And you thought your landlord was bad. Or maybe you are the landlord, and your unreasonable tenant makes you want to scream. In either case, it's unlikely that anything you're experiencing comes close to an average day in the life of the Koeppel family.
The family, who own ten buildings in Manhattan, Long Island, and Brooklyn, have a long history of taking each other to court over how they manage their properties. More specifically, Bill Koeppel has a long history of suing his 84-year-old mother, Roberta. Bill says Roberta is a slumlord who skirts the boroughs' public safety laws to save on maintenance costs. He says she has instructed her management company to ignore repair requests from tenants, saying that it's cheaper for her to pay violation fees than to fund the repairs and that she is creating public safety hazards.
More to the Story
But, before you decide that Bill is a brave, noble man willing to stand up to his own family in order to look out for tenants' rights, consider Roberta's side of the story. She says, of course, it's much more complicated than that. She says that Bill is using the courts to try to settle a family quarrel and that he wants to have Roberta and his sister removed as trustees on the buildings, presumably so he can own them all by himself.
It's also worth mentioning that it's not even the first time Bill has sued his mother and not even the first time some New York Koeppels have sued other New York Koeppels. Bill's cousins have also sued him. In fact, Bill's tenants have sued him several times, some for similar claims to the ones Bill is making now against Roberta.
It's Never Just About the Property
All of which is to say that real estate law can be very messy and complicated, even when there aren't Manhattan high rises, Palm Beach mansions, and a prized poodle-breeding stable (sorry, I forgot to mention that Roberta is renowned for her pure-bred poodles) hanging in the balance. Managing investments is tricky, especially when your business partners are also your relatives and when issues far removed from needing to fix a leaky faucet get dragged into the day-to-day of property management.
If you'd like some legal guidance on managing your NYC real estate, call the experienced legal team in the office of Melvin Monachan, Attorney at Law, at (347) 389-1682 or contact us online.