From Brick Underground: 3 tips for buying a NYC co-op or condo when you own a pit bull or other large dog breed

From Brick Underground: 3 tips for buying a NYC co-op or condo when you own a pit bull or other large dog breed

One of our attorneys, Jeffrey Baron, was recently quoted in Brick Underground’s article “3 tips for buying a NYC co-op or condo when you own a pit bull or other large dog breed.”

If you are the owner of a pit bull or other pet, some buildings in NYC may have restrictions based on size, weight, or breed (or against pets in general). To avoid issues during the transaction, it can be helpful for buyers to be aware of these restrictions early, and to raise them with your real estate broker and attorney.

If you’d like to find out more, you can read the full article here:

NYC Real Estate Attorney’s Closing Report: April 2024

Just a few of our recent closings. If you are also looking to buy or sell at these property addresses, you might want to give us a call.

Property Value Transaction
100 West 94th Street, NY, NY $999,000.00 Coop Sale
344 Clinton Avenue, BK, NY $475,000.00 Coop Purchase
53 Boerum Place, BK, NY $920,000.00 Condo Sale
570 Grand Street, NY, NY $600,000.00 Coop Sale
230 East 15th Street, NY, NY $575,000.00 Coop Purchase
240 51st Avenue, LIC, NY $1,605,000.00 Condo Purchase
66 Reade Street, NY, NY $5,750,000.00 Condo Purchase
815 Park Avenue, NY, NY $3,600,000.00 Coop Sale
475 Hicks Street, BK, NY $1,625,000.00 Condo Sale
11 Hoyt Street, BK, NY $1,197,000.00 Condo Purchase

NYC Real Estate Attorney’s Closing Report: March 2024

Just a few of our recent closings. If you are also looking to buy or sell at these property addresses, you might want to give us a call.

Property Value Transaction
35 West 82nd Street, NY, NY $862,500.00 Coop Sale
340 West 11th Street, NY, NY $630,000.00 Coop Purchase
245 East 93rd Street, NY, NY $1,080,000.00 Condo Purchase
160 West 87th Street, NY, NY $1,125,000.00 Coop Purchase
205 Macdougal Street, BK, NY $522,500.00 Condo Purchase
326 Sixth Avenue, BK, NY $685,000.00 Coop Purchase
424 West 46th Street, NY, NY $412,000.00 Coop Purchase
450 Pelham Road, New Rochelle, NY $130,000.00 Coop Sale
43-33 42nd Street, Sunnyside, NY $440,000.00 Condo Purchase
257 Central Park West, NY, NY $2,325,000.00  Coop Purchase

Happy International Be Kind to Lawyers Day!

Since its inception in 2008, the second Tuesday in April has been set aside as a day to appreciate the lawyers in our lives, and the hard work they do in order to ensure fair treatment for their clients.

The legal field can be incredibly rewarding for its practitioners, but can also be challenging in its complexity and punishing in its hours. If a lawyer has made a positive difference in your life, leaving them a kind word or a note of thanks (on any day of the year) can make all the difference!

If you’d like to find out more about International Be Kind to Lawyers Day, please see this article recently published by Clio.

From CNN: New Year Sees Surge in Mortgage Applications

As reported by CNN, the continued decrease in mortgage rates led to a significant rise in mortgage and refinance applications during the first week of January, hinting at a rosier outlook for homebuyers this year. Rates are expected to continue decreasing for the time being, though likely not below 6% according to analysts.

For more information, you can access the article on CNN here:

From CNN: Good News Ahead as Rate Drops Continue

As reported by CNN, mortgage rates have continued to drop through December, falling below 7% for the first time since the summer. Further drops are expected in early 2024.

To read more, please find the article here:

New York Law Takes Aim at Deed Theft

The New York legislature recently passed a bill (S6577/ A6656) which makes deed theft in the state a civil crime. The passing of this bill will provide significantly more protection to those targeted by deed thieves and equip prosecutors with the necessary tools to stop or slow a deed theft before it has been actualized.

What is Deed Theft?

Deed theft occurs when someone uses fraud or forgery to wrongfully take the title of another person’s property without the legitimate homeowner’s knowledge or consent. In essence, the scammer is able to acquire the rights or ownership to the property without the financial obligations attached to it, such as a mortgage. Taking the property through forgery occurs when a scammer fakes the real homeowner’s signature and files it with the country clerk to make it appear as though they bought the property legitimately, whereas taking the property through fraud occurs when a scammer tricks the homeowner into unknowingly signing over their home to the scammer. The scammer is then able to rent out the property or sell the home for a profit, without having to bear the financial burdens associated with homeowning such as a mortgage.

Deed theft has become an increasingly pressing concern in New York State. From 2014 to present, the NYC sheriff’s office counted nearly 3,500 complaints of deed theft in New York City alone. People of color and elderly persons are especially vulnerable to deed theft, especially those in gentrifying neighborhoods.

Prosecutors can now raise a “red flag” on suspect properties.

Previously, deed theft was not a crime in the state of New York, therefore there were no protections in place to slow down or stop a theft in progress. Once a scammer had obtained the deed through forgery or fraud, there were few legal remedies available to homeowners and prosecutors to reverse the fraud.

The new bill will enable prosecutors to file a legal action on properties where deed theft has taken place or is suspected to have taken place by putting a “red flag” on the property’s records. These flags swill serve to alert banks or title insurance companies if a scammer attempts to take out a loan against the property.

Deed theft victims now have opportunities to recover their property.

Previously, good-faith-purchaser protections stopped a victim of deed theft from recovering their property when the scammer had already sold the home to an innocent third party who was unaware of the same. Therefore, even if the scammer as found guilty of deed theft, the homeowner could not recover their property back from the innocent third-party purchaser.
The new legislation includes a provision that voids innocent purchaser protections. In cases where a third party purchased a property, and the mortgage was neither transferred to the buyer nor paid off by the original homeowner, the legislation would void the buyer’s claim on the property, even if they purchased the property in good faith from the scammer.

Victims may stay eviction proceedings.

Previously, there was no such protection when a scammer had stolen the deed and attempted to evict the rightful homeowner, because the housing court was unable to determine whether or not the evictor was actually the rightful owner of the property based on the facts presented. This resulted in many victims of deed theft being forced out of their homes illegitimately.
This legislation will make it possible for New Yorkers to remain in their homes and stay an eviction proceeding in housing court, so long as the rightful homeowner can show reasonable evidence that there is an issue with the title of the property or a potential deed theft in progress. This protection will allow homeowners to pause their evictions until the suspected deed theft case has been litigated.

Existing HETPA protections have been expanded.

The Homeowner Equity Theft Prevention Act (HETPA) allows homeowners in distress to cancel any contract to sell their property, whether they signed it knowingly or a scammer took advantage of them. Previously, these protections were only provided for homeowners whose properties were either in foreclosure or on the tax lien sale list. The new legislature will also include homeowners whose properties are on the utility lien sale list.

The passage of this legislation aims to protect New York’s most vulnerable homeowners from deed theft by equipping local officials with the tools necessary to better address this heartless crime.

Not yet passed is another bill (S6569), which was introduced to create new criminal provisions for deed theft in the state of New York. If passed, this bill would establish a crime of deed theft, grant the Office of Attorney General (OAG) criminal jurisdiction to prosecute criminal deed theft alongside district attorneys, and extend the statute of limitations for felony criminal prosecution of deed theft from five years to eight years.

From the NY Times: Office to Residential Conversions in the Financial District

According to the New York Times, the financial district boasts the highest office vacancy rate in Manhattan. Approximately 27 percent of office spaces are available for lease, a significant increase from the pre-pandemic rate of 11 percent.

Because of this, real estate consulting firms such as Vanbarton Group are converting some spaces into residential real estate.

To read further you can find the full article in the New York times here.

The Corporate Transparency Act – What Does it Mean for Businesses?

Starting on January 1, 2024, the Corporate Transparency Act will require mandatory beneficial ownership information (BOI) reporting requirements for statutorily created business entities, including law firms and attorneys. The purpose of this change is to aid the United States Government in policing criminals who use the corporate personal liability shield to hide their identities and launder money through the U.S. financial system, thus compromising U.S. national security and economic prosperity.


What are the reporting requirements?

“Beneficial ownership” is defined in this case as any individual who either directly or indirectly exercises substantial control over a reporting company or owns or controls at least 25% of the ownership interests. Under the act, entities must report the following information for each beneficial owner: (1) full legal name, (2) date of birth, (3) address (residential if an individual), and (4) proof of identification.

A reporting company created or registered to do business prior to January 1, 2024, will have until January 1, 2025, to file its initial beneficial ownership information report. A reporting company created or registered on or after January 1, 2024, will have 30 days to file its initial report. These reports will be accessible upon request to federal, state, local, and tribunal officials as well as approved foreign officials who formally request the information in connection with activities related to national security, intelligence, or law enforcement.


What does this mean for attorneys?

Lawyers are not exempt from the BOI reporting requirements and therefore have an independent duty under the CTA to report. Therefore, these changes raise several ethical considerations including the lawyer’s duty to conduct due diligence, how and when disclosure is necessary when a lawyer forms a business entity on behalf of a client, and balancing the duties owed to the client while still protecting themselves from regulatory action and personal liability.


Are any businesses exempt?

A “large operating entity,” defined as a business that: (1) employs more than 20 full-time employees within the U.S., (2) has an operating presence at a physical office within the U.S., and (3) filed a federal income tax or information return in the U.S. for the previous year demonstrating more than $5 million in gross receipts or sales, is exempt from the BOI reporting requirements.


What are the penalties for failing to report?

Any person who provides false information or fails to comply with the reporting requirements is liable for civil penalties of no more than $500 for each day the violation continues. Violators are also subject to criminal penalties of imprisonment of up to two years and fines of up to $10,000. Failure to comply with the CTA could have other adverse consequences – potential purchasers in a merger and acquisition will most likely consider whether the company is a reporting company and whether it follows the CTA requirements.


What does this mean more broadly?

The changes in the BOI reporting requirements will create additional filing and reporting requirements that statutorily created business entities must be cognizant of in order to avoid liability, but it will also equip the government with the tools necessary to stop and catch money laundering schemes that harm the American public. Some states are considering implementing similar transparency rules in response to the updated requirement, some of which would include a publicly accessible database.



From CNN: Mortgage Rates Drop During Early November

As reported by CNN, mortgage rates took a substantial dive during the second week of November, from 7.75% to 7.5%, after rising consistently for a period of weeks. This is the largest dip since a similar plunge during November 2022.

Sales, which had slowed during September, gained some traction thanks to the rate decrease. Despite this, the overall cost of homebuying remains high, and while rates are expected to decrease further during 2024, they are forecasted to remain above 6% for the near future.

To read further, you can find the article here.