In a lease- and rental-centric area like New York City, the importance of the landlord-tenant relationship can’t be overstated. The relationship establishes the rights, obligations, and details for parties involved in renting or leasing property; it should theoretically help avoid tenant lawsuits, eviction actions, and other legal suits. However, conflicts and questions arise when tenants take matters into their own hands and unilaterally decide to stop paying rent as payback for perceived problems on the property.
At the end of February, The New York Post published the story that Lady Gaga’s father Joe Germanotta is refusing to pay a portion of the $40,000 monthly rent and $10,000 monthly fees he owes on his Grand Central Terminal restaurant and bar. Germanotta is withholding rent on the grounds his landlord, the MTA, failed to address the location’s homeless population and other issues including a rodent problem, old seating, and poorly maintained restrooms. The MTA contends Germanotta is improperly withholding $260,000 in rent and fees, refused to sign an agreement to defer rent payments, and will face eviction proceedings if he doesn’t pay by mid-March.
Though the exact terms of the lease agreement between Germanotta and the MTA are not publicly known, the dispute is a powerful reminder for landlords and tenants alike of the importance of negotiating and creating a clear, concise, and legal written rental or lease agreement. This agreement should be a comprehensive examination of all issues and a negotiation and agreement on duties, rights, expectations, and remedies for all parties involved.
This type of commercial landlord-tenant dispute is unfortunately commonplace and takes place in shopping centers, malls, and other commercial plazas all over the country when tenants claim their landlord is not doing things it is agreed to do or is failing to meet its obligations. Germanotta is not alone in his claims in Grand Central Terminal – other restaurant managers have also cited the homeless population as a violation of expected conditions by the MTA and a cause of decreased business. Though the outcome of the situation has yet to be determined, a New York City court will most likely be forced to decide whether landlord or tenant was in the right in this and other similar cases.
New York Real Estate Attorney
Leases and rental agreements in New York City set boundaries, rights, expectations, and remedies that can help landlords and tenants enter a business relationship with no surprises. To make sure someone is looking out for your best interests and addressing all the potential issues that may arise during the course of your agreement, the experienced New York real estate attorneys at MOWK Law can handle negotiations on your behalf and make sure you’re protected. Contact us today to get your questions answered and get started!