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How many times can an apt be sold from sponsor to sponsor - AliceT May 22, 2007


Info: A sponsor can sell an apartment in a Coop without board approval or paying flip tax.

QUESTION: What is the legal defination of "Who is a Sponsor"?

SITUATION: Our building was converted to a CoOp about 17 years ago, but all apt were not sold. The original sponsor sold to investors, who were deemed sponsors, who sold to investors who were also called sponsors.

We recently had a mini converson, in that occupied apartments were once again offered to tenets, however most were sold to various "Sponsors".

One apartment has now been sold again, Sponsor to Sponsor, HOWEVER, we now find that the new Sponsor (who will not have to pay have board approval or pay a flip tax if they sell) is a couple that are moving in. They are not investors, but bought an apartment to live in. Our old Board Pres was doing people favors signing off on these sales, in hopes of getting reelected (he was not reelected)

HELP.............

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It's been my understanding that a Sponsor is the "holder of UNSOLD shares" -- when the Sponsor SELLS those shares to someone as a resident, those shares are no longer "sponsor" shares or "unsold" shares.

Bottom line.... consult your co-op attorney, ASAP.

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I agree with RLM -- contact your attorney right away.

Chances are that your proprietary lease defines, very specifically, who is and who is not "the sponsor," and I don't expect you or me or Oscar the Grouch could become the sponsor just because the seller says so.

As the previous post says, typically one is the sponsor only if one holds "unsold shares."

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If a holder of unsold shares (an investor) uses the apartment for their personal use...then they are no longer are legally entitled to holder of unsold share status. They, in effect, become regular shareholders subject to all covenants and fees and rules and regulations that all other shareholders are subject to.

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Dave, Thanks for your answer. Where do you get your info.
The new "sponsor" (this is the fifth sponsor for this apt, and they dont own anyother apts) is letting her children live in the apt....

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alice - if the "kids" are responsible and bills getting paid who cares if they are there? so what? sometimes, i hate coops.....

assume these are adult kids. whcih makes them adults, not kids.

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You missed the Point: This apartment was sold as a Sponsor to Sponsor apartment. Making the new owner about the Sixth sponsor to own this apartment.

1-Sponsors are allowed to sell apartments WITHOUT board approval. The Board has no idea who the new neighbors are or, no personal recomendations, no idea of thier history. Or if they can pay the maintenance.
2-Sponsors are not required to pay the CoOp a flip tax. Which, if you sell your apartment, you have to pay.

All of which, defeats one of the objectives of a CoOp. For example, one sponsor sold a group of studios to a few SouthAmericans who for years, allowed thier friends to use the building as a hotel. After numerous (some serious) problems, we were able to stop this. And, the Sharholders are also losing money on the Flip tax.

Safty Issues: Sponsors generally dont care who they sell to, just so they get top price. We have had prostitutes and bookies living in our building.

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I don't what is the ratio of apartment retained by sponsor and those individually subscribed, if you have a co-op counsel hired by the co-op. The issues here are many:

1."Sponsors are allowed to sell apartments WITHOUT board approval. The Board has no idea who the new neighbors are or, no personal recomendations, no idea of thier history. Or if they can pay the maintenance."

A: This is true and approved by the General Attorney's Office. For your info, this is how the co-op became a co-op.
The reason for this is to be able to complete the conversion of the building. Although a mixed blessing at times, you are better off to have the co-op convert and have the board "bring into the fold" the new shareholders, than have the sponsor keep renting units.

If you have a good relation with the sponsor, you may ask to have the new purchasers meet the board to go over any questions they may have. JUST and INFO EXCHANGE, not an ADMISSIONS NIGHT! Some SPONSORS have agreed to this.

2-"Sponsors are not required to pay the CoOp a flip tax. Which, if you sell your apartment, you have to pay."

AGAIN, I don't care for "flip taxes" and they may not make too much sense in a high percent sponsor represented building. After all, the flip tax will subsidize the sponsor by the % it controls. INSTEAD, an assessments makes the SPONSOR responsible for the improvements of the building and building reserves.

"All of which, defeats one of the objectives of a CoOp. For example, one sponsor sold a group of studios to a few SouthAmericans who for years, allowed thier friends to use the building as a hotel. After numerous (some serious) problems, we were able to stop this. And, the Sharholders are also losing money on the Flip tax. "

-- If it was stopped years later, why wasn't it stopped years before??? Sometimes it takes boards to consult the problem with co-op counsel and clarify issues. Don't know if this was your case. Finally, if the investors were South Americans or Jews or Australians or Chinese or UFA (for Unidentified Foreign Aliens) the bottom line is that boards as well as residents have to be atuned to what is going on in the building...some may think that this should be left TO HOMELAND SECURITY!!!

Safty Issues: Sponsors generally dont care who they sell to, just so they get top price. We have had prostitutes and bookies living in our building.

--From "have had" means that you do not have them anymore. So, the conversion worked and these individuals, considered society "scums" are no longer present. Well if the sponsor rents to the same individuals, you have the same situation. The main thing is to be ALERT and discuss the problem with SPONSOR if you have a good relationship or with you co-op counsel as to any irregularities that might be going on in a building.

Finally, ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE, may have similar problems. The bad guys also know how to look like GOOD guys too. So, no matter how much due diligence you do, there is something that may INFILTRATE TOO! Also, while we do not call "PROSTITUTION" certain life-styles, you may end up scratching your head as to who will be the "transient" roommate of some perfectly dignified individuals (I'm sorry if I strike some a sensitive cords with this statement!).

AdC








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Alice: As I understand it the "sponsor" is whoever converts a bldg to a coop - usually the owner-landlord of the bldg as a rental property. Shares for apts the sponsor doesn't sell and holds onto are "unsold shares" and the sponsor is thereby a "holder of unsold shares" (an HUS).

Also, I think a sponsor who's an HUS has to file certain documents with the city/state - every year - to retain that status. If he sells unsold shares to someone who buys them only as an investment (to rent the apt) and doesn't live in the apt, I believe he is also an HUS and must comply with the same annual legal requirements as the sponsor. BTW, the law stated that if an HUS occupied an apt for even 24 hours that was enough to qualify as having "lived" there. The laws on all this may have changed - ask your attorney.

We went to court 10 years ago with a man who bought shares from the sponsor and said he was an HUS because he never lived in the apt and was exempt from the same coop rules and fees as the sponsor. Long story but he was essentially claiming "sponsor status". How can anyone beyond whoever sponsors a coop conversion be considerd a "sponsor"? A sponsor of what? And how can there be 5 sponsors for an apt? As I understand, if a person who buys an apt lives in it or his children do, that person is a coop shareholder.

If I'm interpreting this incorrectly, I'd appreciate some clarification. Thanks.

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You (and others) make sense. I will let you know the outcome....

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Sponsor questions and occupancy are to be brought to the co-op counsel for handling since occupancy is one of the most litigious issues for co-ops. If the family of the sponsor is living an apartment, it might as well become now an individual shareholder's apartment.

Since now you have a "good board" according to "the power of the e-mail" postings, they should know how and where to spend the money to assert the rights of the co-op.

Good luck!

AdC

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The children of Holders of Unsold Shares (forget sponsors...these are holders of unsold shares)living in the apartment...effectively...nullify the status of the holders of unsold shares.

These shareholders are now regular shareholders and should be made to follow all rules, regulations (board approvale for sales/sublets etc..), and payment obligations (i.e. flip tax, sublet fees etc.) that any other shareholder must.

These shareholders ahoudl be informed by the board, through your management company that the board no longer recognizes them as holders of unsold shares.

I do not know where I can refer you to, to confirm this...but speak to your attorney...cause I am certain I am correct here.

Good Luck.

Revoke their holders of unsold share status. They are no longer entitled to it...and one less HUS is better for yoru building in the long run.

Dave!

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Proxies - need an answer fast - BP May 20, 2007


I posted this yesterday, but it never appeared. (?)

Two board members want to see all proxies for our annual meeting. They say they have a right to everything related to coop biz. Mgmt says they can only see proxies they're named on but they want to know who's named on all proxies and what shs submit them. They also wanted to know not just final tallies for each candidate but also who votes for whom but mgmt flatly said that's confidential. They gave up on that but still want to see all proxies. Mgmt won't give them that info but they say they'll take the proxies on meeting night if they can't see them beforehand. They won't listen to anything I say.

What is proper/legal regarding who can see proxies and how can we enforce it? Our annual meeting is next week ~

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After the meeting the management company should inform you of the following:

total shares of coop
total shares represented
number of shares by proxy
number of shares voted for each candidate

names of voters either by proxy or on person are not provided

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Adding: what if the Management gives all this info to the Board President at the end of the meeting before filling in the proxies?

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If the Man co gives this info to the Pres of the Board, they are more than likely breaking the ByLaws... As an owner you have a right to a copy of the ByLaws... We have now discovered that the more SH who have the BYLaw, the better.
The Bylaws are not difficult to read or understand.

Once more EMAIL POWER: We have brought this kind of nonsense to a stop with Emails. The Man or certain Board members do not want an Email trail.
But, and this is so hard to get people to do, everyone must BCC or CC the board, other SH and the man co. We found that the more people we involved, the less tricks they tried to play.
Our man co is in so much trouble with the SH that they want to discontinue using Email, but its toooo late..

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alicet wrote: "Once more EMAIL POWER: We have brought this kind of nonsense to a stop with Emails. The Man or certain Board members do not want an Email trail."

Yup. Our problematic board president hates the fact that we started conducting business via email over the past year because he prefers ex parte discussions that leave no trace. Easier to bully and manipulate people that way. He's upset because he got caught (thanks largely to email) in quite a few mistakes and misrepresentations.

I've been following this discussion of proxies with interest. We recently had an election that was fairly close. Many people find the board president reckless and would like to see him off the board. Unfortunately he managed to get himself re-elected.

Tonight I had dinner with a fellow shareholder, whom I'll call G, and learned something interesting. G arrived at our recent annual meeting a few minutes early (I hadn't yet arrived). She told the managing agent that something had come up and she wouldn't be able to stay for the meeting, and asked if she could give me a proxy vote. (Proxies in our building are discretionary; in other words, the proxy votes for whomever he or she deems best.) The managing agent gave G a proxy form, G filled it out, and the agent said that she would give it to me. She didn't give it to me. Tonight was the first I heard of it.

G was absolutely appalled. I'm appalled, too, but I can't say that I'm surprised. The managing agent is completely under this bullying president's thumb; she knows that I think he is bad for the building, and she certainly knew how I would vote. We did have a trustworthy shareholder count the votes, but this person wouldn't notice that one of the proxies was either absent or forged.

I'm sure that things like this happen occasionally. I'm not sure what can be done about it.

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Unfortunately the by-laws are silent regarding appropriate or specifiic procedures to handle proxies, elections, etc. This is why a board's work is to also provide sound procedures, not just come up with house rules.

In the absence of guidance, speak with the co-op counsel as to how the proxies should be handled. When I mean speak with counsel I mean invite the professional to talk to the board via telephone, in person or give his/her opinion in writing. With such professional opinion on hand, the board should come to a resolution as to HOW to handle the proxies in a professional and unbiased manner that complies with a court of law in the event of a challenge.

Unfortunately, there are many individuals sitting on boards who are giving opinions without first thinking that boards may be taken to court and their conduct may prove deleterious to their person and to the corporation. It is time to recognize that board members, if they don't know how to act or where they are threading water, then there is a need to consult the legal counsel so that a professional conduct on handling matters, ie., proxies can be followed and may pass the litmus test of a court if legally challenged.

To conclude, boards must learn when to rely on advice from a professional to comply with the law. Even if we dón't like the advice given by the professional, we must learn to accept it as something that protects the board and the co-op from unfairness and lack of ethics.

Good luck!

AdC


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Just to add something...

In addition to what AdC is saying and my original answer, you want to appoint a neutral party who is not a shareholder, or someone who is not party to the vote at hand, to act as an overseer (an atty is best).
When I feel a vote is going to be close, possibly disputed, or in contest somehow, I will always have a third party to watch me (as managing agent)count.
Hope all this helps.

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In our co-op we have the independent accountant and the co-op attorney with our property manager do the counting of the votes and the proxies to certify the votes. The board stays totally out of it.

The only thing that we do is prepare a spreadsheet with the apartment numbers and # of shares. Proxies received by the board are only entered for purposes of making sure that a quorum is reached. The spreadsheet is then used to tally the votes by those named before.

AdC

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Management is correct, No one may see any proxies. Shareholders asked for them at my building and they were denied by the board.

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The Vote has to be secret. We had this situation and one board member intimitated shareholders who did not vote for him. He stayed on the board 17 years, and did some pretty nasty things to people.

This is a very bad idea..And according to our bylaws, someones lawyer can look over the ballots to make certain the election was legal. And you can get a copy of your own proxy.

Check your bylaws or the AG office www.NYC.Gov

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I agree with most of what's been said:

* Voting is private.
* An independent (non-shareholder) vote-counter is ideal; my co-op has used two (or three) shareholders, none of whom were board members, to count them in front of everyone (while maintaining the privacy of the voters' choices).
* When in question about the procedures, check with your counsel about such things. A conference call with multiple board members is great; a written memo from the lawyer is excellent.

One thing to add --

Although only the vote counters should see who votes for whom (whether by proxy or in person), someone MUST SEE & VERIFY the PROXIES proffered -- BEFORE the vote -- to ensure that they are properly filled out, signed and dated.

Usually the managing agent's representative does this. If your lawyer attends, she/he would probably do so.

Steve

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This year our proxy has a "Witness." My reaction was good for a contested election, but in a builidng where there is a 20% attendance and there is a need to "pull teeth" to get proxies back, and 94% subscribed building, then it will tell you that you will have no quorum. So, the board members collect (door-by-door) proxies so that at least a a quorum may be attained and there is business transacted at the annual meeting.

Of course, I elevated my concern to the attorney (not that I expect to perpetuate myself on the board by collecting proxies)his answer I am sharing with you:

"As a matter of law, even if the proxy has a witness line, a proxy is legal without the witness signing."

Hope this helps too!

AdC

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The board members going door to door collecting proxies sounds like a good plan. We have trouble getting quorums in our building as well for meetings. One-third of the building's shareholders refuses to vote at all making it impossible for things to get done and for us to get a quorum.

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AdC - If your board members go door-to-door collecting proxies so you have a quorum for your annual meeting, are they given the proxies in sealed envelopes? They should be. (Goes to my question on proxies a few days ago) I've now been "advised" by the AG's office that proxy info should be confidential except for whoever is appointed on each proxy.

BTW, our attorney says proxies can be used to attain a quorum so the meeting can be held - but they can't be used on any vote (including board elections) if the appointed proxy person isn't present at the meeting. We had a Sh who named his renter as his proxy. The renter mailed the proxy form to mgmt but he didn't come to the meeting. We also had a Sh who named her sister as proxy but the sister couldn't attend the meeting and told mgmt to use the proxy to vote whatever way "board member Mary" voted. Neither of those proxies were considered valid.

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Although we do not seal them, as we enter them to ensure that enough shares are represneted, they are all gathered and put in an envelope and given to the attorney who will be there. Again, we do it for the purpose of a quorum. If the person comes or supersedes the proxy with another one at the night of the meeting, the proxy that the attorney holds is invalidated.

A message we always send to shareholders is an annual meeting is expensive proposition for the co-op; not only does the board pay for the accountant and the attorney to come to the meeting to answer the questions of the shareholders, but there are tons of administrative costs associated with the meeting. Finally, and most important message that we try to drive is: to be a truly democratic co-op, shareholders need to participate. In fact, the most important contribution a shareholder does to a co-op is to exercise their vote at the annual meeting.

AdC

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Although we do not seal them, we FIRST RECORD them to ensure that enough shares are represEnted, THEN PROXIES ARE gathered and PLACED in an envelope and given to the CO-OP attorney who will be AT THE MEETING. Again, we do it for the purpose of a quorum. If the person comes or supersedes the proxy with another one at the night of the meeting, the proxy that the attorney holds is invalidated.

A message we always send to shareholders is an annual meeting is expensive proposition for the co-op; not only does the CO-OP (not the board) pays for the accountant and the attorney to come to the meeting to answer the questions of the shareholders, but there are tons of administrative costs associated with the meeting. Finally, and the most important message that we try to drive is: to be a truly democratic co-op, shareholders need to participate. In fact, the most important contribution a shareholder does to a co-op is to exercise their vote at the annual meeting.

AdC

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2 managing agents in a coop - Big Al May 18, 2007


I know this has been touched on before but I think it could be given a more in-depth discussion. we live in a coop with about 30% sponsor owned. we used to have one managing agent but the coop caught the sponsor's agent doing some naughty things and terminated. the coop then got a new agent but the spnsor kept the orgiginal agency. I just noticed the below statement the other day. it seems illegal to have 2 manang agents. (a similar quote appears in our offering plan) - ok so some could argue it is somehow cheaper to have 2 mng agents, (for the coop), but is that true? seems like it is bette rto have one agent to create better , more direct communication.

The statue is very clear,'' said Arthur I. Weinstein, a lawyer specializing in cooperative matters who is vice president of the Council of New York Cooperatives, citing Section 352eeee(3) of the state's General Business Law. ''It says that all dwelling units in cooperatives occupied by nonpurchasing tenants shall be managed by the same managing agent that manages all other dwellings in the building. The law applies to both units owned by the sponsor and those by individuals.''

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I have googeled around and so far it looks as if this is not a legal situation and the attorney general's office might be notified. no?

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currently there are 60 sold units and we pay $575 per year per unit to the Managing Agency. The other 28 are sponsor owned.

Is $575 per unit high for an upper west side cooperative - 99th st?

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We pay about $511 per apt (in a building with fewer apts than yours) in Hudson Heights.

As for hiring a managing agent ... the corporation hires a managing agent to handle the corporation's affairs.

I don't understand how the sponsor can hire a managing agent to run the building as well. I mean, the super reports to the board, not any one shareholder, even if it's the sponsor.

Have a discussion with your corporate counsel. He/She can figure out what's going on.

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The discussion that was there a while back is still valid:

1. The sponsor retains its own management comapny to handle its units.

2. The co-op handles the co-op affairs, the individual shareholders and the sponsor.

3. The co-op management works for the co-op not for the sponsor. The co-op management may need to interact with the sponsor for preparation of amendments, sales, etc., but the loyalty is to the co-op, not to any individual shareholder or sponsor.

4. What the sponsor pays its management for managing the different builidngs they may have, its their own business and does not impact the co-op costs.

5. A maangement company not only represents co-ops, but sponsors. Just make sure your current maanagement company does not represent the sponsor in your co-op and everything is save.

The rest is bogus!

AdC

4.

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You gotta bone up on your facts, man. Your posting makes no sense. PLEASE read the bylaw of our coop which we posted previously.

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"All dwelling units in cooperatives occupied by nonpurchasing tenants shall be managed by the same managing agent that manages all other dwellings in the building. The law applies to both units owned by the sponsor and those by individuals.''

What this means is as follows:

1. The managing agent designated by the board of the co-op (if this were independent) represents the co-op at large. It does the maintenance collections, it pays the co-op payables, it contracts general contractors to take care of co-op responsibilities (boiler, heat companies, plumber for infrastructure, etc), it sends the letters to individual shareholders and to the sponsor management for house rules violations, it may act as the transfer agent for the co-op at large, it interfaces ith the banks, unions, etc as the agent of the Corporation.

2. The sponsor management is the AGENT for the sponsor. In its capacity it does not overlap with the CO-OP management because its role is as follows: manages the units the SPONSOR owns in your building and other buidlings by collecting the rents, following eviction notices for its own tenants that do not pay their rents, PAYING the co-op for the MAINTENANCE OF THE AGGREGATE NUMBER OF APARTMETNS IN YOUR BUILDING,will respond to the basic needs of its own subtenants in your buidling and other buildings, e.g., fixing old refrigenerators, dishwashers, changing faucets, crack toilets, etc. It RAISES problems that its subtenants may have in your co-op on their behalf, i.e., NOISE, parking needs, water penetration, etc. AGAIN, the level of interaction may have to do with procedures that boards establish within their co-ops, represent the sponsor on the board if it retains a sit, does the budget for the SPONSOR for internal repairs of units, changes of appliances, MAINTENACE and ASSESSMENTS that different co-ops may pass, etc.

So, to conclude, the activities of both managements are different and the SPONSOR management's role is the same as that of an individual shareholder. I for one, must pay my maintenance on one unit, replace or repair my refrig, A/C, dishwasher and look for a contractor to do any improvements in my apartment.

So Mr. BIG AL, think before you speak!!!

AdC

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I know you may not like the suond of it - but all apartments are part of the corporation and there is to be ONE managing agent according to the law. This certianly seems to be a better envoronment for communication - to one source - one agent. than having the consusion of two. You may not like it - but this is the law.

what do you dislike about it so much?

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If you have made up your mind, then thee is no enlightenment and you have closed your mind to all sort of reasoning. So, there is nothing else to talk about. It's illegal in your mind and that's what counts to you.

In my mindset, an owner of multiple units may have its own agent to manage its investments and represent in public the interests of that investor.

Good luck with your reasoning!

AdC

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you have some hidden agenda thing you are not saying. the attorney general says no to tow managing agents and that is that.

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The discussion that was there a while back is still valid:

1. The sponsor retains its own management comapny to handle its units.

2. The co-op management handles the co-op affairs, i.e., the individual shareholders and the sponsor, plus all the managment issues on behalf of the co-op.

3. The co-op management works for the co-op not for the sponsor. The co-op management may need to interact with the sponsor for preparation of amendments, sales, etc., but the loyalty is to the co-op, not to any individual shareholder or sponsor.

4. The sponsor pays its OWN management for managing their units in your builidng and other buildings. The co-op does not pay any money for the sponsor's management..

4A. The sponsor management may represent the sponsor on your board. So, treat the person as a professional because this person usually knows his/her business better than you do. So, getting along with this person will be a good source of informaiton, but REMEMBER, that person is there to represent the sponsor, not necessarily your interests. In other words, the interest of the co-op and the sponsor may be similar, but not 100% the same. The reason the person serves there is to make sure the board makes reasonable decisions on maintenance and assessments that does not greatly impact the sponsor's interests.

5. A maangement company not only represents co-ops, but sponsors. Just make sure your current maanagement company does not represent the sponsor in your co-op and everything is save.

The rest is bogus!

AdC


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In our Coop the Management represents us and works for the Sponsor!!

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Miriam,

What does your plan of conversion tell you about sponsor giving up its control? This is the most critical aspect of the governance of the co-op. When does the sponsor is supposed to relinquish in great part its influence over the co-op for purposes of conversion?

Again, boards must understand their documents and read them to get some very basic answers. The second part is getting assistance from co-op or independent counsel to interpret and act on behalf of individual shareholders so that they may start taking over governance.

AdC

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AdC
Thank you. I'll have to rescue it, read it carefully and I'll come back to you all

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I have several buildings where i manage the sponsors end and the coop end of the building. This is not a conflicting situatino for me or the building.

It needs to be realized that the sponsor has more of a vested interest in the property than any individual shareholder and wants the apartment and property value to raise, probably more than you do. All my decisions as a manager are exclusively with the interest of the cooperative in mind... if it prospers, the sponsor prospers.

A good manager is not a slumlord type of manager, if he has this mentality, then you have a problem as he will not want to spend adaquately on repairs and upgrades. In this case, he/she should only manage for the sponsor.

I have an excellent relationship with all 4 of my buildings where i manage both ends. My Boards like me, are not bound by a sponsor who maintains control, or any agreement... 100% free will. As a matter of fact, one building had a change of board and the new boards mission was to "graduate to a level where the sponsor is not managing the building..." Long story-short, they have since asked me to manage the building again because they didn't realise that I went way over and above in my duties as manager (in part because I managed 100% of the building).

So, like anything else, do your homework on the sponsors mindset, the management company, the manager himself and then make an informed decision based on your individual needs and findings...
Good luck

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Read his/her answer. Very interesting and I don't disagree with the point of view expressed. The real issue is INTEGRITY and from your answers in the past, I believe you have it!

Thank you for your contributions.

AdC

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Thank you for your complement!

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Can you tell me how to contact you directly.

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email me and i will give you my cell #
reapllc@aol.com

AR
(Anthony)

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Right, we checked it out with an authority. A coop , comprised of both sponsor-held apartments and regular shareholders may NOT have two Managings. Period. THEY MUST HAVE ONE. Otherwise it is a violation of the General Business Law. Complaints can be made to various city agencies to remedy this.

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Taking a Stab at Clarification

One Cooperative Apartment Corporation- One Managing Agent- A cooperative apartment corporation, in the eyes of the federal, state, and city governments, is one legal entity. As such, the cooperative corporation provides one point of contact for “legal service” for everything pertaining to that specific cooperative apartment corporation. This ‘entity’ can be a managing agent, and in the case of a self-managed coop, that can be either an officer of the corporation or corporate counsel to the corporation; not both in any combination. The operative phrase is one corporate entity with one legal respondent.

Two Responsible Entities For One Coop Apartment Unit in a Cooperative Apartment Corporation- The cooperative apartment corporation is known as the lessor. The tenant-shareholder (known as a lessee) owns a specific number of shares assigned to a specific apartment unit. The lessor and lessee enter into a proprietary lease which delineates the specific rights and obligations of each party to and with each other. This is a one to one relationship within the cooperative apartment corporation.

With Three Comes Potential Confusion- Should an apartment be occupied by a rental tenant, the rental tenant’s “landlord” is the tenant-shareholder of that specific apartment unit. Therefore, the “landlord” to the renter is also the lessee, not the lessor. The lessor has no direct legal responsibility to the rental tenant. The lessee can have a direct person to person relationship with the tenant renter or may engage another to act on his/her behalf as the ‘agent,’ for all things s/he is obligated to in the landlord-tenant relationship. This arrangement does not imply that a cooperative apartment corporation has two managing agents. This ménage a trios involves both an internal and external set of relationships based on different rights and responsibilities of each.

Sponsors And All That Jazz- In a cooperative apartment corporation, a sponsor is, in a sense, a lessee of the units under
his/her control and may engage his/her own agent to act as landlord for his/her responsibilities to a tenant. It is possible this ‘agent’ may turn out to be one and the same serving as a sponsor delegate on the board of directors and even potentially as the cooperative apartment building’s one managing agent. For sake of this post, the topic on whether or not such cross representation works or does not is confined to mentioning that I’ve seen it work in harmony and integrity and I’ve seen the opposite.

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Seems very fudgey wudgey to me.... one managing agent is one agent. The bils, repairs etc of rent controlled/regualted tenants still inthe coop must all be managed by the same office as the shareholders. The other descriptions just seem to be a long flowery stretching of things. NO?

Plus it is inthe interest of the coop to keep the sponsor as seperate from things as they can.

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2nd Avenue Subway - Anonymous May 18, 2007


I have a building on second avenue where they are building the subway (UES). I have recieved solicitations from an engineering company to survey the building for the MTA.

I believe it prudent to hire a company to represent me and my interest (the buildings), and think we would be negligent if we did not. A company that heas been reccomended to me is REAP Consulting, LLC who performs complete surveys of the existing contitions of the building, monitors, even will testify/arbitrate on our behalf if needed. They do alot more than just the engineering portion of a survey...

Question: My question is, has anyone ever had experience with them? Is this the best route for me?

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I manage several buildings on second avenue, between 62 and 96 streets. I am using REAP, who came highly reccomended, but I have not any prior experience with them. The reports they did for my building were extremely detailed and we even are using it for identifying and budgeting capital improvements and future repairs. The cost was fairly inexpensive and worth the investment.
I got this from thier website "Without us, you may end up spending years in court chasing financial remuneration for damages that you cannot prove were not existing, or did not happen from other circumstances." - REAPConsultingllc.com - I know first hand this to be true. Do it.

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besement space and conversion/sponsor. BP? - Big Al May 17, 2007


we have surplus basement space (locked up for years) in our coop, that would make a great common room of some variation. the problem is, the sponsor (supposedly) owns the space. attempts have been made to negotiate usage for a playroom to no avial. now rumor has it the apt. above it , wants to buy or rent it. HOWEVER, there have never been shares issued for htis space nor maintainence paid. Considering this, how woule the sponsor suddently gain the rights to rent it or sell it for private use - ?
we would much prefer it being retained for common usage.

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PLEASE do not say this Q has been addressed before - fresh start needed. also I think there is no C of O for the space in question.

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There is something called plan of conversion or blue book that provides a description of the building facilites, storage areas or dead space and the spaces with assigned shares. The corporation is the owner of the building. The sponsor only own unsold shares of apartments. If there is any special provision to keep certain areas of the builidng (which I certainly doubt) the plan of conversion and documents contained in it should have the information spelled out. If no such provision exists, the co-op is well to reclaim its space through maangement and ultimately through the co-op counsel if necessary.

Rumors has it... it's not good enough! Finally, some of the enclosed spaces may not be habitable and could not be used as recreation or expansion of a unit for lack of adequate ventilation. So, even if the co-op were to dream a recreation room, it would have to consult the code to ascertain that can be used as such.

AdC



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Thank you AdC for your clear response. We have similar situation
Miriam

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thanks aDc!
facts: the area in question has severl windows inc two on street level.
in the offering plan it states: " the sponsor is expressely reserving to itself or designee, the right to alter or rehab said basement apartment as well as the right to create one or more basement apts..." then: the sponsor may alter such wtihtout permission from the coop plus , once done, he may be present a letter from a brokerage firm stating how many shares are to be issued for said apt. - it then goes on to say there are unissued shares of the corp. which will then be issued to this space.

Note: something seems not right here.

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Conversion plans give certain rights to the sponsor that cannot be taken away by the corporation. In your case, your building has a space that does not have shares nor pays rent, but was retained by the sponsor because the space has value but was never improved, a C of O may be obtained if improved, shares may be assigned without the co-op opposition and sold without the corporation's blessings or being able to voice an objection.

Obviously, the corporation may enter into negotiations with the sponsor so that it may purchase the currently unimporved space for the benefit of its shareholders. If this is your wish, then the co-op should approach the sponsor and work out a deal. Speak with the co-op counsel and let him/her start the ball rolling.

For example: our co-op had commercial space that was retained by the sponsor and later sold to the co-op. Later on, one of the many boards converted the offices to commercial space with assigned shares.

This is why I directed you to consult the bible of the co-op relating to what belongs to the co-op: the conversion plan and its amendments.

AdC



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Just to echo in support...
I have a coop where the sponsor retained basement space as commercial and maintains control of this space. (I happen to be the manager for the sponsor in this particular case). But if this is the case, it would be clearly outlined in the offering plan.


AR

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Thank you for your posting but Something does not sound right to me. It may well be theat the coop has a good claim on the space in question.

1) The Sponsor has never had shares issued for this space, never paid a cent of mntnce nor taxes for it -

2) PLUS, techinacally there was one other "apt" in the basement (with on old kitchen, etc) and the coop has "leased" this from him for storage for no charge. IE there has been an acknowlegement fromt he sponsor that the first apt was THE apt. The offering plan only mentions he has claim to "one apt" in the basement plus "additional space" (which is incredibly vague.)

any lawyers out there?? BP?

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Big Al: I'm not a lawyer but I think you need one on your basement space issue. It sounds rather involved. You need a professional to read your plan carefully and interpret it for you. If your coop doesn't have a lawyer, "retain" one to resolve this. Anyone out there able to give Big Al a referral for a good coop lawyer?

One thing that struck me odd was that you said the sponsor has the right to have a brokerage firm determine how many shares could be assigned to the basement space. As I said, I'm not a lawyer but since when can a brokerage firm do this in and of itself? Big Al, you need a lawyer.

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did you read the quote in the posting from the 'offering plan'? It appears, not yet. please get fully informed before you spout an answer out. you have to keep up with BP now!

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Mr. Big Al. Apparently you forgot the fact that you posted "the facts"as a rsponse to "my spouting"of the answer. Just look at the day and times and the indentation to understand that!

Finally, I do not compete nor I care to compete. This is a forum to give ideas. In fact, many of the questions may be easily answered by referring people to the basic documents of the co-op, and asking your co-op counsel when in doubt in spite of the money it may charge you. After all, when you are a board member you are not paid, but you are expected to discharge your duty by exercising your fiduciary responsibility, and your ability to act with justice, obsjectively and compationately at times.

This is the last one for you!!!

AdC

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I think both of your are right. But they might be some misunderstanding here. However, there is only one "Coop" managing agent. The Sponsor reserves the right to self manage his units or hire a management company to manage them for him. The coop managing agent manages all the cooperatives apartments including the sponsors regarding business of the cooperative. The duties do not usually overlap. This website serves everyone best by staying positive, not everyone is going to have the right answers all the time. I monitor this site daily and for the most part remain silent. As property managing is very dynamic all information offered by most that frequent this site should be well received and feedback should always be constructive. The bottom line is no one comments here should be anyone’s bible in managing their complex, take what information is useful, do your homework, and appreciate offered help regardless if you feel it is not necessarily entirely correct.

Best Regards,

RH

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Bldg. C of O - Larry May 16, 2007


The C of O issued by the building Dept. States that our bldg has so many apartment etc and two Doctor'S Offices.

My question is can we rent these offices to other then Doctors? If not how can we get this changed.

The way it is now we seemed to be very limited to who we can rent to.


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IN your case, I would speak with the co-op counsel who would be modifying the C of O if necessary. A doctor's office may be interpreted as a dentist (d.d.s) or a psychologist as well.

However, since you wish to make the use of the offices as open as possible, it may be called professional (for accountants, financial advisors or anyone who holds a license to do business) or just plain commercial.

Good luck!

AdC

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ac installation and bldg staff - liability? - big al May 15, 2007


in a big pre-war coop.

1) if the superintendent installs ac's as a "private" job (he is paid in cash by residents) - who is liable if an ac unit falls to the street and does damage?

2) does the 10" bracket law apply to window ac units installed on non-street facing windows (ie rear courtyards?)

thanks!

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(1) The co-op as owner of the property is liable. It's your duty to ascertain that the A/C is appropriately installed so that it does not fall and hit anyone. Therefore, you must ensure that the contractor hired by a shareholder is reputable and has appropriate certificates of liability.

(2) Always go for the highest standard no matter what, even when one does not exist. This is what is called corporate stewardship.

AdC

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(1) The co-op as owner of the property is liable. It's your duty to ascertain that the A/C is appropriately installed so that it does not fall and hit anyone. Therefore, you must ensure that the contractor hired by a shareholder is reputable, KNOWS AND DOES THE INSTALLATION ACCORDING TO THE CODE and has appropriate certificates of liability.


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BP you out there?

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I'm out here, Big Al. I'm not sure of the law but I think the same precautions and liabilities should apply for a/c's in non-street facing windows - anyplace people might be below. We have a rear yard where the super keeps big items for bulk pickup and bldg materials so he's often out there. We also have side walkways that movers, contractors, etc. use to enter the rear of the bldg with furniture, heavy equipment, etc. They're outdoor paths that separate us from bldgs next to us and windows with a/c's are on those sides. Anyone on any side of the bldg could be hit if an a/c fell out a window. Even if the law only specifies windows that face the street, good judgment should dictate that proper care be taken on whatever side of the bldg has a/c's or other projection that could injure people below.

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in attempting to ascertain the truth to this bracket thing - it appears there may actually not be any such law - that, in fact , the code states an AC may not extend more than ten inches from the property line of a building. I am still working on this one so hod on for full facts:

§[C26-407.5] 27-311 Permission revocable. - Any
permission, expressed or implied, permitting the
construction of projections within the area of the street
under the provisions of this subchapter shall be
revocable by the council or the board of estimate,
except footings as permitted under subdivision (a) of
section 27-314 of article nine of this subchapter.
§[C26-407.6] 27-312 Existing projections. - Any part
2) ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS. - Details such as
cornices,.... air conditioning units, and other similar
elements may be constructed to project not more than
four inches beyond the street line when less than ten
feet above the ground or sidewalk level, and not more
than ten inches beyond the street line when more than
ten feet above the ground or sidewalk level.

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(1) This link provides NYCDOB “Tips” on window AC installations, http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/downloads/pdf/ac_tips.pdf , NOTE: it states that “a work permit or equipment use permit is generally not required for the installation of a common window A/C unit, unless the unit exceeds three tons/36,000 BTU/hr. See section 27-184 (a) of the Building Code (found online under the Reference Materials link at www.NYC.gov/buildings) for more details.” Further, it includes “make sure the unit is installed securely. Support the A/C unit from underneath or firmly fasten it from inside with angles. Metal brackets, mounting rails, etc. may be used for a safe installation.”
(2) If the building’s height requires Local Law 11/98 Inspections, http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/downloads/pdf/locallaw_1998_package.pdf , { excerpted: “(3) Report requirements.(i) The professional shall …..a written report….. clearly documenting all conditions not classified as safe …. (ii) The report shall include: …..(G) all conditions including …., and the deleterious effect of exterior appurtenances, including ….. window air conditioners, flower boxes, etc. The report shall classify each such condition as safe, unsafe or safe…..”}.
(3) In my experience, most, not all, LL 11/98 filing engineers consider window a/c brackets to be an integral part of considering the unit safe; without a properly secured bracket, they do not. LL 11/98 covers all facades, street AND none street elevations. Where prudence mattered, client-boards adopted a house rule (and alteration agreement addendum), in accordance with the NYCDOB Tips, above. (T1)

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can anyone out there please help me???

i have been in my co-op for 2 years now and have experienced nothing but heartache.
i have been complaining about mold for 2 years now around my air conditioner and have not gotten anyone to come look at until last week. when someone did come take a look at courtesy of the board,not only did they not fix the mold but they said it was because of my airconditioner sleeve. they took out my air conditioner changed the sleeve and left my air conditioner sitting on the floor. they refused to put it back in. they said the board told them not to put it back in. THEY NEVER TOLD ME THIS UPON THEM COMING IN AT ALL. HE TOLD ME HE WOULD PUT IT BACK IMMEDIATELY. they have also complained that i am using a 220 volt amp to run my air conditioner which was allready established before i moved in and one that they have seen during 3 inspections they have done. They are abusing thier power in order for their electrician and air conditioner people to get paid.
CAN SOMEONE HELP ME!!!!

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all Boards, be aware (new case law) - big al May 11, 2007



This determination does not directly relate to neighboring buildings but it does relate to the fact that coops must be very careful regarding conditions that make noise (etc) that may violate warrent of habitability/ quiet right to enjoyment:

March 2007: Excessive Noise from Ventilation System Violated Cooperative's Warranty of Habitability

Any lease of residential real property, including a cooperative proprietary lease, is deemed to contain a warranty of habitability. This warranty, codified in Real Property Law § 235-b, provides that the landlord or lessor is deemed to have warranted that the premises are fit for human habitation and the uses reasonably intended by the parties and that the occupants of such premises shall not be subjected to any conditions which would be dangerous or hazardous to their life, health, or safety.

In Misra v. Yesid, 2007 N.Y. Slip Op. 1371, 2007 WL 474018 (1st Dep't Feb. 15, 2007), the Appellate Division upheld a trial court decision holding that a Cooperative had breached the warranty of habitability based upon excessive noise from the Cooperative's ventilation system, which was located directly above the plaintiff's unit. The plaintiff claimed that her apartment was uninhabitable for more than two years because the ventilation system was so loud that she was unable to live in peace and quiet. Plaintiff contended that despite being on notice of the problem, the Cooperative failed to take any effective remedial action. In support of her claim, plaintiff produced reports from the Cooperative's own engineer, indicating that the level of noise and vibrations exceeded those permitted by the New York City Administrative Code. The Court accepted plaintiff's contentions and rejected the Cooperative's argument that the plaintiff had not suffered any damages because she had been traveling and was away from the apartment for some or all of the time period in question. The court ordered a hearing to determine the amount of plaintiff's damages, which could include, but were not limited to, the amounts she paid in maintenance charges during the period in which the apartment was uninhabitable. However, the Court dismissed plaintiff's claim for breach of the warranty of habitability insofar as it was asserted against the Cooperative's management company, because only the landlord or lessor owes obligations under the warranty of habitability.

The Appellate Division also affirmed the trial court's ruling that plaintiff's could pursue a claim of fraud against the person who sold her the unit and the seller's real estate broker. There were issues of fact as to whether the broker had actively concealed the noise problem by reducing the fan speed of the ventilation system when plaintiff came to visit the apartment before acquiring it.

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Gamco Windows - board newbie May 10, 2007


Has anybody ever had this brand of windows, Gamco, installed in their co-ops as replacements? Are they good? We have gotten several quotes from vendors to replace some windows in building and the range was from 3-4K for each unit (two windows per unit). Our managing agent sent Action Glass to bid as well and they came in at $898 per unit. Quite a difference so we'd appreciate any info or feedback from BT members who may have used them or gotten Gamco windows.
Thanks as always,
BN

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Folks,

1. Do you have a certified licensed engineer to write the specifications?
2. What is the rating of the window in terms of wind speed penetration and PSI force?
3. I am not promoting Traco, but this URL provides an ample number of “definitions”.
4. Do search some more definitions via the Internet.
5. And, do note that all windows are not created equal.



1. In our 500 unit NJ co-op, we picked windows with a reasonably “high” resistance to wind penetration.
2. We replace only 15% of the windows each year so that we can be absolutely satisfied with the installer and the windows. If you replace all the windows, you may face issues that are insurmountable. Neighboring buildings have encountered just such a problem.
3. Scheduling is easier with smaller batches.
4. If there is a product defect as occurred with us a year ago, we needed to delay the window program. With a smaller batch it was far easier than rescheduling the entire building.
5. And with smaller batches we need not row” and thus use our capital reserve fund and our yearly assessments.
6. We do not have a punch list as our “outside engineer” certifies each installation before the workers depart the apartment.




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Newbie - I don't know the name Gamco. We have double-hung tilt-out white windows - the standard type many bldgs have. If this is the style you're considering, $3-4K per unit is way too high. $898 per unit is about right. For 2 windows per unit, that's $1500 v. $450 per window.

Our owners use various vendors and typically pay $400-450 per window. A few who hired high-priced architects to do renovations paid much more. Their windows may be a little better quality but look the same as the others in the bldg. Those owners paid for "name" more than anything else.

Two vendors our owners use are very reliable, do good work, etc. If you want, I'll give you their names/numbers. They naturally can provide many other window styles as well as the standard tilt-out type.

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Thanks, BP. I would appreciate the names of the window replacement vendors you mentioned. By the way, the Gamco window estimate was $898 for the total of two window per unit. The windows are about 52 wide and 35 high. Actually, Pella came in at $4400 -- had them give an estimate to see what the high end would be like, then, two other vendors came in 3-4K for Crystal windows.
Thanks again,
BN

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Newbie - Your windows aren't the standard size ours are so I don't know what the price might be, but the two vendors some of our owners used are both reliable and do good work. One is Shapiro & James Mirror and Glass (ask for Terry, I think he's still there) at 718-292-3000. Their prices are higher but our owners had only good things to say about them. The other is FSFL Enterprises (ask for Virginia) at 718-461-1291. This is a smaller company but I was told they are very pleasant to work with and have good prices.

Good luck --

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I have replaced many windows, in many buildings... Crystal windows, who you mention should run you about 4-500 per window, Unless you are putting in tilt/turn picture windows, this is the right price, your other quote is way too high.
I use Larsen Windows - 718-492-4998 - Glenn Larsen, they can provide many samples and different windows in that range.
All windows are not equal, but they all do have special ratings and certifications, this is what you compare... forget whart the salesman says.
Good luck
AR

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As AR says, not all windows are created equal by way of ratings. Depending on the height of the building, and location re wind, etc. you may use HC-40 as a minimum. If you are a garden apartment complex you may use vinyl windows. If windows are too wide ( > 42 inches) and you are going for double hung windows, you should equip the lower sash with ultralift balances, which may add to the cost of the window $55+. The window size may be more appropriate for a slider. Is this what you have now?

AdC

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Yes, ADC, we have sliders now, which were installed when building was rehabbed and converted in 1986. In several units there is a heat deficiency which could be linked to the degradation of the windows and gas over time. Or we may need to add more baseboard heating to the existing units. Our thinking is that we should try to retain the heat by replacing worst-case windows and see if there is an increase in temperatures in cold units. We should probably hire an engineer to consult with us on solving the problem but some Board members don't want to pay the cost for an engineer. Any thoughts on this? Thanks, BN

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Has anyone used Michael Blais - The Blais Group for RE Sales - Francis Solara Jr. May 10, 2007


We'd like to use them as our representative of choice and are interested in your experiences (good, bad, or neutral).

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