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The Warranty of Habitability

When you sign a lease to rent an apartment, there are a few basic expectations you probably have about your new residence. One is that you will actually be able to live in the space you’ve rented. While this might seem like a reasonable request, there are many landlords who do not hold up that end of the bargain. Fortunately, the law protects your right to livable conditions, with what is known as the warranty of habitability. Continue reading “The Warranty of Habitability”

Landlord Groups File Lawsuit to Block New Rent Laws

Several groups that represent landlords in New York have sued to block new rent-control measures that were recently signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The new laws limit landlords’ ability to raise rent on rent-controlled apartments, even after their current tenants leave. This limits landlords’ ability to make money on those apartments, which they argue is an unconstitutional deprivation of their property rights. Continue reading “Landlord Groups File Lawsuit to Block New Rent Laws”

What is a Guardianship?

Chances are that, at some point in your life, you’ve heard of a “guardian” before, especially in the context of children, or older relatives, or people with certain disabilities. However, you might not know what a guardian is, or why someone might have one. Fortunately, the idea is easy to understand, and it’s good to know about just in case you, or someone you know, has a guardian appointed for them. Continue reading “What is a Guardianship?”

New York State Passes New Rent Laws

After much opposition, the New York State Legislature recently passed new rent laws that offer more protections to tenants located in New York City.  The underlying goal of the new laws is to maintain affordability and stability in a city which nearly 65 percent of residents are renters. Continue reading “New York State Passes New Rent Laws”

Negotiating Legal Fees

Questioning an attorney bill is not that uncommon in today’s world. In fact, state and local bar associations both consistently report that fee disputes are some of the most common complaints that they receive against lawyers. This has even led some states to start up certain attorney-client fee dispute programs to resolve the issues. While attorney fees are most certainly not cheap, it is important to remember that in most cases the fees are, indeed, justified.

Continue reading “Negotiating Legal Fees”

Do I Need to Make a Living Trust, or is my Will Enough?

In New York State, a will is a written document that must contain a signature at the end witnessed by two people.  The purpose of a will is to name beneficiaries who will receive property after your death.  A will is revocable and can be destroyed by a physical act such as burning or tearing, by operation of law such as divorce, by presumption (for example, after your death the will cannot be found), or by a subsequent will.  Accordingly, a will may be revised many times during one’s life.  In a will, an executor for the estate and guardians for children may be named, and instructions for wishes to be carried out may be listed.  Upon death, a will goes through the probate process and becomes a public document.

Continue reading “Do I Need to Make a Living Trust, or is my Will Enough?”

Tenants Awarded Free Rent for Living in On-going Construction

Recently, the New York State Attorney General’s Office reached a settlement with a real estate developer protecting tenants’ rights and prohibiting an unfair buy-out agreement.  In an effort to convert a historic Manhattan apartment building into a luxury condominium, the landlord illegally induced tenants to leave.  Before the developers received approval to put the apartments on the market, they illegally bought out tenants, many of whom had resided at the location for many years.

Continue reading “Tenants Awarded Free Rent for Living in On-going Construction”

Attorney General’s Office Unveils Nursing Home Abuse Cover-Up

According to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Dawn Weaver, a Licensed Practical Nurse, pleaded guilty to endangering a nursing home resident and falsifying business records.

These charges pertain to an incident on February 23, 2014, when a 93-year-old Wayne County Nursing Home resident fell while being transferred to the bathroom by a nurse aide. The supervising aide, Weaver, failed to follow nursing home protocol when she neglected to have the resident examined by a registered nurse before she was moved. Furthermore, Weaver failed to use a mechanical lift to remove the resident off of the ground, and subsequently failed to report the incident in the facility’s medical records.

Weaver then signed a facility report stating that the aforementioned event did not occur. More disturbingly, Weaver added that had the event occurred, she would have addressed it. However, when questioned by the Attorney General’s Office, Weaver admitted that the resident fell and that she and the aide manually picked up the resident without telling anyone about the fall. Continue reading “Attorney General’s Office Unveils Nursing Home Abuse Cover-Up”

Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption Program

New York City rental prices seem to continue to rise without any foreseeable decline.  As a result, reasonably priced housing has become a coveted treasure city-wide.

However, through the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption Program (SCRIE) renters who are 62 or older with yearly incomes below $50,000 may be eligible for exemption from all or some increases in rents, carrying charges, capital assessment or voluntary capital contributions.

Recent changes to the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) has expanded eligibility by increasing the maximum annual income to $50,000 from $29,000.

Lawmakers speculate that in the next ten years, New York City will see a 30% increase in the senior adult population. They further point out that New York City is home to the highest number of foreign-born senior citizens in the nation. As a result, more low-income seniors are seeking an affordable place to retire. Continue reading “Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption Program”

Expert Health Committee Recommends Major Changes to U.S. Health System

End of life care refers to the treatment of patients in the final hours or days of their lives, as well as the health care of all those with a terminal illness or a terminal condition that has become advanced, progressive and incurable.

A national panel recently appointed by the Institute of Medicine, the research branch of the National Academy of Sciences, released a report on September 17, 2014. The report stated that the United States’ system for handling end-of-life care is largely inept, thus necessitating a major makeover.

The report was authored by a 21-member nonpartisan committee comprised of doctors, nurses, insurers, religious leaders, lawyers and experts on aging. It called for major overhauls in the industry, and noted that many of its recommendations could be accomplished without the necessity of the often slow-moving legislative process.

The  507- page report called for a “major reorientation and restructuring of Medicare, Medicaid and other health care delivery programs,” as well as the elimination of financial incentives that are alleged to encourage expensive hospital procedures over low-tech services like home health care and pain management, particularly for sick and elderly patients. Continue reading “Expert Health Committee Recommends Major Changes to U.S. Health System”