New York commercial landlord sues over request to change locks

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2014 | Commercial Real Estate

Times Square has long been a prime location in the world of New York commercial real estate. Whether it is for the construction, remodel, sale or lease of a building, contracts and agreements are drafted to ensure these actions are carried out properly. Although a legal document helps detail an agreement, disputes could still arise among the contracting parties.

Recently the landlord and tenant of a Times Square building went to court over the landlord’s request that the tenant change the locks on the building. The building, at 719 Seventh Avenue, is owned by SL Green Realty, a major real estate investment trust in the city. The tenant, Great Locations New York, subleases the entire building to Smiler’s Deli, which in turn subleases space in the building to several retail businesses.

The REIT has plans to tear down the building and put up a three-story retail structure. In connection with those plans, SL Green recently asked Great Locations to change the locks on the basement door and the front door. SL Green says the change is necessary for security purposes.

Great Locations disagrees, and their lawyer sent an e-mail to SL Green saying the lock change is not needed because there is no indication the building is unsafe. The REIT responded by filing a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court.

It is not common for a dispute over changing locks to rise to the level of litigation. In a situation like this, a judge may put pressure on the landlord and tenant to resolve the dispute through settlement.

Lease disputes can be a drain of time and profit for landlords and tenants alike. In many cases attempting to settle a dispute amicably makes more economic sense than proceeding to litigation. Experienced New York real estate counsel can be very helpful in negotiating an agreement to end a dispute like this.

Source:, “Feisty tenant disobeys SL Green in Times Square,” Adam Pincus, Aug. 15, 2014

Source:, “Feisty tenant disobeys SL Green in Times Square,” Adam Pincus, Aug. 15, 2014