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Tax abatement distribution - Ed Jan 23, 2023

Hi
Must a coop board allocate and distribute all proceeds from property tax abatement to unit owners who qualify or can they be allocated to all residents equally. We have a number of residents who don’t qualify and therefore are charged an assessment while qualifying residents receive the credit. Their rationale is that by not distributing the proceeds equally to all, the board is not meeting its fiduciary duty to treat all residents equally and that non-qualifying residents are shouldering the financial burden to pay to qualifying residents. Has anyone seen a different approach to allocation/distribution of the abatement?

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The first requirement is that the abatements be distributed according to the list you received from the Dept of Finance. How the DoF calculates how much each *eligible* unit (apartment) will receive is a mystery of the universe.

The second requirement is that all co-op assessments be made equally on a *per-share* basis.

The board is fulfilling its fiduciary responsibility by treating each *share* equally and not each *unit*. This cannot be changed, not even by amending the Proprietary Lease.

Non-qualifying shareholders (usually those whose unit is not their primary residence) are out of luck and there is no recourse. The City has chosen to give primary residents a perk in the form of a tax abatement *per unit* and the board is required to base and collect any assessment on a *per share* basis.

This abatement/assessment wash *never* works out for any unit, and the assessment is equal to the abatement. Some shareholders have a net gain and some have a net loss.

I've been a treasurer for 15 years and I've received this identical question each of those 15 years. I try to preempt it by including a basic description of the different ways the abatement and assessment are determined in the email I send to all shareholders. I still get a couple of calls each year

I hope this helps,
--- Steve

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Excellent explanation, Steven. We also get the same questions year after year in our coop.

Just one point to add: the tax abatement is "vapor money." It's not that the coop receives a big pile of cash to hand around to those who were eligible. Instead, the building's property tax bill is reduced by the total amount of the abatement. The coop never actually sees the money, except in the form of lower tax payments.

So there's not any received money to distribute. Instead, most buildings - including ours - follow exactly the process you describe: impose a one-time per-share assessment that (roughly) flattens the abatement for those who receive it, and requires real-money payments from those not eligible for the abatement.

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Steve and Carl, thanks for the responses. Very helpful and good to know it is not only us receiving this type of question. I am not sure if math has been done to compare the value of the abatement vs the cost to the non-qualifying shareholders but I have to expect they would ultimately be paying more in fees without the reduction in taxes. - Ed

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Interviewing a new super - 603 west 111 board member Jan 23, 2023

Hello.

Our board at 603 West 111 Street has an opening for a live in super. We would like to be able to interview candidates. Any thoughts as to how one might start such a process would be welcome.

Thank you

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1) If you're a union building (32BJ) ask your rep if they can create a list for you.

2) If you're not a union building or you'd like to augment a list the union gives you, try online recruiting services like Zip Recruiters or Indeed. You'll have to spend time going through the responding candidates send you.

3) Try doing a Google search. Figure out what keywords to use for your search. It won't take too long to generate a list of your most effective keywords.

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Hey! My name is Nick and Im currently a part time super looking for a different building.

I have 5 years expierence as a property manager and a few years in project management. It would be a pleasure to email you my resume.

Nickcataldo@rocketmail.com

When posting on Indeed or LinkedIn, you tend to get those who are not serious and a lot of applicants who do not have what is you are looking for. Many times, the best applicant resume might be burried underneath 100 others.

Word of mouth is best. You try talking to a super in the buildings next to yours to see if they know anyone who might be a good fit.

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Co-op Tax Abatement - marym Jan 13, 2023

If a shareholder applied for Enhanced Star in 2022 and received an approval notice, does that have to be listed when we file the Annual Renewal and Change Form in 2023?

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What is an Annual Renewal and Change Form?

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All co-ops are required to file this by February 5th every year to report changes in ownership and even if no new changes.

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Steven - Here is the Annual Renewal and Change Form that marym is talking about. Thank you marym for the information!

https://www.nyc.gov/assets/finance/downloads/pdf/coop_condo_abatement/coop-renewal-application.pdf

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Thanks, Marym and Marty. Our Property Manager and Managing Agent handle that for us and I think they refer to it with a different name.

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Sketchy Succession at Mitchell Lama - Board Member Jan 10, 2023

I'm a long term member of a board of a Mitchell Lama Co-op. I've recently discovered that another long time member of the board is setting the stage for her granddaughter to "succeed" to the board member's very elderly friend's apartment. The granddaughter is in her 20's and grew up in the building, as her parents also have an apartment in the building, but she definitely does not live in the building now, and hasn't since she went away for college. However, the board member has arranged for her granddaughter to be listed on the income affidavit of her elderly friend's apartment, clearly setting her up to succeed to the friend's apartment. I have brought up the issue with our property manager and other board members, but nobody wants to do anything about it because the board member is a well-liked long-term member of the board. I think it's totally unfair to the people on the waiting list if the granddaughter is allowed to jump them all and is given a Mitchell Lama apartment that she never lived in, just because her grandmother is a board member. Is there anything I can do, either now or when the granddaughter's succession claim is made, to prevent her from getting the board member's elderly friend's apartment?

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https://mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=725658&article_id=4137037&view=articleBrowser

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NYC DOF Tax Abatement Program - mr.gardenz Jan 09, 2023

If a new shareholder has closed before December 31 of a year and the apartment purchased was owned by a shareholder who has been receiving the Tax Abatement - passed thru as a credit to maintenance fees, is the new shareholder entitled to the Tax Abatement when next passed thru to eligible shareholders in the following year?

I know that if the previous shareholder was NOT eligible, the new shareholder will NOT receive any Tax Abatement passed on in the first year after closing.

Please advise on NYC DOF policy.

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My understanding is that in order for a new shareholder to receive the abatement, they must first reside in the co-op for one full yearly cycle of Jan 1 through December 31. (Though I am not 100% sure about Jan 1. It might be Jan 5 through Dec 31).

Assuming it's Jan 1...If they closed on Dec 31, 2022, they will have met the Jan 1 through Dec 31 in 2023, so they'd be eligible for the abatement in 2024.

If they closed on Jan 12, 2023, then they will only meet the full 1 year residency in 2024, so they wouldn't be eligible to receive the abatement until 2025.

Steven 424 or any of the knowledgable people on this website - Please correct me if I'm mistaken about the dates.

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I believe eligibility for the abatement is based simply on your status on the recording date. January 5th sounds very familiar.

Marty and I disagree on this so you should do further research Ask your MA, and I think the DoF website has information that might answer your question.

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Steven424 - Here is the info from the NYC DOF website. Maybe you and others reading this can review it and see how you interpret it.

https://www.nyc.gov/site/finance/benefits/landlords-coop-condo.page

In the REQUIREMENTS section, it states, "You must have purchased the unit on or before January 5 to qualify for the abatement for the upcoming tax year. If the unit was purchased after January 5, you can apply for the next tax year."

I don't think the recording date comes into play but I could be mistaken.

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Flip Tax - Sandra Maxwell Jan 06, 2023

The flip Tax is decided by the board only, or are the shareholders involved in a vote for that also? Is the board legit, if we haven't had an annual meeting since Nov. 2019? The board and mgmt agreed to take half of 2021 and 2022 assessments, 5% increase in 2020, 8% increase in 2021, and $14.41 per share (I have 563 shares) in 2022 for three(3) years for capital improvements. Mind you the annual increases were because the previous mgmt did not pay our vendors. The board say it's not criminal! What is it? Which by the way NO work (capital Improvements) have started in the bldg. We just received our 2021 financials Nov. 2022. We are scheduled to have a try at another annual meeting Jan. 11, but I fear if the board & mgmt can not answer the shareholders questions again nothing will get done, like no elections again! there is no communication between the board/mgmt & shareholders. Desperate, open for suggestions.! I am running to be on the Board if the votes go through.

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You've rolled several questions into one post. Ordinarily, a change to the flip tax requires the approval of a supermajority of shareholders. It's possible, however, that your governing documents give that power to the board. You'd have to check.

Failure to pay your vendors is not "criminal," but it's bad behavior that could lead to legal claims by the vendors. It could also make it harder to engage vendors/contractors in the future.

Almost all co-op by-laws require an annual meeting of shareholders, along with a board election. You may need to engage a lawyer to force a meeting. That would be an expensive proposition on your own; see if you can get other shareholders involved.

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Couldn’t the shareholders vote for a “special meeting” and really for an election?

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Yes, provided there is the appropriate language in your co-op bylaws. Generally, that's how it's done, but some customized or amended bylaws may contain non-standard language so there is no definite "yes" or "no" answer.

After your review of your by-laws but before you take any unilateral action, I *strongly* advise you (as Carl Tait did) to solicit the support of other shareholders. This group could also form the basis of a slate of opposition board members who run against your current board at the next election.

Good luck!

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Legality of decisions made by illegitimate board member(s) and president - SI Board Member Jan 01, 2023

I was recently elected to my condo's board. Our by-laws state "All members of the Board of Managers shall be owners or mortgagees of units, or, in the case of partnership owners or mortgagees, shall be members or employees of such partnership, or in the case of corporate owners or mortgagees, shall be officers, directors, stockholders or employees of such corporations, or in the case of fiduciary owners or mortgagees shall be the fiduciaries or officers or employees of such fiduciaries.".

It has come to my attention that the current board president is not listed on the deed of a unit in the building. The deed is in her husband's name... and neither of them live in the unit. Also, there was another member on the board, that recently left the board, that was not listed on a unit's deed.

Are decisions made by this board, and contracts signed by the illegitimate president, legally binding?

Thank You

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You're asking questions of a fairly complex legal nature, which can have serious ramifications, as you pointed out. My advise is to bring this situation to the attention of the Co-op's attorney as soon as you can. There may already be board decisions in the records that are affected by the apparent invalid composition of your board.

In a situation like this the only person who should be advising you is your Board attorney.

Good luck!

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High Maintenance Fee in Brooklyn Coop! - Maximus01 Dec 29, 2022

Happy Holidays!

Currently, I live in Concord Village, located in Cadman Plaza (a couple blocks from Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, and Dumbo) and parallel/adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge.

As a fairly new shareholder, it would be greatly appreciated if anyone can please provide some insight as to (possibly) why the maintenance fee may be increasing so rapidly. Certainly, before purchasing the co-op, I did inquire about the maintenance fee increase percentages and I was advised the increase is typically 3-5% annually. And this is reasonable.

However, this is not the reality. Within the span of 3 years, my maintenance has increased (nearly 30%, collectively). I've yet to see and experience the value of these increases.

Board has advised the driving force is the increasing property taxes, and perhaps it's partially true. Regardless, seems very sketchy & sus. In Concord Village, there are 7 complexes with over 1,000+ units, collectively (comprised of studios, 1 bds, & 2 bds). Imagine when all the maintenance fees are accumulated.

And to add, Concord village owns an adjacent parking space, which, indeed, generates some revenue as there are start up companies nearby (e.g Etsy), the Supreme Court, USPS, Charter School, etc. They separately charge shareholders for parking, storage, gym, etc. So there are other sources of revenue generating options.

Maintenance does include a reserved fund (instead of a separate assessment), which have yet to be put into use in the common areas. Still looks outdated from the 80s/90s, with water stains on the ceilings & floral wall-papers, peeling at the edges/corners.

I understand high maintenance can be driven by land-lease, but that is not an issue at Concord Village.

On a legal standpoint, I understand the Board can increase the maintenance fees as they please. But are there any NYC laws/bills that would protect the shareholders? Although maintenance fees within the same building may differ, do all shareholders receive the same increased rate? Any feedback would be appreciated.

Lastly, if there are any shareholders who are selling your unit (with a high maintenance fee), how are you or how would you maneuver this topic if/when you come across potential buyers, requesting to see the last 5 years of maintenance fees?

Thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this! Any feedback and insight would be helpful and sincerely appreciated.

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All s/h receive the same percentage maintenance increase. Since different apartments have different amounts of shares, not everyone will pay the same dollar amount for their maintenance increase. So, if the Board votes a 5% increase, everyone's maintenance will increase by 5%.

The Board is elected to represent the s/h and run the co-op. This includes the right to raise maintenance if they think that's the right financial decision. The Board has strict ethical and fIduciary responsibilities that is supposed to keep them in check. If enough s/h disagree with the way the Board runs things, then other s/h have a right to voice their opinion about the way things are run. They also have the right to run for the Board and get involved in running the co-op.

You're right that real estate taxes have skyrocketed, but so has the price of everything in the past few years due to inflation. Everything costs more, including the prices charged by your plumber, electrician, contractor, etc. Co-ops are also navigating the climate change/carbon emission laws enacted by NYC. That may very well also increase expenses to the co-op.

It's possible that the co-op had some large expenses (roof, elevator) they incurred before you moved in, so they may still be paying those off.

It's important for all s/h, especially new s/h like yourself to look at the big financial picture and not just what's happened in the past year or two. I always felt that you need to look at a 10 year period to review the co-op's expenses and revenues to get a more complete picture of the co-op's financial situation.

As far as potential new buyers requesting to see the last 5 years of maintenance fees, it's important that they also see the last 5 years of financials - to give them a complete and accurate picture of the co-op's finances. There may have been boiler and heating upgrades that the co-op made. These might have cost lots of money now, but will pay off in the long run.

Remember that the Board is responsible for making short term and long term decisions on behalf of the s/h in the co-op. You can also ask Board members why they raised the maintenance fees? Communication is very important, so don't be afraid to ask the Board directly if you have any questions. It's always better to ask the Board than to listen to fellow s/h, who may not have all of the information that the Board has.

Good luck.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

NYC property tax bills are available on the public portal: https://a836-pts-access.nyc.gov/care/forms/htmlframe.aspx?mode=content/home.htm.
Concord Village's BBL is 3 (Borough), 86 (Block), 11 (Lot).
The November 2020 quarterly tax payment was $926,173.00 and the November 2022 quarterly tax payment was $1,293,372.22. This is a an almost 40% increase.
Co-ops and condos have been lobbying for a separate tax class as we are currently in the tax class with market rate rental buildings.

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Mediations - Wendy Dec 17, 2022

Can a board run a mediation between shareholders?

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Wendy - I'm not a co-op lawyer, but I am a commercial litigator with decades of experience and have served on three co-op boards. Mediation is generally conducted by a trained mediator who can professionally evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each side's position and guide them to a voluntary resolution. Board members would not ordinarily have that expertise. But even if they did, they are likely to be perceived as having conflicts of interest by one side or another. If the dispute involves one or both shareholders violating house rules or the proprietary lease, then the Board's role is to police and enforce the rules. If it is a dispute that does not involve violation of the rules, then the board should stay out of it. But of course, a dispute that disturbs neighbors likely violates the rules.

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Want out of my coop - Wendy Dec 17, 2022

Is there any way I can break the two year sale rule and vacate the apt of my coop? The noise issue I have is ongoing and I need to get out of there.

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