The Legal Outlook for 2024

2023 was an exciting year. Our firm celebrated our 12th anniversary, hired a new associate, and continued working tirelessly for our clients to close countless real estate transactions, obtain land use/zoning permits, complete estate plans and other related matters.

We look forward to an even more productive 2024. As detailed herein, due to recent legal developments, we expect to see some significant changes with respect to both residential and commercial real estate transactions. In general, we also expect to see a steady increase in residential purchase and sale transactions, commercial leasing, estate planning, and other related practice areas.

Perhaps most importantly, we wish our clients good health, happiness, and success in 2024.

So without further delay, here are some important legal developments taking effect in 2024 of which we believe our clients should be aware, organized by practice area:

Residential Real Estate

The amended New York Property Condition Disclosure Act (PCDA) will become effective on March 20, 2024. With few exceptions, sellers of single-family residential properties will no longer be permitted to give the purchaser a $500.00 credit in lieu of delivering a Property Condition Disclosure Statement. The scope of the seller’s disclosure has also been expanded, particularly with respect to information pertaining to the flood history of the property. Click here to learn more about the recent changes to the PCDA and how these changes may impact residential real estate transactions in New York.

Commercial Real Estate

Beginning in 2023, due diligence on commercial real estate acquisitions has been subject to the new ASTM E1527-21 standard, entitled Standard Practice for Environmental Assessments, Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process (“ASTM E1527-21”). Under federal law, owners of contaminated property may be “strictly liable” for soil or groundwater contamination even if they did not cause the contamination. Purchasers can protect themselves from strict liability by completing “All Appropriate Inquiries” during the due diligence process. The ASTM E1527-21 standard differs from the prior standards in certain key respects. For example, the new standards include a revised definition of current and historical Recognized Environmental Conditions, an enhanced review of historical sources, the inclusion of emerging contaminants, and other important changes. Click here to learn more about the new ASTM standards.

Trusts & Estates

The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that due to inflation, in 2024 individuals may gift, tax free, up to $18,000.00 per person in a year. This amount increased by $1,000.00 from last year. As we continue to counsel clients regarding estate planning, this change may become relevant to reducing their taxable estate and achieving their estate planning goals.

Equestrian Law

In 2024, we expect to see an increase in horse farm purchase and sale transactions, leasing transactions, and land use/zoning applications for improving existing farms, especially in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties.

Land Use and Zoning

Due to significant housing shortages in the New York metropolitan area, we expect to see an increase in residential subdivision applications. With the continued popularization of pickleball, we expect to see country clubs continue to apply for approvals to construct new pickleball courts. In response to the recent weather trends, we expect municipalities to scrutinize stormwater management plans more than ever. Given the legalization of cannabis, we expect to see applications for cannabis dispensaries, processing facilities and other related businesses. Due to the general shift away from fossil fuels, we expect to see more applications for solar farms and battery storage sites to enhance the power grid. We also expect to see residential homeowners continue to improve their property by constructing additions, swimming pools, tennis courts, and other accessory structures, some of which may require variances.

Environmental Law

Due to recent changes in the environmental due diligence standards, we expect to see an increase in the number of environmental issues that must be addressed in commercial purchase and sale transactions. The value of existing manufacturing and warehouse properties has substantially increased, and investors continue to seek new opportunities in discounted or distressed properties. We expect to see more remediation projects designed to achieve “No Further Action” status with the Department of Environmental Conservation. As education and awareness of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues continues to increase, we expect to see more owners, landlords and tenants test and remediate IAQ. Click here to learn more about IAQ issues.

Cannabis Business Law

Due to the recent legalization of cannabis in New York and neighboring states, we expect to see an increase in cannabis business transactions, dispensary and office leases for cannabis related businesses, and moratoriums enacted by municipalities who need additional time to pass local zoning regulations.

Telecommunications

As cell phone usage increases and more people work from home, we expect the carriers to identify new gaps in reliable cell phone coverage and capacity. Those gaps will lead to new applications for facilities designed to remedy the gap in service. We also expect to see some new carriers in the metropolitan New York market, such as Dish Wireless, continue to build out their network in accordance with their license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  We look forward to continuing to counsel municipalities and private landowners in connection with telecommunications agreements.

NYC Party Wall Agreements and Access Agreements

As the New York City real estate market continues to develop, we expect to see an influx in party wall agreements and access agreements for both renovation projects and new construction.

 

For more information on legal issues in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, please contact us at (914) 338-8050 or send an e-mail to keith@betenskylaw.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Betensky Law PLLC
118 N. Bedford Road, Suite 302
Mount Kisco, New York 10549
(914) 338-8050
keith@betenskylaw.com
www.betenskylaw.com

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