New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

How to Keep Work Legal

A small co-op loft building discovered in the course of its latest Local Law 11 cycle that the top-floor loft-owner had made alterations to the roof without the board’s knowledge or consent and without Department of Buildings (DOB) filings. There were several code violations and serious safety issues. To complicate matters, the top-floor loft-owner is the former individual sponsor of this downtown conversion in the early 1980s, when downtown was the “Wild West” concerning lack of required DOB permits, and who secretively managed the affairs of the building for many years post-conversion. Given the passage of time, it was difficult to obtain a consensus about what happened when. We are in serious negotiations at this time and hope to resolve all issues without spending years in court.

 

Takeaway

Many buildings continue to struggle with the existence of unauthorized and non-permitted alterations. It behooves board members — and in small buildings, the unit-owners — to regularly inspect all areas of the building to determine whether modifications to the building are safe, and that proper DOB permits are in place. Boards should not rely on just one person to do it. Potential building liability is too great to let this go.

 

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