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Court Rules UES Apartment Sale Bigger Deal Than Death

In the category of things we're surprised to realize no one seems to have made a lawsuit out of until now, a ruling was handed down from the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division last week on what happens when an in-contract co-op buyer dies before closing. The judges' opinion? When the building is 1150 Park Avenue, the sellers get to keep the deposit or the buyers go into default. In a case that's been wending its way through the legal system for a while, buyer Glen Altman entered into contract for the $2.3 million Park Ave purchase in 2005, put down a $230,000 deposit, and inconveniently passed away before the sale could be completed. Altman's heirs wanted the money back, but it turns out there was a clause in the contract making the sale binding on Altman's heirs. (Sneaky!) Their claim that the clause was negated by another clause -- the "Proposed Occupants" section, which was left blank -- held no water with the judges. As for the apartment in question, #2A, the owners found another buyer to take it off their hands for $2.125 million in 2006.
· Warner v. Kaplan [NYS Law Reporting Bureau]
· Desperate Sellers Robbing the Dead [Curbed]