Itkowitz PLLC Accomplishments

Philadelphia Skyline

Tenants Who Use Airbnb – Keeping Then In and Kicking Them Out

September 7, 2016 

Things around here are busy because of the uptick in short-term leasing violations, occasioned by tenants engaging in Airbnb and similar illegal short-term sublet arrangements.  I offer a few examples.  

Itkowitz PLLC was hired by a residential landlord to prosecute a case against a tenant who was engaging in illegal short-term leasing.  We included all of the evidence gathered - from the short-term leasing platform, social media, and cameras - in the termination notice.  We had video of the short-term guests coming and going from the subject apartment at the same time that the tenant was posting public Instagram pictures of himself on a beach far away from New York.  The tenant decided that he did not wish to fight about it, so he left before the landlord had to sue him.

Then we were hired by a young couple who did Airbnb just once, but was hit by their landlord with a nuisance termination notice.  We wrote a letter to landlord’s counsel explaining that nuisance requires a pattern of bad behavior, not a single instance.  Landlord backed down and agreed to let the tenants stay, in exchange for a promise that they would do no more Airbnb.

I do not know if Airbnb is “good for New York”, but I know it’s good for lawyers because it’s keeping many of us busy.

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Eviction Ends Brooklyn Owner’s Saga with Salon

August 17, 2016 

This is one of those stories where a commercial landlord in a changing New York City neighborhood tried mightily to work with a small tenant to keep it alive.  In the end, however, the business just couldn't hang on.  In October 2013, a leading Brooklyn landlord approached Itkowitz PLLC with a problem with a commercial tenant.  The issue was that the Tenant was continuously in default but would always come up with a check before the Landlord would commence an eviction proceeding. However, notwithstanding sporadic payments, the Tenant never came close to paying a substantial amount of arrears that was owed and that the landlord generously carried.  

Shortly thereafter, Itkowitz PLLC commenced a nonpayment proceeding against the Tenant which resulted in a stipulation of settlement, the issuance of a judgment of possession and warrant of eviction, execution stayed pending compliance with the stipulation which spread out the substantial arrears through the balance of the lease term, ending in 2017.  We recommended the spreading out of the arrears through the balance of the lease term to assure the timely payment of rent and arrears, the failure of which would inevitably result in an eviction without having to start a new nonpayment case.

The Stipulation was executed in May of 2014 and, thereafter, the Tenant began paying current rent and arrears on more or less a timely basis.  When the tenant began missing payments, we would send a default notice and the rent and arrears would usually be paid on the last possible day prior to a scheduled eviction.  Almost a year later in April 2015, the Tenant defaulted again, the default triggered a marshal’s notice of eviction followed by an Order to Show Cause. That motion culminated in an amended stipulation which shortened the notice period in the event of a further default to three days, and the stipulation further provided that should the tenant fail to cure any further default such default shall be deemed “material and noncurable.”

After the tenant once again fell into arrears in April of 2016, we served a further notice of default.  When the Tenant attempted to pay the rent after the expiration of the default period, we negotiated an early end to the lease term in which the Tenant would  continue to pay certain sums and would be obligated to vacate the premises on August 31, 2016.  The Tenant’s ability to stay through that period was dependent on his meeting the payment obligations in the stip.

When the Tenant defaulted on a payment under the most recent stipulation, we sought eviction and the Tenant once again brought an order to show cause to stay eviction. This time, however, the Court directed that the Landlord was not obligated to let him stay any further and ordered the eviction to proceed after the close of business on August 12. The court further ordered that no further marshal’s notice needed to be served and that no further orders to show cause from the Tenant would be permitted.

The eviction finally occurred and thus a new chapter begins for the space.

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Itkowitz PLLC Obtains Substantial Settlement for Real Estate Brokerage Firm

July 27, 2016 

One year ago a client for a brokerage firm commenced negotiations with a buyer of a substantial piece of New York City real estate days prior to the expiration of an exclusive brokerage agreement. Subsequently, a memorandum of contract was filed recording a “memorandum of contract” showing that the contract was executed by the purchaser three days prior to the expiration of the exclusive agreement.

For reasons unrelated to the brokerage agreement, there was an almost one year delay in the culmination of the closing.  Notwithstanding that the sale had not closed, Itkowitz PLLC brought a complaint against the seller claiming an “anticipatory breach of contract.”

The defendant seller then brought a motion to dismiss on the ground that no closing had been taken place, which motion was denied by the Court.  The court then ordered discovery to proceed and directed that the Seller notify broker’s counsel seven days in advance of any projected closing date.

When the Defendant’s counsel notified Itkowitz PLLC that the sale was about to close, depositions were cancelled and the case settled days before the closing.  


Itkowitz PLLC Obtains $300k Buyout for Residential Tenant

July 6, 2016 

Itkowitz PLLC obtained a $300k buyout for a residential tenant, who was defending against a holdover case.  This tenant was represented by another lawyer for the first two significant rounds of the case, and had lost.  When we got the case we looked carefully at it, and saw something that the earlier counsel had missed.  We asserted the issue, and it was enough to take the wind out of the landlord's sails.  The landlord came to the table and offered the tenant a buyout he could live with.  

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Itkowitz PLLC's Rent Stabilization Due Diligence for Multi-Family Acquisitions, Sales, Lending, and Pre-Litigation

May 25, 2016. This is the one year anniversary of Michelle Itkowitz launching her rent regulatory due diligence product.  Since that time, she has done about fifty of these gigs.

If a building has tenants, those tenants are vital to the building’s future -- either because the tenants are the building’s source of revenue that needs to be maximized or because the tenants must be relocated for the building’s future.  Therefore, Michelle began consulting with clients and she calls the work "Rent Stabilization Due Diligence".

You hire an engineer to make sure the building is not going to fall down.  However, a multi-family building is so much more than bricks and mortar.  Indeed, we can look at a building and see it in a way that an engineer, architect or transactional lawyer cannot – we see the tenancies at the heart of the building and any problems that come with them.

We charge a very low FLAT rate for this service.  You are provided with a lengthy and understandable report - see a sample contained in this booklet.  The process is also interactive, not a one-shot deal.  We help you form a plan for the building’s future.

We refer to the process as “Due Diligence”, but we can perform the analysis before a contract is entered into, during a due diligence period, or after a property is purchased.  We have performed this service for purchasers, sellers, owners, and lenders. 

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