Friday, May 31, 2013


From the AG's website, a press release from yesterday:

"MINEOLA — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Senate Majority Coalition Leader Jeff Klein today highlighted the "Certificate of Merit" bill (A. 5582) and the Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act (A.7395), two important pieces of legislation to protect New York homeowners facing foreclosure. Both bills passed the New York State Assembly last week, and will be soon be decided on by the New York State Senate. Many homeowners in New York are still fighting to stay in their homes, and these bills would ensure that families are protected from careless, or irresponsible, or even criminal behavior."

The full press release can be found here:

The Certificate of Merit bill is interesting. As stated in the press release:

"Kristen Brown Lilley, Director of Policy Advocacy at the Empire Justice Center, said, “This bill addresses a real problem for homeowners who are stuck in legal limbo because lenders aren’t filing the required paperwork. If enacted, foreclosure cases will move more swiftly through the foreclosure process, giving homeowners a better chance of saving their homes, and returning vacant properties to the housing market more quickly.”

Homeowners' foreclosure cases regularly languish for months, or even years, when financial institutions delay in filing critical paperwork that affirms the basis for the foreclosing bank's right to foreclose on the property and ultimately triggers a settlement conference – the mandatory process under New York law that provides borrowers an opportunity to negotiate alternatives to foreclosure, such as loan modifications or short sales.

The delays and subsequent backlogs, often referred to as the “shadow docket,” have become a major burden on both homeowners and the judicial system. This legislative fix will require banks to file the necessary paperwork, which ultimately triggers the settlement conference, simultaneously with the filing of any foreclosure action, thus avoiding future delays. The Office of Court Administration issued a report in July of 2012 which found that 25,000 families are trapped in this legal foreclosure limbo."

However, for some homeowners in foreclosure this can also be bad news: the elimination of the shadow docket will greatly minimize foreclosure defense tactics by attorneys as there are some homeowners that wish to remain in their "unaffordable" home for as long as possible.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


As I am in court this morning, I just pass on that the annual meeting of the NYS Coalition for Excellence in Homeownership will take place on June 13th, 2013 (9am -1pm) at Plainview Old Bethpage Library. See this link:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


This story is from March 2013 and was recently reported by what I feel is a very useful email list "The Hone Equity Theft Reporter Cases & Articles".

What I feel is the message to homeowners that can be found in this case is to make sure you file an answer and allege all of your possible defenses - do not default and waive them - because one of the actions the appeal court took was to hold that the trial court had no power to use lack of standing as a reason for dismissing the foreclosure since the borrower had waived that argument by failing to show up in court.

Here is a link to the article:

FORBES - NY Court Reinstates Foreclosure, Chides Judge For `Robosigning' Sanctions

Friday, May 24, 2013


An excellent discussion on possible changes in New York divorce law regarding spousal mainteance(I have read the Law Revision Commission's report and this is a very good summary):

Daniel Clement - New York Maintenance Laws To Change: How Will Post Divorce Maintenance Be Determined?

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Bellmore Hurricane Sandy Relief and Resource Fair- today - Thursday, May 23 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Although the fair is an all-day event, please note that Nassau County Bar Association will be providing legal consultations only from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (I should be attending as a volunteer lawyer).

The fair will be held at the Bellmore Knights of Columbus, 2333 Bellmore Avenue, Bellmore NY.

Hurricane Sandy Relief & Resource Fair

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Earlier this month, I received an email from matrimonial attorney Daniel E. Clement with an interesting article and here is a link:

New York Divorce Report - May 2, 2013 - 10 Things NOT To Do in a Divorce

From my experience, I would also add this:

1. If you have children who are living with you and you are engaged in a new relationship, do not have your new partner move in with you during the divorce process - and even after the divorce, consider the children and the effect on them.

2. Divorce, and for that matter any litigation, can be stressful. Obtain mental health support from a professional.

Monday, May 20, 2013


At the Nassau County Bar Association - I will be a volunteer lawyer. For more information, see this flyer:


Friday, May 17, 2013


Here is a useful tool for counsel representing home buyers in Nassau County. Nassau County now has a "School Tax" estimator - which will be a better tool than any representation Seller may make regarding the last tax bill:

Nassau County School Tax Estimator

Thursday, May 16, 2013


And as a follow up to yesterday's post regarding mechanic's liens and out of state contractors, see this link:


Wednesday, May 15, 2013


From a discussion on a listserv.........

A question arose regarding one's client, a foreign corporation. A foreign corporation doesn't necessarily mean a corporation from another country: it means one organized in another state. So despite the GW Bridge, a New Jersey corporation in Fort Lee that travels 10 minutes to do some work on 181st Street in Manhattan is a foreign corporation.

The NYS Attorney General Office has a memo on their website as to the requirement of why foregin corporations that do business in New York need to file an autrhorization, etc. A link to it is here:

An excellent memo and the bottom line, as it states: “The consequence of doing business without authority is that the organization may not affirmatively use New York courts until it obtains authority and pays all arrears in fees, penalties, and taxes.”

I do many consultations with Superstorm Sandy victims. One of the many issues we are now facing is foreign (out of state) contractors who came in and did repair work, charged high prices, etc. Besides all the issues of home improvement licenses, breach of contract, shoddy work, etc., there is one other issue: granted these foreign contractors may not be able to sue for large balances allegedly due because they were not authorized to do business in NY but there is nothing in the Lien Law that prevents them from filing a mechanics lien.

And that’s what we have – homeowners with liens filed from foreign contractors – some of these homeowners are elderly too and get anxious when their mortgage free home has a lien put on it. And removing the lien can take time and run into legal fees, even assuming they are defective on their face.

So although foreign corporations not authorized to do business should not do business in NY – they do.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Today I will be in Nassau County Landlord and Tenant Court as part of the Landlord/Tenant Project's Attorney of the Day Program, which assists thousands of men, women and children in court to prevent homelessness. To take advantage of this program, and assuming you meet income eligibility standards, when you appear on the return date of your summary proceeding, wait for the calendar call, and then when your name is called, advise the clerk you are requesting a lawyer. The clerk will send you to a room, where information will be taken regarding your income, etc., and if you are eligible, an attorney will represent you.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Another one today - and again confirming the high cost of litigation.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Some recent cases have been reported to me which present issues to homeowners in foreclosure.

First, in March 2013, Wells Fargo Bank N.A. v. Meyers, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, No. 2011-00482 eversed a Brooklyn judge’s 2011 decision throwing out a foreclosure and ordering $15,000 in sanctions against lender HSBC, saying the judge had abused his discretion by consulting the Internet and newspapers for evidence of “robosigning.”

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Successful Strategies For Winning Commercial Cases - Thursday, May 9 - at the Nassau County Bar Association.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Newsday reports today that homes damaged and contents lost to superstorm Sandy that are not covered by insurance totaled just over $3 million for nearly 400 Long Island households and that
number represents "just a fraction" of people still in need.

See NEWSDAY - Aid group:$3M in Sandy damage not covered

The various consultations I have had reveal that the legal matters this still creates, in addition to the insurance disputes, include disputes with contractors, disputes with banks over insurance settlements, mortgage foreclosure as well as family disputes (including matrimonial matters).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


The NYS Department of Taxation and Finance put a revised TP-584 into effect on April 15, 2013 and I am advised that the old form will be good in most New York counties until various dates in June  2013.

The changes from the current form to the revised TP-584 are as follows:

1. DTF has added new check boxes on Page 1, Schedule A for grantors or grantees, which are single member LLCs. If the grantor or the grantee is a single member LLC, then the member's name and Tax Identification or Social Security Number must be entered on the form.

2. DTF now requires the entry of the six digit Statewide Information System Code number (SWIS Code) on the property description. The SWIS Code number should appear on the property's tax bill. If not, your examiner or searcher can obtain it from the County Assessor's Office.

3. A conveyance pursuant to a divorce or separation must be indicated on the new form be checking box "r" under "Condition of Conveyance".

4. In all counties where documents are recorded in the County Clerk's Office, including Richmond County, checks in payment of the transfer tax must be made payable to the County Clerk. In the counties OF NYC, checks must be made payable to the NYC Department of Finance.

A copy of the new form is at this link:

The instructions are at this link:

Monday, May 6, 2013


I will be a volunteer lawyer today:

"Nassau residents caught in the growing mortgage foreclosure crisis can have their questions answered by attorneys at a free clinic sponsored by the Nassau County Bar Association at the NCBA headquarters, 15th and West Streets, Mineola, NY. Attorneys have volunteered to provide one-on-one guidance, advice and direction to any Nassau County homeowner who is concerned about foreclosure matters or is already in the foreclosure process involving property in Nassau County.

Attorneys have volunteered to review individual foreclosure issues with Nassau homeowners, help them sort things out, and give advice or refer them to agencies and programs, right in the same room, that may be able to help. This is not legal representation. The attorneys will help the homeowner find out if indeed, they need a credit counselor or a lawyer, and get them in touch with available resources.

In addition to meeting one-on-one with a volunteer attorney, housing counselors, bankruptcy attorneys and representatives from Nassau/Suffolk Law Services -- which provides free legal services for those who meet certain income guidelines -- are on hand to provide assistance.

→ Reservations are required by calling the Bar Association at 516-747-4070. Please bring your mortgage documents. Attorneys fluent in other languages are available upon request when reserving.

All clinics are 3-6 p.m. and are held at the Nassau County Bar Association in Mineola."

Friday, May 3, 2013


"All states have laws that permit local governments to sell property through a tax lien foreclosure process if the owner falls behind on property taxes or other municipal charges.

A tax lien sale may be started over nonpayment of a tax bill of only a few hundred dollars. A $200,000 home may be sold at a tax lien sale for $1,200 and then quickly resold for a huge profit.

Homeowners may lose not only a homestead but also hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity. This equity may represent their sole savings and security for retirement. As a result, foreclosures related to tax lien sales may destabilize entire communities".

For a more detailed discussion, resports, etc. go to:

The Other Foreclosure Crisis - Property Tax Lien Sales

Thursday, May 2, 2013


With respect to Tax Lien foreclosures, there is an ongoing investigation on bid rigging or fraud related to municipal tax lien auctions, one of which resulted in a recent plea of guilty in New Jersey:

New Jersey Investor Pleads Guilty for Role in Bid-Rigging Scheme at Municipal Tax Lien Auctions

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I have had recent consulations on this issue and it is best described in this article from last June:

The other foreclosure crisis: Losing a home over $400 in back taxes - CNN MONEY