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In a set of foreclosure cases decided in late February, the Court of Appeals resolved some of the questions that have plagued New York’s court system in the aftermath of last decade’s mortgage crisis. When borrowers defaulted on their mortgage loans, immediate foreclosure was not always the best option for mortgagee banks, especially in what was, for a number of years, a weak housing market. Suppose, however, the bank delayed in bringing a foreclosure action. When would the statute of limitations bar a foreclosure action or an action on the underlying mortgage debt, leaving the defaulting mortgagor with title free and clear of the mortgage? In the last few years, hardly a week has gone by without a case involving the application of the statute of limitations to defaulted mortgages. In Freedom Mortgage Corp. v. Engel and its companion cases, the Court of Appeals provided a road map for resolution of these cases.
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By Stephanie C. Lieb and Alexander Zesch
Retail, entertainment and hospitality have been hit particularly hard by government-mandated COVID-19 shutdowns. For many, the road ahead will end in, or lead through, bankruptcy. Bankruptcy law has a language of its own, making it challenging to navigate the process for everyone involved, including for the landlords of bankrupt businesses worried about missing rent payments.
By Les Shaver
Adaption was a critical skill for many commercial real estate firms throughout the pandemic. Companies had to hustle to get the supplies to protect their employees and residents. They’re not only thinking about what can protect their occupants from COVID, but what high-tech investments can make their buildings healthier in the future.
By James D. Silver
While residential cases will grab the headlines, commercial property owners, managers and their attorneys should know that financially troubled tenants will be making news of their own. Armed with the hope of keeping their business afloat, they will unveil, or expand on, defenses to mitigate the pandemic’s financial impact and to save their leases.
By Meredith Hobbs
Law firms are waiting to see how new trends like working remotely play out for office space post-pandemic, but that wait-and-see approach has created a tenant’s market with opportunities for proactive firms in the short term.