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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021



How to Fix a Deteriorating Building

The Challenge

Last summer, we took over a troubled co-op on the Upper East Side. The rear wall was deteriorating. It needed a lot of pointing work, and water was coming into one apartment. We took over the building just as one of the shareholders filed a complaint with the city, which then hit the building with a violation. The building’s reserves were low, and it didn’t have a line of credit.

The Solution

I had to find a contractor who would allow payment plans. We did a $90,000 assessment, and the contractor agreed to wait a couple of months for the first payment, followed by staggered installments of the remainder of the money over the next year. It took about nine months to pay the contractor. The violation has been removed.

The Lesson

The lesson for boards is to keep the shareholders informed so that they don’t call in the city for relief, because such an act hurts not only the building but the shareholders as well. The lesson for managers is to have good relationships with all the people you work with – vendors, the boards, professionals, and contractors. There should be no hostility. I’ve known the contractor we used for at least 10 years now, and because of the reputation and the friendship that I have with him, he would do anything for me.

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