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Can anything really be done about this? - rfs Aug 14, 2007


We have a renter in our condo building whose dogs are not house-trained. This regularly creates a problem of a horrible-smelling hallway for the neighbors, simply because of the unit's door being opened and letting the vapors into the hallway. The dogs do not go on the hallway rug-that is not the problem.

Meanwhile, the renters (trustafarians) couldn't care less. The owner is a foreigner, who is constantly travelling, doesn't really speak English, and virtually impossible to reach. The owner's contact person in NYC, also foreign, doesn't want to get involved- other than collecting the rent.

What, if anything, could be done to remedy this situation where the tenants and owner could care less?

> Join the conversation Comments (2)


Check previous posts/archieves. This subject was discussed many times.

FN.

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Did you contact the owner of the apartment or the sponsor?
I am sure the PL or the subordinate rules must address this in some manner, even if not directly. The owner will have to cure just as any other shareholder, especially if you prove a breach of lease.

... this is another good reason why I highly recommend yearly reviews for all sublet applicants, whereas the owner must submit a sublet renewal application annually. This would provide you the leverage needed in cases as this.

Notwithstanding the aforesaid, you do have options, but must read your governing documents to determine what they are and how to proceed.

Best
~AR

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Sink garbage grinders - kitchen sinks - Treasurer Aug 10, 2007


We are a new bdlg (4 yrs old) and have shareholders who have requested the board make a decision re: Garbage grinders
we would like to know if your coop / condo allows such installation and what is your bldg experience (if you allows them).
Our managing agent has concerns about plumbing issues, and provided examples about coops in Qns where the bldg has to hire a plumber once a year to "clean" the pipes form the food residual that "sticks" to the pipes.

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience / opinion

> Join the conversation Comments (4)


Just finished a reno ourselves... the supplier of our new appliances expressed surprise we hadn't included a disposal. When I stated because the co-op has had problems with pipes clogging (our building's 100 years old) we hadn't even considered a disposal, he stated that they'd come a very long way in technology and the disposals now were capable of shredding garbage so fine, it wouldn't clog.

Don't know if this is the case or not; our board hasn't made a policy on the subject, in any case.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)


Unless your plumbing was originally designed to handle garbage grinding or major laundry loads in apartments, I would say NO to such equipment.

Only had one apartment unit that had it. At the time it was placed under the sink the co-op was too new to know right from left. During the years, this was the WORST line with clogs - I would say every month we had a major clog and on more than two occasions major damage to apartments as the clogs also affected the apartments below.

These disposals may be great for single housing and for builidngs whose pipes or infrastructure was built for that. Otherwise, let people handle garbage the usual way.

AdC

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Thank you to all for your input.
It was very helpful

We also found an article on the Cooperator about this:
http://cooperator.com/articles/191/1/Garbage-Disposers/Page1.html

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Unless your plumbing was originally designed to handle garbage grinding or major laundry loads in apartments, I would say NO to such equipment in apartments.

Only had one apartment unit with such equipment. At the time laundry equipment and garbage grinder were installed, the co-op was too new to know right from left. Perhaps it was heaven on earth for shareholders, but a real issue for the co-op.

During the years, the apartment line was the WORST l with clogs - I would say every month we had a major clog and on more than two occasions it caused major damage to apartments as the clogs also affected stack and the apartments below.

The problem was resolved, when the current shareholder had a major local issue in her apartment and decided to disconnect the equipment. At that time, the co-op stepped in and prohibited the shareholder from installing a new one. The problems disappeared like MAGIC!!!

These disposals may be great for single housing and for builidngs whose pipes or infrastructure was built for that. Otherwise, let people handle garbage the usual way.

AdC

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Like most responses I am not if favor of them. Why create a problem when one does not exist in the first place. It reminds me of all those people that want to install washer dryers in their apartment and when they back up they question why. The plumbing was not designed for such and I have yet to see garbage been ground down to a state that it does not line the drain lines. (of course the sales person will tell you different)

FN.

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I suppose I will raise my hand and vote against, as everyone else did... I think that's unanimous?

You may get away without problems for the first few years, but it will catch up.

~AR

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Folks,

The plumbing is one piece of the equation.

The issues really relate to residents.

To be effective a garbage grinder/disposal needs water to flush the minced pieces.

Many, if not most residents fail to flush the residual material by running water for a minute or two.

This creates blockages which build and eventually create backlogs of water and disposal material.

Just conjure for a minute that kitchens are back to back. Most often there is a common waste line to the main waste line.

What happens?

The adjacent apartment receives a backup of water and debris.

We've banned disposals as they are too much trouble.

But, you should decide for yourselves.

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Supt Cellphone - NT Aug 10, 2007


Is it common practice to provide the Supt w/ a cellphone or pay for a portion of his bill since many calls are work related?
The sponsor of the building that I am in has sold quite a few units in the past year so more and more sh seem to be calling the supt's cellphone.

> Join the conversation Comments (4)


This appears to be a no brainer (forgive me). If the building requires the super to be available for emergencies etc how are you going to reach him/her? Surely you do not expect the super to pay out of his/her own pocket when you are the ones calling him/her. So what if the super makes a few calls to friends. Are you going to be penny wise and pound foolish? I guess it is OK for large corporations to have huge expense accounts and we turn around and question a few dollars on a cell phone. Finally when I go on vacation I bring my cell phone and make several calls (roaming charges/international) work related which the Coop pay as I am addressing their needs.

fn

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I resisted to this idea, but had to cave in.

Reason: Today there is no perfect technology. Beepers or cell phones are all wireless these days and you need to go to more expensive beeper service, i.e., two-way and/or with text-messaging services to have a good coverage for your emergencies.

1. Beepers need to be two-way so that there is memory in the event that the super is beeped and he/she is in a "dead zone." Not like the golden era of beepers when they used to retain the numbers. The cost for two-way beeper is approx. $14 a month.

2, Cell phones also have "dead zones" and super may be out of touch with the building emergency because the ringtone is not available; however, there is phone mail to the rescue.


My thnking (not necessarily your own or anyone else's):

1.It is best to have the co-op pay for the equipment and service. Tell the super that the phone must remain for the replacement when on vacation and in this way your co=op does not have to suffer interruptions in the event of emergencies.

2. Have a written document that super is responsible for misuse and loss of equipment and charges resulting from such problems.

3. If you pay a stipend for the use of the super's phone, still make a written document as to what you expect by way of services and what the calls should cover.

4. Make sure that the cell phone provider you use have the widest coverage possible in your city and within the building. If there are "dead zones", you should know what are these are how long is the super supposed to spend in those area, i.e., boiler room, some dark storage area in basement or even elevators and hallways.

Whatever decision you make, it should make sense by way of service and cost.

AdC

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Adc while I agree with most of your opinions/responses it sounds like we are waiting here for the superintendent to miss a call and jump on him/her. Of course there are dead zones etc. What you need in a situation like that is to have a back up plan, ie, call the handyman, have the concierge call the plumber etc and get the ball rolling so to speak.

Come to think of it now, I had a manageing agent whome for some reason when I called after hours seemed to be always in The Holland tunnell (or dead zone as he used call it). Not sure if he eventually came out of that tunnell.

FN

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Good news (maybe not for the agent though) Holland Tunnel and the others are no longer dead zones.
PG

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Well, perhaps it is a punishing mentality, but some supers need to be waken up by some sort of corrective dose.

I'm sure you got your managing agent out of the tunnel after being too fat, i.e., the same excuse became overused to fit in the tunnel. This is what it sounds like, too.

My issue is not cell phones, but costs and if you have been served well with a service, why pay more just because it talks?

IN fact, my credo is there are very, but very few things in life that I consider emergency. So, those things have to be pretty critical.
AdC

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I pay all of my supers cell phones. What i did, is switch my spers to nextel, with free incoming, then just pay the $59 monthly fee and he is responsible for any overages. Since incoming is free, the bills are always at a minimum anyway (and if i cant get him on the phone, theres always the two way built in radio!)

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Apartment "sitting" - Gerry Aug 10, 2007


We have a sublet rule. A Shareholder has asked if she can have her cousin apartment "sit" for 8 months while she goes to Los Angeles.
Should this be considered a sublet?

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There are two answers to that...
A technical one and logical one.
Technically and legally: Subletting is when the lessee or tenant rents out all or part of the apartment to another person, while still maintaining status as the prime tenant/shareholder. so, if the person is house-sitting, they would not be paying rent and no legal sublet action is taking place, therefore, no infringement. However, some boards do, in the house rules further define subletting to include housesitting for more than XX weeks.

You need to know first, who is paying the maintenance, and other bills, if it is the house sitter, then let them know that it is considered a sublet (being non-descriptive about your reasoning as possible) and that it could not be permitted; that is, if the Board is opposed to it.
then you might wish to amend your house rules to include other scenarios such as this, time frames, etc.

i typed fast, did I convey the thought correctly?

~AR

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8 moths is 2/3 of the year and cousins are not considered members of the family. Ready your proprietary lease for occupancy for the definition of family members.

Finally, how do you know the person is a cousin? Well, a difficult one to provide proof.

AdC







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8 months is 2/3 of the year and cousins are not considered members of the family. Read your proprietary lease for occupancy for the definition of family members.

Finally, how do you know the person is a cousin? Well, a difficult one to provide proof.

Although I usually agree with AR, "housesitting" becomes a rather elastic term. In addition to what AR said about proving who is paying for the basic services, it comes to mind that why not housesitting the following year, etc. Why not start a swap of property with a foreign owner to spend vacations, etc.

I think unless you have a building doorman and strict definitions, it will be difficult to control your occupancy and a chaos may follow.

AdC







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I think you hit the nail right on the head with creating strict definitions, so these terms do not become, or remain "elastic".

Best
~AR

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I agree that you need strict definitions of who can stay in apts. Most Prop Leases state that a "guest" is allowed for up to 30 days (or longer with board approval in writing) but the primary SH/resident must be in occupancy at the same time - the guest can't stay there alone.

Gerry - As AdC said, it's difficult to prove that a person is a cousin. My guess is, whether the person who'd apt-sit for your SH is a cousin or not, he just needs or would like a place to stay in NYC for 8 mos. Why does he have to live there? Most people who go away for an extended period have someone come in once/twice a week to check the apt, collect mail, water plants, etc. Is the cousin from outside NYC and able to drop work or other commitments to live in your SH's apt for 8 mos? If he lives in the area, why can't he just come in once/twice a week to take care of things?

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Sorry, I accidentally hit "send" too quickly.

Gerry - What if your SH goes to LA for 8 mos, you let the cousin stay in her apt, then the SH tells you she has to stay in LA another 6 mos or a year. At that point would you tell her the cousin has to move out? That could be sticky.

It would also be difficult to prove if the cousin is paying the SH rent and if this constitutes a sublet. The SH may tell you he isn't paying anything but it's not necessarily true, whether he's really a cousin or not.

Gerry - your board has to define cases like this and decide if you want to allow the cousin to apt-sit. This has come up with us a few times and our board always says it's too easy to turn apts into a hotel for friends and relatives.

One of your main concerns should also be that your SH pays maintenance, etc. every month. You should have her address in LA and be able to reach her. If you let the cousin apt-sit, you could require the SH to pay 8 mos maintenance in advance. That's stiff but some bldgs would do it. And what if you send SHs letters with important news about the bldg, new policies, financial issues? I think you should be able to send such letters directly to the SH and not assume the cousin would forward them. A lot can happen in a coop in 8 mos and you have to keep all SHs informed.

I think you need more info from your SH and you need to make the terms of any apt-sitting you decide to allow very specific and very clear. Just my opinion.

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Thank you all for your responses.
Our Board has agreed to treat this situation as a sublet.

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For your information, BP, proprietary leases "lifts" the wording that you mentioned below from NYS Tenant Law regarding tenants obligations to inform landlords:

"Most Prop Leases state that a "guest" is allowed for up to 30 days (or longer with board approval in writing) but the primary SH/resident must be in occupancy at the same time - the guest can't stay there alone.


In other words, any shareholder may have a guest up to 30 days. Of course, guest means a person that is not left alone in an apartment. Only hotels refer to people who pay to stay in a room of a property "a guest". IN fact, by stretch of imagination, you may say that management who represents the hotel owner stay in residence 24 hrs by managing the "castle."

AdC


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no grey area here. its a sublet.

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Amount of financing - Gabrielle Aug 08, 2007


Currently our building allows maximum financing of 80% for shareholder loans. In light of incredible valuation increases for apartments in our midtown Manhattan building there has been some talk about reducing the maximum financing allowed to a level of 70%.

What do your buildings require....and is this a valid concern?

Thank you.

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Oh, yeah. Let's make midtown Manhattan apartments totally for the rich.

Good grief.

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Lighten up Batch. As a repsonsible board we are concerned that certain shareholders may end up over extending themselves. If that occurs, foreclosures can follow...and no board wants any of their units to go into foreclosure.

Get a grip.

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As a responsible board, are you also concerned that you would be probably be requiring people to put up 10% more money from their family's liquidity?

Of course no one likes foreclosures. So why put more monetary pressure on people?

You should be more concerned that they are able to make their monthly maintenance payments, with sufficient cash reserves to handle any assessments.

Forcing people to surrender unnecessarily large downpayments is one way to keep out the kind of lower-income people your board obviously doesn't want. These kinds of discriminatory policies are part of what's behind measures like 119 in the NYC Council.

My grip is pretty firm, thanks.

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"Oh, yeah. Let's make midtown Manhattan apartments totally for the rich."

News flash: they already are ;-)

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Even the rich aren't rich anymore.

Only the FILTHY rich are rich.

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Some ideas for you:

The theory behind larger equity is that shareholders will treat the property as its own, i.e., there will be a higher regard for the building because you have more vested by way of your own money.

1. The argument may hold some water, but I've seen shareholders who own their 100% equity on their shares and their apartments are kept in deplorable conditions.

2. Some shareholders have put down 10% or 20% and have decided to invest in upgrading their units and go ahead and spend 40K or more to re-do kitchens, bathrooms and other luxuries.

I think the problem is admissions: how good are you in detecting investors or individuals who wish to flip units without putting a nickel into the unit. I think in 80 or 90% equity there is the suspicion that the buyer intends to flip the unit at a higher price to liquidate the mortgage which finances 80 or 90% of the unit.

However, bottomline is that if people can afford a mortgage at 6.35% fixed, 30 years and only but 10-80% equity and meet their financial obligations, they will rather do it if they do not have to commit their cash and use it for other creating wealth elsewhere. This is the premise of many businesses and the mentality of a free enterprise that we so adore.

Good luck!

AdC






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Some ideas for you:

The theory behind larger equity is that shareholders will treat the property as their own, i.e., there will be a higher regard for the building because you have more vested by way of your own money.

1. The argument may hold some water, but I've seen shareholders who hold 100% equity on their shares and their apartments are kept in deplorable conditions.

2. Some shareholders have put down 10% or 20% and have invested over $40K in upgrades to their units, i.e., new kitchens, bathrooms and other luxuries. Thus, adding value to the building.

I think the problem is admissions: how good are you in detecting investors or individuals who wish to flip units without putting a nickel into the unit? I think with 80 or 90% debt there is the suspicion that the buyer intends to flip the unit at a higher price to liquidate the mortgage which finances 80 or 90% of the unit.

However, bottomline is that if people can afford a mortgage at 6.35% fixed rate for 30 years and only but 10-80% equity, meet their financial obligations w/o going into great deal of sacrifice, they would rather do this if they do not have to commit their cash, which may be used for creating personal wealth by investing it. This is the premise of many businesses and the mentality of a free enterprise that we so adore.

Good luck!

AdC






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One of my buildings just made it 30-70 split and i am actually recommending it to some of my other buildings that warrant it.

The good thing is, in a changing market, even if the market dips a little, you (the board) still maintains a safe amount of leverage in case of foreclosure. You have to figure if a shareholder is months behind, then there are foreclosure fees on top of that, then late fees, legal, etc, that can eat up the typical 10-20% easily. then if the market is soft, the Coop is behind.

While yes, it does make it harder on some new buyers, it creates a more solid structure for the corporation and for the shareholders who are there at current... and that is where your concerns should lie.
Best
~AR

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While I am fully aware that co-ops are corporations, and thus businesses, they are also HOMES.

Can we have a little sympathy for the poor schlubs who come up against boards that are so anxious about their bottom line that they overlook they might be turning away terrific people who would make excellent neighbors... great shareholders...

simply because they can't afford to tie up 10% more on a million-dollar apartment? That's $100,000, folks. Real money. Money they might have saved for a college education, medical emergency, entrepreneurial investment or long-term care for a parent. Gone because some bean-counting board wants "leverage" in case of foreclosure. Good grief.

Evidently, home is now where the bankbook is.

What is this country coming to?? I guess, the bottom line.

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You seem to have a warped view concerning who lives in a building and who does not. It is this same perception that says to permit people into this country and let us pay their health insurance, give them housing and food stamps, just because they deserve a chance...

In other words you think that a person should be permitted to become a shareholder on the basis of them being a nice neighbor. Sorry to bust your bubble, but it does not work that way. A board has a fiduciary responsibility to the building/Coop/corporation or whatever you want to call it and must abide by it. Numbers do matter, leverage is important and the responsibility to maintain a financial healthy coop is more important than "excellent neighbors".

At the end of the day, when the nice neighbor cant pay, is over leveraged in other areas of his/her financial and has too many debts to pull out of (just because that is the unfortunate American way and the foreclosure rate today confirms this), and the apartment isn’t worth the amount paid for... are you willing and able to pay? Because when your maintenance goes up because of the legal bills associated to the coop and the lack of revenue to the building for an extended period because the good neighbor didn’t pay for a year, you will have to.

So yes, home is where the bank book is, especially when a Board has to manage other peoples homes and be responsible for the outcomes.

Notwithstanding the aforesaid, once desirable conditions are met by the prospective shareholders, then, and only then do we seek the intangible assets that a shareholder may bring to the building.

And that is the bottom line.

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I'm glad you qualified your first statement by stating the following:

"One of my buildings just made it 30-70 split and i am actually recommending it to some of my other buildings that warrant it."

Although our co-op does not have a practice of demanding a certain equity, we are VERY careful recognizing what is a "danger" signal on a 10-90% equity-debt mortgage. A good percentage end up being rejected, another portion end with parking an escrow for 18-24 months with the co-op.

Our record of late payments is virtually zero. We have one of two shareholders who may be late two months and they are immediately remitted to legal with a $50 late charge each month they are late.

So, collections are pretty good for the past 10 years.

AdC



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Empty apt - what to do? - BP Aug 07, 2007


A Sh in my coop (lives in NYC) used to sublet her apt but the last tenant left in 1995 and the apt's been vacant ever since. I know her and we talk a few times a year. She's a nice woman and she's asked me many times how the market is and if she should sell or sublet. I give her my opinion and say anything's better than paying maintenance on an empty apt - sell and get a nice chunk of money, or sublet, offset her maintenance and get some income. (She has no mortgage.)

She always says she has a demanding job, an elderly parent lives with her, a lot going on, can't deal with this apt until things settle down. Things never settle down. There's always something we have to deal with. Our prop mgr sends her a cordial letter every 1-2 years to ask what her plans are for the apt, and she always says she isn't sure yet.

Besides the fact that she's losing money, we could have a Sh in there who'd potentially be a coop asset (or at least a sublet tenant) instead of an apt that's been empty for 12 years. Shs in adjoining apts offered her a good price to buy it but she said their prices weren't high enough. I think she was just putting them off. She can't seem to put her attention on this and make any decision.

Our bldg is nice and we're in a great midtown location. She wouldn't have any trouble finding someone for her apt. We can't force her to occupy, sell or rent it. Any ideas on how we can convince her to do something with it?

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you will find her a fabulously nice realator who will find a totally reliable subletter and she will make a nice profit and it wont be a headache and you will hold her hand the entire time. be super nice and reassuring and tell her the board will make sure it is all very easy for her to deal with. Tell her to just try it for two years.

otherwise an empty apt is not such a bad thing- no water usage, wear and tear etc. less $ for the coop.

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An empty apartment can be a very bad thing. No one is there to notice if a water leak is beginning or getting worse; no one is there to inform management if a window is cracked or broken; and no one is there to check for rodent droppings or evidence of other pest infestations.

Apartments that are known to be empty can also attract two-legged nonresidents.

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Its not the Board or SH business if this woman chooses to leave her apartment empty. And, as noted she is not causing problems and is not adding to the water etc bills.

As for the leaks, you could ask that the Super be allowed to check the apartment on a monthly basis to make certain everything is OK.

If there are offers from her neighbors, they should get in touch with her -- or if YOU have a problem with it, YOU should let her know.

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Alice - great suggestions. Makes complete sense. thanks!

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AliceT, I guess you're right that it's not coop business if a Sh wants to leave her apt empty. But as I said, I talk to her a few times a year. I've known her since she bought her apt in 1988. She's very nice and we like to keep in touch (occasionally meet for dinner). But every time she asks if she should sell or sublet, and every time I tell her either is better than paying monthly charges for an empty apt.

Some time ago, she asked us to check her apt now and then to make sure it's OK. The super does it once/twice a year. In 1999, she had damage after heavy rains (her apt's on the top floor). The Shs on both sides of her had asked our prop mgr how to reach her. He called her and she said it was OK to give them her phone #. They both made good offers (she told me what they were) but she told them their offers weren't high enough.

When we talk, SHE brings up the subject of her apt. I tell her the same thing every time and I've said nicely there's nothing else I can suggest. I don't want to alienate her. But she still does nothing. If she won't sell or sublet it, we can't force the issue.

I thought maybe some posters here might have a suggestion.

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This sounds like a non-issue, and personal -- no offence BP, but there are really a lot more important issues facing SH. Again, have the Board ask the owner for permission to check out the apt on a monthly basis. Otherwise, this is a person issue -- which we have exhausted, and if the woman gets on your nerves with her questions.... stop having lunch with her and listing to her problems....Please dont answer this Emial...

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Sally, I assume you're kidding when you say we should find our Sh a "fabulously nice realtor who will find a totally reliable subletter" for her empty apt, "hold her hand the entire time" and "the board should make sure this is all very easy for her to deal with." If you're not kidding, your idea is, first of all, unrealistic but more than that it's inappropriate. It's not the board's job to help Shs sell/sublet their apts or to coddle them and make the whole process of selling/subleting as easy as pie for them.

If you're kidding, I fail to see the humor in it. If you're not kidding, I'm very surprised you'd suggest such a thing. Anyone have any better advice? Thanks.

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why not? if you wan to get it rented. it does seem she needs reassurance it will be an easy process. OK I guess your dont. I meant well and was completely serious BP.

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Thanks, Sally, for explaining that you meant well, etc. I appreciate it. But to my mind, having a board help a Sh to sell/sublet his apt isn't part of their job, aside from the fact that it isn't an easy process and it's time-consuming. The board runs/manages coop affairs. They're not realtors or real estate consultants for Shs. Also, if the board did that for one Sh, others would expect it. And if anything goes wrong or a Sh thinks he got bad advice from the board on selling/subleting, the board takes the heat. No thanks!

But thanks anyway, Sally, for trying to help.

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What happens to an unsellable unit? - rfs Aug 05, 2007


Just a theoretical question: What would a Board/building do if an investor was unable to either sell/rent out his unit and then stopped paying his monthly charges? If the Board was later also unable to sell, what could be the outcome? Has this ever happened in any of your buildings?

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What, in your opinion, leads to the unit being "unsellable"?

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Again this is a theoretical question - but based on a particular unit in our condo building.

The unit has been on the market seemingly forever, on a low floor, in the back, with views totally blocked-off and with lot-line windows as well. The market has apparently deemed it both unsellable and unrentable. Of course, perhaps anything can go at the right price.

But my question is, what ultimately could be the costs for the buildings' owners collectively, if the owner stopped paying monthlies?

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Is this the only unit that has been left without selling, i.e., the original sponsor only has one unit left?

Obviously, you are missing on common charges, any assessments that you may impose. If the sponsor continues to pay the tax on its own, then the government will not take it over.

Why don't you try to negotiate the unit from the sponsor at a rockbottom price and possibly use it as gathering room / gymnasium or other amenity for the residents if the association may be able to afford it?

AdC

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Thanks for your email. This is not a sponsor unit, but one that an investor bought to flip, apparently.

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The investor probably wants too much for the apartment. A home is worth only as much as a buyer will pay for it. So if the seller has dollar signs in his eyes, he may not see the reality that he's asking too much.

Can't the corp place a lien on the apt (if a condo)? Or, if it's in a co-op, and if the owner has a mortgage, you'll have no prob getting money from him.

A mortgage agreement typically (though not always) stipulates that if the borrower falls behind in the money he owes the co-op by an amount equal to three months' maintenance (or more), then the co-op is to inform the bank.

If you do so, the bank will send a letter to the borrower saying, "Pay the co-op what you owe in 30 days or the mortgage is due in full." Works every time.

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The previous message just bounced out of my hands and so has no info.

Anyway, the building is a condo- too bad for these potential circumstances. Nothing has happened yet, it's just a feeling I have that it might/could eventually turn this way.

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Liens? Then, place a lien on the property since the investor refuses to pay common charges and possibly assessments in the future.

Obviously, if this is an undesirable spot, the future buyer may be as undersirable as the spot. Why do I say that? Because no one in his/her right mind will see an undesirable spot as "having potential." In fact, years ago, I saw an apartment like you described that was in "foreclosure" and was being sold for nothing at the time. My impression was, "even if they pay me to live here I will refuse." Places such as you describe are okay for offices, a superintedent's or staff apartment or recreational area. If you rent it, it will be a transient type of tenancy which you do not wish to have.

NOW, for those who wish to convert a Co-op to CONDO, pay heed in this case. It's not easy to get rid of such problems with a condo except liens and/or hope that the investor default on his/her taxes and/or mortgage so that the government or the bank may take the property over and may clean the liens on the property.

AdC



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Hi all. I thought I'd be away another week, but my vacation was cut short. I've just read all your posts. My comments:

1) Re: the super's apt - I don't know if a court would rule to have his brother move out since you've known for a year that he's living there and haven't done anything about it. He isn't using more a/c, utilities, etc. than the super and his family do, maybe a little more water, and you don't pay for his food, phone, etc. If he isn't causing problems and keeps a low profile, what's the harm? Just my opinion. I know the super's apt has no lease, but the Prop Lease does consider brothers/sisters part of an "immediate family." Did you check your contract/agreement with your super to see if it says who can live in the apt? If it doesn't say, and if you don't want the brother there, maybe you should put that stipulation in, and have your super sign a new contract every year. Check with your attorney on that. We don't have a "running" agreement with our super. It's up for renewal annually. If you're not happy with your super and are considering terminating him, that's another story.

2) Re: the unsaleable condo apt - There some reason why the owner can't sell/rent it - his price is too high, he isn't trying hard enough to sell/rent it, the apt is a wreck or badly needs upgrading. I think the association/board should be more concerned that the owner isn't paying his monthly charges. If he's seriously in default, have your attorneys address that. Selling/renting is the owner's problem. Your priority is collecting money you need for your operating account to pay bills and keep the condo's head above water.

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Are you talking about one unit or his group of units with unassigned shares?

AdC

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Who is allowed to live in the super's apartment? - V Aug 01, 2007


I know the super and his immediate family (spouse and children) are allowed to live in his apartment paid for by us shareholders. But is anyone else allowed to live in his apartment, parents, siblings, cousins, etc? Does the super need to ask the board for permission to do this?

I don't have proof yet but our super might be allowing his brother to live with him.

Don't know what to do now.

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Is the brother's presence causing problems? Does it impact the lives of residents?

Is the brother the only person living with the super? If no one else is living there, I would think that the "roommate law" would at least be applicable here. In other words, he has the right to have one person live with him regardless of whether or not that person is related to him.


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it is not a coop, it is not a rental lease. ther eis no lease . the roomate law is unapplicable. furthermore, the understanding is tha tteh super andhis actual fmaily are the only resdints of the apt. you cant allow it - to protect the iduciary interests of the coop, you just cannot allow. it. many legal and insurance reasons etc etc.

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"the roomate law is unapplicable."

What are you basing that on? The law refers to "a lease _or rental agreement_" and a precedent has also been set for the law's application to co-ops. The law appears to be quite generous/broad here. I do think that the roommate law would apply.

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it is a FREE apartment. supplied to the Super only - not his sisters and brothers. If he is fired or breaches his employment agreement then he can be kicked out with 30 days notice. along wiht his immedaite family. the roomate law applies in lease situations only. Please get yout facts 100% straight before posting. The brother should not be allowed to styain the apt over 30 days and the coop board has a fiducuairy obligation to remove him.

roomate law does nto apply to superintendent apartment - can you imagine the can of worms that would open up?

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Sally, You should get your facts 100%, the apartment the building supply's to the superintendent is not free, it is a requirement and is part of his/hers salary.

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it is a FREE apartment. supplied to the Super only - not his sisters and brothers. If he is fired or breaches his employment agreement then he can be kicked out with 30 days notice. along wiht his immedaite family. the roomate law applies in lease situations only. Please get yout facts 100% straight before posting. The brother should not be allowed to styain the apt over 30 days and the coop board has a fiducuairy obligation to remove him.

roomate law does nto apply to superintendent apartment - can you imagine the can of worms that would open up?

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So... if a super's father died and his 80-year-old mother came to live with him, you'd kick him out?

Or is it the able-bodied (as far as YOU know) brother who's the problem?

What about a sister with cerebral palsy?

Where do you draw the line? You pay the guy to do a job; if he does the job, what do you care who lives with him?

And if he doesn't do the job, why are you still paying him?

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I agree with Batch here. Using the brother angle to get rid of the super strikes me as rather tortuous.

If you don't like the super because you feel he's not performing well, then document his shortcomings, notify him of this and give him a chance to improve the situation; if he doesn't, fire him for poor performance.

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He was frightened fairly recently. He was afraid at one point of losing his job but certain board members keep giving him whatever he wants at our expense or turn the other cheek when he is doing something wrong. He is not the only problem at the co-op. I am sure the managing agent cares even less about what the super does.

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The situation at your co-op reminds me a bit of the one at our co-op in the sense that things are too vague. I'm a big proponent of contracts, of documentation, of clarity.

Our super currently runs to whatever supply place and gets whatever he needs or wants and we pay for it. It seems like a no-brainer to me not to allow that to happen. It all adds up and I know we're losing money that we shouldn't be losing--not because I think he's deliberately taking advantage of us but because it's simply too easy to spend money that isn't yours. I pushed to put an end to this and was told that his feelings would be hurt. But to me it just seems like good business sense to impose limits and protocols. The way it is now, it's like telling your office manager to order whatever supplies he or she wants, and not paying any attention to what is actually coming in the door and how much money is going out. On the one hand I completely understand the reluctance to alienate the super. But on the other hand: what universe is the super living in where no limits are ever imposed and there's no oversight?

Our super also has no formal job description. Does yours? Does anyone's? That's another thing I pushed for: clarity and boundaries would be as helpful for him as for us.

It seems to me that if your super had a formal job description, and more limits were imposed--not (and this is important) as a sort of punishment for him but so that everything is clear and above-board--you wouldn't be in such a difficult bind. What if you set about developing a formal job description with regular reviews and also formalized/put limits on his spending?

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Then give him a fat raise.After you are done mico managing him

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Thanks for your imput. You hit the nail on the head.

The managing agent (whom we did not choose) defines the duties of the super. When I asked the agent what those were, he could not give me a straight answer. Also I feel he isn't concerned about any complaints about the super from the shareholders. He thinks whatever the super does is fine. Which is bad. Very bad.

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Its is time to stop blameing the super. The responsibility lies with The Board and the management company/agent. Why, 1. Because you did not make it clear to the super when hireing who could reside in the apartment.

2. You do not have some form of job description for you super and you blame the agent. You are paying a fee to a management company to manage and this is not happening. Change them.

FN.


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Fire the managing agent.

The managing agent works for you. He is accountable to you. The super also works for you, ultimately. You have a lot of say – in fact you should determine – what his job description is, what his responsibilities are. You can ask your managing agent for input (i.e., what sorts of duties, in the managing agent's opinion, is it reasonable to expect from a super), but the definition of the super's role needs to begin with the board, in my opinion. Also ask the super for his input. Have him write his own job description. Then pool the results and hash it out. It will need to be negotiated.

You say that you didn't choose the managing agent. Are you on the board? The board has a right to hire a new managing agent (although much will depend on what sort of contract you have with your management company); indeed you must do so if you feel that the building as a whole is not being well served by the current MA.

Don't be passive; don't let yourself get jerked around. These folks work for you. Be firm. But the brother angle is not the right route to take imho. Take a direct, no-nonsense, matter-of-fact approach.

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Hear! Hear!

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We are a new building. Our managing agent was selected by our sponsor; we had no say. We held a vote to fire the managing agent last year: it was voted no. I want to revisit this issue this year and get the managing agent out as soon as possible. The super and the porter tipped off our managing agent last year when another managing agent came for a meeting with the board. Our managing agent pleaded for another chance to change but I don't see any change. Most people on the board like the current managing agent despite numerous complaints from shareholders.

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Tough situation.

"Most people on the board like the current managing agent despite numerous complaints from shareholders."

Why?

***

Keep good records and document any instances demonstrating that the MA is not acting in the best interests of the shareholders.

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you got a messy coop bud.

double check all the billing adn especially the heating oil bills. you will find flaws form management. fire him for incompetence. we did this with alexander wolf and now are a bit better.

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Although MA's are trying to put the breakes on Email, Email has changed the way Agents Manange a building. They no longer have free-reign. The EmailTrail is bad-news for
Bad manangers. Good, honest manangers, have noting to hide.

Our MA has been caught in so many outright lies, incompentence, no follow up --that they are trying to stop Emails.. Claiming too many Emails. A few incomps (and easy to manipulate) on our board are actually falling for their (MA) line. But that train has already left the station.

BOTTOM LINE: Who did you hire... AliceT

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Yes, our board is complaining about too many emails as well. Definitely a sign of mismanagement when they complain. I say keep the emails coming.

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Very few shareholders send Emails unless its important. One of our board members (who is good friends with the MA) wanted all the emails to go through him, and he would let the rest of the board in on the "important" ones.

This lead to the Pres and MA tossing a request from a SH for an item to be put on the agenda for the SH meeting, and therefore when the SH brought it up at the SH meeting, he was silenced BECAUSE, his issue had not been presented to the Board, and was NOT on the agenda.

If you have a problem send a note to MA and CC or drop notes to the rest of the Board. I can assure you that this is the ONLY way you are going to get a lazy or incompetent MA to act... As for the Board, they can no longer say that they did not know, or claim to be innocent.

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niether of this are the situation. ther eis no ill 80 year old mother. it is a freeloading brother and the super is trying to hide it and not being honest with his employers. - this is about the fiduciary interests of the coop. bottom line.

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Which fiduciary interests are those?

Please be more specific, since I can't figure out exactly what your objection is to a freeloading brother who isn't bothering anyone in the building, doing anything illegal (that we know about), or breaking House Rules (that we know of).

Bottom line to ME seems to be that your board is unhappy with the super's performance, and this is "icing on the cake." So instead of being honest about your dissatisfaction with his work, perhaps telling him face-to-face, you're using the fact that his brother is living there as an excuse.

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Usually you discuss this issue when you are interviewing potential candidates for a supers position. I guess the questions here is, how big a deal is it? Is his brother causing trouble and effection the quality of life for shareholders and guests? Is he a good super or are you looking for an excuse to fire him? Personally I would not care who lived with my super (male/female) once it did not have a negative effect on my building.

FN

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Some shareholders in the building are not pleased by the added expense caused by the brother and some think the super isn't very good either.

I was just wondering what can be done, if anything? We are struggling financially and we are being treated by the super as if we have Donald Trump's money, which we don't.

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V, if you find out how much money Mr. Trump has let me know. (I work for him)

FN

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Congrats! Not all of us are that fortunate!

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I'd have a hard time kicking out the super's brother. They're family, after all, and just because the super doesn't have a wife (or she doesn't live with him) doesn't mean the super can't have a family member live there.

And as a previous poster said, the roommate rules allow one person regardless of propinquity.

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The super has a significant other and a child. So that's four people living in a two-bedroom.

The brother had lived there for over a year. No he doesn't cause trouble. I think because he's not supposed to be there, he keeps a very low profile.

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That's a situation more nuanced than I'm familiar with.

Before asking someone to move out, definitely check with your attorney. As you probably know, landlord-tenant laws in NYC heavily favor the tenants, so you may be stuck.

Also, of the super is a union super, be sure to check the contract. I have no idea if living arrangements are covered, but you don't want to run afoul of the union.

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I am afraid you are right since he has lived in the building for a year and the super is not in any union, so we don't have that to worry about. I guess we on the board can do nothing.
Thanks.

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But if he brings more family members then we have a case. So far there are four people living there.

I guess since it would be hard to evict someone after they have lived there for a year. Our next option would be to fire the super and get them all out! He is not union.

He isn't the greatest super. This action does put him on thin ice with some of the residents. It was a risky more to say the least.

The brother does keep a low profile, much to his credit.

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Is this a tremendous issue for your co-op? That the super's brother is getting free food and a lumpy couch?

If he's a moocher, the wife will have him out of there sooner than the board can.

If he truly needs the family's support, and they're happy to help him, why do you care?

Is your co-op so parsimonious they'd begrudge the extra pennies in water and electrical use, rather than keep their super happy and stress-free on the family front?

Or are you just looking for an excuse to get rid of him?

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Batch free food? I think the Coop is not giving the supers brother free food. I guess if he is not buying his own food, his brother is covering the cost.

FN

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Free food and a lumpy couch from his brother.

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Yes, but the Coop is not paying for the food so it is irrelevant? It is not a liability on the Coop.

FN

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That was exactly my point.

Why should the co-op care if the brother lives with the super? It's no skin off their nose.

As the saying goes.

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I am glad at least two of us are on the same page on this one. They sound like a very unhappy bunch.

FN.

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Not to mention free a/c and water to shower with.

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"free A/C"

But surely the A/C would be on anyway, no? regardless of whether or not the brother was there?

Our super runs his A/C all day, every single day, regardless of the season and regardless of how many people happen to be in his apartment.

:-\

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I consider a/c use during the winter months "ABUSIVE". With perks like that I should become a resident manager.

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"I consider a/c use during the winter months 'ABUSIVE'."

I consider it unnecessary and environmentally irresponsible. But I'm no longer in much of a position to do or say anything about it. The current board president seems to tolerate a low level of "abuse," to use your word: he seems to be engaging in some improprieties himself (or at least there are some red flags, such as no-bid contracts and proxy tampering, that point to something like that). And the three other board members are somewhat weak.

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super and immediate family onl.y. otherwise you open a can of worms. put your foot down - in writing to the Super - that, just to clarify who may reside (without stating you know or suspect the brother is there) that any other resdient other than immediate family (spouse & kids) is not allowed and allowance of such "visitors" for over 30 days is a breach of employment contract and grounds for termination.

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super and immediate family onl.y. otherwise you open a can of worms. put your foot down - in writing to the Super - that, just to clarify who may reside (without stating you know or suspect the brother is there) that any other resdient other than immediate family (spouse & kids) is not allowed and allowance of such "visitors" for over 30 days is a breach of employment contract and grounds for termination.

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Note: there is some ambiguity in the law as to what constitutes "immediate family." In some cases that definition can include siblings.

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Sally where do you get the nerve " you gotta kick him out asap" do you know what your rights are here? Why not have him humanely put to sleep. Will that help you.

FN

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Everybody should just a take a step or two back and talk to the Superintendent and see what the oterside of the story is. Terminating him is just alittle steep. Let him/her explain.

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As GK said, there's some ambiguity in the law as to what constitutes "immediate family". The Prop Lease defines it but only with respect to SHs.

V - A friend of mine on a Queens coop board went to court over a super's sister who lived with him (16 months after she moved in.) The court said the super had a wife/two kids living with him and the sister wasn't "immediate family" and had to leave. The super's attorney appealed on the basis that the coop knew about her for 16 months and had no issues with her. The super's lawyer also questioned the court on whether the sister WOULD be considerd "immediate family" if the super was single and had no wife/kids. The ruling was overturned and the sister was allowed to stay.

Coops should have a written agreement with supers to spell out job responsibilities, benefits, etc. and all terms of employment - including who can live with him. It will save a lot of time, trouble, aggravation and money down the road if you outline everything clearly up front and in writing.

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Certificates of Insurance - Gerry Aug 01, 2007


We require all shareholders to provide Certificates of Insurance evidencing Personal Liability coverage.
Does anyone have a "system" to follow up the shareholder for the Certificate as well as getting renewals?

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The managing agent should keep an excel spreadsheet with the information inputted. Then once a month he/she just looks at it and follows up on any required requisitions.
At least that’s what I do, it seems to be the easiest way.

~AR

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What I find that really works is keeping the shareholders well informed when it comes to building requirements. Most contractors, are aware that they need to submit paperwork before they begin work. It is just a matter of staying on top of things. The following are some pointers which I hope help.

1. Post a notice by your service entrance reminding contractors etc, that they must provide certification in order to work on your premises.

2. Include your requirements in your general rules for contractors. (so paperwork is submitted before work begins)

3. Prepare a master copy, so you can fax it to the carrier to make it easier fill out.

Hope the above helped FN.

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I believe the question waas in regard to personal/homeowners insurance... Am I mistaken?

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I'm assuming the Q refers to homeowners' insurance too.

Our co-op requires shareholders to provide a copy of their homeowners' statement every year to the managing agent.

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Again, I was asking if anyone had a "program" for the follow-ups.
It sounds as if most leave the matter to their managing agents which we were doing.
I undertook handling it for our building because the documents being submitted by the Shareholders were not, for the most part, "Certificates of Insurance". Being an insurance broker, I'm trying to make sure that the coop gets the proper document.
The difficulty is following up those who don't submit or submit incorrectly.

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Gerry,

Do you mean that the insurance company's statement, with the types of coverage listed, isn't enough?

If we require a certificate of insurance, does the insurance agent typically charge for that?


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You are correct.

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We do that for contractors. I was looking for a program for Shareholders.

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80-20 - Gabrielle Jul 28, 2007


I have just been recruited to serve on my board and have found out something about our income streams.

It appears that because of the IRS 80-20 rule our cooperative actually has to forego income, sometimes in excess of 20,000 dollars a year, that we could otherwise collect from two store we rent space to.

Actually collecting this income would have significant consequences in loss of shareholders ability to deduct real estate taxes and morgage interest from income taxes as well as the treatment of sales proceeds for those who sell.

I have also been told this maybe more common than I would like to think.

Therefore, how many of your buildings face the same situation? How many of you also actually have to leave monies uncollected?

It seems the stores we rent to benefit in lower rents at the expense of the cooperative and all its shareholders.


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Habitat Archive Enthusiast
Search "commercial income"
Thu Apr 22, 2004 8:59PM
69.142.194.6

Something here for you.

TITLE Seeing 20/20 on 80/20
DESCRIPTION Does section 216 of the tax code financially hamstring co-ops?
TOPIC Taxes
AUTHOR Ford, Ruth
MAGAZINE ISSUE April 2003 - Number 189
ARTICLE TYPE Feature
PAGE # 40-47
ABSTRACT The 80/20 tax code requirement states co-ops cannot generate more than 20 percent of its income from non-shareholders and still be considered a cooperative. This has led to "good" and "bad" income. Techniques for maximizing income while staying within the 80/20 guidelines are discussed.

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If you are on an accrual basis, it's money earned, not collected. If you are on a cash basis, it's money collected. I don't think you can forego income. It is taxable, non-taxable, or deferred. I think rental income is taxable. And if the establishment is reporting it as rent expense, then somebody is on the income side. Hence, the concept of cond-op.

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While the rental income is keeping the maintenance charge low, it is foregoing the deductibility of the maintenance charge (portion of).

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in my old building. The way we got around it was when we signed new leases we took 1 huge prepayment of rent in January then redid the books of the coop to a fiscal year starting February 1. No one paid maintenance for the month of January. This way we only had 1, 1 month year with the 80-20 problem but with the new fiscal year started the income stream for the store was in line because so much rent had been pre paid

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Speak with your professional accountant as to what you can do to boost your 80% revenue stream from shareholders so that your 20% is not reached. There are strategies, but you need explore them with your professional. One that comes to mind is the use of master meter of electrical services with re-invoicing of services to shareholders and/or providing cable / internet services to residents and rebilling them, etc. Again, you are boosting your operating budget by the service being absorbed by the co-op, then billing shareholders for their use to incrase your 80% good revenue while reducing your 20% from bad income.

So, your best bet is a good discussion with the accountant and building some concrete strategies with your board.

AdC




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There are many options, but ignorance to the potential income should not be one of them. Your accountant can provide many alternatives for you. I have a few of my buildings with this challenge in the past and most of the time I raised maintenance proportionately and then returned that money (in your case 20K) in the form of services such as providing free cable, or laundry, or a gym, the possibilities are endless. I believe your coop lost some good opportunity in the past, but it is not too late to regain it.

~AR

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