Category Archives: Vendor/Purchaser Disputes

Broker Sues Owner For Commission on Babylon Property Sale

Court Decides If Broker Was Procuring Cause of Transaction

Dalbir Singh purchased real property located in Babylon after signing a sales agreement for the property prepared and executed by R. Matthew Shane, a real estate broker employed by All Island Estates Realty Corp., a real estate brokerage firm. The sales agreement provided that the commission due to ERC was $50,000 “from buyer.” After Singh failed to pay the commission, ERC sued Singh. After a nonjury trial,  Supreme Court rendered a verdict in favor of the ERC and a judgment was entered against Singh in the total sum of $50,910.21. Singh appealed.

To prevail on a cause of action to recover a commission, the broker must establish (1) that it is duly licensed, (2) that it had a contract, express or implied, with the party to be charged with paying the commission, and (3) that it was the procuring cause of the sale. Where the broker is not involved in the negotiations leading up to the completion of the deal, the broker must establish that it created an amicable atmosphere in which negotiations proceeded or that it generated a chain of circumstances that proximately led to the sale.

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Purchaser Sues For Specific Performance of $900k Hegeman Ave Property Sale

Court Determines If Seller Validly Cancelled Contract/Keeps $70k Deposit

On December 21, 2016, Euclid Burgan and Bernadette Burgan entered into a written contract with Hegeman Plaza LLC to sell the property at 513 Hegeman Avenue in Brooklyn for $900,000.00. Samuel Schwartz signed the contract as the sole member of Plaza. A down payment of $70,000.00 was made upon execution.

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Agreement to Purchase Four-Family Brooklyn Brownstone for $300,000

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was Contract Enforceable/Barred Under the Statute of Frauds?

On January 23, 2006, Yaron Cohen, as purchaser, and Vivian Holder, as seller, executed a document purporting to be a contract for the sale of a four-family brownstone located in Brooklyn, for the purchase price of $300,000. But the document, which was provided by Cohen, did not indicate the date or place of the closing.

About 17 months later, Cohen sent a letter to Holder setting a time of the essence closing date of May 22, 2007. The closing did not occur on that date and Cohen commenced an action seeking specific performance. Holder interposed an answer and asserted counterclaims seeking damages for fraud and for rescission of the purported contract. In 2015, Holder transferred the property to 143 Hancock St., LLC. Cohen then filed a separate action against 143 Hancock. Holder and Corey Holder, as executor of Vivian’s estate, was substituted as the defendant in the action commenced against Holder. The two actions were consolidated.

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“On or About” Closing Date Meets “Right of First Refusal” on Kingston Avenue

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Were Brooklyn Property Purchase Rights Abrogated by Passage of Time?

A real estate contract vendee had the right to purchase a parcel in Brooklyn. But that right was subject to a third-party’s right of first refusal to buy the lot. As a recent case illustrates, the Court was required to navigate those concurrent provisions after several years of failure to close on the contract, on the one hand, or exercise of the right of first refusal, on the other.

On January 17, 2017, Parkway Trading Group Corp. commenced an action for specific performance against Yehuda Blesofsky, alleging that, on or about February 20, 2008, Blesofsky, as seller, and Parkway, as purchaser, entered into a contract for the purchase of  328 Kingston Avenue in Brooklyn for $640,000.00 with a closing date of on or about August 15, 2008.

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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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Real Property Buyer Never Declared Seller in Default:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Can Purchaser Nevertheless Recover Down Payment?

Contracts for the sale of real property as often as not initially provide for an “on or about” closing date–with time not being of the essence. But what happens when the closing date passes and the buyer subsequently contends that the seller could not deliver clean title as required by the contract? May the buyer recover his deposit without first setting a time of the essence closing date before which the seller can clear the title defect?

In November 2006, Fermin Xelo entered into a contract to purchase residential real property from Ena M. Hamilton for $854,900.  Under the contract, Xelo paid a down payment of $15,000, deposited in the escrow account of Hamilton’s attorney, Michael Singer. The contract provided that the closing was to occur on or about 60 days after the execution of the contract.

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Did De Minimus Plantings Lead to Adverse Possession?

This was originally posted to the SGR Blog.

“Mox Nix” If Old or New Law Controlled.

Both owners of contiguous real property have the right to landscape their side of the boundary. But, as a recent case illustrates, a Court may have to decide if, as and when such plantings and maintenance on or across the line rose to the level of adverse possession.

E. 12th St. Holding LLC sued Mousa Lati, the owner of an adjoining property, for adverse possession, trespass, and damages.

Holding’s predecessors (Bettina and Nathan Avidan) bought the property in 1995 as husband and wife; built a new house which was completed in 1998; and transferred title to an LLC in 2015 of which the Avidans are the managing members.

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Was Offer to Sell Mortgaged Residence at Auction Timely Revoked?

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

What Was Remedy If Mortgage Balances Exceeded Winning Bid?

It is not unusual in a hot suburban residential real estate market for an offering to morph into a “bidding war”- a de facto auction. And, on occasion, an auction is the sales method of choice from the start. But, as a recent case illustrates, a real estate auction sale may raise some unique factual disputes and concomitant legal issues.

Theodore Brois and Helene Brois authorized Concierge Auction, LLC, to conduct an auction of their property located at 3 Tallwoods Road in Armonk, New York, by an agreement dated May 21, 2018. The Auction Marketing Agreement provided that the auction “shall be conducted without reserve” and that the Brois, as sellers, “shall be obligated to sell the [property] to the highest bidder.” That agreement included a provision giving the Brois the right to cancel the auction, by written notice of cancellation and certain payments, which right expired at 12:00 p.m. on the day of the auction. The Broises pre-executed a contract of sale for the property on June 26, 2018. They also signed a document entitled an Auction Sale Acknowledgment on June 26, 2018, acknowledging that the highest opening bid was $1,500,000.

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Town Voided Certificate of Occupancy Before Closing: Was Non-Disclosure Excused by “Caveat Emptor”?

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Caveat emptor”—or “buyer beware”—historically was rule number one of real property purchase and sales. But did the rule still control as to the duty to discover or disclose that a certificate of occupancy had been voided?

David Chapman sought damages for, fraud arising from his purchase of a home from Adam and Jennifer Jacobs. Chapman alleged that the Jacobs represented that there was a certificate of occupancy for a pole barn situated on the property when, in fact, the Town of Farmington voided the certificate of occupancy when it discovered that the barn encroached on the adjoining property.

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Gov’t Approval Meets Condition Precedent in Rockland County: Did Seller Have Right to Cancel Real Estate Contract of Sale?

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Real property purchase and sale contracts often have so-called “conditions precedent” to closing– events that must occur before a party is obligated to close. But, as a recent case illustrates, disputes often arise about which party is the beneficiary of the condition and the concomitant right to cancel.

B & A Realty Management, LLC and John Gloria entered into a purchase and sale agreement. Gloria agreed to sell an undeveloped parcel of property in Suffern to B & A Realty for $1 million. The agreement was contingent upon B & A Realty, as the purchaser, obtaining all governmental approvals for the development of the parcel within 24 months from the end of a 90-day due diligence period. The date by which B & A Realty was to obtain the approvals was referred to as the approval date. And the agreement contained a provision allowing B & A Realty to extend the approval date by three months on two occasions. The closing was to occur 30 days after the approval date.

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