More buyers try to break contracts
The number of New Yorkers filing claims with the attorney general’s office to break contracts on homes and get their down payments back has tripled in the past two years. There were 168 claims filed in total in 2008 and 57 in 2007. By Feb. 20 of this year, the office already had 74 claims, the New York Times reported. Lawyers said the traditional method for a buyer to break a contract is to prove some element of the completed unit differs from the developer’s offering plan.
Schumer calls for funds for Moynihan project
Senator Charles Schumer recently called for $100 million in federal stimulus money to convert the James A. Farley Post Office into an annex for Penn Station, expanding the city’s transportation infrastructure and employing more workers. The developers for the project, Stephen Ross, CEO and founder of the Related Companies, and Steven Roth, CEO of Vornado Realty Trust, were chosen nearly four years ago, but the project has stalled due to lack of financing and other problems. Schumer also asked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to invest $1 billion in the project, the Times reported.
421-a certificates add to developers’ woes
Some market-rate apartment developers who abandoned projects recently have collectively given up millions of dollars in down payments after signing contracts to buy tax abatement certificates, real estate experts said. The handful of developers had signed contracts to buy 421-a negotiable certificates, which provide a property tax break for 10 to 25 years, but backed out after they could not get financing for their residential condominium projects.
REBNY fights pro-tenant Stuy Town ruling
The Real Estate Board of New York has retained prominent real estate attorney Stephen Meister to appeal the landmark Appellate Court ruling from earlier last month that restored rent-stabilization rights to thousands of current and former tenants at Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village. The court ruled that New York City residential buildings receiving J-51 tax benefits could not convert rent-stabilized apartments into market-rate units under the city’s luxury decontrol laws. If the ruling stands, landlord Tishman Speyer would have to pay more than $200 million in back rent to current and former tenants. In addition, landlords across the city would face paying billions in refunds to tenants.
A dozen businesses could shutter for new train tunnel
According to the Port Authority, a dozen Manhattan properties near Penn Station could be seized through eminent domain in order to build a new train tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan. The $8.75 billion plan would create a new six-rail station 14 stories below 34th Street that would connect with Penn Station. A dozen properties are needed on 33rd and 34th streets, between Sixth and Eighth avenues, to make way for the new tunnel and to create five more street entrances. One of the properties that would be seized is the Blarney Rock pub, which has been on 33rd Street since 1969, the New York Post reported.
Better response needed on housing discrimination
A study released last month by the Education Research Advocacy Support to Eliminate Racism, a Syosset, NY-based advocacy group, said that brokers and federal, state and local government agencies do not act aggressively on discrimination complaints or enforce fair housing laws on Long Island, Newsday reported. Real estate professionals were the defendants in 73 percent of the housing race discrimination complaints made on Long Island from 2000 to 2007.