4 Reasons to Hire a Franchise Lawyer Before Signing an Agreement

franchise lawyer NYC

When preparing to purchase a franchise, there are a few things you’ll want to do prior to signing any documents. First, you’ll want to talk to several other franchisees to get all your questions answered and work on drawing up your business plan. If possible, you may even want to consider visiting the franchise headquarters.

Even after doing all you can to prepare and learn as much as you can, there is still one big thing left for you to do: protect yourself legally. In order to do this, you’ll need to hire a franchise lawyer NYC. Here are four reasons you need an attorney to help you with this last step.

Lawyers Know What Matters Most

By law, all prospective franchise owners are required to receive the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) prior to completing the purchase of a franchise. Within this large document, anywhere from 150-300 pages will be information covering everything the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) feels is imperative that you know about the franchisor. It is imperative that you completely understand the intimate details of this document as there will be certain restrictions and obligations that you’ll have to abide by, otherwise you could be terminated.

A franchise lawyer will know exactly what you need to focus on when reviewing the FDD and the actual franchise contract. Chances are, most attorneys have written an FDD themselves, so they know what to look for when reviewing one. They will also be up to date on all the current, ever-changing franchise laws that you might not be aware of.

Advise You on Choosing a Business Entity

Along with providing valuable information regarding the FDD, a franchise attorney will also be able to provide you with suggestions on how to best set up your new franchise business. Is it going to be in your best interest to establish a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)? A Subchapter S-Corporation? Or a C-Corporation? Do you know the difference between corporations well enough to make the decision yourself? It is going to be crucial to select the right entity for your new franchise, as it will determine your legal rights and liabilities as a business owner. Additionally, the type of corporation that you establish will also determine how your business is taxed.

Provide Assistance if Things Go South

When people buy into a franchise, they don’t do so expecting to fail. Unfortunately, unseen circumstances may arise making it hard for you to succeed. In some instances, you may be forced to close your business. In this case, having a franchise attorney can prove to be beneficial.

Franchise Development Claims You Don’t Need One

A franchise is going to have their own best interest at heart, which is why if they ever tell you that you don’t need an attorney, ignore it. Because the FDD is a lengthy, complex document they have the sole objective to get it signed without any negotiation. This is because most franchise development directors are salespeople, whose sole objective is to get the agreement signed. This is where having a lawyer who understands these types of documents can advise you on negotiating prior to signing anything.

Before purchasing into a franchise in New York City, hire a franchise lawyer NYC, such as Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C., to protect you and your interests. With years of experience, you know you can trust Warren S. Dank with all your franchise transaction needs.

Landlords’ Rights: When to Hire an Attorney

landlord tenant attorney nyc

As a landlord, if you only own a few rental properties, chances are you do not have a landlord-tenant attorney NYC on staff, or even on retainer. While you might not need an attorney often, it is going to be in your best interest to know and be able to recognize instances in which having an attorney will prove beneficial—even if it is just for advice or coaching.

Landlords are working to make a profit while minimizing liability. In some instances, it may be to your advantage to consult or hire an attorney to help you achieve these goals. Here are a few of the most common instances you can benefit from having an attorney to help you navigate.

Evicting a Tenant

There is a multitude of reasons for a landlord to evict a tenant. But for a landlord to do so legally, there are strict processes to adhere to. This can include filling out the proper paperwork, filing the paperwork with the court, and notifying the tenant. If this is your first time going through the eviction process, an attorney can prove to be a valuable investment, as winning an eviction lawsuit isn’t always easy. Most judges are going to require landlords to jump through countless hoops to win an eviction case, as eviction means the tenant’s residence will be on the line.

With all that is involved, numerous landlords will still attempt to evict tenants themselves — sometimes with success. Still, you might be better off hiring an attorney if any of the following apply to you:

  • This is your first time evicting a tenant
  • The tenant is fighting the eviction and has an attorney of their own
  • The tenant is an employee whom you are firing
  • The tenant is filing for bankruptcy
  • You must comply with rent control or housing program rules for eviction

Being Investigated or Sued for Illegal Discrimination

You don’t need to hire an attorney for every claim of discrimination that comes from a tenant or prospective tenant. But even if you comply with all the fair housing laws, prospective and current tenants may still attempt to wager claims of illegal discrimination against you. If a prospective or current tenant files a lawsuit against you, suing you for discrimination, or if HUD or another fair housing agency agrees to investigate a claim against you, it will be imperative that you consult an attorney.

Sued for Injury or Illness

If you ever find yourself facing a lawsuit where you are being sued for claims of either a tenant or their guest getting sick or injured as a result of your carelessness, you will want to hire an attorney as quickly as possible. These types of cases, personal injury cases, typically come with high stakes that can be detrimental to your business. Additionally, personal injury attorneys know their way through these types of cases, backward and forward.

While these are just a few instances in which hiring a landlord-tenant attorney NYC can prove to be beneficial, there are other reasons as well. These reasons can include being sued for major property damage, being audited by the IRS or the state, and more. If you find yourself hiring an attorney to protect you and your investment, look no further than Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. in New York City. With years of experience Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. can help you navigate any tenant disputes.

What Can a Buyer Expect From Their Real Estate Lawyer?

real estate lawyers nyc

When purchasing a piece of real estate, many buyers wait to contact real estate lawyers NYC until after they have already signed a contract to purchase the property. In reality, an attorney should be consulted prior to signing any documents so they can check into the seller’s claims about the property and be present during closing.

For most real estate transactions, the title work is fairly routine, but there are exceptions. Any issue with the title of a property is serious. A lack of deeded right of way, a mismatch between the calls in the deed and the boundaries established on the ground, or even a disputed ownership will require a competent lawyer’s assistance. An attorney can quickly look at the seller’s deed and title chain, looking for any disputes that the buyer should be aware of prior to going under contract. A simple title check will review all the documents recorded in a local office, where deeds are kept. After all, if you’ve decided to purchase a new construction in a lovely little community, you hardly want legal issues arising and compounding an already stressful process. That’s where a certified Real Estate Lawyer comes in, they can ease the process and assist in numerous different fields.

In addition to review a property deed, here are a few other ways an attorney can help buyers prior to signing any documents.

Reasonableness of Asking Price

Don’t mistake a real estate attorney for a real estate agent. They should not be expected to perform a property comparison analysis or an appraisal on the property. These tasks should be completed by the real estate agent and/or financing company. Although, attorneys who have been working closely with local real estate for several years will have a good idea of the current selling prices, price trends, volatility, and current market conditions. A real estate attorney can help buyers determine the reasonability of a seller’s asking price.

Lenders and Vendors

Real estate attorneys will also be able to provide recommendations to their clients regarding local lenders, brokers, agents, title companies, surveyors, excavators, local officials (building inspector, zoning office, etc.), appraisers, and contractors. This can prove to be a valuable resource for buyers, as it can help to save money, time, and aggravation.

Contract Terms

It is not that uncommon for buyers to be shown a potential property by a real estate agent that is representing the seller. Following the showing, this same agent will then provide a potential buyer with a standard purchase-offer contract. More often than not, these standard purchase-offer contracts are skewed to favor the seller. When the buyer has a real estate attorney, the attorney can then go over the purchase-offer prior to signing. This allows the buyer to completely understand all terms and conditions outlined in the agreement before making a decision.

As you can see, a real estate lawyer NYC can prove to be a valuable investment for buyers looking to purchase real estate in or around New York City. Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. is a practicing real estate providing clients with confidence when purchasing a piece of real estate. If you are looking to purchase a piece of property, contact Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. before you sign a contract.

What You Should Do If You Have a Dispute with Your Landlord

long island landlord tenant lawyer

Often there are disputes between landlords and tenants at one point or another during the duration of a lease. There are various reasons why disputes arise, some may include disputes over the actual lease agreement, tenant rights, repairs, rent, eviction, and more. In some instances, these issues can be resolved without involving a Long Island landlord-tenant lawyer. Other times, a lawyer is necessary.

Here are 4 quick tips to help both tenants and landlords avoid litigation:

  1. Tenants should carefully read and review the lease contract prior to signing. Be aware of your legal rights and responsibilities contained within the lease and in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
  2. If either party discovers a problem, they should notify the other party immediately. Be open and honest in your communications and dealings with the other party.
  3. If there are any problems with either the property or the tenancy, be sure to make hard copies of all notes and correspondence. You might need them if a lawyer gets involved.
  4. It is important for both landlords and tenants to be aware of and know the laws that pertain to their location. A copy of these laws can be obtained from local sources or from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Do You Need to Hire an Attorney to Resolve Disputes Outside of Court?

Not all disputes between landlords and tenants can be settled with a simple conversation. While communication can’t always resolve conflicts, there are still a few things you can do before hiring a lawyer. Hiring an independent, third-party mediator can help both sides come to an agreement. Often mediators’ authority is misrepresented and they’re compared to a judge, when in reality they have no authority to bind either party to an agreement. A mediator is simply there to facilitate communication. Most mediators can be hired for a low cost, from either a private entity or from state or local bar associations.

What Court Should You Go to if You Can’t Settle Your Dispute Outside of Court?

After unsuccessfully attempting to resolve disputes with communication and mediation, you’ll have to resolve the conflict in small claims court. In order for a case to be heard in small claims court, the case must involve some amount of money, such as past due rent or an unreturned security deposit.

As the name implies, most small claims courts dictate that the amount of the dispute does not exceed $5,000. If the amount of money you are suing for exceeds this amount, hire a Long Island landlord-tenant lawyer to file your lawsuit with the appropriate court.

Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C., resolves disputes between landlords and tenants across New York City. If you need legal advice to help resolve a tenant-landlord conflict, contact the office of Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C., today.

5 Things Your Long Island Real Estate Lawyer Wishes You Knew

Long Island real estate lawyer
When thinking about purchasing real estate, whether a new home, apartment or commercial property, it is going to be in your best interest to hire a Long Island real estate lawyer. Often people don’t consider hiring an attorney, thinking they can either handle the legal process themselves, don’t want to spend the money, or think they don’t need both an attorney and a real estate agent. You might be tempted to believe that these are valid reasons to not hire a real estate attorney. But those experienced with purchasing real estate will tell you different. So, before you enter into a real estate agreement without an attorney or dismiss the idea of hiring an attorney altogether, here are 5 things real estate attorneys wish you knew.

  • Don’t Wait to Call an Attorney.

When entering into a real estate contract, you have to be careful to protect yourself and to ensure that you don’t get stuck with an unseen debt or other major pitfalls you didn’t anticipate. When you call and hire an attorney prior to entering into a contract, your attorney will be able to protect your interests. If you wait to hire an attorney until after you’ve entered into a contract, there isn’t much that your attorney will be able to do to help you. Be proactive and hire an attorney when you first start looking to purchase real estate.

  • Hire a Real Estate Attorney.

It might appear as common sense that if you are going to be entering into a real estate contract that you’ll want a real estate attorney. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of not hiring an attorney that specializes in real estate. While most attorneys will understand contracts, only an attorney who specializes in the complex laws of real estate will be able to represent you effectively. Don’t be tempted to hire an attorney recommended to you by friends or family who doesn’t practice real estate law.

  • Attorneys Can Do Things Real Estate Agents Cannot.

Depending on your state, some states require that a real estate attorney be involved with the closing of all real estate transactions. Other states permit real estate agents to prepare purchase contracts without having to involve attorneys. When attorneys are involved as required by state law, the buyer is usually the one responsible for paying the attorney fees. When a real estate attorney is involved, the attorney is going to act as a moderator between the two parties, ensuring that the transaction follows the law. This is especially beneficial if you are looking to include unusual terms to the real estate contract or are concerned about specific issues of the contract. A real estate attorney will be able to provide legal advice, whereas a real estate agent will not.

  • Real Estate Attorneys Benefit Sellers Too.

When it comes to hiring a real estate attorney, buyers are more likely to hire an attorney than sellers. But sellers can also benefit from an attorney, especially for complex transactions. Additionally, an attorney can help sellers understand and prepare for a wide array of tax consequences that come from selling real estate. Laws allow sellers to be exempt from a specified amount of capital gains tax, but that amount doesn’t include selling costs, closing costs, or a home’s tax basis. This can get confusing. Which is why having a real estate attorney to help you navigate the transaction, accurately calculate your capital gains, and save you on taxes along the way proves beneficial.

  • Real Estate Attorneys Do a Lot of Work Behind-the-Scenes.

In the best-case scenario, your Long Island real estate lawyer will come back and tell you to go ahead with the purchase. When this happens, you might be wondering what you just paid your attorney to do. What you don’t always see is that your attorney does a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure that you are making a sound purchase and providing you with peace of mind, before entering into a large financial commitment. With the work your attorney does behind the scenes, you’ll know you are purchasing real estate that comes with a clean title and the terms and conditions are fair to you. If you are looking for property in New York, make sure you find a good real estate agent nyc.

Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. is a licensed real estate attorney in NYC and is committed to helping you make real estate purchases that are fair and protect your interests. Before you enter into a real estate agreement, contact the office of Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. today. You’ll be glad you did.

Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Attorney to Help Close the Deal

long island real estate attorney

You can purchase a commercial or residential property in NYC without hiring a Long Island real estate attorney. But should you? Making a big real estate purchase can be risky. Which is why it is highly unusual for a real estate transaction to take place in NYC without the buyer and/or seller having a real estate attorney.

Reasons to Have a Real Estate Attorney

Prior to making a purchase on a residential property in NYC, you should have a reputable real estate attorney on your side to ensure that you are making a sound financial investment. An attorney should review several years worth of minutes from board meetings to gather valuable information. From these minutes, you’ll learn of any ongoing and potentially expensive problems with the building. Your list of things to be aware should include problems that require major repairs, bed bug infestations or a perpetually leaking roof. Not only are these repairs an inconvenience for all involved, they can also be costly.

In addition to researching board meeting minutes, a real estate attorney will also be able to review financial statements, along with your offering plan which will detail bylaws and special risk. This can reveal information to the buyer that can be especially important, especially when purchasing a unit in an older building.

Purchasing real estate is a large financial decision. Because it is a huge purchase, it is imperative that you have the right representation to protect your interest and your investment. Be prepared and hire an attorney prior to starting the negotiations so that you don’t have to go at it alone.

Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. is an experienced Long Island real estate attorney who can help you negotiate a real estate deal that will leave you with peace of mind. You can confidently make a real estate purchase with the assistance of Warren S. Dank and his years of experience. Contact his office at (516) 364-2469 today before you attempt to negotiate a real estate deal yourself!

Understanding the Payment Clause in Your Construction Contract

construction lawyers nyc

It is not uncommon for general contractors to hire subcontractors to complete some or all of the work on a project. In order for subcontractors to be paid for their services, general contractors anticipate to receive full or partial payments from the owner for the work being completed. In order to protect themselves, most general contractors will add a “pay when paid” clause to a contract.

These clauses often lead to legal disputes between both parties. Payment clauses raise two different questions: “Is the contractor liable to pay the subcontractors if the owner never pays” and “When is payment due”?

Most payment clauses fall into one of two different categories: “pay-if-paid” or “pay-when-paid”. In the event that an owner fails to pay the general contractor, it is imperative that you or your construction lawyers NYC understand the arrangement as outlined in your contract to determine who bears the burden.

Pay-If-Paid

Contracts that contain a “pay-if-paid” clause place the risk of non-payment on the subcontractor not the general contractor. This means that if the general contractor does not receive payment from the owner, they are not required to pay the subcontractor for materials or services. This type of payment clause favors the general contractor over the subcontractor. During contract negotiations, subcontractors are responsible for determining if they are willing to have payment be contingent upon the property owner satisfying their financial obligations for the project. Additionally, both the contractor and the subcontractor will need to consider and negotiate what collection measures the general contractor will be required to take to collect payment from the property owner, before they can deny payment to the subcontractor.

Pay-When-Paid

Contrary to that of a “pay-if-paid” clause, a “pay-when-paid” clause favors the subcontractor. A “pay-when-paid” clause guarantees a subcontractor payment within a predetermined period of time following payment to the general contractor from the property owner. In the event the property owner neglects to pay the general contractor within a reasonable time, the subcontractor is still entitled to payment for materials and services rendered following the completion of their services. This clause protects the subcontractor in the event that the property owner neglects to keep their financial obligations, as subcontractors are entitled to demand payment from the general contractor prior to the general contractor receiving payment from the property owner.

Alternative Payment Clauses

There are circumstances where neither the “pay-if-paid” or “pay-when-paid” clauses are going to be in either party’s best interest. These circumstances lend for both parties to negotiate an alternate payment provision to be written into their contract.

When this option is pursued, it is going to be in the best interest of both the general contractor and the subcontractor to ensure that the agreed upon payment provision is as clear as possible, as ambiguous payment provisions are ripe for litigation. In addition, both parties need to be aware that some contracts with property owners may include acceptance rights, lien waivers, prohibitions on “pay-if-paid” and “pay-when-paid” clauses, among other provisions. These may limit the options available for the general contractor and subcontractor to negotiate and agree upon when setting up their own payment provisions. Before agreeing to a payment provision, both parties should have a clear understanding of the risk involved and any remedies that are available.

If you have any questions on a payment clause in a construction contract, be sure to consult with construction lawyers NYC to ensure you know your rights and are protected. Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. has years of experience in helping negotiate construction contracts that protect you and your investment. Before you sign a legally binding contract, contact the office of Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. today.

Evicting a Tenant: What You Need to Know to Do it Legally

landlord tenant lawyer NYC

As a landlord there are numerous reasons why you might need to evict a tenant from your property. These reasons can range from not paying rent to excessive damage to the property that is beyond normal wear and tear. Other times tenants may be in violation of their lease by having pets that aren’t allowed per the lease or using the property for illegal purposes, such as drug trafficking or prostitution. Depending on the situation, you might need to hire a landlord tenant lawyer NYC to help you legally evict a tenant from your property.

Regardless of your reason for needing to evict a tenant, there is a process that you must adhere to. This involves more than simply tossing them and their possessions out into the street. Before a tenant can be legally evicted, landlords must follow the rules and laws that are in place, otherwise you might find yourself in a lawsuit for unlawful eviction or criminal trespassing. So, what do you need to do in order to be able to legally evict a tenant?

The first step to evicting a tenant in New York City is to provide the tenant with a written notice. The type of written notice that will be required is dependent upon the reason for the eviction.  

  • Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate

If the tenant does not pay their rent when it is due, the landlord has the legal right to provide the tenant with a three-day notice to either pay their rent or vacate the property. If the tenant neglects to pay their rent and retains residence of the property, the landlord may then file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant with the court at the end of the three days.

  • Notice to Cure and Notice of Termination

If the landlord is evicting the tenant based on a violation of the lease agreement, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with both a notice to cure and a notice of termination.

    • Notice to Cure

When a tenant has violated a lease, the first notice that a landlord needs to provide is a notice to cure. This notice will inform the tenant that they have 10 days from the date of the notice to correct the lease violation. If the tenant takes the necessary steps to correct the violation within the 10 days, the landlord can take no further action against the tenant. However, if the tenant fails to correct the violation within the 10 days, the landlord is then legally eligible to provide the tenant with a notice of termination.

    • Notice of Termination

After providing a tenant with a notice to cure and the tenant failed to comply, the landlord may then issue a notice to terminate. This notice will inform the tenant that the tenancy has been terminated due to lease violation, therefore, the tenant has 30 days to vacate the property. At the end of the 30 days if the tenant is still living in the property, the landlord may begin eviction proceedings against the tenant through the court system.

It is unlawful for a landlord to terminate a lease without just cause. If there is no justifiable cause for eviction, the landlord must wait until the lease is up before expecting or asking the tenant to move. Depending on the type of lease, the landlord may still be required to provide the tenant with notice to vacate the property at the end of the lease term.

Month-to-Month Lease

For rental agreements that are month-to-month contracts, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with 30 days notice of the termination of the lease. This will serve to notify the tenant that at the end of 30 days the tenant will be expected to move out, as the lease will not carry over for another month.

Fixed-Term Lease

For leases that are set for a fixed term, such as six-months or a year, and there is no just cause to terminate the lease, the landlord is required to wait until the end of term before expecting the tenant to move out. Unless specified within the lease, the landlord is not required to provide notice to the tenant.

There is a lot that goes into evicting a tenant—having just cause, abiding to terms of lease agreements and filing a claim with the court when necessary. This is when having an experienced landlord tenant lawyer NYC on your side can prove to be valuable. You’ll know exactly how to go about legally evicting a tenant, saving you time and money in the long run.

Warren S. Dank, Esq., P.C. has been helping landlords successfully and legally evict tenants in NYC. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to legally evict a tenant, contact the office of Warren S. Dank today!

3 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Lawyer for Commercial Real Estate

Long Island real estate lawyer

Anyone who has any experience in either purchasing or selling real estate knows how detail-focused the process is. Before you can start to break down the intricacies and nuances of real estate, it is essential to first know what type of real estate you are negotiating over—residential or commercial.

  • Residential real estate is the buying or selling of a home
  • Commercial real estate is the buying or selling of a property with the intent to occupy or lease to others

It is imperative to know exactly what type of real estate you are dealing with, as each comes with its own set of legal issues and risk. The primary focus of this article is the buying and selling of commercial real estate, and why you should have a Long Island real estate lawyer help you through the process if you want to buy and sell notes.

Reason 1: Details are Critical

Regardless of the type of real estate transaction that you are negotiating, details are critical. When working with commercial real estate, these details are amplified, making them even more important to understand. There are more risks and complications associated with purchasing or selling commercial real estate.

When purchasing a commercial property, the buyer must understand how grueling of a process it is and be prepared to forego any other opportunities that might come along. Due to the intense amount of details that go into purchasing a commercial property, there is an intense period of research and preparation that goes into preparing the sale that must be conducted prior to closing the deal. Depending on the situation, this process can take a substantial amount of time (especially if it is for a Self-directed IRA with a company like questira, while consuming copious amounts of money and resources.

At the end of the research period, if one party backs out, or a deal-ending detail is discovered, all the time and resources spent will have been wasted. This is why it is crucial that you have an attorney on your side during this process. An experienced attorney can help you make a deal and protect yourself in case the deal falls through. Having an attorney on your side from the beginning can prove valuable, as your attorney can have already negotiated to allow for you to recover your losses if the other party backs out of the deal.

An experienced real estate attorney knows how important details are to a real estate transaction, which is why they sweat even the tiniest of details, to ensure that you, your interest, and your pocketbook are safe.

Reason 2: Need Professionals on Your Side

Prior to purchasing a commercial property, you and your attorney will spend a lot of time vetting the prospective property, ensuring that every little detail of the property meets all your needs and expectations. This includes having the property physically examined by professionals with a trained eye. These professionals have been trained to thoroughly inspect a property, catching any problems that are not readily apparent in a title search or survey of the property.

Reason 3: Not Equipped to Handle the Negotiations Yourself

The negotiations that go into reaching a final purchase price along with the details of the purchase can be extremely complex, especially for those who aren’t familiar with the process. Who will be able to protect your interest? Who will be responsible for delivering a title that is free of encroachments? What types of warranties can you obtain that will protect your investment against any hidden environmental or structural problems that appear after closing? What happens if something compromises the sale of the property? Who pays who and how much? This is where things can really start to get complicated when purchasing a commercial property.

The other party will have legal representation that is fighting to protect their interest, you should have the same. Your attorney will be able to negotiate protocol for what happens if the deal falls through, ensuring that you are protected. Additionally, your attorney will be able to negotiate acceptable values for damages or penalties into the real estate contract that not only protect your investment but also minimize the risk that you are taking.

Buying or selling commercial real estate in New York City?

Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. has years of experience effectively negotiating real estate contracts for clients. If you are looking for a Long Island real estate lawyer with experience and a proven track record, you need Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. Contact our office today to learn how we can help with your commercial real estate transaction.

Reasons Why You Need to Have a Lawyer Review Your Construction Contract

local vinyl siding contractors

When a residential building needs to have repairs done, big or small, co-op and condo boards generally will sign a standard agreement that has been created previously by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).  These agreements are created by the contractor who is hired to perform the work. Regrettably, these agreements often provide board members with a false sense of security; many agreements are written in favor of the contractor. This is why it is imperative to hire a construction attorney to review your contract.

Boards who have elected to sign a contract without construction lawyers NYC signing off on it, generally find themselves in the middle of disputes over defective work, delays in completion, or unanticipated cost. This proves to be a valuable learning experience, as an ounce of prevention on their part could save them thousands of dollars in uncovered losses and legal fees.

Here are six reasons why it is advisable to have an attorney review your contract before your project gets started:

  1. You want your project completed on time. In most AIA contracts, a clause for liquidated damages is generally missing. This is an important part that should be included, as it gives the contractor who is preforming the work a financial incentive to complete the contracted work on time.
  2. Know who is performing the work. Depending on the project, subcontractors may be required to complete the project. Therefore, the property owners should know who is going to be hired by the contractor to complete the work. For example, if you are having the exterior of your house decorated, be sure to do your research on local vinyl siding contractors, if this is the case. Better safe than sorry as they say.
  3. Lump sum to complete the work. No one likes to be surprised by additional costs required to complete a project. The agreement that is signed should include the lump sum necessary to cover all labor and materials of the project.
  4. Clear warranties outlined. A contract should contain clear warranties covering labor and material, both from the manufacturer and the contractor. The length of the warranty will be dependent on the type of work that is being performed and should be outlined in the contract.
  5. Protection against accident claims. The contract should state that the contractor shall indemnify and hold harmless the co-op/condo and all its managing agents, board members, officers, directors, employees and agents against any claims that arise from the performance of the work being done. In order to guarantee that obligation, the contract should explicitly require that the contractor be fully insured, including workers’ compensation, liability insurance, property insurance, auto and completed operations insurance. Additionally, each policy should list the property owner as additional insured.
  6. Pay for a job that is not only complete but is done right. A contract should include a provision that requires the work completed to be approved by the owner’s architect as a condition to payment. Additionally, there should be a clause that provides the owner with the right to withhold retainage (generally 10%) to incentivize the contractor to complete all work, including “punch list” items. The contract should also contain a clause that provides the owner with the right to stop payments if the work is not being performed properly or if the contractor is in violation of the contract.

At the office of Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. we have extensive knowledge in contracts and have experienced construction lawyers NYC who can review contracts to ensure you are protected. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can review contracts prior to signing to ensure that all the necessary components are included, guaranteeing you payment, no unexpected charges, and completion on time.

Contact Warren S. Dank, ESQ., P.C. today for professional and experienced advice regarding all contracts.