Deborah Koplovitz, Partner, Herrick
The rules of the road. In a co-op the rules are found in the proprietary lease, and sometimes they’re called house rules. In a condominium they are in the bylaws, and they’re almost always called the rules and regulations. You might also see house rules in a condo.
First things first. Try not to have a one-size-fits-all solution for any problem. There are a lot of steps that can be taken. For instance, with noise complaints between neighbors, sometimes just alerting the violator that there is a complaint can do the trick. In a doorman building, the door staff can convey the message. If that doesn’t work, then the managing agent can send a letter to the offender about the issue, and if that fails, an attorney might get involved. In a co-op you always have the ultimate threat of terminating someone’s proprietary lease, which you don’t have in a condo.
Keep your distance. I personally feel that board members are already doing too much in most situations. I wouldn’t advise a board member to get involved unless they really know the person well and they have a very good rapport. I think when board members knock on doors or something like that, it creates a certain level of informality that isn’t so helpful. Also, you have to really have the social and people skills to be able to address the situation and get the resolution that you want without creating more problems.