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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

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rules/laws re:sponsor's sale - DP Jun 23, 2021

Are there different rules/laws for selling apartments in a coop, based on whether you're an owner or the sponsor
—laws controlling who the SPONSOR is allowed to sell to (especially when he's trying to disengage from the building)?

We are trying to accomplish more owner-occupied units in our coop and do NOT want investors. The sponsor knows this, and yet...

He sold one of his units to another investor. That investor never lived in the building, and immediately rented it to a family who already lived here but was looking to move within the building. That tenant moved out within a short time (year or two) and the apartment is now rented to yet another person.

Thank you.

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We have sponsored units in our building and little by little they sell them. We don’t have a lot at this point. Once the sponsor sells them then the buyer becomes a shareholder and has to follow the rules. They can’t rent out their unit aka sublet until after a certain time. You should contact your management company and co-op attorney because something doesn’t make sense or maybe with us we don’t allow investors and that’s why we don’t have that problem. Did you also check your bylaws?

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Be proactive or people will take advantage

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Communication from the Board to all shareholders/residents - Pooh Jun 22, 2021

Is it appropriate for the President of the board to send out emails using their name and not ending it “Your Co-op Board” or something like that?

In our co-op the President sends out random emails and doesn’t even let the board give input and some are long with lots of details.

How is that a team besides that quite a few times the emails were hostile and disrespectful.

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

you cannot restrict his sending out info on a sheet of paper.
Have a conversation and tell him of the concerns of the rest of the board.
A board member you cannot work with should be voted off the board. Campaign; you are in politics!

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Does the president try to make it sound as if the emails represent the entire board, or is it clear from the context that the emails are the opinion of the president individually?

If the former, at the next board meeting you should vote to require a majority board approval of anything being sent by individual board members. If the president continues to defy the board's vote, it should be easier to remove the president or any board member who behaves badly.

If the latter, the board should inform the president that if they persist in sending out emails to shareholders that do not represent the majority of the board, the rest of the board will send out their own email expressing the views of the rest of the board.

The way we deal with individual vs board emails is, if the email would reasonably originate with an individual board member, such as the treasurer sending out something to do with co-op finances, the board approves the text and the email goes out in the name of the treasurer only.

If the email expresses a full board opinion or vote, then the email is signed by the individual writing it, and indicates board concurrence, like this:

--- Steven424, for the board.

Either way, remember that no individual board member is above the will of the board.

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They send communication as if it’s just from them and not the team. This person doesn’t understand what a team is.

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Contacting co-op attorney on board member - Pooh Jun 22, 2021

What are your thoughts on the President of the board who contacts the co-op attorney to rat out a fellow board member when they think that maybe they did something wrong. It’s not even that serious but it happened two times already. The President didn’t even consult the other board members .

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Depending on the situation, It sounds like the President may be acting very prudently.

If the President becomes aware of some action by another board member that "may be wrong", the President may first want to find out if there are any legal ramifications to the action, and may also want advice on the best and least harmful way to deal with the action.

As for not consulting with other board members, the actions of the errant board member may cause embarrassment or show a lack of good judgment, and the President wants to spare the board member any blowback.

Talking to an attorney is not ratting out a fellow board member, but a good way to get an idea of the consequences from different courses of action.

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This President tries to find anything to get this board member out. It’s such caddy nonsense and then they want to know why no one wants to run for the board or ask questions or shows up to Annual. They really don’t care or respect them.

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If enough other shareholders feel as you do, then you all should organize and propose your own slate of candidates. Then vote the entire existing board out. It will be very messy, but short of taking any sort of legal action, the best way I can think of to resolve the problem.

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Who leads Election of officers after annual meeting - Pooh Jun 22, 2021

After we have an annual meeting and we know who will be elected who leads the conversation on appointing each role?
The current president sent out communication already to stay after, etc and she’s acting like she’s the President for the next year but she wasn’t elected yet.

Is it a board member, management company or attorney leading the conversation.

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

In our co-op it's the attorney who leads the post Annual Meeting election of officers.

I think that your President is just doing her job reminding people via communication what's going to happen after the meeting - regardless of whether she's still the President after the next meeting.

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She can act as if she is still president right up to the election of Board members. Then you have new board members who amongst themselves elect the new officers. You can vote her out of being Pres or not.
Exercise your ability to stand up for yourself.

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Playroom reopening - Nancy L Jun 22, 2021

We've not seen any specific guidance on whether we can reopen our building playroom for kids' parties. We have allowed the playroom to remain open for one family's use at a time. The kids are mostly not vaccinated, but several parents want to be able to host guests and parties again.
We are willing to let them absent specific guidance to the contrary, with the caveat that we don't want to monitor anything, e.g., mask wearing. Any advice?

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Possible unapproved sublet - Pooh Jun 21, 2021

We think one of our broad members is subletting . He was asked who was living in his apartment ( as neighbors notice someone new) and he said a roommate but yet he’s never in the building and a woman lives in his apartment and it’s a one bedroom. Don’t want our board to look bad. What should we do? Report to management company? If it is true what would be the consequences?

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It's going to be very difficult to "prove" the shareholder/board member is not living in the apartment for the purposes of determining an illegal tenancy. You need some way of capturing if the shareholder actually comes and goes, you can't post a watch 24x7.

Is his social situation such that it's possible he has a girlfriend and works long or odd hours? Do you have a doorman who could note when he comes and goes? Any security cameras or swipe cards that record entrances and exits? All of these are very labor-intensive and may not be worth the effort.

The board as a whole is not going to look bad because one board member had chosen to ignore or violate the rules on subletting. The management company works for the board, so anything the management company finds out will be reported to the board.

Short of hiring a private investigator, I think the best you can do is, if the shareholder is truly subletting, hope that he slips up somewhere and his error is caught. As for consequences, that's a question best answered by an attorney.

Good luck!

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No one sees him in the building and especially neighbors who notice the woman in the apartment and he lives somewhere else with his partner.

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Steven424 is right. Knowing it and proving it are two different things.

Good luck trying to prove it but be ready to let it go if you can't.

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Electronic and/or Print communication - Fleetwood Jun 20, 2021

What are you thoughts on all communication which includes financial report, voting info and basically anything as an email /PDF instead of making copies for all the residents/shareholders? It saves on cost because the management company is expensive or unless some documents need to be mailed out?

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We have been trying to be a paperless co-op for a number of years. Everything that is not required to be sent in paper format via USPS is sent electronically in PDF format. We have not had any complaints. You just have to make sure you keep your distribution list up-to-date.

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My only thought is that something sensitive should be treated with special consideration, such as your financial report. Remember you can send out 100 copies via email in two seconds. Caution shareholders to be careful how they dispose of sensitve documents.

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Annual meeting - Fleetwood Jun 18, 2021

My co-op didn’t have an annual meeting last year due to Covid (management company isn’t very tech savvy) and this year I had to push it to have one. There’s definitely some confusion with the setup. Voting and instructions packages didn’t arrive in the mail to all so I said please email too besides the fact that some might be WFH somewhere else. I also had to push to get the financial report. We have 6 slots and 6 candidates so basically all get in. Can they insist on a quorum if we didn’t have a meeting last year? How could you skip two years without having an annual meeting?

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that you are in violation of your Prop Lease and probably additionally NY State Corporate law.
Raise your voice to move strongly to get your current managing agent out the door with no return. Get someone smarter and with more of a work ethic.

These are tough times for coop's with good management, you cannot afford this incompetence.

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Thank you.

I also think that a management company should lead any communication to all the shareholders about the Annual meeting and not also a board member confusing things and chiming it besides the fact that if they’re running to me it’s inappropriate. Too many emails about the same thing. Also one of the board members communicated to all - to have a “legitimate” meeting etc.. I felt that was inappropriate and why put that out there.

Please advise

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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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plain and simply; free money

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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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