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New Sidewalk - boardnewbie Nov 03, 2007


We are demoing the cement and sidewalk in the front of our building and re-pouring -- the public side of it was pocked and a liability. Should the Board have a contract with the cement company and are there warranties that should be included? I have no idea what insures a "good job" or how long it should last. Are there permits and insurances we should have from the cement people? This is happening next week so quick info would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Suggest you can have your outside engineer draft a standard clause or phrase that is included in all contracts that provides a warranty or guarantee from the contractor to you for about a year against sinking, cracking, scaling, flaking, etc.

If it’s a very large job then it would be in the RFP + contract.

If it’s a small project with no real RFP just bids, then it would be in the letter agreement that is signed between the two parties.

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Yes, if you are closing down the entire side walk, then you need a permit from Dept. of Transportation DOT.
You should have some written agreement usually it is in the form of the contractors proposal. Read the proposal and it should state who is responsible for the permit, and what kind of concrete will be used as well as any warranty. If this information is not supplied on the proposal then GET IT. Also, Cert of Insurance should be supplied by the contractor, but You (management) needs to give the contractor the limits of the insurance as well as who is the holder and additional insured. Most of the time a good management company will make sure that all of this is done? Ask your management agent. Otherwise, postpone the work until all the requirements are met. Make sure you do not loose your deposit if you postpone the work.
Who is running your building The Contractors or Management?
PGrech

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Thanks very much, gentlemen! This is great information. We seem to have a breakdown in communication between Management and one person from the Board has been project managing this job. I have since requested he fax copies of all contracts and a work schedule to at least one other member of the Board so we know what is going on and can put the brakes on if all is not in order.

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Peter gives excellent advice here. One more thing you may want to consider is - is this a vaulted space? Then there are waterproofing requirements and more info to obtain. Have a break out in the bid/contract for a set price per square foot, rather than the total contract price - this will set the price for any additional or unforeseen work upfront so the contractor does not charge a higher rate on the change order.

~Usually a regular sidewalk will be 3500psi or more
~ask for an early pour, and you want it to be all one pour as well to ensure consistency.
~Are tree roots underneath? Why is it "pocked?" and a liability? the removal/adjustment of any impedances will need to be spelled out also
~who is responsible to watch the newly poured concrete after it is poured and before it dries? Have the contractor take this responsibility so if someone writes or steps in it. he has to fix it.

OK, that was more than 1

~AR

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Thanks for all the great advice! It was all very useful, helped us get a better contract and an guess what? Our cement guy was refused a permit by the DOT due to an outstanding violation he had. Anyone have any referrals for a small job in Manhattan?

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Questionable Sublet - JohnJ-West Cty. Oct 31, 2007


We are a West Cty coop that has a No Sublet Policy. 1 of our shareholders has another apt in the county, where the maint bill is mailed. He states that the occupant is his roommate and that it is not a sublet. Is there a law/requirement for how long one must occupy the apt to qualify as primary residence or in fact that he even resides there?

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What is the point of your posting:

1. The builidng does not allow to sublease a unit?
or
2. The builidng does not have a defined sublet policy?

If the first is question is the driving point, then read your Proprietary Lease (PL) Occupancy Section. If your PL happens to be the boiler plate type, it might well say that a guest or occupany may stay in the unit as long as the shareholder is in RESIDENCE. Obviously, a roommate needs to move if the legally domiciled resident does not live the unit unless the roommate happens to be a defined a family class member by the PL. If you are sending the maintenance to another address, WHY? Similarly, does the shareholder live the unit, i.e., does he come to sleep to the building every night, not just to pick up the mail, do washes and leave.

If your resident is on short business trips, of course, the occupant may reside the unit. However, if your resident has been out of the unit for a prudential time (2 or more months) I would get in touch with the co-op counsel and try to discuss the problem and even take appropriate action by way of a letter.

YOu'll be surprised how soon those cases are clarified.

AdC



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It is the first (a written policy of No Sublets). We believe that he is using the roomate angle to get around it. He does not reside there with any consistency, nor is job issues at the root.

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Remit the shareholder to legal and be done. As I mentioned, if the shareholder is out of the unit and the roommate (no longer roommate) has no relationship to the shareholder as defined by the PL, his occupancy has become a cause for termination of the PL under unauthorized occupancy.

AdC



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Most proprietary leases or bye laws cover the subject
In ours it states that a guest may stay if the owner is also a residing with them and may stay longer but the owner must get written permission from the board.

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If you have a policy of no subletting, your PL should establish a timeline for company, guests and house sitters and guidelines for new lessees.

If you wish to pursue the action, you must first establish, prove, document and substantiate [intentionally belaboring the point here] that the SH is subletting. Otherwise you begin legal for breach of lease and the SH quickly remedies the situation and you did nothing but waste money and time.

What are your objectives? To have the SH move back? To get rid of the other person? to sue for breach of lease? Just to enforce the Lease and remedy without litigation?

Documentation and proof is easy. If he owns the apartment, then you have his info in the closing file. Run a full check on his personal file (I use First Advantage) find out where he files taxes from, and what address his drivers license and major credit cards are attached to, of course where he receives his bills.

Then you can present him with the information and tell him to save the building time and himself the grief of losing an apartment by getting rid of the sublet. (remember, this is part of the documentation process also) If that fails, then you have the ammo in hand to provide to the attorney.

I have been fortunate enough to have a near 100% success rate using this system without having to use other resources.

Good Luck
~AR

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Is it legal to run a full check on shareholders personal file without his permission?

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Just as your mortgage company pulls your credit every now and then, my purchase applications have a court/credit request approval form that is signed. This form is made to be perpetual. With the laws changing on a constant basis, I would reccomend you run yours by your atty first.

Nevertheless, when we cannot find anything through that venue, we use an investgative service that is great also, and totaly legal. They find out everyting that we can't and are pretty inexpensive. Alot of info is public information that you can obtain without an authorisation or the hiring of help.

~AR

two helpful links:
http://www.fadvsaferent.com/products_services/resident_screening/index.php

and
http://www.94truth.com/?gclid=CIy78_i3vo8CFQNAgQodYle0Pg
or
Topher Tenant Investigations
9777 Queens Blvd Ste 1118
Flushing, NY 11374-3332
Phone: (718) 275-2532


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No MN it's not legal.
If someone uses (FROM YOUR PERSONAL FILE) your name, SS#, date of birth, or other identifying information without authority it's a FRAUD, and shareholder may be able to sue in state or federal court. Board is not a mortgage company.
Shareholder is not a cheating spouse or lover.

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for pointing out we don't live in a police state.

Yet.

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Why to people take things out of context?
Do NOT misinterpret what I said, or take it in part, otherwise you will be in trouble with the FCRA.

As I wrote in my post

"...my purchase applications have a court/credit request approval form that is signed. This form is made to be perpetual. With the laws changing on a constant basis, I would recommend you run yours by your atty first...."

Because, landlords and property rental and management companies perform credit checks on potential tenants on a fairly regular basis, it is important they adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements. The FCRA as a law puts tight restrictions on the procurement and handling of resident screening reports.

What we do, and how we do it is 100% within the law.
As long you adhere to FCRA rules, you should not face any problems, and for you to be in legal compliance with the FCRA, your disclaimer should read as under:

“....XXX Property Management Company has my permission to release information found in screening for any lawful purpose associated with tenancy of premises at any time prior to, or during my residency at XXXXXX. I authorize XXX Property Management Company to obtain credit reports, character information, verification of rental history, employment history, bank information, public records, and personal reference as necessary to verify all information set forth in this application. I further agree and understand that XXX Property Management Company may from time to time run additional reports to maintain the integrity of my information file.”

We have been doing this for 11 years without any problems. Of course there are other guidelines that must be adhered to. As I stated before, consult your atty first; you also should familiarize yourself with the full act.

If you are interested, the complete text of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. 1681-1681u can be found at the Federal Trade Commission’s web site – http://www.ftc.gov

~AR

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HR3648 - whattodo??? Oct 30, 2007


Anyone have an update if Bill HR3648 has passed or not? I have reading something online saying it's passed the house. Has it passed the senate??? Is it LAW??? Let me know it would be a great help!!!!

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Last Action: Oct 4, 2007: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?tab=main&bill=h110-3648

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How does this affect your co-op. Obviously your interest lies with 80 20. Therefore, I would liek to know how 80 20 has affected your co-op and how you hope this bill will help.

Our co-op also hopes this will pass.

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If an individuals short sales or has to foreclose on a property they would have to pay the income tax on the amount not paid. If the bill passes that individual will not be have to pay the income tax. But they would have had to occupied the property for at least 2 years.

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cable bulk discount change - sally Oct 29, 2007


good time to negotiate a bulk rate deal in yoru buiding with time warner and be really assertive about it them giving you an even larger discount than they might otherwise try to offer:

F.C.C. Set to End Sole Cable Deals for Apartments

By STEPHEN LABATON
Published: October 29, 2007
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 —The Federal Communications Commission, hoping to reduce the
rising costs of cable television, is preparing to strike down thousands of contracts this
week that gave individual cable companies exclusive rights to provide service to an
apartment building, the agency's chairman says.

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the F.C.C., says exclusive contracts between cable companies
and apartment buildings have contributed to the rapid rise in cable service prices.
The new rule could open markets across the country to far-ranging competition. It would
also be a huge victory for Verizon Communications and AT&T, which have challenged the
cable industry by offering their own video services. The two companies have lobbied
aggressively for the provision. They have been supported in their fight by consumer
groups, satellite television companies and small rivals to the big cable providers.

Commission officials and consumer groups said the new rule could significantly lower
cable prices for millions of subscribers who live in apartment buildings and have had no
choice in selecting a company for paid television. Government and private studies show
that when a second cable company enters a market, prices can drop as much as 30
percent.

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So Time Warner's hold on NYC is about to be challenged? People in my building have long complained about TWC's annual rise in fees and threatened to quit the cable service. Thank goodness we qualified for a bulk rate discount. Our shareholders will start saving money in December.

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may be no point in having a bulk dicount anymore... either that or you can bargain really hard wiht time warner now that you can have verizon come put in VIOS, etc.

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Well Verizon FiOS is not available in my area yet and until it is there isn't anything I can do about it.

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The FCC passed it today. Your existing exclusivity clauses are unenforceable. Time to go shopping.

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-277763A1.doc
http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-277763A1.pdf

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News Media Contact:
October 31, 2007 Mary Diamond (202) 418-2388

FCC Adopts Rules to Increase Choice and Competition Among Video Providers for Consumers Residing in Multiple Dwelling Units

Washington, DC – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today adopted a Report and Order (Order) banning the use of exclusivity clauses for the provision of video services to multiple dwelling units (“MDUs”) or other real estate developments. The Order finds that nearly 30% of Americans live in MDUs and these numbers are growing.

With this proceeding, the Commission is taking another step to foster greater competition in the market for the delivery of multichannel video programming. These rules will increase choice and competition for consumers residing in MDUs and other real estate developments. In this Order, the Commission prohibits the enforcement or execution of existing exclusivity clauses and the execution of new ones by MVPDs subject to section 628 of the Communications Act. Specifically the Order finds that:

• exclusivity clauses that bar competitive entry harm competition and broadband deployment and can insulate the incumbent MVPD from any need to improve its service.

• exclusivity clauses are widespread in agreements between MVPDs and MDU owners.

• incumbent cable operators have increased the use of exclusivity clauses in their agreements with MDU owners with the entry of LECs into the video marketplace.

• the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts for the provision of video services to MDUs constitutes an unfair method of competition or an unfair act or practice under Section 628(b).

The Commission also adopted a Further Notice of the Proposed Rulemaking (Further Notice) that seeks comment on whether we should take action to address exclusivity clauses entered into by DBS providers, private cable operators, and other MVPDs who are not subject to Section 628. The Further Notice also seeks comment on whether the Commission should prohibit exclusive marketing and bulk billing arrangements.

Action by the Commission, October 31, 2007 by Report and Order (FCC 07-189). Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps, Adelstein and Tate with Commissioner McDowell concurring. Separate statements issued by Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, Tate and McDowell.

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Hi, all--

My name is Frank Lovece, and you might have seen some of my stories in Habitat. I did the story on pet policies recently, for instance, and one on shoddy new construction, among others.

I need now to speak with board-members for A NEW STORY -- about how the FCC's recent strikedown of exclusive cable contracts may affect your building.

PLEASE CONTACT ME at franklovece@copper.net if you're interested in speaking with me by phone for 10-15 minutes Tues. or Wed., Nov. 6-7, for my story.

Thanks--
--Frank

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harassment over pets - mayor Oct 28, 2007


Advice/Feedback appreciated: I am a coop owner, and I have lived for many years next to the same neighbor who has periodically yelled at me over small, isolated incidents. I have always had a cat, and several months ago I was given a second one. My neighbor has gone ballistic, claiming that there is a "smell". I have been yelled at at several times to my face or through my door, my doorbell has been rung at 3am, and my neighbor has three times put awful, nasty notes on her door - once ridiculously threatening to sue me.

My neighbor also calls and harangues the management company. The managment company has called me on occassion (in turn), and although they refer to my neighbor as "my crazy neighbor" and apologize, they do give credence to the issue, in my opinion, by asking to check and see if I will allow them to "investigate" the smell (though they have never come into my apartment itself). The board has been to the hall to investigate, the building staff has been to the hall to investigate - no one has smelled anything to support this extreme nastiness. Furthermore, I feel very harassed and am nervous going into and out of my apartment as I know I could be attacked and yelled at at any time.

I am in uncharted territory. It all looks very silly but I know how quickly things like this can go from silly to serious. What can/should I be doing to protect myself and and peace of mind? Is there a way I can get my peaceful life back?

Thank you

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Your neighbor sounds... uptight.

Ever talk to her about this?

Try that first. Take her a plant.

If all else fails, write the board and ask for a written response about the whole issue.

Be nice in your letter.

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Haha! Uptight! I know!

Frankly, I am not sure I can bring myself to bring over a plant but you may be right. I will try and picture myself doing it....

As I mentioned in my other response, I tried to talk to my neighbor when this all happened. Even invited the neighbor in to prove the smell was not originating in my apartment. Now that I think of it, I also mentioned that if the cat litter smelled to that degree then it would stand to reason that their paws would smell too, but that is not the case either. Not to repeat myself, but after agreeing that there was no smell, my neighbor began to get worked up and ending by yelling outside my closed door.

I think that I should write to the board and ask for a written response no matter what. And it should be about the whole issue.

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Just a thought. If your neighbor constantly complains of a bad odor and your cats aren't the source of it, maybe the odor is in your neighbor's apt. Ask your mgmt company to make an appointment with her to inspect her apt. They can say they want to track the "supposed" odor or something like that to justify the inspection. It sounds like she has a problem that has nothing to do with you or your cats but maybe there's something in her apt that's creating an odor. If you and the mgmt company haven't been in that apt, who knows what's in there? Maybe very unsanitary conditions. Maybe an odor is filtering in from another apt or from outside or from dead mice someplace. You never know. Might be worth looking into.

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keep a VERY detailed record of each time your neighbor contacts you - in what form and the exact time. After there is a bit of a pettern, call the police. also - you can send a certified letter to the neighbor stating tha tyoua re intendeing to file a harassement charge if you continue to be bothered by baseless complaints.

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You are right, my records should be very detailed. I have kept a little "sketch" of each incident but I have certainly not been diligent about time and nature of the contact. The certified letter is a terrific idea! I wonder if it would help to have it come from my lawyer's office?It is amazing to think of contacting the police...

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You are right, my records should be very detailed. I have kept a little "sketch" of each incident but I have certainly not been diligent about time and nature of the contact. The certified letter is a terrific idea! I wonder if it would help to have it come from my lawyer's office?It is amazing and scary to think of contacting the police...

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No resident should yell at another resident in a builidng.
If there is a cause you have not explained. I don't think it has to do just because of smell. Consequently, you should try to MEDIATE the issue through the board or management and find out if there is something in which your irrational neighbor may articulate that you may remediate. IF there is nothing to remediate, then perhaps through mediation there would be a point of TOLERANCE where the two of you may live.

However, speak with your local enforcement agents, and even your own attorney to try to get an order to get the neighbor off your face or even ringing your bell at any time of day or night to annoy you.

AdC

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Hi AdC,

Is mediation something I can specfically request from the board or management? Would it be a formal process?

I agree, it sounds crazy that my neighbor is yelling because of smell, but that is what my neighbor says. And that is the reason my neighbor gives for continually calling the management company. The first time this happened, I invited my neighbor in. When he/she came into my entry-way he/she said "Oh my! What a beautiful apartment" and then, "I dont smell anything!" and then promptly began getting very upset about there being two cats, etc., and the upset escalated to full-blown yelling. The upset began in my apartment and the yelling continued even after I closed my door.


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Right now, the best you can do is keep record.
The Board would not (or should not) get involved unless there is a lot of substantiation for it. Otherwise, they are getting involved on what may seem more of a personal issue and not a building, or board matter.
Your objective is showing that the neighbor is breaching your right to the quiet, peaceful enjoyment of your premises, which is promised in the proprietary lease that you signed.
Give the Board reason to mediate. Simply letting them know that someone is bothering you is not enough.
Do you know a layer friend? Have them write a letter to the resident to seize and desist from all harassing behavior... add it to your documentation.

~AR

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Do you know a layer friend? Have them write a letter to the resident to seize and desist from all harassing behavior... add it to your documentation.




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An alternative if you do not have a "friend", as not to spend $200+ for a letter is to write the letter to the resident from yourself personally, and inform the party that this is a letter of intent to pursue legal action and openly cc:Sue Everybody, ESQ (obviously replacing the name with any). This also gets decent response, and it adds to the documentation needed.

Remember, this is not my choice method, just a method that sometimes work

~AR


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The Board needs to intervene. First, what does the House Rules' Pet Policy say about housing two pets? If the co-op does not object to it, WHY a resident of a co-op has to take violent objection to two pets?

Second, by now shouts may have escalated to co-op common property (common hallways, parking areas or lobbies, etc.)which may affect the morale of the building and/or other neighbors witnessing the conflict in person or behind doors.

So, if you recognize that there is "breaching [your] of a right [to the quiet, peaceful enjoyment of your premises,] which is promised in the proprietary lease and the THE BOARD is not willing to intervene WITHOUT PARTIALITY what else is expected for that co-op??? I think one of the Board functions is to ensure the enforcement of the propreitary lease in its entirety... no pick and choose of the most interesting sections.

A board should address the issue before it is out of control. I would say, speak through management to both parties to find "the truth" surrounding the issues impartially. If there is any corrective action or subjective problems that need to be addressed, a letter should be sent stating the position of the Board including suggesting mediation if this were a viable alternative.

Otherewise, a board who does not intervene should be given my most EXTREME recommendation: buy two guns in order to have a GOOD OLD FASHIONED DUEL. Give a gun to each party and hope that one eliminates the other as quickly as possible. IN this way, the board will free of problems ad will have no need to intervene.

AdC





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If a board intervenes without proven cause, beit a breach of lease, house rules, etc, it is considered harassment. This is why I state to document and provide valid cause for intervention, so that the resident cannot come back and state that the Board is harassing them. Much like the police cannot overstep their bounds in certain situations unless a citizen files a formal complaint against the opposing party... I'm sure many of us had herd that at one time or another; call the police to complain about certain activities and we are told that we must come in and file a complaint before they can act on the situation in the manner we want (It has me many times). this is to protect themselves, not you. For the same reason the Board should not jump into a situation that is undocumented; if they are sued by the trouble resident for harassment, they have no ammo to fight with, even though they may be 100% right.

~AR

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I don't think someone who is being yelled at frequently by another will need much to document if it happens in common areas of the property and gives you proper notification with specific information. Also, the agreaved should try to file a police report and obtain legal help as you well put it before.

However, an appropriately crafted letter by management to the alleged offender may open the avenues of communication and send a signal that management and the board may be willing to help with any deficiency brought to their attention.

AdC

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While it is good that the building residents hear it, unless the residents are willing to go and testify in court, it means nothing.
I agree with your overall thought, however, I am just extra cautious for the following reason....
I personally would still advise the Board to be hands off until there is documented and just cause. Just cause defined by a breach in the PL, BL or HR, whereby the Board then has a duty to intervene. Even at that point, the Board should not do it, it should be Management writing the letter and leaving the Board out of it as to protect them.
Sometimes, management will get involved in this situation to find out that there is usually three sides to a story; apartment 1's, apartment 2's side and then the truth.


~AR

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Board has fiduciary resposibility for the co-op; thus, it has responsibility for strict observance of the PL and by-laws (not to say half-observance as this chatroom in general may demonstrate). Thus, management and/or co-op counsel are delegated to deal with these issues.

As a Board who is concerned with preserving the quality of living that you have even recognized, a letter received from the shareholder with sufficient documentation (dates, hours, location of incident) or even verbal reports from witnesses of at least two observable events are enough for investigation by management. This is similar to a noise complaints from one neighbor about another: a Board through management should not start a noise investigation that may be considered frivolous, i.e., an isolated incident or a claim of noises from another apartment with no date or hour or good description of the noise to justify an investigation.

HOwever, should the board receive a reasonable letter to open an investigation, it has no other choice but to request the intervention through a well crafted letter from management and if necessary with co-op counsel to bring order to a situation that may escalate into an unpleasant neighborly dispute for other residents.

AdC


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"I personally would still advise the Board to be hands off until there is documented and just cause. Just cause defined by a breach in the PL, BL or HR, whereby the Board then has a duty to intervene. Even at that point, the Board should not do it, it should be Management writing the letter and leaving the Board out of it as to protect them."

It sounds like what I am saying and what you are saying are the same thing, with exception to the fact that I like more documentation or substantiation; this is just a managers way

best
~AR

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New Management - Miriam Oct 27, 2007


In transition from a major managing company to a better one: do you know how the documents (kept in the offices of the managing company) get transferred and which are the time rules of the archives?
I worry that they could be difficult in giving us the full documentation....
Miriam

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Miriam

First thing is their is no such thing as a better company... they all offer the same promises!

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The term "management promises" is either an oxymoron or a contradiction.

This industry has a severe problem.

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"The term "management promises" is either an oxymoron or a contradiction. This industry has a severe problem."

That's about as correct as a woman saying "All men suck"
It is based on your experiences and not necessarily true with respect to the whole.

Most times, if a woman wants to find a perfect man for her, but she keeps attracting the same slime, she's asking the wrong questions, putting out the wrong impressions and doing something to attract what she has.

I'm a man, married 19 years, and my wife is still my best friend.
I am also in management, and take extreme pride in what We do and how it is done; and I am not the only one, I know of many more.

Point is, Good Managers and Management companies do exist.
(Sorry for the long winded analogy!)

~AR

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Drum roll, and what Management Company may I ask (and others)

FN

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I do not like to advertise here because I realize it is not the proper venue - but since you asked! - We are: R.E.A.P. Property Management / NYCRealtyManagement.com / 800-605-4711
We just started managing publicly; we are diversified and have over 16 years of experience with Cooperative management. I personally manage each building until it is handed off to an account manager with my supervision.

Another company worth checking out would be Weber-Farhat, 212-727-0022 - also very honorable - Moises Farhat

~AR

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Most responsible management companies realize that change is common and cooperate fully with each other in the transfer.
The old management company such give the new one all the information they have.
This might be a good time for the BOD to keep a list of what documents and which years the new management company has.

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Thanks for all the inputs: maybe some of you know how many years od documents are supposed to be kept by law?

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I agree with Left on this one. Most management companies would be familiar with each other and would have an understanding/code of conduct? when it comes to change as they all have eperienced similar situations in the past. In addition it would not look good if a management company failed/held back files etc during a transition phase as it would be frowned upon etc.

FN

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just went through a management change --a daunting experience. and the previous management company did not have our records from 2000. But, after a threat of sicing Adam Bailey on them they suddenly found them the next day

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CGER: Who is Adam bailey, we may need him too. Thanks

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a lawyer (bit of a publicity hound) but goes for the jugular. lol

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While I am not answering your question (sorry) going forward: Now I am only a Resident Manger (Superintendent) but I am smart enough never to let the management company have more then the past two years of records. These records are records of the corporation and THUS should be kept in a safe place at the corporation. I always advise to keep the records at the building. There is always some space available where to keep the many boxes. Otherwise rent a space. Keeping the records at the building does give peace of mind, and if needed to go to them, there they are.
That's my two cents worth.
Pg

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Miriam:
Major company to a better one... not necessarily major, to be better! As most know, I have a small management company, so I may be able to answer most of your concerns...
If the company you are departing from is professional, you need not worry. At the very worst, the bank recs will be slow forwarding, so your AP may want to stay on top of that. Typically, all resident files, DOB files, Violation files, Individual stock certs, and leases, all tax files, accounting files, bank statements, construction project and local law filings and reports, fuel storage and boiler filings and info, there is a lot more. Your new managing agent/company should work closely with the prior company to ensure the accounts are promptly switched over to their name, new signatory cards are filled in and sent to the bank, notices to all vendors and residents go out ASAP. A small escrow would stay with the old company to pay some residual bills. usually, the initial files should be transferred in the first few days, and the rest follows.

Hope that helps-
Good Luck
~AR

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


ADVICE/FEEDBACK NEEDED..

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

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

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

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

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

HELP!

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

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

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

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

~AR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RE your questions:

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

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

AdC

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No Subject - Mwolfe Oct 24, 2007


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

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

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Thanks! I'll have a look.

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

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

Best Wishes,

SJP

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


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

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

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search for new super - adelaide Polsinelli Oct 22, 2007


Our super just gave us 2 weeks notice.

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

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

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

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

~AR

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

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

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

Good luck.

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thanks so much. I really appreciate your assistance.

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

Regards,

FN

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

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

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

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

AdC

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

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

FN.

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

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

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

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

FN

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This is a job interview. Ask questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

FN.

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


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

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

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

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

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

AdC

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

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

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

~AR

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