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rejected applicant - rene Sep 10, 2008


Hi Everyone,

Our board just rejected an applicant. The shareholder's attorney contacted the board asking for a reason for the rejection and requesting the board interview the applicant. I know the board does not have to reveal a reason for rejection and we have no intention of doing that or in meeting with a rejected applicant. I am wondering what is the best next step. What kind, if any, communication should be sent in response to the attorney? Thanks in advance for your assistance.

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We have never disclosed the reason for a rejection.

We never interviewed a rejected applicant again.

We have never accepted "paperwork" for a rejected applicant for a second go-around.

All interaction is with our attorney, so there is never a “slip of the tongue”.

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Sorry.

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We too have rejected applications and did not then proceed with an interview. If challenged, we also do not offer any reason; not required. Having said this, we will issue a 'non-acceptance' letter upon request that reads like this (in form and substance):

(On co-op letterhead/date/to...)
As requested, this is a non-
acceptance letter in connection
with the sale/resale of co-op shares
vs. Apt. X at above address.

Please be advised that the Board of
Directors of X has not approved the
purchase application referenced above.

Sincerely,
(Name of Co-op)
(Authorized signature, i.e. President)

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Have your co-op lawyer write the letter. Not only does that insulate you a little more, it means your attorney is on-board from the beginning in case the applicant become litigious.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)


Your coop should, by now, have developed form letters to respond to situations such as these... "our board does not disclose reasons for rejection, and the law does not require us to do so," blah blah blah.

Having a co-op lawyer formulate individual letters can add up to expensive (and unnecessary) bills.

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Habitatmag.com Ask the Experts - James Sep 09, 2008


Hello everyone,

Has anybody viewed or used the Ask the Experts videos Habitat has elsewhere on this site?

http://www.habitatmag.com/publication_content/ask_the_experts

I'm curious because I have. Thank you.

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Purchase Application Requirements - Rick Groman Sep 09, 2008


Our board is discussing the amount of assets an applicant should have after closing for the approval of a purchase application.

Most say applicants ahould have 2 years worth of mortage/maintenance and NOT include retirement assets.

Some say we should see 2 years worth and include retirement assets

A few say 1 year and include retirement assets.

Have your boards set similar guidelines?

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Our board has not set any particular asset requirements. However, in recently reviewing our purchase application, we did make a distinction between liquid assets and nonliquid assets. We included retirement accounts (as well as other things) in the nonliquid asset category.

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Meeting to organize shareholders in sponsor-controlled build - rsunyc Sep 09, 2008


Is the sponsor in your building still holding more than 40% of the shares? Still somehow controlling the board? Still serving as the managing agent?

Join the Flatbush Development Corporation in working to develop a citywide coalition of resident shareholders fighting sponsor control.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
7:00 p.m.
The Church of the Nativity*
1099 Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11230

Hear from elected officials, community organizers and lawyers about steps we can take to move toward true cooperatives.
Find out what next steps to take in your building.
Meet others in similar buildings.

Please forward this information widely; spread the word.
In numbers, there is strength.

For more information, email: rsunyc@gmail.com
or phone Aga Trojniak at FDC (718)859-4763.

*Directions: Take B or Q to Newkirk Station, walk 4 blocks to the east to Ocean Avenue, and then one and a half blocks south, just past Foster Avenue. Bus: B8 to Foster Avenue and Ocean Ave.

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water bill auditing co. - TZ Sep 08, 2008


anyone had experiences and can make recommendations? Thanks!

(To clarify - this is when you hire a co. to audit water bills, often resulting in signifigant savings and refunds, and they take a percentage of the savings as their payment.

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Do you not audit your bill upon arrival?

Doesn't your management company audit each bill?

If not something is amiss.


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what managing agent is that competent?

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Explore Vantage Group. They helped us save $10,000. This website has frequently asked questions under "Water" answered on video by the Vantage Group expert in the field http://www.habitatmag.com/publication_content/ask_the_experts Good luck and good savings!

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Sukkah--any issues? - DN Sep 08, 2008


A shareholder has requested permission to erect a Sukkah in our building's rear courtyard (not visible from the street). Any reason why we should be wary or is it not a problem?

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You are setting a precedent for common public areas of your building to be employed for personal use.

You are opening a door for others to claim the right to use the area for their religious beliefs.

You are opening the door for the common area to be employed by others for their personal use, regardless of religious connotation or not. Is this what you want? Who will administer. Who will vote yea or nay?

Sounds draconian, but never make an exception and you won't have a fight and possibly a lawsuit in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

Please protect your common areas.

Kindly think long term.


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that is a silly suggestion. You just make them sign a special waiver aan then relax and enjoy the event. we should all stop being so uptight. it shows no forsight or understanding of the full ability to enjoy life.

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If a waiver is recommended, then one is out of pattern and should (must) employ an attorney.

Once begun, volunteer board members (the unpaid stalwarts) may be faced with the need for more out of pattern waivers.

But, as noted above, what if someone is declined a waiver? When and where does it end, and at what cost?

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seriously - just let them hold the event. i have seen this on 91st and riverside drive and it looked very nice. very fancy condo. nobody cared and nobody tried anything else.

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The fact that the recent posting asserts “nobody tried anything else” is of no value in a court of law. Precedents prevail.

Why open the door for more board work?

Abide by the rules and live in harmony.

What was that poem?

It was Robert Frost’s “Good fences make good neighbors”; well good rules make good neighbors as well.

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If the board ever turns down a request, you could be thrown into a legal-wrangle, that will become an emotional issue with the SH, cause hard feelings, all of which could have been avoided.

It would be nice to lighten-up, but once this starts, the board will have to approve EVERY application, and believe me -- you dont want to go there.

VP

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Coop Building Sale - Albert Ferrante Sep 05, 2008


Can a 100% shareholder owned cooperative building be sold, with proceeds of the sale distributed to the shareholders and the corporation dissolved?

I assume this has been done?

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If large corporations merge and are sold, why can't a co-op be sold?

I'm sure that you will read your by-laws for dissolution of the corporation and the required minimum number of shares that will have to accept the sale of the property.

What is the reason? ...Repairs required for the property much larger than the value of the property?

Total destruction of the property?

Value of the property much larger than the market value of the individual units as a whole?

AdC


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Typically, most bylaws require 80% of the shares outstanding, not the units, to agree to change the by-laws, thus changing the ownership or the dissolving the corporation in my view, falls in this category, e.g.: 80% of the shares.

If a co-op can convert to condo (e.g.: 80% of the shares voting affirmatively), which in effect dissolves the co-op corporation, one should be able to sell the property and distribute the proceeds.

In this case, as you are evicting those who did not vote affirmatively, one needs to check whether any NY State statues or laws inhibit the “eviction”.

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Sorry for the late response -- I didn't spot this earlier.

The short answer is YES, the coop corporation can indeed be voluntarily dissolved and the building sold. It is very rare, but it might occur (for example) if a developer wants to buy your building, tear it down, and put up something else in its place.

For the dissolution procedure, you'll need to check your Proprietary Lease. In our lease -- which was based on the same template as many other NYC coops -- the relevant details are in Paragraph 31(g): Termination of Lease by Lessor / Termination of All Proprietary Leases:

"If at any time the Lessor shall determine, upon the affirmative vote of two-thirds of its then Directors at a meeting of such Directors duly called for that purpose, and the affirmative vote of the record holders of at least 75% in amount of its then issued shares at a shareholders' meeting duly called for that purpose, to terminate all proprietary leases..."

Michael raises an interesting issue about the legality of "evicting those who did not vote affirmatively," and I don't know whether a court has ever ruled on this point. However, the courts have resoundingly upheld Section (f) of the same paragraph, which allows coops to terminate a Proprietary Lease against a shareholder's wishes in the case of "objectionable conduct" by the shareholder.

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Handicap ramp - ML Sep 05, 2008


We need to install a handicap ramp in the co-op building's rear entrance. The existing ramp (built with original construction in the 1950's) is inadequate and needs to be upgraded as requested by a shareholder. Has anyone undertaken this type of project recently? Any advise on engineers? contractors? any problems encountered? any hidden costs not surface identified? any words of advice? length of project (understood, varies from building to building but just a general 'feel'). Any general comments; thanks much!

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You might want to consult one of the disabled organizations - you'd get free input and raise good will at the same time.

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Is the ramp really necessary?

Check Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)as your building may be exempt if the cost is prohibitive or requires major structural changes.

If you must proceed, there are also ADA guidelines for construction of ramps, e.g.; width, handrails, slope length per inch of rise, etc.

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Do you know what CIRA means? - Harvey Aug 29, 2008




If you didn’t immediately recognize that CIRA stands for: “Common Interest Realty Associations”.

Then maybe one needs to obtain the newest CIRA Audit & Accounting Guide, with conforming changes as of May 1, 2008 edition, published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. http://aicpa.org/

http://www.cpa2biz.com/search/results.jsp;jsessionid=L4XLxpLZkl0PMnnFXRyMdlx9KzLWPHJ7xH0HVp4gNdvyJLNsC1bG!-1571680646!1544357353

As a matter of fact, we have provided each of our board members with their own copy. This is truly and excellent primer and guide for all board members.

And, suggest you check out the other publications.

If you are hesitating, let allow myself to counsel you otherwise.



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We have the booklet for all our board and after one reads it, one may agree with many points in the posting:
http://disc.yourwebapps.com/discussion.cgi?disc=94379;article=10241;title=Habitat%27s%20Board%20Talk

I, and many of our board members, tend to agree with much of the discussion that is posted in Part 1 & 2.

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We’ve had these rules in place even before the CIRA/AICPA documents were published (I posted this a about two weeks ago elsewhere).

1. President does not sign checks, e.g. not authorized.
2. President does not sign contracts.
3. Building manager (either self managed as we are, or from a management firm) does not sign checks.
4. Building manager (either self managed as we are, or from a management firm) does not sign contracts.
5. No use of credit card to pay any routine bills whatsoever, except minor purchases, e.g.; less than $200 per month (as some online web sites will only accept cards or other automated payment service).
6. Every invoice paid by check.
7. Building manager must sign every invoice that is presented for payment.
8. With seven board members, four are authorized to sign checks.
9. All payable and salary checks, e.g.: all checks, must be signed by two board members.
10. Building manager can only made deposits and no withdrawals.
11. All payable checks are accompanied by the original invoice.
12. No cash transactions ever, e.g.: garage allows visitors parking, but resident is assessed the fee.
13. Board members can challenge any check and obtain an explanation.
14. Two accounts payable runs each month. These are for all invoices received by the 25th of the preceding month and the first is generated around the 8th.
15. Why the 8th? Our maintenance and assessment (yes, we have assessments every year and it is collected during ten of twelve months of the year) payments are due by the 10th. In this way our funds with the bank remain relatively constant.
16. The second run is towards the end of the month for any payments, we really need to make.
17. Original checks returned by the banks and bank statement are reviewed by the treasurer every month.
18. All board members receive a complete check register every month with all payees and amounts.
19. All board members and outside counsel receive a complete listing of arrears, simple and aged every month. Ours are minimal and have been minimal, about 1.5% of our monthly maintenance income.
20. All board members receive a cash flow report every month.
21. All board members receive a budget vs. actual comparison by month and year to date every month for all major line items and in some cases the details therein.
22. All board members receive a trial balance every month.
23. All board members and outside counsel receive a management report prepared by the building manager every Friday listing events (normal and unusual), letters, received, government activities, forecast of capital work and major repairs.
24. All our consumables must be purchased from a round robin of firms so that no one firm has a corner on all our purchases such that there is a lessened inclination for any kickbacks.
25. Our outside engineering firm monitors all major expenditures and certifies all work as complete, or partially complete as scheduled, before we make any payments.
26. Yes, all major capital expenditures are bid to firms identified by our engineering firm.
27. Our engineering firm levels all bids.
28. Our counsel reads and approves all contracts. Then, a board member signs the contract.
29. No board member ever goes to lunch or dinner on the co-op. If we go to dinner after a meeting, it is dutch treat.
30. No board member, building manager or superintendent ever takes a free lunch or dinner from a supplier.
31. No board member, building manager or superintendent ever takes a gift from a supplier.
32. No board member ever charges the co-op for personal stationery supplies used, PC software, printer ink, personal auto, telephone calls, etc.
33. No board member ever uses the postage stamp machine in the management office unless the board member reimburses the co-op.
34. And, unlike some co-op and coops, admittedly a small number, we do not forgive the monthly maintenance for an active board member, e.g.: the board member does not receive a free ride.
35. An outside elevator “consulting” firm inspects our elevator system quarterly and produces a written report.
36. Our maintenance staff rides every elevator every Thursday and reports by fax all noises (unusual ?) and minor malfunctions to our elevator service firm.
37. Every two years, our outside engineering firm updates our capital plant engineering assessment and we reforecast our capital reserve (cash) needs fifteen+ years out.
38. The building manager posts pictures on our office of every staff member and every member of the outside security firm assigned to our building.


Yes, these are our own rules. There are more, but you get the gist.

And, we have an accounting firm that specializes in co-op and condo audits. We had one of the national/international firms until four years ago, when we switched. The national firm, which we employed for a number of years, was a neophyte in co-op audits compared to the firm we now employ.



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NYSERDA - gerry Aug 29, 2008


We have received a proposal from Association for Energy Affordability, Inc. but haven't signed up yet.
I was hoping that someone who has completed the program would respond to my inquiry as I have a number of questions.

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ask them for references of prior comparable coops. also you can google it.

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We have also received proposal from AEA. Have you gotten proposals from other companies? AEA is not the only one. One company called New Star Energy Services ( http://www.newstarenergyservices.com/ ) is doing a seminar October 1 to talk about the plans. I know that the Jim Dwyer's, NY Times columnist, building has used AEA. The proposal we got from them was for $7,000 for the 1st energy audit but I think there are others that will do it for the $5,000 that NYSERDA will give you. Even if you don't complete the program access to the cheap loans is an incentive

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We're meeting with a NYSERDA rep on October 1st.
We have a bunch of questions for them. Anyone want us to ask them something specific?
BTW, they are a not-for-profit.

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are you sure you aer meeting with NYSERDA or one of the partner companies i.g. AEA

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did you really meat with NYSERDA or was it TRC, the company that does all the cooprdination between NYSERDA and the NYSREDA Partner that does all the testing and helps fill out the applications

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