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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

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Emergency lights in the hallway - Pooh Aug 21, 2021

We’re expecting a storm and I let the management company know if anyone checked our lights? Super and porter? In the past they worked briefly and it was pitch black in the hallway and to me that is dangerous of course and a liability. I told them let’s get back up lighting that the super can put on the walls and then take out after the storm is over.

No one on the board looked into this and once again all we hear are excuses instead of finding solutions. My recommendation is a cheap solution since a backup generator is expensive.

Has anyone come across this and any thoughts or suggestions?

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stairway lighting with battery backup in all both of our stairwells. Lutron system.
Converting the existing hallway lighting with an emergency mode would be even more expensive.
Hallway separate emergency lighting is affordable until it comes to the labor to mount and hardwire them in.
Conversely you could purchase separate lantern/battery operated units and store them where someone could retrieve them in case of an outage.

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Thank you so much!

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I believe it is a violation of some DOB or other agency regulation to not have emergency backup lighting a multi-family dwelling. The FDNY makes spot inspection and if a building is in violation it can be fined.

The most common solution is something like this: https://www.exitlightco.com/product/EL-STLED.html At $65 each the cost per resident is probably extremely low. You want something that is set and forget because in an urgent situation like smoke from a fire you don't have time to first deploy the lighting devices.

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I suggested auxiliary lantern style lighting to augment automatic switching emergency lighting, not stand in place of it.

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Thank you!

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Substitute Super Rules - Muddled in Manhattan Aug 17, 2021

Our super went on vacation and management did not tell shareholders. Of course there was a crisis. What is the legal requirement for a building to have a substitute super, or at least someone on call?

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First the shareholders must demand that the management co send out notification when the Super is out on vacation and they should also list in the email/flyer who to contact should a crisis come up. Also have shareholders call or email the management co and the Board and/or bring it up at the Annual meeting. The more that are vocal then they’ll do something.

Do you have a porter? They could also get someone to fill in too. I’m sure the management co has a list of part time help either union or non-union members.

In my co-op we have a super and a porter so there is backup. The co-op behind me has a Super full time but help just on the weekends so I’m sure the weekend help do more hours when the Super is on vacation and especially for a week.

Basically it’s not managed properly. Co-op’s have a management co and board members…they should think of these things.

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Super painting - Pooh Aug 17, 2021

Our Super can paint various parts in our building and due to his union contract he can paint even more then his previous contract stated. Our basement definitely needs a touch up but he keeps claiming that due to the fact that the paint is chipping a bit it has lead and he can’t touch it. Our basement looks bad and it’s not good when potential buyers come and view the space and building. My question is if there really is lead exposed then why is he working there or others are walking there all day long? Wouldn’t we as a co-op have to have that cleaned up or professionally removed? I think sometimes union members love to make excuses not to do something. Also he used to paint part of the basement and Of course since he hasn’t in a bit it’s chipping away more and more.

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I think the easiest solution is to hire a lead and asbestos testing company to perform a survey of your entire building. That way you can authoritatively respond to your Super's hesitancy. As a bonus, you could also be made aware of the much larger issue of needing lead and/or asbestos abatement. Either could be a very time-consuming, disruptive, expensive project, and the sooner you find out about it, the better you'll be able to plan and budget for it.

I've found that "making excuses" is not limited to union members. Either your employees act professionally and responsibly or they don't. Being a union building works both ways. If you strive to maintain good relations with your union there's a lot they can do for you. This is not always possible given individual human nature, but I've found comity usually works better than confrontation.

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Repairs in a co-op - Pooh Aug 15, 2021

Hi
Do you mean the porter? Is he being paid for these extra jobs/repairs? Are they in a union? I think the porter reports to the management company like the Super. If the Super doesn’t want to do these repairs as a side gig why he is restricting the porter? You should contact your management company. The board doesn’t manage the Super or porter and that’s in my co-op.

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We're going through this same exercise in my co-op. It boils down to responsibility and liability. Here are two articles I found that are pretty much on-point:

https://cooperatornews.com/article/qa-co-op-liability-when-a-live-in-super-does-a-job-for-a-shareholder

https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Legal-Financial/2018/2018-November/Moonlighting-Supers

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Discriminatory repairs for some residents in a coop - DM Aug 15, 2021

I live in a coop that has a Superintendent who tends towards the corrupt. Historically, the hand many is allowed to perform repair jobs he is capable of on his own or when the Super is on vacation. However, now, due to the bias of this super towards certain residents, he is restricting the handyman. This is causing inequitably of treatment and discrimination among residents. The board enables this. what can be done?

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Campaign to get rid of your super. He is not serving the coop well.

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He loves his free apartment and will not leave. and the board is not perceptive enough to see the harm he presents.

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and smart enough, you will prevail!

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Run a slate of your own candidates for the board at the next election meeting. The mere threat of being replaced may get the current board off their collective duffs. Or it might put you and your running mates in control.

Just be careful of what you wish for because you may get it.

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Business Corporation Report 727 - NYC Aug 14, 2021

Hi all, Since its inception, has anyone received the BCL 727?

Thanks

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As a shareholder we have never received this with our annual report or even discussed this with the shareholders. Our attorney did speak on this when we had the election with the new board members this year but only the board members that were on the board last year signed this and not any new board members but my understanding is that shareholders should receive a copy.

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Thank you for your quick response. I previously asked this when the law was first enacted. I believe because the law is completely silent on enforcement and oversight, and does not contain any penalties for violations", boards are not adhering to this law. It seems like a shareholder would need legal intervention in this matter as in other BCL laws that are not being adhered to by the board. Thanks Again.

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But to me it’s the co-op’s attorney to inform the board when there are new rules and regulations and if the board doesn’t do it then it’s their fault and then the shareholders needs to demand it or get new board members and even a new attorney if he’s not doing his job right. Our attorney only told the board this year about this but it’s been implemented for a few years already.

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window guards - Cecile Aug 11, 2021

who pays for window guards and the installation

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https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.habitatmag.com/layout/set/amphtml/Publication-Content/Legal-Financial/2016/2016-June/Window-Guards

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And so naturally they are responsible to pick up the tab for getting them in the windows.

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Fee for Engineer company - Pooh Aug 07, 2021

I wanted to ask if it’s common that when you hire an engineer company to oversee, etc a project (like we hired them to oversee work to be done on the facade because there was a leak) would an engineer company get 10% of the whole project?

We’re also hiring them for our window project.

Getting info like this from our Board is hard.

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We pay our engineers either of two ways most all the time.
We pay at an hourly rate, bills to be submitted as the project proceeds.
Or we get a fixed total quote upfront for what the whole job will be.
I'd say the first arrangement is the more common one.

I'd resist the % arrangement as this incentivizes the engineer to be happier as the size of the job grows.

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Conflict of interest - Pooh Jul 22, 2021

Can someone let me know if their building abides with this 2017 rule?

https://www.wasserruss.com/new-conflict-of-interest-rules-ny-condo-co-op-boards/

Our building this year had board members sign something but that’s it.

What about shareholders? Do they need to know about this and this is communicated to them regarding board members signing a document and also listing contracts, etc and maybe that is distributed to the shareholders?

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Also we have a sponsor on the board which makes it 7 and he rents and sells his units. Isn’t that a conflict of interest?

Also what about our management company they have a real estate company on the side and would communicate that to shareholders..isn’t that a conflict of interest or does the rule just apply to board members?

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Barred from Annual Shareholder Mtg - CoopBoardInfoSeeker Jul 15, 2021

Hi,
Our coop board is not allowing any shareholders who are currently trying to sell their unit to the annual shareholders' meeting. This was emailed to us last year then rescinded at the last minute. In the new house rules, there is now a rule stating this. Is this allowed under regular articles of incorporations? This is a NYC coop, for reference.

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Hi
This is strange and what if the sale doesn’t go through and/or you changed your mind? They also have to send you the minutes of the Annual meeting afterwards because you’re still the owner/shareholder . What are they trying to hide? You should contact your management company and your co-op attorney. Also contact the attorney general’s office. If someone wants to buy a unit don’t they get to see the minutes of meetings if they want to do so they can really see the state of the building? How long have these board members been on the board? What would they do if you show up? Call the cops? This doesn’t sound right.

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What the??
This has to be illegal. All shareholders are automatically entitled to attend the annual shareholder's meeting. The Board cannot change NYS corporate law.
Talk to your coop attorney for their ruling on this and report back to us here.

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It sounds to me like a misguided attempt to prevent someone who is contemplating or actively looking to sell their apartment from voting in their own interest instead of what is best for the co-op.

For example, suppose the board is going to propose a large maintenance increase for all the good and valid reasons. The thought is that anyone looking to sell their apartment will vote against the increase because it will hurt their sales potential even if the increase is badly needed, and because they most likely won't be affected by it.

Barring these shareholders from the meeting is still illegal and should be challenged in every way possible.

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