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On September 22, 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation (A.1967/S.5400) amending the Property Condition Disclosure Act (“PCDA”), which effectively eliminates a seller’s option to provide a residential homebuyer with a $500 credit in lieu of a Property Condition Disclosure Statement (“PCDS”). The amendment further requires sellers to disclose property information regarding flood risk, flood history and flood insurance.  This consequential shift is consistent with Gov. Hochul’s implementation of her comprehensive resiliency plan to protect New Yorkers from extreme weather. The amendment goes into effect on March 20, 2024.

This bill goes a long way towards helping give homebuyers the information they need to make informed decisions about one of the biggest financial investments of their lives — their home.

Joel Scata, Natural Resources Defense Council Attorney for Water Initiatives

Elimination of “Opt-Out” Provision

The New York legislature enacted the PCDA to supplement the information provided by professional inspections and tests and searches of the public records conducted by residential homebuyers (New York Sponsors Memorandum, 2001 Ch. 456). The PCDA was also a response to adherence seen in New York’s case law to the doctrine of “caveat emptor” or “buyer beware,” which has long permitted a residential seller to remain silent as to most matters that are not actively concealed by the seller.  Consequently, buyers ended up with the burden of thoroughly inspecting the premises, searching public records and asking sellers the “right” questions about the property.  Despite the introduction of the PCDA, sellers were given the opportunity to “opt out” of providing buyers with a PCDS, if they were willing to pay the price – $500. Unsurprisingly, the $500 credit to the purchaser became the standard, and not the PCDA.Continue Reading Disclosure Revolution: Legislation Makes Property Condition Disclosure Statements Mandatory, Adding Flood Risks, and Waving Farewell to the $500 Credit

Last week, the New York Supreme Court, Suffolk County, denied an application for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the completion, maintenance and operation of two sixty-foot tall electronic billboard-monuments (“Project”) on opposite sides of State Route 27 a.k.a. Sunrise Highway, which Project is owned by the Shinnecock Indian Nation (“Nation”).

A.  The Project and the State’s Action

In or
Continue Reading Court Denies Preliminary Injunction to Enjoin Shinnecock Nation’s Project along Sunrise Highway

A recent Second Department decision, Matter of Village of Kiryas Joel v County of Orange, et al., addresses the intriguing justiciability doctrine of ripeness, as applied to judicial review of municipal administrative action.

In 2007, Orange County (the “County”) acquired property known as Camp LaGuardia from the New York City Economic Development Corporation.  Originally, the County’s plan was to
Continue Reading Second Department Reverses Dismissal of Article 78 Proceeding on Ripeness Grounds

A recent Fourth Department decision upheld a determination by the Town of Westmoreland Zoning Board of Appeals (the “Westmoreland ZBA” or the “Board”) finding that a dog training business is not a “customary home occupation” within the meaning of the local zoning code.

Matter of McFadden v Town of Westmoreland Zoning Bd. presents a strikingly similar issue to that in
Continue Reading Dog Training Business is Not a “Customary Home Occupation” According to Upstate NY Town

Historic Brownstone Houses in Residential Neighborhood of Fort Greene in Brooklyn

A recent Supreme Court decision, In the Matter of Preserve Our Brooklyn Neighborhoods v. City of New York, demonstrates the difficulty a litigant faces when challenging a zoning determination on constitutional grounds.  The petitioners are “an incorporated association of community members” from the Fort Greene area of Brooklyn (the “Petitioners”), who oppose proposed development in their community in the
Continue Reading Constitutional Challenges to Zoning Subject to Very High Standard

In The Committee for Environmentally Sound Development v. Amsterdam Avenue Development Associates, LLC, 2019 WL 1206357, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 30621(U), Index No. 153819 (Sup. Ct. New York Co., March 14, 2019), the Supreme Court, New York County, granted a petition to annul a resolution upholding the issuance of a building permit (“Permit”) for the construction
Continue Reading The Effect or Interpretation of an Ordinance at the Time of Review Applies, Despite Long-Standing Historical Views

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Last Wednesday, LIPA unanimously approved Deepwater Wind’s proposal to build the nation’s largest offshore wind farm approximately 30-35 miles off the coast of Montauk, New York.  Construction will include fifteen turbines with a 90 megawatt capacity able to power 50,000 homes.  The turbines will be built out of sight to address vehement public comments against blighted ocean vistas.

IT IS

Continue Reading Steel Over the Ocean: LIPA Approves Offshore Wind Farm Southeast of Montauk

On July 11, 2016, I began a short blog series on how to successfully prepare and record a deed in New York State.  In that post, we reviewed the various types of deeds available such as warranty deeds, bargain and sale deeds and executors deeds.  We also discussed the importance of securing a copy of the last deed of record

Continue Reading How to Successfully Prepare and Record a Deed in New York, Part 2: No Consideration Deed Transfers