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Real estate record and builders' guide: [v. 97, no. 2495: Articles]: January 8, 1916

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REAL. ESTATE %) BUILDERS iMiPE NEW YORK, JANUARY 8, 1916 MEASURES FOR LEGISLATIVE ACTION Constructive Programs By Realty Interests—Committees Watch¬ ing Bills at Albany—Constitutional Amendments Reintro(iuced IN recent years realty interests have learned the lesson of watchfulness, especially of legislation at Albany since the consequences of the Legislature's proclivity for interference in local affairs have become so costly to taxpayers. Im¬ portant measures for the relief of realty from excessive taxation and regulation are expected from the present session. The Legislature met on Wednesday, and after organizing and hearing the Gov¬ ernor's 'message adjourned until next Monday. Various real estate associations now have committees charged with the duty of watching all legislation that may be either helpful or detrimental to property. From now on these committees will meet regularly for the consideration of these measures and to take appropriate action. Committee Work. Last year the Law committee of the Advisory Council studied approxi¬ mately 4,500 bills and did much gocjd in protecting the investments in real estate here in New York City. The committee consists of Messrs. Walter I^indner, chairman, and Everett V. Ab¬ bot, John Guyton Boston, Cyril H. Bur- dett. Henry R. Chittick, Julius Henry Cohen, Louis Franklin Levy, John J. Kuhn, Harold M. Phillips, John M. Stod¬ dard, Laurence Arnold Tanzer and Seth Sprague Terry. It is not only the pur¬ pose of this committee to report upon the legislation that may be introduced at Albany, but also, if possible, to carry out a constructive program. During the interim since the last legislative session many valuable recommendations have been made to the Advisory Council, for the consideration of the members of this Law Committee, with a view of havin.g these suggestions enacted into law. It is the purpose of the committee not only to devote its attention to legislation at Albany, but also to what is .going on at Washington, and at City Hall. The most important issue in Wash¬ ington is that of the taxation of mort¬ gages and real estate conveyances by Congress, under the amendments to the Emergency Revenue Law. Last year these particular forms of taxation were included in the original draft of the War Tax Bill, but were eliminated in the Sen¬ ate through the efiforts of Senator O'Gor- man. At a recent conference at the White House, between Representative Kitchin and Senator Simmons, it was understood that this particular form of ta.xation was a,gain considered, so that real estate interests should be on their guard in this particular respect. Sen¬ ator O'Gorman has assured the Advisory Council that he will exert his best efforts to protect New York real estate owners. Sprinklers and Fire Signals. Among tlic many recommendations that have been made to the Advisory Council, for constructive legislation to relieve real estate owners, is the follow¬ ing: An arnendment to the Labor Law which will exempt fire-sprinklered build¬ ings from the installation of fire alarms. It is a -well-known fact that by far the larger number of buildings in the city are not properly equipped with sprinkler systems, and it may take approximately five years to have these systems installed in those buildin,gs where they are re¬ quired by law today. Today there are 393 alarm systems in¬ stalled in factory buildings, of which 265 were approved in 1915. The number of interior fire alarms installed in buildings equipped with auto sprinklers is 37. In the opinion of the Advisory Coun¬ cil there would seem to be little doubt that the fire and life risk are reduced to a minimum by equipping a building with a model sprinkler system. The installa¬ tion of fire alarms in such buildings would seem superfluous. If. as estimat¬ ed, it will probably take about five years for the Fire Department to carry out the law regarding the installation of fire sprinklers, it would appear advis- al)le that this department should be re¬ lieved of the requirements for installing fire alarms in sprinkler buildings, when in the majority of cases such installa¬ tion is merely an added expense to the property owners, without a commensu¬ rate .gain in protecting the premises or the occupants. Building Inspection. Probably the most constructive piece of legislation in which real estate owners are interested at this time is that per¬ taining to the consolidation of buiMing inspection functions of the various city and State departments. This matter has been receiving the careful study of a special committee of the Advisory Coun¬ cil, consisting of Messrs. Nicholas Bid- die, Louis V. Bright. William H. Chese¬ brough, T. Mortimer and Robert E. Simon. A tentative plan has been ap¬ proved of and a bill is now bein.g draft¬ ed embodyin.g the principles contained in this plan, so that relief from over- inspection will shortly be forthcoming. Real Estate Advertising. ."Xnother reform which is especially desired is that of simplifying the legal phraseology used in advertisin.g real es¬ tate sales, inasmuch as the present sys¬ tem in advertising foreclosure offerings is obsolete. This matter was originally called to the attention of the -Advisory Council by the firm of L. J. Phillips & Co. Today property to be foreclosed must of necessity be advertised in the Law Journal semi-weekly for three weeks preceding the date set for the sale, to which there may not be any ob¬ jection: but the verbiage, length and confusing description, and additional ap¬ pended dia.gram, all of which are re¬ quired, make the statement very unread¬ able. This does not serve the purpose originally intended and it might be much better to reduce the advertisement to a normal size, mentioning street number, or related description, date and place of sale. This would curtail the space to about one-fourth of what is usee! today, and would be a plan for inexpensive, con¬ centrated and clear advertising. Today, on account of the lengthy read- in.g. it is placed in an obscure part of the paper and oftentimes is only found after considerable difficultv. It seems to the council that a paper of general circula¬ tion should be designated by the courts. in which all such advertisements should appear and that the advertising used should be something which the ordinary person would understand. Many other brokers and firms have publicly support¬ ed this form of legal advertising, so that some effort will be made by the Law Committee of the council to accomplish a definite reform in this direction. Mortgage Loans. Through John Finck, it has been sug¬ gested that some law be passed to allow lenders to advance money under second mortga.ges without subjecting such loans to the taint of usury. Under this plan owners would be enabled to protect their property to a greater extent than is now afforded by the ordinary first mortgage loan. Other brokers have communicated with the Advisory Council requesting that some definite method be devised whereby a proposed purchaser or mort¬ gagee or other persons dealing in real estate can obtain, with reasonable ex¬ pedition, information as to violations of the Labor Law. It would be a decided convenience to have this law require that a record of violations be kept by the Labor Department and that such rec¬ ords be open to the access of the public. .\t the present time there seems to be no way of knowing that any violations are pending in connection with the exam¬ ination of titles. At the suggestion of Adolph T. Sicker, Esq., an amendment to the code is pro¬ posed, so as to make a jud.gment in any action affecting real estate binding upon a person who acquires title by birth or involuntary alienation, after notice of pendency is filed. At the suggestion of W. P. Belknap, of the firm of Albert B. Ashforth. the following recommenda¬ tions regarding legislation have beeni made: Mr. Ashforth's Suggestions. Have the laws clianged so as to—- Make bonds secured by trust mort¬ gages covering real estate legal invest¬ ments for trustees, savings banks, trust companies, etc. (Theoretically they are as legal as railroad bonds, but in several instances Surrogates have objected to accountings where such investments were owned by executors and trustees, so that attorneys are unwilling to advise clients that they can properly make such investments.) Facilitate the serving of papers by re¬ quiring that when real property is trans¬ ferred or mort,gages, the grantee or mort¬ gagor shall state in the instrument the name of an agent, preferably a trust company, in business in the county in which the real estate is situated, who shall be authorized to receive service in anv action. Make definite the right of a mort- ga.gee to a receiver as soon as the fore¬ closure is begun. Usury not to be a defense. Interest to be paid quarterly. The tax clause shall require that taxes be paid on demand thirty days after taxes are payable, instead of thirty days after notice and demand after taxes are pavable. Have lenders favor the amortized