Capital Region Legal News

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tips for Negotiating a Commercial Lease

How can my business get the best deal for renting commercial space?

Many small business owners in the Capital Region who rent office, retail or restaurant space need to be able to negotiate a commercial lease with landlords whose main objective is to maximize profits. There are steps you can take, however, to protect your interests and get the best deal.

Market Conditions

First, in any commercial transaction it is essential to understand the market conditions. While pricing is based on square footage, it is necessary to ascertain whether there a lot of vacancies or if similar space is at a premium. In addition, it is critical to learn how much rent other businesses are paying for similar properties in your location.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Homeowners in New York Eligible for Foreclosure Relief

Am I eligible for a loan under New York's Mortgage Assistance Program?

The foreclosure epidemic that was triggered by the collapse of the housing market in 2008 is finally abating, however some homeowners in New York are continuing to struggle with meeting their mortgage payments. Now, some of these homeowners may be able to benefit from the expansion of the state's Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP).

This program is designed to provide zero-interest loans to New Yorkers, the proceeds of which are to be used to pay off small debts that may be impeding homeowners from qualifying for a mortgage modification. MAP is being replenished with $100 million from a $5 billion global  settlement among Goldman Sachs, the Department of Justice, federal regulators and state attorneys general that was reached in April 2015.

The settlement was in connection with the firm's role in packaging and selling residential mortgage-backed securities.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Chipotle Chain Facing another Crisis as Executive Faces Drug Charges

Is a top executive at Chipotle really facing drug charges?

As if Chipotle, the Mexican food restaurant, weren't having enough trouble after an E. coli outbreak last year, not to mention other subsequent health scares, one of its top executives has now been arrested on charges of cocaine possession. Mark Crumpacker, its chief creative and development officer of Marketing, turned himself in to NYPD Sgt. Lee Jones this past week. According to his attorney, Crumpacker, who is 53 years old, was arrested on seven counts of possession of a controlled substance and released on $4,500 cash bail.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New York Cracks Down on Zombie Homes

What is being done about the foreclosure crisis in New York?

Although the real estate market in the Capital Region and elsewhere in the state of New York has been steadily improving, lingering vestiges of the 2008 mortgage crisis remains in the form of Zombie Homes - houses in foreclosure that have been vacated by their owners.

Last month, Gov. Cuomo signed a law that requires lenders to maintain abandoned houses before foreclosure. While vacant homes have blighted many communities across the state, Suffolk County has been particularly hard hit, leading the state with more than 700 zombie homes. To emphasize that this is a statewide epidemic, however, the governor also had signing ceremonies in Manhattan, and suburban Syracuse.

Read more . . .

Monday, July 4, 2016

New York Lawmakers Back Bill Banning Short-Term Rental Ads Involving NYC Rentals

Some call it government overreach, while many others applaud the recent advancements by New York lawmakers in banning short-term rentals in New York City. Whatever the individual position, all can agree that some sort of reform is needed in the short-term rental industry, as developers and homeowners alike are left to deal with the unintended negative consequences of short-term renters leaving properties a mess – as well as disturbing neighbors in the process.

Backed by Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), the bill would make it illegal for property owners to advertise their units on short-term rental sites like

Read more . . .

Monday, June 27, 2016

Reasons for and against Prenuptial Agreements

Should I sign a prenuptial agreement?

For centuries, in cultures all over the world, marriage was considered a kind of business transaction, unifying two families. As the romantic aspects of marriage have become more prominent, and divorce has become more common, the realities of merging and/or separating property ownership are, of necessity, being reconsidered. Because of the disturbing, undeniable statistics surrounding marriage and divorce, more and more couples are considering the possibility that signing a prenuptial agreement ("prenup" for short) is a sensible option. For couples planning to marry and considering the value of a prenup, it is crucial to have a

Read more . . .

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Toward Electronic Mortgage Closings

What are the benefits of e-Closings?

Technological innovation has dramatically changed the landscape of real estate finance making new and different types of mortgage loans available to consumers. In addition, the delivery real estate related services has become far more efficient, and the mortgage origination process is becoming more digitized, enabling many deals to close more quickly.

What is an electronic mortgage closing?

The Federal National Mortgage Association, Fannie Mae, calls the closing of a mortgage loan electronically an "eClosing."  When an mortgage loan is being executed today, many of the closing documents are accessed and signed on the web. The key instruments such as the note and the mortgage, are printed and hard copy is signed.

Read more . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2016

State's Adirondack Purchases Raise Land Use Questions

What affect does the use of motor vehicles have on property values in the Adirondacks?

New York State continues to add property to the state Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks. The preserve is situated in Essex County and the state recently purchased 22,000 acres, referred to as the Boreas Ponds tract. This part of the forest, once owned by the Finch Pruyn paper company, was subsequently acquired by The Nature Conservancy which sold the tract to the state for $14.5 million.

According to the Times Union, the governor reportedly said the purchase is "one of the most important additions ever made to the state Forest Preserve.

Read more . . .

Saturday, May 28, 2016

DUI Charges Brought Against former Navy SEAL Who Says He Shot Bin Laden

Robert O'Neill, a former Navy SEAL, was arrested on charges of DUI several weeks ago. According to O'Neill's statement, he is the man who fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden. O'Neill was arrested when found asleep in a car parked at a convenience store in his hometown of Butte, Montana. According to Butte-Silver Bow County Undersheriff George Skuletich, customers at the store called the police at 2:30 a.m.

Read more . . .

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Gender Gap in Divorce Settlements Is Not What It Seems

Are women being ripped off in some divorce settlements?  

Despite the public perception that women make out well in divorce settlements, this is far from the case. In actual fact, the income of women who worked before, during or after their marriages declines by an average of 20 percent after a divorce, while the income of their ex-husbands rises more than 30 percent after the split. Even more inequitable, 27 percent of separated women are living in poverty --almost triple the rate for men in the same position.

Because, in our society, women are still more likely than men to leave the workforce while raising young children, they suffer the consequences of earning less when they go back to work. In addition, divorce proceedings themselves are, for many, prohibitively expensive.
Read more . . .

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Road Less Traveled: Collaborative Law Divorce

Can I divorce my spouse without going to court?

Let's face it: divorce is common, so much so that 50% of first marriages end in divorce; and second and third marriages fair even worse. As the song goes, "breaking up is hard it do," but that is not to say ending a marriage needs to become an endless cycle of anger, pain and accusation. For those who want to take the road less traveled and bypass the conflict normally associated with divorce, there is an alternative: collaborative law.

What is collaborative law divorce?

Collaborative law divorce is a form of alternative dispute resolution aimed at avoiding litigating a marital break-up in court. It is designed to put aside the acrimony that often arises over questions of dividing the marital property, spousal support, and child custody and support.

Read more . . .

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