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Representation for Shareholders - Unosay Jan 17, 2018

I found that there is no protection for shareholders from corrupt and self serving board members in housing cooperatives. A handbook informing shareholders of laws pertaining to what is involved as a shareholder in a cooperative should be printed. Who is overseeing the shareholders once they purchase their apartments as their first homes? Shareholders have become so detached from their purchases because they feel no one cares to hear them out. The bylaws, prospectus from the conversion in most cases have not been revised to today's standards. Many boards use outdated laws to their advantage to argue and get over on shareholders when problems arise. More organizations should be formulated to engage shareholders in housing cooperatives. This magazine is a big help in many ways but most shareholders are not acquainted with it. We need more resources to educate us. Thank you ever so kindly!

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Amen to that! I have completed a complaint form to the NYS attorney general ES. I have been living a nightmare for so long and my dump is for sale. Open house this weekend and next and the one after that! I may drop $5,000 per week until I unload. They pulled a Pullman on me and the MA admitted half the info was untrue. That's what he admits to the facts are it's all BS. Some partial truths but very twisted! So today I receive notice from my sister they sent her a letter claiming I am moving things out and damaging the elevator. My sister who "owns" half lives in another state and is often away on business just forwarded the information to me dated December 10th I believe. Well since I have not yet begun to move this just more harassment from some very creepy individuals. I emailed them and told them any response should be sent email or snail mail NO CALLS. They are horrid people who lie and instigate and because of this I don't want any verbal communication. They are abusive, rude, condescending, and irritating to speak with. I am a straight shooter like it or not and their BS has an effect on my blood pressure. So tonight as I was walking home from the grocery store I ran into these to MAs ( major a......s). The cursory greetings and then I addressed the complaint of my moving and damaging the elevator. They both claimed they had no idea.... but we just communicated via email today, I got a response so how is it possible that they have no idea? It's not they are full of it as usual. Then the owners son one of the MAs said you are harassing us. To this I replied "no you are harassing me and payback is a b...h". The letter which I just received a copy of today is dated December 10th I believe. Definitely December anyhow. They are so creepy! Another shareholder told me you need a lawyer and confided they too were getting the hell out of dodge. My response was " that is no way to live" and he agreed. I don't want am to hire an attorney over a tomato plant (another issue). They want to charge me for damage to their old and decrepit elevator. It is original to the building (1940) tiger oak stained to look like mahogany (gross). It has all the puck marks and scars from the past 80 years and looks really bad. The floor is filthy and there are paint splatteres and spills. It has some nice old brass but it is filthy and disgusting. I cleaned the brass once myself because it is really nice. But I was unable to bring it to the shine it deserves because the filth was just too thick. It looks a little better I have other things to do. I am completely outraged at their ability to pull this crap and get away with it! I will never again put myself in this position! I am disgusted that co-op owners have zero protection from these sorts of monsters. Co-ops came about in NY as affordable housing. But now all you hear is business rule! Screw business rule this is supposed to be a home! It is not a business to me and I don't appreciate the MAs or the creepy super speaking to me like I am one of their subjects. I write to Eric S regarding this and I am not happy with him at all. I supported him in the past but made it very clear he will get nothing from me in the future if he does not address this serious issue. I have suffered so many indignities here that I believe it has taken a toll on my health and shortened my life. I just want to get out of here alive so I can have some peace before I die. Also our former super was a violent felony offender, narcotics distribution and altered weapon. He was horrific, when I complained the board insisted he was the nicest guy and opted to take his word over mine. I was so frightened of him that I had to take in a male roommate (champion wrestler) in order to feel safe. I was afraid to go in the hallway when he was present and he got all his derilict friends side jobs here. This has been a life changing experience that I need to recover from. Yes I have seen the underbelly of the beast. Sickening and disturbing because it is occurring in many co-ops and unless you want to litigate for $50g you are screwed. I pissed and plan on doing something about it. Very relieved to see this notice instead of the same old song and dance routine on this board. Especially after the horrendous encounter I had with the 2
MAs. Thank you I am with you 100% people should not have to live this way. I need a good attorney who has handled these type of monsters. Please feel free to contact me if you can help.

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4% Flip Tax Since 1999 - peoples choice #1 Jan 01, 2018

Our Co Op has sold record sales for apts. I find this crazy because these people that paid $750,000 to 1.1 million can not sell if they out grow 1 large bedroom or 2 bedrooms. Why? The flip tax is 4% broker fees are 4 1/2 to 6% for these share holders who want to sell in a few years they need to raise the cost to $900,000 to pay out 10%. The problem with lowering the flip tax is 98% of board members will never want to sell, they are here to stay. The new buyers are young and some with small children. Our area was hot but now Kennsington is selling apt.s for $350,000 to $425,000 some have no flip tax others have 1% and others buyer pays $1,500. I would like to have a share holder vote to lower the flip tax. We have great financials with well over 2 million in reserve. We have been very lucky with no bankruptcy or foreclosures. No one can predict what 2018 will bring. We have other share holders that brought this up but the board president changes the subject. Any suggestions? Thank you

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The wrong board members (self-serving) can destroy a co-op. But voting them out is not always feaseable. Plus it is often the control freaks who take the board positions. Once they get a stranglehold they do as they please without consideration of anyone but themselves. My board has a textbook narcissist who has a dual personality. Never again will I purchase a coop and be subjected the whim of gang of freaks! I hope the all rot in hell!

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Check your proprietary lease and bylaws. Most contain provisions for a relatively low percentage (around 20%) of shareholders petitioning to have a special shareholder's meeting for a specific purpose. In this case it would be to lower the transfer (flip) tax.

Another possible avenue of approach is to thoroughly read your proprietary lease and bylaws. I believe one of the two documents must specifically authorize the imposition of a transfer tax before one can be levied on a share transfer. If you can't find anything in either document that looks like it authorizes a transfer tax, you may be in luck.

To be sure, though, I would hire an attorney who specializes in co-op and condo law to give you a final opinion. You may have to spend a few hundred dollars on the attorney, but 4% of $1,000,000 is $40,000. A worthwhile trade-off. Discuss with the attorney what your next steps might be.

Finally, canvass your fellow shareholders and see how many would also like to see the transfer tax lowered or eliminated. If there are enough, organize into an opposition party and put up a slate of candidates for the board. You have to be willing to do the work if you want to reap the benefits.

Good luck!

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

It's amazing how greedy people get when they decide to sell. This person knew full well coming into the co-op that there was a 4% flip tax. The fact that there's a healthy reserve fund means that the Board of Directors did a great job and I'm sure the maintenance increases were kept low because of this.

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marym, I tend to differ with you in so many ways. The healthy reserve is because the Board of Directors took out over a million dollar loan. The board raise our maintenance every year for the past 6 years from 15% to 3%. marym let's not forget the Board of Directors has raised the Assessment that is over a month maintenance. Do these new people know what they got themselves into. I don't think so nor did I.

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Hi MaryM - It sounds like the co-op you described is very lucky to have a lot of recent sales which produced a healthy amount of flip tax revenue. What does the co-op board do to keep maintenance low if there are *no* sales for a year or two or three? I would assume they need to approve an assessment, which, at the end of the day, sort of dampens their greatness.

There needs to be a balance between putting the burden of raising income on the backs of a select few (sellers) vs. spreading it out over all the shareholders. A 4% flip tax seems to me to be a heavy burden. In my opinion, a flip tax of 1.5% to 2% is much fairer. Any shortfall in the maintenance and reserve fund can be made up by imposing an assessment and spreading it out of 12 months.

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Along the lines of the recent comments, how would the budget meet its revenue target with a lower flip tax? If the building had to take out a loan already, pressure from lower flip tax revenue could require the board to increase another revenue source, and the maintenance fee is the typical target.
Could PC#1 (the original poster) offer a suggestion for reducing the co-op’s expenses? If the building spends less money, it needs less money. If there’s an outstanding loan, however, the flip tax revenue may very well go toward paying back the loan.

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Steve the loan is almost paid off and most likely the Board will get another loan shortly after.
The real estate agents have said our building has the highest flip tax. Steve we have excellent financials, way more then enough if we need a new roof. Our building is very well maintained and was highly sorted after until the monthly maintenance has been raised every year and the assessments have been increased to over our monthly maintenance. Nothing is being cut in the budget it's only going up. Thanks for your input Steve.

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PC#1, what kind of loan does your building usually take out, a Line of Credit or something else? I'm interested in what form of loan you find most effective and what your costs are to originate the loan in terms of percentage of principal amount.

Thanks!

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It's been my experience as a treasurer of 10 years that shareholders value consistency, especially when dealing with monthly maintenance and assessment payments. Besides the usual grousing every year from some shareholders when maintenance goes up, the vast majority of feedback we receive is that shareholders recognize expenses generally go up and rarely come down, so the board has to increase maintenance every year. As long as the shareholders perceive the increase is in line with inflation and extraordinary expenses are fully explained, they trust that they are getting good value for what they pay.

I would be very wary about balancing an annual budget that includes anticipated income from unit sales and the corresponding transfer fee (the PC way saying "flip tax"). Income from transfer fees is one of the most unreliable sources of revenue unless you're in a huge complex where there are historically a certain base number of annual sales.

As for reducing expenses, this can get tricky. The building across the street from ours tried to eliminate their part-time doorperson as a cost-cutting measure. They didn't have to raise their maintenance for a year or two, but the desirability of the building plummeted. Sales were much fewer and further between, and sales prices under-performed comparables in the area. A building can use cheaper materials and extend maintenance periods, but in the end the cost to remediate and repair will be greater.

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Having to hire an attorney when the board is unreasonable is pathetic! It is supposed to be a home and and place of comfort. But when you have the wrong board members and apathetic shareholders it is your only recourse. Either that or move. Once you hire an attorney you are labeled the enemy and trouble maker. Of course I speak from my own experience. Hiring an attorney is $$$$. A few hundred for the consult, but if you need them to step in and litigate you could easily run up a bill of 50 thousand. In fact I got a "what are you going to do about it, hire an attorney?" from the MA here. He panders to board members and is definitely not on the level. He should be guiding them in the right direction, instead he aids and abets. But again the shareholders complain bitterly yet don't want the responsibility. The board is more into divide and conquer and the backbiting is rampant.
I will never again move into a coop and endure the pettiness and hostility of miserable people. There is no community here and the board members like it that way. For the past 3 months the intercom has not been working. So individuals call the MAs office to complain. These people all use the same playbook they will tell you no one else has complained. Then when you speak with your neighbors you find out how full of it they are.
Sickened by the whole experience, I want a home not a dysfunctional dictatorship.

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Do I have to vote? - IcarusUptown Dec 30, 2017

Annual shareholders meeting coming up. Current board members are OK but I'm not keen on voting for them and I'm not keen on running either. What do I do if I don't want to vote for them but they are running unopposed?

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This is just like real life politics - if you don't vote, then you have no right to complain.

If you don't want the current Board to run unopposed, then you have 2 options:
1) Run yourself
2) Convince someone else to run

It's easy to criticize from afar. Step up to the plate and do something about the situation if you're not satisfied. Other than that, stop complaining, especially on this website.

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They are running unopposed so your vote will not make a difference. If you vote no they will know you tried to vote them out. They could make your life miserable because of it. Decline to vote and they won't have a clue as to how you feel. You have to protect yourself, the board where I am are vengeful and tenants fear them. They don't get voted out because no one wants the job. With this knowledge they do as they please and it is a dictatorship. I have no respect for the people here. I tried to run for the board and they imposed new rules regarding this. They would not let me post on the billboard and tore my notices down. Don't let them know you are not happy, these people like to be stroked. I am sure there are exceptions, but it is better to keep your cards close to your chest.

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Is there a real community mindset in the cooperative in the first place? Do shareholders take an active interest in their cooperative? People are so busy working and caring for their day to day needs they forget this is their money (investment). If you don't take an active interest in your investment you are hurting yourself down the line.

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Minimum Resale Price - Frustrated Homeowner Dec 28, 2017

My Coop requires minimum resale value which are unrealistic. Often, units are on the market for months and some for over a year. Do I have any legal recourse.

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Is this a written policy? If not, how do you know there is a minimum resale price? Has a Board member (or management person) explicitly told you that there is a minimum resale price? Are YOU a Board member?

If this is true, why are applications allowed to be submitted if the minimum asking price is not being met? That seems like a waste of everyone's time.

We have often had units up for sale for quite some time. That can often be due to factors other than the price, like inferior applicants being submitted to purchase the apartment, which is the fault of the broker.

I can only speak from my own experience, but all apartments are not created equal. Some have been renovated, some have not. Some are in better condition than others.

It seems unreasonable to apply one standard of a minimum price while ignoring other factors that can affect the asking price.

As far as legal recourse, I can only see this taking place if there is absolute proof that a minimum resale price policy has been expressly stated in words or verbally. If it's verbal, that will be much harder to prove.

If you are not a Board member, have you asked the Board why this policy is in effect?

I can only suggest that if you know of other shareholders who have been "victimized" by this policy, you should request permission for all of you to speak at the next monthly Board meting and ask the Board these questions.

You can also band together and bring this topic up at your next Annual Meeting. Perhaps you and other like minded people should run for the Board and change this policy.

Good luck to you.

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Marty - I agree with your response to the original post, but I can think of another, more sinister reason why a board would impose a "minimum sales price", written or otherwise. They have an inflated or unrealistic sense of what a typical unit in their building *should* sell for, because they think anything lower affects all future apartment sale prices base on comparables.

Some boards feel that if an apartment sells for significantly below the average comparable price, the effect is to force subsequent sales to start with a lower asking price. The board may have also heard from a family member, friend, or whatever source what their apartments *should* be worth. Say, over a $1 million, so they arbitrarily set that as the floor in the misguided belief that a lower selling price will adversely affect future sales.

So, as you pointed out, it becomes a question of what a board can legally do to set and enforce a minimum sales price. I feel only an attorney can answer this question. It may be that rejecting purchases based solely on final contract price is an actionable form of discrimination against sellers whose apartment is not appraised to meet the minimum. It may be there is some regulation somewhere preventing rejection bases entirely on price. Or it may be that the Business Judgment Rule gives a board wide latitude in deciding what is "best" for the co-op, and the original poster is plain out of luck.

The wording of the original question makes it sound like there is an official or quasi-official policy in place regarding minimum sales price that is based only on dollar amounts, and does not take into account any of the other factors you mentioned. If the board is dug in on this, an attorney may be the only recourse left.

I totally agree with your suggestion that if a shareholder does not like the way the co-op is being run, they should run for the board.

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Insurance Coverage for Gas Leaks [Video] - Mark Levine, RAM (mblevine@ebmg.com) Dec 19, 2017

I sat down with Ed Mackoul from Mackoul & Associates (a local NYC Insurance Broker) to talk about something that is coming up frequently; gas leaks - and insurance coverage.

For anyone interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lepKFxbG4Jc&t=2s

Also, my full channel with about 60 videos can be found at www.youtube.com/excelbradshaw

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These videos are the most educational you can possibly view! As a Board member I STRONGLY recommend viewing all the videos. Oh.....I might add.....they are free!

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The super where I live changed the location of his kitchen. He did not get a permit (standard procedure here). He moved gas lines and the noise from this unnecessary renovation destroyed any peace for shareholders while being accomplished. I called the building department in my village to report it and they gave me nothing but grief. I told them that I hope it blows sky high so when it makes the papers I can inform the public of their anemic response. I live in a slum and believe the building dept is on the take. Actually I witnessed it so it's not what I think it's what I know! The cater to the slumlords cause that's where the money is. Can't wait for the day when it all comes out in the wash. I am on Long Island and the building depts out here have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar before. Unfortunately I am on a village they make their own rules and it is like the Wild West. I want to get out so badly!

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3% Garage Rental Increase - peoples choice #1 Dec 17, 2017

After 7 years my CoOp raised the garage rental 3% which is $2.40 total monthly garage rent is $82.40 The building can only have 36 spots available out of 150 families. The reason for this very low rental is because 5 out of 9 on the board has spots. This a quorum so for all these years they have not raised the garage until now. Why? To shut up the majority in the building thinking we all are idiots thinking that we all don't take this as an insult. The waiting list is about 12/15 years to be in the garage. These 36 renters feel we who are waiting or some who don't even drive are subsidizing the garage. So every year they raise the share holders maintenance to 3% and takes an assessment of 9.45% or $115,000. But they are a bunch of idiots because they get a raise also. To try to change this board is to vote out the quorum. In the mean time how do all 119 share holders try to have them raise this rental to market value? Monthly passes on the MTA is over $180 a month.

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I can only comment based on my Board experiences.

This can be a tricky situation for a Board and I understand your feelings about the situation.

We try to keep our parking rates below market rates because we are trying to help our shareholders (s/h) save $$ on parking.

Having said that, you have 36 spaces, which is just 24% of your total shareholders. 31 of those 36 spaces (86%) belong to non Board members.

Needed revenue for the co-op should come from as many s/h as possible, so I understand the maintenance increases and assessments since they are paid by all s/h. In the past, we have sometimes raised parking space prices as a way to get more revenue.

Parking space decisions are made by the Board and it is their prerogative. If you don't like their decisions then you certainly have the option of voting them off the Board.

I'm not sure if all 119 s/h can force the Board to raise the parking fees. As I said, this is a Board decision and the Board is elected to make decisions on behalf of the s/h.

You best option, if you feel this issue is that important, is to elect new members to the Board who agree with your viewpoint.

Good luck and try to stay calm. Being angry won't necessarily change anything.

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I agree with most of what Marty advises and suggests, and I'd like to offer some of my own opinions.

The overhead costs of parking spaces should be born exclusively by the s/h who currently occupy them. Costs include lease payments (if there is any sort of lease agreement with an outside property owner), physical up-keep (repaving, re-striping, snow removal, etc), security, taxes, etc. This cost should not be split across all s/h because only a select few s/h benefit from the use of the spaces.

The co-op may choose to raise revenue by charging more per month than the overhead costs. This is perfectly acceptable.

There is a way of forcing a board to take actions they may not agree with. Most co-op bylaws (or maybe the proprietary lease) have a provision whereby 20% or 25% can sign a petition requiring the board to hold a special shareholder meeting for a specific purpose. In your case, the purpose would be to vote on a motion to modify the rate structure for renting out parking spaces to shareholders.

Carefully consider what you want to accomplish, canvas the rest of your shareholders to see how many would go along with the motion, and then get the petition signed. BEFORE YOU TAKE ANY ACTION, MAKE SURE YOUR BYLAWS OR PROPRIETARY LEASE ALLOW YOU TO CALL A SPECIAL MEETING, AND MAKE SURE YOU COMPLY WITH ALL REQUIREMENTS FOR A SPECIAL MEETING (and yes, I'm shouting because this is extremely important).

As Marty suggests, there is always the option to put forward a slate of shareholder who feel as you do. If you're elected you can change the parking space rate structure, and probably a number of other things that need to be modified.

Just remember that nothing will change unless you and like-minded shareholders are willing to walk the walk after you've talked the talk.

Good luck!

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Emergency work - super's billing rate imposed by co-op's bldg. mgmt co. - Kate Dec 05, 2017

For those living in a co-op apartment, is your building management company transparent to all shareholders about what your superintendent or handyman's hourly billing rate will be if the the management company chooses to have them complete an emergency repair job in your apartment?

I am having a great deal of difficulty obtaining a proper itemized invoice for time-sensitive work that was completed in my apartment by my super and my managing agent continues to brush me off like I am asking for something out of the ordinary by requesting more detail on the super's invoice, i.e. super's hourly work rate, cost of materials used.

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A few quick questions...

Have you made a formal request to your board for the information you want? The MA works for the board and not the shareholders. Some have a policy of only responding through the board for these kinds of requests since it may be the board that set the rates and not the MA.

Did the work have to be completed *immediately*, like a busted pipe, or was there any time for you to bring in your own contractor before the super made the repairs? What exactly happened?

Can you provide a round figure for how much your were charged?

Thanks! --- Steve

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Thanks, Steve for your response. I have not brought this attention to my Board yet as they only meet once a month, but that is definitely something I need to do next.

Yes, the work had to happen immediately as unfortunately, a steam pipe needed to be repaired and required shutting the heat off for the entire building while the pipe was patched up. I take full ownership for the emergency repair as a friend the day prior was rehanging a shelf as the prior shelf toggle had come loose in the wall. (My building was built as public housing in mid 60's so I'm sure many things were "done on the cheap.") Although, I know my experienced friend would have known if he was drilling into a pipe (and obviously felt resistance from a carbon steel pipe), there must have been some damage, likely a nick done to the pipe. (I have to wonder why the pipe didn't have proper banding/protection as well as why it was so unusually close to the wall.)

In the end, my shelf was never re-hung as my friend was never able to re-secure the shelf - noting that the studs on my wall were not the standard 16" on the center.

Very early the next morning, I woke to find steam steadily coming out of the hole (where the shelf was never re-hung) in my wall. Due to the demands of my full-time job, 45 minutes away from home, I was not able stay home that morning when the work was completed,, but I was under the impression from my super who I spoke to that morning before I went to work was that my wall would have to be opened up and a licensed plumber was being called to do any needed repairs to the pipe. It is important to note that I didn't intend any consecutive patch up work - redoing the drywall etc. to also happen - as that wasn't the actual emergency repair that needed to take place while I was not at home.

When I was able to get home several hours later, I found my wall all sealed up with no visual record of what exact damage was done to the pipe nor what was done to fix the pipe. I immediately contacted my super (who mind you has my cell phone and at no point updated me on what was being done in my apartment - other than, "we are going in and should be done by such and such time"). When my super comes to my home, he informs me that he did all the work, took no pictures and plans to bill the managing company $850 for the work completed.

This $850 charge then appears on my next maintenance bill as a separate item simply labeled "Repair and Main." There is no accompanying documentation or invoice included with my regular maintenance bill to help me understand how this amount was calculated. When I reach out to my managing agent requesting a proper invoice for the $850 charge, i.e. the super's hourly rate for emergency repairs, the cost of any materials used, etc., the agent immediately gets defensive. His e-mail communications to me are unprofessional and unnecessarily defensive in tone. Eventually after e-mailing the agent a 2nd time, he sends me the super's invoice that is extremely vague in detail and includes no itemization of the cost as I specifically asked. To this date, the managing agent still will not provide me with a break down of the $850 charge. My request has since been escalated to his superiors at the company and I am now awaiting their response.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Kate,

I would bring this to a Board member's attention before their next meeting and ask them to get a breakdown from the MA. Why wait?

If a shareholder came to me and asked me to get a breakdown of the bill, I would take care of it right away and not wait for our next Board meeting.

Good luck.

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Kate,
Your super said he was going to call a plumber, why didn't he? Plumbers are on call 24/7.
Your super did the work is he a license plumber? $850 is a lot for a small nail hole. If you check on how to fix a small hole, they sell tape that can be used to patch up the small hole. This would have cost a few dollars.
Marty is correct talk to your board members. Best of Luck

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I agree with Marty about bringing something like this to the board's attention. Any reasonable board would be happy to comply with your request. The board has a greater obligation to you as a shareholder than to the MA.

I also agree with PC#1 about the work possibly not being done by a licensed plumber. This makes getting a detailed receipt more imperative. It should clearly state that the work was done at the MA's request by so-and-so who is the building's super. This is in case the problem reappears, you can't be held responsible for hiring someone who did shoddy work.

As for as the $850 cost, I'm not so sure this is out of line. Steam pipes are different than normal water pipes. Steam is very hot, under pressure, and can be corrosive. A leak cannot be simply plugged with a bit of epoxy and duct tape because eventually the steam pressure and heat will blow it out.

It's possible that the section of pipe with the penetration (a drill can make a sizeable hole) needed to be cut out and a new section of pipe installed to replace it. Depending on the clearances around the steam pipe at the leak point, this could have longer than you would expect, including shutting off the steam to the apartment line and turning it back on.

This is all conjecture, but I hope it helps put the work done into context. You deserve an itemized bill so you have a record of what you were charged for and who did the work, but I would not be surprised if you find that the $850 may not be that outrageous.

If you have renters insurance check what the deductible is. You may be able to file a claim and recover some of what you paid.

Good luck!

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$850 sounds rather high for the work performed. My own personal experience with supers who do repairs and in my co-op renovations has been an eye opener. I am 100% against this practice for many reasons:
1) the job is not one of their duties so as they are working on these side jobs and earning extra cash they are not doing the job the co-op hired them to do.
2) are they really qualified, or just handy? Just handy does not cut it and is akin to "crafty". Our former super loved by all (except for myself) was very crafty. Now that he is no longer here many problems have surfaced. In one instance a hot water pipe broke and caused extensive damage to the apartment below. It was discovered that he used some type of hosing material that should not have been used. He also was in the habit of depositing soda cans and other garbage inside the walls prior to closing them. My electrician had to open my wall to run a line for my new dishwasher. Upon opening it we discovered a container that had once held a beverage (big gulp?) was blocking passage of the line. I was left with the extra job of closing up the hole in a newly updated kitchen, and a feeling of disgust.
3) where is the warranty? If a licensed and bonded plumber had done the work you would have a warranty and an itemized bill.

I could elaborate further on reason why the super should not be preforming this work but will end hear.

In regard to an itemized bill... what is he hiding? What's the problem? You are not asking for anything unreasonable, but his refusal to provide this information is unreasonable! It's as if they have you over a barrel and this feeling of empowerment over shareholders can only lead to disastrous results. They become more brazen in their willingness to stick it to shareholders, with the exemption of board members who could easily put the brakes on this double dipping scam.
Co-ops that do not freely provide information (if you have to pull teeth) are not working in the best interest of the co-op.

850 is outrageous... get quotes from professionals just so you can verify this.

Best of luck getting them to be more transparent

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Gas leak in building - AW Nov 30, 2017

Hi, the gas to my building has been shut off by Con Edison for a week now. The management company has not given the reason for this to their tenants and give no estimate for length of time to repair. Their statement seemed to blame Con Edison for the gas shutdown. I contacted Con Edison and they informed me that there was a gas leak detected in the building and that the gas was subsequently shut off. Con Edison also informed me that it is the building's responsibility to fix this and it is at their discretion as to how quickly this is done. However, the management company admits nothing and it quite argumentative about it and has not offered anything to it's tenants (considered a luxury building) other than an electric stove top. I think that the tenants deserve rent abatement and honesty about the situation. An educated suggestion(s) for me would be most appreciated. Thanks.

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Everything you describe are the correct protocols Con Ed follows when a gas leak is detected. A gas leak, no matter how small, is an urgent safety matter.

It's your management company that's causing all the problems. From your description it sounds like they have no interest in dealing directly with you, so stronger measures are required.

I assume as a luxury building you are not rent stabilized or rent controlled. If you were, you could get legal help from NYC or the Legal Aid Society.

Have you spoken to the other tenants about this, and do you feel they would be willing to take legal action with you against the building management? If they are, great. As a collective you can hire an attorney and split the cost among all the shareholders (you'll probably get it back in the end).

If not, and you have to go it alone, the first thing I would do is contact the insurance company who has your renters insurance, assuming you have a such a policy. They have the resources to deal with the management, you probably don't. Your policy hopefully has a "loss of use" clause which means your insurance will pay for temporary housing for you (up to policy limit) and then they will work to get the problem resolved.

If you don't have insurance, it's going to be painful for you. You'll need to find an attorney and discuss the situation with them, and find out what your options are. This will cost you a few hundred dollars. If you decide to move forward with any of the options, the attorney will handle it for you at additional expense.

I would advise you to not confront building management or start any legal action on your own. They have much greater resources and most likely attorneys on retainer. You could prejudice your case and make things worse for yourself if you say or do something that can be used against you in litigation.

I know this is not a comfortable situation and I feel for you. There are laws to protect tenants in your situation, but you need an attorney who knows how to work within the laws to have the most effect.

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

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Thanks so much for your time and suggestions. I will certainly utilize them to deal with this unfortunate issue.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

AW, If your whole building has been shut off, your fellow coop/codo is also having the same problem including your board members. Where are they? This shut down should have been told to everyone. I would contact my insurance co. to see what they can do ASAP! I gather you still have heat, hot water and electric. If so your still living in your place right? Talk to the people in your building including your board members. Remember elections are coming up for board members. Also try to change your managing agent. Every coop/condo need to do this once the managing agent gets lazy. Best of luck.

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Trouble with HOA and my service animal - Jennifer Nov 27, 2017

I recently rented and moved into a 100+ unit condominium building with my 10lb service dog. I provided the HOA and board members with her documentation as well as medical documentation stating the need for the service animal. My concern is the HOA has a rule that all service animals must be CARRIED in- and out of the property. Last week, due to this strange request and while carrying my Pomeranian, I slipped and feel outside of the condo in the rain- landing on the dog in a puddle of mud, and injuring my wrist and shoulder. The following day I was too sore to lift and carry the dog while riding the elevator down; once the lobby doors opened I was instantly screamed at by one of the residents. I am having a very hard time finding a law in the ADA.gov that states a HOA can impose such a rule- There has been nothing but rude remarks, unpleasant stares and overall rudeness by other resident sin this building- please note this was the first and only time she was not carried in/out of the building. I am tried of the harassment and frankly feel very uncomfortable living here. Is there anyone who can give me some advise or send me in the right direction? I've been calling lawyers all day and cannot find anyone who handles this kind of ADA discrimination...thank you!

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I'm trying to visualize how a visually-impaired individual of slight build would be able to navigate while carrying their 30 lb German Shepard seeing-eye dog into the elevator. It's not a pretty picture. There seems to be an epidemic of Holier-Than-Thou attitudes now that civil discourse has been exiled from our lives.

On a practical note, this article may help or be a good starting point:
https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

Try calling the ADA hotline to find out if they can be of any help to you.

--- Steve

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I agree with Steven424, also I hope your dog has a red service coat on. With your animal is alerting people not to pet the dog unless asked. Best of Luck.

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Board member unit for sale - Dave Nov 21, 2017

Our Treasurer has her condo up for sale. Our community needs many repairs but we don't take in enough dues to pay for any repairs. We want to raise dues $30 per month and get the repairs done over a 5 year period. The Treasurer wants an assessment of $1500 because she thinks a dues increase would affect her sale. This seems like some kind of conflict of interest and we all think she should recuse herself from voting since her interests lie in the sale of her condo not the interests of the community. There is nothing in our bylaws about this. A $1500 assessment would place a hardship on many owners. Opinions please. Thank you.

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The treasurer needs to recuse herself due to the conflict of interest. No way should she be allowed to vote, regardless of what the rest of the Board decides as a course of action.

Do whatever is best for the community.

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Completely agree with Marty. This is a clear conflict of interest.

If the rest of the board votes for the dues increase then her position is moot. If your association has an attorney you use for legal matters, ask her/him for an opinion in writing. That might sway the treasurer.

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The Board should discuss with its attorney whether the Treasurer is conflicted. Every time the Board votes on financial matters, especially the balance between assessments and dues/monthly increases, the vote affects each Board member. There is no right or wrong here, and the fact that one solution is in a Board Member's own interest doesn't necessarily create a disqualifying conflict. In fact the alternative solution is probably in other Board member's interests.

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