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Need Pet Information... Urgent... - SaraSara Oct 24, 2007


ADVICE/FEEDBACK NEEDED..

We live in a very Pet friendly building, (and want to stay that way) but some of the owners have become a little too pet-friendly, and are housing between seven and ten cats in one bedroom apartments. One owner has four dogs.
We are reworking our old house rules, and we want to limit the number of pets and have other rules. Do any of you have this in your house rules? Suggestions/Experience

QUESTIONS/COMMENTS PLEASE:
1-Limit the number of pets to Three is the way the Board leans. But, we have a least one owner with a very large apartment, with three cats and two dogs, which is very reasonable.

2- Once we limit the number, (3-5) do we have a legal right to force owners to get rid of thier pets.

3- In the future is it possible to actually enforce or monitor the number of pets in an apartment.

4-limit the number of dogs (2) and cats (3)?

HELP!

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the exisitng pet owners are grandfathered in unless there are smell and sanitary issues that may violate healh codes in which case write them a letter FAST.

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Perhaps a - 1 pet per every 600 square foot of apartment rule - or something on that order would suit...

Any residents with pets at the time of the ruling is permitted to keep them, but not replace them.

you only have 30 days from the initial date of the infraction of the pet rule before the pet owner gets to claim "pet residence". So, if a person gets a pet, the super must notify you/management ASAP.

~AR

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"Limit the number of pets to three is the way the Board leans. But, we have a least one owner with a very large apartment, with three cats and two dogs, which is very reasonable."

Sara, you should consider other things besides apt size in deciding how many pets to allow. People come in contact with other residents (and other dogs) in the bldg when they take their dogs out. There can be "encounters." Dogs bark and howl, and neighbors below can hear their nails when they run through an apt with bare floors. Cat odors filter out into halls. Exotic birds make noise. We had one a few years ago. It squawked very loudly, day and night, and it drove everyone on that floor crazy.

If you enact a pet policy based on apt sq footage, that's up to you. But some people don't like dogs. Some are afraid of them, maybe not because of a dog in the bldg; maybe they had a bad experience once that's stayed with them. Some people don't want their young children near a strange dog in an elevator. It's fine if you have a pet-friendly bldg and want it that way, but I doubt that every single apt owner in your bldg has dogs/cats. You must consider the comfort and feelings of the non-pet residents too.

We have a no-dogs policy and don't intend on repealing it, but we have a few residents who wish they could have a dog. Sara, do you ever get complaints from non-pet people about dogs in your bldg? Any idea if you have, or are, possibly losing buyers because they don't want to be in a bldg with a lot of pets, especially dogs? Just curious.

Unless your pet policy is based on apt sq footage, it must be the same for everyone. What applies to one applies to all. The BCL says all shareholders must be treated fairly and equitably. And what do you means by "pets"? Do you mean just dogs/cats or all pets including birds and fish? Some people have ferrets, gerbils, snakes, or other pets that run, crawl, scamper or slither around! Better state very clearly in your policy what critters it applies to.

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A pet policy always makes sense, no matter if you are pet friendly or not. I would say that you should conduct a search through the internet for recommended policies by the Humane Societies of different places before you redact your own. Also, colleges have their own pet policies that deal with exotic animals, i.e., hampsters, ferrets, camaleons, etc. Thus, information is vital.

Below is a specific recommendation from a humane society from Hawaii. It seems excellent to read and follow their recommendations because... who else but humane societies to look after animals and pets.

http://www.hawaiianhumane.org/programs/petshousing/PDFs/pet_policies_buildings.pdf

RE your questions:

(1) You should at least ask a month of the year dedicated for updating pet records: veterinarian records of vaccinations, etc.
(2) New photos submitted and even personal inspections to make sure that the photo submitted corresponds to the pet in question.
(3) Fish tanks should be specified by size, not by number of fish. You will find through the internet equivalent weights per tank size. This is important for structural considerations.
(4) Did you know that certain diseases such as cat leukemia stays in the apartment two years after a cat has died? Therefore, a new owner of an apartment with a cat may inherit the disease from the prior owner. Thus, although not your business, may play in some instances considerations if you were to get vet records.

Good luck, but let me know where is your building as perhaps I will keep it out of my range. Although I like animals, I don't think a concentration of them in an apartment does any good for a building (just personal opinion).

AdC

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No Subject - Mwolfe Oct 24, 2007


I've just become board treasurer for our small coop--and we've never had a treasurer who did anything,ever, so I'm trying to set up some systems for how much reserve we should have, how we'd build a fund for capital improvements, basic financial reports for the board, etc. Is there a good book about coop finance or article that someone can recommend with some basic guidelines? Thanks.

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Your are in luck. On Nov 11 Council for New York Cooperatives and Condominiums is having their 27th Housing conference. They have many lectures on coop/condo issues and many for treasurers. Go to CNYC.org for more infor.
I apolgize to all if this sounded like a commerical for CNYC, was not my intent. (ok maybe a little, but its all for the cause)
Peter G

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Thanks! I'll have a look.

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Pgrech said it best. CNYC is one of the finest sources for information n this community. Habitat Magazine is the other. CNYC links from www.habitatmag.com and its own site www.cnyc.coop.

Go for it. You'll be glad...and informed.

Best Wishes,

SJP

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Pgrech's advice on the CNYC seminars is the absolute best place for you (and the rest of the Board)
However, if you have any specific questions we are here.


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MWolfe: Congratulations! CNYC is your best hope. Mary Ann Rothman is always there to help. November 11 Housing Conference is a must for you so call them and book. There is a lecture for treasurers. Tel#:212-496-7400

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Thanks. I'm trying to get more board members to go to that conf as well. + I've got lots and lots of questions, but I'm trying to get some answers from the archives here (which have been very useful) before asking my many other questions. Great board, here.

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search for new super - adelaide Polsinelli Oct 22, 2007


Our super just gave us 2 weeks notice.

Does anyone know where I can find supers looking for new positions? or does anyone know of any supers looking for an upgrade?

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you can post a super wanted posting at this website job page
and see what resumes maybe posted already the site has 150,000 plus hits a month.

NYCSTA.org that is the web site for Superintendents & Resident Managers Technical Association
Good Luck
Pgrech

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I just checked out that NYCSTA.org site for the first time. I placed an ad there for a super also.... thx

~AR

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Thanks.
It is a good website, designed to help both supers and boards/blding owners.
There is also a newsletter too.
Pg

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By the way, with about 8 weeks to go to the holidays, its a tough time to be searching for a good super.
Pg

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You can also contact me at (212) 319-8375 or mikemac72@aol.com for the Manahattan Resident Managers Club, Inc. and I will pass along your request to my my membership.

Good luck.

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thanks so much. I really appreciate your assistance.

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As part of one of the building managers associations in NYC I personally help buildings find staff (supers,handymen etc). Feel free to contact me at 212-223-6439. I am also in agreement with PGrech that it is definitely the wrong time for your super to leave with holiday season around the corner.

Regards,

FN

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"I am also in agreement with PGrech that it is definitely the wrong time for your super to leave with holiday season around the corner."

I think PGrech meant it is a bad time to look for a super, not for Adelaide's super to leave the builidng.

If her building's super is leaving before the holiday season, it may mean that his/her work left a lot to be desired OR the writing was on the wall: NO TIPS during the holidays for BAD WORK!

Looking it with more optimistic or generous eyes: the person is retiring or got total disability.

AdC

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Nickie what I think Jamie is saying is that, Management tends to hire supers that best serve management and not the building. It is a given that the board should have final say in who is hired but not always is the case. It is great to have a super who can speak English but should not always be the final decision focal point. Experience is a major plus but also should not be the focal point. Finding a good super is like a recipe, Many ingredients added together to make the perfect fit. Note I said perfect fit, as so many buildings hire qualified supers but shortly thereafter depart as the super really wasn't what they are looking for. So, matching a super to a building in my opinion is as important as experience, language etc.
Just my two cents.
Nickie let's do lunch soon.
Pg

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I agree with you Pgrech. I was merely pointing out that the question posted was where can I begin/search for a new super. What qualities/skills one has to offer is a seperate post (to Jamie). Lunch yes,soon

FN.

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I agree and I understood. Too many times questions are not answered according to what was the asked Even though at times there are related issues, need to keep on track to the answer and not digress.
Pg

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thanks I will call you on this. your assistance is much appreciated.

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The board should have the final say in the engagement of a new super. Management will hire one who will answer to their needs. This advice is from experience we got tired of "I must ask Mangt". first We now have a good diligent super. Just beware. Working knowledge of English at least should be a "must"

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Adelaide? is looking to know who she can reach out to to find a suitable candidates to run her building. Whether you speak good grammer, answer to mgt/board that is a seperate issue/question. As I stated she is looking for a super.

FN

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This is a job interview. Ask questions.

Our S/H got together and forced the Board to fire our last Super. He was dis-honest (been caught takeing kickbacks, undisclosed criminal record, and he was doing renovations without premits) but he renovated and took care of a few board members.

These BoardMem and MangCo told us that this as "as good as it gets". But we had a strong interviewing committee, did real background checks, visited thier buildings to see how they lived and worked. This was valuable in that the Super we hired, in his last building had a very organized and clean office/work-space whereas the next one on our list had a messy office/work space.

AND most important -- let the final canidates know that they WOULD be fired if they did not do their job or were caught taking kickbacks.

One advice: Watch out for "experienced Supers" who are use to the old ways (you scratch my back, I scratch yours) and tend to drop back into bad habits -- so do consider someone who may have less exerience, but is anxious to move up and wants a good reputation. Also, ManCo can give recommendations, but should NOT be part of the interview/decision making.

For the last two years we have had a great Super! Who loves his job, and works hard. Our last Super gave orders, stayed in his apartment. Our new Super is respected by the rest of the staff -- because he is in his office every morning, and Works!

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Nice story Sara, the lesson here is, do your homework before you hire a super. That is where your previous board/mgt company failed miserably. The above example applies in most hireing processes.

FN.

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Number of bids for comparison - Bee Dub Oct 22, 2007


When you are putting out RFQs or RFPs for contractors to bid on work for your building, how many different companies do you ask for bids from? What do you consider the minimum number of bids the Board has to have to be able to hold a meaningful vote?

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It all depends what you are trying to accomplish and the size and scope of the work:

If you are talking about an exterior work or window replacement, etc. the engineer or architect should be able to select the best companies and any other companies that you may recommend. In many cases, you may have 5-10 invitees to review the work and the RFP's or RFQ's. From those 5-10, perhaps 2-3 will end up providing bids depending on how busy the contractors project their schedules to be by the time you intend to do the work.

In other words, many will be called, but only a few will come through.

In small works such as a $30 - $75 K and depending upon the nature of the job job you may have 3-5 potential bidders and only 2 may respond, again because of the same considerations.

AdC

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In our building, anything less than $1000 we don't bother with bids. If the cost is less than $5000, the board discussed whether we want to do multiples bids. If there's a contractor we've worked with before, and we like his work, we may just go with him without bidding.

For larger jobs, we do bids. AdC does a great job of laying out the details for those big projects.

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Many managing agents have the ability to perform small repairs up to a certain dollar amount without board approval. Most of the time these jobs are given to a house contractor, super or regular. I have about three contractors that I use often, but I play them against each other to obtain a lower price/better job, etc.. I also on projects that I many not have experience in (where I do not know the pricing and protocol on my own), I will call in an outside contractor or two so I know I have everyone being kept honest (plus I learn). That is how I do it, but i have at minimum 3-10 projects going on at a time... so if you are a "newbie" to the contracting world, I would suggest obtaining 3 bids by sending a package to 5 contractors and create a spreadsheet and compare each item, apples for apples.

~AR

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Coop-owned unit - conflict? - Bee Dub Oct 22, 2007


Our coop owns several units in the building (we got them when the sponsor defaulted in the 1980s). They are currently being sublet to rent regulated tenants. When units become available, we sell them. This periodic inflow of cash is great.

One of these units is under contract to sell. The time has come for the Board to review the application and interview the potential purchaser. Isn't it a conflict of interest for the Board to vote on his approval, because we inherently want the unit to sell? Or is it enough that we are balancing our interest to sell with our interest to have good paying tenants?

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YOUR QUESTIONS: Isn't it a conflict of interest for the Board to vote on his approval, because we inherently want the unit to sell? Or is it enough that we are balancing our interest to sell with our interest to have good paying tenants?

MY ANSWER: Boards should be motivated to review the sales of individual shareholders with the best intentions of accepting a sale so that the individual shareholder may continue with his/her life. However, this goodwill should be balanced by your responsibility to ensure that the potential buyer has the financial attributes and fulfills the occupancy expectations that you wish to see in a new shareholder.

In the case of the co-op selling the unit, I'm sure your board wishes to maximize the market value of the unit for the benefit of the corporation, but more important than obtaining the market price for the unit is to get an individual shareholder who meets the attributes that you expect to see if the unit were to be sold by an individual shareholder.

Again, money should not be the final consideration, but the potential shareholder's financial test and the other considerations that make the evaluation of an application. Finally, if the potential buyer is paying the right amount, but the board is not sure, the much talked escrow account in prior postings could also be added to the sale if additional attributes for the potential buyer are also met.

AdC


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Vault spaces - rfs Oct 16, 2007


Have any of your buildings ever had problems with old vault spaces under or directly adjacent to your basements? Were there every any problems with the City wanting to use/or change the dimensions of the vault space? If so, what happened?

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many of my buildings have experienced changes. What is the issue?

I have 4 buildings right now going through an eminant domain where they are taken back for the duration of the second avenue subway project. some were closed, some changed, etc...

~AR

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Rights - Pgrech Oct 16, 2007


I was asked by some one... Where can I obtain information about the "quiet enjoyment" rule of a shareholder in a New York State co-op set-up. A good definition of the term "quiet enjoyment" would also be apreciated. I'm also interested in information about the business corporation law portions which deals with rights of shareholders in a NYS co-op. I know the by-laws of the coop would have these, but need the actaul law.
With great thanks
Peter

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Pgrech, from the American Bar Association:
"What does "right of quiet enjoyment" of the premises mean? That legal phrase does not refer to noise; it refers to the tenant's legal right to occupy the apartment. The landlord would violate the right by renting the same apartment to two different tenants or by removing the tenant's belongings."

My assumption--and I could very well be wrong--is that if the resident is complaining about noise renders his/her apartment unliveable, then NYS Real Property Law §235-b the warranty of habitability may be the relevant law but it's up to a judge to decide if the noise is illegal. NYC also recently passed a new noise control ordinance that took effect this July but I don't know the formal name.

Finally, NYS business corporation law is important for coops but I think they literally constitute volumes so I can't pinpoint which sections are most relevant because I'm not lawyer!

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Thank YOU.
Pg

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double dipping - Anonymous Oct 14, 2007


Our co-op (condop)initiated fees payable to the co-op and to the managing company for any alterations in one's unit. I think the managing company is double dipping. Their fee is paid via monthly maintenance and now directly from any alterations. Why does the managing company needs to be paid on alterations wanted by a shareholder? Greed besets.

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First please attach some name when posting (Mary, Bob, Jane, not annon). I am aware of Coops charging a fee for alteration agreements (this is for the preperation work involved/or additional work involved, such as reviewing the agreement, faxing, sending copies to the architect etc, and is a one off charge). This does happen.

Fat Nickie.

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remember, the management co. wants YOU as a client. keep the fees as low as possible. like $100 for a simple decoration agreement (painting etc), $300 for a more in-depth one. etc.

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It seems like I didn't word my original message correctly. You mean I, as a shareholder, have to pay the management company, for example, $100 to paint within my own unit? I am not talking about common areas.

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Are you anon? same person?

Bob

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Dear Anon,

You probably have to fill out a form stating your intentions (to paint), and to indicate that you (or your contractor) have adequate insurance.

The management company then has to verify and file the information. That work is typically done by someone besides the property manager. You're paying for that person's time.

You'll ask, Aren't I already paying their time?

Nope. The management company charges its lower possible rate to get your condop as a client. Extra services are paid by the individual who wants the extra services done.

If you wanted a management company that didn't charge for special services, your board would pay a higher annual fee to the management company, which the board would then pass on to you in the form of an increased common charge or maintenance fee.

Charging the individual keeps the monthly fee low for those residents who don't do extra work.

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In most cases this is not double dipping. Read the management contract, most likely it will be in there that the management company shall charge for alteration agreements, project management as well as closings. Most management companies do. This is a way to supplement the low management fee they charge per month.
Pgrech

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As some other posters put it, Management contracts are written to keep the management companies rates low. in doing so, many services are not included into the contract. Most of these include Alteration, Sales, Sublet application and agreements, closings and refinancing. Therefore, when these services do arise, the management company rightfully charges for them.

~AR

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Responsibility of management company in this situation? - rfs Oct 11, 2007


Our condo building continues to have problems with a renter whose 2 dogs are not house-broken and who are rarely taken out. As a result, horrible smells daily fill the hallway. The owner does not care. There have been many complaints. The management company, under pressure, sent a registered letter a while back to the tenant and owner with a fine attached. what is the ongoing responsibility of the management company vs. the board? Does NYC code address this at all, and if so, in which section?

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As far as "ongoing responsibility of mgmt vs. board", mgmt works for the corporation/association which is responsible for things whether it's a coop or a condo. It seems to me that, coop or condo, mgmt can't be held accountable (in the legal sense) if a resident's dogs are the source of many complaints/problems and this isn't being resolved.

I'm in a coop so I'm not that familiar with condo laws, but consult your condo's attorney. Write to the tenant/owner again. At some point I think your attorney should write to them. Keep a paper trail of residents' complaint letters and correspondence to the tenant/owner.

Find out as much as you can about the dogs from residents in nearby apts. Suggestion. If the dogs aren't housebroken, rarely taken out and causing terrible odors in the bldg, it may be a case of neglect or mistreatment. To get more info on this, you can call the ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement Dept at 212-876-7700, extension 4450.

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The person(s) that the managing agent should be going after is the unit owner. It is the unit owner's responsibility to take care of these matters. The managing agent can only go so far in this situation. The matter should be turned over to the Condo's attorney for appropriate actions.

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Congress and 80/20 - Scott Oct 10, 2007


Can anyone comment about what they know about a bill currently before congress called the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.

In this bill, which appears to have been recently passed by the House, and next goes to the Senate, there is a section amending the requirements that need to be met for a Cooperative to qualify as such.

In effect, it appears, this bill, if enacted into law, effectively ends 80/20 problems for many coops.

Can anyone comment on what they know about this?

Thanks.

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House Passage: 10/04/2007
Bill Passed 386 - 27 (Roll no. 948)
Senate Referred to Committee: 10/04/2007 : Finance

Link below provides a summary of the highlights. YOur 80/20 is there and what alternatives will be used for co-ops:

http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/110/07%2009%2026%20Mortgage%20Summary.pdf - Quick summary.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:hr3648:

AdC

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What is your sense of whether this bill will become law and change IRS code?

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If I read right, this is a deferral of tax by reduction of home basis. And so, the forgiveness of debt is re-categorized from being subject to income tax to being subject to capital gains tax.

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