New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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PPP loan - Fleetwood Jun 17, 2021

Why would a co-op get a PPP loan if a co-op is financial solid?

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Financial Reports - Fleetwood Jun 16, 2021

I wanted to know if its common practice that the board members and shareholders do not get backup to yearly financial reports? We just get 15-16 pages but nothing to review against? How do we know if the management company and/or auditor were correct?

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Yes, it's completely standard to get a 15-16 page report prepared by the coop's accountants, with no backup material. The coop's managing agent, president, and treasurer are required to sign off on a representation letter affirming that all relevant material has been given to the accountants, and the accountants work from that information. An annual financial report typically contains summary numbers plus breakdowns by category, so you get fairly detailed info but not individual invoices and bank statements.

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Raw sewage leak in unit - dev Jun 15, 2021

I am a shareholder for a 1 bedroom Coop, The building is a pre war building, the unit was unoccupied, The managing Agent sent me pictures of the Ceiling, Walls and the entire kitchen demolished, along with leaks in the closet bedroom and bathroom. She claims that the sewage Pipes from the basement exploded because of Age and lack of use. She recommended contractors that they have used in the building, and that based on the circumstance I could go ahead with repairs to make it habitable. A contractor was currently working on another unit and agreed to start the repairs, I contacted the Agent 1 month ahead of the start date, and left several messages which she never responded to. I also notified the superintendent who claimed he was on Vacation for 3 weeks. One week into the repair the contractor was removed from the building. I contacted the Agent, screaming and very hostile, that I need to file an application to the Board for consideration to repair. Along with A $600 application fee. I requested the details of the Directors of the Board, and was given Names and address only. The renovations will cost $ 19,000 out of pocket so I took a loan. should I be reimbursed by the Coop. The power has to be turned by con Edison, but the Agent refused entry. The Agent claims we cannot enter until the work is approved. Do I have any recourse ?

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This is so wrong on many levels. Raw sewage leak is the responsibility of the building. This sounds like your apt. is contaminated.
Did you contact your insurance company and explain exactly what happened? They will help with giving you answers and also depending on your insurance carrier they will pay for a hotel while work is being done by the Co op. The cost of repairs and making your apt. livable is the Co ops responsibility.
Just keep in mind your insurance company will re coop all cost from your Co op. Paying $600 to get answers is crazy, it's cheaper to call your lawyer or 311.
Best of luck

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skylights owner or building responsibility - Robert Jun 15, 2021

Trying to research options on handling the repair or replacement of skylights in the 12 of 62 units that have them.
The bylaws are silent on whether the skylights are building or owner responsibilities.


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I've seen this issue go both ways for both skylights and windows. As they say, the devil is in the detail, and in most instances and standard Proprietary Leases, the wording about windows (and by extension, skylights), can hopefully be found in section #18. If you have a non-standard PL, it could be anywhere or not addressed.

Since you're looking at what could be a major building expense, you should consider having your co-op attorney or another attorney very familiar with co-op PL's and Bylaws parse your documents and provide you with a formal legal opinion. There will be fees, but I feel it is money well spent.

Good luck!

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Thank you for the input

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Transparency vs. Confidentiality - qiumoforever May 18, 2021

While I understand the need to protect board internal deliberations, I am wondering what is the best approach to voice dissent? While the majority rules on the Board, are individual board members allowed to voice their individual opinions in the public? If someone does that, is it considered as "undermining the board"?

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We'd like to know too. Is there any lawyer here to help us understand
Transparency vs Confidentiality

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I asked our lawyer in front of the entire board at one of our meetings. The 1st amendment is alive and well, including being able to tell shareholders what is going on in their building. Naturally anything of a personal nature is excluded, such as quoting someone's income tax returns from a Board Package for a purchase.
Politics does dictate that you try hard to maintain good relations with the rest of the Board in order that you all do what is best for the building. Creating hard feelings is never advised, unless you have a very good reason. Judgement is the byword here!

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I know a board member that was informed by the President of their board that because a shareholder was helping them on a small project (getting money back for the co-op from a vendor) that this board member should be removed from the Board for giving out information. The President of the Board actually contacted the co-op attorney and included him in the email. I also don't think the majority of the board members even wanted to do that. It didn't get that far but of course the Board member was upset. Also the President of the Board wasn't on top of getting the money and because of the shareholder they were able to get back over 50K. Also this information was also discussed to the shareholders at a group meeting in the building lobby but no one was on top of it so how confidential could that be?

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Our coop's by-laws contain this section. I think this is pretty common:

Section 12. Confidentiality: Information disclosed to directors should be kept in confidence and not disclosed under any circumstance until a decision is made by the Board to make the information public. Once determined, decisions of the Board are to be presented in their final form, and any discussions leading up to such decisions are confidential. Board members shall never disclose how other Board members voted.

There's no bar to disclosing how *you* voted, though you should use common sense and good judgment in disclosing such information. Also, our board typically publicizes the rationale behind significant decisions, especially if they are likely to lead to questions: "Why did you raise maintenance?" or "Why is such-and-such prohibited?"

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fire escape repair company recommendations - chuchuliga May 15, 2021

We are a small self-managed Soho coop looking for a company to inspect and repair our fire escape. Any recommendations?

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Financial records - belmarbeagle May 15, 2021

A newly elected treasurer wants to see the financial records of the coop for the last 5 years. The board president has denied that request. The treasurer is not a neophyte having been on the board before and serving as a treasurer knows she is entitled to view them. Outside of hiring a lawyer and making a big deal out of it what other steps should she take?

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What's the point of having a treasurer that doesn't have access to financial records?

I think hiring a lawyer and making a big deal out of it is an excellent idea, but another option might be to discuss the matter with the co-op's accountant at the next annual meeting.

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this pres is outrageous and worthy of your disrepect.
Agree with the advice to get a lawyer if talking with him doesn't loosen the finances for review.
I'd work on voting this guy out.

BYW, every shareholer should see the finances on a regular basis.
My first consideration is to think he is a crook.

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I fully agree with PhilC and Grant. This has a very bad smell to it.

As suggested by PhilC, I think the first course of action would be to have the treasurer ask the co-op's accountant for copies of the last five years of audited financial reports and annual budget projections. How the accountant reacts to the request will tell you a lot about how you proceed.

Another approach would be to contact the Real Estate Finance Bureau. They are a division of the NYS A/G's office. Either they can help you directly or point you in the right direction. If there is anything illegal going on with your building's finances, the A/G's office is who you want involved.

Your final recourse will be to have a group of shareholders hire a private attorney familiar with co-op and condo law. It won't be cheap, but ask the attorney if you can recover any expenses from the co-op and under what circumstances.

Have you considered putting up a slate of candidates to run for the board at the next election meeting? If it's not that far in the future, this might be the least painful way to gain control over your finances.

Best of luck to you.

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Why doesn't the entire board vote on this? The president doesn't have the power to unilaterally withhold documents from officers. If the full board votes to conceal past financial records from the treasurer, then I'd be worried for many reasons. The treasurer should have access to any financial records from the dawn of the coop onwards, in my view.

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refusal to credit annual tax abatement - recourses? - DM May 13, 2021

I will start afresh. If a coop or condo refuses to give eligible units their credits or unilaterally
decides to postpone them for 6 months or more beyond the legally required date, what resources
does an apartment owner have?
Small Claims court? If anyone has an idea it is most welcome. Thank you.

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When you say co-op or condo... which is it?

For a co-op, maybe you should point them to this:

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/RPT/467-A 6:

6. The commissioner of finance may impose, after notice and an opportunity to be heard, civil penalties on each member of a cooperative board of directors of no more than ten thousand dollars for the willful failure to credit fully any tax abatement granted pursuant to this section to eligible dwelling units.

Also, you might find it helpful to obtain the relevant renewal and change and tax benefit letters to see what is going on. You can do this with a FOIL request:

https://a860-openrecords.nyc.gov/

This is explicitly permitted/available under 467-A 8. Once you have the tax benefit letter, you can always just show up with it at the next annual meeting.

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Hi Phil -

Thank you for posting this. When DM first mentioned a deadline I had never heard of any civil penalties enabled in the legislation. This clears it up nicely.

Unfortunately, this particular section of 467-A is silent on how long a period of time must transpire before non-action by the board is considered "willful failure to credit fully any tax abatement." You wouldn't happen to know if a time limit is called out anywhere in this or other legislation?

Thanks!
--- Steve

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No coop or condo board has the legal authority to delay the credit of the abatement to eligible units past the required time.
It is bad enough that it has become routine to commonly assessed for the abatement as the idea was to equalized taxes for unit owners.

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I believe if you take a second look at the simple math, the abatement does equalize taxes with single family homes compared to co-op's. The state giving money back to a building does defray the cost of projects compared to asking shareholders to dig into their pockets, which is what they would have to do if the abatement wasn't eventually directed at paying for building costs.

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In most coops, you don't actually net any money from the abatement. It's typically flattened with an offsetting assessment in the same billing cycle. The abatement is "vapor money" that results in a reduced tax bill for the building, not actual cash that the coop is given to disburse.

That said, it is of course obligatory for coops to credit the abatement as a line item in your billing, even when it is immediately offset by a corresponding assessment. But it's not a hidden pot of gold that's being withheld; it's an accounting issue. It should definitely be credited/assessed within the fiscal year to ensure the accuracy of your annual financial report.

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I'd like to add a brief coda to Carl's good response, and answer a question I am asked every year. Why are the abatement amounts and the assessment amounts not the same?

The answer is that each is calculated by entirely different sets of rules by entirely different organizations.

Each apartment abatement is determined by the Dept of Finance using complicated algorithms. Two seemingly identical apartments can be granted very different abatement amounts. The list from the DoF is sent to either the co-op or the managing agent.

Assessments on the other hand must treat each share equally, by law. What most buildings do is divide the total amount of the abatement by the total number of shares, and assess each unit by the number of shares it owns.

The two are *never* the same. Some shareholders gain and some lose. If your abatement and assessment are identical, your managing agent did something very wrong.

I hope this helps new board members and especially new treasurers deal with those shareholders who end up in the loss column.

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Bidets in your building? - Marty Apr 29, 2021

There's been talk of allowing bidets in our co-op. Does anyone have them in their buildings? Can you provide feedback based on your experiences?

Do you need a plumber AND an electrician to install them? I think you do, but I'm not sure.

Do you allow them to any s/h or do you limit them to people who have a medical reason (and can supply documentation) for wanting one?

Do you treat them as a renovation and have the shareholder sign a document agreeing to be responsible for any and all repairs that may result from problems in the future?

If you have them, have you had problems with them or have they worked with few hassles?

Thanks in advance for any feedback you can provide.

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should not be a problem. bidet is very close to being a toilet. Both need a waste pipe and cold water supply, but a bidet additionally needs a hot water supply.
So if you have the floor space in your bathroom, feel free to proceed!
Hope you know how to lay out a floor plan or call a pro.

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When tax abatement credits must be given - DM Apr 26, 2021

By law, credit are supposed to be passed by coops to eligible units within the city's fiscal year when they are given vi a being applied to the coops tax bill.
This is by June 30th of every year. Our coop has been giving them in December - 6 months late.
What can we do about this?

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Try asking your co-op board about the delay. They may have a perfectly valid reason for waiting until the end of the year. For example, most co-ops approve a one-time assessment in the same amount as the abatement so they can recoup the budget shortfall due to the abatement. Your board may believe you're running a surplus, and are waiting until the end of the year to see if they can impose a lower assessment because of the surplus. That would definitely be to your benefit.

Try asking your board first, and let us know what they say.

--- Steve

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Hi Steve - I think it does not matter what the Board's reasons are. The cut-off date - legally - is the end of the fiscal year in which the credit was applied to the coop's overall tax bill. That is June 30th of every year. It is the law.

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Hi DM - I understand about the Jun 30th deadline for the credit being applied to the co-op's tax bill, but I've never heard of any deadline for when the abatement must be distributed to shareholders in the form of a maintenance credit.

If you have a link to a website where this is explained I'd appreciate your posting it here. I'd like to read it over and possibly pass it to our MA, who seem blissfully unaware of the deadline's existence.

Thanks!
--- Steve

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Steve - Any manager worth their salt knows this.

It is law that the credit must be given within the fiscal year in which it is applied to the coops tax bill. Ex credit given to coop on July 1 bill then credit to eligible shareholders has to be passed on by June 30th of the next year.
You can Google if you need a link.

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Hi DM - I did as you suggested and searched google for a copy of the law requiring the co-op tax abatement be distributed during the fiscal year in which the abatement is applied to the co-op's tax bill. Here is what I found:

"Remember that co-ops are not real property, and the coop corporation receives one property tax bill for the entire building, which it owns. Shareholders have a proprietary lease to occupy their specific apartment, and have shares of stock in the corporation, but are technically tenants of the co-op corporation’s building.

As a result, the managing agent for a co-op will typically receive any tax rebates directly on behalf of all shareholders, and the co-op boards have discretion on how best to distribute the proceeds back to the shareholders."

https://www.hauseit.com/coop-condo-tax-abatement-nyc/

This article seems to be saying that abatement distribution is at the discretion of the co-op board.

Please help me understand where you found the law or administrative code requiring distribution by a certain date, as you stated in your last message.

Thanks!
--- Steve

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Check the law and check with the city. On the Coop annual Tax Property Benefit letter, the city states it must be credited to eligible individuals immediately which has been interpreted to mean by the end of that fiscal year which is June 30th. I am correct about this. They do NOT have the discretion to grant it after that.

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Hi DM - I went right to the source and read the CO-OP TAX BENEFITS LETTER we received from the DOF. The salient part which I believe you are referring to, states:

"By law, managing agents/coop boards must credit the unit(s) with the benefit amount listed on the enclosed report once it is received. Credits are calculated using the tax rate for the applicable tax year. This report reflects sales or transfers that occurred on or before January 5th of this calendar year. We must receive this form by February 15, 2020."

There's a big difference between "...must credit the unit(s) once the report is received..." and "must immediately credit the unit(s) by a certain date..." There's no need for absolute urgency stated or implied anywhere in the letter.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time here. Your original statement about distributing the abatement credits by a certain date piqued my curiosity because I hadn't heard it before. I'd like to check the law, which is why I asked you for a link to the parts of the law that support your interpretations. If you could post the URL in this thread, we'll all benefit from your research.

--- Steve

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I did not post so you could punch holes in my email.
I am correct - the coop must credit the eligible units by the end of the city fiscal year in which the credit is applied to the coop's tax bill.
. End of story.
The QUESTION was is what do we do when they disregard the law and delay the credit by 6 months or more each year?
Attorney General's office?

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

DM - I've been reading the back and forth responses between you and Steven424.

I can see that you're frustrated by your co-op's inaction. You asked what can you do about the situation. Steven suggested that you speak to your Board and ask them why there is a delay.

Your response to his suggestion is it doesn't matter what the Board's reasons are. Okay. You asked for suggestions, Steven gave you one, and you didn't like it.

He's trying to help. You've been on this site before. You know that Steven is very thorough and tries to understand the situation BEFORE offering any advice.

Don't get angry with him for asking questions and doing research so he can try to help you. Steven is not the type of person to try and punch holes in anyone's email. He genuinely tries to help people and has done so for years on this website, including me.

You might try contacting the DOF and ask them for their interpretation of the law. It couldn't hurt.

I do agree with him that you should contact your Board, but I'd also add that you should do it in writing, thus creating a paper trail. If the Board refuses to answer or gives you an answer that doesn't satisfactorily answer your question, you could then email the co-op's attorney to ask him/her for their opinion.

Good luck.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

DM this is a forum to help people who can not get answers or who has a question. I also have been reading this back and forth and I give Steven credit for trying to help you. It's seems you really don't want answers to your question. I do feel that you need this abatement money so badly and refuse to go to your managing agent or board for an answer. What ever your reason is. But don't take things out on Steven for going out of his way and researching an answer for you. Just say Thank you and move on Best of Luck

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DM/DP
This is a wonderful site where people freely help each other by sharing their experience and knowledge. I have benefited many times from the responses I have received on this forum and greatly appreciate any and all advice I have received. Apparently you have many issues with your Co-Op board and how your building is run. Your constantly request for " Informed and knowledgeable responses only" is quite annoying and somewhat insulting. Basically what you want is free legal advice and you tend to get snarky if you do not agree with or like the response you receive. Here is some knowledgeable, informed advice...Move.., BTW, there are no units in my Co-op. Steve424, remember Connie? Can you work you magic again? :-). Please no need for a response.

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Hi all, I do appreciate Steve's time but he did nit-pick at my use of the word "immediate." Which I did not feel was nice. The overall idea I here to help each other with information and my question was posted with that intent.

The question is not 'why' does a coop choose to pay late illegally. The question is what can people do - what recourses do we have when the law is broke in regards to this? Does anyone know?

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DM- Love the idea of you relocating to another building or better yet join the board.
Maybe you need to educate yourself being you can't take constructive advice. MOVE ON!

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DM/DP,
You might as well stop asking the question. I think your time for advice on this site has expired. I can't imagine anyone who would want to help you after this despicable and childish display. Contact the D.O.F. with hour questions unless they are no longer responding to you.

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Stop now, please. You are being negative and repetitive.
It is basically now just spam.


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DM/DP
You are delusional. I wish I had as much knowledge as People's Choice. Now please take an aspirin and go lie down. You are stating to frighten me.

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