Plain Language Requirement for Residential Leases

On March 13, 2014, in Landlord-Tenant, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

There is a plain language requirement for residential leases in New York

N.Y. General Obligations Law § 5-702, requires residential leases to be written in plain language. As a landlord you must insure that your lease is ”written in a clear and coherent manner using words with their common everyday meanings.” Additionally, your lease must be “appropriately divided and captioned by its various sections.”

The law, in pertinent part, states the following:

a. Every written agreement entered into after November first, nineteen hundred seventy-eight, for the lease of space to be occupied for residential purposes, for the lease of personal property to be used primarily for personal, family or household purposes or to which a consumer is a party and the money, property or service which is the subject of the transaction is primarily for personal, family or household purposes must be:

1. Written in a clear and coherent manner using words with common and every day meanings;

2. Appropriately divided and captioned by its various sections.

Any creditor, seller or lessor who fails to comply with this subdivision shall be liable to a consumer who is a party to a written agreement governed by this subdivision in an amount equal to any actual damages sustained plus a penalty of fifty dollars.

Call The Law Firm of VAUGHN & WEBER, PLLC, at (516) 858-2620 to speak with  a Landlord-tenant attorney.


Police Find Gun in Purse

On March 13, 2014, in Criminal, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Was the warrantless search legal?


Just before noon on May 23, 2008, police responded to a radio run reporting a burglary in progress at 2255 Barker Avenue in the Bronx, an apartment building participating in Operation Clean Halls, a program through which police officers are authorized entry into privately owned buildings to conduct patrols. The radio run included descriptions of the suspects provided by the 911 caller, who had reported that two Latino males, between 5′9″ and 5′11″, were attempting to burglarize a fifth-floor apartment. Sergeant Manzari and his partner, Officer Aldas, were the first to arrive on the scene. They began by checking the rear exterior of the building, which was boarded up due to ongoing construction, leaving no rear access. Manzari and Aldas then circled back to the front entrance, where they were soon joined by between four and six additional officers. Manzari sent a pair of officers upstairs to conduct a vertical sweep and to locate and interview the 911 caller.

Upon entering the building, Manzari and Aldas observed defendant coming into the lobby from what appeared to be a stairwell. She was in the company of a Latino male, Alberto Sanchez. Another woman, who was later identified as the building superintendent, pointed at defendant and Sanchez and “made a face” in a manner Manzari interpreted as a request for the police to stop them, though she gave no intimation of weaponry. Manzari also directed an officer to move the superintendent aside “for safety reasons.” At Manzari’s direction, Officer Aldas then questioned defendant “to find out what she was doing in the building, if she was trespassing in the building.” Her answers were contradictory and equivocal: while she initially stated that she was there to visit a friend, she then claimed she was in search of a notary, but could provide neither names nor apartment numbers associated therewith. There were “No Trespassing” signs posted in the lobby.

At this point, Sergeant Manzari instructed two of the officers present to arrest defendant and Sanchez for trespassing. Officer Pagan approached defendant while another officer prepared to arrest Sanchez. Pagan proceeded to remove from defendant’s shoulder a large purse, which—from Officer Barnes’ standpoint—appeared to be heavy. Pagan then opened the bag and saw a handgun inside. After Pagan informed Manzari that the bag contained a gun and that it appeared to be loaded, the Sergeant instructed her to secure the weapon. Thereafter, Pagan handcuffed defendant and transported her to the precinct for processing.


The trial court denied defendant’s motion to suppress the gun and the Defendant was convicted after a jury trial.

The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s decision.

The Court of Appeals reversed. Holding that no exigency justified the warrantless search of the large purse found in defendant’s possession.

The PEOPLE, Respondent, v. Josefina JIMENEZ, Appellant.



Housing Court Attorneys

On March 11, 2014, in Landlord-Tenant, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Court Attorneys in Landlord Tenant Proceedings

Court Attorneys play a significant role in landlord tenant proceedings where the Respondent is not represented by counsel.  In the interest of judicial economy, landlord tenant cases are only sent before the judge for conference after settlement options have been exhausted.  The Court effectuates this by requiring all eviction cases with pro se litigants to conference the facts of their case with the Court Attorney.

It is important to understand that the court attorney has no authority to make a ruling in a landlord tenant case or force any party to agree to terms that they find to be unsatisfactory.  Every litigant is still entitled to their opportunity to be heard by the presiding judge.  If an agreement is not reached after conference with the court attorney, the case will ultimately be sent to trial.

The Law Firm of VAUGHN & WEBER, PLLC is here to assist you.  Contact us at (516) 858-2620 to arrange a consultation with a  landlord tenant attorney.

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Renter’s Insurance

On September 9, 2013, in Landlord-Tenant, by Robbie L. Vaughn, Esq.

Renter’s insurance protects the Landlord and Tenant

Basic Renter’s Insurance covers a tenant’s personal property. The Landlord’s insurance policy, which covers the building, usually does not cover the tenant’s property. However, when an uninsured tenant’s personal property is destroyed (by fire, flood, etc.), the tenant is much more likely to sue the landlord for their losses. Tenants with renter’s insurance will likely have their losses covered by their insurer and are less likely to seek redress from their Landlord.

Requiring Renter’s Insurance

Many Landlords include a provision in their lease that states that they are not responsible for loss or damage to the tenant’s property and the importance of the Tenant obtaining Renter’s Insurance. Some Landlords go a step further, they include a provision in their lease which requires a Tenant to obtain and maintain Renter’s Insurance for the duration of the lease.

The Law Firm of Vaughn & Weber, PLLC is here to assist you. We can be reached at (516) 858-2620.

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