Attorneys for Property Owners, Developers, Contractors, Design Professionals, and the Construction Trades in New York City

Property Law Attorneys

American law governing the use, transfer, and enjoyment of real property was inherited from English common law, and its foundational principles are based in English statutes and court decisions that date back to the 1500s or even earlier.


In a city as densely packed as New York, easements are common. Black’s Law Dictionary defines an easement as “an interest in land owned by another person, consisting in the right to use or control the land, or an area above or below it, for a specific limited purpose.” Perhaps the best-known type of easement is one for ingress and egress, where the owners of the dominant estate enjoy a right to come and go across a portion of the servient estate. But an easement is not a physical piece of land; it is an intangible right, and there are many types of easements other than for ingress and egress such as to run sewers or cables over another property, to store property there, or to prevent obstruction of light and air.

Because they involve the use of one property by another, easements can cause conflicts between neighbors. The creation, extinguishment, maintenance, and hindrance of easements are subjects of frequent litigation. We have come up with creative solutions to many tricky problems involving easements.

Adverse Possession:

This doctrine enables someone who occupies real property in an “open, notorious, exclusive, and hostile” fashion for a certain length of time to claim it away from the real owner. In New York State, the period for adverse possession is ten years. Whether or not the requirements for adverse possession are met in a given case is a complex, case-by-case inquiry. Our firm has represented both claimants and defenders against such claims.

Restrictive Covenants in Deeds:

Sometimes, property owners try to designate or restrict the future use of a parcel of land in a deed. These deed restrictions, which supposedly “run with the land” to successive owners, can result from agreements between neighbors, or can be self-imposed. These restrictions can include range from the innocuous (to keep trees in place) to the altruistic (to always use the property for charitable purposes, such as a clinic) to the moralistic (bans against bars or liquor stores) to the bizarre (prohibitions against certain animals). One of the most fiendishly difficult rules in all of American law, the Rule Against Perpetuities, can sometimes be used to prevent “the dead hand” from hindering property owners for all time. However, these covenants can diminish or destroy property values. Expert representation is needed to defeat or work around these covenants (or to enforce them against neighbors, if one is so inclined).

New York property owners can petition state courts to solve disputes over easements, deed covenants, boundaries, adverse possession, etc. in an action to “quiet title.” Our firm has brought and defended many such actions.

Party Walls:

Many buildings in the City share party walls with their neighbors. A party wall can be enlarged or put to new uses by either side, as long as such use doesn’t prevent like use by the other. Disputes over one side’s abuse of the wall, or over maintenance, are common.

Trespass and Nuisance:

Trespass is the entry onto property without permission of the owner by people or things (parts of buildings, plants, vehicles, etc.) that don’t belong there. Nuisance is the substantial interference with another’s enjoyment of his or her land, usually by means of something intangible but harmful such as smoke, noise, odors, dust, vibration, vermin, etc. Trespass and nuisance are common complaints during construction operations.

Practice Areas

Land Use and Zoning

We have many years of representing property owners before the regulatory agencies for land use in New York City:
• New York City Department of City Planning: The New York City Zoning…

Read More


Our attorneys handle a wide range of civil litigation cases in the Supreme Courts of New York State, in the Counties of Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond, and in the United States District Courts…

Read More

Licensure and Discipline of Design Professionals and Building Trade Licensees

The New York State Education Department issues licenses to Professional Engineers (PEs) and…

Read More

Construction License Agreements and Proceedings under Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law §881

The geography of New York City…

Read More

Property Law

American law governing the use, transfer, and enjoyment of real property was inherited from English common law, and its foundational principles are based in English statutes and court decisions that…

Read More

Opposition Work

It is common in New York City for neighborhood associations, individuals, and ad-hoc groups to oppose construction projects of all sizes, both public and private. Stu Klein, Chris Slowik, and…

Read More

Hearings at the NYC Environmental Control Board (ECB)/OATH Hearings Division

Property owners, contractors, and construction licensees are all familiar…

Read More

New York City Criminal Court for Building and Fire Code Violations (Part SAP2A)

Before Stuart Klein led the effort to draft legislation that led to the establishment…

Read More

New York City DOB Matters

The New York City Department of Buildings regulates the construction, alteration, and demolition of buildings in the five boroughs, by enforcing the New York City Construction Codes, including…

Read More

Commercial Landlord/Tenant

For building owners and commercial tenants alike, the commercial lease is the foundation of their business, and its negotiation and enforcement is a top priority. Our attorneys are experienced in…

Read More

Civil Rights

Many of our clients face some sort of adverse action by a government agency or official, such as the revocation of a professional license or an order to demolish an allegedly dilapidated…

Read More

Lot Mergers, Lot Consolidations, and Transfer of Development Rights (Air Rights)

New Yorkers offhandedly refer to “lots,” but there is a distinction between a tax…

Read More

Mechanic’s Liens

New York State’s Lien Law enables a contractor or materials supplier to place a lien on a property if its owner withholds payment for services or goods. The Lien Law has its own unique procedures for…

Read More

Multiple Dwelling Regulation

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development: HPD regulates the City’s stock of rental housing. Certain multiple dwellings, including “single room occupancy”…

Read More

Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Litigation

According to the United States Courts web site, 13,552 bankruptcy cases were filed in the New York City area as of September 30, 2017.* These cases run the gamut from Chapter 7 liquidation…

Read More

Skip to content