Landlord-Tenant Law

Weiss & Weiss has extensive experience representing both landlords and tenants in Westchester County, in all five boroughs of New York City and in nearby regions. In addition, we handle both commercial and residential landlord-tenant matters. Whether the matter involves a dispute over lease terms, a tenant who has not met his obligations, or any other situation, our attorneys’ experience in this area enables them to meet your legal needs.

When representing either landlords or tenants, it is important that all legal requirements for filing an action be observed. In order to do so, a thorough review of the lease or other agreement in question is necessary. If there is no lease, then our firm’s extensive knowledge of the standard requirements in the New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (“RPAPL”) will ensure compliance with all legal guidelines. Our firm will prepare all preliminary notices, including a Three Day Notice, and have same served in compliance with New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules (“CPLR”).

If further action is required, then a Notice of Petition and Petition may be prepared and served on the tenant. This action will be brought in the locality in which the property in question is situated. Examples of such Courts in which we have brought and defended such actions include White Plains City Court (located just blocks from our offices in downtown White Plains, New York), Yonkers City Court, and New York City Civil Court (Landlord-Tenant Part) in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.

If the matter cannot be resolved by negotiation after an action has been commenced, we will then appear in the proper venue to represent your property interests. Our firm makes appearances in all legal venues relating to both residential and commercial landlord-tenant matters.

We have handled litigation involving rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments, with the legal aspects that are unique to New York. There are many laws specific to New York relating to the legal rights of tenants in rent-controlled and rent-stabilized apartments. We can also negotiate settlements on behalf of tenants who may wish to vacate their rent-controlled or rent-stabilized units on favorable terms. For example, one of the cases that we handled involved rental tenants whose landlord wanted to demolish their building to build more expensive housing. Our firm filed an appeal case with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) to preserve their rent-stabilized rights. After a prolonged legal battle, we obtained a favorable settlement for our clients.

Our firm has represented tenants who are threatened with eviction when there are no proper legal grounds to do so. Our extensive knowledge of the law in this area enables us to ensure that a tenant will not be subject to lease termination and eviction under unfair or illegal circumstances. Our thorough knowledge of existing rent regulations allows us to defend tenants who have been subject to illegal rent increases. The rent stabilization law in New York allows for limited rent increases both when an apartment is vacated and on a yearly basis. These increases are highly regulated and subject to many exceptions, including when a landlord makes major capital improvements to the property, for which additional rent surcharges may be permissible. We can determine whether the rent currently being paid is within the legal limits, or whether the tenant may have been subject to overcharges and may be entitled to a refund or damages.

When representing a tenant, we will use our experience in this area to ensure that the landlord has complied with all legal requirements. Many of the landlord-tenant actions that we have defended were subject to dismissal due to technical defects in the actual notices served or failure on the part of the landlord to comply with the proper service rules as required by the RPAPL and CPLR. For example, one of our clients was served with a Notice of Petition without an annexed Petition. We were able to have the case dismissed because the failure to serve a Petition with the Notice is not a correctable defect. Our thorough knowledge of the legal requirements for commencing and maintaining a landlord-tenant action allows us to negotiate favorable settlements on behalf of our clients.

Commercial disputes can involve interpretation of complicated and extensive leases, and our knowledge of this area enables us to decide the proper legal avenues to pursue. We will review any lease provided and give our analysis of the legal issues that may arise relating to the property at issue. Many businesses are unaware of specific lease provisions that may cause a landlord to dispute the tenancy in question. Perhaps the tenant is vulnerable because she only has a month-to-month lease. Upon analysis, we may suggest that our attorneys who are experienced in commercial leasing attempt to negotiate a new lease or amendment to lease in order to protect the tenant.

Certain commercial leases may contain non-compete clauses, in which the landlord is forbidden from renting space in a shopping center to businesses that compete with the tenant’s business. For instance, a lease with a bakery tenant may forbid the landlord from renting another space to a grocery store if it has a bakery department within. If such a clause has been violated, our firm can obtain a legal injunction forbidding the landlord from renting the space in question to a competitor of the tenant.

Another issue that arises in commercial leases relates to certain conditions that may be caused by the landlord. One of our clients had a store in the lobby of a high rise apartment building. The landlord was renovating the building, which renovation caused serious noise and smoke issues in the tenant’s store. Our firm was able to make a claim for damages to the tenant’s business caused by the landlord’s violation of the lease by failing to provide a proper environment for the tenant, which failure resulted in measurable loss in business revenues.

Our clients also include property owners in Westchester County who may be renting their house, cooperative apartment or condominium unit to a tenant. We have litigated issues relating to damages that may occur during a tenant’s rental period. After a tenant has vacated the premises, there can be damage, both major and minor, to the property. The landlord may seek to apply the security deposit to repairs. The legal question of whether the tenant is responsible for certain damages occurring during his residential lease term and which conditions may simply be ordinary wear and tear, for which the tenant may not be responsible, is a common subject of our litigated matters. In addition, non-payment matters are also the subject of lease disputes. If you are a homeowner with rental property, we can review your lease and advise you as to the proper course of action to take.

Overall, our firm’s knowledge and experience allows us to provide a roadmap of any and all issues relating to commercial and residential real estate that may arise in litigation.

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