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managing agent profiting from large projects - matilda Jun 09, 2008


just smelling something funny in our cop. is there a way that a managing agent can profit from encouraging a coop to do one large project after another?

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E-MAIL POWER:
Three years ago our new mang company tried push through am $11,000 contract for AC brackets we had replaced the year before (and a $5000 parking perk for our Super which we could not afford or need). According to our agent the AC contract was a great deal, and the contract had to be signed by 5pm on a Fri... Fortunately this got out -- and started an Email revolution in our building. This was our first RedFlag.
It has taken us three years, and one of the worst mananged and most expensive (we hired an Independent engeneer to investigate) LL11 projects -- to finally get rid of this Mang company. Certain BM, no matter how bad things got, (unpaid bills, uncollected funds and virtually no recordkeeping [No SH list] to name a very few) continued to support this agent. The Email Trail, both from BM who saw what was going on, and the SH, did them in. We just discovered that they did not register the new owners for the Tax abatement and numerous SH for the past three years, did not recieve this abatement check -- which in some cases is substancial.
Start the Emial trail now (keep all Emails) and ask questions. Dont accuse but ask if its necessary... Ask that BM take recorded votes... make everyone accountable. and good luck.

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New Noise Laws - BoardNewbie Jun 06, 2008


Seems like all sorts of loopholes in new noise code. We finally got a noise violation issued to a restaurant whose HVAC has been the bane of our rear line shareholders. Problem is the offender gets 6-8 weeks before he has to appear in court and he is making no signs of curing the situation anytime soon. The managing agent for that building doesn't care, and we are going nuts as the HVAC is detreriotating daily giving off more loud grinding racket 15 hours a day, 7 days a week. Borough Presidnet's office said nothing else they can do. We are considering sending a lawyer's letter to the managing agent threatening a law suit. Has anyone had to resort to this? IS ther legal remedy available (or threat of) that can bring about a faster and better result than the sad DEP process? Even with our windows shut it sounds like we're underneath an idling bus. And, btw, the noise code is very misleading-this guy had a 57 dcibel reading and the ambient level was 52-so the DEP brochure saying the lower thresehold for a violation is 45 is not really true. There are all sorts of contingencies.

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call this fantastic woman: Arline L. Bronzaft of the Council on the Environment , NYC

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This restaurant sounds like such a bad neighbor, I think you ought to make a little noise yourself.

First, let everyone know. Go to restaurant blogs and urge people not to eat there. Post flyers around the neighborhood.

Get a picket line in front of the place, after first alerting news organizations that something big and visual is going to take place -- stressing (this is important) that the legal process is broken, that the new law doesn't work, and that a whole building of average, everyday working people are being deprived of the sleep and peace that they need in order to work.

Let your community board know. Let your State Assemblyman know. Ask your attorney if you need a permit to protest, and get one. If you can't get one, protest anyway -- you have a First Amendment right, and it'll get on the news.

Don't forget to shoot video of the picket an e-mail it to TV and online news orgs. The overall purpose is to give this disgustingly selfish restaurant such embarrassing PR that they'll have to fix the violation. Also, it'll call attention to loopholes in the city law, which makes it legitimate news.


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this is perhaps a bit easier and she can help you mediate with the restaurant.

call: CENYC phone 212-788-7900 fax. 212-788-7913

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Thanks for all your suggestions-hard and soft ones alike! I will follow up on both recommendations and let you know our progress. These responses just affirm what a great online community Board Talk is-thanks, Habitat, for getting it back up online!

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NYS HOUSING LAW 213 - Anonymous Jun 05, 2008


Does anyone know anything about the above law that refers to DRIE for disabled shareholders and how can you find out if the mortgage now or past was protected under the above housing law which would make disabled tenants/shareholders qualified for the above exception.

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Security - guardsman Jun 04, 2008


We are a mid sized Manhattan coop. We need to make some changes to cut security costs. Up to now our security has always been inhouse. One option is to outsource to a security company.

Interested to hear from other building who have faced the problem, how did you handle it, which security companies did you evaluate, what is the caliber of security personnel sent to your building.

Any info helpful.

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We are a mid-sized coop in NYC (80 units)
We have a contract with Securitas Inc and we pay aprox $14 per hour per guard. We have 4 guards at 8h shift plus 1 extra guard on Sun
Annual cost aprox $135

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Annual aprox $135,000

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video cameras - Bogie Jun 03, 2008


We are a townhouse community A few homeowners have asked for the OK to install video cameras in their windows facing the outdoors. They have provided specs, etc. The one outstanding question for the Board is: should we require them to post a sign? Our managing agent says yes. But we have been unable to determine if it is a legal requirement. Appreciate any advice you can give us. Thanks.

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Lobby Renovation - Tracy Sebben Jun 02, 2008


We are about to embark upon a Lobby renovation. Does anyone have any companies they would recommend for:
External Doors
Intercoms

Thanks

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I am a Superintendent of a Cooperative and we use Academy Intercom for maintenance, new installation and for engravings. They are very professional and their response time is Great.
Telephone number Academy Intercom(718/212) 539-1000

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Board conflict - rose May 31, 2008


Hello hope that someone here can help. First off i am the president on the board here at the condos where i reside. I have been treated unfairly and accused of doing things that are untrue but that is not my main reason for this letter. The main reason for this inquiry is to help the residents here. Two of the board members have gone crazy with the "power" that they have being on the board. Have made decisions w/o all board members being notified,passing ammendments not voted on by the owners,locking out other board members including myself they say they where instructed by the atty yet no letter to this was ever received. The owners are furious to all that has happened and want this board to be dissolved immediatly. They have asked me what can be done since the owners dont have money for legal representation.They have begun a petition but once signed what do they do with it at that time? Please help!!

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We had a similar problem. Start to document everything with an Email. Dont sent Emails accusing anyone of anything. but ask questions. Such As: Is it legal for two board members to vote without consulting the rest of the Board. or I dont think its legal to bypass the bylaws,, could another BM clarify this.
KEEP every Email... You will be surprised by the results. Good luck

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Rose,

The first thing you need to do is check your by-laws and become family with the rules of it.
If you can get 2/3% of the owners together, you should be able to remove these 2 off the board.
This must be done quietly at first and then call a special meeting of all the owners or have proxies set up by them.
If you can get them removed, be prepared to refill their positions immediately.
Try to have as little communication with these 2 as possible...
That is the only way to get your situation resolved...
Good Luck..

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Copy of Annual Meeting/Proxy Form - BN May 24, 2008


Our property manager fails to do anything lately-from monthly financial statements to calling our Annual meeting last April, she does nothing. Anyone have a form letter announcing an annual and a copy of a proxy? We have to do this ourselves over Memorial Day weekend because of the nonfunctioning manager.
Thanks,
BN

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How to handle violations of safety practices - BillB May 23, 2008


More and more, we are perturbed that contractors and vendors hired by the co-op (as opposed to residents) come on site and violate simple safety procedures.

Yes, one expects a firm to follow all standard and prescribed safety measures.

Yet, if asked, safety is the corporate mantra for the firms we engage. But how often a mechanic or worker enters a co-op site and proceeds to violate simple safety procedures, hazarding himself or herself and others?.

Here are but a few of the recent safety transgressions, we noted in our building.

1. A worker running cables in a ceiling of our lobby for a new elevator communication system, stood atop the top knuckles of the stepladder (it did not have a top shelf, as it was one of the all purpose ladders that can be folded or extended into various configurations) to reach into the drop ceiling opening of our lobby while pulling cables.

2. A landscaper working on our property left a gardening tool, with a long wooden handle, protruding from the shrubs and intruding onto the adjacent walkway space where anyone who was less than vigilant could have sustained an eye injury.

3. An elevator mechanic descended into an elevator pit without placing a barrier and warning signs around the opening to thwart and prevent an individual or more so a child from approaching the opening and possibly falling into the pit.

While the worker can sue his or her company if an injury occurs, here are some what if scenarios.

In this day of knee jerk litigation, attorneys cast a wide swath and add every entity possible to the law suit. What if the co-op is added to a lawsuit and needs to defend itself. Yes, we have insurance, but why should we have an “experience” on our file for the stupidity of a worker and the lack of supervision by the firm?

What is a co-op employee or resident is injured through the negligence of the vendor or contractor?

How do we reduce or eliminate our culpability, however remote?

Has your co-op corporation encountered such lackadaisical attention to safety procedures by on site workers from vendors or contactors?

If you have, what steps has your co-op taken to ensure compliance with safety procedures?

In some cases, the vendor is under a contract that has two or three years to run.





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We had a scary expereince such as this a couple of months ago. A contractor sent by managing agent to repair leaks around roof equipment was using a blow torch. This is illegal in NY and he started a fire on the roof. The fire department was called (contractor hid the blow torch and said the vent from laundry caught fire from lint) but them I found out afterward what happened. This is a terrifying thing--we could have also had a gas expolosion if the flames had travelled down the vent to the washer/dryer. We will be addressing this with the managing agent.

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Perhaps the best way would be as follows:

1. Check references of your vendors and only deal with reputable vendors. You may also want to interview the principals and know exactly their safety procedures and record.

2. Ensure that the vendors provide you with worker compensation insurance and liability insurance.

3. Have your own employees oversee once in a while the work of these contractors and make sure to report anything that is not safe so that they may demand it.

4. If you see or witness a problem immediately halt the job until you speak with the principal of the company and demand expected safety standards.

Obviously, some employees may take the work beyond the scope as they become daredevils themselves, but principals whose worker insurance may suffer as a result of careless by an employee may even think to retrain or fire the employee for simple stupidity.

AdC

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NYC trees - BP May 10, 2008


We have several trees near the curb in front of our coop. I know trees are city property but they're on sidewalk area on our land. We're responsible for sidewalk repair within the limits of our building property so I assume the sidewalk is "ours."

Can residents plant flowers around the trees without asking us, or at least telling us what they plan to do? Do they need coop permission to plant -and/or do they need city permission?

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I am a Superintendent/Resident Manager of a Co-Op. Usually, the resident will request the supers direction, in which the super will bring it up wit the manager or board of directors and they will give direction on how to proceed. At my building we have a maintenance/grounds committee. All issues are brought to me and if i feel that the board needs to be involved i will include them in the processes. But usually with landscaping/gardening I take all the inquiries into consideration and I usually try to make everyone happy.

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There's an article on the subject in the March 2007 Habitat, if that's of any help.

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