New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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A Legal Silver Lining

Firing back. Let’s say you are having trouble with your commercial tenant. Among other things, the tenant hasn’t paid rent, and your lawyer has, on your behalf, served it with a notice to cure and given it a specific time period in which to do so. It seems like you will have to begin eviction proceedings. But you are stopped in your tracks by a Yellowstone injunction, one of the most powerful weapons tenants have in their arsenal. They are easy to obtain, and with one a tenant can stop eviction proceedings in their tracks.

Resolutions Work. We were recently involved in a condo case where a commercial tenant, an e-bike store, was storing lithium-ion batteries. The condo had changed the house rules to ban storage of these batteries because of their fire risk, and the board moved to evict the tenant, who stopped it with a Yellowstone injunction. We worked out a three-way resolution among the board, the commercial unit-owner and its tenant where all the batteries were removed and space was given back to the building to lease out to an alternative tenant. As a consequence of the tri-party settlement, the board actually purchased the space back from the commercial unit-owner so it could decide whom to lease the space to.

The takeaway. Sometimes a Yellowstone injunction is what is needed to prompt a dialogue. When there are problems with a commercial tenant, a board might move to evict. The response is a Yellowstone, and then the case is moved from landlord-tenant court to the Supreme Court. Once there, you have the ability to get full discovery and bring in experts to determine who has to cure the problem. In the best case, you might get an expedited resolution that saves everyone time and money.

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