Commercial & Residential Landlord and Tenant

Leases, Lease Negotiations, Residential and Commercial

A key component of any lease negotiation is the tenant improvement allowance provided by the landlord to build-out or retrofit an office space for the tenant's specific use. The amount of the tenant improvement allowance, as well as the length of the lease term have a significant impact on the negotiated rental rate

Breach of Lease

Landlord Tenant Breach Law and Legal Definition. A landlord may legally terminate alease if the tenant significantly violates the lease agreement contract terms and conditions. A lease termination for a long-term contract usually requires a 30 to 60 day written notice.

Cancellation/Renewal of Lease

A clause in a lease that outlines the terms for renewing or extending an originallease agreement. The renewal option appears as a covenant in the original leaseand provides specifications under which the leaseholder can renew or extend the original lease term for an additional, specified time and rate (rent).

Injunctive Relief and Declaratory Judgement Actions

A court-ordered act or prohibition against an act or condition which has been requested, and sometimes granted, in a petition to the court for aninjunction. Such an act is the use of judicial (court) authority to handle a problem and is not a judgment for money.

Yellowstone Injunctions

A New York Supreme Court proceeding initiated by the tenant when the landlord seeks to terminate the lease because of what the landlord perceives as a default thereof. For example, the landlord may allege that a tenant is doing something in violation of the lease and serve the tenant with a notice to cure. The tenant doesn’t want to give the landlord the opportunity to prematurely terminate the lease, so the tenant may go to New York Supreme Court and seek a Yellowstone injunction and temporary restraining order.

Commercial Holdover Proceedings

A holdover tenant is a renter who remains in a property after the expiration of the lease. If the landlord continues to accept rent payments, the holdover tenant can continue to legally occupy the property, and state laws and court rulings determine the length of the holdover tenant's new rental term.

Commercial Nonpayment Proceedings

In a non-payment proceeding, the landlord has the burden of proving certain technical elements by introducing documentary evidence as well as the amount of the arrears, and the tenant has the burden of proving that he has viable defenses to landlord's claims for arrears. In a holdover proceeding based on a breach of a substantial obligation of the tenancy, the landlord must establish certain technical elements and prove that the tenant has violated the lease or the statute, as the case may be. If the landlord sustains this burden, the tenant must then prove his/her defense. Notably, in a residential breach of lease holdover in New York CIty even if the landlord secures a judgment, the tenant still has a statutory ten-day period to cure the breach and thereby preserve the tenancy. However, this does not apply to commercial tenancies.

Eviction Notices

Where a tenant has failed to pay rent, the law may allow the tenant a right to redemption, which means that the tenant may avoideviction and remain in the property by paying the full amount of rent due, plus all other fees owed to the landlord as awarded by the court, by a specified date.

Non-Primary Residence

There are landlords in New York City who will use any available legal means to evict tenants from their rent-stabilized apartments. A non-primary residence case becomes a more dangerous threat when a tenant has other interests in real estate, such as a second residential property or vacation home.

Illegal Sublet & Assignment

The leasing of part or all of the property held by a tenant, as opposed to a landlord, during a portion of his or her unexpired balance of the term of occupancy. A landlord may prohibit a tenant from subletting the leased premises without the land-lord's permission by including such a term in the lease.

Licensee & Squatter Holdover

Holdover cases can remove squatters who have never had a lease or permission to occupy the property. Similarly, if your landlord wants to evict you because you violated a term of the lease (unrelated to paying the rent), that may also be called a holdover case.

Article 78 Proceedings

Article 78 encompasses three writs: mandamus, prohibition, and certiorari. A writ is a formal, legal written order or document issued by an administrative body or judicial jurisdiction. An Article 78 proceeding serves as a uniform device to challenge the activities of an administrative agency in court.

Orders To Show Cause

An order to show cause, is a type of court order that requires one or more of the parties to a case to justify, explain, or prove something to the court.

Rent Stabilization / Rent Control

Rent control limits the price a landlord can charge a tenant for rent and also regulates the services the landlord must provide. Failure to provide these may allow the tenant to demand a lower rent. Outside of New York City, the state government determines the maximum rents and rate increases, and owners may periodically apply for increases.In New York City, rent control is based on the Maximum Base Rent system. A maximum allowable rent is established for each unit, and every two years, the landlord may increase the rent up to 7.5% (as of 2012) until the Maximum Base Rent is reached. However, the tenant may challenge these increases on grounds that the building has violations or the owner does not need to increase the rent that much to cover expenses.

Rent stabilization exists only in New York City, Nassau, Rockland, and Westchester Counties. It generally applies to building of six or more units built before 1974 and not subject to rent control (although owners of more recent buildings can agree to rent stabilization in exchange for tax benefits). Regulation and policies may vary by municipality as to which buildings qualify.


The term 'lease buyout' when used in real estate transactions refers to an agreement where the lease of an existing tenant is given up for its remaining term. An tenant can offer the landlord a certain amount of money and choose to make a lease buyout to shift the residense to a prime location.

Section 8

Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. § 1437f), often called Section 8, as repeatedly amended, authorizes the payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords on behalf of approximately 4.8 million low-income households, as of 2008, in the United States.

Nonpayment Proceedings

If the tenant does not pay the rent after the demand is made, the landlord may file a nonpayment petition (sometimes called a "dispossess") against the tenant in Housing Court. Landlords who do not have a lawyer, who own a one or two family house, or a building with fewer than five apartments, or own a coop or condo, can make a nonpayment petition. This program is only for un-regulated housing.


The owner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the overcharge was not a willful act. This simply means that where an owner submits no evidence or where the evidence is equally balanced, the overcharge is deemed to be willful. The owner can submit such evidence after receiving notice of a tenant's filing of an overcharge complaint prior to the final order being issued.


A Pet Agreement or Addendum to a Lease or Rental Agreement is a legal and binding contract between two parties, a landlord and the tenant. Often times, the original Lease and Rental Agreement did not allow pets or was silent about whetherpets are allowed.


An application to a higher court for a decision to be reversed.

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