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Cell phone roof towers - pros/cons - Marty Apr 06, 2021

We are a 6 story building that's been approached by DISH Wireless to install 6 antennas on our roof, in addition to needing 100 sg ft for equipment. Does anyone have experience with DISH and/or these towers and know the answers to the following questions that can affect shareholders (s/h)?

Did you notify all s/h prior to the lease and/or take a survey to see if the s/h wanted it, or did you just leave it to the Board?
Are they noisy (humming noise perhaps) and possibly bother the people on the top floor? Any noise complaints from s/h?
Does their weight adversely affect the roof, possibly making it easier for the roof to leak?
Must the roof be checked out beforehand by a engineer to make sure it's sturdy enough to bear the extra weight?
Do they have any negative effect on parking lot remotes?
Have shareholders complained of feeling sick/nauseous, especially those people on the top floor?
If you do have the towers, have you had an overall good experience and do you feel its been worthwhile?

We want to make an informed decision, so any information/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for any help.

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We have had them for about 15 years with no issues. The company should pay for your engineer to review its plans.

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MissP,

Thank you very much for your input. Just curious - did you ask your s/h their opinion about the towers before you installed them? Thanks.

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No. But when we reported there were no questions of concerns from owners. Interestingly, a few people who have since bought without thinking about them have suddenly become very concerned! If they were that upset about it, you'd think they would ask before buying. Provide info -- the only place that there can be a danger is in front of the towers and they face out (and 180 feet up).

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Thanks again Miss P!

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We do not have towers on my building, but two points come to mind...

* Notify your co-op insurance company of the proposed installation. There may be something in your policy that affects or may be affected by the installation, and that may cause your premiums to go up. At the very minimum, your insurance company should review the contract before you sign to make sure you are adequately protected, and they review any insurance the tower company says they will carry.

* Have your co-op attorney review the contract for all the obvious stuff, and to make sure you are getting a fair financial deal.

You've probably already considered these, but I wanted to get them out there.

--- Steve

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Steven,

Now I'm on the receiving end of your sound advice. Thank you very much!

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Very glad to help, as I have learned from you as well.

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Tax Abatement - marym Apr 02, 2021

If a shareholder bought an apartment in December 2019, who gets the tax abatement for the 2019/2020 tax year?

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What kind of supers do you hire? - Deny Mar 13, 2021

Do they know everything about electricity, plumbing, heating systems, and construction. But lacks communication skills, leadership skills?

Or are you more open-minded to hiring someone who is passionate, who is continually developing himself, who has a great personality and communication skills? But knows only basic things about electricity, plumbing, heating systems, and construction.

If you had to pick one, which one would it be?

> Join the conversation Comments (3)

All of the above

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While both hard and soft skills are important, I would put greater emphasis on soft skills like being passionate, continually developing himself, and has a great personality and communication skills, rather than knows everything about electricity, plumbing, heating systems, and construction.

Why? Because you can almost always hire qualified contractors to handle the tasks requiring hard skills. And if you find you're constantly in need of a plumber, electrician, carpenter, either your building is falling apart or you live in a very big building. In the extreme, you can hire a dedicated handyman.

Executive functioning and interpersonal skills are a 24x7x365 requirement. The super is your intermediary between your board and your shareholders. Without good communication flow and diplomatic demeanor, even the most talented technician will be ineffective.

My building is looking for a new super. This is what we've learned from all the candidates we've interviewed and given trial runs, and the feedback from our shareholders who've had interactions with the candidates.

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I am currently interviewing for a super for a particular site. I am seeking all the required skill sets, but above that, passion, conscientiousness and aptitude.
I can train you to repair a boiler, fix a simple electrical or plumbing repair, but I cannot train you to care, to be passionate about your job and building, and I cannot give you the aptitude to adapt.. so these are more important...
I use a few simple tricks to gauge this.. mostly for the in person interview portion... I leave a pencil or small piece of trash on the floor in the office and when greeting them, advise to go right on in and have a seat.. Ill be right with you.. then I step away for a moment and take notice.. did the see it? Did they pick it up? Did they leave it on the floor and step around it?
The conscientious ones will pick it up and either hold it, put it in the trash or on the table... then I continue the interview...

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building insurance wants to do a patch work job restoring water damaged unit - syl Mar 02, 2021

Upstairs neighbor's leak into my unit made my unit uninhabitable. After 4 months, the building is taking responsibility for their ceilings, walls and floors. They will replace missing bathroom wall tiles and parquet floor tiles but after 60 years the replacements will not match what the remaining tiles. I was told the insurance company doesnt care if it doesnt match. My coop will look terrible.

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Unfortunately, this is a fairly common problem. It is generally impossible to find tiles that match perfectly because the style and color of the original tile probably doesn't exist anymore, especially if the original tile is 60 years old (if I interpreted your summary correctly).

My understanding is that the co-op has to restore your tile to its original condition (i.e. new tiles). That doesn't mean the same exact color and style.

If you want to re-tile your bathroom so that it matches perfectly, the co-op is not responsible for paying for it. You would have to pay for it out of your own pocket or better yet, file an insurance claim against the apartment upstairs that caused the problem.

Good luck.

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This happened to me so this is what I did.

(1) Take pictures of all water damage
(2) Contact your insurance company (ASAP) they will send an inspector to your apartment.
My insurance carrier set me up in a hotel while the work was being done.
They took full charge hired a contractor and had me pick out the damage materials with the contractor.
In turn they sued the apartment above me. In your case they will sue your building insurance company and your neighbor.
Best of Luck

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Adding to the advice Marty provided, something you might try is negotiating with the insurance company is their laying out the same amount they would pay to repair your floors towards resurfacing the entire floor. The rest of the cost would be out of your pocket. Different insurance companies have different rules, but this might reduce your overall cost if you decide to lay down a whole new floor.

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masks - DP Feb 24, 2021

Knowledgeable replies requested:

I'm fed up with the managing agents of my coop repeating "We can't FORCE someone to wear a mask." I reply, "I understand" (although I really don't, but that's another story). So I beg them to post more stringent signs, even with little chance of enforcement. But I'm wondering if anyone's seen up-to-date (as in Feb. 2021) legal requirements for mask-wearing in apartment (e.g. coop) buildings.

Thank you.

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Hi! If you want a legal opinion about a legal requirement, I suggest you contact an attorney.

AFAIK, no contributor in this forum is a lawyer. So as for knowledgeable replies, remember that any legal advice you receive here is worth what you paid for it. The same goes for any articles a response might link to unless written by an attorney.

Not trying to be flippant or sarcastic, just trying to levelset your reliance on any legal or quasi-legal advice anyone provides.

Good luck!
--- Steve

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Hi Steven424,

I ask on this forum in general b/c I have no funds to consult a lawyer. I always ask for "knowledgeable replies," b/c when I first joined this group I read a lot of semi-literate rambling and bitching and moaning, and wasn't looking for that.

I researched my question as best I could before posting here; not having found what I was looking for, I turned to this community for additional insight anyone might have.

I'm fully aware that people here aren't lawyers. If you reread my question, you'll see that I wasn't asking for a legal opinion or legal advice, even though my question included the word "legal." I was asking if anyone had come across very recent articles on the rapidly evolving legalities related to this topic. My thoughts included: Maybe there's a board member, or a building manager, or a politico, with more up-to-date info than what I could find. Or maybe there's another shareholder who had researched this same thing.

If you couldn't answer, that's fine; then no answer was necessary.

What I wasn't looking for, however, was to be "reminded" of who & what is here & that you get what you pay for. Maybe this will sound defensive to you, but I found that a bit insulting. I don't need to have my expectations managed. But thanks.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

You're welcome, and no offense taken. :-)

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Steve, Thanks for saying what I have been thinking. :-)

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Unless the building itself has a BL or HR (and the ability to write that rule) that requires adherence to the CDC recommended guidelines and/or executive orders concerning masks, it is not enforceable, by action, by and through management or the BOD.

~AR

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

I reviewed some Habitat articles as well as several NYT articles, including the Ask Real Estate column. Several attorneys chimed in with the general feeling that it would hard to enforce. They felt that you could try fining people, but their opinion is that the fines would likely not be upheld in court.

It's such a new topic that it's still a very gray area. There are really no definitive laws or decisions on the books, meaning that we can ask shareholders to wear masks, but we probably can't force them to do so.

My experience has been that the overwhelming majority of people in our co-op are wearing masks. Of course, very few things in life get 100% compliance, so this is no different.

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Hi Marty, That's what i figured, but again, was hoping that perhaps (especially with new strains now appearing in NYC) something changed very recently... along the lines, for example, of how the governor allowed corporations in NYS to legally hold meetings via Zoom (and then continued to extend his original deadline).

You're lucky that you seem to live in a compliant building with caring, intelligent neighbors. Unfortunately, I seem to be surrounded by jackasses who will not, do not, wear masks in common areas (including in our very small elevator that has no ventilation).

Thanks.

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Sorry, I don't know the jargon "BL" or "HR," but thank you. I was fairly certain it wasn't enforceable, but I was hoping to hear something very recent to the contrary. ; ((

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I find it sad your managing agent feels it's not necessary to post a must wear masks and maintain safe distances. NYers still are wearing masks and so should your building. They know they can not enter a store or work place without a wearing a mask. The virus is very much alive.
Have you sent a letter to the board voicing your concerns that mask wearing is a must and 2 people in the elevated with mask should be worn?
I don't think anyone would want to die or get the virus.
If you live in NY call 311 and tell them what is going on in your building and you are afraid. They will advise you or report and fine your building. Best of Luck

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Non-Responsive Management Company or Board - Amer Feb 20, 2021

Hello All;

I am seeking some advice regarding a situation that has stumped me as a potential buyer of a coop unit in Queens.

Me and my wife are under contract to purchase a coop as our primary residence. Our mortgage is approved and the customary board package was submitted, after being duly reviewed by both real estate agents, in early October 2020.

By way of background, I am a bank employee and my wife is a self-employed attorney who fully owns her own legal practice. Our credit scores are excellent and we've had no issue securing a mortgage. However, between the two of us, we do own 9 investment properties, including a coop we rent out in Queens. Anticipating an issue, we included a very detailed analysis of our debt-to-income ratios in our board package which also had the customary tax returns etc. etc.

It has been over 4 months and the board has yet to grant us an interview. Initially, the management company didn't even pull our credit and ask for any information. However, in mid January, they would occasionally ask a question, say every two to three weeks. It is clear from the little communication that we've had with them that they are stumped by my wife's self-employed income. We've re-submitted portions of tax returns highlighting her income along with a Profit and Loss statement and a letter from our CPA. We have also offered to meet (via Zoom or in person or over the phone) with the board or the management company to explain our financials which are very strong. However, there has been no response. We haven't been declined either but the occasional message from the management company is that they are still analyzing our financials.

To make matters more puzzling, the sellers have also been calling the management company and have received no response.

This is a major coop in Queens, which I would rather not name, and I doubt that they have never seen a self-employed purchase applicant befpre

There is no way for us to know if the management company is stalling or is it the board. There have been other sales in the coop since October. Our frustration is that even if the board or the management company is not clear about our finances, they should simply grant us an interview and ask us questions and then make a decision. Or the management company can just talk to us.

As long time coop owner and the president of my own little coop (though that is irrelevant), I know this situation is not typical. Any ideas on how to move this forward? Apologies for the long post and thank you for your advice.

Amer

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I think the Board should have made a decision after all this time. Whether it's yes or no, they should have contacted you. Even if you have a somewhat detailed and complicated application, 4 months is enough time to decide.

I would not grant you an interview until a decision has been made about your finances. It sounds like this is what's happening to you.

I can imagine why they might have possible reservations. I would also keep in mind that the pandemic probably heightens their worries given the potential economic impact on all businesses that exists right now and may exist for years to come.

- I'll assume that your earnings are steady. Anyone with self earnings will cause concern for the co-op. Has your wife had a steady income during her years of self employment? If it has not been steady, they may be worried about her future earnings.

- Without knowing anything other than what you've told us, I think your 9 investment properties could be raising potential red flags. I assume you have financial obligations on most if not all 9 properties.

The co-op may be worried that with the economy being so unreliable these days, they may wonder what happens in the worst case scenario, where most or perhaps all of your investment properties lose their income and you still have your financial obligations. They are surely asking "How would that situation affect you, your wife, and all co-op shareholders in the worst case scenario?"

As the President of your own co-op, I'm sure you can understand the potential pitfalls of your application.

Having said that, 4 months is enough time. If they won't grant you an interview, then it's probably time to move on to another co-op.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Marty;

Thank you for your very detailed and insightful comments.

I can now see why we might not have been interviewed yet. Though why the management company/board doesn't ask for information to make a decision is beyond me.

My wife's earnings have actually been increasing and our ratios are still pretty good even if you eliminate the rental income from all the investment properties. I also plan to sell our present coop apartment once the purchase is completed.

From another perspective, it's a good sign that we really haven't been declined yet.

Thank you, again. Your comments were very helpful.

Regards,

Amer

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COVID-19 Compliance in Proprietary Lease / Bylaws? - REAPLLC Feb 17, 2021

Wondering... I am updating my Proprietary Leases and bylaws in several buildings to reflect the times, etc... has anyone added any COVID language to their PL or BL?
Emergency protocols, COVID-19 Compliance, etc?

~AR

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My opinion is that the kinds of rules and regulations you're considering would best be added to your House Rules and not either the PL or the BL.

The PL is the basic document for Co-op Corporation (Lessor)/Shareholder (Lessee) interactions and relationships.

The BL is the basic Co-op Corporation governance document.

Both require a supermajority of shareholders to modify, so you want to keep things as non-specific as possible. What goes into the PL and BL are usually enshrined forever.

Rules and regulations dealing with relatively short-term situations that may need to be modified or removed with little fuss or formal shareholder concurrence belong in the House Rules. Adding/changing/removing House Rules usually requires nothing more than a majority of the Board,

Anything having to do with a fluid situation like COVID is much more easily maintained in the HRs. Similar types of HR rules would be 80% carpeting, smoking, allowable uses of common areas, etc.

My opinion, which I hope is helpful,
--- Steve

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I agree; it seems the question arose in the building concerning whether or not the Board had the right to make a HR concerning personal health related issues.... my answer was yes, because it impacts the building as a whole... Which is why i asked the question and in thinking about it further, the PL language should probably be limited to something that permits the Board to make a HR that impacts the building during and related to any public emergency, disaster or health/pandemic related period...
(not sure if I made sense?)

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Hi REAPLLC -

It makes sense. I don't think there need to be any changes to the PL or BLs. I believe most PLs already have enabling language which gives the board pretty much carte blanc authority to make rules which affect the general wellbeing of the building and shareholders. In fact, I think most original Offering Plans contained both the PL and a template set of HRs for new boards to follow. Try doing a text search through your PL for "House Rules".

You might also ask the co-op's attorney for what you can and cannot put into the HRs concerning emergencies in general and the current pandemic specifically. That would be the safest route.

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I am working with the building Atty who recommended we add language, which he is working on, but I wanted to see if and what others were doing.
I'd be happy to make that public when its done.

~AR

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REAPLLC - Is your attorney adding language to the PL (I assume) which authorizes the board to create/modify House Rules, or is the language he's proposing specifically geared towards COVID?

It would be much appreciated if you posted what your attorney proposes. We all learn something new that way.

--- Steve

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Non union building - Vicky Feb 14, 2021

Happy Valentine's Day to All!
I have a question regarding a small NYC coop building.

What steps are required to change for a coop building from union to non union?
Can board purely decide this change?

Thank you for your insight and advice
Vicky

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As a manager, I have successfully removed the union from several buildings (and added them to others)...
Is there a current super working in the union position, or is there a vacancy?
if there is a super in the position, is there an issue with him?
is the cause strictly financial?
other?
~AR

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REAPLLC - What process or procedure did you go through or have to follow to remove the union? How did you handle the loss of benefits once the buildings were no longer part of the union? How long ago did the conversion take place and how has retention been since the buildings were no long union?

Thanks!

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possible conflict of interest - Ellen Feb 12, 2021

My next door neighbor, who happens to be Board president and involved in my vetting subtenants sent me the following email today:

"It would be a good time to close the books, in advance on your move, on the loan that I made to you for the new fence five or six years ago. If you could settle this up as soon as possible so that there aren't any outstanding issues before we begin arrangements for new tenants.

As you may recall, the amount outstanding, after .....".

It is true that she paid for the building a new fence between our yards with the arrangement that I would repay her a certain amount each month. I only made a few of those payments. She has never said a thing about it in all the years since.

I am OK with coming up with a payment plan and repaying her. However I object to the implication that the repayment of this personal loan has anything to do with "beginning arrangements for my new tenants". This seems to be conflict of interest in terms using her capacity and clout as Board president to satisfy a personal arrangement that should be dealt with outside of the board structure.

Can you please advise me on how I best handle the issue without being coerced in this way?

Thank you!

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

When I read this, I immediately thought what would happen if I saw this situation on an episode of Judge Judy.

There is no conflict of interest here. She lent you money and you never paid her back. That's the only relevant issue. You owe her money. Perhaps you felt embarrassed or guilty by no longer repaying your debt. I get that, but it doesn't absolve you of your debt.

Even though "She has never said a thing about it in all the years since" - you still owe her the money. She has not forgotten. Would you forget? I don't think so. She probably stopped saying anything because every time she did so in the past you never paid her back. She likely felt as if she was talking to a wall.

You acknowledge that the money was a loan. You made a few payments and stopped for whatever reason. And apparently you stopped a long time ago, like 4 or 5 years ago. Maybe there was a legitimate reason (lost your job, family illness, etc) that you stopped paying. If so, then you should have told the woman what's happening. If you did that, most people will work you because you're being upfront. But, you didn't. So you've defaulted on a loan. That's the bottom line.

You're telling us how YOU feel in this situation. How do you think SHE feels? How would you feel if someone owed you money, promised to repay it, made a few token payments and then stopped paying the debt completely years ago? Wouldn't you be angry and frustrated? I guarantee you that's exactly how she feels, especially now that you've told her that you plan to move.

I'm guessing that she mentioned the part about "in advance of your move" because she figured that if you move, she'll never get the money that you owe her. So she threw that phrase in there as one last gentle reminder that you owe her money.

I'd say your neighbor has been extremely patient for years dealing with a deadbeat. Sorry to use that term, but that's what you are.

Instead of complaining how you're a victim of a conflict of interest, go have an honest talk with your neighbor. She deserves to know why you stopped making payments. If you do, there's a chance she might work with you.

If you don't, she is well within her rights to take you to court and sue you for the balance of the loan. No one wants that, so avoid that scenario by swallowing your pride and having that honest discussion that's years overdue.

As this forum's well-learned Steven424 likes to say, I'm not an attorney so take my advice based on what you paid for it.

Good luck.

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One last thing. If she takes you to court and sues you for the loan balance, she will win and you will lose. Please keep that in mind.

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But what would you expect if Staff meetings are held in Bars, and Staff members children's pictures are posted in front of Bars for happy Hour events?
The CEO had her girls sell Girl Scout Cookies in the Restore Lobby, no one else was allowed to do that. The Asst. Manager bought hot dogs all the time but was let go. The Restore video poster child has multiple convictions. They do not post their death count or injuries. They stood with 10 feet of a young girl from Germany as her hand was crushed in the lift gate of the truck. I never let get hurt. But I quit after being asked to drive in "Snow Emergency Conditions"-operate an illegal fork lift (they run it past toddlers on the store aisles)-they had a leaking fuel line in one truck and the other's Registration and Inspection was expired-they allowed employees to steal and rewarded them-price tags were changed all the time and items put into vehicles with out a sale-2 Dead, many more severe injuries, never reported-Manager while screaming pounded his fist against the nearest surface and had that wrapped up a while-he had Staff and Volunteers RUN dragging 4 by 8 plywood and ran over a Staff members foot with a blue cart breaking his toe.....So I advise you to write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper because these Habitat "Franchises" are just fronts for $85,000.00/yr plus salaried CEO's who spend more time in Happy Hours some days then they do in the Office.

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Caling board members: Property tax benefit letter question - DM Feb 05, 2021

This letter comes every December to managing agents. It lists the breakdown of the abatements and expansions amounts per eligible unit. - BUT does anyone know what the dates are for - EX the letter sent in Dec. 2019 - was it for the benefits to be given qualified apartments in the fiscal year 2019/2020? Or for the upcoming fiscal year 2020-2021?
Pls only answer if you know. Thanks./

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The letter we received in Dec 2019 was for 2019/2020. On top it says 2019/2020 CO-OP TAX BENEFITS.

Within the text of the letter itself, it states, "Enclosed is your Cooperative Abatement Report, which list each unit's exemptions and abatement benefits for tax year 2019/2020."

Hope this helps.

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Thanks very much. So then those amounts - on that letter, would have been credited to eligible shareholders in the spring of 2020/ or by end of June 2020?

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Yes.

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