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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

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Evaluating condominium property managers - Robert Jan 19, 2021

Seeking a checklist. Thank you Robert

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Board Election Proxies Verification of Signatures to those of Shareholder's of Record . By-lawa specific to do so - Gouverneur Gardens Jan 16, 2021

Has any Mitchell Lama Coop or Development experienced that Board Election Proxies signatures were not compared to those shareholder's of record even when the BY-laws specifically reads to do so?

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Coop Tax abatement to be eliminated - DM Jan 15, 2021

I need a concrete answer if anyone really knows this but our coop is saying the coop/condo tax abatement will NOT be renewed in July 2021 because of lack of support in Albany. Has anyone else heard this or who can we verify it with?

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Have you asked whoever told you the abatement was being eliminated where they got their inside information from? If you find out, please share it with the rest of us.

In the meantime, try searching on "Is the NYC co-op tax abatement being eliminated in 2021?". That way you'll have your pick of concrete answers and can choose whichever is most suitable for your purposes.

Good luck.

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This is the first that I'm hearing about this. Like Steven says, please find out the source of this information and share it with us.

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It is from the coop's financial advisors who have "contacts in Albany" - that is the best I can find out. I can't imagine it is fully accurate as there would, no doubt, be an uproar. I have tried Google etc.
Has anyone heard hints of this? It may be that it is partially true but I cannot imagine they will not renew the abatement. Help.
Our coop raised the maintenance almost 7% in case it is true.

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DM -There are many different tax abatement programs that are loosely called "Real Estate Tax Abatement'

There's the actual individual tax abatement which is distributed each year to co-op owners in the form of a maintenance credit. This is usually offset by the board approving an annual assessment that is approximately the amount of the abatement credit. This is the traditional Real Estate Tax Abatement. Another abatement intended for seniors is STAR.

There are other tax abatement programs intended for developers and co-op corporations. These include the 421-a tax exemption and the J-51 abatement program.

The reason why these latter programs may be disappearing is the need for them no longer exists. One program encouraged new development in underprivileged areas. Another was to prod landlords into upgrading core building services and structures.

Please ask your financial-advisor-with-benefits exactly which tax abatement is not being renewed in 2021. As you noted, there would be a huge uproar if the seminal Real Estate Tax Abatement were actually allowed to die.

Please let us know what you find out. Thanks!

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Thanks for the info but my question was very specific. It concerns only the cooperative/condo annual abatement.

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Financial adviser heard it from his contacts in Albany. Sounds like the horse told me to bet on #7 in 3rd race. All kidding aside, I just filled out my abatement for the next 2 years. I would call 311 they will put you in contact with people who handle this question. You can also check the internet. It sounds like something is fishy, the reason I say this is your managing agent distributes the money to all share holders who has claimed the abatements. Best of Luck

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Real estate tax rebates for coops are not abatements, which are limited in time and phase out. It sounds more likely that abatement programs will end for new developments.

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Hi DP,
I requested a copy of a breakdown list from the D.O.F. via email. It shows the exemptions I will be receiving and the co-op abatement. Hope this eases your concerns

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Excuse typo DM

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Flooring damage by Radiator Leak - LC Jan 11, 2021

Over the xmas break, our heating radiator pipe busted from the basement and started spraying water into the unit. I was not home at the time, and it left alot of water on the floor and steam condensation on the ceiling. The hardwood floor is now damaged and cupping. Who is responsible to pay for the damage? if coop is responsible, how long is a reasonable expectation for it being fixed?

Thanks

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If it's a pipe that supplies steam and water to your coop it is the coops problem to fix and repair all damages.
I would also contact your insurance company to come and inspect the damage as the coop insurance company should also be contacted via the managing agent/board. Best of Luck

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Who is ultimately responsible should be spelled out in your Proprietary Lease. There is no law or regulation governing damages, so you will be guided by your PL.

The first thing I would do is take photos of all the areas with damage. Get a lot of pictures ranging from long distance views to establish the relationship of the damaged area(s), to close-ups of each damaged area. Take lots of pictures from all distances and angles. Film is cheap, and you never know when one angle and lighting condition shows something that other pictures don't.

Take pictures of all appliances, clothing, decorations, artifacts, electronics, etc that were damaged by the burst pipe. You will want to submit them as part of your claim. If any had value as collectibles you'll want to get the receipts or appraisals to verify their value.

Next, contact *your* insurance carrier who has your individual co-op/condo owners' insurance policy, and open a file with them about your loss. Schedule an appointment with the adjuster they specify for as soon as possible.

If any part of your apartment is unusable or uninhabitable, discuss with your insurance company what you should do. You shouldn't have to live with, say, a bathroom ceiling that is about to fall down.

*Do Not* discuss the loss with anyone connected with your board, their insurance carrier, and adjuster, etc. You have an obligation to allow your board's adjuster access to your apartment and all damaged area, but you are under no obligation to give a statement or answer any question no matter how innocuous. In those instances, simply refer them to your insurance agent or representative.

Make a copy of your Proprietary Lease. Your insurance agent will most likely ask for one so they know how to apportion responsibility.

This could become a slog, so be prepared to wait and deal with the frustrations. Good luck!
--- Steve

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Mold remediation company recommendation - Steven424 Jan 09, 2021

Recently we discovered a bad case of mold on the hidden side of drywall. This is the first time we've had to remove mold, and I'm looking for a recommendation for a company that deals with mold remediation and reconstruction. If you've had a good experience with such a company please list their contact info here.

Thanks!
--- Steve

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We haven't had mold removed but got a very thorough report when we thought we might have a problem. We also got recommendations for avoiding getting mold. I don't know if this company does remediation but, if not, Gary will probably have a name for you.
Mr. Gary Jacobs
MOLD XPERTS NY
210 East 68th St., Professional Ste .1H
New York, NY 10065 USA
(917) 886-8135
(800) 282-9102
(garyjacobs@optonline.net)

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Thanks, marym

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Can the Board pre-approve by-law amendments prior to reaching HPD ? - Gouverneur Gardens Jan 04, 2021


ARTICLE IX AMENDMENTS



These By-Laws may be amended, repealed or altered, in whole or in part, by a vote of a majority of the stockholders of the Corporation attending in person or by proxy any duly called Annual or Special Meeting of the stockholders at which a Quorum is present. A description of any proposed amendment is to be voted upon. The Board of Directors shall not alter or repeal By-Laws adopted by the stockholders of the Corporation.

To further the democratic process and give the stockholders an instrument toward the governing of the Corporation the Board of Directors shall not have the authority to prevent any proposed By Law amendments to go before the stockholders at an Annual or Special Meeting to be voted on by the stockholders. All proposed By-Law amendments by the stockholders will be forward to Housing Preservation and Development for approval or rejection as to be put forth before the stockholders for a vote.



To further ensure the democratic process toward governing the Corporation, all proposed By-Law Amendments submitted by Stockholders will be forwarded to Housing Preservation and Development (hereto referred as ‘HPD’).

The Board of Directors must adhere to Housing Preservation and Development’s Rules and Regulations of Article XIII, Corporate Action, Section 1 By-Laws.

The Board of Directors will not have the authority to alter, prohibit interfere/prevent, by motion and/or otherwise, proposed By-Law Amendments to be submitted to Housing Preservation and Development for their approval / rejection.

HPD will notify Gouverneur Gardens Housing Corporation to put forth the approved proposed By-Law Amendment for a vote by the Stockholders at the Stockholders Annual or Special Meeting at which a Quorum is present. Stockholders who submit any proposed By-Law Amendments rejected by HPD will receive written documentation by HPD explaining the reason for the rejection.

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Searching for new management company - GS Jan 03, 2021

Hi,
We've had our management company for 20 years and service is ok. We are searching for a company that will want to impress us with their responsiveness and up to date knowledge re CMA compliance and technology application to building management. We are pre-war building with 400 apartments in Brooklyn. We have good financials but outdated everything. We're used to having an onsite dedicated manager.
We are very interested in recommendations from Habitat readers. If you strongly to somewhat strongly recommend your management company, please be in touch.
Thank you!

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Hi, I know that you're not looking for self-appointed recommendations, but my firm, EBMG, is exactly as how you'd describe what you are looking for.

We're heavily involved in tech, customer service, compliance, building plant oversight, etc.

You can check out my regular podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nyc-real-estate/id1316217394

We've been in business since 1996 and manage roughly 100 coops / condos in the five boroughs, with 25+ in Brooklyn.

Please shoot me an email if you'd like to connect - mblevine@ebmg.com

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I would shy away from EBMG (Mark Levine) I know a couple of friends who this company manage there Coops. They start off as hands on then they slack off with poor managing and caring about shareholders needs. They can't even handle my friends 2 buildings. Both have over 125 families.
With a building of 400 families you need a company with diversity and man power that can handle all your needs. That will not tax on fees for every little thing that is needed, raise maintenance fees, assessments every year.
I would do research on Managing agents, interviewing and meeting people that the company manage. Check fees, performance, employees they have. etc. This is not an easy task and needs a lot of investigating before you choose someone who can do the best for your building. It is extremely important because you are trusting them in handling all your important needs. I would turn to the Habitat to see all the managing companies, rating, employees and performance. I do suggest you start a committee of board members to do all this research. You'll thank me at the end. Best of Luck.

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house rules / violations - Ellen Jan 02, 2021

I own a unit in a small coop building. The Board recently redid the old house rules and added a rule stating that people are not allowed to write in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the building and adding that anyone in violation will be fined. Can a coop board create and enforce a rule when it pertains to property that is not actually part of the coop? My understanding of this is that the sidewalk located off the property is not within the coop's jurisdiction and that any writing (as long as it is not libelous) is simply freedom of expression. Can anyone clarify whether such a house rule can be enforced?

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Firstly, the right to impose fines must be in the proprietary lease. If it is not, then they are unenforcable.

Secondly, I believe that sidewalks are public. What you should go out and write in chalk is that this is a dumb rule.

But what is the reason to impose such a rule? Was someone writing something offensive on the sidewalk?

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Fees - Saft Dec 30, 2020

May fees be assessed for a particular issue verbally and not in writing ? . Or does any assessed fee need to be in writing whether or not the authority to assess in general is written in the proprietary lease ?

Thank you

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You don’t say what kind of fee it is. Is it a capital assessment? Will it appear on your monthly invoice?

Check the prop lease to see if it states that the Board has the authority to impose other kinds of fees. If it doesn’t say it outright, then they may not be able to. I think there’s case law on this.

Maybe an RE Attorney will chime in on this.

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Thank you

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Emergency notification system - emkharts Dec 30, 2020

Recently our coop had a gas leak that required the fire dept to air out the building for about 2 hrs. A shareholder was not home and somehow their stove dial was turned on. The porter smelled heavy gas and it was so much that it could have exploded if someone sparked electricity. Anyway, our coop has no emergency notification system in place. No tenants were notified and the only way to find out was to go outside and ask someone. A couple weeks ago, during the big snowstorm the building also lost heat/hot water and the elevator broke down at the same time. Again, no way for any tenants to know other than a paper notice posted on the elevator.
Is this normal? Aren't emergency notification systems pretty inexpensive and considered a must for liability for a coop these days? How do you get your board to address this issue? At the very least, the management could make a group text on their own from the super. Is that too much to ask?

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The product besides being the most advanced intercom system on the market, also has a built in resident notification system. Can send out emergency notifications to everyone in seconds, from anywhere.
www.MVIsystems.com

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Thanks Samuel, unfortunately our coop just replaced the intercom system last year. Not sure what company it is but it rings to our cell phones now. Clearly no notifications included.

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This should be up to your board and your managing agent, it is up to them to address any problems in the building. Such as water shut offs elevators shut down and have all residence emergency numbers and set up an e-mail notification linked to all shareholders. etc.
This gas was your neighbors fault and your building staff should have had a key to everyones apt. or spare key given to a trusted neighbor. Send an e-mail to your managing agent and your board addressing your concerns and ideas for a future emergency. Good Luck

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We use a commercial email distribution service called Mailchimp. Depending on the size of your mailing list, the very basic service will probably be free. It can satisfy all the situations you described above except for real-time notification of a gas leak, and hopefully, you won't have too many of those.

Mailchimp is a robust service and does have a bit of a learning curve, so you might check if any of your shareholders have experience using it.

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You should look into the onecallnow.com system. Low cost and always dependable.

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For these types of quick communication, I'd set up a building-wide google group to allow for an email to be sent out to everyone at once.

If residents don't have access to email, I'd use a text service, such as Textline, to get out texts from the company or Board.

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