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Coop-owned unit - conflict? - Bee Dub Oct 22, 2007


Our coop owns several units in the building (we got them when the sponsor defaulted in the 1980s). They are currently being sublet to rent regulated tenants. When units become available, we sell them. This periodic inflow of cash is great.

One of these units is under contract to sell. The time has come for the Board to review the application and interview the potential purchaser. Isn't it a conflict of interest for the Board to vote on his approval, because we inherently want the unit to sell? Or is it enough that we are balancing our interest to sell with our interest to have good paying tenants?

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YOUR QUESTIONS: Isn't it a conflict of interest for the Board to vote on his approval, because we inherently want the unit to sell? Or is it enough that we are balancing our interest to sell with our interest to have good paying tenants?

MY ANSWER: Boards should be motivated to review the sales of individual shareholders with the best intentions of accepting a sale so that the individual shareholder may continue with his/her life. However, this goodwill should be balanced by your responsibility to ensure that the potential buyer has the financial attributes and fulfills the occupancy expectations that you wish to see in a new shareholder.

In the case of the co-op selling the unit, I'm sure your board wishes to maximize the market value of the unit for the benefit of the corporation, but more important than obtaining the market price for the unit is to get an individual shareholder who meets the attributes that you expect to see if the unit were to be sold by an individual shareholder.

Again, money should not be the final consideration, but the potential shareholder's financial test and the other considerations that make the evaluation of an application. Finally, if the potential buyer is paying the right amount, but the board is not sure, the much talked escrow account in prior postings could also be added to the sale if additional attributes for the potential buyer are also met.

AdC


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Vault spaces - rfs Oct 16, 2007


Have any of your buildings ever had problems with old vault spaces under or directly adjacent to your basements? Were there every any problems with the City wanting to use/or change the dimensions of the vault space? If so, what happened?

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many of my buildings have experienced changes. What is the issue?

I have 4 buildings right now going through an eminant domain where they are taken back for the duration of the second avenue subway project. some were closed, some changed, etc...

~AR

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Rights - Pgrech Oct 16, 2007


I was asked by some one... Where can I obtain information about the "quiet enjoyment" rule of a shareholder in a New York State co-op set-up. A good definition of the term "quiet enjoyment" would also be apreciated. I'm also interested in information about the business corporation law portions which deals with rights of shareholders in a NYS co-op. I know the by-laws of the coop would have these, but need the actaul law.
With great thanks
Peter

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Pgrech, from the American Bar Association:
"What does "right of quiet enjoyment" of the premises mean? That legal phrase does not refer to noise; it refers to the tenant's legal right to occupy the apartment. The landlord would violate the right by renting the same apartment to two different tenants or by removing the tenant's belongings."

My assumption--and I could very well be wrong--is that if the resident is complaining about noise renders his/her apartment unliveable, then NYS Real Property Law §235-b the warranty of habitability may be the relevant law but it's up to a judge to decide if the noise is illegal. NYC also recently passed a new noise control ordinance that took effect this July but I don't know the formal name.

Finally, NYS business corporation law is important for coops but I think they literally constitute volumes so I can't pinpoint which sections are most relevant because I'm not lawyer!

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Thank YOU.
Pg

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double dipping - Anonymous Oct 14, 2007


Our co-op (condop)initiated fees payable to the co-op and to the managing company for any alterations in one's unit. I think the managing company is double dipping. Their fee is paid via monthly maintenance and now directly from any alterations. Why does the managing company needs to be paid on alterations wanted by a shareholder? Greed besets.

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First please attach some name when posting (Mary, Bob, Jane, not annon). I am aware of Coops charging a fee for alteration agreements (this is for the preperation work involved/or additional work involved, such as reviewing the agreement, faxing, sending copies to the architect etc, and is a one off charge). This does happen.

Fat Nickie.

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remember, the management co. wants YOU as a client. keep the fees as low as possible. like $100 for a simple decoration agreement (painting etc), $300 for a more in-depth one. etc.

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It seems like I didn't word my original message correctly. You mean I, as a shareholder, have to pay the management company, for example, $100 to paint within my own unit? I am not talking about common areas.

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Are you anon? same person?

Bob

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Dear Anon,

You probably have to fill out a form stating your intentions (to paint), and to indicate that you (or your contractor) have adequate insurance.

The management company then has to verify and file the information. That work is typically done by someone besides the property manager. You're paying for that person's time.

You'll ask, Aren't I already paying their time?

Nope. The management company charges its lower possible rate to get your condop as a client. Extra services are paid by the individual who wants the extra services done.

If you wanted a management company that didn't charge for special services, your board would pay a higher annual fee to the management company, which the board would then pass on to you in the form of an increased common charge or maintenance fee.

Charging the individual keeps the monthly fee low for those residents who don't do extra work.

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In most cases this is not double dipping. Read the management contract, most likely it will be in there that the management company shall charge for alteration agreements, project management as well as closings. Most management companies do. This is a way to supplement the low management fee they charge per month.
Pgrech

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As some other posters put it, Management contracts are written to keep the management companies rates low. in doing so, many services are not included into the contract. Most of these include Alteration, Sales, Sublet application and agreements, closings and refinancing. Therefore, when these services do arise, the management company rightfully charges for them.

~AR

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Responsibility of management company in this situation? - rfs Oct 11, 2007


Our condo building continues to have problems with a renter whose 2 dogs are not house-broken and who are rarely taken out. As a result, horrible smells daily fill the hallway. The owner does not care. There have been many complaints. The management company, under pressure, sent a registered letter a while back to the tenant and owner with a fine attached. what is the ongoing responsibility of the management company vs. the board? Does NYC code address this at all, and if so, in which section?

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As far as "ongoing responsibility of mgmt vs. board", mgmt works for the corporation/association which is responsible for things whether it's a coop or a condo. It seems to me that, coop or condo, mgmt can't be held accountable (in the legal sense) if a resident's dogs are the source of many complaints/problems and this isn't being resolved.

I'm in a coop so I'm not that familiar with condo laws, but consult your condo's attorney. Write to the tenant/owner again. At some point I think your attorney should write to them. Keep a paper trail of residents' complaint letters and correspondence to the tenant/owner.

Find out as much as you can about the dogs from residents in nearby apts. Suggestion. If the dogs aren't housebroken, rarely taken out and causing terrible odors in the bldg, it may be a case of neglect or mistreatment. To get more info on this, you can call the ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement Dept at 212-876-7700, extension 4450.

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The person(s) that the managing agent should be going after is the unit owner. It is the unit owner's responsibility to take care of these matters. The managing agent can only go so far in this situation. The matter should be turned over to the Condo's attorney for appropriate actions.

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Congress and 80/20 - Scott Oct 10, 2007


Can anyone comment about what they know about a bill currently before congress called the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.

In this bill, which appears to have been recently passed by the House, and next goes to the Senate, there is a section amending the requirements that need to be met for a Cooperative to qualify as such.

In effect, it appears, this bill, if enacted into law, effectively ends 80/20 problems for many coops.

Can anyone comment on what they know about this?

Thanks.

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House Passage: 10/04/2007
Bill Passed 386 - 27 (Roll no. 948)
Senate Referred to Committee: 10/04/2007 : Finance

Link below provides a summary of the highlights. YOur 80/20 is there and what alternatives will be used for co-ops:

http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/110/07%2009%2026%20Mortgage%20Summary.pdf - Quick summary.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:hr3648:

AdC

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What is your sense of whether this bill will become law and change IRS code?

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If I read right, this is a deferral of tax by reduction of home basis. And so, the forgiveness of debt is re-categorized from being subject to income tax to being subject to capital gains tax.

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WIndows and Pointing - Board Newbie Oct 07, 2007


If our co-op has work done on the outside of the building such as pointing and painting and shareholders windows get dirty and need to be cleaned from the outside, is that a co-op expense since it was co-op initiated work? What about sponsored-owned units?

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If a contractor working a project on behalf of the coop corporation creates dirt, debris, damage, etc., the contractor is responsible for any remediation. We do not distinguish in these cases between sponsor vs. owner units.

We do distinguish when a “renter” has an issue with something within the apartment that is “not” the coop’s reasonability, e.g.: wall repairs, broken sink, broken cabinet, etc. In this case, the renter is referred to the sponsor’s rental office.

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Read the contract between the coop and the contractor. In most cases like this, Unless otherwise specified the cleaning is limited to broom sweep and hosed cleaned. The contractor, (again unless otherwise specified) is not going to have the windows professionally cleaned.
Next time put it in the contract (if it isn't there already).
Pgrech

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I agree with Peter, my building don't clean the windows after the contractor points.

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Myriad postings - TedT-NJ Oct 07, 2007


In "Budget Time — Gabrielle, Wed Sep 26 5:26PM", Gabrielle suggested that I post some of our coop's information and procedures, e.g.: self managed.

I added the items about a week ago under that posting rather than a separate thread if anyone has an interest.

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Trusts - albert Oct 04, 2007


Does your board allow transfers of shares to trusts?

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We allow living trusts...I think there is a legal name, but as I am not in the office and don't have it at my fingertips.

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We haven't had anyone transfer their shares to a living trust yet, but just curious why do that? Is there a tax advantage to the shareholder? I am under the impression there is not.

Thanks,
BN

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Per the experts, perhaps the biggest advantage of a living trust is that it does not have to go through probate, as does a will.

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http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/money/living-trust/livtrust.htm

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Yes, most of my buildings permit it. In NY and NJ it is not as common as it is on the west coast, where it is done quite predominately.

You might want to speak to your Atty and find out about maintaining a personal guarantor, in spite of the living trust being the owner of shares of record.

~AR

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situation - licensed contractor - st Oct 02, 2007


renovation in coop in manhattan - the contractor is listed wihtthe city (they have a permit) as one company but the workers are actally from another company that has no license or insurance (friends of a staff member) - report to 311? the coop board is totally in denial.

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Before doing or signing any contract, your counsel should be engaged to review any contract and provide the expected requisites before a contract is accepted by way of a rider.

No matter if a contractor is listed with the City or jurisdiction (i.e., in Westchester with the County, etc), the board's obligation is to demand from the contractor to provide certificates of insurance, extended to the co-op, its directors, officers and shareholders as additional insured and PROOF of worker compensation insurance.

The contract should be valid contingent on satisfying the insurance portion. Similarly, your board should protect itseelf by stating that no subcontractors are allowed for the work.

In the event of a sole proprietorship, there are jurisdictions that waive the need for worker compensation insurance. IN such a case, the co-op should have a waiver of claim against its insurance for the sole owner and worker to sign.

Finally, know the work and what would be the manpower requirements i.e., a person who scrapes floor can do it by himself; a painter can paint on his own without a helper; a bathroom renovation requires a helper, etc. This advice is given so that when reviewing renovations of shareholders the co-op will be able to properly cover and demand the right insurance.

AdC



AdC

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pls see the quesiton. thanks

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To stop work in a building being performed by a contractor and or his subs, Management or the superintendent simply tell the contractor to stop work. Before work can resume, contractor needs to satisfy management that the reasons for the stoppage have been cured.
Pgrech

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The contractor and his workmen have to get into the building through the service entrance? The Superintendent must be there and turn them away until they cure the violation or get the necessary paper work done that is how you stop the work from being done.

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thanks mike - unfortunately the super is part of the problem. he is benefiting directly. if you catch my drift. we, the neighbors, are concerned. the board nd management is in rip van winkle land. so? what to do?

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If you or the Board/Management Company have proof that the Superintendent is taking money, then you should have enough proof to terminate him/her! If no proof, then it is a dead issue.
Good luck to you.

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I must disagree on you opinion about NO subcontractors are permitted to work. A contractor may need to bring in a licensed plumber or electrician for certain portions of the work. Not to allow the contractor to bring this subs in would mean the contractor would have to have his crew do the work which in it self may be a violation. Subs are needed, but they are to be used in the right way... insurance, licenses and permits where and when needed. There is work done by a plumber or electrician that do not need a permit but do need a license.
Pgrech

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In the event of a GC with plumbing requirements, I always stipulate that the GC must name the plumber, provide his license # and also their own insurance. The same goes for an electrician.

Papers should be completely checked. After all, allowing a GC to assume responsibility for plumbing w/o accredidation will be "in it self may be a violation".

Thanks for the opportunity for further clarification.

AdC



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The information is listed in the original package submitted to the Board. Even if the contractor working is not listed with Consumer Affairs (I am assuming since you are making these allegations that you checked?), does not mean that they are not insured. There is no way for you to publicly find this out since the insurance can from several companies. NYS Workman’s Comp will usually verify for you, but it can also come from AIG or some other companies.... Point is: be sure before you act.

Also, did the primary contractor name the sub as additionally insured in the alteration package?

After all these probably useless points are said... if there is an accident, the GC is still responsible, and the SH is also jointly responsible for anything.

It is the Boards responsibility to obtain the alteration package and review and approve it, not to police and investigate the companies.

I suppose, the question then is, why does it matter?
(I ask with respect, just trying to understand)


~AR

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it has been illegally done frmthe start with at least one violato so far. they have manuvered it every which way through the city buerocrary o get in the unlicensed copany. it is unethical and dangerous to the resicence of the coo;. that is why.

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If what you say is true, I assume you have proof of this?
Then the Board did not approve it, and thus should stop all work and fine the shareholder.

However, if the Board did receive a full package and approved it based on the plans and information provided to them, and the proposed contractor is insured and licensed and a proper permit was filed, and obtained, the only possible violation of rule I can imagine is the alleged hiring of an unlicensed sub by the approved contractor. In which case, the contractor themselves are liable, they will have to pay the workman’s comp to cover any checks written to a possibly non-covered party or employee, and the contractors liability insurance will most definitely cover in case of accident or claim; and if, by chance something does get by, the shareholder is still responsible.

All that said, with you as a shareholder who is on the sideline of this whole process and not part of the original approval & review process, your hands are tied. I suggest you run for the Board next term so you can be a part of the processes going forward.

~AR

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I agree with your message. The time to review is before not during or after.

If the renovation may mean taking walls down and reconfiguring an apartment, building permits will be required, an engineer or architect and even change of occupancy for the builidng if two or more units are combined.

The sponsor is the only one that may retain certain right of "not informing" the board regarding combining units, but the co-op should know about open building permits and changes in occupancy. Also, the co-op may demand from the sponsor insurance from its GC's.

In the event of shareholders doing renovation, the burden is ON THEM to provide the paperwork and ascertain that their contractors are not a fly by night organization.

The board should have in WRITING with DRAWINGS the renovation plan, with all the GC requirements including plumbers and electricians licenses, etc. in order to (a) approve in a simple project (b) give it to the co-op engineer to review and ensure that there are issues with the submitted plan of alteration or renvation.

AdC


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Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

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