Our building had a hardwired system installed, then we switched over to a wireless system only to uncover a huge number of technical difficulties (configuration/administration) and requirements (dedicated electrical, authentication, etc.). We called in a smart home company to assist us with the final tweaking but it costs us more than we anticipated. Are you storing to a computer hard disk? Are you accessing via the web or an internal network? Do you have a dedicated mechanical room or closet to securely store the equipment? If possible you should use IP style cameras, not wireless cameras.
I was recently elected to the role of President for our 100 unit co-op in Kew Gardens. In an effort to do things different than the previous prez, I'd like to enlist the services of a consultant to help make our board more effecient in handling issues; thereby making our shareholders happier through expanded communications, customer service, mgmt. comp. liasons, and new amenities.
Does a company like this exist, or do I have to do this in a piecemeal fashion by way of research, trial and error?
Hi BW - The site in question went down due to a major server problem. At the time, about 25 of our sites went down. It has been back up since then. Sorry for the confusion.
Some of our units have a chronic mouse problem. It turns out that with the change of management we have not had an exterminator in almost a year. And the mice are back. While the Board is going to have each unit detailed for mice, and then shareholders must adhere to the monthly schedule, some of the units have huge holes behind the dishwashers that the exterminators say they "do not fill." They suggested getting a contractor to take out dishwashers and close the holes in the walls that were left from the original renovation the sponsor did in 1987. Are individual shareholders in a co-op responsible for this sort of repair work hidden wall areas? There is no way to tell what else lurks behind the kitchen cabinetry, backspashes etc.
Would appreciate knowing how other co-ops handle the repair of walls and filling in holes to prevent mice from getting in.
two questions. we have "directo" voting (below) and nothing in our prop lease about how a person can get their name on to the election ballot to be a board member (director): 1) how can a person put themselves up for election on the rinted proxy that comes a few weeks before the election?
With direct voting each shareholder is permitted to vote his total number of shares for each open seat on the board. A shareholder with 1,000 shares in the co-op would be able to cast 1,000 shares for each open position.
Has anyone ever replaced aluminum windows with vinyl ones? Are Crystal Windows good ones? We have gotten estimates on Pella replacements and now getting some other quotes. Crystal was not 25% less than Pella but we are weighing if it is wise to go with a none national brand name. Any thoughts? Thanks,
that is an invasion of privacy - and this is illegal. They can merely ask the name of the roomate. nothing else at all. period.
V, can you be more specific? What is "bad"? Voting their interests over the shareholders'? Spending money to improve public space on their floors instead of everyone's? Missing meetings? Forgetting to bring snacks when it's their turn?
Everyone thinks the mainenance fee he/she pays is far too high. Unfortunately, most everyone bases his/her assumption on subjective feelings, not objective measures.
AdC is correct. You just can't say that $1.50/square foot is the line between a good deal and a bad deal.
In my building, we have 43 units in a 21-year-old coop in a structure that's 100 years old. Our average maintenance fee is about 88 cents per square foot (that includes a range from below 76 cents to just under a dollar).
So it's cheap in comparison to the fee in question, right? Well, yes and no.
Sure, it's low, but until a few years ago we had NO reserves. Our operating budget covered only current expenses -- that is, the corp was living month-to-month. The shareholders valued low maintenance over a financial safety net which is a foolish idea. (A few years ago, we implemented a flip tax, which created a nice reserves cushion and a healthy operating account.)
With that low maintenance, we have only 1 employee -- the super -- in a building that once had three full-time employees. It's not as clean as it was, and even minor repairs have to wait for the daily sweeping/trash/boiler oversite, and renovation monitoring. One person can do only so much.
If we charged $1.50 per square foot, we could afford to hire a handyman and a part-time doorman (we have neither), as well as afford to improve lighting, update the lobby, and start saving to upgrade our decades-old elevator.
I moved here from a co-op where the maintenance was just over $1 per square foot. It has 240 units, so with all those people paying in, the full-time building staff was more than a dozen -- and the interior was spotless. There was always someone on call to fix a problem. Two separate gardens looked immaculate. And so on.
So look at what you're paying for:
-- How many people work for the building (super, porters, handymen, doormen, concierge)?
-- How big are the reserves (higher or lower than the building's annual budget -- at least half the annual budget is a decent ballpark figure)?
-- How much of the maintenance fee is paying the mortgage (that is the tax-deductible percentage; what's left over after that portion pays all the other expenses of the building)?
-- What's the neighborhood like (neighbor buildings may try to outdo each other, which can help attract buyers should you ever sell your apt)?
And the big questions: what is the physical condition?
-- How long before the roof needs to be replaced?
-- How long before the windows need to be replaced?
-- The elevator?
-- What about repointing the bricks?
-- Any money set aside for those, or if the project was recently done, how much of the maint fee is paying for it?
Also remember that some buildings keep their maint fee low by charging an assessment that essentially lasts forever (as opposed to one that lasts two months or two years to pay for something specific). If the maint sounds low, find out if any assessments exist and when they will end (and how much they cost).
In short, no specific maintenance fee is too high or too low -- without knowing how the money is spent. Remember, the maint fee pays for everything in your building, so you should know HOW it is being spent.
If you'd like more information, send me an e-mail.
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