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Document Fees for refi - Sky high or normal? - Riley Blake Sep 16, 2020

Hi everyone,

I'm trying to refi my mortgage to take advantage of the lower rate (not taking any money out).
My lender says the building management is using a website called 'Board Packager' - Here's a list of the fees the bank is asking me to pay to obtain documents:

2020 budget $25
2019 budget $50
2018 budget $50
Bank Questionnaire $250
Lease $50

$425 plus tax = $446.25

I'm pissed right now. Do I have a right to be?

> Join the conversation Comments (3)

Hi, pissed --

Document retrieval fees can range all over the board (pun sort of intended), so there's no definite guidelines as to what they should be.

Is it your managing agent or your bank that is asking you to pay the retrieval fees? If its your bank, you might ask your MA how much they would charge.

The individual fees look "reasonable" to me. Remember that neither the MA nor the bank keep copies lying around. They have to task an employee to search the paper files or computer folders for the documents. They may have to print them out or convert them to PDF format depending on what you ask for. The Questionaire may require time spent researching the answers to specific question.

You might try searching your own files. Every shareholder is supposed to receive a copy of each annual budget, and you should have been given a copy of your lease when you closed on your unit. If you can find those you can save some of the fees.

But the real answer is, yes, these are partly nuisance fees the organization uses to raise a little extra capital. But they know they have you, and really, what percentage of the refi amount does the $446.25 represent?

Think of it as a cost of doing business. Consider how much you'll be saving each month after the refi, and it may give you a different perspective.

--- Steve

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IMHO, the MA have a website where you can download these docs for a price, so the 'work' of converting the doc to a PDF was done a long time ago and frankly, it's not much work if they have recurring revenue off it.

I complained to my contact and, as a compromise, she forwarded me the annual budgets so that saves me $125.

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The actual fee amounts you mention are pretty much par for the course with co-ops.

I must say I find the whole BoardPackager setup a somewhat dubious. Some cursory research suggests that there is some overlap between BoardPackager's board and the employees of my co-op's managing agent.

It's all very opaque - what exactly is the arrangement between BoardPackager, the managing agent, and the co-op? If BoardPackager didn't exist, then those fees would be going to the managing agent, and arguably reducing the management fee charged to the co-op / offsetting the cost of providing the documents / service (in theory). With BoardPackager in the mix, it looks for all the world like BoardPackager syphons off at least some of the revenue that might otherwise go to shareholders or at least reduce the management fee.

Of course, co-ops often have slightly opaque contracts / revenue-sharing agreements with laundry companies, parking garage managers, and the like, but those are at least periodically put out to a competitive bid, and there is no overlap in employees between the managing agent and the provider, that seems to take things one step further.

Maybe it's all totally above board and I have the wrong impression, who knows...

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80% Carpet Rule - NYC Aug 14, 2020

Our co-op specifies a fine for upper units that do not follow the 80% carpet rule. To my knowledge this has has never been an issue until now.

A new shareholder is having this problem with a longtime shareholder above him.

The upper shareholder is up at 4 A.M. and very inconsiderate that there is person living beneath them.

The longtime shareholder is very friendly with board members and feels she is untouchable as far as rules and regulations.

The new shareholder sent a letter to the person above him as well as to the board of directors a month ago.

He explained that he is currently working from home and asked if she could be a little more considerate.

He has not heard back from the B.O.D. or the upper shareholder who has continued her clamorous behavior. Any help would be greatly appreciated





> Join the conversation Comments (1)

I had major issue with neighbors upstairs above me. Sent at least 50 emails to board and managing agent and nothing was done! Very disturbing ... and odd.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Thank for your response.

Sounds like it's an antiquated rule that probably needs to be removed from the "Rules and Regulations" .

I guess unless a rule is also an actual law it is not enforceable.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

I don’t think it’s antiquated... I think it’s necessary even tho it is apparently unenforceable ... people should be aware and considerate if others. The residents who are at fault are not the ones who are subjected to the noise and disturbance of footsteps back and forth at sometimes ungodly hours. When the noise disrupts ones enjoyment in their apt it should been enforceable. Not a big deal to add area rugs to exposed areas.but considerate for those who live below

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

I agree and thanks to Steve , I passed on some interesting information to the shareholders who is having the problem

This is one of our house rules that carries a fine. In addition our proprietary lease has a clause about peaceful enjoyment and noise.

hopefully when this is addressed with the B.O.D. , they will stop ignoring this shareholder and mediate the situation.

If they continue to make no effort to resolve the problem, they might be in breach of the warranty of habitability.

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Rules in the House Rules are enforceable if the board has the authority to levy fines for non-compliance. Whether or not it has the will to do so is another story.

Try putting "NYC apartment 80% carpet rule" into Google. There is a very large number of articles and some may give you practical ideas on how to deal with this issue.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Thanks Steve, :)

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Don't know how I passed up "Consequences for Not Complying". Thanks again Steve....

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Selling Coop - Sonia Aug 13, 2020

Would I be able to sell a coop that I own but have owed maintenance fees?
Because of Covid, my financial situation is not secure and My best option is to sell but can no longer pay my maintenance fees.

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

You should be able to sell your co-op under these circumstances. The co-op would recover all past due maintenance at the closing, meaning that you'll receive less $$, but the debt would be gone.

You should ask the Board and/or the Building Manager to confirm that you'll be allowed to do this.

Good luck.

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COVID SANITATION FEE - HOLLY Aug 02, 2020

Has anyone heard of charging a Covid-19 Sanitation Fee for those who move out, regardless of whether they are a shareholder who sold their apartment or a sublet whose lease has not been renewed and is simply moving out ?

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

No, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's improper. The specter of contagion from the active virus being left on surfaces after someone moves out is very real, although the longevity of surface contact has been greatly reduced.

Before getting upset, find out what the fee covers. Then do your homework in Google to see if the fee being charged is customary for the work being done. You might ask them for the name of the hazmat company performing the work. You'll probably be told the building super or porter will do the actual sanitizing.

You should then ask for a certification document listing all the areas sanitized, in case you are sued by the next occupant if they claim they contracted COVID-19 from an improperly cleaned apartment. There are probably specs somewhere on the internet on what is considered proper cleaning.

It's a very gray area. If they hire a company or a porter has to spend extra time doing an additional level of cleaning, they are entitled to reimbursement. But if they want to charge you $500 for an hour's extra work by a building employee, it's borderline scam.

Your question made me curious so I did a little research. This article may help: https://aagla.org/2020/06/post-covid-cleaning-and-turnover-protocols-for-your-rental-property/

This is a judgment call on your part. Good luck!

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Hi Steven424:
Appreciate your reply and let me give more details: This is a Coop in New York, the article you refer to is from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, this is a Coop in New York and not an apartment building and not a Condo, it is a New York Coop that is charging shareholders who sold their unit a Covid Sanitation fee of $300 to move out.

I realize I asked a generalize question and should have said this is not sanitation of the interior of a unit.
This is a fee to wipe down the building’s front door knob and elevator knob.
This is not ‘an additional level of cleaning’ this is literally spraying disinfectant and wiping down the front door and elevator knobs with a paper towel. Again this is not an interior sanitation of a unit. This fee is specifically aimed at shareholders using a licensed and insured Professional Moving Company. If a person has 15 friends help them move their belongings out of the building, there is no Covid Sanitation Fee charged and there is no sanitation of the front door or elevator knobs.

Again the cleaning is supposed to happen after the movers have completed the move. While the movers are doing their work, there are residents entering and exiting the building at the same time who are not wearing masks or gloves; the movers are wearing masks and gloves.
While the movers are actively carrying belongings out of the building there is no sanitation happening, so if Covid were to enter into the building it could easily be from those residents not wearing masks or gloves or from anyone entering the building at that time.

If the 15 friends are doing the move out, the Coop cannot and is not requiring the friends wear masks or gloves and the Coop is not sanitizing the front door or elevator knobs after the 15 friend complete the move out. The movers are wearing masks and gloves. If the shareholder does not pay the $300 sanitizing fee they are prohibited from moving out, so the shareholder is being forced to pay the $300 fee in order to simply move out, which is an essential event.

The Coop is not charging Covid Sanitation fees for construction work. Construction workers are removing demo debris and bringing in materials and gear, going in and out for lunch over the span of a week or weeks and for full 8 hour work days, renovating a kitchen is not essential, new carpeting is not essential, moving was deemed essential.

Let’s get into what they are sanitizing:
#1 the front door knobs
#2 the elevator door knob at the lobby entrance
#3 the interior elevator push panel
#4 the elevator knobs on the floor of the shareholder moving out

That is 4 contact points, how long would you say it takes to wipe down 4 contact points? Not an hour, it should be 15 minutes maximum but more like 8 minutes maximum, right?
How much does a roll of paper towel cost? Let’s say $5 and that is generous.
How much for four sprays of Lysol? $15.00 and that is generous.
There should be no labor costs as the sanitizing is happening during the Super’s work day. This 8 minute chore should not be a burden on the Super’s schedule as move-outs are not happening every day, maybe one or two move outs a month. The Coop is already purchasing sanitation supplies in bulk so the cost is lower than $20 for four sheets of paper towel and four sprays of Lysol.

Keep in mind, when a shareholder sells their unit they are required to pay a capital improvement fee back to the Coop which depending upon the unit shares ranges from $1,500 to $4,500 or more and that is hefty sum to leave behind.

I did ‘do your homework’ and found no info that licensed insured professional moving companies specifically increase the risk of Covid which is why I asked if anyone heard of charging a Covid fee specifically for moving out. I wasn’t really seeking an opinion about risks of Covid or concerns of being sued as it would be very difficult to prove where someone contracted Covid. I wanted to know if any Coop was charging a Covid Sanitizing fee for door and elevator knobs which targets those who moved out using a licensed and insured Professional Moving Company.

The building is allowing shareholders to renovate their apartments so there are more construction workers going in and out over the course of days where movers who work in teams of 3 are present for an approximate three hour move out. The Coop is allowing door to door deliveries of all sorts and all kinds of services which permit entry into the building and to any floor and into any unit.

So, is any Coop in New York charging a Covid $300 move out Sanitation Fee because they are using a licensed and insured Professional Moving Company to carry out their belongings? And what are the thoughts of charging a sanitation fee to wipe down the front door and elevator buttons of a building only in a move out situation?
Would you still consider it a: ‘if they want to charge you $500 for an hour's extra work by a building employee, it's borderline scam.’ Looking forward to your reply!

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ESAs overnight stay - BMC Jul 23, 2020

Our co-op is a no-dog building, but the board accommodates ESAs and service animals with a physician's letter.
The question is must we allow the shareholder with an approved ESA to have a second ESA of a friend/relative visit and be allowed to stay overnight? Our current pet regulations say only one dog per unit, but again this is about a visiting ESA.

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

While I understand that you choose to live in a pet restricted community, it is difficult to understand why a situation like this this would bother anyone.

ERA's are obedient, well behaved and quiet. They provide emotional support, assistance , companionship and love to their owners.

Your house rules limit the number of ESA's a shareholder may own. It doesn't infringing upon a resident's rights by restricting an overnight guest who also requires an ESA.


https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/enforcement/2019...

https://adata.org/guide/service-animals-and-emotional-support-animals

https://www.servicedogcertifications.org/ada-service-dog-laws/

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COVID & apt. elevators - DP Jul 15, 2020

Hello,

Does anyone know if there are any new, specific (and legal?) requirements, guidelines, rules, etc. about the following?Knowledgeable answers please.

My 55-unit coop has a small (less than 6' long), old, kind of dirty elevator, with no fans, no moving air, etc. I know the supers are cleaning the surfaces, hopefully daily. But it has a nasty rug on the floor—I've been advocating its removal for years now, to no avail.

But this is the bigger problem, and my question: Yesterday I encountered two different individuals (one going in, a different one coming out) using the elevator without wearing a mask. I then had to enter the elevator immediately afterwards. I was uncomfortable doing so and felt unsafe. Has anyone seen any references to this anywhere?

Thank you!

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

NYS guidelines state that more than one person can be in an elevator, but only if they've been sheltering together during the quarantine. Non sheltering people should not be in the elevator together. They should only ride the elevator one passenger at a time.

If you google "NYS elevator covid guidelines", you'll see a link to COVID-19: FAQ for Residential Buildings - NYC.gov.

In part, it states that..."Face coverings should be worn when a distance of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained. To avoid crowding, limit the number of people in the elevator at the same time. People should consider only riding the elevator with their own party, taking the stairs or waiting for the next elevator. (Jun 26, 2020)

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Thank you Marty for your reply. Unfortunately, it doesn't answer my question. I'm aware of all you've said. This is something a bit different. The most up-to-date info I've read is that COVID CAN remain airborne. I never go into the elevator with anyone else. I always wear a mask. But if someone in the elevator before me wasn't wearing a mask and has coughed, sneezed, cleared their throat, talked on their phone—done anything that spreads whatever is in their exhalation—a subsequent person in that elevator can be affected. I am hoping the governor will take this into account and not just talk about the 6' requirement, but masks to be worn in a small space PERIOD.

I have already reached out to his office. Let's see what happens.

Thank you.

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Unfortunately, there is no good answer for most buildings. I found this article about the hangtime of the virus in the atmosphere: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center#:~:text=Aerosolized%20coronavirus%20can%20remain%20in,up%20to%20three%20hours.

Unless your elevator has surveillance camera monitoring there is no way to know who rode in it before, how long ago, were they wearing a mask, and did they sneeze, cough, etc. It's a reality we all have to deal with. The only alternative I can think of is using the stairs, but that is not an option for many apartment dwellers.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Thanks Steven. The article was great & I will share it.
I am presently less interested in identifying those without masks, b/c there's no law, no teeth, about it. And that's what I was asking about. Unfortunately, the answer is "no." Also, I don't need to look at videos... I pass people daily. I see, in real time, who does & doesn't wear masks.

I was hoping against hope that there were some new guidelines for apartment buildings—some rules with teeth. But there aren't. I understand my options and the alternatives, and sometimes I do take the stairs (I'm on the 6th floor). But when I want to go bike riding, that's not an option; I must use the elevator.

Thanks.

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You''re welcome, DP. I have the same problem with my bicycle you do with yours. I live on the 5th floor and its a real hassle getting the bike up and down the stairs. Whenever I'm anywhere in my building I have my mask on, and will only ride in the elevator solo.

I doubt we'll see any new laws or regulations with any teeth because enforcement will be all but impossible. No building can afford to have a dedicated elevator monitor, let alone find someone willing to continuously ride up and down in an elevator with potential spreaders while observing people's masking behavior. It seems that when people follow the guidelines we do have (masks and >6' separation), the chance of contracting COVID-19 are greatly reduced.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Indeed... And I don't need a monitor, but I did need something in writing. Something clear and specific, where there was none.

So I have made progress, even though there is no law to enforce anything. I finally got the building management to put up signs explicitly about masks in common areas. Four months into this! Now, when I see a fellow resident not wearing one, I can point to the sign and more easily, more safely, ask them to do so. So, that's a start.

Nothing substantial will really happen until this administration wakes up. Personally, I hope when Nov. 4 comes, theirs will be a rude awakening. At that time, we as a society, and as individuals, will have a lot of work to do.

Stay safe. Stay aware. And thanks for your thoughtful input......

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BCL 727 Conflict of Interest report - PhilC Jul 14, 2020

Hi,

I am have been shareholder in Manhattan co-op for over 5 years, and I have never once received a conflict of interest report.

Is this normal? It seems like these have been required since 2017, whether or not conflicts of interest exist? I am aware that there is apparently no auditing / enforcement of this requirement whatsoever (!?), so I am wondering of most co-ops are providing these, ignoring the requirement altogether, or something else?

I plan to raise the matter at our annual meeting, requesting that these be provided for all years up to the present, is there anything else I can do beyond that to have these produced by our board?

Thanks

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

My understanding is that the Board needs to submit a conflict of interest report that covers the entire Board's activities. At least that's how we've done it.

I have never heard that our shareholders are supposed to receive a copy of this report. It's supposed to be on file with the proper authorities.

I don't know why you'd say that there is no auditing/enforcement of this requirement. Just because you haven't received the report doesn't mean it hasn't been done. None of our shareholders has ever received this report.

The filing of this report is now the law, so any responsible Board should be in compliance.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Interesting - I had understood that the requirement was to provide the report to shareholders themselves:

"submit an annual report to the shareholders, which shall be signed by each such director"

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/BSC/727

When you say "on file with the proper authorities", can you be more specific? Would that be the NY Attorney General, or some other body?

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

There is a podcast on this site by Braverman Greenspun titled
"What does the new disclosure law mean for my board?" also: https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Legal-Financial/2018/2018-January/Conflict-of-Interest

I was also curious about this since i have never received this report either

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I don't know which agency gets the report. Our managing agent takes care of it by filing the report after the Board signs it.

I guess we've been lucky in that none of our Board members has anything resembling a conflict of interest based on how we conduct business.

Sounds like the podcast suggested by NYC might be worth a listen. Please update all of us if you receive additional information. Thanks.

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Who is Responsible for Star Corrections - NYC Jul 01, 2020

Hi,
I am currently receiving Enhanced Star and Senior Citizens exemptions. I filed my paper work in November 2019 and again because the D.O.F. did not receive the copy. I also sent all the information on line but was told to send the original copies.

The problem was that when I purchased the co-op it was in my name. Then I got married. It is not mandatory to put my husband’s name on the certificate of occupancy.

All of my other legal documents are in my married name including my taxes. My husband has since passed away, prior to his passing, I was receiving the Enhanced Star and co-op Abatement, only after his passing did I apply for the Senior Citizens exemptions.

I sent all required paper work including original death certificate and marriage license and letter explaining why the co-op name and name on my tax forms were different. I received an acceptance letter that I was entitled to these benefits and requested a break down.

Everything was going fine until today. The co-op manager left a note in my mail box that I will lose my benefits unless I call the number provided because they never received the paper work.

I called and reviewed all the information with the representative but she was not able to email me conformation however she did provide me with a registration number.

We have multiple lots and block# that are listed on this letter and I think the manager is passing the buck to all recipients of these exemptions rather than do the research himself. Now he says he cannot do anything without a letter from the D.O.F.

Is this the responsibility of the shareholder or the management company? I thought these adjustments could now be handled on line by the Management company

Thank You


> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Hi -

I'm sorry for the aggravation you're going through with the exemptions. Between lost documents, name inconsistencies, and dealing with the DoF in general, it can get very annoying.

To answer your question about responsibility, in my opinion (and I am not a lawyer) individuals who receive tax abatements are responsible to make sure they properly qualify. In the case of STAR, Senior Citizen, R/E tax, and other abatements, you receive the abatements from the DoF and not from the co-op. Your co-op acts as a sort of agent and pass-through for the DoF to get the funds to you.

In my building, the managing agent works closely with shareholders to resolve problems with abatements, but they are not required to. It's a service we ask our MA to perform.

I agree it sounds like your MA is giving you the runaround. My first suggestion would be to contact your board president or other board member and explain the situation to them. Ask for their help with making the MA more responsive.

You might also try contacting the owners of the other co-ops listed on the MA's letter. The more aggrieved shareholders who are involved, the more leverage you all will have.

You need to try to stop the clock if you're up against any deadlines. Call the DoF (or see if there's anywhere online) you can enter your registration number to confirm any deadlines and ask for an extension.

Best of luck to you,
--- Seve

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Thank you steven. I did send an email to the D.O.F. With the reg # I received from the person I did speak to. I included a copy of the acceptance letter, and mailing return receipt. I also reached out to a board member so I guess there is nothing left to do but wait for their responses. The M.A. omitted the other owners names and unit 's and just put my name and unit number on the form. I guess it was an oversight that he left the other block numbers. Thanks again :-)

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Hi Steve,
I don’t know who is giving you the thumbs down. I think you have a crazy stalker named Connie.

Just want you and all the other contributors to know I appreciate the advice I receive from this site.

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Personally, I don't think there should be a rating system on a FREE site, where people are giving their time and sharing their experiences.
:-)

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Thanks, NYC. I think of it as simply returning what I received back when I first joined my board. I didn't discover Habitat and these forums until a few years later, but CNYC with their monthly newsletters and annual symposiums were invaluable in the beginning.

As for a stalker... At my age, I never imagined I'd have my very own groupie. Kind of honored, and tickled. ;-)

Stay safe.

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elevator consultants - EES Jun 23, 2020

Hello,

My building is intending to modernize our two elevators. We would like to use a consulting firm to help us manage the product. Sierra Consulting looks promising. I am wondering if any other buildings have experience with other independent consulting firms that they would recommend?
Thank you

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We used Vertical Systems Analysis and thought they did a good job.

307 West 36th Street 8th Floor

New York, NY 10018

T: 212.989.5525

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Certifying attendance at Zoom-based annual meeting? - Carl Tait Jun 15, 2020

Like many co-ops, we are holding our annual meeting via Zoom this year. A question for those who are doing the same thing: how do you plan to certify attendance to prove you have a quorum? Usually, we have a physical sign-in sheet, plus proxies for those who can't attend. Proxies are still provided, of course, but what sort of virtual sign-in sheet is recommended for people who are attending the meeting live? Is visual recognition of someone you know sufficient? ("Oh, I see that Bob has joined the meeting.")

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Answering my own question, after a followup discussion with our managing agent and other board members: we're going to have the Secretary do a verbal roll call and record attendance from that. This works for us because we have only 33 units in our co-op, but I can imagine it would be onerous for larger buildings.

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Check out Item #3 in this article to see if it suites your requirements

https://zapier.com/blog/zoom-tips/

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Thanks for the pointer to those Zoom tips, which can help automate the roll call and automatically record participant info. For our meeting next week, we may use both a traditional roll call *and* the Zoom-supplied techniques as a backup.

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You're welcome and good luck. If you come up with something that works, please post it here. I'm sure it will help others with similar needs.

--- Steve

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