Leni Morrison Cummins

Member

New York

(212) 883-4954

(212) 986-0604

Recent Publication:

Who Pays for Repairs? Check the Condo Bylaws

Leni Morrison Cummins and Jennifer Miller co-authored an article published in Habitat Magazine addressing the circumstances under which a condominium board may be held responsible for the cost of repairs to a unit.

Leni has extensive experience representing both the sponsor-developers of condominiums (condos) and cooperatives (co-ops), as well as condo, co-op, and community association boards. Her work on behalf of sponsor-developers deeply informs her work on behalf of boards — and vice versa. She routinely advises clients on plans for new construction and condominium conversions and has extensive experience negotiating issues pertaining to construction, development, and statutory compliance. She is well known for her ability to resolve contentious disputes between sponsor-developers and boards, and frequently mediates fraud claims under the Martin Act before the New York State Office of the Attorney General. 

More specifically, Leni represents sponsor-developers at every stage of the new construction or conversion process. She focuses on preventing liability before the first shovel enters the ground and often leads discussions with boards on behalf of sponsor-developers to resolve issues before they escalate. Leni represents condo and co-op boards with respect to construction defects, underfunding, fraud, compliance, and governance. She also provides ongoing general counsel to boards in their day-to-day management of condo and co-op properties. She has experience with crisis management, mediation, negotiation, litigation, and general legal counseling, and her goal is to achieve practical solutions quickly and efficiently.

Leni is a regular contributor to the “Q & A” column of The New York Times Real Estate Section. She has also written articles published in the New York Law Journal, the New York State Bar Association Real Property Law JournalReal Estate WeeklyHabitat MagazineThe Cooperator, and The Mann Report.

Leni has been recognized by The New York Times Magazine as one of the “Top Women Attorneys” in the New York Metro Area and by the National Law Journal as a Real Estate & Construction Trailblazer. Leni’s honors also include being named a Women Leader in The Law by ALM Media and a 2020 "On the Rise--Top 40 Lawyer" by the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division. She has been selected as a Super Lawyer, ranking in the top 2.5 percent of attorneys under 40 in the New York Metro Area, and has been ranked "AV Preeminent" by Martindale-Hubbell®. Leni serves on the Cooperative & Condominium Law Committee of the New York City Bar.

Leni earned her B.A., with honors, from the University of Michigan and her J.D., cum laude, from New York Law School. She is admitted to practice law in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Experience

News

Peloton plots, paramours and other problems as buildings reopen

June 23, 2020

Leni Cummins discusses what measures condominium and coop boards should take in preparation for the potential second wave of the coronavirus in The Real Deal.

Leni Cummins Named an “On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyer” by the American Bar Association

June 19, 2020

Leni Cummins, a member of Cozen O'Connor’s Real Estate Practice, was named a 2020 “On the Rise – Top 40 Lawyer” by the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Young Lawyers Division.

Co-op and Condo Boards Need to Prepare for a Possible Second Wave

June 12, 2020

Leni Cummins discusses efforts condo and coop boards can take now to protect and prepare themselves for a possible second wave of the virus in Habitat magazine.

4 Lingering Real Estate Questions After $2T COVID Stimulus

April 08, 2020

Leni Cummins discusses how the CARES Act could impact condos and co-ops in Law360.

Leni Cummins Named a Real Estate & Construction Trailblazer by the National Law Journal

April 02, 2020

Leni Cummins, a member of Cozen O'Connor’s Real Estate Practice, was named a Real Estate & Construction Trailblazer by the National Law Journal.

Co-op and Condo Boards Can Sue to Enforce Social Distancing

March 31, 2020

Leni Cummins is quoted in Habitat Magazine on how condo and co-op boards should handle residents who refuse to comply with social-distancing and self-quarantine edicts.

Break Quarantine? Your Co-Op Board Can Sue

March 26, 2020

Leni Cummins comments on actions that condo and co-op boards can take if their residents do not follow social distancing or quarantine advisements in The Real Deal.

No More Playrooms, Pools or Gyms as NYC Resi Buildings Hunker Down

March 17, 2020

Leni Cummins comments on how New York City high-rise, residential buildings can manage coronavirus anxiety and potential exposure in The Real Deal.

How to Fix Those Cracking, Crumbling Plaster Walls

March 14, 2020

Leni Cummins explains what to do when a co-op shareholder needs to make repairs to her apartment in a New York Times article.

NYC Brokers’ Fees to Remain in Place Until at Least June

March 09, 2020

Leni Cummins is quoted in the Commercial Observer on the Attorney General’s granted request to extend the deadline to respond to the real estate industry’s lawsuit against the brokers’ fee ban in New York.

NYC Real Estate Industry Grapples With Broker Fees, Commercial Rent Control

February 18, 2020

Leni Cummins comments on the impact of the Department of State’s (DOS) issued guidance on tenant-paid broker fees in the Commercial Observer.

Co-op and Condo Tax Abatement Will Not Be Tied to Prevailing Wage

February 14, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller discuss Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pocket-veto of a bill that would have required condominium and cooperative boards to pay building employees a prevailing wage or lose a property tax abatement.

Cuomo Veto Spares Condos, Co-Ops from Paying Prevailing Wage

February 13, 2020

Leni Cummins comments on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pocket-veto of a bill that would remove a property tax abatement from condominium and cooperative homeowners in larger buildings in which building service workers did not receive prevailing wage in an article in The Real Deal.

New York Real Estate is Business as Usual and Vigilant

February 11, 2020

Leni Cummins discusses the temporary injunction against the Department of State’s guidance on tenant-paid broker commissions in an article on GlobeSt.com.

What Do You See? Banning Brokers Fees Ain’t Law, Experts Argue

February 07, 2020

Leni Cummins is quoted in Real Estate Weekly on The New York Department of State’s legal guidance on tenant-paid broker fees. As a part of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act that was passed last summer, landlords are now prohibited from charging tenants for broker fees. The real estate industry is challenging the legality of the guidance.

NYC Real Estate Industry Reeling after Surprise Broker Fees Ruling

February 06, 2020

Leni Cummins is quoted in the New York Post on a recent guidance memo issued by the New York Department of State which dictates that tenants cannot be charged broker fees in certain circumstances.

Litigation Likely as New York Frees Tenants from Broker Fees

February 06, 2020

Leni Cummins explains how new guidance from the New York Department of State could impact landlords in an article in Law 360.

New York Broker Fee Ban Halted by Judge

February 06, 2020

Leni Cummins comments on the court’s decision to grant a temporary restraining order against guidance from the Department of State that prevents landlords, in certain circumstances, from collecting broker fees from tenants in a Multi-Housing News article.

Sponsor Self-Dealing

December 30, 2019

Leni Cummins discusses the issues and irregularities that are all too often uncovered when a condominium boards takes over from sponsors and steps boards can take to protect themselves in Habitat Magazine.

Governing by the Book

June 06, 2019

Leni Cummins explains why it is important for condo/co-op board members to govern in accordance with the corporate documents in The Cooperator.

Q&A: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

April 04, 2019

Leni Cummins discusses what happens when joint tenants of a co-op disagree on selling the shared property in The Cooperator.

18 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Named New York Metro Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

September 21, 2018

Super Lawyers has named 17 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2018 New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list. Twelve were recognized as Super Lawyers and five were named "Rising Stars."

Q&A: Why am I Paying for My Neighbor’s Roof Garden

August 27, 2018

Leni Cummins, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Real Estate Practice, discusses the allocation of co-op expenses to pay for common costs in The New York Times.

How Transparent Should Boards Be

November 09, 2017

Leni Cummins, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Real Estate Practice Group, discusses what information cooperative and condominium boards are required to provide to shareholders and unit owners in The Cooperator New York.

12 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named 2017 New York Metro Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

October 19, 2017

Super Lawyers has named 12 attorneys at Cozen O’Connor to its 2017 lists of top practitioners in the New York metro area. Six were recognized as Super Lawyers and six were named “Rising Stars,” a list that recognizes attorneys under the age of 40.

Sign of the Times

May 12, 2017

Leni Cummins, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Real Estate Practice Group, discusses the rise in political signage on condominium and cooperative units and the legal implications for their boards in The Cooperator.

Rules of Disclosure

February 28, 2017

Leni Cummins discusses the rules and regulations related to disclosure for condominium and cooperative unit sales in The Cooperator.

Q&A: Getting Rid of a Board President

January 19, 2017

Leni Cummins, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Real Estate Practice Group, discusses the process of replacing co-op board members and presidents in The Cooperator.

The State of Surveillance

December 12, 2016

Leni Cummins discusses condo and co-op buildings’ increased use of video surveillance in The Cooperator.

19 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Recognized as New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

October 05, 2016

The 2016 New York Metro edition of Super Lawyers Magazine, published by Thomson Reuters, has named 21 Cozen O’Connor attorneys to its list of Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.

Low-Rise Inspections

September 10, 2016

Leni Cummins, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Real Estate Practice Group, discusses building exterior inspection regulations in The New York Times.

Leni Cummins Discusses New Regulation Favoring Condo/Cooperative Boards

April 25, 2016

Leni Cummins discusses a new U.S. Treasury Department regulation in Habitat Magazine.

Leni Cummins Discusses Significant Victory for Manhattan Condominium Board in the Commercial Observer

April 21, 2016

Leni Cummins discusses a significant victory for the Manhattan Modern 23 condominium board in the Commercial Observer.

The Cooperator Q&A: Board - Buyer Runaround

April 01, 2016

Leni Cummins addresses a cooperative shareholder's concerns about his board's new policies in The Cooperator.

Leni Cummins Discusses Allocation of Common Expenses in Cooperatives

February 20, 2016

Leni Cummins discusses the allocation of common expenses in cooperatives in The New York Times and Habitat.

Leni Cummins Discusses Building Maintenance in The New York Times

February 13, 2016

Leni Cummins, member of Cozen O'Connor's Real Estate practice group, discusses building maintenance responsibilities in The New York Times.

Leni Cummins Discusses Use of Drones by Condominiums and Cooperatives in The Cooperator

January 19, 2016

Leni Cummins, member of Cozen O'Connor's Real Estate practice group, discusses drone usage by condominiums and cooperatives in The Cooperator.

21 Cozen O'Connor Attorneys Recognized as New York Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

October 05, 2015

The 2015 New York Metro edition of Super Lawyers Magazine, published by Thomson Reuters, has named 21 Cozen O’Connor attorneys to its list of Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in The Cooperator on Positive Condo Board Actions

October 01, 2015

Leni Morrison Cummins is quoted in The Cooperator on condo boards implementing fun ideas for their community.

Leni Morrison Cummins Discusses Condo Boards' Power to Institute Procedures and Fees in The Cooperator

September 30, 2015

Leni Morrison Cummins is quoted in The Cooperator on condo unit owners abiding by a condo board's declaration and bylaws.

Leni Morrison Cummins Discusses Converting a Property to a Co-Op or Condo in The New York Times

September 19, 2015

Leni Morrison Cummins was quoted in the New York Times article,

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in the New York Times on a Co-op Board's Responsibility Responding to Harassment Claims

June 13, 2015

Leni Morrison Cummins discusses a co-op board responsibility in responding to harassment allegations and the potential breach of warranty of habitability in the Ask Real Estate column of The New York Times.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in The Cooperator on Co-op Board Member Acting as Spokesperson

May 25, 2015

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Practice Group, discusses the legality of a cooperative board member assuming the role of spokesperson and sending email communications to all members in The Cooperator.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in The Cooperator on Who Pays for a Water Leak in Co-op

March 05, 2015

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, is quoted in The Cooperator, on an article discussing the answer of who pays for a water leak in a cooperative apartment.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in the New York Times Regarding Housing Fire Hazards

February 07, 2015

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, participates in a Q&A in the New York Times regarding fire hazards in an apartment building, and how residents can handle these issues with their board.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in the New York Times Regarding Co-op Space

January 17, 2015

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, participates in a Q&A in the New York Times regarding what to do with co-op shared space, and whether it should be converted into a playroom or gym.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in The Cooperator on Dealing with Disruptions in Your Residence

October 01, 2013

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, is quoted in The Cooperator, on an article discussing disruptive residents in your condo or co-op and how to deal with those situations.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in the New York Times Regarding Tenant's Right to Storage Spot for Bicycle in Condominium

August 23, 2013

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, participates in a Q&A in the New York Times regarding what a tenant can do who has used the same storage spot for their bicycle for 25 years in their condominium building, and recently had the spot taken away.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in the New York Times Regarding Inheriting a Co-op

April 19, 2013

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, participates in a Q&A in the New York Times regarding whether a co-op board can prevent someone who inherited a co-op from transferring the shares into their name.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in the New York Times Regarding an Unofficial Apartment Sublet

August 23, 2012

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, participates in a Q&A in the New York Times regarding whether or not someone is covered by renter's insurance if they are unofficially subletting an apartment.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in The Cooperator Regarding Co-op and Condo Rules & Regulations

February 01, 2012

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, is quoted in The Cooperator regarding co-op and condo rules and regulations, and how to follow them, while protecting your safety and quality of life as a resident.

Leni Morrison Cummins Quoted in The Cooperator on Condo Rules and Regulations

February 01, 2012

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, is quoted in The Cooperator, on an article discussing how a board can lay out solid rules and regulations for their co-op or condo building, and how to best enforce them.

Q&A: Accessing Common Elements [The Cooperator]

October 01, 2011

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, answers a Q&A from a reader about common spaces in a residence overlapping with private spaces, and who would be at fault if something happens.

Publications

Who Pays for Repairs? Check the Condo Bylaws

September 22, 2020

Leni Morrison Cummins and Jennifer Miller co-authored an article published in Habitat Magazine addressing the circumstances under which a condominium board may be held responsible for the cost of repairs to a unit.

New York City Condos and Coops Given Greenlight to Reopen Gyms & Fitness Centers [Alerts]

September 03, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller discuss what condo and coop boards need to know before reopening gyms and fitness centers.

Opening Indoor Pools: Divergence Between NYS and NYC

August 21, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller discuss the conflicting guidance regarding opening indoor pools in New York City.

Private Pools in Condos and Coops Can Reopen [Alert]

July 15, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller update New York City condo and coop owners and boards with the latest guidance from the Empire State Development Corporation.

Hold Off on Reopening Pools and Gyms in Condos and Coops [Alert]

July 09, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller discuss the Empire State Development Corporation's guidance for private pools and fitness centers.

Boards Should Prepare Now for a Potential Second Wave of COVID-19

June 05, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller discuss changes to governing documents condo and coop boards should make that better equip themselves for this new reality.

UPDATE: Condo and Coop Eligibility for PPP Loans

April 08, 2020

Leni Cummins gives an update on condo and coop eligibility for Paycheck Protection Program loans following the SBA's Interim Final Rule.

Property Owners Must Act to Reap Benefits of Two New Laws [Alert]

April 02, 2020

Leni Cummins, David Hackett, and Marty Schrier discuss how property owners and condo and coop boards can take advantage of programs in FFCRA and the CARES Act.

What is Emergency and Essential Construction Under Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order? [Alert]

March 31, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller discuss the Department of Building's guidance following Governor Cuomo's order halting all non-essential construction in New York.

Non-Essential Construction Must Cease in New York [Alert]

March 30, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller review ESD's guidance shutting down all non-essential construction in New York.

Holding Board and Shareholder Meetings Under Social Distancing [Alert]

March 25, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller discuss why boards should consider postponing meetings or holding meetings virtually.

The New York State SHIELD Act Becomes Effective March 21: Is Your Board in Compliance? [Alert]

March 19, 2020

Leni Cummins discusses what condo and coop owners and managers need to know about the SHIELD Act.

How Boards and Property Managers Should Prepare for COVID-19 in New York [Alert]

March 09, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller outline how property owners, managers, and boards should prepare themselves for the coronavirus.

Expanded Façade Inspection Requirements [Alert]

March 05, 2020

Leni Cummins and Jennifer Miller discuss the New York City Department of Buildings expanded the requirements of its Façade Inspection and Safety Program, previously known as Local Law 11.

Cooperative and Condominium Tax Abatement Safe from Prevailing Wage Requirement [Alert]

February 11, 2020

Leni Cummins discusses the governor's pocket veto of Bill S6219/A8082, which proposes requiring New York coops and condos to certify that their service employees are paid a prevailing wage to avail their shareholders and unit owners of the benefits of the state’s Cooperative and Condominium Tax Abatement.

If Your Condo or Coop Utilizes CSC ServiceWorks, Inc., Act Now for Class Action Benefits

February 05, 2020

Leni Cummins discusses the settlement reached with laundry machine provider CSC and who may benefit.

Sponsor Self-Dealing [Habitat Magazine]

November 07, 2019

Leni Cummins discusses self-dealing sponsor issues in a special issue of Habitat magazine, titled “Seeking Counsel,” which profiles top condo and co-op attorneys.

Update: Housing Security & Tenant Protection Act of 2019 – Limited Exemption for Coop Boards [Alert]

September 16, 2019

Leni Cummins updates her previous alert with new guidance provided by the New York State Department of State.

Impact of New York’s Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 on Condo and Coop Boards [Alert]

September 05, 2019

Leni Cummins discusses what condo and coop boards can do to comply with this act.

The Clock Is Ticking on Energy Retrofits [Habitat Magazine]

May 23, 2019

Leni Cummins discusses the impact the Climate Mobilization Act will have on condo and co-op boards.

New Law Imposes New Requirements on New York City Property Owners

April 19, 2019

Leni Morrison Cummins discusses the Energy Retrofit Bill passed by New York City Council and its impact on property owners including boards of condos and coops.

Watch Your Step Crossing the Fannie and Freddie Lending Minefield [Habitat Magazine]

April 04, 2019

Leni Cummins and Rebecca Eschen explain how condo boards can avoid pitfalls associated with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage refinancing guidelines.

Fannie and Freddie Litigation Guidelines a Minefield for Condo Boards [Habitat Magazine]

March 07, 2019

Leni Morrison Cummins and Rebecca Eschen authored an article in Habitat Magazine on how lenders blacklist entire condominium buildings based upon the Fannie and Freddie guidelines.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statute Broadened to Include Nearly All New York Condominiums [Real Estate Alert]

April 24, 2018

Leni Cummins discusses Governor Cuomo's correction bill that applies BCL Section 727 to condominiums created pursuant to the New York Real Property Law.

Q&A: Being on Two Boards [The Cooperator]

December 06, 2017

Leni Morrison, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Real Estate Practice Group, discusses if it is legal for homeowner association (HOA) board members to also serve on the board of directors of the property management company that the HOA hires and oversees in The Cooperator.

New Law Requires NYC Condos and Coops to Adopt Smoking Policies [Real Estate Alert]

November 27, 2017

Leni Cummins discusses Local Law 147 that requires all residential buildings to establish and display a smoking policy that specifies where smoking is and is not permitted on the property.

Q&A: Seeking Compensation for Damages to My Unit [The Cooperator]

July 01, 2017

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member of the firm's Real Estate Group, participates in a Q&A in The Cooperator, regarding whether a co-op owner can sue for water damages caused by a leaky roof.

Prohibition Against Listing Apartments or Units on Home-Sharing Sites [Real Estate Alert]

November 02, 2016

Leni Morrison Cummins and Kelly S. Maharaj discuss Section 121 to the Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL) and Article 18 to Title 27 of the New York City Administrative Code that makes it unlawful for anyone to advertise the use or occupancy of apartments for purposes other than primary residence.

Protecting Condominiums From Undesirable Purchasers [New York Law Journal]

December 14, 2015

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Real Estate practice, discusses how condominium boards can prevent undesirable purchasers, such as foreign investors, as well as undisclosed occupants.

New Condominium Sponsor-Developers Guidelines Go Into Effect November 1: Certificates of Occupancy [Real Estate Alert]

October 15, 2015

Under New York General Business Law § 352-e(2-b), sponsor-developers of new construction and gut-renovation condominiums are required to hold all deposits, down payments and advances made by buyers of residential units in a special escrow account pending delivery of the completed unit.

New York City Building Owners Granted One-Time Amnesty of Façade Inspection Safety Program [Real Estate Alert]

May 01, 2015

Under Local Law 11, the New York City Department of Buildings requires owners of building that are six stories or greater to have exterior walls inspected once every five years. Building owners who did not comply by the most recent deadline have received a pardon, but are obligated to meet new requirements.

Q&A: I'll Tell Ya Where to Park Your Garage [The Cooperator]

February 01, 2015

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, answers a question discussing parking garage issues in an apartment building.

Courts Rule on Underfunded Condominium Reserve Funds [Mann Report]

October 01, 2014

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, discusses sponsors of condominium conversions and the ownership and funding of reserve funds.

Housing Development Fund Corporations [The Cooperator]

September 01, 2014

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, discusses housing development fund corporations under New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Q&A: Who Pays for Water Leak? [The Cooperator]

April 01, 2012

Leni Morrison Cummins, a member in the firm's Real Estate Group, answers a Q&A from a reader about who pays for a water leak in a residence.

Education

  • New York Law School, J.D.
  • University of Michigan, B.A.

Awards & Honors

Real Estate & Construction Trailblazer, National Law Journal, 2020 
Woman Leader in The Law, ALM Media, 2020 
"On the Rise--Top 40 Lawyer," American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, 2020
AV Preeminent Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
The Top Women Attorneys New York Metro Super Lawyer "Rising Star," 2011 - 2018
 
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • New York