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New York Energy $mart Multifamily Performance Program - AR Nov 07, 2007


In light of recent posts, I thought this may be of intrest:

The New York Energy $mart Multifamily Performance Program harnesses the latest in building science technology and applies it specifically to your building's design and daily operation. Using a partner network, made up of engineers, energy consultants, and other industry professionals, the Multifamily Performance Program uses a customized approach to address the specific energy and operational needs of your building.

In the Existing Buildings Component eligible buildings are required to benchmark their energy performance compared to a set of similar buildings. Depending on their relative rank, they are assigned a performance target to achieve. Implementation of an Energy Reduction Plan and confirmation of achievement of the target make the buildings eligible for NYSERDA incentives.
By participating in the Multifamily Performance Program you will:
• Improve the value of your building
• Provide tenants with a comfortable and affordable living environment
• Save thousands on annual energy costs
Comments and questions should be directed to 1-877-NY-SMART

This is a very informative link and site:

http://www.getenergysmart.org/buildingowners/existingmultifamily/overview.asp

Also, see the http://www.nyserda.org site

~AR

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NYSERDA will be exhibiting at the CNYC Conference's Expo this Sunday too. This is the seminar: 2. BEING GREEN IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT Energy consultant Lewis M. Kwit will lead a discussion of sustainability as it impacts cooperatives and condominiums. The session will offer practical advice for buildings to develop their own sustainability portfolio, the types of technologies which contribute to a sustainable living environment and incentives available from the State, City and Federal governments for implementing these protocols. Joining Mr. Kwit will be sustainability experts from the City of New York, The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Green Building Architects and practitioners in multifamily buildings. For more info 212-496-7400 and http://www.cnyc.coop

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I just noticed in my November issue of Habitat on pgs. 26 & 27 NYSERDA and many others will be at the Conference's Expo on Nov. 11. Talking in person always helps.


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Has anyone been able to get them to come do an energy audit? We established a committee and pursued, but just got run around between agencies. Anyone had success? How'd you do it?

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BOARD IS SKIMPING & SCALING DOWN - fredhead Nov 06, 2007


They keep assessing, raising our maintenance,& now decided to charge us all a flip tax when we sell. Our maintenance is high to begin with. The board has now removed landscapers from our premises and is using super as landscaper. the property is too big for super to do. place looks like a pig sty. tired of paying all this maintenance and all board does is scale down. What are they doing with our monies; they are not returning monies for services not being rendered. We spoke to Dave Mejias & he suggested that we contact government upstate to have laws changed. what are we to do in meantime? help.

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Unfortunately, boards do not do a good job of communicating with shareholders the expenses they have to face. Your example sounds like the people next door to me. My next door co-op neighbor was assessed $2 million dollars more in property value last year. I don't know if they tried to contest it, but they are stuck with an invoice to pay, any reductions from contesting the bill will come later on.

If you heard the recent news: those who use heating oil to warm a building, are expected to pay 20% over last year's prices. In our specific case, This will mean approx. $16K more in an $80K oil budget. Only 6 years back, we were paying from $38 to $45K BIG DIFFERENCE!!!

Shall I keep going?...

At our last annual shareholders' meeting, I sort of provided some VERY revealing numbers for shareholders (people love statistics, as you know) Our site manager and independent auditor thought I was very smart in bringing the numbers along -- as you know you have to know your line!:

From 2001 to 2007 our taxes went up 150%. Unfortunately, I don't have the numbers handy to give you an idea of the magnitude of our increase in just 7 years. The tax invoice is not like the bridge over the Westside communicating Riverdale and Manhattan that you can go some other route and not pay. I used to pay $0.10 in 1972 and now it is over $3.00 (I guess E-Z pass made me forget!).

Where is the money coming from? Obviously, if you don't expect skimping, then you are expected to pay. No two ways about it! As long as it is landscaping that you building is skimping you are fine. What about other essential services such as expensive equipment maintenance?

Finally and my very sincere recommendation: join the board to find what some of your fellow shareholders must put up by way of making ends meet at the larger house.

Alternatively, if my recommendation is not part of your plan and if you cannot afford it anymore, then it is time to think of your personal choices. I have already worked my exit plan, i.e., a camping tent, a winnebago, a house in the idillic mountains of PR where I can raise chickens, potatoes and plaintains and perhaps a cow to milk! No, I'm not being sarcastic; it's the dilemma that we all need to come to grips.

Unfortunately, co-ops do not have subsidies and you and I are the only sole supporters of the system.

Good luck!

AdC




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"...a house in the idillic mountains of PR where I can raise chickens, potatoes and plaintains and perhaps a cow to milk.." sounds tempting!

Anyway, oil price this morning is at $2.7983 per gallon for #2 oil. Last year during the heating peak, we were paying $2.29. I anticipate a price of above $3.20 PG in the peak of season. As AdC pointed out, someone has to pay for this.

Boards do not like to raise maintenance every time there is a price increase that was not anticipated, but times are changing and I believe larger and more time structures increases are to, and should be anticipated. Temporary fuel assessments and higher inflationary increases are becoming the norm. These reluctant boards are trying to make up for not raising the maintenance as much as they should by cutting corners elsewhere. Depending on the individual personality of your building, this may or may not be a good idea.

TIP:
Have an assessment done of your boiler, heat timer (and settings), riser & return lines, building envelope, insulation, etc. and remedy all areas needed. Through this I have been able to yield a 15 to even a 38% savings in one other building.

~AR

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also have nyserda do an energy audit of your building. it is subsidized and they will halep you save $. also write to the board and ask them to have the water bil checked. we just got 20k by doing this.

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Who is a good heat consultant to check for the distribution system?

AdC

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Interesting finding in our bldg. Our lobby is 30'x40" and not heated. It is of course warmer than outside in the winter, but people comment how cool it gets if they stop to chat with our doorman or linger for any reason. A door off the lobby goes to the back where our trash areas, laundry and bldg system rooms are. We recently emptied all the back rooms and had our exterminator locate and seal all holes, then the whole area was painted. There were a lot of holes and a few major fissures in boiler and oil tank room walls.

The purpose was pest control and long overdue maintenance but we're noticing how much warmer the lobby is. The walls and floors are marble so the lobby is cool even before temps really start dropping but the difference is already very noticeable.

Proof that sealing holes, etc. is a worthwhile effort. Our lobby is pleasantly warmer. As I said, it isn't heated but if it were, I'm sure the work we did would be saving us money on heating it.

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What I usually do, is have the oil distributor (Castle, Metro, etc..) perform an energy assessment (Free of charge), then I do the rest. I sometimes use Lane engineering for the physical envelope assessment. I perform the distribution, return and system analysis myself. so there is no company I can recommend (maybe I/we should start one!?)
I realize that does not help many people here, so I will explain a few (10) things that you can do yourself to help. Of course there are many more...

1. Ensure all heat risers and returns are insulated as adequately as possible including exposed risers in apartments that are not being used for heat.
2. Ensure all domestic hot water lines are adequately insulated.
3. Have the super turn OFF the automatic water feeder in the boiler. Place a piece of tape at the current fill line and wait 24 hours. Then see how much water was lost. In this weather, anything more than 1/2 inch is too much and may suggest a problem such as water leaks in the boiler (Leaks outside the system can be ascertained by checking the condensation on the pipes at this time), or your return lines. If you have a heat timer with a return line sensor on this line, your boiler is running extra cycles for nothing.
4. Remedy any deficiencies from #3.
5. Sometimes heat distribution is uneven throughout the building. Some will complain about too much heat, some too little. This can be a different cause in different buildings. Two of the most common are: missing radiators on a riser (usually due to previous construction): there will be uneven amounts of heat in each riser - the remedy - tap valves. Another reason is that the air vent valves on the radiator is the wrong size for the location of the radiator. many supers have a hard time figuring which valve to put where and as a result, use the same one everywhere. I found in 100% of the buildings i looked at, I had to replace and reset all the valves. This is a topic that I can almost write a book on!
6. Always make sure that from spring-fall your boiler is set to "low fire" and readjusted in heating season. Otherwise you are burning 2X the needed fuel during those times.
7. Have the tubes and system cleaned regularly (important)
8. Have the heads of the burner cleaned (the super should do this every month)
9. OK, I cannot legally say to do this, or that I do it... on a marginal weather day, your burner waste sometimes double the fuel than a day with solid cold. It will continue the heat cycles all day to establish a temperature that may only be 1-6 degrees above the out door temperature. "many supers I know will turn the boiler on Summer during these days" I do not even get complaints.
10. Shop your oil, don't be afraid just because you have a long term relationship.. that may just be why your over paying.

~AR

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Hi, Fred,

I've done a study of maintenance fees in Manhattan co-ops. If you're in Manhattan, respond here with your neighborhood and your monthly maintenance and the square feet of your apt (very important!), and I'll tell you if your maintenance is higher or lower than your neighbors'.

After all, everyone feels that their maintenance is too high. But as other posters have pointed out, taxes are way up, fuel oil is way up, utilities are up, insurance is up, and inflation is up.

The only thing that isn't up is the cost to ride the Staten Island Ferry. But those boats aren't comfortable for sleeping. Me, I'd go for the farm in Puerto Rico.

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CNYC Annual Housing Conference on Sunday. Nov. 11 - Harry Bailey Nov 06, 2007


If you have issues and questions, this opportunity is the best to get face to face advice from renowned experts in the field. The seminars are the most objective, non-commercial I have ever experienced and I've been around for longer than I care to admit. There's still time to sign up if you act now!

http://www.cnyc.coop.

Hope to see you there!

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Audio tape of telephone conversations - Paul T. Nov 06, 2007


Do any coops or condos audio tapes communications between the management office and residents, contractors, vendors, etc.? Likewise, do buildings tape conversations with the doormen, superintendent, security, etc.?

Does your building have the facility to tape telephone audio conversations?

If no, have you considered taping conversations and what dissuaded you from taking the action?

If yes, which conversations do you tape?

Do you tape conversations with the management office?

Do you tape conversations with the concierge / doormen?

Do you tape conversations with the security office or staff?

Do you tape conversations with the superintendent’s office?

Do you ever tape conversations of those who visit your management office such as to the office window or counter?

How do you handle conversations with belligerent or bellicose residents, contractors, vendors, etc?

Thanks.




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Paul, is there a specific reason? maybe you can elaborate a little more.

FN.

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No. TRUST is the NUMBER ONE issue that makes a good coop/condo work. If I had to resort to recording, I would terminate the relationship with the vendor, staff etc. If I had to record the shareholder, board or Management office, I would hold a meeting to discuss why it has come to this, and if situation was not remedied, then I would look for another building. My job is stressful enough without having to watch my back, and if there is a lack of Trust, then what is the point?
Pgrech

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We have had a number of residents, albeit a small percentage, who when they cannot accept or abide by a rule find it necessary to harass the staff verbally.

We had someone “steal” Halloween/Thanksgiving decorations and sent them a letter to return the decorations or be invoiced for the decorations.

In turn, they screamed at the building manager that they wanted the individual who reported them to be fired.

We have had an individual (an attorney no less) ask for special parking while work was in progress in the garage and when denied the resident called the building manager a Nazi.

Each day there is at least one individual who crosses the line and enters the work of improper behavior. Our staff need not be subject to aberrant behavior.

Sure, we could have our attorney write letters, but why send letters if a voice recording will modify one’s behavior?

That’s why I posed the question, as I am ambivalent in this situation.

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"Sure, we could have our attorney write letters, but why send letters if a voice recording will modify one’s behavior?"

A board member does not get into this type of problems. Let the right professionals take care of the issues. For this reason, I always compare my work to a circus wild beast tamer. I carry a whip and a one-shot gun all the time.

I whip through management; I shoot my gun through the co-op counsel if they did not hear the whip. Discipline does not only come through the counsel's letter, but through the invoice that they receive bill for counsel intervention. When they see the invoice, they will get 20/40 vision if not 20/20.

AdC






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This is why your manager should have plenty of honey and ice-cream to peacefully avert these things

~AR

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Before turning the tape recorder on, you may want to find out what specific warnings you may have to provide to those whom you wish to record since consent may be required. Similarly, when you record, remember that you are also being taped. This was a problem with Nixon, the famous or infamous tapes. You must be extremely cautious as to what you say.

The best way to document is to MEMORIALIZE you conversation if important, i.e., date, time and what as said as soon as is feasible. If you feel that the person with whom you spoke requires the opportunity to clarify the message, then send the person the memo with your understanding of the conversation and let the person clarify if necessary. In this way, both parties have a document of basic understanding of an important discussion.

AdC



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Great advice on this one from AdC

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LOL, if they are calling the manager a nazi for not permitting special parking, imagine what they'd do/say if they knew he was recording them!

While it may be within your rights to record (Providing certain regulations are followed and 1 recorded party is consented), there may be other, more diplomatic ways of achieving your goal. Reviewing and evaluating your management style may be a good place to start. Usually, when there is disarray in any organization, a corporation, a family, an army platoon or even a building, accountability and change comes from the top down. So what I am suggesting is that it may be more prudent to evaluate the effectiveness of both the Board and management in different areas.

Sometimes my task as a property manager is to be a psychologist, psychiatrist and life coach to residents. While I believe the Board should not get involved in personal resident disputes (because, no matter what the outcome, you become the bad guy), it is the managers job to foresee, intercede and prevent situations as you are experiencing. Then, if they do occur, quickly and quietly put out the fire.

All that aside, I do tape certain conversations with certain residents, clients, etc.; but, only when I know there is a potential litigious situation. This has worked to my advantage recently when firing a local 32B Super.

~AR

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Paul,the advise that I would give is to set up a meeting and bring all waring factions to the table to hash thing out. Short of that I would say call Dr. Phil or ask Valerie Plains? to go undercover again.

FN.

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New Sidewalk - boardnewbie Nov 03, 2007


We are demoing the cement and sidewalk in the front of our building and re-pouring -- the public side of it was pocked and a liability. Should the Board have a contract with the cement company and are there warranties that should be included? I have no idea what insures a "good job" or how long it should last. Are there permits and insurances we should have from the cement people? This is happening next week so quick info would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Suggest you can have your outside engineer draft a standard clause or phrase that is included in all contracts that provides a warranty or guarantee from the contractor to you for about a year against sinking, cracking, scaling, flaking, etc.

If it’s a very large job then it would be in the RFP + contract.

If it’s a small project with no real RFP just bids, then it would be in the letter agreement that is signed between the two parties.

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Yes, if you are closing down the entire side walk, then you need a permit from Dept. of Transportation DOT.
You should have some written agreement usually it is in the form of the contractors proposal. Read the proposal and it should state who is responsible for the permit, and what kind of concrete will be used as well as any warranty. If this information is not supplied on the proposal then GET IT. Also, Cert of Insurance should be supplied by the contractor, but You (management) needs to give the contractor the limits of the insurance as well as who is the holder and additional insured. Most of the time a good management company will make sure that all of this is done? Ask your management agent. Otherwise, postpone the work until all the requirements are met. Make sure you do not loose your deposit if you postpone the work.
Who is running your building The Contractors or Management?
PGrech

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Thanks very much, gentlemen! This is great information. We seem to have a breakdown in communication between Management and one person from the Board has been project managing this job. I have since requested he fax copies of all contracts and a work schedule to at least one other member of the Board so we know what is going on and can put the brakes on if all is not in order.

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Peter gives excellent advice here. One more thing you may want to consider is - is this a vaulted space? Then there are waterproofing requirements and more info to obtain. Have a break out in the bid/contract for a set price per square foot, rather than the total contract price - this will set the price for any additional or unforeseen work upfront so the contractor does not charge a higher rate on the change order.

~Usually a regular sidewalk will be 3500psi or more
~ask for an early pour, and you want it to be all one pour as well to ensure consistency.
~Are tree roots underneath? Why is it "pocked?" and a liability? the removal/adjustment of any impedances will need to be spelled out also
~who is responsible to watch the newly poured concrete after it is poured and before it dries? Have the contractor take this responsibility so if someone writes or steps in it. he has to fix it.

OK, that was more than 1

~AR

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Thanks for all the great advice! It was all very useful, helped us get a better contract and an guess what? Our cement guy was refused a permit by the DOT due to an outstanding violation he had. Anyone have any referrals for a small job in Manhattan?

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Questionable Sublet - JohnJ-West Cty. Oct 31, 2007


We are a West Cty coop that has a No Sublet Policy. 1 of our shareholders has another apt in the county, where the maint bill is mailed. He states that the occupant is his roommate and that it is not a sublet. Is there a law/requirement for how long one must occupy the apt to qualify as primary residence or in fact that he even resides there?

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What is the point of your posting:

1. The builidng does not allow to sublease a unit?
or
2. The builidng does not have a defined sublet policy?

If the first is question is the driving point, then read your Proprietary Lease (PL) Occupancy Section. If your PL happens to be the boiler plate type, it might well say that a guest or occupany may stay in the unit as long as the shareholder is in RESIDENCE. Obviously, a roommate needs to move if the legally domiciled resident does not live the unit unless the roommate happens to be a defined a family class member by the PL. If you are sending the maintenance to another address, WHY? Similarly, does the shareholder live the unit, i.e., does he come to sleep to the building every night, not just to pick up the mail, do washes and leave.

If your resident is on short business trips, of course, the occupant may reside the unit. However, if your resident has been out of the unit for a prudential time (2 or more months) I would get in touch with the co-op counsel and try to discuss the problem and even take appropriate action by way of a letter.

YOu'll be surprised how soon those cases are clarified.

AdC



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It is the first (a written policy of No Sublets). We believe that he is using the roomate angle to get around it. He does not reside there with any consistency, nor is job issues at the root.

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Remit the shareholder to legal and be done. As I mentioned, if the shareholder is out of the unit and the roommate (no longer roommate) has no relationship to the shareholder as defined by the PL, his occupancy has become a cause for termination of the PL under unauthorized occupancy.

AdC



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Most proprietary leases or bye laws cover the subject
In ours it states that a guest may stay if the owner is also a residing with them and may stay longer but the owner must get written permission from the board.

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If you have a policy of no subletting, your PL should establish a timeline for company, guests and house sitters and guidelines for new lessees.

If you wish to pursue the action, you must first establish, prove, document and substantiate [intentionally belaboring the point here] that the SH is subletting. Otherwise you begin legal for breach of lease and the SH quickly remedies the situation and you did nothing but waste money and time.

What are your objectives? To have the SH move back? To get rid of the other person? to sue for breach of lease? Just to enforce the Lease and remedy without litigation?

Documentation and proof is easy. If he owns the apartment, then you have his info in the closing file. Run a full check on his personal file (I use First Advantage) find out where he files taxes from, and what address his drivers license and major credit cards are attached to, of course where he receives his bills.

Then you can present him with the information and tell him to save the building time and himself the grief of losing an apartment by getting rid of the sublet. (remember, this is part of the documentation process also) If that fails, then you have the ammo in hand to provide to the attorney.

I have been fortunate enough to have a near 100% success rate using this system without having to use other resources.

Good Luck
~AR

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Is it legal to run a full check on shareholders personal file without his permission?

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Just as your mortgage company pulls your credit every now and then, my purchase applications have a court/credit request approval form that is signed. This form is made to be perpetual. With the laws changing on a constant basis, I would reccomend you run yours by your atty first.

Nevertheless, when we cannot find anything through that venue, we use an investgative service that is great also, and totaly legal. They find out everyting that we can't and are pretty inexpensive. Alot of info is public information that you can obtain without an authorisation or the hiring of help.

~AR

two helpful links:
http://www.fadvsaferent.com/products_services/resident_screening/index.php

and
http://www.94truth.com/?gclid=CIy78_i3vo8CFQNAgQodYle0Pg
or
Topher Tenant Investigations
9777 Queens Blvd Ste 1118
Flushing, NY 11374-3332
Phone: (718) 275-2532


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No MN it's not legal.
If someone uses (FROM YOUR PERSONAL FILE) your name, SS#, date of birth, or other identifying information without authority it's a FRAUD, and shareholder may be able to sue in state or federal court. Board is not a mortgage company.
Shareholder is not a cheating spouse or lover.

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for pointing out we don't live in a police state.

Yet.

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Why to people take things out of context?
Do NOT misinterpret what I said, or take it in part, otherwise you will be in trouble with the FCRA.

As I wrote in my post

"...my purchase applications have a court/credit request approval form that is signed. This form is made to be perpetual. With the laws changing on a constant basis, I would recommend you run yours by your atty first...."

Because, landlords and property rental and management companies perform credit checks on potential tenants on a fairly regular basis, it is important they adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements. The FCRA as a law puts tight restrictions on the procurement and handling of resident screening reports.

What we do, and how we do it is 100% within the law.
As long you adhere to FCRA rules, you should not face any problems, and for you to be in legal compliance with the FCRA, your disclaimer should read as under:

“....XXX Property Management Company has my permission to release information found in screening for any lawful purpose associated with tenancy of premises at any time prior to, or during my residency at XXXXXX. I authorize XXX Property Management Company to obtain credit reports, character information, verification of rental history, employment history, bank information, public records, and personal reference as necessary to verify all information set forth in this application. I further agree and understand that XXX Property Management Company may from time to time run additional reports to maintain the integrity of my information file.”

We have been doing this for 11 years without any problems. Of course there are other guidelines that must be adhered to. As I stated before, consult your atty first; you also should familiarize yourself with the full act.

If you are interested, the complete text of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. 1681-1681u can be found at the Federal Trade Commission’s web site – http://www.ftc.gov

~AR

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HR3648 - whattodo??? Oct 30, 2007


Anyone have an update if Bill HR3648 has passed or not? I have reading something online saying it's passed the house. Has it passed the senate??? Is it LAW??? Let me know it would be a great help!!!!

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Last Action: Oct 4, 2007: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?tab=main&bill=h110-3648

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How does this affect your co-op. Obviously your interest lies with 80 20. Therefore, I would liek to know how 80 20 has affected your co-op and how you hope this bill will help.

Our co-op also hopes this will pass.

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If an individuals short sales or has to foreclose on a property they would have to pay the income tax on the amount not paid. If the bill passes that individual will not be have to pay the income tax. But they would have had to occupied the property for at least 2 years.

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cable bulk discount change - sally Oct 29, 2007


good time to negotiate a bulk rate deal in yoru buiding with time warner and be really assertive about it them giving you an even larger discount than they might otherwise try to offer:

F.C.C. Set to End Sole Cable Deals for Apartments

By STEPHEN LABATON
Published: October 29, 2007
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 —The Federal Communications Commission, hoping to reduce the
rising costs of cable television, is preparing to strike down thousands of contracts this
week that gave individual cable companies exclusive rights to provide service to an
apartment building, the agency's chairman says.

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the F.C.C., says exclusive contracts between cable companies
and apartment buildings have contributed to the rapid rise in cable service prices.
The new rule could open markets across the country to far-ranging competition. It would
also be a huge victory for Verizon Communications and AT&T, which have challenged the
cable industry by offering their own video services. The two companies have lobbied
aggressively for the provision. They have been supported in their fight by consumer
groups, satellite television companies and small rivals to the big cable providers.

Commission officials and consumer groups said the new rule could significantly lower
cable prices for millions of subscribers who live in apartment buildings and have had no
choice in selecting a company for paid television. Government and private studies show
that when a second cable company enters a market, prices can drop as much as 30
percent.

> Join the conversation Comments (3)


So Time Warner's hold on NYC is about to be challenged? People in my building have long complained about TWC's annual rise in fees and threatened to quit the cable service. Thank goodness we qualified for a bulk rate discount. Our shareholders will start saving money in December.

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may be no point in having a bulk dicount anymore... either that or you can bargain really hard wiht time warner now that you can have verizon come put in VIOS, etc.

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Well Verizon FiOS is not available in my area yet and until it is there isn't anything I can do about it.

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The FCC passed it today. Your existing exclusivity clauses are unenforceable. Time to go shopping.

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-277763A1.doc
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-277763A1.pdf

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News Media Contact:
October 31, 2007 Mary Diamond (202) 418-2388

FCC Adopts Rules to Increase Choice and Competition Among Video Providers for Consumers Residing in Multiple Dwelling Units

Washington, DC – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today adopted a Report and Order (Order) banning the use of exclusivity clauses for the provision of video services to multiple dwelling units (“MDUs”) or other real estate developments. The Order finds that nearly 30% of Americans live in MDUs and these numbers are growing.

With this proceeding, the Commission is taking another step to foster greater competition in the market for the delivery of multichannel video programming. These rules will increase choice and competition for consumers residing in MDUs and other real estate developments. In this Order, the Commission prohibits the enforcement or execution of existing exclusivity clauses and the execution of new ones by MVPDs subject to section 628 of the Communications Act. Specifically the Order finds that:

• exclusivity clauses that bar competitive entry harm competition and broadband deployment and can insulate the incumbent MVPD from any need to improve its service.

• exclusivity clauses are widespread in agreements between MVPDs and MDU owners.

• incumbent cable operators have increased the use of exclusivity clauses in their agreements with MDU owners with the entry of LECs into the video marketplace.

• the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts for the provision of video services to MDUs constitutes an unfair method of competition or an unfair act or practice under Section 628(b).

The Commission also adopted a Further Notice of the Proposed Rulemaking (Further Notice) that seeks comment on whether we should take action to address exclusivity clauses entered into by DBS providers, private cable operators, and other MVPDs who are not subject to Section 628. The Further Notice also seeks comment on whether the Commission should prohibit exclusive marketing and bulk billing arrangements.

Action by the Commission, October 31, 2007 by Report and Order (FCC 07-189). Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps, Adelstein and Tate with Commissioner McDowell concurring. Separate statements issued by Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, Tate and McDowell.

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Hi, all--

My name is Frank Lovece, and you might have seen some of my stories in Habitat. I did the story on pet policies recently, for instance, and one on shoddy new construction, among others.

I need now to speak with board-members for A NEW STORY -- about how the FCC's recent strikedown of exclusive cable contracts may affect your building.

PLEASE CONTACT ME at franklovece@copper.net if you're interested in speaking with me by phone for 10-15 minutes Tues. or Wed., Nov. 6-7, for my story.

Thanks--
--Frank

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harassment over pets - mayor Oct 28, 2007


Advice/Feedback appreciated: I am a coop owner, and I have lived for many years next to the same neighbor who has periodically yelled at me over small, isolated incidents. I have always had a cat, and several months ago I was given a second one. My neighbor has gone ballistic, claiming that there is a "smell". I have been yelled at at several times to my face or through my door, my doorbell has been rung at 3am, and my neighbor has three times put awful, nasty notes on her door - once ridiculously threatening to sue me.

My neighbor also calls and harangues the management company. The managment company has called me on occassion (in turn), and although they refer to my neighbor as "my crazy neighbor" and apologize, they do give credence to the issue, in my opinion, by asking to check and see if I will allow them to "investigate" the smell (though they have never come into my apartment itself). The board has been to the hall to investigate, the building staff has been to the hall to investigate - no one has smelled anything to support this extreme nastiness. Furthermore, I feel very harassed and am nervous going into and out of my apartment as I know I could be attacked and yelled at at any time.

I am in uncharted territory. It all looks very silly but I know how quickly things like this can go from silly to serious. What can/should I be doing to protect myself and and peace of mind? Is there a way I can get my peaceful life back?

Thank you

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Your neighbor sounds... uptight.

Ever talk to her about this?

Try that first. Take her a plant.

If all else fails, write the board and ask for a written response about the whole issue.

Be nice in your letter.

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Haha! Uptight! I know!

Frankly, I am not sure I can bring myself to bring over a plant but you may be right. I will try and picture myself doing it....

As I mentioned in my other response, I tried to talk to my neighbor when this all happened. Even invited the neighbor in to prove the smell was not originating in my apartment. Now that I think of it, I also mentioned that if the cat litter smelled to that degree then it would stand to reason that their paws would smell too, but that is not the case either. Not to repeat myself, but after agreeing that there was no smell, my neighbor began to get worked up and ending by yelling outside my closed door.

I think that I should write to the board and ask for a written response no matter what. And it should be about the whole issue.

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Just a thought. If your neighbor constantly complains of a bad odor and your cats aren't the source of it, maybe the odor is in your neighbor's apt. Ask your mgmt company to make an appointment with her to inspect her apt. They can say they want to track the "supposed" odor or something like that to justify the inspection. It sounds like she has a problem that has nothing to do with you or your cats but maybe there's something in her apt that's creating an odor. If you and the mgmt company haven't been in that apt, who knows what's in there? Maybe very unsanitary conditions. Maybe an odor is filtering in from another apt or from outside or from dead mice someplace. You never know. Might be worth looking into.

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keep a VERY detailed record of each time your neighbor contacts you - in what form and the exact time. After there is a bit of a pettern, call the police. also - you can send a certified letter to the neighbor stating tha tyoua re intendeing to file a harassement charge if you continue to be bothered by baseless complaints.

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You are right, my records should be very detailed. I have kept a little "sketch" of each incident but I have certainly not been diligent about time and nature of the contact. The certified letter is a terrific idea! I wonder if it would help to have it come from my lawyer's office?It is amazing to think of contacting the police...

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You are right, my records should be very detailed. I have kept a little "sketch" of each incident but I have certainly not been diligent about time and nature of the contact. The certified letter is a terrific idea! I wonder if it would help to have it come from my lawyer's office?It is amazing and scary to think of contacting the police...

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No resident should yell at another resident in a builidng.
If there is a cause you have not explained. I don't think it has to do just because of smell. Consequently, you should try to MEDIATE the issue through the board or management and find out if there is something in which your irrational neighbor may articulate that you may remediate. IF there is nothing to remediate, then perhaps through mediation there would be a point of TOLERANCE where the two of you may live.

However, speak with your local enforcement agents, and even your own attorney to try to get an order to get the neighbor off your face or even ringing your bell at any time of day or night to annoy you.

AdC

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Hi AdC,

Is mediation something I can specfically request from the board or management? Would it be a formal process?

I agree, it sounds crazy that my neighbor is yelling because of smell, but that is what my neighbor says. And that is the reason my neighbor gives for continually calling the management company. The first time this happened, I invited my neighbor in. When he/she came into my entry-way he/she said "Oh my! What a beautiful apartment" and then, "I dont smell anything!" and then promptly began getting very upset about there being two cats, etc., and the upset escalated to full-blown yelling. The upset began in my apartment and the yelling continued even after I closed my door.


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Right now, the best you can do is keep record.
The Board would not (or should not) get involved unless there is a lot of substantiation for it. Otherwise, they are getting involved on what may seem more of a personal issue and not a building, or board matter.
Your objective is showing that the neighbor is breaching your right to the quiet, peaceful enjoyment of your premises, which is promised in the proprietary lease that you signed.
Give the Board reason to mediate. Simply letting them know that someone is bothering you is not enough.
Do you know a layer friend? Have them write a letter to the resident to seize and desist from all harassing behavior... add it to your documentation.

~AR

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Do you know a layer friend? Have them write a letter to the resident to seize and desist from all harassing behavior... add it to your documentation.




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An alternative if you do not have a "friend", as not to spend $200+ for a letter is to write the letter to the resident from yourself personally, and inform the party that this is a letter of intent to pursue legal action and openly cc:Sue Everybody, ESQ (obviously replacing the name with any). This also gets decent response, and it adds to the documentation needed.

Remember, this is not my choice method, just a method that sometimes work

~AR


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The Board needs to intervene. First, what does the House Rules' Pet Policy say about housing two pets? If the co-op does not object to it, WHY a resident of a co-op has to take violent objection to two pets?

Second, by now shouts may have escalated to co-op common property (common hallways, parking areas or lobbies, etc.)which may affect the morale of the building and/or other neighbors witnessing the conflict in person or behind doors.

So, if you recognize that there is "breaching [your] of a right [to the quiet, peaceful enjoyment of your premises,] which is promised in the proprietary lease and the THE BOARD is not willing to intervene WITHOUT PARTIALITY what else is expected for that co-op??? I think one of the Board functions is to ensure the enforcement of the propreitary lease in its entirety... no pick and choose of the most interesting sections.

A board should address the issue before it is out of control. I would say, speak through management to both parties to find "the truth" surrounding the issues impartially. If there is any corrective action or subjective problems that need to be addressed, a letter should be sent stating the position of the Board including suggesting mediation if this were a viable alternative.

Otherewise, a board who does not intervene should be given my most EXTREME recommendation: buy two guns in order to have a GOOD OLD FASHIONED DUEL. Give a gun to each party and hope that one eliminates the other as quickly as possible. IN this way, the board will free of problems ad will have no need to intervene.

AdC





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If a board intervenes without proven cause, beit a breach of lease, house rules, etc, it is considered harassment. This is why I state to document and provide valid cause for intervention, so that the resident cannot come back and state that the Board is harassing them. Much like the police cannot overstep their bounds in certain situations unless a citizen files a formal complaint against the opposing party... I'm sure many of us had herd that at one time or another; call the police to complain about certain activities and we are told that we must come in and file a complaint before they can act on the situation in the manner we want (It has me many times). this is to protect themselves, not you. For the same reason the Board should not jump into a situation that is undocumented; if they are sued by the trouble resident for harassment, they have no ammo to fight with, even though they may be 100% right.

~AR

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I don't think someone who is being yelled at frequently by another will need much to document if it happens in common areas of the property and gives you proper notification with specific information. Also, the agreaved should try to file a police report and obtain legal help as you well put it before.

However, an appropriately crafted letter by management to the alleged offender may open the avenues of communication and send a signal that management and the board may be willing to help with any deficiency brought to their attention.

AdC

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While it is good that the building residents hear it, unless the residents are willing to go and testify in court, it means nothing.
I agree with your overall thought, however, I am just extra cautious for the following reason....
I personally would still advise the Board to be hands off until there is documented and just cause. Just cause defined by a breach in the PL, BL or HR, whereby the Board then has a duty to intervene. Even at that point, the Board should not do it, it should be Management writing the letter and leaving the Board out of it as to protect them.
Sometimes, management will get involved in this situation to find out that there is usually three sides to a story; apartment 1's, apartment 2's side and then the truth.


~AR

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Board has fiduciary resposibility for the co-op; thus, it has responsibility for strict observance of the PL and by-laws (not to say half-observance as this chatroom in general may demonstrate). Thus, management and/or co-op counsel are delegated to deal with these issues.

As a Board who is concerned with preserving the quality of living that you have even recognized, a letter received from the shareholder with sufficient documentation (dates, hours, location of incident) or even verbal reports from witnesses of at least two observable events are enough for investigation by management. This is similar to a noise complaints from one neighbor about another: a Board through management should not start a noise investigation that may be considered frivolous, i.e., an isolated incident or a claim of noises from another apartment with no date or hour or good description of the noise to justify an investigation.

HOwever, should the board receive a reasonable letter to open an investigation, it has no other choice but to request the intervention through a well crafted letter from management and if necessary with co-op counsel to bring order to a situation that may escalate into an unpleasant neighborly dispute for other residents.

AdC


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"I personally would still advise the Board to be hands off until there is documented and just cause. Just cause defined by a breach in the PL, BL or HR, whereby the Board then has a duty to intervene. Even at that point, the Board should not do it, it should be Management writing the letter and leaving the Board out of it as to protect them."

It sounds like what I am saying and what you are saying are the same thing, with exception to the fact that I like more documentation or substantiation; this is just a managers way

best
~AR

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New Management - Miriam Oct 27, 2007


In transition from a major managing company to a better one: do you know how the documents (kept in the offices of the managing company) get transferred and which are the time rules of the archives?
I worry that they could be difficult in giving us the full documentation....
Miriam

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Miriam

First thing is their is no such thing as a better company... they all offer the same promises!

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The term "management promises" is either an oxymoron or a contradiction.

This industry has a severe problem.

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"The term "management promises" is either an oxymoron or a contradiction. This industry has a severe problem."

That's about as correct as a woman saying "All men suck"
It is based on your experiences and not necessarily true with respect to the whole.

Most times, if a woman wants to find a perfect man for her, but she keeps attracting the same slime, she's asking the wrong questions, putting out the wrong impressions and doing something to attract what she has.

I'm a man, married 19 years, and my wife is still my best friend.
I am also in management, and take extreme pride in what We do and how it is done; and I am not the only one, I know of many more.

Point is, Good Managers and Management companies do exist.
(Sorry for the long winded analogy!)

~AR

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Drum roll, and what Management Company may I ask (and others)

FN

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I do not like to advertise here because I realize it is not the proper venue - but since you asked! - We are: R.E.A.P. Property Management / NYCRealtyManagement.com / 800-605-4711
We just started managing publicly; we are diversified and have over 16 years of experience with Cooperative management. I personally manage each building until it is handed off to an account manager with my supervision.

Another company worth checking out would be Weber-Farhat, 212-727-0022 - also very honorable - Moises Farhat

~AR

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Most responsible management companies realize that change is common and cooperate fully with each other in the transfer.
The old management company such give the new one all the information they have.
This might be a good time for the BOD to keep a list of what documents and which years the new management company has.

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Thanks for all the inputs: maybe some of you know how many years od documents are supposed to be kept by law?

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I agree with Left on this one. Most management companies would be familiar with each other and would have an understanding/code of conduct? when it comes to change as they all have eperienced similar situations in the past. In addition it would not look good if a management company failed/held back files etc during a transition phase as it would be frowned upon etc.

FN

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just went through a management change --a daunting experience. and the previous management company did not have our records from 2000. But, after a threat of sicing Adam Bailey on them they suddenly found them the next day

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CGER: Who is Adam bailey, we may need him too. Thanks

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a lawyer (bit of a publicity hound) but goes for the jugular. lol

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While I am not answering your question (sorry) going forward: Now I am only a Resident Manger (Superintendent) but I am smart enough never to let the management company have more then the past two years of records. These records are records of the corporation and THUS should be kept in a safe place at the corporation. I always advise to keep the records at the building. There is always some space available where to keep the many boxes. Otherwise rent a space. Keeping the records at the building does give peace of mind, and if needed to go to them, there they are.
That's my two cents worth.
Pg

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Miriam:
Major company to a better one... not necessarily major, to be better! As most know, I have a small management company, so I may be able to answer most of your concerns...
If the company you are departing from is professional, you need not worry. At the very worst, the bank recs will be slow forwarding, so your AP may want to stay on top of that. Typically, all resident files, DOB files, Violation files, Individual stock certs, and leases, all tax files, accounting files, bank statements, construction project and local law filings and reports, fuel storage and boiler filings and info, there is a lot more. Your new managing agent/company should work closely with the prior company to ensure the accounts are promptly switched over to their name, new signatory cards are filled in and sent to the bank, notices to all vendors and residents go out ASAP. A small escrow would stay with the old company to pay some residual bills. usually, the initial files should be transferred in the first few days, and the rest follows.

Hope that helps-
Good Luck
~AR

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