Archive for the tag 'contracts'

Photo by Erica Sherman

THE COMMUTE: Several days ago, New York City Comptroller John Liu released an audit on the cleaning and maintenance of bus stop shelters by CEMUSA under its franchise agreement with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT). Naturally, we were interested in the findings of this audit after heavily criticizing DOT and CEMUSA last May. However, many of our questions regarding CEMUSA’s responsibilities were not answered.

Liu basically looked at only three aspects of the contract:

  • Whether CEMUSA cleans the structures as per their contract;
  • Whether CEMUSA maintains these shelters in a state of good repair — replacing damaged parts as required within required time limits and
  • CEMUSA’ s response to snowstorms.

The comptroller made it publicly known that CEMUSA subcontracts all these functions with DOT’s permission. He concluded that, although the bus stop shelters were reasonably clean and well maintained, the exterior roof panels were not cleaned regularly and that, during the audit period, the subcontractor did not inspect and clean the shelters at the level required. He further concluded that insufficient resources are allocated to meet the contract requirements for cleaning the shelters, and that 93 percent of defects found are repaired within the required due dates while seven percent are repaired after the due dates.

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All photos by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Guess where this bus shelter is.

If you said the obvious, you guessed wrong. Flatbush Avenue and Avenue V is actually about a half mile north of where this picture was taken, right outside of Toys ‘R’ Us just north of the Belt Parkway. Just don’t call a car service to tell them you are waiting at Flatbush and Avenue V when the Q35 doesn’t show up.

The misplaced sign is not the only thing wrong with this shelter, one of the new ones that the city contracted out to CEMUSA to build, replacing the older shelters. There is no route information as required by the contract, only Travel Tips. The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) bus stop sign shows the correct bus route and bus stop location but the wrong destination. The Guide-a-Ride — the square box around the bus stop pole — is also supposed to show a route map and schedule but is blank or thoroughly faded.

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Source: Ian Muttoo/Flickr

Telling Tips is a series of articles from local experts to help you save money, make better decisions and plan for a better future.

In New York, there is what seems an almost endless debate between buying and renting a home; between owning a piece of property that you can say is yours, versus paying someone for the privilege of living in theirs.

There are pros and cons to both approaches, but if you’re going to go along with the theory that buying is the best way to spend your money, then you better know what’s in the Contract of Sale. And if you’re going to want to know what’s in the Contract of Sale, you better have a clear understanding with your attorney.

Far too often I find clients are simply ready to sign on the dotted line. If they’re buying a Dyson on Home Shopping, they’re certainly checking out the warranty to see what it covers. But if they’re putting down hundreds of thousands of dollars, many of them simply trust that the lawyer has done what the lawyer should do, and they sign away.

This, my friends, is a terrible mistake. A client should always know (and in my opinion has the responsibility to know) what it is that they’re agreeing to.

“But a lawyer should tell the client what they need to know when they buy real estate,” you say. Granted. Yes. But I find that sometimes clients will feel too intimidated to ask, and it’s to their detriment.

Here are some of the common questions you should ask your attorney if you’re buying some real estate in New York:

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