The housing boom meant more than the creation of suburban Weeds-style neighborhoods.
It also included a condominium construction explosion, and that explosion has turned into a leak of lawsuits.
Vivian Toy for the NYT: They say the wave of development in New York City that started in 2004 and crested in mid-2007 has resulted in a wave of accusations about defective construction and building design.
“There’s always an underlying number of lawsuits about defects,” said Stuart M. Saft, a real estate lawyer and the chairman of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, “but about a year ago the number started to increase. And over the next two years there’s going to be an explosion, because of all the buildings that were built at about the same time.”
He noted that buildingwide problems often don’t become apparent until people have lived in a building for a while. Legal action is often delayed because sponsors typically control a condo board for a year or more after a building opens and can block attempts by residents to file complaints.
But since condo owners have a three-year statute of limitations for suing a developer or construction contractors for negligence, many people who moved into new buildings in 2007 — when about 7,000 condos came on the market — are realising that they will soon run out of time.
Read the rest of the story here.
For unemployed lawyers, this might be one place where business can be considered booming. But that, of course is little comfort to those with leaky condo roofs.
The article notes that initiating litigation is a last resort, and sometimes negotiating with the building sponsor will get the issues addressed. Owners of condos in a lower-price range are also encouraged to contact the attorney general’s office, the article says, as they take on these type of cases when the condo owners are of an income level that makes it unlikely they can afford a suit themselves.
These types of construction complaints are not surprising to real estate lawyers. “When the market was hot,” Andrew Brucker of New York’s Schechter & Brucker told the NYT, “anybody who had a couple bucks suddenly became a developer, thinking they’d get rich. When the market was strong, if you complained about something, sponsors would fix it, but then the market started to tank and brand-new buildings aren’t selling out, so there’s no money to do that anymore.”
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