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Berson Firm’s Constructive Knowledge

Security Deposits: Landlords’ and Tenants’ Rights in New York

posted Jun 24, 2014, 9:25 PM by Bryan Berson   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 4:23 PM ]

A. What is a Security Deposit?

A security deposit is a tenant’s cash that a landlord holds during the rental term to offset potential damages caused by the tenant.

It is not rent. A landlord need not apply it to the tenant’s last month’s rent. The tenant must still pay rent during the last month of the tenancy. The landlord holds the deposit until after the tenant vacates.

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Reverse Mortgage Basics – A Framework for Analysis

posted Jun 24, 2014, 9:21 PM by Bryan Berson   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 4:24 PM ]

A. The Difference between Reverse and Forward Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a loan secured by your home. It is a source of funds for homeowners who are 62 or older and who meet certain conditions. Under the terms of a typical reverse mortgage, a borrower’s debt increases and equity decreases. If the appraised value of the home rises rapidly, the equity may increase, but one cannot rely on this occurring.

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Can You Improve Your Organization’s Effectiveness?

posted Jun 24, 2014, 9:16 PM by Bryan Berson   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 4:25 PM ]

Last month’s column explored one of Peter Drucker’s masterworks, The Effective Executive. This column analyzes additional insights to improve organizational effectiveness.

Drucker noted that poor job design impedes effectiveness. Jobs that defeat multiple executives in succession should probably be redesigned. Organizations should not have to recruit superheroes. Good processes enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

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Developing the Habits of an Effective Executive

posted Jun 24, 2014, 9:10 PM by Bryan Berson   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 4:26 PM ]

Peter Drucker (1909-2005) was among the most insightful managerial consultants and scholars of the 20th Century. While most management books focus on managing others, Drucker’s The Effective Executive focuses on managing oneself.

To Drucker, effectiveness means accomplishing the right things.

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Are You and Your Business Prepared to Handle Long-Term Disability?

posted Jun 24, 2014, 9:03 PM by Bryan Berson   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 4:27 PM ]

Disability of a key executive can destroy a business. Disability of any worker can strain a family. Before age 65, one is much more likely to suffer a long-term disability (“LTD”) for six months or longer than one is to die. Fortunately, this risk can be insured.

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Incorporating Long-Term Care Insurance into an Elder Law Plan in NY

posted Mar 29, 2014, 5:43 PM by Bryan Berson   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 4:32 PM ]

As life spans have increased, so have chronic ailments associated with aging and the demand for personal care. Alzheimer’s disease and organic cognitive impairment (senility) are the leading causes for personal care needs.

Costs for this care are exorbitant. The New York State median cost for a private room in a nursing home is $125,752 annually. Costs on Long Island are even more expensive at $156,950 annually. Medicare, Medigap, and most medical and health insurance plans do not cover long-term nursing home or home care.

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Loans, Mortgages, and Liens

posted Mar 29, 2014, 5:39 PM by Bryan Berson   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 4:32 PM ]

Collateral is an essential component of loan transactions. Realty (i.e., real estate) or personalty (i.e., personal property) can serve as collateral. The creditor’s (i.e., lender) interest in the collateral depends on the transaction, loan, property, and law. The debtor (i.e., borrower) will acknowledge that it is conveying an interest to the creditor. In real estate transactions, the security agreement acknowledging the conveyance is well known as a “mortgage.”

Agreements to convey real estate are not fully performed or “executed” until closing. At closing, the purchaser pays the sales price, and the seller conveys the title to the purchaser by signing a deed.

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Avoiding Liability Related to Removal of Snow and Ice in New York: An Introduction for Commercial Property Owners and Landlords

posted Mar 29, 2014, 5:33 PM by Bryan Berson   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 4:36 PM ]

When New York winters are harsh, it can be difficult for property owners and landlords to clear snow and ice from their properties. This column discusses landlords’ common law duties to people invited to the property (“invitees”).

New York follows the “natural accumulation rule,” which assumes that invitees will recognize certain dangers and protect themselves. Under the rule, generally, landlords do not have to remove natural accumulations of snow and ice from portions of their property that are in common use by tenants. Generally, landlords must maintain property in reasonably safe condition, warn invitees of concealed dangers, and remove artificial hazards that they have created and natural conditions that they have aggravated.

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Using Agents in Your Business

posted Mar 29, 2014, 5:28 PM by Bryan Berson   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 4:37 PM ]

Agency describes the relationship between a principal and an agent who acts on the principal’s behalf. Common principal-agent relationships include employer-employee, client-attorney, and property owner-real estate agent relationships.

In business negotiations, people use agents for a variety of reasons. For example, in a negotiation, if there is personal tension between an executive and the counterparty, an agent is more objective and less likely to be influenced by emotion or ego. By de-personalizing the negotiation, agents can focus on the issues rather than personalities or contests of will.

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Co-ops and Condos in New York: Comparing the Regimes

posted Mar 29, 2014, 5:23 PM by Bryan Berson   [ updated Sep 13, 2014, 4:48 PM ]

A. Introduction.  Cooperatives (“co-ops”) and condominiums (“condos”) share some important similarities and have some distinct differences. This column discusses several basic issues that buyers and residents should be aware of. (I refer to the entity as a whole as a “co-op” or “condo,” a unit within an entity as an “apartment,” and an apartment owner as a “resident.”)

B. Legal Relationship.  Co-ops and condos are subject to different laws. The co-op relationship is governed by landlord-tenant law.

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