Thursday, August 15, 2019


On June 14, 2019, Governor Cuomo enacted sweeping legislation, Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, expanding certain rent provisions STATEWIDE.  “The Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 was expanded as part of this sweeping legislation.  The legislation also strengthened the substantive rights of residential tenants against landlords while bolstering tenants’ procedural rights in the face of an eviction.”

Some of the most notable provisions include:

1.    If a tenant breaks a lease, the landlord must attempt to re-lease the property.
2.    Security deposits are limited to 1 month’s rent.
3.    Processing, review or acceptance application fees are prohibited.
4.    Background check fees are limited to lesser of actual cost or $20.
5.    Late payment fees are capped to lesser of $50 or 5% of monthly rent.
6.    Landlord must give tenant 30-90 days’ notice to (1) increase rent 5% or more or (2) intention not to renew the lease.
7.    Damages in eviction proceeding are no longer recoverable.
8.    Grounds for eviction can be rendered moot if tenant pays in full prior to hearing.

There are a number of additional provisions that address timing, of eviction proceedings, warrants, etc., that landlords should be aware of. If you have rental units, talk with your attorney and find out how the new law applies to you.

Source: NYSAR (New Your State Association of REALTORS, Inc.), 13 Things to Know: Expansion of Rent Regulation and Tenant Protection, prepared for NYSAR by Harris Beach, PLLC, Attorneys at Law.

Thursday, August 8, 2019


Southold Town is exposed to coastal erosion from both sides - the sound and the bay – due to climate change and storms that have become increasingly less predictable.  But we are also victims of our own actions - wake from water vessels along the shoreline; and our own inaction- failure to address erosion issues before it’s too late or too expensive to fix – like Hashamomuck Cove. “Erosion is difficult to address,” Scott Russell, our Town Supervisor, said in Newsday. “Every solution that we’ve read about or seen has been expensive and short-lasting.”*

            Regardless of the obstacles, we all have a stake in doing what we can to protect the shoreline. Waterfront property owners have an additional responsibility to do the best that they can to protect and prevent erosion on the waterfront property entrusted to them.  Solutions are out there. A possible practical solution that may be employed is creating natural shoreline protection. Cornell Cooperative Extension at Cedar Beach is nearly ready to open a Demonstration Center of various natural shoreline solutions for the benefit of the community.

            Want to know more?  Join me at our SoutholdVOICE Annual Meeting, Saturday, AUGUST 10, 2019, at 9 AM, where we will discuss how we as homeowners can do our part to fight erosion on our own waterfront properties. The meeting will be held at the American Legion Hall, 51655 Main Road, Southold.

As mentioned in last week’s column, we will also cover Health Department Septic Code changes and innovative systems to make our waterways and ground water cleaner.  In addition we will have a update on Dredging and Goldsmith’s Inlet.  Our panel will include:

Al Krupski - 1st District, Suffolk County Legislator
Joyce Novak, PhD – Director, Peconic Estuary Program
Glenn Goldsmith – Southold Town Trustee
Justin Jobin – Suffolk Department of Health Services, 
Environmental Projects Coordinator

The session is open to all. It’s free…and so’s the coffee!  Hope to see you there – it’s important to you not just as a homeowner, but as a member of the community.

*Newsday, July 28, 2019, Shoring Up LI’s Beaches, pages A2-A4.

Saturday, August 3, 2019


Did you know that effective July 1, 2019, Suffolk County has put in place new regulations that affect our home septic and cesspool systems?  These Sanitary Code changes are part of a broad, multi-pronged effort to combat nitrogen pollution of groundwater and local bays.

We all support the need to have clean water, and reduce nitrogen pollution from our septic and cesspool systems, and that changes are necessary.  It’s therefore most important, that we, homeowners, know what is happening, when and how it will affect our homes - today and in the future, and the potential cost involved.

Here are the highlights of the recent County Health Department announcement:

·       Cesspools, outlawed in new construction since 1973, will no longer be allowed as replacements for old cesspools.
·       Homeowners are not required to replace existing systems, but voluntary replacements must meet 1973 standards for new systems.
·       For the first time, replacement of existing cesspools or septic systems will require filing of registrations with the health department.

75% of Suffolk County does not have sewers. Approximately 360,000 homes have residential onsite sewage disposal systems - about 250,000 are cesspools, which discharge untreated waste, that can contaminate surface and groundwater and contribute to harmful algal blooms. The current changes that became effective July 1, do not require property owners to upgrade or replace functioning systems.  The new requirements will come into play when an existing system must be replaced. 

Homeowners may also voluntarily choose to upgrade their system to an “innovative alternative onsite wastewater treatment system (IA/OWTS) for which incentives are available from the county.

Want to know more?  Join us at the SoutholdVOICE *Annual Meeting, at 9:30 am, Saturday morning, August 10, 2019, at the American Legion Hall in Southold.  Our program will include an informative panel discussion with our County Legislator, Al Krupski and Health Department official, Joyce Novak, PHD who will fill us in on the County’s Septic Improvement Program, tell us how it will affect you as a homeowner, and answer your questions. Hope you will join us!

*SoutholdVOICE is a not-for profit, 501(c)(3) organization, whose mission is to provide a forum to promote awareness of issues affecting shoreline and marine resource, and proactively advocate balance between regulatory issues and property rights for the benefit of our community.

Source:  Suffolk Health Officials Outline Changes to Wasterwater Practices to Take Effect on July 1, 2019,” Suffolk County News, May 20, 2019,

Thursday, July 25, 2019


Negotiations are a crucial part of all real estate transactions.  We negotiate far more often in our everyday lives than we realize.  We are negotiating all the time, for example, the time we go to lunch with a friend, the date when a report will be submitted to the boss, the price  of an item at a flea market, who will go first in a game, etc.  All examples of daily decisions involving another person or persons, requiring compromise – requiring give and take.

In a real estate transaction, negotiations are not only about the price. Although price is the entry ticket to the rest of the transaction, there are other terms and conditions that must be negotiated, for example, the timing of the sale – when it will close, the amount of down payment, the condition of the home - “as is” or including repairs that the buyer has requested.

Ideally the goal is to have a “win-win” situation in real estate transactions. While there are some people that view contract negotiations as a “win-lose” outcome, the truth is everyone will benefit by striving for a “win-win”.  Compromise is an important part of getting to a result that will satisfy both sides.  It’s important to identify terms that need to be negotiated from terms that are true “deal breakers.” But there are really, very few conditions in a standard contract that are serious enough to kill a deal.  Sometimes emotions are responsible for turning what should be negotiable terms into non-negotiable terms. 

Often communicating voice-to-voice is more effective in getting to a “win-win” transaction, than emails and texts. Some issues need to be discussed to understand the underlying motives of the parties. Knowing everyone’s key terms up front is important, because while something could be a non-issue on one side, it could be the very selling point that makes it a win for the other side.

Buyer and seller have to express and make known to their agent, what’s really important to them.  Conversely, buyer and seller have to avoid looking for a “win-lose,” when the issue is not important to them. From the beginning of the transaction, it has to be about the issues rather than the emotion.

One of the keys in negotiating is to recognize that each party will have his/her own perception coming into the negotiations, and that is his/her reality. It’s important to stay level-headed during negotiations. Though it may be an emotional experience for both buyer and seller, it’s critical not to let negative emotions take over and become a factor. In the end,  “win-win” comes about when a solution is acceptable to all the parties, and there is a sense of trust and fairplay.

Sunday, July 21, 2019


Before you put your home on the market, here are 3 fundamentals that are critical to getting the best result:


Whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, right-pricing your home is the key to getting the best price and a timely closing.  Since over 90% of home buyers pre-shop on-line, it’s critical to zero-in on the right price range at the onset of the selling process.  Buy understanding your target market - your ideal buyer - you and your realtor will be better able to select the price range that works for your home.   The goal is to reach the largest audience possible for your home’s price range. The higher the price range, the smaller the audience; the lower the price range the wider the audience.


Staging is critical to a timely sale. 81% of buyers stated that staging allowed them to visualize the property as their future home. Also, 68% of staged homes sold for 9% more than an un-staged neighbor’s home. Staging does not necessarily require a total redo of a house.  Certainly, repairs must be done, a thorough cleaning inside and outside is essential, decluttering, and  perhaps painting (neutralize strong colors).  We also introduce accessories and decorative items to create a scenario that will help the buyer envision themselves in the home and enjoying doing the things that they love to do!  


Similar to staging, when marketing a home, the focus should be on lifestyle.  This is even more significant here on the North Fork.  So many of our buyers are attracted to our community because of the natural beauty of the land and water that surrounds us.  Our North Fork is differentiated from the South Fork, by our laid-back, easy, lifestyle and all that we offer year-round but especially in the summer months.  Your home also has unique assets. Be sure to make a list of all the great aspects of your home and property, that may not be obvious.  What you love about your home, your likely buyer will also love!

We believe in and practice these fundamentals to marketing homes for sale. 
If you’re ready to sell, call us at 631 765 5333 and we will meet with you and you will see these fundamentals put into action for your home!

SOURCE REFERENCE: RISMedia, July 11, 2019

Thursday, July 11, 2019


The North Fork, in summer, is absolutely the best place to be!  We are a destination, resort community this time of year – everything is green, flowers in bloom, amazing waterways – bays, creeks, harbors, Long Island Sound - for boating, kayaking, swimming, we have spectacular sunrises and sunsets, we have open land, farms, vineyards, fun breweries, great restaurants and interesting shops.

Who wouldn’t want to be here?  EXACTLY!!!  If you’re selling your home, now is the time to make it shine and aggressively market when everything around you is at its peak.  So, avoid the temptation to slow down with the summer heat, and keep the marketing process going. 

Here are 5 TIPS to keep things rolling and get your home sold in the height of the North Fork “in-season”:

1.    KEEP YOUR HOME IN “SHOWING SHAPE” with beds made, dishes in the dishwasher, you know what I mean.  It doesn’t have to be spotless- I’d rather show a house that’s just a little messy, rather than lose an opportunity to sell it. Prospective buyers understand its summer and the family is about.

2.    SAY “YES” TO THOSE APPOINTMENTS when your agent calls to show the house.  There are about ten weeks left to summer, and you should take every opportunity to show your house in the prime season. 

3.    DO THOSE OPEN HOUSES even though you’d rather hang in the pool.  It’s only a couple of hours a week, you can use the time to go swimming, boating, shopping, lunch!  Buyers who come to open houses account for 20% of our sales. Serious buyers plan weekend time to shop for homes on the North Fork.  Open houses help agents as well, since they have more flexibility to schedule a showing with their client, during the broader time slot of the open house. 

4.    DON’T LET THOSE LAZY DAYS OF SUMMER slip through your hands.  Keep up with your home, if something breaks fix it. Keep up with the lawn and gardens. And welcome every opportunity to show your home.

5.    GIVE EVERY OFFER SERIOUS CONSIDERATION. View the offer without thinking of possibilities that may or may not happen, try to keep emotion out of the evaluation. Look at it as a business deal and give it your best thinking. Make the deal and enjoy the rest of the summer! 

Call us, at 631 765 5333, we’re happy to help you through the process from the first day, through the closing. Or visit our office at the corner of Main Road and Horton’s Lane in Southold. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019


On July Fourth, we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document that marked the emergence of the United States as an independent, self-governing nation, guided by the principle of liberty.  It’s good to remember that the freedom we value today was earned by the bravery of the American statesmen who signed this document, putting their lives, reputation and personal property at risk. Fifty-six men, supported and guided by many brave, hard-working and dedicated women, stood together and affirmed:

            "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
            In 1776, as copies of the Declaration spread through the states and were read aloud at town meetings, religious services and public assemblies, Americans marked the occasion with celebratory rituals. They lit huge bonfires, "illuminated" their windows with candles, fired guns, rang bells, removed the symbols of the monarchy from public buildings, churches and taverns, and decorated the walls of their homes with newspaper copies of the Declaration of Independence. Today’s fireworks mark this great event with an exuberance our forefathers would have appreciated.
            We will be handing out replicas of the Declaration of Independence and American flags from our front steps during the Southold Town Annual Parade down Main Street.  The parade kicks off at 12 NOON at the Firehouse and ends at 1PM at the American Legion Hall.  Hope you all will be there.  Check local newspapers and websites for fireworks – lots going on!   It’s a great way to celebrate our wonderful country’s independence and teach our children the reason for the celebration. 

May God Bless America.

                                                 MAY 25,                                              JULY 2,
                                                   1972                                                   2014