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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 Ann E. Ryan and Adrienne B. Koch
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some tenants were able to negotiate termination agreements with their landlords. But even though a landlord may agree to terminate a lease to regain control of a defaulting tenant’s space without costly and lengthy litigation, typically a defaulting tenant that otherwise has no contractual right to terminate its lease will be in a much weaker bargaining position with respect to the conditions for termination.
By Erik Sherman
Disaster — a seemingly closed economy, crashed supply chains, tight labor availability, and many millions out of work — turned into rising values, some hot sectors, and rising rents and increased stability by 2021. Stepping into 2022 should be a good deal less jarring. And yet, there might be changes and surprises. Here’s what experts see as coming up.
By Stewart E. Sterk
When, at the culmination of environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), a municipality resolves to require a developer to ameliorate environmental impacts, can anyone other than the municipality itself enforce the requirement?
By Anthony Davies
The law firm office cannot remain unchanged, therefore, as if frozen in time set to some date prior to the onset of pandemic, when all the terms and meaning have all changed. In fact, the office must now provide benefits or an experience the lawyers and staff cannot get at home.