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Proxy Forms - DP Sep 23, 2021

Does anyone know if it's legally required to have a space for a coop's SHARES on a Proxy form? When I was on the board, we always included a line for that. The one I received this year (from a new Mgmt. company) does not include it. Thanks.

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Most cooperatives allow one vote regardless of how many shares the unit has. Unless your co-op has cumulative voting which is one vote per share, it is not necessary to have the number of shares on the Proxy/Ballot. A provision in your occupancy agreement and house rules will explain your voting procedures.

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The official number of shares per unit should be maintained by the Board Secretary and/or Managing Agent. A line on a proxy form where the share count is supposed to be filled in by the shareholder is meaningless because it is often inaccurate or wildly exaggerated.

I've seen a number of different voting schemes, and as far as I know, the Bylaws are the authoritative source for determining how votes are counted.

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We also have a line for number of shares on our standard proxy, but the presence of the line isn't terribly important. The apartment has a fixed number of shares and this number is easily verified, regardless of what the shareholder writes on the line.

Concerning the prior comment by "NYC": in the great majority of coops, voting is *absolutely* weighted by shares. One vote per unit is rare in coops. In standard voting, if your unit has 100 shares and your board has seven members, then each person you vote for gets 100, regardless of whether you vote for one person or seven. With cumulative voting - which is only allowed if your coop's Certificate of Incorporation permits it - you can pile up your votes on fewer people. Continuing the example, you could vote 700 shares for one person instead of 100 shares for each of seven people.

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Thanks Carl, that's what ment. Your explanation was much clearer. one ballot per unit, one vote for each candidate. I come from background n corporate proxies where the shares are a necessity on the ballots.

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RECOVER YOUR LOST OR STOLEN BITCOIN - Jason Spangler Sep 20, 2021

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Sale in delay - MARISA Sep 15, 2021

I’m selling my coop unit, I signed already the buyers offer, but the board members of the complex are postponing and postponing the personal new buyer interview , due that they have leave for vacations and the buyer is in one hair to quit. I spoke with the manager, the President is the one out till October, and they said the vicepresident can’t do the job, that has to be the President with two more members. What can I do???? I’m losing money. Please help with advise

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Based on the scenario you describe, the attorney representing you in this transaction should be all over the board and managing agent to shake this free and move it forward.

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Drain pipe leaking into apartments - emkharts Sep 10, 2021

There is a drain pipe that has been leaking into our garage since early July. The management put buckets under the leak to catch the water. They never came to inspect apartments running along the pipe. This holiday weekend I noticed water damage on my kitchen wall and ceiling that the pipe runs alongside. My ceiling is brown, paint bubbling and water dripping. The manager called me on Sunday as I left a message with service and I told her my ceiling has water damage and I was told the super will be back on Tuesday and will call me to come look. Tuesday I take off work to be home and super never shows up, I find out at noon from the Porter that he didn't come to work and nobody called or notified me. Wednesday I stop at the management office and the woman in charge is defensive when I complain about not being notified that she wasn't in because of Jewish holiday and didnt know that super was out but she had left him a note and I should have called the office. Today is Friday, 6 days since management has been notified and I have heard nothing about what they are doing to fix this pipe. They have allowed this leak to continue for 2 months and now I feel there is mold growing on my ceiling and they are in no rush to address it. It is still leaking. Is this not total negligence on management part? How can I deal with a property manager who doesn't want to address real problems?

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Before going any further with the MA, I would suggest you take copious amounts of photos of every bit of damage visible. Don't just take close-ups, but take a few "establishing" shots that show the damaged area(s) in the context of each room. Make sure to include shots of the area of pipes where the water is dripping from.

Then, call your private insurance carrier (not the co-ops insurance carrier) and open a file. This will set the wheels in motion for an adjuster to visit your apartment to take their own photos and measurements. You may be asked for a copy of your proprietary lease. Give it to the adjuster.

Once the adjuster files his report, your insurance company will decide how to proceed. If the damage is truly caused by a common element (common drain pipe) you may not have anything to do as your insurance will handle it.

What you shouldn't do is wait any longer to contact your insurance company. Two months is a long time to go unreported, and if there is mold you need to have it taken care of right away.

Good Luck!

--- Steve, a/k/a The Borg

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Than you Steve for the advice. I did take many photos and a video of water raining down from the pipe into buckets in the garage directly underneath my kitchen on the day I found the damage.
I also contacted my insurance the day after the super inspected my apartment. They suggest I also contact the building inspector and threaten legal action with an attorney since the management company has been aware since July and done nothing to find the source of leak and allow apartments to sustain damage. I was told by the Super that an apartment 1 floor above in adjacent line also has damage in bathroom so the management has been aware of leaking into walls and allowed it to continue. They also suggest that the management company will try to suggest that they are only responsible for replacing the drywall even though the wall cabinet above my stove may need replacing as the damage is all along the side wall that my cabinets are attached to. That entire side wall is damaged and my stove, wall cabinets will need removal to replace it. They suggest that if I file a claim, even though it is the building responsibility, it will count against me and my premium will rise. I just changed my insurance company in June after 20 years with allstate with 0 claims. This is very frustrating as this management company does not communicate at all and believes they have no responsibility to tell me anything.

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What about your board? Contact the President of the management co? I’ve contacted my management co President when I didn’t receive proper service or response?

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Thanks but the President of the management company is the person I spoke to their first time who "left a note" for the super. She is the worst person to deal with and the one who tells everyone that they are not responsible to do anything for you no matter what the issue. The board does whatever she wants. The board has been the same people for 20 years.

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My only suggestion is to discover WHO it is that is really standing in the way of solving your problem. Management is often slow to respond, but Management generally follows the Board's lead when it comes to spending money on repairs, etc.

BTW, this Weds. pm–Thursday is also a Jewish holiday... the most holy day on the Jewish calendar, so.......

I've had a similar experience in my coop. I moved into a beautiful gut-renovated top-floor apartment. Within a month, the rains came and every time it rained, it rained into my BR (for years). I had to lay down tarps whenever I left the apt. It took years before they fixed the roof (very expensive, no small task) and years more before they finally fixed my ceiling. I sent photos with each rain and each time the surrounding wet area grew. Now, there's a new wet spot in the LR and I don't relish starting the fight all over again, especially b/c the Board now is even worse. ; (

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Thanks. I'm sorry to hear about your issue. That sounds serious and wouldn't that be a health issue to allow your ceiling to be wet for years. Mold is serious. That is what I am worried about with my ceiling. It is brown. And I've noticed small bugs flying around lately, like gnats. I'm sure it's coming from the wetness in the ceiling.
I understand it was a big Jewish holiday this week but there are non Jewish employees in the office who should be handling things.

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There is something called the Warranty of Habitability which basically states that the owner of a property (or in the case of a co-op, the common areas of a property) has a legal obligation to maintain what they own in habitable conditions. This includes being free of leaks and especially mold and vermin.

It sounds like the co-op boards are in violation. So what to do. I would first contact my private co-op/condo insurance carrier. Most have a provision that in the event of damage or other casualty they will pay to make your apartment habitable and then go after whoever is obligated to pay. Most likely the boards. This is a general statement and may not apply in all situations. But it is the least expensive.

The next option is to file a formal complaint with the Dept of Buildings. They'll probably send an investigator so they know what they're involvement is. This can be a very protracted process.

Your final recourse is to hire your own attorney. Expensive, but the most thorough solution. If you prevail you can probably get your attorney's fees reimbursed.

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Prevailing Wage Law - Carl Tait Sep 10, 2021

Now that the Prevailing Wage bill has been signed into law by Gov. Hochul, how are coops and condos with live-in supers planning to deal with this? In many buildings (including ours), a significant part of the super's compensation is a rent-free apartment. But non-cash compensation seems unlikely to satisfy the requirements of the new law, especially when no explicit value has been placed on it. I have not heard any guidance on this so far. Thoughts?

One possibility - assuming it passes legal muster (I'm not a lawyer) - would be to make the rental value explicit by charging the super rent while paying a higher salary to cover that rent, meeting the requirements of the new law. This would of course be burdensome and ludicrous for everyone.

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I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, and it is a very good one. I feel your best option right now is to contact an attorney who specializes in real estate and co-op/condo law. They'll probably tell you that until there is regulatory clarification or case law, no one knows. The reason for seeing an attorney is to get advice on what you should do *now*, so you don't run afoul of what may be coming.

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General Question - NYC Sep 01, 2021

I haven't been on the site recently. Just wondering if The blog has changed from it's original Q&A. I Notice pooh responding to all the questions. Is pooh the new
Respondent for thus site. Thanks. :-)

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oops, Responder

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No I’m not but asking questions myself and giving my opinion too. Co-op owner for over 20 years.

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Pooh/NYC or whatever your name is and will be in the future. Board Talk is not used to ask and answer your own questions. Since you've been on playing this so called game no one will chime in or ask a question. So please stop unless you have a valid question. Be well & stay safe.

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The guidelines say we can freely exchange ideas, etc…

It’s just Q&A.



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I was asking the question because I did not know where everyone went. I only saw pooh asking and answering all the questions. You and I were accused of being the same person once but I can assure you Pooh and I are not. :-)

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Pooh, like the rest of us, are merely component parts of the collective entity known as The Borg...

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New Windows project - Pooh Aug 31, 2021

I wanted to hear anyone’s experience on getting windows installed in your whole co-op.

It’s not very organized in my co-op and we keep on getting different emails from the board as to when it’s going to start and how. I know covid is a part of it but one minute we’re told the window company is going to get this done and very experienced and then we got an email that they will install some windows and then wait 4 weeks to get more windows installed. This is going to take 6 months at this rate. Oh this is the second window company they’re using. Supposedly they had an issue with the first one and had to start from scratch….specs, etc and we actually lost 25K since we needed to pay them for the initial work.

We finally got some sort of start date but since they didn’t get the permit yet for the sidewalk bridge they’re going to work around that and install windows in apartments that aren’t near sidewalks. What are you thoughts on that? Should we proceed or wait to be safe?

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Emergency lights in the hallway - Pooh Aug 21, 2021

We’re expecting a storm and I let the management company know if anyone checked our lights? Super and porter? In the past they worked briefly and it was pitch black in the hallway and to me that is dangerous of course and a liability. I told them let’s get back up lighting that the super can put on the walls and then take out after the storm is over.

No one on the board looked into this and once again all we hear are excuses instead of finding solutions. My recommendation is a cheap solution since a backup generator is expensive.

Has anyone come across this and any thoughts or suggestions?

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stairway lighting with battery backup in all both of our stairwells. Lutron system.
Converting the existing hallway lighting with an emergency mode would be even more expensive.
Hallway separate emergency lighting is affordable until it comes to the labor to mount and hardwire them in.
Conversely you could purchase separate lantern/battery operated units and store them where someone could retrieve them in case of an outage.

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Thank you so much!

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I believe it is a violation of some DOB or other agency regulation to not have emergency backup lighting a multi-family dwelling. The FDNY makes spot inspection and if a building is in violation it can be fined.

The most common solution is something like this: https://www.exitlightco.com/product/EL-STLED.html At $65 each the cost per resident is probably extremely low. You want something that is set and forget because in an urgent situation like smoke from a fire you don't have time to first deploy the lighting devices.

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I suggested auxiliary lantern style lighting to augment automatic switching emergency lighting, not stand in place of it.

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Thank you!

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Substitute Super Rules - Muddled in Manhattan Aug 17, 2021

Our super went on vacation and management did not tell shareholders. Of course there was a crisis. What is the legal requirement for a building to have a substitute super, or at least someone on call?

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First the shareholders must demand that the management co send out notification when the Super is out on vacation and they should also list in the email/flyer who to contact should a crisis come up. Also have shareholders call or email the management co and the Board and/or bring it up at the Annual meeting. The more that are vocal then they’ll do something.

Do you have a porter? They could also get someone to fill in too. I’m sure the management co has a list of part time help either union or non-union members.

In my co-op we have a super and a porter so there is backup. The co-op behind me has a Super full time but help just on the weekends so I’m sure the weekend help do more hours when the Super is on vacation and especially for a week.

Basically it’s not managed properly. Co-op’s have a management co and board members…they should think of these things.

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Super painting - Pooh Aug 17, 2021

Our Super can paint various parts in our building and due to his union contract he can paint even more then his previous contract stated. Our basement definitely needs a touch up but he keeps claiming that due to the fact that the paint is chipping a bit it has lead and he can’t touch it. Our basement looks bad and it’s not good when potential buyers come and view the space and building. My question is if there really is lead exposed then why is he working there or others are walking there all day long? Wouldn’t we as a co-op have to have that cleaned up or professionally removed? I think sometimes union members love to make excuses not to do something. Also he used to paint part of the basement and Of course since he hasn’t in a bit it’s chipping away more and more.

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I think the easiest solution is to hire a lead and asbestos testing company to perform a survey of your entire building. That way you can authoritatively respond to your Super's hesitancy. As a bonus, you could also be made aware of the much larger issue of needing lead and/or asbestos abatement. Either could be a very time-consuming, disruptive, expensive project, and the sooner you find out about it, the better you'll be able to plan and budget for it.

I've found that "making excuses" is not limited to union members. Either your employees act professionally and responsibly or they don't. Being a union building works both ways. If you strive to maintain good relations with your union there's a lot they can do for you. This is not always possible given individual human nature, but I've found comity usually works better than confrontation.

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