New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

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Coop/condo tax abatement to end? - DM Dec 26, 2020

Our coop says they have heard from someone in the know in Albany there is little support for this annual abatement and it will probably be terminated in its entirety within the next year or two.

I doubt this.

Has anyone else heard this?

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

I hear it almost every year... <chuckling> Perhaps this article will put your mind at ease https://www1.nyc.gov/site/finance/benefits/landlords-coop-condo.page

What I believe is ending this year is the 421-A Tax Abatement. This is completely separate from the Real Estate Tax Abatement you're asking about and was given to new developments under certain conditions.

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Recommendations for very low-cost management companies - Elisa Dec 23, 2020

I would appreciate getting recommendations for very low-cost management companies. I live in a building with very few units, and our inexpensive management company doesn't provide timely services. They also seem lacking in knowledge about minimal safety procedures (e.g., providing clear exit signs in case of fire). We have to nag and nag to get them to fulfill their responsibilities. Recommendations for management companies that provide minimal, but competent, service would be helpful. Thanks!

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

The Habitat comes out every year with names of all managing agents with ratings, employees and how many buildings they manage. Use the search to find it.
You can also check around your area buildings they have the managing agent listed as you enter the building. Ask them questions about the agent.
As I have been talking to several board members they recommend changing managing agents every few years. They do get lack/lazy managing employees, shareholders complaints, building safety or anything that needs managing. Most agents leave the jobs up to the building board. Make sure you do your homework in checking all managing agents before you sign a contract. I know a couple of buildings that have to change agent until they find a perfect fit. Good Luck

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coop building insurance Company - Vicky Dec 21, 2020

Can anyone recommend a few good insurance companies for our coop? We are under 80 units in queens.
Can you email me directly at nyccoop@yahoo.com?
Thank you
Vicky

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Non Union Garden Co op - Diane Dec 18, 2020

We are a 100 unit garden apartment non union co op in Queens, N.Y.C.   We presently have 1 live in super. The super is also a shareholder who has his maintenance, washer/dryer/ dishwasher, air conditioner, parking spot and garage fees paid for by the co op.  We have been union free for about 4 years now.  He knew we were a union free co op when He was hired. However, now he has said that he wants to join the union even though he knew we were a union free co op.  What recourse does the co op have because we don't want a union super?
Thanks in advance

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Hi - Everything you wrote is secondary to the desire of your super to join a union. You present some very convoluted issues regarding your super: also a shareholder, having all of his living expenses subsidized by the co-op etc.

The only advice I can offer is to immediately contact an attorney who *specializes* in labor and union relations. The rules and regulations regarding unionization are complex even in a plain vanilla situation. Yours sound like they're on the next level.

Any missteps taken today can haunt you for years. You need a specialist who knows the law, knows the regs, and who can guide you along the path you and your co-op want to travel.

Remember, especially in this kind of situation, legal advice you receive here is worth what you pay for it.

Good luck!
--- Steve

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

What a great setup for your super, your coop is so generous why would anyone want to be in the union? Being on the board for many years I would look for another super. It sounds like he wants protection on getting out of doing work in your building 24/7 he seems much too comfortable. I really don't understand why so many coops and condos give their super so much power and credit for hanging out in there apartments all day, while the other help covers for them.
Steven is correct to go see a lawyer that does this kind of law. Please reconsider on hiring a new energetic super. Best of Luck

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I don’t have any solutions but I agree with the general consensus of trying to legally avoid any of your staff going union. I also am in a NYC Co-op, and the staff is unionized. The staff in general does the least amount of work possible without getting fired, and it’s impossible to fire them. You’d think they’d be grateful that they have benefits, job security, pensions, health insurance, but they are always complaining about the work, the pay, the schedule and pretty much everything. They remind me of tenured teachers and professors who know they cannot be fired. And I’ve read that unionized building staff costs owners 40% more. The trouble is that we are such a union friendly city that in you cannot fire someone for wanting to go union. I’d start keeping a log of any behaviors of his that you are unhappy with. Make it computerized so you can show your concerns about his performance pre-date his desire to go Union. Sorry I don’t have any advice but I feel your pain. The next building I buy in will be non-union.

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Transparency of Board Officers - Gouverneur Gardens Dec 16, 2020

What are your thoughts about Board Officer negotiating ,dealing with contractors, and vendors without full transparency or approval from the rest of the Board?

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

It depends on many factors, not all of which are sinister.

For example, the board officer may have been previously authorized to negotiate in the name of the co-op, and given prior authorization to enter into a contract up to a certain dollar amount. This is done to save the rest of the board time and effort where their contributions would be of little value.

Yes, I would want such a duly authorized board member to report back to the rest of the board on any binding actions s/he took, but when a single board member is authorized to negotiate for the board, it implies a level of trust and acknowledgment of their effectiveness in the negotiations.

Each board has a different way of dealing with issues that come before them and they have to deal with. Without additional information about the nature of the board officer's dealings with the contractors and vendors, it's difficult to make any judgments.

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Doorman selecting whom he opens door for - is this common? - DM Dec 16, 2020

The doorman in our coop will not open the door for delivery people. He will sit and ignore them.
This seems discriminatory to me - is it common?

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

I don't know how common it is, but it is impolite, uncouth, and definitely casts your building in a terrible light.

You might mention something to your board or managing agent to let them know your disapproval of the doorman's actions. They may not be aware of the elitist attitude of one of their employees.

There may also be another side to the situation. Does your building have a service entrance separate from the main entrance? It may be that this particular delivery person has been asked multiple times to use a different entrance and is ignoring the request.

Bottom line is, the doorman is an employee of the co-op. If you are not pleased with his actions or demeanor, as a shareholder politely and factually bring it before the board or MA and ask if they can do something about it.

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Electric outlet issues: Who pays for the repair? - Elisa Dec 12, 2020

If an electric outlet is defective in a condo apartment, whose responsibility is it to repair it--the apartment owner, or the condo association? The first indication of a problem was when I turned on a lamp that was plugged into this outlet, and the bulb blew - smoke arose from the bulb. Thinking that the problem might have been the lamp, I plugged in another lamp into that outlet. The lamp worked for only one day.
The electric outlet seemed to have affected the light bulb - when I tried out the bulb in other lamps, plugged into a different outlet, the bulb no longer worked. My question: If this is a systemic issue, is it the condo association's responsibility to pay for an electrician to 'fix' the outlet? Or, is it the individual apartment owner's responsibility?

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Please cut off the circuit breaker for that outlet, you may start a fire.
Then I would contact the superintendent in your condo to look at the outlet. He/She will check it out for you and will advise you what needs to be done and who will have to pay. If you don't want to go that rout I would contact your electrician. You may need 150/210 outlet That's what I needed to be changed. My superintendent did it free.
Good Luck

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Keeping the Election Process of a Mitchell Lama Honest - Gouverneur Gardens Dec 10, 2020

Is it legal per the Business Corporation law to use corporate websites, emails solicit proxies, legal advice from the corporate attorney at the cooperators expense for personal use when running for the Board of Directors?
Is also legal to remove an officer of the Board before the certified results are posted before the board is seated and new officers are elected?

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Money in Escrow for Estate - marym Dec 08, 2020

My brother is the executor of his brother-in-law's estate in Pennsylvania and there is about $200,000 in the attorney's escrow account. The estate is almost wound up (estate taxes have been paid) but the attorney was just admitted to the hospital with COVID. He is in bad shape and is on a ventilator. The question is: is the money safe and if the guy dies, who takes care of the estate and the escrow money and any idea how long that would take?

Thank you very much for any assistance.

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Hi - I am not an attorney, but my late wife was a Trust & Estates attorney in NYS. I will try to answer your questions generically.

(1) If the $200k was in the attorney's escrow account it is most likely safe. There are very strict rules surrounding escrow accounts because the funds do not belong to the attorney and cannot be used to benefit the attorney in any way.

(2) Was the attorney a sole practitioner or a member of a law firm? If a sole practitioner I recommend you contact the Pennsylvania Bar Association for advice. They are probably aware of the attorney's condition and can answer your questions. Plus, they can probably provide you with a list of potential substitute attorneys.

If the attorney was a member of a law firm with other attorneys, the law firm will have all the documents and should assign all transition and escrow matters to another attorney.

(3) How long it will take depends on many factors so there is no best answer

Ultimately you can contact the PA Probate Court (called, I found out, the "Orphan's Court") and ask for guidance. They will probably direct you to the State Bar Association.

Good luck!
--- Steve

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Thank you Steven424. My brother and I appreciate the advice.

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Energy Efficiency Grade "N" - Queens Dec 07, 2020

If my co-op received an “N” (exempt) energy efficiency grade, do they still have to post it?

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I think you still have to post it because after all, it is still a grade. Besides, what harm can it do to post it regardless?

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