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L & Tea Time with Michelle: Episode 1

Topic: Holdover v Nonpayment
Guest: J'Nell Simmons, Social Platform for Landlords

MMI: Welcome to Landlords TV, a production of LandlordsNY, and this program is L & Tea with Michelle. This is the show where you get to spend time with me, Michelle Maratto Itkowitz, and we get to talk about an area of law in New York City that I have been practicing in for over 20 years, and that’s landlord and tenant litigation. This is a production of LandlordsNY, and I am honored today, as our first guest to have, J’Nell Simmons. She’s the Executive Director of LandlordsNY. J’Nell, thank you for being on the show.

J: Thank you for having me. I am excited to be here on this first episode of L&Tea Time.

MMI: This is a question I have to ask you, and it’s a question that people ask me when they find out I am affiliated with LandlordsNY: It is an online social network.

J: Correct.

MMI: But for landlords and property managers, and that’s pretty exclusive --

J: Absolutely.

MMI: Why a social network for a professional type of thing? What’s going on here?

J: I like to think of LandlordsNY as a social platform and network that’s connecting today’s generation of landlords and property managers, and we really started this idea -- the founding idea and principle behind the company was this notion of coming from a place of frustration really -- don’t you just wish you knew what fellow landlords and property managers know -- so for every landlords or landlady that’s just scratching their head over a problem, a question, a solution, there’s someone else who has experienced that same problem, and has the answer. So we’ve created a place where you are in a trusted community of your peers, you know that you’re speaking with like-minded individuals, and there’s that freedom to comfortably in a social environment ask those questions.

MMI: Absolutely. I go to a lot of events, and a lot of times, landlords and managers are there to sort of see the keynote speaker, but you’ll see the keynote speaker is talking, and everybody else is out in the back by the vendor tables, talking shop, swapping stories. So LandlordsNY, i guess, takes that to a different level. It’s 24/7 in all kinds of ways.

J: It is. You are absolutely right. We’re the online extension of a lot of the industry events and trade shows that you attend. There’s the ability to find vendors. You are networking. You are interacting with each other. You are learning from your peers. You are able to reach out if a question needs escalation to an expert such as yourself -- a legal question that, yes you can go to another member who dealt with this, and they can offer their advice, but sometimes it needs to be taken to a professional that can really help you. So, really we are an online extension of those networking events.

MMI: I’m looking at the site everyday, there’s so much happening there. People are concerned about many, many issue. There’s a lot of issues these days for landlords and for property managers, but what do you see trending as some of the biggest things that people are most interested in -- people on the ground, people actually owning and managing property?

J: Absolutely, people are finding us in a number of different ways, and we’re getting a lot of different questions. Some of the activity that I see in the forum has everything ranging from a problem that you’re having in your building or dealing with a tenant situation. I think one of the most common themes that I see, and that I find people searching for us and finding us through Google and different search engines, is this question of, “I’ve gotten to a place where I’m dealing with an eviction. What’s the fastest, what’s the best, what’s the easiest way to approach that? Is it holdover vs. nonpayment? What’s the difference in a holdover and a nonpayment case?”

MMI: Actually, I can help you with that. If you don’t mind, you can have a cup of tea and a cookie, and I can just turn to the membership, and we can talk about, what is the difference between a nonpayment and a holdover?

J: Sounds good.

MMI: Ok, so I’ll see you after.

Teaching Segment

MMI: So, the question on the table today is, what is the difference between a nonpayment proceeding and a holdover proceeding when we’re talking about landlord and tenant cases. But first I think we need to step back for a second, and talk about what is a landlord and tenant case. When we’re talking about a landlord suing a tenant in New York City, we’re almost always talking about a summary proceeding for the recovery of real property -- summary proceedings pursuant to the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law. Summary proceedings are different than regular lawsuits. They’re different because in general, they go much faster. Now I know if you’re a landlord, you might say, “Hey, my landlord and tenant case didn’t go so fast,” but copmaritively, compared to regular litigation, summary proceedings go a lot faster, and one of the main reasons is because they don’t include what’s known as discovery: depositions...exchange of paper...and then the issues in a summary proceeding are very narrow. That’s where we can get to the idea that we have two types of summary proceedings: you have your nonpayment, and you have your holdover. Those are the only two types of summary proceedings, and you can’t do them together at the same time. The essence of a nonpayment is that the landlord is suing the tenant for rent. There is a predicate notice required for every nonpayment, and that is a rent demand. So, rent demand. Nonpayment. That’s how that works. In a holdover, the landlord is suing the tenant for possession. It’s not so much about rent; the landlord wants the tenant out of the space. Now the easiest example to show this is, let’s say the lease ended on June 30th. Now’s it July 2nd, the tenant hasn’t gotten out, the landlord hasn’t accepted any more rent from the tenant...so now the landlord can do a holdover suing for possession, assuming we’re not in the rent-stabilized context obviously. Another way that a holdover might come up is if the tenant is doing something so bad that the lease is going to terminate early, in which case you’d have a Notice to Cure that default. If that doesn’t get cured, you have a Notice to Terminate, and the Notice to Cure and Notice to Terminate become the predicates for your holdover. That’s basically the difference between a nonpayment and a holdover. Other things that you should know are that nonpayments are generally quicker. There are generally less legal fees associated with a nonpayment case. When you do a nonpayment case, if the tenant defaults, the typical way to get the default is to apply for a judgment of possession and a warrant of eviction via the marshal. You have to run it to court. Holdovers generally take longer, and they generally run more on legal fees. Also, whenever you bring a holdover-- and this is a little different -- it gets a first court date, so that you know from the day you make your holdover lawsuit, you know there’s a court date coming up within two weeks. So those are the major differences between a nonpayment and a holdover. Let’s go back to our guest.

MMI: J’Nell, did you get a chance to watch my teaching portion?

J: Yes of course, thank you.

MMI: Was it helpful? Did I answer the question?

J: Yes, and a question from me, do you see more nonpayment or holdover cases?

MMI: Actually, there are many, many more nonpayments than there are holdovers -- exponentially more. I think the statistic is something like there are 10 nonpayments for every holdover, but interestingly enough, most of your trials have to do with holdovers. Holdovers get tried a lot more. Holdovers end up costing the landlord more legal fees. They’re more technical because really you’re looking at the end of tenancy, so it’s a bigger deal. So...more nonpayments, but the holdovers get tried more.

J: Ok, thank you.

MMI: I think that about wraps it up, so thank you for joining us. We’d really love your feedback on Landlords TV, and specifically on L & Tea with Michelle, so please give us your comments, give us your suggestions. Thank you.

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