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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

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conflict of interest: sublet rider - Annie Q Mar 07, 2008


we had an illegal sublet in our coop which eventually ended after several years. . the apt. owner applied for and was granted a legit sublet but there is a rider attached to the agreement which gives 6% to our managing agent, Halstead (also a big broker) , if the apt. is sold to the tenants or anyone else. This does not, somehow, sit right.
Conflict of interest?

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If you raise the question, then it a conflict of interest. However, the conflict of interest in this case may have to be analyzed and, if sales are allowed by the company, then there should be some disclosure requirements on their part prior to acting as real estate representatives.

Usually, management companies may run a real estate as a branch of the busines, separate from the management function; it's a way in which management companies supplement their income. There may be some advantages to having the real estate branch represent your co-op as they generally know the building more intimately - amenities, population, house rule practices, etc. Also, they may have more inside information that you do not want to be shared.

IN one of the Habitat Magazines relating to legal counsel opinions, one of the opinions stated that the Board should abide by the most stringent rule of conduct possible and avoid any type of conflict of interest. I agree with this position as trust in the co-op community is critical to establish and maintain.

AdC


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we have a similar situation in our building (apparently) - can people please put up more responses. it would be helpful.

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J 51s - try again! - ABB Mar 07, 2008


We put in a new elevator about a year ago and our managing agent was supposed to file a J51. He didn't and doesn't know if we'd be eligible or not. Based on some web-reading, it looks like, for Manhattan, if the units are valued over $40k, the building would not be eligible. Is that correct? Has anyone succeeded, in Manhattan, in getting a J51 abatement? Does your managing agent handle it or do you need a special lawyer to file? Thanks for info or suggestions!
(Posted earlier when the list serve was down). Happy to see it's back up again. Thanks.

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Cond-op Obsolete? - Anonymous Mar 07, 2008


I bought into a cond-op about 4 yrs ago. I always thought the idea of cond-op is a skirt around the 80/20 rule. Now that there have been changes (a loosening) of the 80/20 rule, what's the point of cond-ops? And will the rule change devalue existing cond-ops? We cannot get anymore income because we do not own commercial establishments. What can we do?

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Commercial Antennas - Gerry Mar 06, 2008


Has anyone dealt with metroPCS relative to the leasing of space for the installation of Antennas and equipment on your roof?

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Board Talk is back! - Carol Ott Mar 05, 2008


We heard your concerns, and have responded by bringing back the old Board Talk.
Enjoy!

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this is great news! Thanks for being responsive to your readers/posters.

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Unpaid real estate taxes - rfs Feb 25, 2008


Can a condo unit owner's failure to pay any NYC real estate taxes on his apartment ever negatively affect the finances of the building as a whole? And at what point in time does the NYC Dept. of Finance generally take action?

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This is probably a simple question for the Condo counsel; however, my educated guess tells me, it's a NO. If taxes are paid individually by a condo owner, the failure to pay the taxes does not pose a financial problem to the association just like a mechanical lien on his/her deed will not make a difference on the association.

AdC


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Processing fees...?? Outragous or normal - AliceT Feb 24, 2008


We are having a small change in our bathroom. The plumber we are using is recommended by the ManCompany and has worked extensively in the building. The whole job may not cost over $500..
BUT we are being charged $350 (non-refundable) fee from the MangCo, for processing the papers... Our last manCo charged $150... is this normal,,, what does your MangCo charge?
AliceT

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Management company fees are are written in to the contract. I don't know what a "normal" alteration fee would be, but your board had the opportunity to negotiate this (and any other) fee before signing the management contract.

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We are interviewing for a new Mang company,,, Could you let us know what your fees are for things such as processing forms for S/H renovations etc...

Also, any questions that we need to ask the new company... Thanks,,,VP

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Actually Larry, Calling mang companies/lawyers to try to find out how much they charge -- is almost an impossible endeavor.

One of the purposes of Habitat has been so that we, as non-insiders on the Mang side, could compare notes and hopefully, in learning what to ask for, bring cost down and know how to handle spicific problems with the building and the Mang Company.
We are going to hire a new MangCo, and since this is a negociated item ....once more ... so that we can compare: Our last mang company still charges a processing fee of $150, our present fee is $350... also, any suggestions on what questions we need to ask new agents... Thanks AliceT

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Thank you BP, but I have sent a number of questions, which I see posted, but no answers.

I dont know about the new site, but the old allowed us to exchange valuable information, and compare notes. As much as we would like to belive the best, our recent experience has taught us that the mang company, does not necessarly have the best intrest of the building in mind.

We are interviewing new MangCompaines... do you have nay suggestions as to the questions we should ask. Also, what are your processing fees? Our old company still charges $150, whereas our present company charges $350.. This is a negociated item, and we need to hear from other CoOp boards... This is not the kind of Info, mang companies give out...
PS: I am troubled to see MangCo advertisments on the site,,, is this the end of Habitat's nuteral position?
AliceT

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Alice, I got an e-mail recently saying there were new Board Talk postings. I didn't get an e-mail like that for weeks. I used to get them almost every day, and this time I had to log in. The only postings I've seen lately are from you and one today from Larry. Maybe the problem is on Habitat's end. (?) It seems odd that no one is posting anything.

Look in Habitat's archives for articles on what questions to ask mgmt companies. Type in "interviewing management companies." Our mgmt company charges between $50 and $400 for processing fees, depending on what it's for and what's involved. We don't negotiate that with them. We've had the same company for a long time, and what they charge has always been up to them.

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Thank you for your reply... the Archives are a good idea... would you mind sharing the name of your MangCompany...

Thanks,,, AliceT

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Alice, I'd rather not share the name of our mgmt company. We have a problem with them at the moment. Look into past Board Talk postings for mgmt companies. I remember seeing some with names of companies that were recommended.

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We too are having serious problems. Perhaps we can compare notes at a later date.
Carefully read your MangContract, and start reviewing the accounts.
We have one Board member who has kept every Email. So, do put everything in writing, and keep all Emails.
AliceT


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Would be intrested in hearing from other B/M, S/H as to what your processing fees are...

They are out of control in our building.
AliceT

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your Board can negotiate. Write to your Board and tell them you feel it is too high and that they shoudl review the fees. Get one or two of your neighbors to sign the letter for more effect. $500 is normal if it a major renovation. Many buildings have a "simple" form that is for superficial renovations (cabinet installation, painting, floor refinishing) and that has no fee.

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We are negociating with a new ManCo... We would appriciate anyone who can give us idea of what you pay for simple processing of papers for things such as a small plumbing job...verses a renovation...Thanks

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Minor renovation : zero (it is only one page plus proof of insurance.
Major renovation = $250

Schedule of Fees
Resale Application- $350
Closing Fee- $500
Credit Report- $75 per person
Recognition Agreement- $250
Refinance Application- $250
Sublet Application- $350
Sublet Renewal- $150
Duplicate Financial Statements- $15
Copy of Offering Plan- $250
The recognition agreement fee is a one time fee which covers the entire mortgage application. This fee is charged to new buyers who are obtaining a mortgage or shareholders who are refinancing. The refinance application is only charged to existing shareholders who are refinancing for an amount greater than their current mortgage and where the monthly payment is increasing.

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Recycling= Super spends most time in trash room sorting - rfs Feb 20, 2008


Any advice on this situation?

In our smallish building of under 35 units, our Super spends more than half his day sorting through each trash bag thrown down the chute in order that our building comply with recycling requirements.

If only our residents would do the right thing and sort their trash - but most/many don't. Meanwhile our Super can't get to his other important duties.

What are other small buildings doing about this?

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1. Send a letter from the M.A. or Board explaining the problem and its financial cost to them. State clearly that if the situation doesn't improve, and quickly, the Board will have to increase maintenance fees to cover the extra cost to the corporation. Offset this harsh reality with an equally clear and concise summary of your building's trash and recycling policies, and appeal to their pride and self-interest by stating the Board is confident that such a drastic step won't be necessary.
2. Monitor the situation carefully and update residents on how well they're going and how much $ they have saved.
3. Make a point of talking about progress in a positive, upbeat way, and thank people when you see them for helping.
4. Repeat steps 2 & 3.

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Educate your residents. Start with the material the city is providing. If there are kids, you can think of a children activity as well. This will make the parents sensitive. Send around leaflets to be given in all languages spoken in your building making sure the residents give it to the housekeepers as well

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RFS - Our residents discarded trash improperly for a long time, but we've resolved the problem, at least most of it. There will always be people who won't follow guidelines.

We have a chute on each floor and a trash area on the 1st floor in the building service area. This is what we did:

- We hung NYC recycling posters by the chute on each floor.

- We gave all residents a magnetized recycling poster for their refrigerator (available from the Sanitation Dept).

- We hung a sign over each chute that says:
ALL RECYCLABLES MUST BE TAKEN TO THE 1ST FLOOR!
THE CHUTE IS FOR REGULAR GARBAGE ONLY!
ALL REGULAR GARBAGE MUST BE TIED TIGHTLY IN BAGS!

- We have bins on the 1st floor with the following:
1) A large sign on the wall that says:
ALL ITEMS MUST BE DISCARDED IN THE PROPER BINS
2) Signs on the wall above each bin that say:
GLASS/PLASTIC/METAL
CARDBOARD
NEWSPAPERS
ALL LOOSE PAPER
MAGAZINES/CATALOGS
REGULAR GARBAGE (2 or 3 bins for this)
3) A Sign on the wall that says:
LARGE CARDBOARD BOXES MUST BE FLATTENED
When our super accepts large box deliveries for residents, he writes the apt # in black marker on them.

(The bins for recyclables are bright blue and the bins for regular garbage are black.)

- We sent residents a memo that, among other things, says:
1) The coop is subject to violations for improper recycling from $100 to $300 per incident which all Shs pay for since they must be paid for from coop funds.
2) City inspectors visit buildings without notice and will fine individuals if they find names on improper discarded items (it's happened in our building).
3) The coop will fine residents $25 per incident if their names are found on improperly discarded items or if large cardboard boxes are not flattened. (That's why our super marks the apt number on boxes bec residents did not flatten them and tore off labels so they couldn't be identified.)

The memo stresses the need for proper disposal, courteously but firmly, and asks for everyone's cooperation.

RFS - If you don't have a building recycling/trash area, find a place to set one up. It will save your super a lot of time and effort. Residents have to be "trained." You don't want to create a police state, but convince them that guidelines are for everyone's benefit, and let them know you're serious. And if they don't follow recycling/trash rules, charge them the $25 fine. Keep cardboard box labels or markings for a while as proof of non-compliance. You only have to charge people the fine once or twice before they start shaping up. It's working for us.

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RFS - A few things I forgot to mention. A Sanitation Dept officer can come to your building to look at your trash area and tell you how to improve it and recycle properly. They're even willing to attend a meeting and speak to your residents. The only problem is that it takes a long time to get an appointment with them.

Stress to residents how recycling is helping to save the environment. There are many websites with tips on recycling (bring a mug to the office instead of using styrofoam cups at the coffee machine...bring a cloth bag to the grocery store instead of using their plastic bags...use the reverse side of letters and other paper for scribbling notes, draft copy, shopping letters, etc.)

Send residents a memo. Even better, have a 1-hour meeting in your building about 8pm. Have enough seats for everyone and serve coffee & cake. Tell them interesting facts about waste/recycling (many websites for this too). For ex:

-- There's more plastic in the Pacific Ocean today than there is plankton/seaweed.
-- A paper bag cost 3 cents to make. A plastic bag costs 1 cent to make, but it costs 17 cents to dispose of.
-- 100 billion lbs of plastic are discarded in the US every year which will be in landfills for 500 to 1,000 years.
-- Give examples of what recyclables are made into: plastic bottles into ski jackets, skateboards, house paint...milk jugs into weatherproof patio furniture that looks like real wood...metal cans into eyeglass frames, carpeting. It's quite amazing what recyclables can be used for!

Get residents psyched up on recycling and their cooperation will be more forthcoming.

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Generally, more waste is generated in more developed countries. However, the extent of the damage to the environment does not depend on the amount of <a href="https://www.rubbishwaste.co.uk/">waste</a> , but how it is collected and recycled. Therefore, I use the services of a company for the removal of various types of garbage in London. Not only the state of the urban environment, but also the efficiency of its further disposal depends on the method of garbage collection.

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You know, I've been noticing lately that more and more people are taking care of the environment. Many observe waste management. Some even specially order a <a href="https://www.rubbishwaste.co.uk/">rubbishwaste</a> service for garbage collection and recycling, if the utilities can not cope with this. But unfortunately, the environment is suffering every day and there is no end in sight. The planet would soon be cleared of garbage.

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You know, I've been noticing lately that more and more people are taking care of the environment. Many observe waste management. Some even specially order a service for garbage collection and recycling, if the utilities can not cope with this. But unfortunately, the environment is suffering every day and there is no end in sight. The planet would soon be cleared of garbage. https://www.rubbishwaste.co.uk/

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The residents must be made aware of this problem. Have a meeting about recycling, send out a memo, provide enough clearly marked receptacles for recycling. Have inspections done. Fine floors if you have to but do something. Explain the impact on his response time to real situations. Threaten to raise the maintenance if resident refuse. In other words, GET THEIR ATTENTION!

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Regretfully -- welcome to the real world. No matter how much we have tried, including several presentations by the Dept. of Sanitation to our residents, our Super and Porter still spend much of their time sorting garbage. We even attached a copy of the Dept.'s printed matter to our House Rules. Do you have the Dept. of Sanitation's recycling posters and other information posted prominently in your recycling area? You can get all kinds of literature from them, free for the asking.

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FIOS - Pres Feb 19, 2008


Our building is 52 units and resides in the Bronx. Has anyone experienced switching over from Cablevision to FIOS? FIOS is coming to our area and need to know how difficult it is to change communications, wither your in contract with your cable company or not.

Thanks
Pres.

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Hi Pres,

Our 50-unit co-op in Yonkers is wired for Cablevision (we do not have a contract with them) and we just signed an agreement to allow Verizon to wire us for FIOS. We will not be dumping Cablevision for FIOS, but our residents will soon have a choice of TV/internet/phone providers.

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Thank you for your input. It's good to know we have an option to keep both.

Regards,
Pres

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cond-op obsolete? - sam Feb 17, 2008


I bought into a cond-op about 4 yrs ago. I always thought the idea of cond-op is a skirt around the 80/20 rule. Now that there have been changes (a loosening) of the 80/20 rule, what's the point of cond-ops? And will the rule change devalue existing cond-ops? We cannot get anymore income because we do not own commercial establishments. What can we do?

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