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Housing Court Bar Association teaches ABCs of L&T

September 22, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
KCHCBA President Michael Rosenthal, Hon. Marina Mundy, Jeffrey Saltiel, Karen Bacdayan, Bryant Tovar and Martin Tenenbaum (left to right) were the guest speakers for the Brooklyn Bar Association’s CLE on landlord tenant law on Monday. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese.
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The Brooklyn Bar Association hosted members of the Kings County Housing Court Bar Association (KCHCBA) for a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar titled “ABC’s of L&T: Introduction to Landlord Tenant Law” on Remsen Street on Monday.

The panel included Hon. Marina Mundy; KCHCBA President Michael Rosenthal of Rappaport, Hertz, Cherson & Rosenthal; Jeffrey Saltiel of Wenig & Saltiel; Martin Tenenbaum of Tenenbaum & Berger; Bryant Tovar of Horing, Welikson & Rosen; and Karen Bacdayan of Legal Services of New York.

“Landlord/tenant is a very technically precise form of the law,” Rosenthal said. “It’s not something that somebody who doesn’t practice it often is going to be able to do. People think landlord/tenant [is] simple… Even after taking a class or two like this, you’re not going to be equipped for this.

“Every notice has to be so specific and so perfect. And if it’s not, most of those notices cannot be amended and can be thrown out,” Rosenthal continued.

Starting at ‘A’ for abatement, the panel literally went through the alphabet and touched on 26 topics. Some of what Rosenthal considers the best advice is not legal, however, it’s learning how to navigate the housing court’s system.

“Knowing how to navigate your way through the system is something that a lot of people struggle with,” Rosenthal said. “Someone who doesn’t know how the court works could have one case and be there all day. Me, I could have 10 cases and could potentially be out of there in two hours because I know which judge expects what, which are the slow rooms, which are the fast rooms and what I need to do first.”

Judge Mundy also offered some practical knowledge and suggested that lawyers should keep clear lines of communication open when they are handling a landlord/tenant case.

“One of the most important things is just to come into the courtroom,” Mundy said. “It’s so difficult to do anything with your case if you are running around the building and you don’t stop in and let me know what’s going on.”

Mundy also suggested that because the court is so overworked, attorneys should communicate with each other in order to try to reach a settlement and avoid having a judge making a motion decision.

“I wish they did a little less motion practice and more talking it out,” Mundy said. “A lot of times I make decisions on motions and it takes a while. They come back in after sitting down and talking and I always wonder why we couldn’t have done that three months ago.”

Rosenthal suggested that anyone practicing landlord/tenant law should seriously consider joining the KCHCBA to stay current with all of the changes in the law.

“We have housing court judges and other relevant speakers come to our meetings, which are held every month on the first Thursday of the month,” he said. “It’s the best way to stay informed as to what’s going on in the housing court and the law.”

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