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Running for the board - RobD Mar 16, 2008


Our building’s proprietary lease does not permit any handouts at any time to shareholders, e.g.: under apartment doors, in the lobby, on the property, etc.

The existing board when it runs for reelection, although there has been some turnover, e.g.: on person per year over the last five years (seven person board) posts the names of all incumbents who are running again and all who have submitted their names for consideration on the building’s bulletin board and then it puts a letter under all apartment doors with the same information, including a brief resume of each person running for the board.

As I wish to run for office, I have asked the board for permission to put campaign information under the doors.

The board’s response to multiple requests has been that the proprietary lease does not permit any distribution of materials at any time.

In fairness, the board does not lobby for reelection via any materials under any apartment doors. Rather, shareholders who are aligned with the existing board members will solicit shareholders, but these folks do not distribute any information.

My alternative is mailings to the shareholders.

The building does not have a regular newsletter with chit/chat items. In fact, there is no co-op newsletter. Rather the president of the board, a member of the board, the board itself will distribute information pertinent to taxes, assessments, maintenance costs, capital expenditures, insurance, etc.

Notices regarding the annual shareholder meeting are mailed as required by the proprietary lease.

Sometimes, information such a fire alarm tests, elevator tests, AC plant activation, heating system activation, pool applications, health spa annual membership, etc. are posted in each floor’s elevator lobby.

What are my options without violating the proprietary lease?

> Join the conversation Comments (2)


Dear Rob, sounds like they dont want new members. We resorted in mailing out letters. Also, we now have an extensive Email list, and have become a fairly powerful group who forced the Board to make changes. (firing a Super that was caught stealing, but Board members protected)...
Good luck... AliceT

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mail it. spend the money. However, in reality they cannot stop you from putting notices under doors. Also you can stand in the lobby and meet and greet people and hand them a flyer and bio on yourself. go for it!!

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)


Yes, I did put something under the door of a resident and a complaint was made to the management office. Then, I received a letter from the attorney that my lease could be terminated if I put anything under the door.

This is why I put a question here.

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my friend,

you clearly has an A-hole on yoru Board if youa re gatting a lawyer's letter onver such a trivial thing. you need to get on your coop board - you really do. for the record, it is important you respond in writing to to that letter claiming that the Board puts noticed under doors (didnt you say they do this?) and citing freedom of expression rights. i do not think they can impose such a restrictive law. It sounds ridiculous. You can also call NRDC to check on this.

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Management Co. Loan Fee - Alexis Mar 16, 2008


As a brand new board member, just elected, I have a question.

I have been inquiring about the process to refinance our buildings existing mortgage.

I have been told that our management company can orchestrate this on our boards behalf, which we would like, but they will charge us a fee to do so.

What should we expect to be the charges for this service? Is this typical?

> Join the conversation Comments (2)


About four years ago we decided that the hassle of continuing our HUD insured mortgage was not worth the effort, e.g.; special accounting forms that cost us via our CPA firm, reserve fund under control of HUD, numerous clerical errors by HUD, etc.

However, we were not really refinancing. All we wanted to do is rollover our existing mortgage without extending the life of the mortgage.

So, we contacted a number of banks and asked what it would take to convert, e.g.; interest rate, balances, relationships, etc. Oh, we did decide to seek a line of credit and asked for the terms as well. The line of credit is employed only to finance capital expenditures before the yearly assessment replenishes the coffers.

Then based on the terms, our board selected a bank and we converted, closing the HUD guaranteed mortgage and obtaining a new mortgage ending on the date of the original mortgage as well as the line of credit. Our outside counsel handles the transaction.

= = = = = = = = =

Now a nearby building had a $7,000,000 mortgage when they converted to co-op 25/30 years ago. In turn, they refinanced the mortgage to $10,000,000 and extended the term. About a year ago, (we can speculate as to the financial acumen of the board of directors), they found themselves in dire straits and needed an infusion of capital to underwrite long neglected capital projects, e.g.: roof, window replacement, driveway replacement, etc.

So they went and a refinanced a second time (third mortgage) and in doing so, they were required to pay off the second mortgage, about $7,000,000 remaining, pay a prepayment penalty of $2,500,000 and then the bank required $8,000,000 of the remaining proceeds to be placed in escrow, only to be released by the bank for authorized capital projects.

So poor management (e.g.: bad decisions by the board of directors) put the building into such a predicament that the bank is now essentially calling the shots.

So just a word of caution in any “refinancing”, ya need a long term plan to eliminate all debt. For a product producing corporation, capital infusion equals new product equals more income equals paying off the debt. In an apartment building, there ain’t no way to build more apartments to obtain more revenues.

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You can easily figure this out yourselves. For a start, call National Cooperative Bank. They offer very good deals and specialize in this area. Get some ideas of figures, then call some other banks. . Also you can Google National Cooperative Bank for more info.

National Cooperative Bank : Cooperative Housing Specialist:
New York: Mindy Goldstein
(212) 808-0880

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Patriot Act and co-op shareholder list access - Paul Mar 15, 2008


Has anyone encountered a hurdle that the co-op is declining to allow access to the shareholder lists, citing privacy requirements imposed by the Patriot Act?


Has anyone been faced with a partial or complete prohibition? For example, partial only names are shown, only last names shown, displayed without address (some residents have an alternate address or an alternate primary residence), phone, SS#,


Does the Patriot Act trump the proprietary lease?


Just wondering....

> Join the conversation Comments (3)


your posting is completely wacko. ok first of all - ss numbers should not be on any list. what are you asking exactly?

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Your annoymouse posting is out of line. skip your editorializing and just answer the question, or skip your response.... Also no annoymouse postings!!!

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It's just my opinion but why be concerned with the Patriot Act unless you have reason to think that SHs in your coop are involved with terrorist groups or activities?

Your proprietary lease says what documents your SHs are entitled access to. They generally are allowed to the SH name/address list as long as they act in good faith and intend to use the list for a valid coop purpose. But SHs' Soc Sec numbers SHOULD NOT be given to anyone at any time.

It's easy enough to find out what SHs live in a building by looking at the doorbell or mailroom directory. Some coops send all SHs a form and ask them to indicate if they do not want their phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses given out. Some coops send a form to just non-resident SHs and ask if they want any of their info left off a SH list that may be given to other SHs since they live in other locations. We all still have our right to privacy.

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Can't understand why anyone would want such information on shareholders to be MORE readily available. It would be interesting to find out from the orginal poster why he asked this question.

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J51s... - ABB Mar 13, 2008


Tried to post this back when the board was down. Yay, it's back up.

We put in a new elevator about a year ago. Our managing agent didn't file a J51 doesn't know if we'd be eligible or not for it. Based on some web-reading, it looks like, for Manhattan, if the units are valued over $40k, the building may 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 on how we should follow up.

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contractors in sponsor apts - hanah Mar 12, 2008


our Super has started making private arangments with the sponsor to renovate/ hire subcontractors to work on the sponsor apts when they open up for rental. These jobs do not seem to have permits and the contractor may be unlicensed to do electrical, plumbing etc. What can we do and why is allowing this to happen not in the best interests of a cooperative?

> Join the conversation Comments (1)


If your Super is doing any of this on co-op time, when he or she is acting as your paid agent, this could be a liability problem.

If it's being done on his/her own time, there could still be problems...

BTW, do your House Rules or Proprietary Lease address the issue of permits and licenses?

Contact your co-op counsel about this issue ASAP.

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Where is your management company? They should be taking care of this for you.

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Medic alert usage and contacts - TedT-NJ Mar 08, 2008


Folks,

As more of the population of our building moves into their senior years, more and more of the residents are now single person occupants. A good number have begun to acquire one or another model of remote medical alert service to secure assistance.
.
All these remote medical alert services expect to contact an individual to then gain access to the resident’s apartment and for any family or guardian contact.
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We have found that residents are supplying the telephone number of our security console or our doorman.
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We are about to publish a letter to all residents advising that the selected medical alert service needs to be provided with the names and phone numbers of fellow residents, family members or friends proximate to the building. Alternatively, residents can purchase a key lock box, typically used for home sales to allow only authorized individuals with the key box code to gain access to the unit’s keys.
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Basically, we wish to rebuff underwriting either explicitly or implicitly any co-op responsibility for a resident, access to the resident’s apartment or the notification to responsible parties for the resident.
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As we are not a nursing home or an assisted living facility, our assertion is that we cannot accept this burden for a resident’s well being.
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Doormen and security staff do not have access to the keys to a resident’s apartment. In turn, either the management office during the day our superintendents off hours must access the key locker. At this time, the rules for security and the doormen is that the superintendents are only to be contacted for a fire, flood or if the central heating or cooling system goes into an alarm state. As one can discern, these are rare occurrences.
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This is not a quality of life issue, as all residents share in the good care and maintenance of the building and property. To us, it is an additional service fraught with a potential liability for failure to act in a timely or proper manner.
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Are there supporting or counter views?
.
Thanks.

> Join the conversation Comments (3)


I agree with your letter to the residents regarding medic alerts. Those who have it should be thinking with their family members how they wish access to apartment to be handled if they trigger the medic alert. The co-op should not have an involvement as this is a "private emergency call" for a shareholder, but is not considered an emergency for the co-op.

AdC

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I am appalled by the inhumanity of the above two forum posters.

They speak about not wanting the co-op or condo to be responsible for elderly neighbors, for fear of liability.

Yet they know very well that any competent attorney can fashion a simple form that removes that issue.

These forum posters simply don't want old people around. Old people may not aesthetically pleasing. They may, god forbid, need a hand to get across the lobby, or to get their groceries up the elevator.

Of course a frail older person wants the building staff to have access, and to be the contact person who calls for help. The building staff is there 24 hours. Friends, relatives, other neighbors may not be.

Jesus, how hard is it to call 911 or to give a freaking key to an EMS worker?

The liability issue is a smokescreen. A lawyer can create a form that frees the co-op or condo of liability.

But nothing frees each of us from the simple human responsibility of taking care of our neighbors.

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> Join the conversation Comments (3)


I hear you.

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I’m really encouraged by the dialogue, despite what one may infer from my comments.
.
But, allow me to regale you about life in the insurance industry as we have experienced it
.
We had a long term resident trip on the carpeting in out hallway. It is perfectly good carpeting, installed on all floors, in all hallways and well maintained. Resident sued, and insurance company paid without fighting it.
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We had a resident trip on the sidewalk outside the building because an acorn fell from a tree, maybe not even our tree. Resident broke a wrist. Resident sued. Insurance company paid.
.
We had a resident who parked in our garage for many years in the same spot. One day the resident tripped when walking away from the car. The parking deck is perfectly within specifications. The resident sued. Insurance company paid.
.
Why do insurance companies pay? The answer is they do a cost benefit analysis and determine the cost of paying vs. the cost of fighting.
.
But then, our insurance experience file showed a number of “liability” payments. And our carrier cancelled our insurance. Assigned risk, here we come.
,
What do you folks think will happen if a resident’s medic alert sends an alarm and there is delay in gaining entry to the resident’s apartment because our folks (security, doorman, etc.) are 10 seconds late (yes, try and prove 10 seconds) and someone’s survivor sues?
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As fiduciaries, we cannot allow our other 499 shareholders to be put at financial risk by a major insurance claim, not to mention the erosion of time for our highly paid board members. We pay our board members $00, twice what other buildings pay, but it still does not cover their “costs”.
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Our position is that we cannot be the penultimate respondent to a resident’s medical emergency.
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Thus, we are about to publish a letter, with essentially the information contained my original posting. If that is the form which the counter view herein poses as a solution, so be it.
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Our next step is to put the letter in our admissions package such that every buyer signs the letter.
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And I need to ask what “form” would our attorney draft other than the letter that would emerge from my posting?
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Yes, I am very empathetic to the needs o the elderly. That’s why I moved my father, now 92, to an assisted living facility in NJ from his condo in Florida. A year ago, I moved him to a nursing home as his physical prowess declined.
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Why an assisted living facility and now a nursing facility? We’ll because they are accredited to provide a certain level of service. One may argue whether they meet the commitment, and my response is that in my estimation they do.
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By the way, he has the clarity of mind to assert that he could have changed world history, maybe spent a few years in jail and perhaps ruined the family, while in prison. After all, he was the NYC police department assigned bodyguard for Fidel Castro, upon Fidel’s first visit to NYC, when he stayed at the Hotel Teresa in Harlem. Fidel offered him cigars, fried chicken and brandy
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Again, I need to repeat that we are not a nursing home or an assisted living facility. Nor are we a warehouse where children can warehouse the elderly to avoid their responsibilities in this day and age when our adults are living longer, albeit curtailed life styles. We are not Florida with endless senior citizen warehouses where parents are stockpiled by Northern children until their next dutiful visit in nine months to a year, unless death prevails sooner.
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Perhaps we can charge an extra fee for being responders to medic alerts. After all, responding, regardless of situation, its not in our proprietary lease, our bylaws or house rules. After all, why should all residents underwrite the costs of the few?
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But can you conjure the liability insurance we would incur for failure to provide an agreed and paid service.
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Folks, it’s a litigious word and as fiduciaries we cannot place our shareholders at financial risk
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Perhaps, we should sue the children of the resident needing assistance for failure to provide adequate care and for endangering the life of elder dependent.

.







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A well reasoned point of view and an interesting story about your father but still, you must admit, somewhat cynical and at base, detached. If we are not our brother's keeper, a nursing home will be.

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ANYBODY in the building can sue over a trip-and-fall case. You're simply singling out older people. (I'm not one myself, nor have I an older friend or relative in a co-op, nor am I a lawyer, so I'm speaking as a disinterested party.) It sounds like nothing more than resentfulness that other adult children DO NOT follow lockstep with you and put their parents in a facility. That's fine for some families, but the way you do it is NOT the only way and wasn't brought down to you in tablets from the mount.

And that whole story, who knows whether it's true, advocating the assassination of a foreign leader we disagree with but with whose country we are not at war? The only relevance I can see to that tangential tale is that, taken together with your attitude toward older residents, shows a remarkably cavalier attitude toward the lives of others.





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D, it's not about wanting to get rid of elderly residents -- no one ever said that, and I think you are jumping to conclusions. What's so wrong about requiring those who use a medic alert service to list neighbors, relatives or friends as a contact rather than automatically assuming the building staff is ready, willing and able to let police/EMS into their apartments?

Our building does not have 24-hour doorman coverage, but we do have an older resident who uses a medical alert service. She has a sibling who lives 30 minutes away but who cannot or will not be involved in any aspect of her care. She was recently offered a space at an assisted living facility but turned it down because she wouldn't be allowed to smoke or to use her mobility scooter there. When our older resident falls out of bed in the middle of the night, the only way the police can gain entry to the building is by pressing buzzers until someone lets them in.

Thank you, TedNJ. I will propose to our board that this older resident provide a neighbor or nearby friend as her medical alert service contact.

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Very well said, Disappointed.

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As a building Resident Manager, I am asked by some of my older residents about responding to the medic alert. I tell the residents that it is fine with me if they would like to put my name and number down to check on them. I think some of them don't have anyone (family members) who can check on them.

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...to the resident manager above, who behaves like a reasonable and decent human being.

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Electioneering and otherwise - tedT-NJ Mar 08, 2008


Despite or because of Twin Rivers (Hightstown, NJ) can you folks provide some views or opinions? Yes, quite a few questions but one or more may perk your interest and some responses
Thanks.
1. Does your co-op or condo publish any letters promoting candidates for election to the co-op board of directors?

2. Does your co-op or condo allow residents and shareholders to distribute materials, election or otherwise, beneath apartment doors?

3. Does your co-op or condo allow candidates for board of directors to distribute materials beneath apartment doors?

4. Does your co-op or condo censure residents and shareholders who distribute materials, election or otherwise, beneath apartment doors?

5. Does your co-op or condo censure candidates for board of directors who distribute materials beneath apartment doors?

6. Has the board ever permitted e.g.: made an exception for, residents to distribute materials beneath apartment doors?

7. Has the board ever permitted, e.g.: made an exception for, candidates to distribute materials beneath apartment doors?

8. Has the board ever permitted residents to distribute any materials in your co-op or condo lobbies or hallways?

9. Has the board ever permitted residents to distribute election materials specifically in your co-op or condo lobbies or hallways?

10. Does your co-op or condo publish a list of candidates for the board of directors who have submitted their names in a timely manner?

11. Does your co-op or condo sponsor candidate sessions for shareholders to meet the candidates

12. Does your co-op or condo permit candidates to make a statement on the floor of the shareholders meeting before the voting is closed, unless voting closes before the shareholders meeting?

13. Does your co-op or condo have an independent tabulator of votes?

14. Does your co-op or condo publish the count of votes for candidates?

15. Does ML prohibit the distribution of materials at your co-op or condo sponsored off premise meetings, if in fact meetings are off premises?

16. Does your co-op or condo allow meetings in the community room for personal use?

17. Does your co-op or condo prohibit door to door solicitations in the building?

18. Does your co-op or condo prohibit any activities in the lobby?


> Join the conversation Comments (1)


Ted,

I think that the only type of activity that we prohibit by way of stuffing papers has to do with outsiders, i.e., restaurant home deliveries who end up putting menus, politicians who gain access to the builidng, etc.


My opinion is as follows:

If the House Rules and By-Laws are silent about stuffing mailings under doors of shareholders for co-op elections, why would a board object to such an activity if it promotes elections within the building?

I would say that boards should promote independent election committees for the promotion of ALL candidates prior to the annual meeting. Similarly, information nights in lobbies, meeting room etc. should be held well in advance so that shareholders may have an opportunity to exchange ideas with prospective candidates for a better informed decision on the part of the shareholders. These committees may help pre-print a ballot for those who would like to vote by proxy.

Finally, if a board has not done the homework to form election committees, then it should collect proxies that will guarantee annual meetings. At least, shareholders may be able to submit their names from the floor at the night of the meeting and at least have the opportunity to be elected.

In our case, the co-op counsel and independent auditor count the ballots and destroy them once tallied.


AdC

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Some questions:

How was the independent auditor selected?

How costly is an independent auditor?

Any recommendations for where our building might find an independent auditor?

Thanks!

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Fee to a subletter - BP Mar 08, 2008


A sublet tenant (Ed) complained to our board about the SH of his apt. We told him the matter is between them but I'd like to know what some of you think.

Ed's sublet expires in May. He wants to renew for one more year. He told the SH he's looking to buy a place but he doesn't know when he'll find one. It could be a few months from now. He told the SH he'll give him 3 months move-out notice. The SH also wants Ed to pay 2 months rent if he leaves during the next year's sublet lease period.

Ed claims the SH has no right to ask for 2 months rent if he moves out early and he doesn't want to pay it. The board didn't tell him this but we don't think it's unfair.

Again, this is between them but I have two questions:

1) Any opinions on the 2 months rent request?

2) If Ed agreed (in writing) to pay 2 months rent if he moves out early then refuses to pay it, could the SH keep his security deposit instead?

Appreciate any feedback. Thanks.

> Join the conversation Comments (2)


First, Ed is looking for his convenience, not the shareholder's convenience. Both should iron out a compromise, but it's not up to Board to provide an opinion if the shareholder is being greedy or Ed is trying to negotiate the best for his pocket.

The bottomline is that if Ed is trying to buy a condo, a house or a coop and it's hard to predict the date of the closing, etc. So, I don't know how ED is going to calculate when to give three-month's notice to the shareholder.

AdC


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The Board should stay well out of any sublease situation, except to enforce any regulations regarding subleases and Shareholders (ie., the Board must approve all sublettees, a fee must be paid, etc.)

Getting involved is not legally wise for the corporation, and the Board should make it a policy to state its neutrality to all inquiries, from Shareholders and Subtenants alike.

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Folks, maybe you misunderstood me. In my last posting, I said the board DID tell the tenant that his sublet issue with the SH is between them. The board is not involved and has no intention of getting involved in this.

I was just curious if any of you think:

1)it's unfair for a SH to ask a tenant for 2 months rent if the tenant renews for a year, with a good chance that he'll leave a few months into the renewal

2) if the tenant agrees to pay 2 months rent then refuses to pay if he leaves early, could the SH deduct the 2 months rent from the tenant's security deposit

Just interested in other opinions on these two points.

Thanks

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Again, what I think is simple:

This is a matter of convenience among two parties that has nothing to do with the co-op. Hence, why even think about it. I would rather spend my valuable time in trying to do something productive for the co-op.

AdC


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A very good point, AdC.
Board member is neither "Information bureau" nor a mediator.

Feona

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You are absolutely right, RLM.
Why would the tenant approach a Board member with his complaint? It looks like this apartment sponsor owned - so let him handle it. I don't think it is any business of the Board to get involved. AdC is right, too - "If not of concern why worry". If your curiosity is satisfied and you get answers from this site I would not advise you to deliver the obtained information to the tenant in question if you don't want any troubles.

Feona

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many coop have short term sublets. For, say, sixth months. This would solve your problem. Change your house rules. This is espcecially good for professors who often go away afor six months at a time and cannot afford not to sublet.

Many also allow , say, 2 year out of every six of ownership.

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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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