Featured Company: Law Offices of C. Jaye Berger
Congratulations to NYREJ for keeping everyone so well-informed all these many years. When I started to think about a topic for my article, my first thought was that I do not need to “know” how many years I have been writing for the newspaper. Let’s just say, its been a long time.
My next thought was, “Have the topics I write about changed over the years? Am I writing about different topics now than I have written about in the past?” That is an interesting thought.
I must say there are a couple of “constants” when it comes to topics. Everyone wants to know more about how to get paid on time and hopefully how to do so without getting involved in litigation. It was true 30 years ago and it is still true today. That topic is “timeless.” Another timeless topic is mechanic’s liens. It is directly related to the “getting paid on time” topic, but not everyone who is owed money has the right to file a lien. Sometimes, it is just the result of a contractual agreement.
Mechanic’s liens are more complicated because they are statutory and very detailed. Over the years there have been amendments and changes in the statute and how liens get bonded. You used to have to appear in court for a hearing on the amount of the bond. Now it is more of an administrative matter.
Leaks and water damage are another category of timeless topics.
As I was thinking about all of this, I wondered, “Are there any new topics?” Some new topics have resulted from changes in the law. For example, Local Law 11 of 1998 has not always been here. Even that law has changed its name recently and is now called the NYC Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP). Now it is a whole industry with cycles of reporting and repairs.
Then it hit me that I was not writing about access and license agreements 30 years ago. They are the result of living in tight city spaces and an explosion in construction. Someone decides they want to “build 30 stories from the ground up” from a small space next to a much lower, smaller building. That involves a lot of negotiating and may also involve going to court. RPAPL § 881 was described by someone not too long ago in 2002 as “a little-used law.” Now, when developers are negotiating what they are willing to pay for various items of access, they have a huge body of cases to choose from with different amounts that have been paid in different cases–like a menu.
So here’s to the next 30 year anniversary. Let’s see what topics we highlight next time.