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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

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

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.")

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

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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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

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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emergency hallway lights in 6-story building - DP Jun 13, 2020

I'm seeking a knowledgeable, professional answer, please:
What kind of energy source is required for the emergency hallway lights in the event that the electricity in the entire building shuts off? (approx. 50 apartments)
• Auxiliary generator of some kind?
• Batteries?

Also, whose responsibility is it to ensure that those lights are up-to-date, up-to-code, fully functional, etc.?
• the super?
• the building management?
• the FDNY?
• HPD?

Thanks so much!

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

I am definitely not a professional but do have some knowledge on the subject, so please take my answer for what it's worth.

Most hallway and other common area emergency lights are self-contained units. They rely on an internal rechargeable battery (lead-acid, like a car battery). They are wired into the building's 110V A/C power so they are constantly being charged. If the power goes off and the unit no longer senses the 110V, it automatically kicks over to battery. I think units may be obtained with different guaranteed minimum run-times, but I am not sure of this.

I'm assuming you live in a co-op or condo, so as for who has overall responsibility for the proper selection, care, testing, and other maintenance, the co-op or condo board does. The board can and almost always will engage the super, managing agent, or third party contractor for the hands-on requirements. But if the FDNY does an inspection and finds emergency lighting deficiencies, the violation will be written up against the building's owner and it will be the board's responsibility to cure the defects.

I hope this helps,
--- Steve

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Thank you Steve. That's helpful. Yes, a coop.

I may have misunderstood the intended purpose of the emergency back-up lights. I thought they were supposed to stay on, or at least be light-sensitive so they would come back on again after dark if the electricity was still off.

But a firefighter friend told me they were only supposed to be on at the beginning of the emergency (when the electricity cut off), e.g. to help people get out of the building. (But then what?) So they may have worked as they were supposed to, but it still seems dangerous to me.

Do you know anything about that, or where I can look for the info?

Thx.

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Hi DP - As your firefighter friend explained, emergency lighting is used for emergency situations, such as helping to evacuate a burning building. It is not intended to be used for normal residential illumination. I'm guessing that people would not be allowed back into a building until the FD has certified it safe for occupancy. This would include appropriate lighting.

In the event only a part of the building was damaged and the rest could be legally occupied, it would be the responsibility of the building owner to make all repairs to damaged or destroyed common systems, such as electricity and lighting. I would surmise the FD would not allow re-entry until everything was back up to code.

Emergency lighting runs on battery, which has a limited rated illumination length. Once the battery is depleted, it would need to be recharged before being used again.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Thanks again, Steven.

It was an odd emergency (Con Ed failure which affected a few buildings)—one outside of the usual definitions and parameters. There was no damage to the building, and no one was required to leave. I guess this was just one of those events that buildings really aren't prepared to handle—especially in an economically challenged neighborhood where the thought of going to a hotel didn't even cross my mind... and in the middle of a pandemic where we're mostly sheltering in place.

All seems OK now. Con Ed had to replace cables going into the buildings.

Thanks again!

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What if Coop Residents Don't Comply with Quarantine? - BBCA Jun 03, 2020

What recourse does a coop board have against residents (shareholders and sub-tenants) who refuse to comply with state regulations concerning masks and social distancing? Is this a violation of law that permits the Board to impose fines? Is there any thing the Board can do short of calling the police or seeking to terminate the lease?

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

You can pass a house rule that covers mask-wearing and social distancing, in either a specific or a generalized way. You might want to ask your attorney for guidance on the phrasing. Afterwards, anyone who fails to comply is violating a house rule and is subject to whatever penalties your Proprietary Lease allows for breaking house rules.

A difficulty our attorney warned us about in the past: authority to impose fines must originate in the Proprietary Lease. So your board may not be able to impose a fine even for egregious violations of house rules.

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rental or coop - pierogiz May 16, 2020

hello. i live at 32-05 81st street in east elmhurst. this building is registered to the city as a coop and my lease shows that i am subletting. the building apparently went thru a coop conversion in the late 80s and as far as i have seen. everyone is a renter from xyz management corporation. the building doesnt have a coop board and i was wondering if this is legal. there are many issues in the building and individual apartments that the landlord doesnt address. are there any rules or laws that are broken by this building not operating as a coop but registered as one with the buildings dept?

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Hi pierogiz - Co-op apartments are a special type of of lessor/lessee arrangement that works like this. From a business organization perspective, a cooperative apartment building is owned by a unique form of not-for-profit corporation. This corporation owns the land (in most cases) and the building(s) outright.

When you "purchase" a co-op apartment you are actually buying shares of stock in the co-op corporation. At your closing you should have received a formal printed stock certificate showing how many shares you own and a copy of the corporation's Offering Plan. These are two key documents. If you took out a mortgage, the originator is given the stock certificate as collateral for the loan.

In exchange for owning the shares of stock apportioned to your unit, the co-op corporation grants you a Proprietary Lease. This is a special kind of lease that is similar to the lease you would sign if you simply rented your unit from a landlord.

Someone who owns a co-op apartment is both a shareholder in the corporation and at the same time is a leasee of the corporation. The terms "lessee" and "renter" are often interchanged, so you might be referred to as a renter.

To determine if you are a co-op owner or simply renting your apartment, think back to when you first signed a lot of paperwork and received the keys. Was it at a formal closing? Did you take out a mortgage? Did you pay one large sum at the closing or do you pay monthly rent to your landlord? Were you given an original or photocopy of a stock certificate? Do you remember receiving a copy of a thick document titled Offering Plan.

If your answer to these questions is "yes", you are most likely a co-op owner. If all you did was sign a lease and handed over a security deposit you are most likely a renter.

Once you determine what you are, the rest of your questions will fall into place.

Good luck!
--- Steve

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Hi,

On the D.O.F. website
https://a836-acris.nyc.gov/DS/DocumentSearch/BBL

Using block: 1177 and lot 1, for your address, it shows some units listed as a co-op, while others as apartment. ???

While renters do not have the same rights as owners,
maintenance issues should absolutely be addressed and resolved.

The Business Corporation Law states Co-Ops are required to hold annuals meetings and have a board of directors.

As a renter, you don not have any rights to vote, however if the management company is not responding to your maintenance needs, you would at least be and to reach out to the board

(602)
"A meeting of shareholders shall be held annually for the election of directors and the transaction of other business on a date fixed by or under the by-laws.  A failure to hold the annual meeting on the date so fixed or to elect a sufficient number of directors to conduct the business of the corporation shall not work a forfeiture or give cause for dissolution of the corporation"

You might try and contact the department of finance for assistance or call 311. I have found Marcel Dixon to be very helpful.

Marcel Dixon
NYC Department of Finance│External Affairs
212-602-7050

DixonM@finance.nyc.gov



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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

I definitely rent my apartment, however, I think the landlord doesn’t have a functioning coop board at the building as everyone is a renter... how do I. Find out which apartment is still under rent control in the building and actually physically go and speak to those tenants to see if they are under rent control

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

N.Y. Attorney General

https://formsnym.ag.ny.gov/OAGOnlineSubmissionForm/faces/OAGREFHome;jsessionid=y44nathAXmNrxUAjlP9uVF7ZZE0QceOF9WS6_mUsdQQG6bJAjs0z!2126564131

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Hope this helps....

https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Co-op-Condo-Buyers/2008/2008-December/Renters-Rights-in-Co-op-and-Condo-Apartment-Buildings

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Can my board legally charge odor fee? - Lucy May 15, 2020

I own a co op apartment in the county of Westchester, NY, which I am currently subletting to a young couple. Apparently, the couple vape Marijuana and some neighbors have complained. I resided in that apartment for over 15 years and people have always smoked and now suddenly this is problem. I am totally against vaping but that is irrelevant. I have discussed this situation with my tenant since the first complain received from management and he apologized, owing up to it. A few month later, there was a second complain, and he again apologized. There was a third time, which he denied. My board is now charging me $800.00, a fee for odor issue. Can my board legally charge this fee?

I am feeling discriminated and targeted. A few weeks ago I went to the building to visit a friend whose apartment is located at the rear side of the building, which has its own entrance .To my surprise the smell of Marijuana was present. When I spoke to the board about this, they stated that no one has complained therefore they don't have any report on file. In other words, there is nothing they can do. Please advice!

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Question: Does your renters have a Medical Marijuana card? If yes your board can not say anything nor charge you for odors. Building has a # of odors Like cooking, smoking and painting and construction.
Medical Marijuana (Vaping does not smell ) nor does vaping smoking cigarets I know this for a fact.
Sounds like someone doesn't like your renter. Before you fight this check if they have a medical card. The board can not charge for something that is legal. Good luck and let us know what happens.

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In addition to PC #1's good suggestions, I would recommend you check your co-op's House Rules for a no-smoking clause. One might have been added recently, although as a shareholder you should have been notified at the time.

Co-ops and condos must abide by a Warranty of Habitability. This is law which states in effect that in multi-unit buildings, it is the responsibility of the landlord (or co-op board or HOA) to insure each unit is habitable. You should check the Warranty of Habitability for Westchester to understand exactly what it says.

Second-hand smoke of any sort is the major habitability complaint. It sounds like in the building you visited, everyone was cool with the marijuana smoke so no one complained. In the building housing your sublet unit, some shareholders are not so understanding. But they will most likely prevail if this becomes a legal matter.

I don't think you or your sublet are being targeted. The fact your sublet smoked a second time after being warned affects his credibility. If a unit owner once again smells MJ smoke, it is not too difficult for them to arrange with a board member to visit the unit owner's apartment while the MJ odors are present. The board also has the right to enter your sublet's apartment at the same moment in time to sniff for tell-tail traces of MJ smoke.

The best thing you can do is warn your sublet against smoking anything. Period. Then be proactive. Notify the board that if they receive another complaint, you would like a board member to immediately visit your unit to see if any aromas are present. Incense and other aromatics will only decrease credibility further.

Please be aware that I am not an attorney, and what I wrote above is worth what you paid for them.

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Beware of Digital TV service providers bearing bulk contracts! - Steven424 May 08, 2020

I was recently approached by a digital TV provider offering my shareholders a spectacular package discount, provided all my apartments signed up for their service.

A quick perusal, and I learned that if less than 75% of my apartments accepted the offer, my Co-op would have to make up the difference. Basically, all maintenance-paying shareholders who did not sign up for the new package would be subsidizing the remaining few who did.

We'd been approached in the past with similar offers, and it's amazing how they've become more bloated, like a sponge in water. The package in place when I became treasurer 12 years ago was for two years. The replacement package I rejected was for three years. The offer that was given to me this week was for five years.

Five years of being on the hook to an increasingly obsolete service delivery technology. They must be reading the same articles I do:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90466112/look-how-far-cable-tv-has-fallen

My building is wired for both cable and fiber optics, so we have the luxury of competition. If your building bundles DTV services into maintenance and all shareholders are required to pay for them regardless, then the discount packages may make sense. But if services are optional, and shareholders can opt-out, be very very careful of what you commit to.

Caveat Emptor!!

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CONDO TENANT RIGHT - Alima Guire May 04, 2020

We are tenants in a condo for over a year now. When we signed the lease, our landlord told us the board restricted the use of the laundry room to the tenants. We were kind of okay with it. Then we moved in and the same management gave us access to the laundry-room as we noticed other tenants were using it.
Allow us to emphasize that we have never has any complaints of any sort since living in this building (no noise, littering, disturbance etc.).
Recently, the "management/ Board’s president “to be precise has decided to stop us from using the laundry-room over an honest mistake of overloading the machine once, then threated our landlord by saying if we were to continue, they would change the lock and charge him(the landlord) hundreds of dollars. Having a great relationship with my landlord we have stopped but now we are sending a complaint to the Attorney General for the following reasons:
First off, the Board’s president/ Management is imposing rules made by his own will based on his individual sentiments (not proven to be voted as condo rules suggest it).
Second, the rules are not applied to ALL TENANTS
Third, he has made prejudice comments referring to my look calling me “Black looking nanny” (Because of my hairstyle to say the least) and many more insulting and unacceptable comments directed to another tenant, which are very offensive and outrageous.
Forth, because of the Pandemic, as per STAY AT HOME rules imposed, why should we abide by unfair rules.
We believe in treating tenants equally and fairLY. One person may not abuse its power simply because he can. His actions should be corrected immediately.
Consider this complaint a discriminatory complaint and abuse of power above all.
Thank you in advance for your attention in revolving this issue.

Cordially,

Alima and Jerome Downey

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Hi Alima and Jerome - I am very sorry for the grief and discriminatory remarks you were subjected to by the condo board president. Have you brought these and your other complaints to the attention of your landlord, who I assume owns the condominium? If not, this is where you should start.

You have to realize that as the tenant of the actual owner of the condo you have very little influence over the actions and decisions of the condo's board. The issues you described need to be dealt with by your landlord. You have certain tenant's rights under the law, but you would need to consult with an attorney to understand what they are and how you would enforce and/or protect them.

Most important, I think you misunderstand the nature of this discussion group. It is comprised mainly of co-op and condo board members who answer questions and give advice to other board members based on knowledge and experience. You need to realize that there is no one on here who has any legal power or authority to resolve anything. The best we can do is offer suggestions, but they have no legal standing and are worth what you pay for them.

I'm mentioning this because in your message closing you thanked us for our attention in resolving the issues. We can't. Most of what you describe can only be resolved first by discussion with the board. If that doesn't work, you may have to go to court and you may have to hire an attorney. There's no one on here who can represent you or do any legal work on your behalf.

Good luck,
--- Steve

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3 Year subletting expires in August - Maria May 03, 2020

I fear that if I can't sell it during this pandemic, then i will be delinquent in paying my maintenance because of financial hardship. I have a bad feeling that the Management is trying to regain possession of the unit. When the pandemic begins to taper, I will be able to market it....but by then I won't be able to pay the maintenance bill of the coop which is $1,029.00 a month. Why won't they put a temporary halt on this bylaw or rule. I don't know how I will weather this storm. My husband is in his 60's and going to work, worrying about getting the virus. I'm at home worried about my husband and afraid to go out.......I feel like I am being cornered by the Coop Board and Management company and now I have this extra stress.

0 0

> Join the conversation Comments (3)

Hello Maria,

You most certainly can list your co-op. The realtor will take pictures, some are doing virtual video tours.

You appear to be stuck on the idea of listing when the pandemic winds down but It is winding down Maria... So why wait?

It seems like you want you board to bend the rules but you and your tenant don't want to show good faith by doing due diligence and list your co-op. Has you tenant made any effort to look online or go to a resistor?

I think your tenant is very lucky to have such a caring and compassionate lessor. I am sure she is equally concerned about you.

You mentioned possibly contacting an attorney. With your current situation, do you think spending thousands of dollars for an attorney is the wisest move?

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

I just spoke to my tenant........she said the Co-op can't evict her because of the nys law. She also said she doesn't feel comfortable with anyone coming into her apartment to take pictures or virtual tour for me to sell the coop. What am I to do?

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Maria - Contributor NYC makes excellent points about your tenant, and you and your husband's relationship with her. For an angel, she's not very giving with her halo.

At this point, you should be working *with* your board to make sure she vacates at the earliest possible moment. At best you'll have to hire an attorney and start an eviction proceeding. At worst, this will get you on the outs with your board, and good luck with selling your apartment

She no longer deserves your loyalty and consideration. Good luck with whatever you decide.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

No that's not true. My tenant and I are on the same page. We both want the extended lease. We both agree that the board should have a little more compassion during these time.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Hello Maria,

Now I am confused... While I am totally sympathetic to your situation, there isn't much you can do except end up going to war with your Co-Op board.

Your tenant will eventually be gone and you will be left with an empty co-op, monthly maintenance and attorney fees.

Maria, you can stand your ground but a lease is a legally enforceable agreement and there are emotional and financial consequences that you will be facing for your actions.

Is your tenant a family member or th or actual owner?

I just can't understand how you can put yourself in a position that will require legal intervention for your tenant. I understand she is an "Angel" but there are other ways you can help her.

Rather than challenging your board and spending thousands for legal action, you can offer to pay her 1st months rent and security deposit. That might be a great incentive for her to put on PPE and allow a realtor into the unit to take a re pictures and list your Co-Op .

Awwhttps://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Co-op-Condo-Buyers/2020/2020-May/Uptick-in-Apartments-For-Sale-Offers-Market-Ray-of-Hope









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To be blunt, it makes no difference what your tenant wants. She has no standing in any of this, and worse, she's putting up roadblocks that will make your and your husband's life much more miserable. The two of you can agree all you want. I don't see it swaying your board.

As far as what *you* want, you made it clear in your original posting that the board will not extend your lease and they have no reason to reconsider. So either you can start planning for the future by making sure your tenant vacates when the existing lease expires, or you can wake up the day after in a big heap 'o problems.

If magical thinking worked, coronavirus would be gone by now. Like a miracle.

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I am sorry for your troubles Maria,

Seems as if your tenant is being very combative and doesn't care that she will be causing you a lot of trouble and grief and possibly the loss of your co-op once she does leaves.

Good luck with whichever recourse you decide to take.

https://ny.curbed.com/2020/4/2/21204328/nyc-real-estate-coronavirus-home-showing


https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Co-op-Condo-Buyers/2020/2020-April/Yes-Remote-Closings-Are-Possible.-Here-s-How

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Hello Maria,

Now I am confused... While I am totally sympathetic to your situation, there isn't much you can do except end up going to war with your Co-Op board.

Your tenant will eventually be gone and you will be left with an empty co-op, monthly maintenance and attorney fees.

Maria, you can stand your ground but a lease is a legally enforceable agreement and there are emotional and financial consequences that you will be facing for your actions.

Is your tenant a family member or the actual owner?

I just can't understand how you can put yourself in a position that will require legal intervention for your tenant. I understand she is an "Angel" but there are other ways you can help her.

Rather than challenging your board and spending thousands for legal action, you can offer to pay her 1st months rent and security deposit. That might be a great incentive for her to put on PPE and allow a realtor into the unit to take a re pictures and list your Co-Op .

Awwhttps://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Co-op-Condo-Buyers/2020/2020-May/Uptick-in-Apartments-For-Sale-Offers-Market-Ray-of-Hope


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https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Co-op-Condo-Buyers/2020/2020-May/Uptick-in-Apartments-For-Sale-Offers-Market-Ray-of-Hope

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Abatement Charge Error Follow Up - JC May 02, 2020

So, it's now over a year ago, that we were incorrectly charged an abatement tax in our coop, which my spouse lived in for over 35 years, and I moved in over 25 yrs ago. A quick recap (of what I posted months ago): We were married 8 yrs ago, and I was added to the lease in Jan 20I8, however in April of 2019, we were charged over $1700 for an abatement tax, because our residences was not our primary address. Ridiculous, and 100% incorrect, as we don't even have summer home or even travel! Management even sent out a form months before the abatement tax to correct any mistakes the NYC DOF may have had on file which we did, and turned it in within 24 hrs. I posted this horror show here at Habitat, and there were a few individuals were very helpful with suggestions, which I tried. Management claims they have been working on this case from the start, and originally said it would only take a few months to be credited. We've been calling them periodically, and all we get is it's the NYC DOF that is taking long, not us.

From suggestions here, I've contacted individuals from the NYS DOF who said they would look at my case, but I never heard from them again. This is after emailing a follow-up asking for any updates. I then went direct to the NYS DOF website and submitted the details there, in hopes someone can look into my case, but within 24 hours, I received a "case closed" reply, with this response:
----
Although you completed the application to establish your primary residence with your managing agent, they must relay this information to Department of Finance by listing you/unit on a co-op/condo change form. Please provide a copy of the change form listing the added owner for the 2018/19 tax year.
Thank you for contacting the New York City Department of Finance.
----

One of the board members from my coop and a good friend, mentioned that this has happened before, but NEVER took this long to resolve. With all that's going on with the Covid-19 situation, I don't know if now is the time to expect any progress, but nothing has changed even before this. Any further ideas or recommendations? It feels like the equivalent of being robbed (auto-pay didn't help), and if we are not persistent, we would simply lose what is owed to us. Thank you all again, and apologies for this repost.

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Hope this helps.

https://www.habitatmag.com/Archive2/355-May-2018/The-Mystery-of-the-Missing-Abatement

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I would contact your NYC Council person and ask them to contact the DOF on your behalf. They'll want all the information you've provided here.

I had some success with this method, so give it a try and good luck.

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Thank you for the article and Marty, thank you. I am now in the process of writing out a letter with documents to my city council.

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