New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

How to Deal with the Weirdness of Neighbors

A board member called, asking that I attend a meeting. Someone had left a large cardboard box in a basement hallway in violation of the house rules. The board needed me to write a letter to the culprit and wanted me to see the “evidence.”

Reviewing the security video to establish the culprit, I saw the large cardboard box in the basement hallway. A chronic complainer came by, picked up the box, and realizing something was inside it, put the box down, opened it, and stared blankly inside. We wondered what was in there. He then took out a smaller box, left it on the floor, and walked away with the large cardboard box. Security video revealed other people who walked by and stared at the smaller box. Further investigation revealed that it was an empty box for a ... “love doll.” The box contained pictures of naked women with graphic content printed on the box. We now understood why everyone had stared.

Security video captured the culprit leaving his apartment carrying the large cardboard box and depositing it in the basement. I wrote to the shareholder, advising him that he was observed “on security video depositing a large cardboard box and its contents in the common area in violation of the house rules,” which was a default under the proprietary lease, and that future violations could result in the co-op terminating his proprietary lease and evicting him.

 

Takeaway

You never know what you will encounter in this business. I never expected to be asked to write a letter involving a love doll. While the entire incident may seem good for some laughs, the board took the issue seriously and wanted a strong threat of legal action. Shareholders should be careful how they dispose of their “garbage.” This resident tried to discard embarrassing material discretely. He wasn’t successful. Now the board, the managing agent, the attorney, and most embarrassingly, the staff, know the shareholder’s intimate fetishes. Negative reinforcement works. The shareholder did not respond, did not try to justify his behavior, and did not deny his actions. There have been no more appearances of the love doll.

Subscriber Login


Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?