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Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. Negotiates Access and License Agreements for Residential Co-Op, Ensuring Façade Repair Work Will Be Completed by Spring

Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. represents a 21-story, 495-unit residential co-op located in the heart of Union Square. Facing a looming deadline for its 8th-cycle FISP façade inspection and repairs with a desire to complete the façade work before spring, the co-op turned to Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. to negotiate access and license agreements with the adjacent buildings to the east and west. Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. stepped in to lead the negotiations with these buildings.

The first building consisted of a commercial space on the bottom floor with residential units above. An issue arose when it was discovered that several units located in the residential portion were rent-regulated units with terraces. The façade work being performed by the client required restricting access to terraces bordering the work zone (so-called “controlled access zones”), but the neighboring building was reluctant to restrict access to these terraces due to the potential reduction of services claims that could be raised by tenants to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). The neighboring building was only willing to permit access if Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client would submit to a host of unreasonable demands. The experienced attorneys at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. used their negotiation skills to push back on these demands, resulting in an agreement that only obligated the client to indemnify the neighboring owners for any reduction of services claims actually commenced by tenants of those units. The agreement did not include any obligation for Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client to deposit money in escrow or to pay any license fees.

The second building presented another problem. What at first seemed like a straightforward reciprocal access and license agreement (this building would also soon be performing its own façade repairs), became infinitely more complicated when it was discovered that a portion of the chimney of the neighboring building was located on the roof of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client’s building. It turns out that, when the building of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client was first constructed in 1965, the building code required that it extend the chimney of the pre-existing neighboring building, which it did. The neighboring building then demanded that, as a condition to providing access to its roof, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client must agree to perform repairs to the entire chimney. The attorneys at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. researched the issue, and discovered that there was no legal requirement for the client to maintain the chimney since it was extended before the certain amendment to the building code which would have imposed maintenance obligations. However, a twist to the story was uncovered upon the discovery that the parties had in fact entered into an agreement in the late 1960s which appeared to impose some maintenance obligations for the chimney on Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client, although the extent of which was ambiguous. By this point, winter was fast approaching, and Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s contractors needed to get started so that the project could be finished by spring. The skilled attorneys at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. were able to guide the parties to a resolution that recognized limited maintenance obligations on the part of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client without acknowledging any long-term rights to repairs. Like the first agreement, this agreement also did not require Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s client to deposit any money in escrow or pay any license fees.

Steven Wagner represented the client and led the negotiations in this matter.

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