March, 2005

CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS

A recent major development in residential apartments have been the imposition of carbon monoxide detector rules by the department of housing preservation and development. The new rule which took effect November 1, 2004 requires owners of buildings to install carbon monoxide detectors in each apartment within 15 feet of each bedroom and to give occupants written information on how to test and maintain those detectors. Landlords are entitled to be reimbursed $25.00 by the tenant for each detector.

Notices must be posted in the building regarding each carbon monoxide detector and owners must keep records about the installation. A certificate must also be filed with HPD confirming that the landlord has installed the detector. This is a very serious requirement for landlords and the law should be strictly followed to avoid fines and penalties.

TITLE INSURANCE

We represent many purchasers of property and a frequently asked question is “what is title insurance?”.

There are many ways to lose your property and there are many ways to have your title affected in a negative way. The single most effective way to protect your investment is to have title insurance. Virtually all banks require it as a condition of purchasing property.

A title insurance policy from a reputable title insurance company is a property owner’s best protection against potential defects which could remain hidden despite the most thorough search of public records.

For a one time premium the title company will reimburse you for losses suffered due to defects in title that existed prior to the issue date of the policy, up to the amount of the policy.

Here are examples of potential title defects:

1. Forged deeds, mortgages, satisfactions or releases;
2. A deed by a person who was insane or mentally incompetent;
3. A deed by a minor;
4. A deed from a corporation which is not authorized under corporate by laws or given under a falsified corporate resolution;
5. A deed from a partnership which is unauthorized under a partnership agreement;
6. A deed from a purported trustee which is unauthorized under a trust agreement;
7. Claims resulting from use of fictitious names by a predecessor in title;
8. A deed challenged as being given under fraud, undue influence or duress;
9. A deed following a non-judicial foreclosure, where a required procedure was not followed;
10. A deed executed under a falsified power of attorney or an expired power of attorney.

The foregoing is just a very small list of potential title defects. Title insurance rates are regulated by statute. We deal with several very reputable title companies who would provide excellent service and professional title closers to attend your closing.

LEAD PAINT LAWS

The city counsel recently passed a new law that places significant new cost and liability on property owners in connection with lead containment.

Before doing any significant work in apartments, landlords must make sure that the contractors or workers are strictly following all rules concerning lead paint. Failure to do so can result in serious penalties and fines.

Certain landlord groups are still fighting the law in court, without much success up to this point in time.

CLOSING PROCEDURES

Title companies have for approximately the last five years required picture ID at closing for all parties of the transaction. Now some and soon all title companies will be requiring two forms of ID at closings. At least one of which will have to be a photograph ID.

Please remember to bring at least two forms of ID to your real estate closings.

OFFICE NEWS

We are pleased to welcome James A. English, Esq. and Michael P. Sheridan to our firm as Associates. Mr. English is admitted in NY State and will be admitted to the Federal Courts March 1, 2005. Mr. Sheridan has passed the bar and will be admitted in May, 2005.

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