Most of us have been recently inundated by reports of the Coronavirus pandemic. Although many of our readers do not travel to some of the afflicted locations, fear has a way of becoming contagious in its own right and can have negative business consequences. Fundamentally, the fear is based upon not only becoming sick but also on the effect that widespread contagious illness can have upon the economy. This post will address how our attorneys respond to unfavorable financial times and the strategies to be rendered.
Real estate transactions tend to be voluntary business activities. For instance, a proposed buyer may be renting an apartment and be in the market to potentially purchase a house. Typically, a buyer needs liquid cash assets to post a downpayment and have the cash needed to close. If the stock market continues its losses of the past few days, a buyer may decide not to move forward because he needs to sell additional assets than previously intended in order to raise the cash needed. An experienced attorney would advise such a person that real estate is an investment that can be sold at a future date, hopefully at a profit. However, continuing to rent an apartment does not provide an asset to be sold at a future date or potential tax benefits such as deducting mortgage interest and real estate taxes paid. Now that we are about the enter the Spring market , new inventory and opportunities for buyers are available. Perhaps if a seller is concerned that her house will not sell as readily in this economy, the price may be reduced to attract additional buyer interest.
Certainly, commercially leased properties may see reduced customer traffic if consumers are afraid to be in public places and prefer to order products online or not visit restaurants where ill persons may be present. If such conditions persist, a tenant may need a seasoned lawyer to negotiate a lease modification or lease surrender , thus assisting the tenant in not being required to continue in a lease that is not consistent with current economic conditions. If such a modification cannot be negotiated, the tenant may be advised to “go dark” . Should the landlord not be willing to accept these options, he may seek to bring a landlord-tenant proceeding against the tenant.
Likewise, a person may own a small business and decide that current business conditions are not suitable for financial success. The business could be sold to someone who believes that he can succeed even in this financial environment.
Further, difficult business conditions may unfortunately lead to foreclosure of the business owner’s home. We manage hardship foreclosure cases differently than those concerning non-primary residences and attempt to achieve the most satisfactory outcome possible.
Our cooperative and condominium clientele may experience an economic downturn in another way. A shareholder or unit owner may be unable to keep current in his maintenance or common charge payments due to the cooperative or condominium. The board will then need to conduct default proceedings or file a lien in order to encourage the unit owner to catch up on the payments due and continue to support the building’s carrying charges. Such proceedings may even result in the unit being sold at auction.
Clients who are concerned that they are susceptible to illness and who prefer to plan ahead may choose to have their estate matters in order. It is always prudent to confirm that the appropriate estate documents have been drafted and signed in order to protect loved ones.
Our firm adjusts in the advice rendered to its clients during all types of financial conditions. We look forward to the inquiries of our readers.