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Commercial Litigation Landlord Tenant Law

Don’t Forget to Read Those Condominium Documents

No matter how carefully you reviewed the lease, if you don’t read the condominium documents you could be missing critical information relating to the unit and the building that is available only by reviewing the condominium documents.

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A young attorney once asked me a question about a lease she was reviewing where the building was condominiumized. Before I responded, I had one question for her: “Did you review the condominium documents?” She looked at me with a blank look. That was not a good answer. I explained that the condominium “declaration” and the by-laws, floor plans and rules and regulations attached to it (all referred to, many times, in the lease as the “condominium documents”) should be a starting point for any lease review where a condominium “unit” or “units” comprise all, or part of the premises leased by a tenant. To obtain a copy of the condominium documents an attorney can request them from the landlord who owns the unit or, as is the case in New York City, the documents may be found online if you know the block and lot number of the building. Reviewing the condominium documents may provide information about the actual unit you are leasing that you cannot glean from a review of only the lease itself. That means that, no matter how carefully you reviewed the lease, if you don’t read the condominium documents you could be missing critical information relating to the unit and the building that is available only by reviewing the condominium documents.

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