Rent Issues – European Forum – Family Mediation Wed, 15 Sep 2021 22:29:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rent Issues – European Forum – Family Mediation 32 32 Commercial lease disputes during the current pandemic: the second wave Wed, 15 Sep 2021 21:03:59 +0000

With COVID-related litigation ongoing across the country, an in-depth analysis of the language of commercial leases is now more important than ever, as many questions remain unanswered. Much of the first wave of commercial lease litigation revolved around whether commercial tenants were required to pay rent when forced to close due to the pandemic and related government orders. Now, new disputes arise based on the lingering impacts of the pandemic and certain key clauses such as roommates, exclusions from sale, restrictive operating clauses, accident clauses and force majeure provisions are likely to play a crucial role.

For example, commercial leases typically contain colocation clauses that allow tenants to reduce their rent or, in some cases, terminate the lease if key tenants or a number of tenants are not open and operational. These provisions are in the foreground given the government-mandated closures, curfews and social distancing requirements that have forced companies to significantly modify and / or scale back their operations. As with any lease, it is important to read and understand the fine print. Some questions that we have seen arise regarding colocation clauses are:

  • When do rent reduction or termination rights mature? Often, colocation arrangements have a deadline and reduced rent and / or termination rights only apply after a certain number of months. But what if a roommate opens and then closes following an increase in COVID-19 cases?
  • What does it mean for a roommate to be open for the purpose of meeting the roommate provision? The language may vary from one lease to another. For example, a lease might specify that a roommate must be open and operate a retail business in almost all of their premises to be considered in the roommate test. What does this mean for businesses open for limited hours or engaged only in limited operations such as take-out or curbside collection?
  • Is there an operating agreement? Some colocation arrangements require the tenant to be open and operational in order to avail of the colocation arrangement. In some cases, even if there is an operating covenant, tenants may argue that force majeure provisions exempt the tenant from carrying on business. However, the landlord can argue that the operating requirement is a condition and that the colocation provisions simply do not apply if the condition is not met.
  • How does force majeure impact the analysis? Some landlords have argued that the force majeure provisions exempt them from “complying” with the roommate provisions. However, traditionally, the law has not treated colocation clauses as “commitments” or “obligations” that create a violation if not respected. In other words, the owner does not “promise” to meet the conditions; instead, these provisions simply establish contingencies and a “tiered rent structure”. See Old Navy, LLC v. Ctr. Dev. Oreg., LLC, CIV No. 3: 11-472-KI, 2012 WL 2192284, at * 11 (D. Or. June 13, 2012). Typically, force majeure provisions are written to excuse obligations to act, not the occurrence or non-occurrence of conditions. See San Mateo County. Coll. Dist. vs. Half Moon Bay Ltd. P’ship, 65 Cal. App. 4th 401 (1998) (force majeure clause which applied to “obligations” did not excuse breach of conditions); Jenkins v. Eckerd Corp., 913 So. 2d 43, 54-55 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2005) (recognizing the disposition of the principal tenant as an express condition and refusing to excuse its failure).

Similar issues apply in disputes over sales exclusion clauses, which may provide for a right of early termination if a commercial tenant’s sales do not meet or exceed a certain threshold. For example: does the non-respect of the operating commitment affect the right of a tenant to exercise the exclusion of sales clause? If this is the case, the Tenants could argue that the absence of operation for any period can be excused by joint tenancy or force majeure provisions. The owners would likely argue that the operating requirement is a condition and that the referral of sales clause does not apply if the condition is not met, regardless of the roommate and force majeure provisions. .

Another important consideration is how sales are calculated. In order to determine what constitutes a sale that matters, when sales should be measured, and how closings affect sales launch thresholds, the first step is to carefully read and understand the language of the lease.

Many of these issues are starting to be addressed now, but have yet to result in published decisions. As COVID-related lease disputes continue to unfold, parties to commercial leases should carefully analyze these provisions and keep an eye out for future legal precedents.

After taking the oath, Hochul assigns new Lieutenant Governor Benjamin to work on immunization, housing Sat, 11 Sep 2021 15:00:00 +0000

Brian Benjamin was sworn in Thursday morning to become lieutenant governor of New York, and he already has a lot to do.

The former Harlem state senator will work on COVID-19 vaccine awareness, rent relief and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for the Hochul administration.

The latter issue is very familiar to him, and the governor has asked him to lead a task force that will identify ways to better serve the residents of the authority, many of whom often wait months for service issues to be resolved in their homes.

New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin speaks after being sworn in on September 9, 2021 in New York City.

Darren McGee / New York Governor’s Office

New York Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin speaks after being sworn in on September 9, 2021 in New York City.

“I have the most of NYCHA [residents] from any senator in the state, so I know very clearly the problems with the capital requirements of over $ 40 billion that exist and are growing rapidly, ”he said.

Benjamin’s placement maintains the balance between the top and the bottom of the state in administration, and Hochul said his work with the NYCHA and COVID-19 vaccination campaign will help build confidence in the government, l one of his main goals in taking over from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“I can’t do it alone,” she said. “I need someone by my side. Someone I also rely on for their wisdom and advice and local knowledge of the issues of what is going on in social housing in the city. And how we can do much better for the people who call these sometimes hellish environments their home. “

While much of the Lieutenant Governor’s jurisdiction is based in Gotham, he will still roam the state as Hochul did under Cuomo. He also told reporters that he plans to run for election next year and also support Hochul.

And just as Hochul’s more moderate policy has evolved somewhat over the course of his career – perhaps most notably his now endorsement of New York’s Green Light Law, which allows the state to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants. undocumented – there will likely be a shift in some of Benjamin’s positioning as he becomes a statewide figure.

This was evident in his remarks Thursday on the subject of rent relief. As most of the focus has been on assisting tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Benjamin was keen to stress the fact that they are not the only ones affected by this crisis.

“We have small homeowners who literally cash in on life insurance policies, take out second mortgages on their homes because they don’t have the backing,” he said.

Benjamin’s biography indicates that he is the son of unionized workers who grew up from his middle-class roots to become an Ivy League-trained businessman in his hometown. After a short stint as an investment banker, he helped grow a minority business focused on housing development.

However, in an unsuccessful race for the comptroller of New York City earlier this year, the New York Daily News reported that Benjamin was a paid member of the board of directors of a company run by Andrew Neuberger, a financial executive who handled subprime loans for Morgan Stanley in the ramp. -until the Great Recession.

A spokesperson for Benjamin announced he was leaving NextPoint Acquisition Corp. after announcing the addition of Liberty Tax and LoanMe to its portfolio.

Liberty Tax was settled with the federal government two years ago after being investigated for failure to protect against people filing fraudulent tax claims. LoanMe, on the other hand, offers loans with extremely high interest rates.

On Thursday, he was also asked about a report from The City claiming he continued to own shares in LoanMe even after he left NextPoint. The return on his $ 4,100 investment was approaching 20-1, according to Tuesday’s article.

Benjamin did not deny that he owns the shares, but has spoken of keeping predatory lenders out of the state.

“My record speaks for itself on this subject,” he said. “I support making sure we don’t have extremely high interest rates on loans for hard-working Americans.”

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Key words: States, News, Kathy Hochul, New York, Vaccination, Housing

Original author: Steve Bittenbender, The central square

Original location: After taking the oath, Hochul assigns new Lieutenant Governor Benjamin to work on immunization, housing

Insurance giant GIO sues Horsham couple for nearly $ 78,000 over rental property fire Wed, 08 Sep 2021 19:01:06 +0000

Lauren Arnett was cooking dinner on a Sunday night last year in the kitchen of the rental property she shared with her partner.

In seconds, her relaxed Sunday night went up in smoke – literally.

I was preparing [dinner] and I just had oil on the stove, ”she said.

“It was like some kind of sturdy electric hob, which meant it was hard to know how much heat was coming out of it.

“I called Luke and I asked him, ‘How hot do you think this is?’

“And while we were finding out, it caught fire.”

She and her partner Luke Sierakowski desperately tried to put out the flames and immediately called the fire department at their home in Horsham, west Victoria.

They were able to get out safely, and the quick work of the firefighters limited most of the damage to the exhaust fan and to the ceiling above the stove.

A fire in August 2020 spread to the exhaust fan above the property’s stove.(



“Once outside, there was smoke everywhere and it looked like it would burn most of the house down, but it wasn’t,” Sierakowski said.

The couple say there have been only limited inquiries from the insurer as to the cause of the fire, with an appraiser coming to “take pictures.”

Nobody really spoke to us, ”Sierakowski said.

The couple put the experience behind them and stayed with friends until they found a new rental property.

Eventually, they decided to buy their own house.

Horsham 2
Lauren Arnett and Luke Sierakowski believed the experience was behind them.(

ABC NEWS: Angus Verley


But in June of this year, 10 months after the fire, they received a letter from the insurer GIO.

He said it was the rental property owner’s insurer who had the kitchen fire.

“The circumstances reported indicate liability on your part and we intend to recover the cost of the repairs,” the letter said.

“Documents supporting the amount of our loss, at $ 77,845.00, are attached.

“Please send payment to GIO by July 14, 2021.”

Ms Arnett said the amount of money demanded by the insurer would financially “ruin” the couple.

“I think almost all consumers would have no idea this could happen to them.

Suncorp, GIO’s parent company, released a statement after being contacted by ABC.

“We encourage tenants to call us as soon as possible to provide us with some details as we believe we can resolve this complaint quickly, including the ability to reduce or waive costs,” a spokesperson said.

Choice files complaints with regulators

Consumer group Choice and suburban legal service WEstjustice are alarmed at the number of cases similar to the Horsham couple.

WEstjustice attorney Matthew Martin said he has seen cases of homeowner insurers claiming tenants up to $ 300,000 for accidental damage to property.

Matthew Martin
WEstjustice attorney Matthew Martin is concerned about the number of cases where homeowner insurers are suing tenants for accidental damage. (



“In the past year alone, we’ve seen over 10 cases of tenants sued by homeowner insurers,” said Martin.

“That’s a pretty large number for a rental clinic that only serves the western suburbs of Melbourne.

“So I can only imagine how many digits there are across the country.”

Choice campaigns director Erin Turner said that in the cases she saw, insurers failed to do the job to prove the tenant actually owed the money.

Ms Turner said sometimes insurance companies would send out invoices several months or years after the damage occurred.

Erin Turner 2
Erin Turner of Choice says there should be new legislation in Australia to protect tenants from unintentional damage lawsuits. (



“They have to prove that if they send you an invoice, especially an invoice for tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, you really owe what you are being asked to pay.

“Instead, what these insurers seem to do is issue a bill hoping some people pay and just see what they can get.

Choice has filed complaints about this behavior with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

“What we would like to see insurers do is confirm that they will not prosecute people who rent for accidental or unintentional damage,” said Ms. Turner.

“They should have clear policies and procedures in place to treat people fairly and make it very clear if you owe an invoice, why, at least.”

The New Zealand system

Ms Turner said New Zealand had “a very clear system” and laws in place to protect tenants from claims by homeowner insurers.

“People who rent cannot be sued for unintentional damages,” she said.

“They can be sued for malicious or intentional damage, which I think is fair enough.

“But that means if you rent, you don’t end up having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Choice has also written to the Insurance Council of Australia to raise the issue.

“We are carefully considering the matter in consultation with our members who have specialized expertise in this area,” said a spokesperson for the board.

The Insurance Council said the new industry code of practice, which it introduced in July, sets standards of openness, fairness and honesty in all their dealings with consumers and that it could impose sanctions.

Regulators “take into account” the problems

The ACCC confirmed that it received a copy of Choice’s complaint.

“The issues that Choice has identified raise broad issues in insurance, leasing, real estate law and dispute resolution procedures,” said an ACCC spokesperson.

“The ACCC will also consider whether the issues raise concerns under Australian Consumer Law.”

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said it has met with Choice and is also looking into the matter.

“We are also in discussions with other regulators about the issue, as it raises broader questions regarding property and tenancy law and Australian consumer law.”

Erin Turner of Choice conceded that this was a “complex” area of ​​law, spanning state and territory rental laws or property laws, which overlapped with federal insurance laws.

“But if we think about reform, there are a lot of different ways of doing it,” she said.

Ms. Turner suggested that changes to federal insurance laws may be needed.

“At the end of the day, this practice is not about landlords (and) tenants,” she said.

“But in the meantime, I think there are laws we can consider enforcing to force insurers to do better and insurers themselves can commit to higher standards.”

COVID-19: Salvation Army calls for rent freeze, government assistance as demand for food and housing support skyrocket Wed, 01 Sep 2021 21:11:35 +0000

The briefing illustrates the plight of Kiwis struggling with the stress of foreclosure, including those living in overcrowded or substandard housing in the private rental market, casual entrepreneurs currently unable to work, and single-parent families. There is also a cohort with health or mobility issues who struggle to access the essentials they need, as well as those with limited access to the internet or digital devices that cannot buy online.

“You have this double combination of lack of income and lack of access to food,” Salvation Army senior social policy analyst Paul Barber told The AM Show Thursday morning.

“You have people in overcrowded and substandard housing who have widened their bubble and need more food. Incomes for casual contract workers have ceased and the wage subsidy processes might not be clear to people. [There are] single parents with young children who can’t get to the stores because they can’t take the kids… and those with limited internet access, we see the digital divide getting worse. People cannot access online shopping or other ways to get help online.

“People often operate on very tight budgets, they don’t have a lot of reserve. The lockdown came quickly, and you are quickly put in a position where you really need help.”

The Salvation Army says food parcel distribution is often a good indicator of hardship, with increased demand for support suggesting there are critical issues around food insecurity. Many families rely on the Department of Education’s Ka Ora, Ka Ako program, which provides healthy meals to schoolchildren. But with schools currently closed amid Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 4 restrictions, these families are now struggling to secure enough food for their tamariki, the military said. Before the added burden of the lockdown, around one in five children in New Zealand lived in households that struggle to get enough good-quality food on the table.

The military notes that while national and internal systems suggest there is no food crisis yet, as there is still enough to meet the demand for support, that could change quickly.

This marked increase in food insecurity is also illustrated by the number of requests made to the army’s 0800 hotline. A steady stream of people have asked for help for substance abuse treatment support, housing assistance and financial mentoring assistance during the lockdown.

In the COVID-19 Lockdown Briefing, the Salvation Army also calls on the government to:

  • Anticipate the implementation of the April 2022 benefit increases with immediate effect
  • Implement immediate assistance to help families pay rents, for example by increasing thresholds for housing subsidies for special needs
  • Put in place a freeze on rent increases, at least for Auckland for the duration of levels 3 and 4 and beyond.
  • Make sure the Department of Education is connected and supporting families who typically receive their healthy school meal program. The funding has already been allocated for food aid and should be used for these families
  • Ensure that migrant workers are fully entitled to emergency allowance with MSD, after the end of the Manaaki Manuhiri program.

Read the Salvation Army’s COVID-19 Lockdown briefing here.

Homeless sweeps or sanitation activities? Lawyers say there is no difference Mon, 30 Aug 2021 10:01:03 +0000

During the election campaign, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi vowed to end the sweeps of the homeless, saying the tactic known as “compassionate disruption” has failed to tackle the causes root of the problem.

The sweeps – which were carried out by the Honolulu Police Department and the city’s clean-up crews – were a common component of former Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s two tenures. They targeted Oahu’s many homeless settlements, enforced park closure laws, and forced people into shelters.

Critics, including candidate Blangiardi, said the approach “just moves our homeless people into our communities.”

Blangiardi has now been in power for eight months, and advocates and the homeless say sweeps are still taking place.

“Calling something by a different name doesn’t change what they’re doing, and that’s what’s problematic here,” said Wookie Kim, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii.

Municipal workers help clean up a homeless camp under a bridge on Kapiolani Boulevard. Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration insists actions are aimed at promoting sanitation, not homeless sweeps. Cory Lum / Civil Beat / 2021

Anton Krucky, executive director of the city’s Housing and Homelessness Bureau, said the teams do not target the homeless but engage in “sanitation activities”, such as clearing sidewalks and managing the park .

“Our administration does not see this as a strategy for the homeless, but rather as a disposal of debris, garbage and bulky items left on sidewalks, streets and parks,” he said in a statement. E-mail. “Unfortunately, this means that those who are not protected can be affected by the efforts.”

He said a key difference under Blangiardi is that teams going to the settlements are accompanied by outreach service providers providing care and services to the homeless who may be uprooted.

‘No rest for the wicked’

Every day, the maintenance service of the city’s facilities the website publishes its application schedule despite the directives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that discourage the practice of cleaning up camps during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On a recent Tuesday morning, the teams arriving in three police cars, a garbage truck and a van emptied a homeless camp under a Boulevard Kapiolani bridge in the Palolo stream area. They carried tables, chairs and other materials in the trucks.

City crews returned to the same location two days later to complete the job.

Homeless people and advocates say one of the biggest problems with sweeps is that they often lose personal items and documents, including birth certificates, social security cards or identity documents.

“Calling something by a different name doesn’t change what they’re doing, and that’s what’s problematic here.” – Hawaii ACLU Wookie Kim

Jessie Jo, who said she has been living on the streets since 2009, no longer cares about keeping much because she has lost so many items, including her wallet.

“No rest for the wicked,” she said. “They’re just going to make you as miserable as they can be and force you to live in a shelter, which isn’t always the best situation. It will make you sick and tired of having to do this and having to start all over again. “

Mayor Rick Blangiardi answers questions about Level 4 at a press conference in Honolulu Hale.
Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration says its approach to homelessness is different because it includes outreach workers to provide assistance. Cory Lum / Civil Beat / 2021

Krucky says the Blangiardi administration is adhering to the storage property and sidewalk nuisance ordinances by giving people 30 minutes to collect their items.

Most people are also notified the day before the cleanup, ”Krucky said. “The city provides individuals with a tag to claim their property for up to 45 days.”

He added that his office also supports less intrusive programs to help the homeless.

These include the Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons program, which provides mobile units that can stay in place for up to 90 days to provide short-term shelter and help with the transition to other settlements. And the Crisis, Outreach, Response and Engagement program, which aims to provide on-site services to people living on the streets with mental health or medical issues, will begin in the fall.

“We believe in finding and maintaining programs that allow a person to thrive and find a sense of belonging, and that strengthen our community as a whole,” said Krucky.

Ticket violations

Homeless advocates have long voiced concerns that sweeps are disruptive and further traumatize Honolulu’s most vulnerable people.

Many homeless people refuse to go to a shelter due to overcrowding and fear of contracting Covid-19.

For example, although the Keauhou Shelter in Moiliili has 69 units available to house 76 people, its occupancy rate is 97%, according to Mary Beth Lohman, director of marketing and development at Waikiki Health.

ACLU Executive Director Josh Wisch said the sweeps were illegal and unconstitutional, citing a federal decision that applies to Honolulu.

“Sweeps are expensive because they use money that could be better spent on helping people rather than harassing them,” Wisch said. “And sweeps are inhumane. The mayor has the power to end it, and he should.

Homeless people were disproportionately cited last year due to the city’s Lies Law and Covid-19 restrictions. Cory Lum / Civil Beat / 2020

Honolulu has banned sitting or lying in 18 neighborhoods, obstruct public sidewalks and store personal effects in the public domain. Last year, the city council tried but failed to extend the sit-lief restrictions.

In the first eight months of last year – in addition to quotes from Covid – more than 6,549 people were fined for violating the ban on sit-liefs and blocking sidewalks. And more than 90% of the more than 23,000 people who received at least one Covid-19 citation had a record of homelessness-related violations in the past three years.

HPD continues to accuse the homeless of violating city ordinances. So far this year, 1,729 tickets have been issued for violations of the Lies Law alone, according to data provided by the state’s judiciary.

Fear of increasing homelessness

Advocates, meanwhile, fear that tenants behind on rent could be evicted from their homes, which would exacerbate growing homelessness.

The Supreme Court last week rejected the Biden administration’s latest deportation ban linked to Covid.

“We could double the number of people and families who are homeless and undergoing these sweeps before January 2022,” said Jack Slater, member of the Honolulu Tenants Union. He estimated that up to 20,000 households are in arrears with rent across the state.

No official statistics on the number of homeless people in the state are available.

The Point in Time Count, a one-day event that allows outreach workers to measure the status of unprotected people in the state, was unable to send workers to the streets this year due to Covid-19 . But the investigation found that 1,185 people were in emergency shelters, 640 in transitional housing and 28 in shelters.

Last year, the Point In Time Count reported that there were 4,448 homeless people statewide, 53% of whom lived on the streets and 47% had sought refuge.

“What we’ve heard from anecdotal reports and people on the ground is that yes, the number of homeless and homeless people has increased during the pandemic,” Wisch said.

Lack of logistics affecting the work of Rent Control – Public Affairs Manager Sat, 28 Aug 2021 19:35:15 +0000

Head of Public Affairs at the Rent Control Department, Emmanuel Hovey Kporsu said the Department is unable to fulfill its mandate due to the lack of logistics needed to operate.

He explained that the Department’s mandate to inspect homes and validate them for rental was not fulfilled due to the lack of vehicles.

“As part of the work, we have to do inspections but it is impossible because there are no vehicles to embark on such a trip,” he said.

He added that the lack of computers and internet services also makes it difficult to keep records that could help track and resolve issues. It also makes it impossible to trace re-address issues, leaving most cases unattended.

“The lack of computers and internet connectivity makes communication and data transfer difficult,” he said.

Speaking on Joy Prime’s Social Watch with Jay Foley Thursday, he said, the ministry is operating on limited resources.

However, he assured that the office would soon fulfill its mandate as part of the vice president’s digitization policy, which aims to move all government agencies to a digital platform.

“The vice president has promised to digitize all offices, discussions are underway and will be implemented soon,” he revealed.

The Rent Control Department is a government agency under the Ministry of Labor and Housing. It works in cooperation with landlords and tenants to promote optimal peaceful coexistence through education, reconciliation while dealing with rent matters in accordance with the Rent Act 1963 (ACT 220).

The ministry has received negative reactions from Ghanaians for failing to fulfill its mandate due to the many problems with rental contracts between tenants and landlords.

Reacting to this, Emmanuel Kporsu admitted that the Department had not fulfilled its mandates due to internal issues, adding that few resources were allocated to the office.

Successful governments have failed to address housing problems in the country, he said.

“There are housing problems in the country because not all governments have been successful in closing the housing deficit in the country. Affordable housing projects, if properly implemented, will reduce rent problems, ”he added.

Mr. Kporsu pleaded with the public to inquire about the rent law.

He went on to say that most landlords and tenants do not follow the rent law.

A tenant-owner deadlock | Local News Wed, 25 Aug 2021 10:17:40 +0000

Joseph Vercruysse has lived in an apartment off Pine and High Streets since 2017. His first year there went well, he said, but then he got a new neighbor in the building and things. have started to degrade.

“They had asked to use our hallway to put up a sofa. That’s when the bedbugs started, ”recalls Vercruysse.

Vercruysse continued to live there, claiming that he only saw one or two insects from time to time. But when his neighbor moved in the summer of 2020 and took the sofa with them, the bed bug problem increased, he said.

“The owner had hired an exterminator and this guy was a hack or something,” Vercruysse said. “He diluted his solution, and from what I understand, an exterminator is supposed to come and everyone is supposed to leave. This was not the case. This guy came and talked more than he worked.

Vercruysse said he had spoken to his owner, Perry Kelley, about the bedbug problem on several occasions and had not received any action.

“He keeps trying to blame us,” Vercruysse said. “He said it was the company we brought in.

“Everyone’s problem”

Dianna Gibson, a mother of young children currently residing in a Genesee Street apartment, said she was looking for a new place to live due to the cockroach infestation she discovered after moving in.

“The owner has to take care of the problem,” Gibson said. “I didn’t have a lot (of problems) with bed bugs, but the last apartment I had was lead.

The city should tackle current rental property issues, Alderman General candidate Maggie Lupo said.

“We have a lot of rental apartments in the city (and) I think bed bugs are definitely a health issue. It’s also a community problem, like black mold and lead paint. If it is not controlled, it becomes everyone’s problem, ”Lupo said. “If you move into an apartment and there’s vermin there, it’s not on the tenants, it’s the landlord who owns the property.

The backlog of housing files is increasing

Jason Dool, Chief Building Inspector for the City of Lockport, said any resident of the city facing a problem like this – whether it’s bed bugs, black mold, cockroaches or lead – should phone him.

“We’ll make an appointment and take a look,” he said.

If a problem is detected, the building inspection department will contact the owner by phone or letter and give them a warning: clean up, if not, Dool said.

However, he noted, the teeth his department once had have been dulled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The problem we face is that homeowners are not responsive for a number of reasons, and… we find it difficult to send cases to court as if we were before Covid.”

Dool explained that until recently the court was closed to housing matters, and although it is open now, there is very little time allocated to housing matters.

Where it used to take less than a month for an owner to be brought to justice, it is now closer to two months, if not more; and a second court date – which was previously set for two weeks later – is another 10 to 12 week wait.

“We are talking about maybe a four month period to get two hearing dates, and even at the end of those hearing dates, I cannot guarantee that the issue will be resolved,” Dool said. “The goal for us in housing problems is to find a solution. We don’t want to fine anyone. We don’t want anyone in jail because if it gets to this point then the problem will not be fixed. Ideally, the owner does what he needs to do and never needs to go to court.

Dool suggested that many rental property owners are currently angry about not being able to collect rent, making the problem worse. He suspects the building inspectorate will receive more calls about landlord negligence after the moratorium on evictions ends, as tenants will have to justify why they don’t pay rent.

“They are right, in my opinion, not to pay,” Dool said. “I believe the law says that you can withhold a reasonable amount of rent depending on the problems you are having.”

Dool noted that a broken fire alarm could be one of those issues, or lack of heat, as well as other situations.

“There are really, really a lot of people out there who are having issues that we can’t help,” Dool said. “We don’t have the proverbial hammer to let go, at the end of the day, as we did before Covid, to get help from these people and in properties consistent with maintaining state ownership (code) . “

“I hope that will change soon and that we will reduce the time (waiting for the court). I just don’t have a definitive answer yet.

“A situation of hell”

Lupo said, ironically, that she was not sure whether she would require rental property owners to have renewable certificates, but she is a dog owner.

“Anything that could happen with my dogs could be considered a public health issue. If they are not up to date with their vaccinations, it could be a public health problem. If I let them run unchecked it could be a public health problem. So if I have to go to town once a year to register my dogs with the town …. ”

“It’s a pretty weird way of looking at it, but we have to do better for almost half of our city residents who live in apartments,” Lupo said.

Vercruysse says his living conditions are deteriorating. To this reporter, he sent photos showing what he thinks was black mold in his apartment, as well as the contents of his refrigerator after Kelley shut off power to her kitchen.

“I don’t know what else to do,” he said. ” I have tried everything. These bed bugs are horrible! They’re driving my girlfriend mentally crazy, because they’re going to drive you crazy. … I spray. I use countless insect sprays. I spent hundreds of dollars fixing a bigger problem than spraying. My only roommate moved, he couldn’t stand it. Bed bugs were infested in her DVD player, in her air mattress.

“I hope (Kelley) fixes the problem, but I doubt it,” Vercruysse said. “Right now my hands are tied. I have a baby coming. So I am doing my part as a tenant. It’s just that he hassled me all the time for the rent money and I hadn’t paid rent for two months because he wasn’t fixing the problem. … It’s just a hell of a situation.

Kelley was contacted by this reporter and he declined to comment on the situation.

For more information on environmental issues in housing, call the Environmental Health Division of the Niagara County Department of Health at 439-7444.

ON THE MONEY: When it might be a good idea to co-sign for your young adult | Business Tue, 24 Aug 2021 04:30:00 +0000

If you are the parent of a young adult, you may be asked to co-sign a car loan or apartment lease.

Before you agree, know what’s at stake – you could be putting your own financial security at risk.


When you co-sign, you become fully responsible for someone else’s debt. If they don’t pay, you’re on the hook.

Even if they pay on time, being a co-signer can make it more difficult for you to qualify for credit because this debt is considered yours and creditors might consider you to be too long. If your child does not pay on time, you could suffer significant damage to your credit score. When putting your name on someone else’s debt, it’s a good idea to make sure that you can access the account information so you know if any issues are brewing.

“You have to prepare for the worst-case scenario, which is when the other person is unable to pay and they ghost you,” says Kelley Long, chartered accountant and advocate. consumer financial education for the American Institute of CPA.

Or maybe a sudden end to communication isn’t the worst. Long points out that you can find yourself at the Thanksgiving table with someone whose debt you are paying off, even if they have an Instagram full of vacation photos and you can’t afford to travel. Decide if you can prevent financial betrayal from ruining your relationship.

Although it has its pitfalls, co-signing can sometimes be smart. Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, CEO and Founder of Money Coach University, co-signed a condo with her daughter, now 23, four years ago. But that wasn’t giving in to puppy-eyed plea. “It was pure strategy,” she says, and it was a family decision.

Homeownership helped her daughter establish her residence in the state and stop paying out-of-state tuition fees. Khalfani-Cox and her husband, Earl, covered the down payment and closing costs, totaling about $ 25,000. They saved so much on tuition the first year.

Because the roommates’ rent covered the monthly payment, their daughter lived three years without rent. And the on-time mortgage payments helped her build good credit. She graduated, got married and got a job, then she and her husband insisted on paying rent. The young couple are looking for larger accommodation and Khalfani-Cox intends to rent the condo.


Lenders want co-signers when they cannot approve someone’s request on their own merits. The reasons are generally:

– Little or no credit history.

– Too little income or too much debt.

– A history of bad credit management.

When co-signing for an adult child goes wrong, it’s often because the young adult isn’t paying the way the parent intended, Long says. Relationships can be damaged and credit shattered.

Long recommends listing issues such as:

– Who will make the payments.

– What to do if someone cannot make a payment (this would affect both the credit scores of the borrower and the co-signer).

– If and when the loan will be refinanced in the name of the adult child.

Ultimately, however, the law won’t be on your side if your child doesn’t follow through.


“If this is a payment that you’re going to make anyway, or that you’re willing to make, then the co-signing isn’t as risky,” Long says. For example, if you were still planning on paying for a car or a student loan, you could ask the young adult to apply. When their name is on the loan, the payments you make help them build credit.

There are also qualified yeses. Long suggests spreading the liability as much as possible if you are co-signing a lease. It could mean:

– Request for individual and co-signatory leases for roommates. Homeowners are often willing to do this, says Long. Co-signing for only your child’s portion protects you if roommates skip rent, damage property, etc.

– Distribution of responsibility for public services. You don’t want to be on the hook for all of them.


Khalfani-Cox says she’s generally against co-signing. “A lot of people looking for a co-signer haven’t proven themselves to be creditworthy or have had poor credit behavior in the past. If the bank isn’t willing to lend to them, I’m kind of like , ‘Why should you?’ “

If you see any signs that your young adult won’t handle credit responsibly, watch out. If the co-signing would put your financial security at risk, a soft “no” along with an offer of help in some other way, such as a one-time cash gift or groceries, may be wiser.

NYCHA Seeks $ 124 Million In COVID Rent Relief Mon, 23 Aug 2021 13:10:22 +0000

More than 5,000 NYCHA tenants have so far applied for rent assistance through New York’s COVID relief fund, prompting state officials and the public housing agency to begin work on a process streamlined bid to cover tens of millions of dollars in pandemic terms. arrears.

Adi Talwar

A New York City Housing Authority building in the Ingersoll housing complex near downtown Brooklyn.

More than 5,000 NYCHA tenants have so far applied for rent assistance through New York’s COVID relief fund, prompting state officials and the public housing agency to begin work on a submission process streamlined to cover tens of millions of dollars in arrears related to the pandemic.

But Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) applicants represent only a fraction of the total number of NYCHA households that have not paid their rent during the pandemic, housing authority records show. . As of June 30, NYCHA tenants owed $ 241 million in arrears, including $ 124 million accumulated since March 2020 and eligible for ERAP funds.

New York City’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) commissioner Michael Hein told state senators on Thursday that ERAP would pay private landlords before writing a check to NYCHA. He said the $ 2.2 billion fund would cover all pandemic-related back rent for NYCHA if there was enough money left.

“It is our great hope that this will happen,” Hein said in response to a question from Brooklyn Senator Jabari Brisport. “We understand the importance of this.”