Real estate has long been the star attraction on the East End, and soon it will star in the pilot of a new reality TV show. The brainchild of real estate attorney and Lieb School founder Andrew Lieb, Neighbor Court will hear real estate disputes between neighbors and, with Lieb himself as the arbitrator, resolve the situations while entertaining and educating the public about the laws that rule the market in which we buy, sell, rent and live.
“As the owner of a licensed real estate school and as a real estate attorney, I am always advising people on how to treat their neighbors,” Lieb says. “I get questions that span across the spectrum from a neighbor wrongfully pruning my client’s hedges to a neighbor neglecting to trim his own hedges and therefore making the neighborhood blighted.
“Clients call when their mailbox is blown-up, when their neighbor starts a garage band, and when their street is becoming a parking lot to a rental property just down the block,” continues Lieb, who is also a contributing writer to the Dan’s Papers real estate publication Behind the Hedges. “These same people also want to know how to rent their home while dealing with parking, when and where they can play music, and so on. All neighbors want to know their rights, but more so, neighbors want to receive practical advice on how to coexist with each other. They realize that moving is not an option.”
Unlike courtroom shows, Neighbor Court will be filmed at the place of the dispute, showcasing the homes and homeowners themselves, offering a look inside multimillion-dollar mansions as well as into the legal system. “The viewer will be able to experience the problem, hear experts explain the nuances inherent in the dispute and to learn the law,” Lieb says. “Then, Neighbor Court will explain the difference in local laws and how the decision would have been different in a different place. Each community has its own laws.”
The decisions arrived upon in the show will also have very real-world consequences. There will be money judgments and legally binding orders issued—and, Lieb notes, inherent drama. “Neighbor Court will revitalize the tired tradition of Court TV. It will incorporate the electric visuals offered on HGTV by filming on-site, at the place of the dispute. It will be edutainment, offering the fun and quick-witted style of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central while teaching the audience in the process. At the end of the day, though, this is a court program, and it will have the heart of Will McAvoy of Newsroom at its essence.”
Lieb found some inspiration for the show in the rising interest among TV viewers in the East End, and not just on the reality TV front. “It wasn’t just the Kardashians, but Royal Pains, Revenge and The Affair as well,” he says. “The world wants to know what happens in the Hamptons, and this is the perfect place to launch Neighbor Court.”
And the perfect place from which to draw participants, Lieb believes, for numerous reasons. “Big price tags create big drama and the East End’s price tags are second to none,” he notes. “Many celebrities have real problems, and this show will humanize them to their audiences. City people with second homes can have false expectations about suburban living, which makes them ripe for disputes while living in the suburbs. And the property is beautiful, and everyone wants to know what is behind the hedges—this show brings you there.”
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