Failure to Give Proper Eviction Notice Can Hurt Your Case

eviction noticeWhen a landlord starts an eviction proceeding, one of the very first steps you need to take is to give the tenant an eviction notice. Unfortunately, many landlords make mistakes when they provide notice. If the tenant identifies an error, the court will likely dismiss your claim — allowing a problem tenant to remain in your property. Before you file your next case in housing court, speak to an eviction attorney.

Types of Eviction Notices

A Notice to Cure informs a tenant that he or she is violating your lease’s terms. It must identify:

  • Which lease terms the tenant is violating
  • The amount of time the tenant has to cure the violation (such as removing pets)
  • The consequences of failing to fix the violation before the deadline.

The length of time and the manner in which a tenant must cure a violation is written in most leases.

A Notice of Termination is another notice that must be served on the tenant before you start an eviction. A notice of termination for a rent-stabilized tenant must state:

  • Your reason for removing the tenant from the property
  • Facts and information supporting your grounds for removal
  • The date the tenant must give up possession

You must be specific when you set out information in your Notice of Termination. If it is too vague and the tenant has insufficient information to identify potential defenses, the court will likely dismiss your eviction case.

Common Eviction Notice Mistakes

Landlords — even really good landlords — make mistakes. Below, we discuss common eviction notice errors we see in our landlord-tenant cases.

Lack of Specificity

The courts will dismiss a case if your eviction notice is too general. For example, in University Towers Associates v. Gibson, 18 Misc3d 349 (NY Civ. Ct. 2007), the landlord attempted to evict a tenant in a rent-stabilized apartment who owned a pit bull. The Notice of Termination argued that the pit bull was a nuisance, interfered with others’ comfort and safety, and was a dangerous animal. However, it did not state that the pit bull attacked or chased anyone, or that the tenant used the dog to threaten an attack.

Because the landlord didn’t give enough specific details, the court dismissed the eviction proceeding. In New York, simply possessing a pit bull does not qualify as a nuisance. (In fact, there are a lot of well-behaved, friendly pit bulls in the state.) Had the landlord given specific information about incidents where the dog threatened the safety of others (including dates and other details), the eviction might have been granted.

The Incorrect Signature on the Notice

If the wrong person signs the eviction notice, your case will be dismissed. Depending on who is sending the eviction notice, different requirements apply.

  • Landlord: The landlord himself or herself must sign the notice
  • Landlord’s agent: The agent must sign the notice and designate himself or herself as an agent of the landlord

If the eviction is signed by someone who is not designated as an agent or landlord, the courts will not accept the eviction notice.

Insufficient Time to Vacate

The amount of time given to allow the tenant to vacate the premises in the notice is also important. For instance, if the tenant lives in a rent-stabilized apartment and the landlord is alleging that the tenant is violating a substantial obligation of the tenancy, the landlord must give the tenant thirty (30) days’ notice before the surrender date.

If the landlord is alleging that the residence is not the tenant’s primary residence, the landlord should give a notice of nonrenewal at least ninety (90) days but no more than one hundred and twenty (120) days prior to the expiration of the current lease.  Additionally, a thirty (3) day notice to terminate should be provided prior to the expiration date in anticipation of commencing an eviction proceeding.

You Didn’t Demand Unpaid Rent

If you’re trying to evict a tenant because of unpaid rent, you must make a sufficient demand for rent — either orally or in writing. If the landlord chooses to serve a written demand, then it must clearly give notice of the alleged default in rent payments. Your written demand should include:

  • Exactly which months of rent that are past due
  • The amount owing for each month
  • A good faith approximation (or estimate) of the total rent that is due.

If your demand lacks this information or is improperly served by a third-party, the court will deem your notice insufficient and likely dismiss your eviction petition.

Need Help With an Eviction Notice? Contact James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C.

If you need help drafting or serving an eviction notice, contact the team at James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C. We know the challenges that landlords face and are here to help. Our team of New York landlord-tenant attorneys provide honest and practical advice, craft detailed and legally binding leases and eviction notices, and guide our clients through housing disputes. Contact us for more information about our services.

Real Estate Closing Attorney Discusses 5 Things That Can Mess Up Your Mortgage Closing

real estate closing attorneyExperienced real estate closing attorney James G. Dibbini knows that even one little change to your finances can negatively impact your mortgage closing. While expenses are sometimes unavoidable, it’s always in your best interest to maintain your financial status quo before you close on a piece of real estate. Below, we outline the top five mistakes you should avoid.

1. You Decide to Switch Jobs

Most mortgage lenders want to see two consecutive years of employment on your loan application. If you quit your job — especially if you change professions, become self-employed, or switch to a commission-only compensation system, the lender might be unwilling to finalize your home loan, even after they have already issued your loan commitment.

Sometimes, a job change is unavoidable. However, it can delay your closing and might kill your real estate deal. After you switch jobs — even if you’re making more money now — your lender will typically want at least a month’s worth of check stubs to confirm your new income. And, if you’re now self-employed, it might demand at least two years of tax data to confirm your income stability.

If you’re considering a new job or profession, consult with your mortgage broker, bank, real estate agent or real estate closing attorney before going forward with the change. Your real estate closing attorney may have suggestions on how to minimize the impact of your new career on your mortgage.

2. You Open a New Credit Card, Car Loan, or Other Line of Credit

Today, mortgage companies are more risk averse than in the past. When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will review your credit report — if you have too much debt or large minimum payments, it might impact your home loan. Typically, the mortgage company will run your credit report several days before the closing to make sure the home buyer still qualifies for the loan. If you open a new credit card or another line of credit, it might change your debt/income ratio — and the lender might deny the loan or refuse to fund the loan even after issuing your final approval or commitment.

A last-minute mortgage problem can kill a real estate deal and jeopardize your contract deposit. For this reason, you should never finance, co-sign, or increase a credit or loan balance before your real estate closing.

3. You Spend Too Much Money

Once you agree on a price and sign a real estate contract, it’s easy to get excited and start buying new items for the house. However, big purchases can put your mortgage at risk — even if you’re paying in cash to purchase the items.

The mortgage company doesn’t just check your credit report. Additionally, it will review your bank statements to make sure you have enough money to pay your down payment, closing costs, and other expenses. If there’s concern that you can’t pay these costs, it might delay or complicate your real estate purchase. Typically, your real estate closing attorney will suggest holding off on major purchases until after your sale is finalized.

4. Your Current Home Is Still on the Market

Frequently, mortgages are contingent on the sale of an existing home — especially if there’s concern that the homebuyer can’t afford two simultaneous mortgage payments. If your home hasn’t sold yet, you should check with your mortgage company to see if this will impact your home loan. Your real estate agent or real estate closing attorney might also have other solutions that allow your closing to occur.

5. The Real Estate Appraisal Is Too Low

During a real estate appraisal, a trained appraiser examines your home, assessing its value based on its condition and comparable sales. Problems can arise if the appraiser assigns a lower value to your home that the agreed-upon purchase price. If the loan-to-value ratio is negatively impacted, the mortgage company might not agree to finance the entire purchase. This can lead to delays while the parties renegotiate the price or obtain alternate financing.

Get Answers From a Real Estate Closing Attorney

Without guidance from a real estate closing attorney, purchasers can easily make mistakes endanger their real estate acquisitions. At James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C., we guide real estate agents, sellers, and buyers through the complicated and frustrating closing process. Our goal is to identify potential risk factors in advance and reduce their impact — enabling smooth and pain-free closings. Contact us for more information.

What is a Short Sale?

For real estate owners who can no longer afford to keep current on their mortgage payments, a short sale is an alternative to foreclosure that can help preserve their credit and avoid bankruptcy.

A short sale is when a distressed seller finds a purchaser who is willing to buy their property for less than what is owed to the lender (bank) and the bank accepts less than what is owed on the mortgage in full settlement of the seller’s obligations to avoid having to foreclose on the property.

It may seem counterintuitive, but a lender may not want to foreclose on a property because the foreclosure process is expensive and time-consuming for the lender. In today’s market with foreclosures on the rise, lenders are becoming more and more willing to negotiate short sales.

Real estate agents may be enlisted by sellers who are at risk of being foreclosed to help market their properties and find potential purchasers. And just as in any sale, brokers are entitled to commissions on the short sales of properties.

Finding a competent attorney with experience in short sales is important because there are many ramifications of short sales that people may not immediately consider. For example, debt forgiveness may be considered income which would be taxed at the seller’s ordinary income tax rate. Also, in addition to paying off the lender, there are various closing costs which will need to be paid as part of the sale such as transfer taxes, real estate agent commissions, legal fees and any judgments and/or liens against the sellers. All of these closing costs need to be considered in determining the short sale price.

With foreclosure rates on the rise, adjustable rate mortgages scheduled to be re-set and property values on the decline, many property owners may avoid foreclosure by entering into such short sales.

The Law Offices of James G. Dibbini has experience in the negotiation of short sales and will ensure that all parties work together toward a favorable settlement. For legal representation for your sellers or buyers in short sales or for more information regarding short sales in general, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

7 Mistakes Buyers Make When Purchasing a Home And How You Can Avoid Them

For most people purchasing a home is very exciting. However, if a buyer is not adequately prepared it can become frustrating fast. Many people have bad experiences purchasing homes because they make common mistakes that can be easily avoided if a homebuyer is properly prepared. Below, please find a list of seven (7) of the most common mistakes purchasers make when buying a home.

1. Failing to confide in your attorney

• Experienced real estate practitioners, like the attorneys at James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C., handle a multitude of transactions and can provide you with sound advice. Further, your attorney has a legal responsibility to represent your best interests. Failing to provide your attorney with all the information and failing to keep them in the loop with regard to important developments, such as your financing, can be detrimental to a deal.

– Whenever purchasers are having cold feet or cannot meet a lender’s requirements they should immediately discuss same with their attorney so that the attorney can protect their downpayment funds.

2. Failing to meet with a qualified loan officer or mortgage broker to determine the amount of financing you can obtain

• Meeting with a lender at the beginning stages will help purchasers in determining (1) how much they will be able to borrow, (2) how much they will need for the downpayment, and (3) how much their monthly payments are likely to be. Looking for a home will, thus, become easier because the purchasers will know if they can obtain financing and the price range they can consider when purchasing a property. Further, a lender can advise a purchaser on what documents/information it will need so that the purchaser can start gathering said documents/information. This will most likely speed up the application process later on when the purchaser finds a home.

• James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C. works with only very qualified and competent mortgage brokers and loan officers and can certainly recommend someone to you if you need assistance with the loan process.

3. Failing to go to the Building Department

• The Building Department in the local municipality where the property is located should have a file on the property. This file should contain several important documents that can assist you later on, including: a copy of the certificates of occupancy/completion for the building, a copy of a survey for the premises, and information on whether there are any violations or permits on the property. Your real estate agent may help you with the review of the Building Department documents. Failing to go to the Building Department and obtain copies of these documents can significantly delay, and in some cases, prevent a closing altogether. This is because if you are obtaining financing to assist in the purchase of a home your lender will require certificates of compliance for the building and all improvements to the property, such as a deck or a basement that was finished after the original construction of the house. Further, a lender will oftentimes not clear a file to close if there are open permits or violations on a property. When the title company produces its report these issues will all be brought to the forefront and will need to be addressed.

Additionally, if you are obtaining financing a lender will usually require a survey of the premises. If a purchaser is able to locate one in the Building Department’s file it can end up saving the purchaser the cost of ordering a new survey (several hundred dollars!).

4. Failing to account for additional expenses, such as taxes, insurance, utilities, etc.

• Purchasers should always look into all possible costs and expenses they may incur prior to signing contracts and consider increases in these estimates over time. To get an idea of how much you will be paying in property taxes it is a good idea to call the local assessor’s office or talk to people in the neighborhood. Additionally, a realtor may be able to assist you in obtaining copies of a seller’s property tax bills and other utility bills. You should also be able to get a quote on homeowner’s insurance from an insurance company and see if they can determine if the property is in a flood zone, as that will additionally require flood insurance.

5. Failing to get an engineering (home) inspection

• Before signing contracts it is advisable that you hire an engineer or qualified home inspector to inspect the home so that you are aware of any defects. An inspector can check to ensure there are no structural or mechanical defects, in addition to determining if the home has a mold, lead paint, termites or s radon problem. Furthermore, the inspector can determine if an underground oil tank exists on the property. If so, said tank should also be tested by an experienced professional. A leak in an underground oil tank is an environmental issue that by law must be dealt with immediately and which can be extremely costly. If the property you are purchasing has well water or a septic tank these systems should also be tested. Failing to hire an inspector in an effort to save some money can end up being more costly later on.

6. Failing to realistically estimate all closing expenses

• Oftentimes, a purchaser does not take into account the various lender and title charges that accompany the purchase of a home. At closing these charges are all due in addition to attorney’s fees and the balance that needs to be paid to the seller, if any. In an effort to realistically estimate all of your closing expenses you should remember that all lender fees and short term interest will be subtracted from the loan amount prior to receiving any funds from the bank. Thus, you will need to make up this difference at closing. Furthermore, if you are escrowing for taxes and insurance at closing (which most lenders require) you will need to pay any taxes that will be due within sixty (60) days of the closing at the closing. These taxes will be added to your title insurance bill. The title insurance bill will also contain all fees related to recording the deed and mortgage with the County Clerk and the mortgage tax charged by the State, in addition to the title charges for the title and loan policy and for the title searches.

7. Failing to do an adequate walk-through prior to closing

• Purchasers should always do a careful inspection of the premises immediately preceding a closing. Generally, this will be your last chance to bring up any issues, such as an inoperable appliance, damage to the property, or a missing chandelier that was supposed to be included in the sale. It is generally too late if these issues are discovered after closing and a purchaser could get stuck purchasing a new appliance, replacing the missing chandelier, or clearing out the seller’s property, which was left behind, at the purchaser’s own cost and expense.

Buying your first home can definitely seem overwhelming and stressful at times. But if you go into the process having already done your homework and with a competent and trusted attorney, you can protect yourself from all of these mistakes. Please contact James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C. to discuss these mistakes and other issues that may arise when purchasing a home. Our firm has over nineteen years experience with real estate transactions and would be happy to assist you in the purchase of your new home.

Tax Certiorari

As a property owner, the real estate taxes you pay are based on your property’s assessment. Your property’s assessment is set annually by the local municipality where your property is located and, according to New York State Real Property Law, is supposed to be based on your property’s fair market value. Sometimes properties are fairly assessed and property owners are paying their equitable share of real estate taxes. However, other times properties are over-assessed in which case property owners are paying more than their equitable share of real estate taxes.

With the help of James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C., it is possible to protest your property’s assessment by petitioning your local municipality in what is called a tax certiorari or tax grievance proceeding. Whether you are a developer, property owner or manager of residential, commercial or retail properties, our office can help you bring a tax certiorari proceeding which may result in a reduction in your property’s assessment and your property tax burden.

How do you know if you are entitled to a reduction? Before we commence a tax certiorari proceeding on your behalf, we analyze your case and determine your likelihood of prevailing in getting an assessment reduction. With respect to commercial properties, many variables determine the proper assessment. Since these variables are constantly changing it is imperative that property owners and managers evaluate the possibility of grieving their assessments each and every year. If you would like us to help you determine if you may be entitled to an assessment reduction (and therefore a tax savings), please click here to fill out the form and submit to our office so that we can make a preliminary evaluation of the merits of your case. If we determine that your property is likely overassessed,
we will petition the local municipality and negotiate on your behalf to try to obtain the largest reduction possible.

Our firm’s legal fee for contesting your assessment is contingent on whether your assessment gets reduced. Like most tax certiorari attorneys, our office would typically be compensated out of your tax refund.

Please keep in mind that each municipality has a tax certiorari filing deadline and suggest if you are concerned you may be paying too much in taxes, to contact us as soon as possible.

For more information about possible real estate tax savings, please do not hesitate to contact James G. Dibbini at (914) 965-1011 or email or please click here to fill out the form and submit to our office so that we can make a preliminary evaluation of the merits of your case.

Popping the AirBnB Balloon: Evicting Home-Sharing Tenants and Subtenants

On October 21, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law passed by legislators in Albany which imposes fines of up to $7,500.00 on anyone who advertises the occupancy or use of an apartment subject to the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law for short-term rentals on a home-sharing websites such as Airbnb or Wimdu.  In response, the home-sharing website Airbnb has filed a federal lawsuit contending the new law would cause it “irreparable harm,” and claims the law violates their constitutional rights.


The rise of home-sharing websites and their use by New York renters who seek to turn their often rent stabilized rental apartments into mini-hotels raises many legal and practical issues for landlords, such as illegal subletting rights of tenants and  property owner exposure to liability.  In this article we will discuss the new law’s application, and some issues landlords should be aware of.


This recent change in the law highlights a new and growing trend of tenants looking to sublet their apartments to supplement their income and pay a share of their rent. Short-term subleases, especially those arranged without the Landlord’s knowledge and consent, present unique issues for Landlords.


Under the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, generally, buildings with three or more apartments may only be used for “permanent resident purposes.”  This means landlords, or individuals seeking to sublet, are prohibited by law from offering rentals for any period less than 30 days. Additionally, most Lease Agreements include a provision that the Tenant may not sublet the premises to another party without first obtaining the Landlord’s written permission.  .  Landlords should take such violations of leases seriously and consult an attorney to discuss options to correct the breach and evict the wrongdoer tenant.


Covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R’s) of condominiums and proprietary leases and by-laws of cooperative apartments may also restrict the right to sublet.  Where the right to sublet is restricted, and no notice of the sublet is provided to the landlord, tenants and subtenants may be evicted.


Landlords should further consider the effect of short-term rentals on their insurance policies.  Homeowner’s policies could be invalidated by failing to notify the insurer of a tenant or subtenant. Landlord’s policies also may not provide coverage for claims brought by subtenants of whom the Landlord was unaware.  Landlords should check their insurance policies to determine if they have coverage for claims by subtenants.


Landlords must be wary of illegal sublets and tenants who turn their apartments into illegal hotels.  Fortunately, New York State eviction law can protect Landlords from the significant liability exposure caused by such tenants.


If you need to evict a tenant or subtenant, or have any questions or concerns about your property being used for home-sharing purposes, please contact our office.


James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C., collectively, has over 20 years of experience in Landlord/tenant law. If you want have any questions about how home-sharing could affect your property, give us a call at (914) 965-1011, or email us at to schedule a consultation.

Filing Mandatory Income and Expense Statements

In both New York City and the City of Yonkers, owners of income-producing property must file Income and Expense statements.   Failing to file these statements could result in penalties.


The New York City Department of Finance requires owners of certain types of income-producing property to file a Real Property Income and Expense statement if the actual assessed value of the property is more than $40,000.00.  The Department of Finance uses the information to estimate the market value of the property for tax purposes.


Generally, owners of the following major categories of properties are required to file:

  1. Rental Properties, includes rental apartment buildings and commercial properties with one or more tenants;
  2. Cooperatives, properties owned by a corporation that contains over 2,500 square feet of commercial space;
  3. Condominiums, includes income-producing commercial condominium buildings or rented commercial and /or professional space in residential condominium buildings;
  4. Business-Operating Properties, includes hotels and motels, parking garages and parking lots that are open to the public, department stores with 10,000 or more square feet of floor area, powers plants providing electricity for sale, and theaters and cinemas;
  5. Net-Leased Properties, entire properties that are leased by the owner to an entity that pays the taxes and operating expenses.


The NYC Department of Finance advises that even if an owner’s property is exempted from the filing requirement, it may still be in the best interest of the owner to provide the information anyway.  Owners may file their Real Property Income and Expense statement electronically with the New York City Department of Finance.  The deadline for filing Real Property Income and Expense statements for the 2016-2017 tax year was June 1, 2016.


Failing to timely file a Real Property Income and Expense statement may result in a denial of a Tax Commission hearing to review your property’s assessment for the subsequent tax year.  Further, the New York City Department of Finance may substantially increase the owner’s real estate tax assessment for that year.  In addition to the above, the New York City Department of Finance is authorized to impose substantial monetary penalties for failure to file a Real Property Income and Expense statement.


In the City of Yonkers, Local Law #9 of 1993 requires a person or entity owning or leasing income-producing property to file an annual, Income and Expense statement with the City of Yonkers Assessment Department. Property owners that receive rental income from various types of property – including apartment houses, garages, commercial and professional condominiums, fueling stations,   and rented commercial, and/or professional space in residential condos or cooperative apartments – are subject to filing the Income and Expense form.


Despite this extensive list, certain types of property will not require an Income and Expense statement to be filed. Although a specific property does not require a filing, the property owner must still file an exclusion form.


James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C., collectively, has over 20 years of experience in real estate law. If you want have any questions about your mandatory filings, or would like our office to prepare and file the statements on your behalf, please call us at (914) 965-1011, or email us at, to schedule a consultation.

Ways to Stop Paying For Private Mortgage Insurance

Are you wasting money on Private Mortgage Insurance? Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) protects lenders against loss if a borrower defaults. You are most likely paying for PMI if your mortgage on your home was 80% or more of the purchase price. The cost of PMI is added to your monthly mortgage payment and costs about .25% to 2% of your loan balance per year which can be a significant amount of money. However, you don’t have to pay for PMI forever. The Homeowners Protection Act of 1998, which applies to new mortgages originating on or after July 29th 1999, states three ways PMI can be canceled or terminated. Please note that the following do not apply if you are behind on any mortgage payments:
(1) Borrower Cancellation
You can send a written request to your lender if your mortgage has reached 80% of your home’s current value. This can happen in the following ways.
  (a) Pay the mortgage down to 80% of the original purchase price and your home has not decreased in value.
  (b) There is a sufficient increase in home value. You can cancel PMI if the increase is sufficient to reduce the mortgage to 80% or less of the current value of your home. An increase in value can be the result of home improvements or a natural rise of home prices in your area.
(2) Automatic Termination
Even if you do not request cancellation, your lender must terminate PMI when you pay down the mortgage to 78% of the original purchase price. Here, home value is based solely on the original purchase price. Thus, your lender must terminate PMI even if your home has decreased in value.
(3) Final PMI Termination
Your lender must terminate PMI when you have reached the midpoint in the repayment schedule of your loan. For example, on a typical 30 year loan, if a borrower has paid all mortgage payments through 15 years, the lender must terminate PMI. Please note that if your loan is guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration or Department of
Veterans Affairs, these rules generally won’t apply. If you have questions about mortgage insurance on an FHA or VA loan, you should contact your servicer.
James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C. has over 20 years of experience helping homeowners protect their interests and save money. If you need help cancelling PMI, or believe it should be terminated, give us a call at (914) 965-1011 or email us at to learn more.

What Multi-Unit Property Owners Should Know About the DHCR

If you are interested in buying a multi-family building located in New York City or Westchester County, specifically a building with six units or more, it is imperative that you learn more about the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) and its requirements.
The DHCR is a state agency responsible for supervising, maintaining and developing affordable low and moderate income housing in New York. The DHCR administers housing development and community programs and regulates housing accommodations which are subject to rent control or rent stabilization under the Rent Stabilization Code (RSC), in New York City, and the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 (ETPA), in Westchester County.
Generally, the RSC applies to privately owned properties in NYC built between February 1, 1947 and December 31, 1973 which contain six units or more. It also applies to tenants in buildings built before February 1, 1947 who moved in after June 30, 1971. The ETPA applies to privately owned properties outside of NYC, including some cities and towns throughout Westchester County, built before January 1, 1974 which contains six units or more. Also, some buildings built after these dates or have less than six units may be subject to rent stabilization laws for tax abatement purposes.
Property owners of buildings subject to rent stabilization laws are required to register the rents of these units with the DHCR annually. If property owners do not register with the DHCR, they can be disqualified from applying for, charging or collecting any rent increases and could be subject to additional, significant penalties. It can also delay or prevent a sale or refinance of the property.
However, there are exceptions which can release a property owner from having to register with DHCR. For instance, an occupied apartment becomes exempt if the legally regulated rent for that apartment exceeds $2,500.00 and the tenant’s total annual income exceeds $200,000.00 for a period of two years. Further, any apartment with a monthly rent of at least $2,500.00 becomes deregulated when it becomes vacant so long as the property owner files a
report of decontrol with DHCR.
Property owners can also apply to the DHCR for approval to raise the rents of rent stabilized units based on major capital improvements (MCI). Some examples of MCI items include boilers, windows, electrical rewiring, plumbing and roofs. Also, to be eligible for the MCI increase, it must be a new installation and cannot be a repair to old equipment. These improvements help increase the rent which eventually may lead to deregulation of the rental unit.
If no exceptions apply or the unit is not deregulated, a property owner must file registrations with the DHCR by completing and mailing Annual Registration Summary (Form RR-2S), as well as an Annual Apartment Registration Form (Form RR-2A) for each rental unit, prior to July 31st of each year. Also, all vacancy and renewal leases for apartments dated October 1, 2014 and later must include a lease rider or addenda, depending on where the property is located, with all registrations. The rider form for rent stabilized apartments in New York City is named RA-LR1 and can be found by clicking on the following link: The addenda form for rent stabilized apartments in Westchester County is named RA-LR1 (ETPA) and can be found by clicking on the following link:
As stated above, failure to file registration statements can prevent or substantially delay the sale or refinance of a property. Potential purchasers of rental properties generally and justifiably request to see DHCR registrations for the previous four-year period before entering into a contract of sale. Potential purchasers want to make sure the rent being charged is legal; they do not want to buy a property that may be subject to lawsuits by tenants who file rent overcharge complaints. Further, lenders generally refuse to provide financing to Purchasers if DHCR records are not available because of owner’s failure to file the required registrations. Thus, it is in the best interest of the owner of rent stabilized property to file the DHCR registrations annually.
James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C. has extensive experience in DHCR matters and can assist you with all DHCR matters, including annual registrations, defending against tenant complaints for loss of services or rent overcharge and completion of applications for exemption based on major improvements to the property. Do not expose your company or yourself to rent overcharge claims or a roll-back of tenants’ rents. Call or email us today for more information on how to get in compliance with DHCR.
Municipalities subject to the ETPA in Westchester County: Croton, Dobbs Ferry, Eastchester, Greenburgh, Harrison, Hastings, Irvington,
Larchmont, Town of Mamaroneck, Mount Kisco, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Pleasantville , Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, White Plains and Yonkers.
This James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C. Newsletter is a publication of James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C. All Rights Reserved. Quotation with attribution is permitted. This newsletter offers general information and should not be taken or used as legal advice for specific situations, which depend on the evaluation of precise factual circumstances. Please note that James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C. does not undertake to update its publications after their publication date to reflect subsequent developments. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. This publication may contain attorney advertising.

Do You Need a Power of Attorney?

Are you going to be unavailable to attend your real estate closing? Will you be going into a complicated surgery and want to ensure someone will be able to act on your behalf?  These are common situations in which people execute power of attorney (POA) contracts.

A POA is a legal contract where you, the principal, grant an agent the authority to make decisions on your behalf.  A POA creates a “fiduciary relationship” where an agent is bound by law to act in your best interest.  You choose the scope of authority given to an agent and you should always take precautions to define this clearly in any POA contract.

Before September 1, 2009, there were different forms a principal would have to execute depending on when he/she wanted the POA to go into effect, the scope of the POA, whether or not it would be revoked if the principal became incapacitated, etc.  Now there is one form, the New York Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney, you as principal need to fill out and execute in order to grant a POA.  On this form you can modify it in several ways including limiting the agent’s power, controlling when the POA goes into effect and whether it stays in effect in the event you become incapacitated.  However, under the NY Statutory Short Form POA, the agent cannot make health care decisions for you. In order for the agent to make such decisions, you and the agent will have to execute a Health Care Proxy.

Usually, in New York, a POA does not need to be recorded with the County Clerk’s office unless it is being utilized in a real estate transaction.

POAs can be a very helpful and effective estate planning tool but they must be drafted carefully and it is crucial that each principal have a clear understanding of his/her rights under the POA.


James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C., collectively, has over 20 years of experience preparing and executing POA contracts. If you need help with your POA or other areas of life and estate planning, give us a call at (914) 965-1011 or email us at to learn more.