loading dock area was lit by a 120-watt, switch-controlled spotlight mounted high on the back wall of the loading dock, which was illuminated at all times unless the building’s superintendent turned it off for maintenance purposes.

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Condo Unit Owner Defaults On Payment of Common Charges:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was Board Entitled to Appointment of a Receiver?

A lien may be placed on a condominium unit if the owner fails to pay common charges. And, as a recent case illustrates, the Board may be entitled to the appointment of a receiver in an action to foreclose the lien.

The Board of Managers of the Residences at Worldwide Plaza Condominium filed an action to foreclose on a lien for unpaid common charges on residential condominium unit 2Y at 393 West 49th Street, owned by Lourdes Villegas.

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Bats in Attic of Two-Family Residence:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Did Second Tenant Engage in Unreasonable Behavior?

Bats infested the attic of a house in Hamptonburgh that renters occupied on the two floors. Was the second-floor tenant subject to eviction for failure to cooperate in remediation?

Coldenham, LLC owned a two-family residence located at 51 Neelytown Road in Hamptonburgh.  Katrina Maldonado and her two children lived in the second-floor apartment for over four years. Joyce Foulkes resided in the first-floor apartment for about twenty years.

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Bats in Attic of Two-Family Residence:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Did Second Tenant Engage in Unreasonable Behavior?

Bats infested the attic of a house in Hamptonburgh that renters occupied on the two floors. Was the second-floor tenant subject to eviction for failure to cooperate in remediation?

Coldenham, LLC owned a two-family residence located at 51 Neelytown Road in Hamptonburgh.  Katrina Maldonado and her two children lived in the second-floor apartment for over four years. Joyce Foulkes resided in the first-floor apartment for about twenty years.

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