We have represented both landlords and tenants with respect to commercial leases.  This post will examine the particulars to be considered when a doctor or medical practice is the tenant.

When evaluating a potential location, the proposed tenant should first determine whether the space is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  For instance, if the building has steps to its front entrance, is a ramp also installed to allow for wheelchair access?  Is there an elevator and if so, is it also suitable to be used by patients with wheelchairs.  Do the restroom facilities comply with ADA?

In the event that the space is not ADA compliant or requires adjustments to be suited for the installation of medical equipment, the parties may decide that the space will be built out before the tenant occupies.  The parties will decide which one of them will be responsible for the build out costs and whether the tenant will be afforded a rent concession until such time as the space is completely constructed and ready for use, provided that the tenant exercises diligence in completing the construction, in accordance with building permits to be obtained and without the attachment of mechanics liens to the property.

heartbreak-1124613223-770x533-1-300x208Today is Valentine’s Day, and our firm extends best wishes to all the happy couples celebrating.  However, an unfortunate truth is that sometimes couples, whether they are man and woman, or of the same sex, will discover differences and break up.  When such a couple is legally married, they usually would consult a divorce attorney to negotiate the terms of the divorce and a fair division of their jointly-owned property.

However, what happens when a couple are not married?  Marriage as an institution  is in decline, and many couples stay together for years, even decades, have children together, purchase property together, but never take the legal step of getting married.  In such situations, how is their property to be divided once they decide to break up?  They cannot bring a divorce action in Supreme Court, as divorces are only available to married couples.

As this blog deals with real property issues, we will discuss the legal issues of how an unmarried couple can divide jointly owned real estate.  Of course, the parties should negotiate, using experienced attorneys to represent their interests.  It is possible that one party wishes to retain the real property in question, and has sufficient funds to buy out the other person.  In such a case, a buyout price must be agreed upon.  The individual retaining the property must have sufficient funds to purchase the one-half interest of the other party.  Possibly the funds will need to borrowed through a mortgage on the property.  There may also be an existing mortgage on the property that needs to be satisfied.

We have been following several national Court rulings concerning compensation paid to buyer’s real estate agents.  A significant Federal Court ruling involved the National Association of Realtors, owner of the powerful “Realtor” trademark.  The case found that a seller should not be required to pay the buyer’s agent’s commission as a condition to having the property listed on Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”).  Similar cases in other jurisdictions have followed.  Of course, a seller could avoid this situation altogether by not even having a seller’s agent.

It had been customary practice for the seller to list her property with a real estate agent affiliated with a real estate brokerage, the “seller’s agent.”  The seller’s agent would enter the listing on MLS, making the property more readily known to buyers and their agents, the “buyer’s agent.”  Without MLS, many properties may not have been located by potential buyers.  The seller would pay a commission in the range of 5%-6% of the sales price at the closing.  When a buyer’s agent was also part of the transaction, the commission would be divided between the seller’s and buyer’s agents.

Sellers in the lawsuits challenged the requirement to also compensate the buyer’s agent, when the seller engaged its own agent, and resented the requirement to pay the buyer’s agent as a condition to having their property listed on MLS.  They suggested that commissions were inflated to allow for the buyer’s agent to also be compensated.

goldbarMany viewers have been intrigued by the popular television series The Golden Bachelor, in which an older widower selected the second love of his life as his fiancee.  The widower was portrayed as absent from the dating scene after the death of his wife.  On the eve of the final episode, an article was published describing the bachelor’s relationship after the death of his wife with a live-in girlfriend and unsavory details about the golden bachelor (Gerry).  For instance, Gerry’s thrifty side allegedly caused him to “go dutch” on all expenses and activities with his girlfriend.

One distinguishing factor between the show’s two finalists (Leslie and Theresa) was that Theresa may be wealthy.  During their last date, Gerry asked Theresa about her professional life.  She stated that she was a homemaker before she dappled in the stock market.  She was successful trading stocks for herself and then started a career as a financial services professional.  Gerry, who has been reported to have a questionable professional history, was quite impressed by this information.  Perhaps the golden bachelor is actually a gold digger seeking wealth.  This post will examine estate matters to be addressed on behalf of older individuals such as Gerry and Theresa, aged 72 and 70 respectively.

A newly engaged couple with children and grandchildren from a prior marriage should seek the advice of an experienced attorney.  It would be prudent to draft estate documents whereby the second spouse would not inherit outright, but would receive income during lifetime from assets held in a testamentary trust, with the balance to be delivered to the children or grandchildren of the first marriage.  This plan will protect the spouse’s family of the first marriage from a second spouse who may be motivated by acquiring wealth from the new spouse.

landlordkillstenants-300x174A recent article in the New York Post reports on the tragic story of a New York City landlord who claimed he was “under pressure” and had “a lot of issues” with his tenants, namely, that they were late paying rent.  Unfortunately, the landlord responded to the situation by murdering his tenants, for which he has now been arrested and is in police custody.

Obviously, this is the wrong way for a landlord to handle tenants who have not paid their rent.  What should the landlord have done instead?  This blog post will discuss the proper manner in which non-paying tenants should be dealt.

Almost all tenants are required to pay rent when leasing property, such as an apartment or a house.  To simplify, we will discuss residential, rather than commercial tenants, in this post.

streeteasy-300x199The recent death of Matthew Perry, best known for playing “Chandler Bing” on the popular sitcom Friends, has deeply affected many of our readers.  Although Perry was known for his fabulous sense of humor, the dark side of his life was notable for his addiction to alcohol and drugs, almost causing his death numerous times.  His painful life was documented in his memoir entitled Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.

The Emmy nominated actor may be “The One with Estate Issues.”  Although this author is not privy to the details of Mr. Perry’s estate, this post will discuss some of the estate concerns that could arise.  Mr. Perry died at his home in California.  Most if not all of Mr. Perry’s estate will be determined by California law as a result.  However, if he happened to have owned a pied-a-terre in Manhattan, the disposition of that property would be determined by an ancillary proceeding in New York after the completion of any California proceeding.  The remainder of this post will address the legal result as if Mr. Perry had died in New York, since the legal matters covered by this blog deal with New York law.

It must be determined whether or not Mr. Perry had a Will.  If there was a Will, it would be subject to a probate proceeding, whereby the Will would be submitted to the Surrogate’s Court and Letters Testamentary would be issued to the named Executor.  In order for a Will to be valid, the testator (person making the Will) needs to have mental capacity and not be impaired by alcohol or drugs when signing the document.  Certainly, a person such as Mr. Perry may have had issues concerning mental capacity when signing a Will.  However, experienced attorneys who properly conduct the will execution ceremony will not proceed if their client appears impaired at the time of signing.  Likewise, the witnesses should simultaneously sign a “self-proving affidavit” whereby they are confirming that the testator was of sound mind and under no physical or mental impairment that would affect his capacity to make a valid Will.

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