In New York, when ownership of real estate is conveyed from one person or entity to another, the conveyance is accomplished by means of a deed. The deed contains a legal description of the parcel conveyed, identifies the buyer and seller, is signed by the seller and notarized.
Some of the most hard-fought real estate litigation in New York can arise when the city or a government agency seeks to take private land for public use. The government's power of eminent domain, also known as condemnation, is broad. The rights of private landowners are protected to some extent by the U.S. and New York State Constitutions, which provide that the government must pay the landowner fair compensation if it takes private property.
A recent post in this blog discussed the importance of condo owners getting approval from their condo board before undertaking any renovation of their units. A lawsuit recently filed in New York Supreme Court alleges one defendant failed to get condo board approval for an extensive renovation. But in this case the defendant is not a condo owner in the building; she's the owner of the townhouse next door.
In New York, having clear title is critical when real property is sold or refinanced. A cloud on the title can cause delay and possibly even cancellation of a transaction. Where serious title issues exist, it may not be possible to get title insurance on the property.
An enclosed greenhouse or sunroom can be a great selling point for a New York apartment or condo. But in many cases greenhouses are about to become a liability. In just over a year the New York City Department of Buildings will require many greenhouses to have a permit. Owners of noncompliant structures may be required to take them down.
Disputes between or among co-owners of real estate are fairly common in New York. People end up as co-owners of real property for a variety of reasons. In many cases they bought the property together as a business venture. Sometimes beneficiaries under a will or trust jointly inherit the property. And sometimes unmarried couples jointly purchase a property to live in.
The residential real estate market on Manhattan's Upper East Side is very healthy, with significant demand for high-end properties. So, when a homeowner tried to put his townhouse on the market recently, he probably expected it would attract some interest. Instead, a broker he contacted was not even willing to list it. In addition, after the $25 million property finally was listed six months ago, it did not attract a single offer.
Real estate litigation can be complex and the outcome can decide the future of a development or an investment. This is particularly true in Manhattan, where an adverse outcome in litigation can be a significant financial setback for a developer, property owner or lessee. When the stakes are this high, you need the best representation you can get.
Currently, state law in New York addresses condominiums and cooperatives with the following legislation: