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SH mortgage refinancing - BP Sep 13, 2007


Do any of you stick to a percentage limit (e.g., 80%) of an apt's market value for which a SH mortgage refinancing amount cannot go above? Is it the same percentage for newer and longer-term SHs?

If so, it is just a standing decision your board made or do you have a formal policy with regard to this percentage?

Lastly, we want to establish a set of formal guidelines for SH refinancing. What are things we should include?

Thanks

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We have a standing 80% limit, but folks rarely reach 80% as the income to debt ratios are applied.

On the other hand, we do not allow any financing or new financing within five years of admissions.

This prevents folks from “qualifying” and then immediately changing their financial picture with a new debt burden.

We had a recent occurrence wherein a buyer was approved at admissions to then appear at closing with a new loan package. The monthly costs in the new loan package were higher and our co-op attorney declined to proceed with the closing.

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In the last 90 days, we also had buyers come before the admissions committee and seek a waiver. In effect, the buyers “didn’t realize” there was no financing and or refinancing within five years and wanted to obtain a “larger” loan to cover refurbishing the apartment.

We declined the waiver, e.g.: no exceptions, but approved the buyers.

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Refinancing goes through the attorney and transfer agent. When a refinancing or credit line is requested, shareholders need to fulfill the same as an admissions package by way of financial information and credit report. If the financial starts looking strained, we may ask for an escrow of four months maintenance /18-months if they wish to proceed with their refinance.

AdC

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Ted makes some valuable comments.

refusing a refi/etc. within a certain amount of time after the initial closing is a great option. This eliminates the people who buy all cash, look great, are approved on the basis of a cash sale, then refinance because they have to pay back the relative that they borrowed all the cash from to begin with.

Also, to maintain 80% which is becoming more common now (as opposed to the traditional 90%) permits the cooperative a little more leverage in an unstable market. this figure should remain constant however at all times, as Ted said, not exceptions.

the paragraph below, as example, is excerpted directly from one of my purchase applications:

** Added Requirements If Apartment is Financed A copy of the commitment letter, loan application and three signed Recognition Agreements (Aztec form) which have been executed by the bank and prospective purchaser(s) are required if there is bank financing; additionally, copies of all documentation submitted to the bank in obtaining the loan must be submitted; no other form of Recognition Agreement will be accepted. The maximum financing allowed by the Board is 75% of the total purchase price. Purchases made with “all cash” will hold an 18 month refinance restriction.

I usually insert something to this effect in the second page of the purchase application, along with the other items that we want them to pre-agree to; this form gets signed and returned with he pkge, so there is no confusion later.

~AR

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anyone have a CELL TOWER? - sally Sep 13, 2007


wodnering - we are an upper west side cop. can anyone with a cell tower please tell us how much they pay for lease of their roof space? thanks URGENT

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Well, this is an interesting question:

1. How desirable is your location: near highway, hospital, university.
2. What company is trying to place the antennas and their market penetration and additional antennaes in your area.
3. In our case, almost five years ago, it was in the order of $1,700.



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thanks. was that $1700 annual or monthly? it is on riverside drive - higher than other buildings around it. no negotiations yet. prelim research. thanks

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MOnthly.

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how large is yoru building and what is location? thanks!

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We're in Westchester and this is a 7th floor bldg. Also, the company we have, although reputable, does not have the antennae penetration others have. Thus, our location was important to them.

Interesting enough, there were some problem with neighbors and shareholders were objectively briefed and involved to vote on their preference: Yes or No for the antennae installation.

The township restricted us to one installation and, as AR, states, it is important to put your foot down when it comes to negotiating dismantling of equipment at the end of the lease and authorization from the building to add additional equipment or upgrades.

Right now we were approached to upgrade the installation, but until they inform us what they are doing, no permission.

Similarly, make sure you hire your own engineer to assess the conditions of your building where the installation is going to take place and to review their structural installation.

No sense in getting $20,000 a year unless you know what you stand to lose or need to foot at the end of the installation.



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such as Subcarier Communications subcarrier.com they would be able to broker out the space to more than one tenant and guide you as to prices ( I am not connected with this company, I just saw them at Buildings NY)

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check this out. this habitat forum is getting lame becauset this is the kind of info one needs:

http://curbed.com/archives/2007/09/12/ask_curbed_renting_the_condo_water_tower_for_a_cell_antenna.php

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What terms are they offering? Are there other towers in sight? Any others in your neighborhood? Is the company a BIG brand or small? First time you've been approached?

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Been a few weeks since i was here...

I have towers and/or sites on about 12 of my buildings.
Each has a different lease and deal, ranging from $20K per annum to almost 60K.

As another poster put it, location is important. Depending on the vendor, some sites (like sprint)have all their current towers and sites mapped right on their website. This helps when bargaining the lease.

Also take into consideration the future value of the site and the area covered. They usually put into the lease that they have the right to add/change equipment and do not need permission, other than entry to the site. Do not permit this. All and any added equipment must first be approved by management/owner and the space it occupies (if more than the original agreed upon space)is not included in the current lease agreement. This becomes an addendum and more revenue.

Can’t think of anything else off the top of my head..

~AR

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A perplexing issue - BP Sep 13, 2007


My friend Nancy is VP on a coop board on Long Island. She called tonight for advice. I didn't know what to tell her.

Her coop has 40 apts. The sponsor still owns 10. His father and 2 male cousins own apts and were elected to the board last yr. The coop has 5-yr board terms, God only knows why. These 3 sponsor relatives constitute a board majority. They hired a super soon after they were elected: no experience, lazy, bad attitude, won't help residents, does zip in the bldg. They don't do anything about the super and won't OK any upgrades or work beyond emergency repairs for the bldg. Nancy says she thinks they didn't just find him. She thinks they knew him and he's a "plant".

Nancy said the sponsor doesn't let the same people sublet for more than 1 year and they're all very undesirable and irresponsible - almost seems like he gets them on purpose. She also said the 5th BM (Frank) who really cares about the bldg as she does told her the sponsor's father (a BM, and 82!) let it slip to Frank last week that the sponsor wants to run his ownership share into the ground and default on everything bec he has BIG trouble with the IRS and wants to wangle into a position where he can declare bankruptcy.

Nancy said no one likes the sponsor and could care less about him, but he owns 25% of the apts and what he's doing and what his relatives are doing (or rather, not doing) as BMs is affecting the entire coop. It isn't high-end, but it is very nice (40 yrs old) with large apts, community room for meetings, garage, and big, landscaped backyard that's used for parties, BBQs, etc. in a good neighborhood.

OK - any ideas on what Nancy and the other BM Frank can do to prevent the sponsor from turning their coop into the black hole of Calcutta? Nancy and I know each other since grade school muh-muh-muh yrs ago and she's not the type to exaggerate or overreact, so I tend to think she's giving me a pretty fair picture of the situation.

I've dealt with a lot of coop issues in my time, but this is a new one on me.

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You have painted a Practice Case for those who exchange ideas.

Well tell your friend to read the by-laws and specifically, the area, HOW TO GET RID OF A BOARD MEMBER and plan the battle accordingly. Go for the HEAD and forget about the rest! Once you take possession of the HEAD you can start organizing.

GET RID of one of the SPONSORS, elect a caring, individual shareholder and NOW she has a majority of individual shareholders to sponsors. BINGO!!!

Regarding your posting, I shall say the following:

The shareholders of that place may DESERVE the sponsor:

1. They are 75% individual shareholder owned and yet they still vote for sponsors and people related or friendly to a bad sponsor. GOOD DEAL!!!

2. They are subleasing in a 25% rental and 40 unit bldg. Well, not too smart either. I would like to find out how many sublets are currently present.

Finally, sell if she is so caring and go to another unit if she's not willing to put the fight for "THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM".










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Thanks, AdC. I must say I don't think much of the SHs in that bldg either for voting in 3 sponsor-related people. I didn't ask my friend but I THINK the regular SHs didn't know those 3 were related to the sponsor. He sold them their apts so he didn't have to tell the former full board or anybody in the coop anything about them.

Sounds like a very big cans of worms to me. If I was faced with that (and I may tell my friend this), I'd seriously consider selling and living elsewhere. I'll pass along your comments to her. Thanks.

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Realize that with the sponsors 25% of the total votes, and his relatives, collectively, he controls about 32-35% of the total voting power in the building.
This means that if as little as 30%, or 12 apartments don’t show up at the meeting, or provide a proxy at a shareholder/annual meeting, then the sponsor wins almost by default.
so, it may not be that other shareholders are actually voting for him... You (your friend) needs to acquire enough votes to overcome the sponsors percentage. this is the only way you will beat him.

~AR

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AR, that's a good thought. It occurred to me this morning bec Nancy said the sponsor owns 10 of 40 apts - 25%. That's why I asked her how many shares that represents. In my reply to RLM, I said she just told me it's 20-22% of total shares. You're right. She has to get almost all the rest to support her. Seems her coop's other SHs are getting worked up about how things are going, so if she/Frank start now to rally them, they could get the support they need. She's got a lot of work ahead. After listening to her problems, it makes my coop sound like Utopia.

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It's an arduous task, but worthwhile, especially if the sponsor presence is diminishing or dwarfing the value of the building.
Good luck!

~AR

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HOW TO GET RID OF A BOARD MEMBER and plan the battle accordingly.

The proxy war starts by knowing your shareholders and convincing them of what is happening. Thus, such a battle can be bitter.

Thus, the exit plan is there: sell and go some place else.

AdC

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That's quite a story, and I been a'thinkin' on it a spell..... so I have some questions.

1. What does her PL say about amending the PL? What % is needed?
2. What does it say about the % needed to call a special Shareholders Meeting?
3. Does it hold any recourse for recall of Board Members?
4. Is this a union building?

Depending on the answers to the above, if Nancy and her friends can call a special Sh. meeting for the purpose of amending the PL, and successfully gather votes needed to amend it, they could employ a number of tactics:
- add two members to the Board;
- require that all Board meetings be taped and transcribed;
- require the super to pass certain competency tests (if not union);
- have direct Sh. election of president, sec'y, treasurer;
- require a Managing Agent to supervise the super directly (you didn't say whether Nancy's co-op has one or not; if they do, what the heck is the MA doing? and if they don't, they should hire one as soon as they're in control of the Board.

Those are my first reactions. Hope they're helpful; I'll keep thinkin' on it.

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Thanks for your thinking on this. I called my friend Nancy first thing today to get answers to your questions.

- Her PL can be amended with a 66-2/3% SH vote
- To call a special mtg: 25% of all outstanding shares
- Recalling a BM requires a 66-2/3% SH vote
- It's a non-union bldg

The bldg had a MA but the 3 sponsor-related BMs fired them last year and hired a company without looking at others - probably a friend of the sponsor, Nancy thinks.

Nancy says regular SHs complain about the useless super. They can't reach the MA - they get voice mail, and no one calls them back. The only BMs they can reach are Nancy and Frank. The 3 sponsor BMs won't take their calls or talk to them about coop biz - they're told to call the MA if they have a problem, which does no good.

RLM, I gave Nancy your good ideas this morning. I think her best bet is getting SHs to sign a petition for a special mtg to recall the 3 sponsor BMs and bring in 3 regular SHs. Luckily, Frank is board secretary. From my experience I know a request for a special mtg has to go to the secretary and if enough shares petition for it, he can schedule it and they can hold it no matter what the 3 sponsor BMs say.

RLM, I didn't know what to tell Nancy, but I'm getting more ideas and she was very "up" this morning when I told her your thoughts, and her wheels are turning now too.

BTW, I asked her how many shares the sponsor has. She can't recall the exact number, but she remembers that his 10 apts + the 3 BM apts are about 20-22% of all shares. So if they can rally enough regular SHs, they could effectively get a 66-2/3% vote on most anything.

I said in my previous post that this coop has 5-yr board terms. The 3 sponsor BMs began their 2nd yr this past May. I didn't know until this morning, but Nancy/Frank are in their 5th yr and they have to step down in May '08. If 2 SHs are elected who aren't as knowledgreable or concerned as they are, things will get much worse I'm sure.

Thanks again, RLM. You've been a great help. If you happen to think of anything else, let me know.

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Recycling bins - question - BP Sep 09, 2007


3 of our BMs say reg trash bins can be any color but the recycling bins must be "recycle blue". 2 BMs say they only need labels showing what to recycle. We called the city 2x. Both times they just said recycling is the law and you must display recycling info. (I hate dealing with city offices.)

Our new svc area colors are tan/dark green/burgundy. Rows of bold blue bins will be an ugly contrast. The 3 BMs will concede if someone tells us we won't break the law by not having blue. Our prop mgr did but they think he's wrong.

This should be the biggest problem a coop has, right? Will someone pls confirm that we won't get 5 to 10 up the river if we don't have blue recycling bins so I can enlighten the 3 BMs? (all newbies, in their first year).

Ugh, thanks.


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Totally lost here. Can you try to explain again what your question was. I lost you after the first few words typed.

FN.

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Sorry, FN, if I wasn't clear.

We're redoing the service areas our residents use - trash room, laundry, storage. They're in the same general place off the lobby which is tan, dark green and burgundy. We're painting the service areas these same colors so there's some "continuity" with the lobby.

We're getting new bins (10) for our trash room. 3 BMs say they must be blue for recyclables - the blue you often see on bins with a white "recycle" symbol. Rubbermaid makes a lot of them. Our SHs are very picky about having everything coordinated. Since the trash room walls/floors/doors will be the same colors as the lobby (and other bldg areas) some of us think bold, blue bins will look ugly/loud in an area that's tan, dark green and burgundy.

3 BMs say the law requires blue bins for recyclables. The rest of us say it doesn't require blue. They'll concede if someone else will agree with us on this.

So, my question was - do bins (containers) have to be blue for recyclables or not?

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BP. As long as the containers are not going out on to the street they can be any color you want them to be, As long as the correct color sticker is displayed on the can and that you use clear bags in the cans (both cans) for the disposal of contents.

If the cans are going out to the street then they need to be either one blue and one green with the proper stickers or both blue with the proper stickers.
Also not that recycled areas much have a sticker either on the door or above each recycle area. Directions must also be placed above the cans, along with pick up times.

Pgrech
VP, Superintendents Technical Assoc.

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You gave me the answer I was looking for - also some info I didn't know. Our super handles the trash pretty well so we assumed he knows what he's doing. You said you're supposed to use clear bags for recyclables. He uses blue bags for glass, paper, cardboard, magazines, all of it, and he uses clear bags for regular trash. Surprised we haven't gotten any Sanitation Dept. violations for that. We'll have to set him straight on this. Thanks again.

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What I did in my building was we have two square rubbermaid containers on each floor. I called 311 and asked for the sticker labels for the recycing. They said all I have to do is place one blue sticker label on the container and use a clear bag. and the other container I placed the green sticker label and use a clear bag. On each sticker label it explains what is suppose to be placed in that container.


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Thanks, Mike Mac. We have the blue + green NYC labels that you put on trash containers that tell you what to recycle. Our board "dispute" is whether the containers (trash cans) for recyclables (glass, paper, etc.) MUST be blue or if they can be any color - black, brown, grey or whatever - as long as we put the blue + green NYC labels on them.

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live in super - llprime Sep 07, 2007


We have a live in super, are a union building and follow
union rules. however the super has another home which
he goes to and leaves the building without persnnel on
call, he says he is 20 minutes away on a good day.

Is he in violation of current union rule. Help

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No, he is not in violation of any union rules because, there is no such "union rules" saying where a super should live.
Pg

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The Housing Maintenance Code of Union 32B/J, the union that covers building workers such as superintendents, clearly states that in residential buildings of ten or more units, the super must live either on-site or within 200 feet of the building and he should be able to effectively manage the handymen, the porters and all other building staff members.

If the super is not responding in a manner that is effective to service requests or emergencies, or if you can prove that his apartment with the coop is merely a second apartment, you can require him to make the adjustment or fire him for insubordination.

In both non-union and union situations, when a superintendent commits a criminal act or poses a demonstrable danger by his presence, OR ABSENCE, he can be fired immediately.

And in any disciplinary situation, it is imperative that both the board and management maintain accurate and ongoing documentation of the disciplinary actions taken for their own purposes and also for their protection in the event the super brings suit against them or initiates an arbitration proceeding.

~AR

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The question asked was is the super in voilation of UNION RULES. The answer is NO.
AR, The housing Maintenance Code is a New York City Code and not a union code.
Secondly the code states 9 units or more and not 10.
I try to answer the question asked, and I did.


Pgrech

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While you may have answered the question exactly as it was written, you failed to address the concern.

Consequently, I will spell it out even clearer since you seem to have an unwarranted inhospitable attitude:

Under NYC rules, buildings with nine (correct, not 10) or more apartments must have 24-hour janitorial services. The owner or super must live in the building or at least the same block, or live within 200 feet of it.

Management makes the rules; the union follows them, within the guidelines of the RAB / Union agreement. (which may be downloaded in PDF and entirety here: http://www.seiu32bj.org/cd/pdf/RAB_res_2006.pdf ) Article IV p1&2 , and others, of the union/employee handbook and RAB agreement show that if the super is insubordinate to the rules and systems set in place by management, he can be fired for such insubordination.

The reason so many supers get away with so much is because owners/boards and others are not fully understanding the duties, tasks and relationships between the owner/employer, the union, the city and the employee.

More can be found on these subjects here:

http://www.cooperator.com/articles/600/1/In-a-Class-of-Thier-Own/Page1.html

http://www.cooperator.com/articles/61/1/Your-Buildings-Superintendent/Page1.html


Pgrech: There is no need for animosity and attitudes on this board, we are all here to ask questions and provide opinions based on our experiences.

~AR

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All i did was answer the question asked and corrected your mis-information.

Pgrech

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AR

I just wanted to know what "Supers get away with so much" mean? Can you explain that alittle more, I like to know just what they are geting away with.

Thanks

Mike

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I agree with PGrech on this one. I have not come across anything in the union contract that states you must reside in the building. You may want to review what is the protocol in the event of an emergency.

Many superintendents that are away from their building have a very good back up plan until they return back to the property, such as, the super across the street is familiar with the property, the staff on duty are aware of the protocol when there is an emergency, where the shut off valves are etc. I am aware of buildings where the super has an apartment in the building he manages and has a house elsewhere where he commutes from.

FN



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Might be something in the PL, though. And if you still have a sponsor involved in your co-op, I'm sure it's part of their agreement that service levels (including a resident super) must be maintained.

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If your super is legally domiciled in other place, when why not ask him to surrender the apartment and why not transform the space into another facility or living quarters for another employee?

AdC

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Adc, not sure what you mean by letting another employee use the living quarters. This may be interpretated many different ways?

FN

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You read it right! Obviously, if your superintendent is legally domiciled in another location and insists to be 20 minutes away from the building, i.e., he is not willing to live in the apartment at the building, then why not have the co-op use the apartment premises for other purposes including providing living quarters to another employee?

Obviously, this is an issue that requires frank discussion with the union. After all, you are allowing the freedom to the super to be legally domiciled somewhere else!

AdC

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AdC, you and I do not even know if llPrime had a frank discussion with the super about the apt. It is worth bearing in mind, if you use the apt for another purpose how will you attract a super later if there will be no apt available.(I see your point)

FN

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FN,

I know you did not post the question. My answer was another spin for ILPRIME, i.e., it differed from the other two respondents. Again, I see this forum as a way of thinking "out the box." If an idea triggers some other thoughts, then take it and run with it. No need to argue.

In regards to your question, my answer was use the space to the best of your discretion. If it is convenient to leave it empty, then leave it empty. If you can use it as a board meeting place, then use it. If it can be rented out, do it. If it is to have an employee use it as living quarters.

AdC



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No, I did not post the original question. When answering I try to view it from all angles. My fear? is that if you were to turn that apt into lets say a gym, how would you attract a good superintendent down the road without an apt to offer him/her.

FN.

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What makes you think the super is not living in the union building. Before you make accusations of any TYPE, make sure your facts are correct!

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Because people have been watching him come into the building
with his wife before the start of his work day. I do not
make comments or accusations without proof it is on tape.

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Is it on tape that he comes in every single day to start his work with his wife from his home?

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two/three days a week, he is not available for emergency
since he is 30-40 minutes away, etc.

he is being paid to be a live in super, we give him
an apt, pay utilites, etc. and he is not around when
needed.

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Occupancy - Tom Sep 06, 2007


As per PL of our Co-op grown up children can live with the parents (3-bedroom apartment).
The Board informed Management Company to write a letter to the shareholder, who recently purchased an apartment, that they should be living in their new 3-bedroom apartment alone because at the time of interview it was not indicated that the grown up children will be living with them.
However the Management Company has been informed at the time of closing that the children will be living with their parents.

Please HELP!

Thanks in advance.



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Occupancy is a sticky subject. Children can live with parents regardless of age. I'm sure everyone thinks that the parents were not forthcoming during the interview, but c'la vie! Such actions may say something about people -- not too transparent for one.

Since this was announced after the fact, your admissions committee (1 or 2 members) should run a "meet and greet" session to go over rules and amenities. From thereon, everyone should then smile!

AdC

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Shouldn't penalties be levied for non-disclosure, not so much for the children, but for sneaking roommates in without prior knowledge.

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What you talking about V,"Sneaking roommates?"

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New shareholders not being honest about the people going to live with them and REFUSAL to disclose who they are. In one case I heard the roommates moved in before the shareholder did. She told the board it was just her and her mother. Now there may be one or two additional people living there who are not relatives. We are fighting about it on the board. Half say it's an invasion of privacy, the other half speak of liability. Who's right?

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Dear V
ONE of the most important documents in a co-op is the proprietary lease. That is because the lease is the document that gives shareholders the right to occupy their apartments and sets forth the rules and regulations governing shareholders' rights.
I will answer your question.
In this case it's mother and daughter and some roommates.
How do you know who else LIVES in the apartment. How did you determine the age and number of residents in the apartment? Did you secretly WATCH them? You seem to have a PERSONAL issue or a hidden agenda,for which you have gone as far as INVADING PERSONAL PRIVACY of residents.

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Agree with MaryN
The difference between the sidewalk and apartment is that shareholder has the right to exclusive possession of the apartment against the entire world, even the board.

H.

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But paragraph 14 our PL says that no guest can stay in a shareholder's apartment past thirty days without written consent of the Board and management. Few shareholders are doing this.

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Hello V, GUEST not roommate. Big difference.
Concentrate.
H.

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How is a Co-op supposed to control the number of people living in the apt? If the proprietary lease has 2 persons and one sees six persons coming in and out of the apt. Shouldn't the coop be concerned that the occupants are illegal subletters? I am all for privacy, but how can a co-op prevent the additional "roommates". Most co-ops provide water, hot water usage that is included in the maintenance, and if many co-operators go this route, wouldn't that be a financial problem? How can a co-op regulate the tenancy without the issue of invading one's privacy? I live in a co-op and I wondered many times how to deal with this. Anyone has an answer?

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Dear Elena
Most proprietary leases specify who can reside in a co-op apartment — typically, the shareholder, a spouse, their children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and domestic employees. Although most leases do not specify the number of occupants, some leases impose limits on the number of occupants based on the apartment’s size. So you would have to check the proprietary lease to determine if there are any limits on the number of occupants. New York State’s Multiple Dwelling Law provides that every room must have at least 400 cubic feet of airspace for each adult and 200 cubic feet of airspace for each child occupying that room. Basically it’s 3 adults for 1 bedroom apartment, 5 adults for 2 bedroom apartment, 7 adults for 3 bedroom apartment. My dear Elena, boards are the "keepers of the gate" in their buildings, the ultimate decision-makers about who can live in the community it's a decision and process that carries great weight and responsibility, also boards can open up the co-op to potentially costly lawsuits over discrimination, harassment, invasion of privacy, etc. And if you are a board member please always keep that in mind to avoid REAL
FINANCIAL problems.
M.


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I completely agree and thank you both, MaryN and Harry, VERY WELL PUT!
Some Board members are very possessive; they want a recognition and obedience by every shareholder (newcomer). And if and when they are ignored – they start creating stories, spying and making everybody’s life miserable. How about becoming friendly and getting shareholders’ VOTES when they run for the board next time?

It’s a shame that some vindictive and unhappy Board members are given a power to twist RESIDENTS’ life. They are becoming ENTITIES with MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES. They should concentrate on their own life and leave others alone, because, as MaryN wrote: “boards can open up the co-op to potentially costly lawsuits over discrimination, harassment, invasion of privacy, etc. And if you are a board member please always keep that in mind to avoid REAL FINANCIAL problems”.

Thank you all for your input and support.

Tom

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Dear Friends

As a board director in New York City, can you throw a neighbor out of the building? Can you be held personally liable and bankrupted for your actions as a board director? As board power has grown with board responsibility – the answer has increasingly become “yes.”
If you – or your board – are having difficulties understanding your roles and the scope and limits of your authority, be warned: lack of the necessary skills and confusion over board roles, responsibilities, and powers often lead to bad governance, which, in turn can lead to poor decisions and, possibly, future financial problems. Like every other commodity or person, buildings have reputations. Lawyers, accountants, managing agents, and brokers who work in this industry all know the reputation of a building. If the board is not conducting itself properly, then the building is not being run properly. This information is passed on to prospective buyers. Bad rumors or the bad standing of a building affects the price of its apartments.
Very few actions you may initiate on the board are as consequential but also as necessary as knowing when and how to inform on your fellow board members. Learn how to spot the signs of trouble, avoid common mistakes.
For keeping up to date with key issues, and for accessing important data on your building you can always contact:

Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums (CNYC)
250 West 57th Street, Suite 730
New York, N.Y. 10107-0730
212-496-7400

Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives & Condominiums (FNYHC)
61-20 Grand Central Parkway Suite C110 Forest Hills, N.Y. 11375
718-760-7540.

New York Association of Real Estate Managers (NYARM)
500 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1212
New York, N.Y. 10018
212-216-0654


Thank you
Good Luck
M.

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Several apartments were burglarized several years ago, one of the culprits claimed to be a roommate of a shareholder. So yes my agenda is preventing that from happening again. Or something worse.

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Dear V.
The co-op building in which I live has a digital camera security system. The system films and records all common areas of the building, including the elevator, garages, hallways and laundry room. Why don't you offer the board to purchase the security system to prevent burglary or "something worse".
P.S. Yes you are right V, paragraph 14 our PL says that no guest can stay in a shareholder's apartment past thirty days without written consent of the Board and management, GUESTS, but not the roommates. You really seem to have a PERSONAL issue other then "burglary". I no longer have a desire to continue this discussion. You obviously lack the knowledge and expertise that pertains to this topic.
Thank you
M.

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All I did was ask a question and I got my answer. Thank you very much. No further comment is needed on my part either!

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The proprietary lease usually provides that the shareholder and members of the shareholder’s family may occupy an apartment, and Section 235-f of the Real Property Law (the so-called “roommate law”) provides that every residential lease entered into by one tenant “shall be construed to permit occupancy by the tenant, immediate family of the tenant, one additional occupant, and dependent children of the occupant…” This law has been held to be applicable to co-op proprietary leases. Therefore the co-op board may not prohibit questioner No. 39 from having a roommate.
So if the grown up child moved into the unit occupied by the parents and lives there with the parents, that would typically fall within the list of permitted occupants and would not require board consent or provide justification for a surcharge.



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Thank you

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Why would someone buy a three bedroom apartment and live there by themselves? Didn't the board see this coming?

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Why didn't the managing agent inform the board that the grown adult children will be living with the shareholder? Don't they work FOR you?

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Baseboard Heat Upgrade - board newbie Sep 06, 2007


Some of the units in our small co-op are severly underheated and a plumber came onsite to assess the situation. After completing a calculation based on volume of the unit and amount of BTU's we have vs what we need, he suggested upgrading our current residential baseboards with light commercial. This would alleviate adding additional feet of baseboard to walls where there is none, he contends. We are talking about 550 sq foot studios with normal height ceilings. Anyone know if this is a good remedy? He also said it would involve cutting some of the wood floors away from where the thicker new piping would go. Sounds like a nightmare. Would the co-op have to repair the floors since this is in the course of performing a co-op repair? Thanks all.

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something sounds wrong here.
only because when the designer was first approved by the DOB and whatever engineers first did this install/build, the heat requirements had to have been figured and met.

Did something happen between then and now?
was the boiler neglected?
is it something outside your plumbers expertise?
are you leaking heat from somewhere else?
these things can cost you allot more later if not answered correctly now. more/heavier heating elements are not always the answer.
You may have better spend money by hiring a heating engineer for 1500 dollars or so to review and advise. This will/should end up in a more efficient solution in the long term.

~AR

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Twenty years have passed since the building was gutted/renovated and lots has probably happened. Most likely suspect is windows deteriorating (heat escaping) but that would be $10,000 to replace due to size (there is a huge three-pane sliding glass door). Since only two units are still below legal heat requirements on cold days, the Board is loathe to make that investment though that is what even the plumber and building engineers have suggested to do first. The Board fears this will not solve the problem and we don't really lots of money so they are looking at quick fixes. Anyone know a good plumber?

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We use Wynne plumbing and Temperini Mechanical
you can call Joe temperini 347-582-5934 the owner

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Burned Out??? - Jim Storch Sep 05, 2007


I am the board president of a mid size Manhattan building with approximately 90 units and I think I am burned out.

I have been frustrated at every turn with the inability to get anything done and I am putting in a significant amount of time and energy into this endeavor.

Our management company has been replaced but appears no better than the last one. Is this a major problem in the industry?

Our shareholders are apathetic and only want their specific issues resolved. They don't care to see the entire picture. Is this common as well?

Our board is serious about attempting to tackle issues but perhaps we are going about it the wrong way.

Any advice here. I really want to pack it in and give up, but I can't as their appears to be noone interested in picking up the baton if I wanted to pass it on. And I am not going to be selling anytime soon.

ARRRGGGHHH!!!!!

Any similar stories and/or advice how to cope.


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Sounds like you and your Board need to take a little retreat together and brainstorm.

I suggest a weekend outing to one of New York's local parks, with a picnic lunch, some kind of sports equipment (even two mitts and a softball), and a beverage or two.

Relax, enjoy the day and your fellow Board Members, and have a frank and freewheeling talk over lunch about what's wrong, and what you all, as a team, can do about it.

As President, it's your most critical role to keep the discussion as open as possible and to curtail fingerpointing and any personal comments.

Get creative! Think outside the building. : )

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We are a union building, our super has an apt and other
benefits which the union requires. We have over 200 apt.
However the super does not stay in his apt. he travels to
his house which is about 20 minutes away. He is not
available at nite for emergencies.

Are there any union people who could advise his he in
violation of the union rules. thank you

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Lynn, why not try/post your question seperately. The subject/question posted on the top of the page relates to board member burnout.

FN

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Sorry I am not all that computer know how and I thought
i entered it correct.

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No worries, just helping out. I will jump up to your post later.

FN

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Jim: Many board members feel as you do, and everything you said is very common in many bldgs.

Don't pack it in and give up. You "care" and it doesn't sound like a lot of your SHs do, so you're a rare, valuable entity. When a bldg loses good board members, it runs the risk of getting some who are't capable of running a bldg or a corporation, or who want be on the board only for self-serving reasons. Both bad news.

You said "our board is serious about attempting to tackle issues..." That means you aren't the only board member who wants to do this. Good. You're not alone on the board in this desire. Get together and start taking action.

First, your board should write a list of things your mgmt firm isn't doing satisfactorily or is ignoring. Then your board should meet with a mgmt firm director/principal and your property manager to discuss improvements. Don't just complain. Try to make it a cooperative effort. If things don't start improving in, say, 3 months, start looking for another mgmt firm. Sometimes you have to go through a few to find a good one but they're out there. You pay them to work for you. If they aren't earning their pay, you're doing all your SHs a disservice - and wasting their money.

Also, how's your super/staff? Do they do their jobs well? If mgmt can help with this, fine. If not, you/your board should meet with them (again, in a cooperative way) and try to work out knots in that area.

Then, review bldg/corporate issues. If mgmt can help here too, great, but don't wait on them. How's your operating account? Do you have much debt? How are your reserves? If you don't have numbers, ask mgmt for them and don't take no for an answer. They work for you, you don't work for them. Any bldg issues that need prompt attention (pest control, repairs)? Depending on your finances, see what needs to be done and what you can start doing that you can afford.

SHs are apathetic, esp if they don't see positive changes or anything getting better. They only know what they see. You can install a new boiler with lots of fancy sensors but all SHs care about is having heat in the winter. Can you do any bldg things that will be readily "noticeable"? Even small ones - new recycling bins, a fresh coat of paint in the lobby. Put a lockable Suggestion Box in the mailroom (with paper/pen). Send everyone a memo - tell them where it is, invite them to submit ideas, and say all signed slips will receive a reply. Have a designated board member check the box once a month and DO reply to signed submissions.

Apathy can be difficult to overcome but it can be done to a good degree. Let Shs know you and your board care about the bldg and them. Keep lines of communication with them open. If they start seeing changes, attitudes will change.

My last two suggestions:

- Don't spend every free waking moment on the bldg or being board pres. Take time away from it. Except for emergencies or critical issues that need immediate attention, what's there on Friday will still be there on Monday.

- Designate. Don't do everything yourself. Assign tasks to other board members or ask them to volunteer to take on something, like drafting a letter to SHs or calling mgmt firms to explain your bldg's needs and get preliminary info if they're interested that the board can review and decide if it wants to meet with any of them.

Hope some of my suggestions are helpful.

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Thanks BP

Your comments do offer intelligent perspective, insight, and inspiration.


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JIm

You and I share similar concerns about our buildings. Looks like those problems you described are not unique to your building alone I have no advice to give as I am in the same boat you are in.

AAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!

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Thanks V.

I assumed I was not alone.

Although this is no comfort, I have come to expect these frustrations.

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The SH and the Doorman - BP Sep 04, 2007


We've had a doorman (3pm-midnight, M-F) for many years. A SH (since '03) says she thought a doorman was just to help 2 elderly SHs and since they're both now gone, we no longer need one. We said it would be a "reduction in services" and we can't take away a service we've always provided. Also, our super has an afternoon job and goes to night school, so he isn't here 2pm to 10pm. With no doorman we'd have no one on site for security, or for help if needed.

This SH is telling everyone we're wasting a lot of money on a doorman. That issue isn't the problem. The doorman we have is very helpful/conscientious, and everyone likes him. The problem is this SH. Many others are complaining loudly that she's calling, e-mailing, ringing bells and bothering them. They all told her to stop but she hasn't and they want the coop to do something about it.

The board spoke to her and sent her a letter saying we have complaints that she's creating a disturbance and asking her to stop. Since she came here in '03, she's been nice and seemingly "rational," but suddenly she's ballistic about the doorman. We thought maybe something happened between them, but she hasn't said anything about him personally. He's 54-55, very courteous, and we don't he got fresh or anything like that. She's been bothering everyone almost daily since early July. She called me 3x today. I finally said the issue was no longer up for discussion and I was hanging up, which I did.

Our SHs feel as we do about her and the doorman is not an issue with them. I think we should all just ignore her and hopefully she'll tire and stop this. We don't want to get our coop attorney involved but if she doesn't stop, he may have to send her a letter.

Anyone have any other suggestions on how to deal with her?

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First, in your posting you should not go above and beyond the fact that the Shareholder feels that you are wasting money. The problem between sharholder and doorman is purely speculative. As St. Theresa used to say, "Leave the CRAZY ONE" alone and you will not run into phantoms.

Now, back to your problem:

Your By-laws state that the Board has the last word in decision-making. So, why take the tear and wear from a shareholder?

Solution: Your management writes a formal letter to the shareholder with copy to your co-op counsel (for info)stating the facts:

Thank you for your concern on saving money, but Board has reviewed the building's staff's requirements and has CONCLUDED that total door coverage is required if security is to be preserved. PERIOD.

State to the person that shareholders have complained about being individually solicited by a shareholder on a matter that should be addressed as a suggestion to management and copy to the board. HOwever, if the person wishes to continue pressing the item, it should then may be brought in PUBLIC at an open shareholders meeting. HOwever, in the meantime, the sharheolder should cease her activity until the appropriate venue takes place.

Follow the staff assessment public and even remind shareholders what is expected of them if they wish to elevate suggestions of operational nature.

AdC

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I agree with AdC

~AR

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Average amount of vacation time for staff - rfs Sep 03, 2007


Would be interested in the average amount of vAcation days provided for non-union supers and doormen. What seems reasonable to you?

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I think 1 week after the 1st year, until year 5.Then 2 weeks until the fifteen year.Then 3 to 4 weeks after that

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First 6 months the employee gets 3 working days, 1 year, 2 weeks, 5 years to 15 years 3, weeks 15 years to 20, 4 weeks.

Holiday's, I know of buildings that try to get by with only a couple of staff working that day to save money.

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I clicked too fast on the last message.
Anyway, thanks George. What about the average situation re: holidays off for non-union staff?

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George I think what you listed is way to low. I would be interested to know what your vacation package is like.
Its simple, you want good staff? Threat them well. Otherwise they will look for better deals.
Pg

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I guess you don't what a job is for to work.A lot of people in country don't get vacations.They should be happy to get that time.

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I dont know about the rest of the country. This issue is in New York, therefore, stick to NY practices.

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George,

I have to agree with Peter and Nicky, what country are we talking about? We are here in AMERICA and lets deal with the facts here! By the way how much vacation time do you receive from your employer?

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vacation is not a right in this country.Check with the federal rules

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George, most of us were responding to rfs post (for all I know you could be George as well). Anyway, the point here is frs asked a question, many people responded and gave their opinion. Your were of the opinion that employees should get very little or no vacation (your opinion which I do not agree with,but respect).Just a footnote, many of my employees have anywhere between four and five weeks vacation per year (due to the fact that they have over twenty years in the union). Yes, we do survive by hireing/training summer relief to fill in. This works very well.

FN

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I pretty much agree with George? on this one. For the first year one week, then after two or three years on the job two weeks vacation. From five years onwards three weeks etc.
See if you can get hold of a copy of the union contract book so you can compare. I am not sure what arrangement was discussed with your super. I know many supers that instead of taking overtime for additional work, they use that additional time towards vacation.

Hope it was of some help,

FN

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Sorry George, I agree with P.Grech on vacation time. One week of vacation for the first five years is nothing. I would be interested to know how much vacation time you get each year. As to your response about other countries and vacation, that is a non issue. I believe the building in question is in NY. Like P. Grech said a happy workforce is a productive one.

FN (I am on vacation next week)

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I guess you don't like working.Who cares if that are happy.2 WEEKS .Any more the buildings fall apart .Like yours

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You agree with me on the other post.Which side of fence are you on.

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