Dolgetta Law

Short Sales – Legal Aspects

At the May, 2008 mid-year meetings of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Board of Directors of NAR adopted changes to the model Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Rules to reflect the realities of short sales. Every MLS must now give to the Participants, the ability to disclose to other Participants any potential for a short sale.

Definition of a Short Sale

Short sales are defined by NAR as follows:

“…a transaction where title has transferred; where the sale price is insufficient to pay the total of all liens and costs of sale; and where the seller does not bring sufficient liquid assets to the closing to cure all deficiencies.”

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When Can a Realtor Obtain a Credit Report of a Customer or Client?

When real estate licensees are acting on behalf of a landlord to bring a tenant to the premises, it is commonplace for the real estate licensee to obtain a credit report regarding the prospective tenant. The right of a real estate agent to obtain such a report was set forth long ago in a Federal Trade Commission “Staff Commentary” on section 604 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).
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Is Your Property in a Flood Plain?

More homeowners are faced with purchasing flood insurance than ever before. The cost of flood insurance can be quite burdensome and especially frustrating for homeowners who have never experienced floods but whose homes are now in designated flood plains. Real estate brokers have an affirmative duty to disclose the location of properties which are in designated flood plains and which require flood insurance. The flood plain maps for Westchester County were updated beginning in 2003 and became effective as of September 28, 2007. Existing flood plain maps for Putnam County are in the process of being updated and should be finished in mid 2009.
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New York High Court Rules on Buyer-Brokerage in Rivkin v. Century 21 Teran Realty, LLC, et al.

On April 24, 2008 the unanimous opinion of the New York State Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, was rendered in the case of Oleg Rivkin v. Century 21 Teran Realty, LLC, et al. The underlying case had worked its way through the Federal Court System and resulted in an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Federal Appeals Court requested a determination by New York’s highest court as to what the law is in New York with respect to the obligations of a buyer-agent to inform a buyer-client who is interested in a particular property, that other salespersons affiliated with the same firm, are making offers on behalf of other principals in connection with the very same property.
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“I Do Not Have a C of O For the Fourth Bedroom But What Can You Do For Me?”

On many occasions we have addressed the ability of the Department of State to determine that a licensee is “untrustworthy” or “incompetent” because of various violations of the License Law. Sensitivity to the Regulations of the Department of State regarding advertising is a clear necessity particularly when dealing with owners who have properties which are not in compliance with local zoning ordinances.
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Exclusive Listing Agreements – The Essential Elements

The Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Service, Inc. has, without attempting to do so, become a regional MLS. Over the past decade, brokerage firms from outside of Westchester and Putnam Counties have chosen to become Participants of the MLS. When the National Association of REALTORS® created Board of Choice, it also indicated that a Multiple Listing Service’s primary market area can be determined by the MLS based upon natural market factors. As a result, WPMLS now requires that all Participants submit to WPMLS listings taken in Bronx, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties.

As listings are now submitted electronically to WPMLS it has become apparent that there are a wide variety of listing agreements in use. Some do not conform to the requirements of New York Law. The essential elements, therefore, of an Exclusive Right to Sell or an Exclusive Agency Agreement should be reviewed by every firm.

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New York City Unincorporated Business Tax: A Trap for the Unwary Independent Contractor

Recently the Board of Directors of the Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Service, Inc. elected to require that Participants of the Multiple Listing Service who take listings in the Borough of the Bronx submit to the MLS all of their listings and not only the listings they select. The reason the Board of Directors made this decision was based upon the fact that WPMLS had approximately 1,100 listings of properties in the Bronx and real estate agents typically now regularly cross the magical line to market properties in Westchester and the Bronx.
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How to Comply with Westchester’s New Well-Water Testing Law

On May 23, 2007, the County of Westchester adopted Local Law No. 7 of the year 2007 which is entitled “The Private Well-Water Testing Law”. The new Law becomes effective on November 19, 2007. Regulations contemplated by the new Law were published by the County of Westchester on Tuesday, September 18, 2007 and the Law and the Rules and Regulations are posted on the Health Department’s website at
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Understated Taxes – Overstated Square Footage!

In a market environment in which having a larger size home with lower taxes can be a significant marketing advantage, Realtors must be particularly cautious about overstating the size of a residence or understating the applicable taxes. Complaints are often lodged against real estate agents about such misrepresentations. Misrepresentations have significant consequences both from a regulatory perspective and from the perspective of litigation liability.
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Section 8

High Court Rules:
Once a Landlord Takes a Section 8 Tenant the Landlord is Bound Forever

The New York Court of Appeals, on July 2, 2007, in the matter of Rosario, et al., respondents and Gumanovsky, et al., plaintiffs v. Diagonal Realty, LLC, et al., appellants, et al., defendants, ruled that a landlord’s acceptance of federal Section 8 rent subsidy payments is a “term and condition” of a lease executed with a rent stabilized tenant. As such the rent stabilized tenant must be offered a renewal lease containing the same terms and conditions as in prior leases. The landlord thus may not “opt-out” of the Section 8 program upon a lease’s termination.
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