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How to ensure that your board is not taken advantage of when dealing with contractors and neighboring properties.
AUTHORC. Jaye Berger, Law Offices C. Jaye Berger
Always contact special counsel when embarking on a new project or dealing with neighboring construction.
Law Offices C. Jaye Berger
C. Jaye Berger, Principal
A large developer was/is building a new condominium building right next to my co-op client. It involves adding more floors and building on the property line between the two properties. All of this came to a head around Christmas of 2011. The developer hoped the co-op would quickly sign whatever access agreement was presented to it without showing the plans to my client. The developer was also threatening litigation claiming it had a right to install bridging on the co-op’s property at the roof level. The client retained me to represent the building, and I was quickly able to jump in and help them. I put together a team of professionals, including a structural engineer, an expediter, a surveyor, and an architect. We were all over their architectural plans and found that they wanted to do more work and intrude more than my client had imagined. We also found an issue with the location of the property line. Over the course of a number of weeks, I was able to negotiate a much more favorable access agreement that included a sizable monthly payment to my clients for access and a huge pot of money to reimburse my clients for legal fees and consultants. As a result of my efforts, the developer even modified its design in the area near the property line. The project is under way, and I am still heavily involved in monitoring the progress and ensuring no damage occurs.
The board did the right thing in contacting me, since I handle a lot of work involving construction issues. Other boards might learn from this that they should contact special legal counsel as soon as they hear about such projects.