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Lien Law in NY / Can you sue owner for tenant’s default /  Printing contracts
October 2, 2019
Lien Law in NY
          Many years ago we did a job for a GC who did not pay in full;, we notified the building owner who hired the GC and the owner immediately paid us.  When I went to pick up the check he told me several years before he hired a GC to renovate an area of the building, the GC did not pay the material supplier who sued and in court the owner was told by the Judge that, he was ultimately responsible to see all were paid, so he paid twice plus legal fees, etc.
            Does this still apply in NY?
            Under the Lien Law those supplying labor or material are entitled to be paid first.  Money received by a contractor is trust funds to be used for labor and material on that specific job.  An Owner paying the GC is responsible to ensure the GC’s compliance with the Lien Law.  An Owner can only be made to pay once, not twice, unless the Owner has obligated itself to the subcontractor, or knows that the GC has misapplied the trust funds.  An Owner can rely on an affidavit by the GC that subcontractors are paid and does not need to get affidavits from the subcontractors before paying the GC directly.
            Sometimes and Owner will obligate itself to subcontractors by contract, expressly or implicitly.  However, I don’t think an Owner in good faith can be made to pay twice.
            Enforcement of the Lien Law is a cumbersome proceeding in New York and the amount in controversy would have to be quite significant before Lien Law proceedings would be pursued.  Another issue to remember is that most alarm systems are “personalty”, specifically deemed “not part of the realty” and would therefore not be covered under the Lien Law which is for improvement to real property.
Can you sue owner for tenant’s default
            If we sign an agreement (a K&K agreement of course) with a tenant, and the tenant defaults, can we go to the building owner as well for payment?
Name withheld
            Landlords are rarely responsible for tenant improvements, and would certainly not be responsible for a tenant’s breach of an alarm contract for the RMR items, unless of course the Landlord guaranteed the contract.
            Some tenant improvements benefit the Landlord and the Landlord’s approval of the improvement may give rise to liability for that improvement, but this would be the exception to liability, not the norm.
Printing contracts
       We have worked with the same printing company for some time now. They are having difficulty trying to put the newer ALL IN ONE contracts (purchase 09-2018) into a carbon copy format that would allow the customer to get copies upon signing. Where the signatures and initial areas land on the documents are the roadblock from what I am told. Do you know if any K&K clients have successfully produced carbon copies? Can the forms be rearranged so these signature/initial areas are in a carbon copy friendly area?
            I don’t get involved with the printing of the contracts, but Alarm Exchange does have the following listing:
Printers: Authorized printers for the Kirschenbaum Contracts. Contact Chris Ray (866) 543-7630
            Other recommendations are welcome.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301