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Michelle Maratto Itkowitz Spoke at the LandlordsNY Property Management Symposium: "What YOU Wanted to Know: Questions Fielded in My Year as the LLNY 'Legal Expert'"

On December 9, 2014, Michelle Maratto Itkowitz spoke at the LandlordsNY Property Management Symposium. LLNY is the first social networking platform for property managers and owners, and its growth has been explosive. Michelle Maratto Itkowitz is the LandlordsNY "Legal Expert".  Michelle gave a unique presentation for the conference this year, entitled:  ""What YOU Wanted to Know: Questions Fielded in My Year as the LLNY 'Legal Expert'"  The program was video taped.  

Michelle at LLNY Conference December 2014
The 43 page booklet accompanying the presentation contained answers to 15 common landlord questions, and the full text is available by following this link.

Below is an excerpt from the introduction -


I’ve had many different types of clients in my twenty plus years practicing real estate litigation in New York City.  I represent tenants as well as landlords, buyers as well as sellers, contractor as well as sub-contractor, brokers as well as appraisers, co-ops as well as condos.  I represent some big clients, with names you would recognize, as well as many small clients.  I have done a great deal of teaching and publishing.  If you really care to see more details about me -- you can check out my bio at the end of this book, or on my website,  The point is – I am not exactly new at this.

So when I agreed last year to be the LandlordsNY “Legal Expert”, i.e. the person who answers questions from the membership as a free service offered by the world’s first, best, and biggest online networking platform exclusively for property owners and managers, I figured it would be an easy gig for me.  But it really hasn’t been.  Many of the questions that I got challenged me.  I have thought a great deal about why LLNY has been so much work for me.  I offer three answers below. 

First, most questions from the LLNY membership are not routine because the members are often not consulting me when they actually have legal problems.  They are consulting me BEFORE they have legal problems.  They are consulting me to PREVENT legal problems.  That’s so smart and I love answering such questions.  It requires me, however, to bring a different perspective to a dilemma.  

Another reason that answering questions for the LLNY membership is tricky is because many members are anonymous (they use user names on the site) and they don’t necessarily want to give me every single detail that I wish I had.  That requires me to fill in blanks and answer questions in the alternative.  For example: "I assume you are referring to a Rent Stabilized tenancy, so I answered the question that way.  But if you are asking about a free-market tenancy the answer is totally different, so let’s talk about that next."

Finally, I think that being the LLNY “Legal Expert” is a challenge because I really want to do a good job.  I always did, but that sentiment only increased as I got to know the LLNY membership – by following the blog, fielding all these questions, and working with members on different LLNY projects.  The community being built by LLNY is unique, and badly needed in the real estate industry.  

I go to many real estate related events.  The draw at such shows is allegedly that you will hear “industry leaders” tell their “secrets” and help the rest of us do things better.  What these panels and presentations often end up being, however, is a bunch of inaccessible people up on the stage talking about their successes.  When I attend these forums, I notice that many attendees end up congregating and networking in the walkways by the less interesting vender booths.  Because I am often the “less interesting vender booth” (I can admit it!) I overhear many of these conversations.  It has occurred to me that these interactions are the real value in most real estate conferences – people on the front lines of real estate – owning, managing, broking, building, etc. – interacting with each other.  I always wish there could be more opportunities for this kind of exchange of ideas.  LandlordsNY IS that opportunity for real, authentic connection with one’s peers.  And it doesn’t happen just once in a while, it’s online 24/7.  I have cherished being a part of that.

In this book, I include fifteen of the questions I got from the LLNY membership in 2014 and my answers thereto.  The book is intended to be a companion to a seminar of the same name that I am teaching at the December 9, 2014 LandlordsNY Symposium.

Keep the questions coming!  I will do my very best to keep answering them, and to keep learning from you.

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