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March 2020 - Michelle Itkowitz and Lawline Bringing You "The Landlord Tenant Law Hour" CLE Series

Coming in March 2020, Michelle Itkowitz will be hosting and teaching the Landlord Tenant Law Hour, Lawline’s continuing legal education series on landlord and tenant law in New York.

There is so much going on in New York State landlord and tenant law. 
  • There’s the game-changing Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, the reverberations of which will be felt for decades to come. 
  • There are new anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws. 
  • There are new issues created by the proliferation of Airbnb and co-living. 
Lawline and Michelle are going to bring you an ongoing series of high-quality landlord and tenant CLE, beginning in March 2020. 

Each show will tackle a specific landlord and tenant law topic. In the first segment of each show, Michelle will teach you the nuts and bolts of the topic and show you where to find the law. In the second segment, Michelle will be joined by a special guest, other attorneys who are the absolute giants of the real property field in New York. The guests will help present the higher-level material, so you can learn more than just how to practice in this area; you can learn how to practice effectively. We will have debates, work on hypotheticals, and take your questions. 

Whether you represent tenants or landlords, sophisticated developers or New Yorkers in need; whether your interest is in co-op apartments or Rent Stabilized housing; even if you are just curious about this important area at the heart of real estate law -- this Lawline series will be your one-stop shopping destination for all your landlord and tenant legal learning needs. 

We will announce the classes here as they are produced!

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March 4, 2020 - Michelle Itkowitz to Present Results of Her 2019 Housing Court Study

On March 4, 2020, Michelle Itkowitz is presenting a year-long study of published New York City Housing Court decisions from 2019 (“the Study”) at an LNY meetup, location to be announced. At this event, Michelle will present her findings and draw conclusions therefrom, which will benefit both landlords and tenants. 

Over 160 cases are included in the Study. We only considered residential Housing Court cases in NYC (both holdovers and nonpayments). Not commercial cases, not Supreme Court cases, not DHCR cases, not Loft Board cases, not cases from outside the five counties of the City, not appellate cases. We also excluded consideration of Housing Authority cases, because they operate via different rules. This Study is about Housing Court in NYC!

We classified each case into one of 18 types of cases: 

chronic nonpay
end-of-lease non-regulated
family eviction
failure to renew Rent Stabilized lease or to complete income certification docs
illegal activity
illegal alterations
illegal sublet
illegal unit
licensee holdover
owner's use
post foreclosure
regulatory status
substantial obligation

The Study was about winners and losers. We only considered matters with final dispositions in Housing Court. In other words, we only looked at cases that either ended with a judgment of possession or the case was dismissed. So, for example, we were not examining settlements. Also, for example, we did not include a case if a motion for summary judgment was denied or a motion for discovery was granted, because in such cases the case is not over yet and you cannot tell who will win. Although we did include and classify cases we considered “draws”, i.e. neither landlord nor tenant won. An example of such a case would be where the landlord won the nonpayment case, but for only half the rent. Or the landlord won the hoarder eviction case, but the tenant got six months to cure.

Why study winners and losers in NYC Housing Court? Because Michelle has long maintained that landlords and their lawyers should be making EVIDENCE BASED decisions about litigation, not emotional ones. In most other fields, people use DATA to make decisions. Landlords should as well. This information should be useful to tenants and their counsel as well.

Examples of how you can use data like this to make better decisions:

Legal Aid represented tenants 73% of the time in this Study. And whenever Legal Aid was involved, the tenant won! We examine why that is. Legal Aid has a very careful case evaluation and selection process. Legal Aid is marshaling scares resources. They only come in where they firmly believe they can make a difference. So…if you are a landlord who sees Legal Aid on the other side of your case…maybe you better settle! 

There were approximately seven succession cases in the Study. Landlord won three of them. This tells us that landlords do better than usual in these types of cases. There were approximately 12 regulatory status cases in the Study. Landlord only won once! If your tenant alleges an illegal deregulation –  you are in trouble. 

In which borough do landlords win the most? Wouldn’t you like to know! (We are not being cute; we just didn’t sort the chart by borough and do that tabulation yet!)

The results of the Study were not great for landlords, and we consider why. And it is NOT because the Housing Court judges are biased. We make suggestions for how landlords (and tenants) can get better outcomes in Housing Court, based on what the data is telling us.

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February 13, 2020 - Michelle Itkowitz Taught 2-Hour Continuing Ed to NYS Society of CPA's on HSTPA and Rent Stabilization

On February 13, 2020, Michelle Itkowitz taught a two-hour continuing education program for the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, Suffolk and Nassau County Chapters at Marcum's Melville office. The title of the presentation was, "A GUIDE TO THE 2019 HOUSING STABILITY AND TENANT PROTECTION ACT for Multifamily Owners, Operators, and Lenders, for Accountants, and for Residential Tenants". A full copy of the materials, which are 37 substantive pages, is available here. An excerpt is available here

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October 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz appointed to NYSBA Task Force on the HSTPA of 2019

In October 2019Michelle Itkowitz began working with the New York State Bar Association, Real Property Section task force on the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. The new task's force mission is to study the impact of the new law and educate the Bar.

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September 25, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz taught CLE in Albany for NYSBA - "AirBNB & VRBOs: Meeting New Legal Challenges"

September 25, 2019Michelle Itkowitz taught a Continuing Legal Education for a New York State Bar Association "Bridge the Gap" in Albany, entitled "AirBNB & VRBOs: Meeting New Legal Challenges". On July 23, 2019, Michelle taught the same seminar for NYSBA via webinar. 

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September 10, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz published an article in Bushwick Daily entitled "Tenant’s Rights Spotlight: How Much Can My Landlord Raise the Rent?"

September 10, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz published an article in Bushwick Daily entitled "Tenant’s Rights Spotlight: How Much Can My Landlord Raise the Rent?" Michelle is currently Bushwick Daily's "Tenant’s Rights Adviser". longer version of this article, with the legal citations, was published on the Tenant Learning Platform blog. 

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August 29, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz interviewed for Brick Underground Article - "How to tell if a co-living company is legit or sketchy"

August 29, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz was interviewed for a Brick Underground Article - "How to tell if a co-living company is legit or sketchy".

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August 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz interviewed by Holm & O'Hara on the HSTPA of 2019

In August 2019, Michelle Maratto Itkowitz sat down with Holm & O'Hara, a Manhattan law firm specializing in commercial real estate for investors, closely-held businesses, corporations and their owners, for an interview on the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019

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August 7, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz interviewed for Real Deal Article - "After Bedly: What the demise of a startup says about the health of co-living in NYC"

August 7, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz was interviewed for a Real Deal article - "After Bedly: What the demise of a startup says about the health of co-living in NYC".


July 17, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz spoke at the Long Island Chapter of the Appraisal Institute on the impact of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 on the value of multifamily buildings.

July 17, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz was the featured speaker at the Long Island Chapter of the Appraisal Institute breakfast meeting on the impact of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 on the value of multifamily buildings. 

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May 23, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz on Brick Underground Podcast: "All about co-living—what your options are and how to stay on the right side of the law"

"In the second episode of this season, The Brick Underground podcast breaks down what you need to know about the co-living phenomenon. Part of the sharing economy, co-living strives to make renting turn key and hassle-free. These companies will set you up with a room in a furnished apartment, match you up with a roommate, and take care of all the details—all for one monthly payment. The housing model removes a lot of the friction involved in renting with roomies—the pantry is stocked, clean linen is part of the deal, cleaning services are usually provided, and you get a ready-made community. You can rent for short periods of time and do not have to meet the same income thresholds of traditional rentals. People in co-living spaces tells us they love the convenience and flexibility. We'll get to get into the details with Brick Underground reporter Mimi O’Connor who has visited co-living spaces around the city, spoken to residents, and identified how the different co-living brands are defining themselves. We are also going to look at some of the legal issues that can arise from the co-living model. Did you know it's illegal to rent a single room in a co-living space? You'll want to make sure all the roommates are on the lease and you're following the rules or you could find yourself being thrown out of the apartment by city inspectors. We'll explore all that and how you can protect yourself with lawyer Michelle Itkowtiz, the founder of Itkowitz PLLC firm and creator of the Tenant Learning Platform, which offers online classes for New York City tenants on specific legal issues."  

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May 21, 2019 - Michelle Itkowitz taught a Continuing Legal Education class entitled "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road...and Goodbye Yellowstone Injunction?"

On May 21, 2019Michelle Itkowitz taught a Continuing Legal Education class for The York Group, LLC York Group, with the National Law Institute, hosted by Morgan Stanley, entitled Goodbye Yellow Brick Road…and Goodbye Yellowstone Injunction? The Implications of 159 MP Corp.v Redbridge Bedford, LLC for commercial tenants and landlords. Here is a link to the full materials presented. Michelle and Mr. Joel Binstok of the York Group are planning to repeat the seminar soon. The excellent discussion facilitated by this National Law Group presentation will lead to even more exciting insights.

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