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important cap gains question - ba Apr 04, 2007


cant ask the accountant as we are in the process of getting a new one - but have a question -

if an assessment for a capital improvement project, such as a new roof, is dissolved by being rolled into a maintenance increase , then can we still realize it as part of the basis on sale of stock? (thereby reducing the tax on sale) - ?

or does it have to remain a seperate line item as an assessment?


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I believe someone offered you the answer previously: keep it as a separate from maintenance (even if collected with maintenance) so that the assessment earmarked for a capital investment is appropriately identified and segregated.

AdC


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HELP> someone who knows - please tell me. thanks


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ideally it is a seperate line-item but does it HAVE to be? that is my question - what are the ramifications when a board rols it into a mntnce increase (Please someone who knows the answer.. thanks!) adc - not you. sorry. please .


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...but the odds are good that money spent on a new roof can increase basis & reduce your cap gains tax, even if commingled rather than collected separately.

Whether or not an item is assessed does not factor into the definition of "capital improvement."

While it's better if assessments are kept discrete, what you actually spend funds on is more important than how things are labeled on your budget. It's customary to take stock at year-end of what capital improvements--even small ones--were made using funds on hand. [Condo owners should get a yearly report on same to update their own books.]

Focus on keeping good & complete records of the actual improvements made.


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What are the implications?

(1) Maintenances are based on routine expneses.
(2) CapEx is a variable expense based on the needs of your builidng based ideally on a schedule.

The most adverse impact of rolling maintenance and capex into one budget would be that maintenance will swing dramatically from year to year.

If your new roof will cost the co-oop $200,000, but next year the isntallation of the new boiler is $110,000, your maintenance will have to fluctuate dramatically to cover the requirements of the capex. Thus, it would be difficult for shareholders to sell an apartment whose maintenance depends on the capital improvements that are projected that year.

This is why operational expenses are separated from capital improvements. To provide a better balance between expected expenses and expenses that require planning, reserves, and other forms of financing.

If you were to look at any annual report or 10K of any publically traded company, capex is a separate table in your presentations and are not rolled into the income statements of the co-op.





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What are the implications?

(1) Maintenances are based on routine expenses.
(2) CapEx is a variable expense based on the needs of your builidng based ideally on a schedule.

The most adverse impact of rolling maintenance and capex into one budget would be that maintenance will swing dramatically from year to year.

If your new roof will cost the co-op $200,000, but next year the isntallation of the new boiler is $110,000, your maintenance will have to fluctuate dramatically to cover the requirements of the capex. Thus, it would be difficult for shareholders to sell their apartments whose maintenances depend on capital improvements that are projected that year.

This is why operational expenses are separated from capital improvements. To provide a better balance between expected expenses and expenses that require planning, reserves, and other forms of financing.

If you were to look at any annual report or 10K of any plublicly traded company, capex is a separate table in the presentations and are not rolled into the income statements of the corp.







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mntnce amounts - big al Apr 04, 2007


our maintenence is about 6.24 a share for an 86 unit pre-war on the upper west side. alot? too much?
we do not have a 24 hour doorman. we have no fancy amenities. this is aobut $120,000 a month. It seems high, no?


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Hard to say without more information. How big is your building's mortgage? Fuel costs? Other monthly expenses? Number of staff (full or part time)? Tax bill?


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staff is six people. full time. but not a 24 hour doorman - the night guy is a porter from 1:30-7:30.
tax is about 300k ish. fuel - dont know - maybe 50-60k. 12 story high building.
mortgage was refinanced last sumer with a 200k prepayment panalty. it was a 4.2 million loan with the 2.3 paid off - leaving 1.9 for a new roof and pointing.
maintenance increase of 12.75% in the last nine months. assesment of 50k in May 07.


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> How many square feet in your apartment, and how much is your monthly maintenance ($6.24 x # shares you own)?
> How many bathrooms in your apartment?
>Can you give me the square footage and monthly maintenance for another apt in your building with a different number of bedrooms and bathrooms?
> If you can do that, I'll give you a run-down on average costs. And if you're in Manhattan, and care to tell us which neighborhood, I'll give you the average cost for bulidings around you (not a scientific absolute, just my calculations from public info).

steve w


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Hi steve

we have aprox 1650 sq feet with three bathrooms (2 of them, tiny. 324 shares. the building has aprox 121,313 sq feet of residential space (according to property shark) with 19,760 shares .
thanks


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Hi, BA,

Thanks for your info -- just what I was looking for.

Let me discuss your original question first: Is $6.40 per share too high for a maintenance fee? It's impossible to give an answer to that question. Many people assume that one share in your building is equal to one share in my building, and equal to one share in every other co-op in the five boroughs.

It's not. Thanks to the wisdom of the lawyers who draw up co-op papers and the staff of the attorney general's office, which blesses those papers, the number of shares in a co-op corporation is arbitrary. For example, your 86-unit co-op has 19,760 shares. My co-op has 43 units and about 26,000 shares. So you can see that the price per share cannot be used for comparisons among co-ops.

So how do we measure one to another?

The way I do it -- and I'm no statistician, just a board treasurer who got tired of the complaints about our maintenance fee being "the highest in Manhattan" -- is to look at the monthly maintenance paid (in dollars -- NOT in shares) and divide it by the size of the apartment (in square feet). So, for example, if Alex pays $1200 a month in maintenance for an apartment that's 900 square feet, she's paying $1.50 per square foot.

1200 / 900 = 1.5

The weakness of this comparison is that it does not take into account tangibles (doorman or not, health club or not, basement apt vs penthouse) or intangibles (grand or dingy lobby, pre-war or modern, how recent the renovation, "fixer-upper" vs "move in tomorrow"). The strength is that it's quick and easy, especially because figuring out which building has which amenities is a challenge.

I decided to find out the average maintenance price in Manhattan co-ops by neighborhood. My source is a feature in the Sunday Real Estate section of The New York Times. If you're familiar with the paper, you've seen the "Sales Across the Region" grid. The top row always shows Manhattan sales. For 24 months (October 17, 2004, through October 15, 2006) I recorded every Manhattan co-op sale (not cond-op or anything else) by area (square footage), monthly maintenance, and neighborhood.

Here are the results. They include only those neighborhoods with at least five sales during that period in The Times. From most expensive co-op neighborhood to least, by square feet:

Midtown East: $1.42 per square foot
Murray Hill $1.40
Upper East Side: $1.36
Midtown West: $1.33
Chelsea: $1.25
Greenwich Village: $1.17
Grammercy Park: $1.07
East Village: $1.07 (tie)
Upper West Side*: $0.98
SoHo: $0.97
TriBeCa: $0.87
Hudson Heights: $0.86
Morningside Heights: $0.86 (tie)
Hamilton Heights: $0.75
Inwood: $0.73
Washington Heights: $0.70
Harlem: $0.51

*I include "West Side" sales with "Upper West Side."

So to answer your question (finally!), is your maintenance too high? Let's take a look.

You own 324 shares at $6.24 per share. That's $2022 monthly maintenance (rounded up). Your apartment's size is 1650 square feet.

2022 / 1650 = $1.225 (call it $1.23) per square foot

You live on the Upper West Side, where the average monthly maintenance is about 98 cents per square foot. So it's quite a bit higher than the average for your neighborhood.

But before you boil over, let's look at your entire building. It has 19,760 shares at $6.24 each, for a total monthly rent roll (that's the legal term, since in a co-op we rent from the corporation) of $123,302.40. You point out that according to Property Shark, the total residential area in the building is 121,313 square feet.

123,302.40 / 121,313 = $1.016 (call it $1.02) per square foot

That's four cents per square foot above your neighborhood average. (Or, to be more precise, 3.6 cents above.) So I would say that your building is neither too high nor too low, but basically spot-on.

Unfortunately for you, you live an apartment that has disproportionately more shares than your building's average. That mean's there's some lucky shareholder in your building who has many fewer shares! How are shares allocated? That's another story -- but in short, it's arbitrary, based on such things as the view, the number of bathrooms and bedroom, and so forth.

(Let me add that in the case of my figure for the UWS average, it's based on 57 sales. The most expensive I found on the UWS and West Side was $1.70 per square foot. I don't write down the addresses, but if you're curious look in The Times of Feb. 12, 2006. The least expensive was 57 cents, in The Times of one week earlier.)

If hope you find this useful. It sure taught me a lot about maintenance fees in the city.

In case you're wondering, I discovered that my building does not, as one shareholder put it, have the most expensive fee in Manhattan. It's 88 cents per square foot, which puts us in the middle third, in between SoHo and TriBeCa.

Cheers!
steve w


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Steve - this is brilliant! THANK YOU. one thing: how reliable is Property Shark for such info? It may not be a correct figure.


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Thanks, BigAl! I'm glad you appreciate it. Everyone thinks her maintenance fees are the highest in town -- an urban myth that lives on because it's so tough to compare.

As for Property Shark, I have no idea how accurate it is.

My own building is listed there at something like $4 million, which is far less than the value of all the apartments in it. Granted, that's different from the value of the building.

I don't know how much it would cost to build a seven-story brick building with an interior courtyard, tile on all the public floors and plantings, but I'll bet it's more than that.

steve w


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As Tad stated it, it boils to many variables. Also, a true measure of your maintenance would be if you were to know the total square footage of your builidng and you were to find out what does it take to maintain it per sq. ft. However, the number you get means nothing unless it is compared to other similarly situated buildings with similar amenities and you were to compare sq ft by sq ft.

AdC




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Proxies and Soliciting - Beth Apr 03, 2007


Hi BP,
You sound very knowledgeble about this, are you in the realty/management, etc. business? If so, may I contact you?


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Collecting Proxies & Soliciting - Beth Apr 02, 2007


My building currently accepts proxies for our Annual Meeting & Board of Directors election at our front desk. Last year, on at least one occasion, a proxy left for one running candidate was delivered to another accidently. A request for a "ballot box" or lockbox has been rejected by our Board. Any suggestions for ways around this, or other precedent?

We've also had shareholder complaints about our super soliciting them for their proxies. He's been accused of giving the proxies to a Board member/candidate that he has a favorable relationship with. Is it commonly accepted that supers can act shareholders for their proxies?


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Major US corporations direct proxies to a trustee (usually a bank representative) with some rules on how the vote is going to be directed for those shares where no preference is indicated.

I find co-ops should institute something similar. At best, shareholders should direct the proxies to Management or to the co-op counsel for purposes of counting and making sure a quorum is attained. However, a good board should make some provisions, policy or decision by way of resolution on how proxy statements should be voited if the shareholder fails come to the meeting. Such decision should be part of the instructions on the proxy. In this way, every shareholder will feel confident of returning a proxy in the event you are not familiar with other shareholders way of thinking.

Finally, if I were you, I would write a letter to the board stating your idea. Similarly, if you want to "rock" the meeting, this would be a good topic that you should be introduced at the annual shareholders' meeting to increase confidence on the proxy system. Again, seize the moments and use it to your best advantage!

AdC




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Beth - If you allow proxies to be left at your front desk, they should all be given to the managing agent who should give them to the Inspectors of Election at the annual meeting. You didn't say if they were left at the front desk in sealed envelopes - they should be. Front desk people, other staff and shareholders not named on the proxies have no business being involved or privy to proxy information. You also didn't say if proxies left for a candidate that were accidentally delivered to another candidate were transfered and tallied properly - or if the candidate who got them by mistake used them for himself.

Because some people are Board directors doesn't mean they have the right to access proxies or know who named whom as their proxy. I think your Board is wrong in not allowing a ballot box or lockbox to be kept at the front desk for proxies which, as I said above, should be kept sealed and given to the Inspectors of Election at the meeting.

Your super also has no business soliciting shareholders for proxies - and he should be told so outright by the managing agent. Shareholders should be advised in writing that a Board has a duty to do the best possible job for the coop and shareholders should use sound judgment and carefully consider all candidates based on their experience, ability and qualifications. This can be done in a diplomatic way.

Just because a super likes someone or finds someone easy to work with (maybe because that person makes his job easy by letting him do what he wants or do things his way) doesn't mean that someone is a good Board director. The super is an employee, not a shareholder, and has no vested interest in the coop, except for keeping his job and not having to work harder than he has to.


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Hi BP,
You sound very knowledgeble, are you in the realty business, and if so, can I contact you directly?


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Thanks for the compliment, Beth. Sorry but I'm not in the realty biz - just a shareholder who's been on the Board a long time, like to live in a nice place, and have a say in making it the best it can be for everyone. Our mgmt firm used to tell me I should become a property manager. I may be a sucker for punishment by wanting to be on my Board for so long, but a property manager? I'm not looking for that much punishment - haha!


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I forgot to say in my other message that you can't totally prevent your super from talking about Board candidates to shareholders and if he does it quietly you likely won't know it. You said you got complaints from people about his soliciting for their proxies. The managing agent should let him know if he values his job he'll stop doing that. You should keep reminding shareholders that as the Board goes so goes the coop and the action of any Board can have long-term impact, so whom they choose to represent their homes and investments should not be taken lightly.


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While I agree with you BP that the super should not get involed or canvass during election time, there is usually a reason one does. I have seen in the past where boards/management make house rules etc and the first ones to break them are the ones that set them in place to begin with. If in fact the super is canvassing (which I do not recommend)there is a reason behind it. After all the super is the "eyes and ears" of your Coop and probably knows more than anyone else about the "going ons".

FN


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FN - I agree with you that the super is a coop's "eyes and ears." He can be a source of info, but I've also found that when you ask for help he often resists. He doesn't want to tell people they don't recycle properly or are supposed to clean up their dog's mess in the lobby. He's afraid they won't like him anymore or doesn't want to be the "bad guy" and risk not getting $ at Christmas.

FN - I also agree with you that Boards/mgmt are sometimes the first ones to break rules, and there's usually a reason a super tries to canvas during election time. If you have responsible, fair, honest Board members, they shouldn't let one of them break rules. No one wants to turn a coop into a police state but the law of "what applies to one applies to all" should stand. Also, if a Board lets one Board member break rules, it reflects poorly on the entire Board.

Just my opinions --


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BP,I agree with most of what you say. If only it were so simple. If you are going to ask the super " to police" your building you had better back him 110%. To be quiet honest it is not a great idea to put the super in the line of fire as just by doing his job he may be in trouble. Example you inform your super to enforce a house rule regarding dog in the lobby. Soon enough all the people that walk their dog through the lobby will be pissed off with the super and fabricate stories etc. Come holiday season he suffers.

Now my question to you is, do you compensate your superintendent for loss of potential earnings at holiday season for doing a very good job and carring out your policies?

FN.


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FN - I too wish coop life was that simple. We do back our super 110% and make it very clear to shareholders that he's following directives. No one gripes and he doesn't suffer at holiday time. In fact, he does very well. I think people appreciate him more because he does a good job and he DOES remind people about certain things when he has to -- and in a firm but courteous and non-confrontational way. Bldgs have to decide about a super based on their specific needs.

I mentioned people cleaning up a dog's mess. Works for us, maybe not everywhere. Our super lives in but works Mon-Fri, 6am-2pm. He has another PT job, night school, doesn't get home until 10pm. We had 4 dogs when we enacted a no-dogs policy so they stayed. After them, no more dogs. We have a very expensive, dark-color lobby rug. The dogs are old now and make messes that aren't readily noticed - until someone steps in them. The super is told about dog accidents and he reminds owners it's their job to clean them up. In this case, he gets support from residents for doing this because no one wants to step in it, and it ruins our rug.

Like most things, when people see that rules a super helps to enforce benefit them they don't complain or take it out on him. Won't always work, but we keep trying to find ways to do our job, keep as many people happy as we can (they won't all be happy all the time, of course) and keep the coop environment cordial and...cooperative.

BTW, if anyone's wondering who cleans up dog messes when our super isn't on duty, it's not a problem anymore. The dog owners do because they know everyone in the bldg knows who they are, and if anyone will take heat about dog-doo in the lobby, elevator or wherever, they will.


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It boils down to doing what is profitable and easy versus doing what is right. The shareholders can break the house rules and the super allows it so he won't get short changed at Christmas by correcting them. What ever happened to doing the right thing?


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V, with all due respect you are missing the point. The issue we were discussing was doing the right thing and (here is the kicker, the board weighing in behind you). It is not a financial gain at holiday season for enforcing their policies (although it is nice to know that the board/residents appreciate you " policeing" their building on their behalf)

FN


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that went on for years at my building. in fact, the assistant manager used to call some people down to the office and "suggest" they sign a proxy. with Honest Ballot our elections are a lot fairer


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Our managing agent gets our proxies but a shareholder insists on us using a suggestion box. The managing agent doesn't do anything to discourage this person. Our election results were in question once and management blamed the errors on the software.


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We have a board member who was caught forging proxies...
He signed in for owners he knew would not attend the meeting, filled out their proxies, and voted for himself.
We have no idea how long this has gone on. And, unfortunately for a number of reasons (another issue) we do not trust our management to count the votes. Therefore we had the votes counted at the last Shareholders meeting, with observers.
I believe that shareholder have a legal right to have the counting of the votes monitored. There are agencies who specialize in this, and it’s a common practice -- telling us that we are not paranoid.
Some, management companies prefer (ours is very tight with the forger) specific board members. IE: Board members who don’t question their recommendations. (Another issue)


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>

yes a big problem. the first time i ran for the board i lost by 2 votes. two people came up to me and told me that when they went to vote in person they were told a proxy was already submitted and were not told they could revoke that proxy by voting in person. one was a person who was in the hospital and was not expected to be home ---this was known to management. i wonder how many other proxies were voted by management and the board.


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Parking Garage Door Noise - Queen of Queens Apr 02, 2007


Our 200 unit co-op has a ground level parking garage and recently the tenant who lives directly above it, who is not a shareholder, has made a complaint to management that the door mechanism can be heard loudly in his apartment every time the a car goes in an out. It is loud and is a nuisance. Can this constitute a breach to the right of quiet enjoyment a tenant has within their apartment. This is the first we've heard about the noise in all the years he's resided there. It is a sponsor-owned apartment. Whose responsibility is it to investigate this complaint and does it need to be remedied now if it has been noisy for many years? Does the co-op have an obligation to muffle/attenuate the noise or is it the sponsor? Thanks.


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Why are you surprised that the garage door now starts making noise? Don't you know a wonderful phrase called "mechanical failure"? Similarly, remember the movie "My Greek Wedding" and the use of Windex? Well, I bought the super and the porter a separate can of "10-40" or 3-in-1 oil. It works wonders on hinges and in Dracula's castle!

So... the lesson is the door belongs to the co-op; it is becoming noisy and requires some tender care.

No matter who lives above, there is a shareholder or a sponsor paying the amount of maintenance required to live there. It is not a favor or hand-me down. So, no matter how much you like or dislike the person is entitle to service.

The co-op is responsible and no two ways to escape responsibility!

AdC


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bad management company - al dente Mar 31, 2007


what do you do when your current management company of 12 years (knowing they are about to be replaced) lets their service deteriorate. they have given our accountants a hassle getting info for annual statements, they have not sent a bank reconciliation since december. monthly accounting statements from february still have not been provided. communication between the company and coop office employee is strained. there are many other factors playing into this that i should not get into on a public board. has anyone successfully sued a management company for such activities?


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Well, if you say they know that they are about to be replace, this is the attitude you may get or should expect.

Why do you think many employers leave workers out when advanced notice is given? to prevent disruptive behaviors.

So, when changing management, you should be as secretive as possible to avoid unresponsiveness.

AdC


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well there are other circumstances playing into this. our manager left us. he was still an employee of this company managing other buildings while supposedly working solely for us 24/7. he leaves and winds up at THIS COMPANY. they have been doing our back office operations over these 12 yrs. so with only 3 weeks notice we were forced to interview managemnt companies----as you know not nearly enough time to conduct this process. especially when you consider the management companies normally give you 60 days notice when they don't want to manage your building. so there are a lot of factors entering into this.


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I disagree: Our Board fired our previous manangment company, and not only did they continue to behave in a professional manner, they assisted the transition.

Its in the best intrest of the outgoing manangement to behave in a proper manner. The world of manangement, due to communication through the internet, is growing very small. And reputations do matter.






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Logic would dictate that if someone is displeased with services being rendered that the company make a concerted effort to improve service and not slack off.

But I guess when emotions are involved, logic doesn't come into play.


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If the management company is that bad...maybe you give there name...so no one else will use them!


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Jan, this is not a site where we wash our dirty laundry.We do not through names out there. This was discussed in the past. See archieves.

FN


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We need a good plumber - BP Mar 30, 2007


We've used Fred Smith, Capital Care and ABR Plumbing for years. The quality of work's gone downhill. They now have a bad attitude, are often rude, and say, "If you don't want to use us again, don't." They won't guarantee their repairs or fix a problem we thought was fixed unless we pay them to do it again or they do more work that will cost us more.

All 3 companies are disappointing us repeatedly. We never had problems with them and we're not a demanding group. There are many plumbers in NYC, and we don't need this. Can anyone recommend a plumber who does good work, won't argue with us at every turn, or try to convince us we need a lot of costly work done that we know we don't need? Thanks.


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also, you should ask the superintendent's club...


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BP we all need good plumbers but are your expectations a little too high. I have worked with many plumbing companies over the years some good some bad. If your are looking for a plumbing company to agree with you all the time, then they are not honest and doing their job. Do you have enough knowledge of plumbing and how it works to second guess these companies?

FN.


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FN - I know what you're saying, but our expectations are not too high and we don't try to second guess plumbers on everything. Examples of why we're dissatisfied

- Didn't keep an appointment or call 3 times in a row, said later they "forgot" or "had more important work to do".

- Billed us twice for the same work (4 times!).

- Replaced an old broken pipe with...an old broken pipe!

- Ignore "details" like putting in a washer or filling a hole. Still have leaks and they want to charge us to come back and do what they should have done the first time.

- Broke mirror on an owner's medicine cabinet with a wrench (super saw him do it), won't pay for it, claims he didn't do it and it's his word against the super's (super is very honest, been with us 14 years).

- Says pipes (put in 6 months ago by another plumber) are causing leaks because they're "poor quality copper" (?), wants $1,000 to replace them.

One or another of the 3 plumbing companies we use did the above (the same one didn't do all of them), and these are just a few examples of incidents in the past year. Any recommendations for a plumber are welcome.


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BP - I use Tana Plumbing and they are great. They are straight forward and reliable. Call them at 914-393-8620, Harry is the owner, tell him Virginia sent you from the Bronx, 1910.

Gin


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Now I understand your frustration a little better. You have been so unlucky I guess. I use one of the companies you have issues with Fred Smith and have found them OK. Here are a few suggestions which may help.

1. Try to find similar buildings to yours (when built, plumbing layout etc), and who does their plumbing.

2. Monitor your plumbers a little closer when they visit.

3. Can your Management Company recommend a plumbing outfit? (they obviously have many buildings).

4. Does you super network with other supers (on your block,)
They may have a good plumbing company.

5. If/when you do get a good mechanic, try to schedule the work so he is available. If I find that an individual is very good at handling my service repairs, I am more than happy when possible to ask for the specific mechanic to carry out my repair.

Hope this is some help.

FN


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Thanks, Gin, for the referral to Tana. :-)

Thanks also for the suggestions, FN. We used other plumbers our mgmt co. uses - they were even worse. We can't monitor work more closely than we do. The super's always present and sometimes even a Board member. Supers in other bldgs on our block like their plumbers even less than we like ours. A couple repair men did a good job and we try to get them if we can, but their companies say they won't work that way - they send whoever's available.

We'll just keep looking, but thanks for the help.


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Try these plumbers

A C Klem 718-433-4300
Pro-Tech Plumbing & Heating 718-767-9067
Ideal Plumbing & Heating 718-392-0480
A Steinman Plumbing 212-737-5857

Mike


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Thanks, Mike, for the plumber referrals. Appreciate your taking the time to send them.


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As avid Habitat readers our board has always felt it supportive of the magazine to call one of the advertisers when lookiing for services.

We have had positive experiences with this approach. Of course caveat emptor as always. Our latest success story is DeWaters Plumbing and Heating.

They are prompt reliable and reasonable for big and not so big jobs.

Call (212) 942-1011 ask for Michael Hill.

http://www.dewatersplumbing.com/repair-service.php


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Thanks for the info on DeWaters Plumbing ~


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Good luck with your plumbing!


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Steinman Plumbing
Ask for Dave
212-996-6777
Top notch guys
solved numerous problems for us...
Best Regards,

RH


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Thanks, RH, for the referral to Steinman.


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yes except it is one of the plumbing companies that paid off building managers in 1994 so the background is not great (this may have changed but still - someone was corrupt...) :

NYT: "...District Attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, yesterday translated a code used in the indictments to shield the companies cited as having made payoffs.

They were identified as Central Pump Plumbing of Brooklyn; Chelsea Hardware of Manhattan; Fred Smith Plumbing of Manhattan; M. Kraus Plumbing of Manhattan; Richardson & Lucas, a waterproofing and renovation company, of Manhattan; Steinman Plumbing of Manhattan, and Utility Painting of Manhattan."


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Try Kapnag, (212) 929-7111. We've had good lunk with them.


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Condo - Rose Mar 29, 2007


My building is a coop, sponsor 35 Shareholders 80
Is it possible to convert to condominiums. if possible how do we go about changing?


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Just search this space for "Conversion" However, one of the best advice came a while back from AR. I'm reproducing it below:

AR
Re: rewriting by-laws
Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:57AM209.166.28.93

I just finished one in a building I have. This Atty was very good as well. It was the first time I used him. Perhaps listen to several Atty's and see who you like best.

Stuart Nahas, Esq.
Zraick, Nahas & Rich
303 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1201, New York, New York 10016
212-686-0855/212-779-9548 / stunahas@znr.net

Also try the lawyer who originated the plan f\during conversion, he may be best.
AR



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drip pan - correction: Barbara - big al Mar 28, 2007


A lead pan is for a shower and NOT for a washer dryer installed in an older apartment. Drip pans to put under washers cost about $30-34 - see this link:

http://www.hometownstores.com/detail.aspx?ID=55086&ovchn=GGL&ovcpn=Ace%20Hardware&ovcrn=Washing%20Machine%20Drip%20Pan&ovtac=CMP

Home Depot probably has them even cheaper.




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Laundry in apartments? plumbing consultants?...please help! - barbara cano Mar 27, 2007


Hi,
I'm wondering if anyone out there can help me out: I'm a board member of a small 24 unit co op with no laundry facility of any kind and, after much review of the common areas, no hope for communal laundry facilities because of logistal brick walls (no pun intended).

Shareholders are lobbying to have washer/dryers in their apartments, which we quite support, but the building is quite old and we're concerned about structural/pipe issues. Has anyone run into this?? An article in Habitat mentions a "plumbing consultant" but there is no sign on one anywhere on the site- can anyone recommend or suggest such an animal?

Thanks VERY much


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make sure:
1) there is a rule that all residents must get the MOST energy efficient washers available (ie minimum water usage which is now much lower thn it used to be check Consumer Reports and present a list of suggested models).

2) make a rule (signed agreement) that they have the proper backflow devices installed plumbing-wise AND

3) charge a fee of $15 a month (subject to future change) for any apartments that install a washer and you should be fine.


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Thanks very much for this- we're in the dark, so your advice helps (while on the board, I'm also lobbying for washers in our apartments because our current state is no way to go through life)

Question? What exactly constitutes a "backflow device"? Also- that $15/month is essentially to cover the extra water used? Is this working for your coop?

Thanks!


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My take on washers in apartments is: where are you going to allow them to be connected? You mentioned old lines. Make sure you only RESTRICT the use of detergents to LIQUIDS ONLY. Powder detergents tend to clog lines.


My horror story is that we had an upper floor apartment with a clandestine washer. The waste stack had the worst clogging record with numerous incidents of major floods. Once this washer was removed due to a major flood at 6:00 am, we have reduced the clogging issues to minor issues on the line. Finally, if you have washers, you will also have dryers. So, I guess you will allow dryers as well with venting issues to address. Good luck!

Backflow devices or checkvalves are used to prevent water from flowing back into discharge drains of the apartment lines in the event that the stack gets full due to capacity issues or water handling issues.

AdC



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Barbara - A "backflow preventer" is a device that, in the event of flooding, etc., prevents the outflow of water that is now rendered unsanitary (or could cause blockages due to particles or debris) from re-entering your main water system and contaminating it.


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...this is all incredibly helpful. I can't tell if all of these great recommendations will translate into many dollars spent just for the luxury of clean clothes, but at this point it's worth it!



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Anyone heard of "Laundry Pure"? It's a laundry device made by EcoQuest, mfgrs of air purifiers for 15+ years. Many of our residents got the purifiers. They eliminate smoke that filters in from nearby apts. We have many smokers. There's one with a "sanitizer" feature. You can put it in a closet or on a sofa/bed to get smoke out of clothes/fabrics. About 9"x10", cost $400-$500, but work great! I digressed...

Our washers don't have "Laundry Pure" but I saw it used in two buildings. It's a device that attaches to a washer and the cold water line. It eliminates need for any detergent or bleach, makes clothes whiter/brighter, leaves no residue on clothes, takes less time to wash, reduces energy costs since no hot water is needed.

It's sold only by sales reps, cost about $700 per machine, can be installed by any plumber. I don't have full info. For more facts, go to www.ecoquest.com and click the link for "Laundry Pure." Just thought I'd pass this along.


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Check with a large commercial plumbing company, e.g., Citron Brothers. Usually, there is one or two master plumbers that will do this.

AdC


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While I am in no way an expert on the subject, I am of the opinion that you need a qualified person to do a survey. Do you know the number of shareholders that would consider installing washer dryers? if so will one company do all the work at a bulk rate etc. While washer dryers sound like a great idea remember you are limited to the wash load (they are not like the commercial type) and the dryers also heat up the apt in summer time which is not great. Also the added electric cost and water rates. In addition other things to consider. Best of luck with the project.
* plumbing codes regarding installation.
* Lead pan
* Water shut off devises.
* Venting exhaust (self venting)
* Back flow prevention.

Fat Nickie


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Hi- Thanks! This is very helpful. I guess I should have pointed out that we're (the board) not responsible for installing the washer dryers, paying for the increases in individual electricity bills, nor is it really our concern how warm it gets in the individual apartments (shareholders have the option to keep things status quo and take their laundry 3 blocks to the nearest laundromat, and probably will) but we're working on making sure that this can be permissable and, if shareholders make the choice, the building can handle it- structurally.

It's also important to point out that not all shareholders *can* have w/d in their apartments, presumably- as some are quite small.

What is a lead pan?

Thanks!


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A lead pan is basin/pan that catches the water in the event of a leak so it does not leak into the unit below/restricts the amount of damage if there is a leak.

FN


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Barbara, you could try having a plumber give you a consultation and maybe negotiate a deal for all residents.

Fred Smith plumbing: 212 744 1300
$99 per hour for one master plumber (insured & licensed) plus, I think, $50 to show up at your door. Again, if you could try negotiating a bulk deal.

In addition you might consider these rules surrounding washer/dryers:

1) Resident must have insurance (liability), renters/coop/condo) that covers any possible damages from the washer and they must maintain the insurance.

2) Must have a ventless dryer.

3) Must submit appliance model no. of the washer to the coop Board for apporval prior to installation or future replacement of any washers.

4) Fee of $12-15 a month (subject to increase).

5) Must have "drip pan" installed under the washer.

6) Must have proper backflow device installed.

This is from Consumer Reports:

Front-loaders. Front-loaders get clothes clean by tumbling them in the water. Clothes are lifted to the top of the tub, then dropped into the water below. They fill only partially with water and then spin at high speed to extract it, which makes them more efficient with water and energy than regular top-loaders. Most handle between 12 and 20 pounds of laundry. Like HE top-loaders, front-loaders wash best with low-sudsing detergent. Many front-loaders can be stacked with a dryer to save floor space. Price range: $600 to $1,600.

Space-saving options. Compact models are typically 24 inches wide or less (compared with about 27 inches for full-sized washers of all types) and they can wash 8 to 12 pounds of laundry. A compact front-loading washer can be stacked with a compact dryer. Some compact washers can be stored in a closet and rolled out to be hooked up to the kitchen sink. Price range: $450 to $1,700.

Washer-dryer laundry centers combine a washer and dryer in one unit, with the dryer located above the washer. These can be full-sized (27 inches wide) or compact (24 inches wide). The full-sized models hold about 12 to 14 pounds, the compacts a few pounds less. Performance is generally comparable to that of full-sized machines. Price range: $700 to $1,900.





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Barbara, I tend to agree with Big AL. Fred Smith are good at specking out the work and following up. I have used them in the past for such work.Contact Dave London or Phil Krauss. Of course they will not know who FN is.

FN


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