It is important for Realtors® to understand the fundamentals of Errors and Omissions Insurance coverage. Errors and omissions coverage, commonly known as E&O insurance, affords licensees and real estate brokerage firms protection against claims or lawsuits initiated by clients who feel that his or her agent failed to provide adequate services. Although most licensees have heard of E&O insurance, and in most instances have E&O coverage, very few actually review the specific terms of the policy to ensure that they are fully protected.
Continue reading “Errors and Omissions Coverage: An Essential Element of Being an Agent”
Recently the Appellate Division issued several decisions concerning real estate transactions which failed to close and in which buyers, sellers and brokers were negatively affected by provisions in each of the relevant contracts. The cases below all point out the importance of strictly abiding by provisions of a contract that governs the relationships between buyer and seller, as well as the broker.
Continue reading “Recent Appellate Division Decisions: A Buyer’s Breach, a Seller’s Breach and a Broker Who Doesn’t Get Paid”
The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) reports that it has been investigating real estate agents for the past seven years and for the most part, has found the agents to be in compliance with the requirements of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (the “Act”). In some instances, there are agents who have not been in full compliance. The public’s attention to lead paint has been heightened by incidents unrelated to the EPA (i.e., imported toys and other products containing lead based paint). Non-compliance by agents of the EPA regulations, although infrequent according to the EPA, can produce harsh consequences and burdensome fines.
Continue reading “Lead Paint Disclosure Requirements The EPA is at The Door!”
On February 28, 2007 an important decision was issued by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Rolando T. Acosta in the matter of Blumenthal-Levy v. Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy, relating to representations that Buyer’s Agents make to their clients. This decision points out the importance of Buyer’s Agents ensuring that statements or representations hey make are accurate. Although this decision comes at a very early stage (i.e. the summary judgment phase) in the lawsuit between the client/buyer Hilary Blumenthal-Levy (the “Plaintiff”) and her real estate agent, Elayne Reimer, and brokerage firm, Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy (collectively referred to as “Defendant”), it is imperative that brokers and agents follow the progression of this case through to the end. The ultimate decision has potential implications about how a Buyer’s Agent should handle certain situations, especially being careful about what representations and information are provided to the client.
Continue reading “Buyers’ (or Sellers’) Agents Beware: Yes, The Home Is Located In …”
Toxic Mold has become a growing problem in today’s real estate industry. Many home buyers are not aware of the potential health risks and concerns associated with toxic mold. Real estate professionals, including Realtors®, attorneys and home inspectors, must be aware of the immense legal liability surrounding its existence. The growing awareness of health risks and liability issues has resulted in an increasing number of claims made by new home buyers and tenants for illnesses caused by mold. A bill has been introduced in New York State to create a statutory framework to deal with mold, mold remediation and disclosure.
Continue reading “Toxic Mold: The Importance of Awareness”
The terms “marketable title” and “insurable title” are very common real estate terms which come up in every contract for the sale of real property. They are terms that are frequently used but not fully understood. It is important for real estate professionals, including lawyers, title insurance agents, mortgage brokers, lenders and real estate brokers, to understand the meaning of these terms and recognize their importance.
Continue reading “Marketable and Insurable Title: Concepts All Real Estate Professionals Should Understand”
Whether you are dealing with a fellow Realtor in soliciting interest in a property or you are dealing with members of the public, customers or former clients, compliance with the Federal Marketing Restrictions on faxes, e-mails and phone solicitations are an absolute necessity.
Continue reading “Fellow Realtor, Don’t SPAM Me!”
The National Association of Realtors (“NAR”) has been in negotiation with the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ” or “Justice Department”) regarding its IDX and VOW policies for some time. IDX, also known as the Internet Data Exchange policy, refers to the Internet data display of listings, in advertising format, of all of the Brokers affiliated with the Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”). VOWs refer to the business model referred to as “Virtual Office Websites” which have been the subject of several articles written in this column.
Continue reading “Our Government At Work: Justice Department Sues NAR”
This Case Note examines the doctrine of standing in light of the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Crown Central Petroleum Corp. The decision in Crown Central deals with the doctrine of standing and whether the environmental organization, Friends of the Earth (FOE), met the requirements of standing necessary to bring a lawsuit under the Clean Water Act (CWA or Act). Here, FOE brought suit against Crown Central Petroleum alleging discharge and reporting violations under the CWA. The Fifth Circuit held that plaintiffs, who use a waterway (a lake) approximately eighteen miles downstream from the defendant’s point of discharge, did not adduce sufficient evidence to survive a motion for summary judgment because they did not meet the “fairly traceable” requirement of standing established by the Supreme Court.
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