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.
As a board member we have entered into line of credit of over 1 Million $$. I have been denied a copy of the loan documentation. I was told that If I need to review it I would have to go to either the lawyer's office or the managing agent's office. At this point in time I have no knowledge, neither does any one else on the board, with the exception of two members, as to the terms, rate, penalties for non payment,etc. What to do. Please advise.
I am considering carpeting the hallways in our building and was wondering if anyone has feed back on this issue. i am interested in hearing about the upside and more importantly the downside of hallway capret care, maintenance etc.
We have 9 unit per floor in a 6 floor elevator building. The halls are large and "hollow" sounding. I am hoping to quiet the hallway noise but am concerned about cleaning the carpets, stains, and other problems...
Thanks in advance,
We have a 7-yr contract with NYC's largest laundry company. We don't like being locked into them, altho people say they can give us more than a small company could. But service is poor and we never get straight answers on anything. Also, they collect money from machines every month. They say they can't count it on site. We have to take their word on how much they collect and it's always in their favor. We always wind up owing them money.
Our contract expires in December. With a new contract we get new machines and the usual perks (painting, new sink, etc.) We want to explore alternatives. Any recommendations for other companies? Thanks.
Some chemical substances are being sprayed in to two apartments by the tenant who lives in between them. There were numerous calls to the Police Precinct, NYC Health Hazard Department, and so on.
All the wholes were sealed with glue and caulking, but it saturates through the hollow walls behind the closet door frames, floor crease, even though it is sealed!
It is just unbearable to be in the apartment – the smell lingers in the apartment, causing coughing, choking, burning eyes, disorientation and headache; even if the odor has gone, the cause is still there for hours.
The violator of the House Rules and Regulations has been warned that her lease will not be renewed if she continues doing it – nothing seems can stop her.
How do we protect ourselves from a hooligan like this?
I believe the article will run in the April issue of Habitat.
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