senate Bill S6113B

Relates to prohibiting legal fees to be charged by a lessor or agent thereof

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO JUDICIARY
  • 25 / Mar / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO JUDICIARY
  • 25 / Mar / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 6113A
  • 28 / Apr / 2014
    • AMEND BY RESTORING TO ORIGINAL PRINT 6113
  • 19 / Jun / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO JUDICIARY
  • 19 / Jun / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 6113B

Summary

Prohibits lessors or agents thereof from assessing a lessee any fee for legal services in connection with any operation or rental of a residential unit unless the lessor has the legal authority to do so.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A8262A
Versions:
S6113
S6113A
S6113B
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Judiciary
Law Section:
Real Property Law
Laws Affected:
Add §234-a, RP L
Versions Introduced in 2013-2014 Legislative Cycle:
A8262

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6113B

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the real property law, in relation to
legal fees

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would prohibit a landlord
from including any legal fees not awarded pursuant to a court order on
any correspondence to a tenant.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 amends the real property law by adding a new section 234-a
that would prohibit a lessor or agent thereof from charging or
including any fee, surcharge, or other assessment for legal services
in connection with the operation or rental of a residential unit
unless the lessor has the legal authority to do so pursuant to a court
order Any agreement or assessment to the contrary shall be void as
contrary to public policy.

Section 2 sets the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: Nearly half of all New Yorkers live below or close to
the poverty line. Accordingly, it is critical that New York City has
protections in place to safeguard its residents' basic necessities,
one of the most important of which is housing With an average rent of
over 51,000 in the City, programs that reduce the rent burden are
essential. One important example is New York City's system of rent
stabilization, which provides a variety of tenant protections to over
2 million people.

Despite the high need for these tenant protections, many landlords are
increasing the cost of housing, by imposing non-rent fees on rent
stabilized tenants. One major example, and the focus of this bill, is
a fee or surcharge for legal services Landlords do not have legal
authority to impose a legal fee unless: a) The tenant's lease has a
clause that allows the landlord to seek such fees; b) The tenant is
sued by the landlord in a court and; c) Either a judge has ordered a
tenant to pay the legal fees or the tenant has agreed to pay the fee
in a court approved agreement.

Most of the time, landlords add these surcharges without meeting any
of the above conditions. A recent survey of rent stabilized tenants
indicates that 56% were charged a legal fee in the last year and on
average, the fee exceeded 1,000 dollars. Many tenants feel forced to
pay these fees because they fear eviction This bill is necessary to
protect low-income tenants in New York City and ensure that they are
not being charged more than they legally owe for rent, This extra cost
raises rents and makes rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments
unaffordable for many New Yorkers.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately


{1} The Burden of Fees: How Affordable Housing is Made Unaffordable,
Community Action for Safe Apartments and the Community Development
Project, September 2013 http://www cdp-ny org/report/The Burden of
Fees FINAL pdf

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 6113--B

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 8, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. ESPAILLAT, DIAZ, HASSELL-THOMPSON, HOYLMAN, PARKER,
  PERKINS, SERRANO -- read twice and ordered printed, and  when  printed
  to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary -- committee discharged,
  bill  amended,  ordered  reprinted  as amended and recommitted to said
  committee

AN ACT to amend the real property law, in relation to legal fees

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  The  real property law is amended by adding a new section
234-a to read as follows:
  S 234-A. UNAUTHORIZED LEGAL FEES. A LESSOR OR AGENT THEREOF  SHALL  BE
PROHIBITED  FROM  ASSESSING A LESSEE ANY FEE, SURCHARGE OR OTHER CHARGES
FOR LEGAL SERVICES IN CONNECTION WITH THE OPERATION OR RENTAL OF A RESI-
DENTIAL UNIT UNLESS THE LESSOR HAS THE LEGAL AUTHORITY TO DO SO PURSUANT
TO A COURT ORDER. ANY AGREEMENT OR ASSESSMENT TO THE CONTRARY  SHALL  BE
VOID AS CONTRARY TO PUBLIC POLICY.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.






 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD11887-07-4

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