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Terrace Enclosures - Bill Apr 18, 2007


My bldg requires an architect to file a permit with the Dept Of Bldgs when enlcosing a terrace. Many apts have already done this but the bldg is now requiring the filing with the Dept Of Bldgs. This adds around 5k to the price of the enclosure. As the window company draws up the plans for the enclosure anyway, the architect/engineer is only needed to file.

Does anyone have any input to this process or know of either an inexpensive arch or a window company that has an arcr/engineer in house?

Thank you

> Join the conversation Comments (1)


Although I don't know of any window companies, I can add this, Bill:

If you must file for a DOB permit, it is the city, not the board, that requires an engineer's or architect's drawings. And work that requires a DOB permit is work that comes under city codes, not the board's whims.

So why weren't DOB permits required for similar work done earlier in your building?

In my case, I removed a dumbwaiter shaft, the third shareholder to do so in my line. None of the others were told to get DOB permits, but I was. Why? The board's architect made a mistake and didn't realize the permits were required. (That architect no longer works for the board.)

Since board members aren't experts on city building codes, they rely on others who are. Unfortunately, even the experts make mistakes. I paid that actra $5k myself, so I know what you're talking about. But if you want it changed, you'll have to write to your city councilman, not the board, because it's a city law/code/rule.

Steve W

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thank you for the response. Do you know of any arch who would do this?

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This is the architect and firm I used. He found errors made by the board's architect, so he has a practical eye. Also a good person.

Michael Notaro AIA
Zaskorski & Notaro Architects
212-239-7212
646-372-0655
mnotaro@znarchs.com

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Thank you very much.

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HVAC Noise from Next Building - Board Newbie Apr 17, 2007


The rear line units of our small co-op face the lower roof of a huge co-op. Over the past three years they have rented their retail space to a food store which replaced a one unit refrigeration unit with about 8 huge ones, though the permit posted said "rehabilitate HVAC." Then they added more HVACs, and larger ones. The whole lower roof looks like an industrial city. It does not bother anyone in their building because it is positioned far away but we have to look at all the equipment. In response to our complaints (informal from Board members and residents to their managing agect and Board) they erected an ugly green plastic fence which does nothing to attenuate the sound and only blocks out light from getting to our lower 3 units. The noise level is not loud enough to register with the DEP --it is like a bus idling outside their windows or a washing machine going 24 hours a day. The Board will not do anything to attenuate the sound though the owners of the food store said they would do whatever they could to improve the situation. Any one suggest how we can make this unsightly and noisy eyesore and improve the quality of life for our shareholders? Thanks.

> Join the conversation Comments (4)


We have covered this subject before on this site. Check the archieves for previous post/responses.

FN.

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You can call 311 and complain - if it is over 45 decibles from within any apartments (windows opan and the reading taken from 3 feet inside) then they must abate the noise. If this new HVAC effects a previously known quality of Life, it must be abated. Again, call 311 and have them come take a reading.

the noise law code wil be updated in July making this even more enforcable. Thank god!

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Here you are: (from citymayors.com) Concerning the new code:

Closing a loophole in current code provisions governing air conditioning and air circulating devices:

Air conditioning units on buildings, particularly clusters of them, are a growing source of noise complaints. Although the current code has a standard for air conditioning units of 45 decibels, it has been interpreted to apply only to a single unit. Because of this loophole, a cluster of air conditioning units could be generating 60 decibels of sound, but there would be no violation unless a single unit was creating more then 45 decibels. The updated code will create a uniform standard of 45 decibels for all installation of air conditioning units and mandate that existing units that exceed 50 decibels in the aggregate reduce their output by five decibels.

Simplify enforcement by using a ‘plainly audible’ standard instead of conventional decibel limits, which require use of a noise meter:

The existing code requires use of handheld decibel meters to issues many summonses. Although decibel meters are useful at obtaining acoustic measurements, they require frequent calibration, have a three decibels plus-or-minus margin of error, and the police officers, who are often responsible for enforcing the noise code, do not always have them available or have received the training necessary to operate them. The code adopts a standard of ‘plainly audible’ at specified distances. Police officers and noise inspectors will be allowed to issue summonses for a multitude of violations including car stereo, loud music, barking animals and loud mufflers using a common-sense standard and without a noise meter. This standard has been used and upheld by courts in many other states.

Increase enforcement effectiveness by limiting the Code’s use of a standard of 'Unreasonable to a person of normal sensitivities': The existing code prohibits ‘noise that is unreasonable to a person of normal sensitivities.’ This standard is too vague to be consistently defensible. The new code replaces it with more specific and defensible standards. For areas not specifically covered in the code, sound is prohibited from any source that increases the ambient noise in a residence by ten decibels during the day and seven decibels at night.

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i have been in my co-op for 2 years now and have experienced nothing but heartache.
i have been complaining about mold for 2 years now around my air conditioner and have not gotten anyone to come look at until last week. when someone did come take a look at courtesy of the board,not only did they not fix the mold but they said it was because of my airconditioner sleeve. they took out my air conditioner changed the sleeve and left my air conditioner sitting on the floor. they refused to put it back in. they said the board told them not to put it back in. THEY NEVER TOLD ME THIS UPON THEM COMING IN AT ALL. HE TOLD ME HE WOULD PUT IT BACK IMMEDIATELY. they have also complained that i am using a 220 volt amp to run my air conditioner which was allready established before i moved in and one that they have seen during 3 inspections they have done. They are abusing thier power in order for their electrician and air conditioner people to get paid.
CAN SOMEONE HELP ME!!!!

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Newbie, having to deal with unsightly, noisy HVACs from the bldg next door isn't uncommon. In NYC, space is limited, bldgs are close together, and we can't change that.

It sounds like the bldg next door is trying to help you. A lot of bldgs would just say "too bad". If the green plastic fence they put up is ugly and blocks light from getting to your apts, a couple ideas you could suggest to them:

- Put up an open-weave fence (e.g., chain link, lattice) - something to generally hide the HVACs from your view but allow more light to get through to your bldg.

- Put an enclosure around the individual HVAC units instead of a wall of fencing between your bldgs so at least you look at that, not the HVACs, and get more light. There are enclosures (I've heard them called "cake covers") that fit over various rooftop units. They look like a shed like you see in backyards for tools/garden equipment.

As for the HVAC humming sound, an enclosure like the above may muffle it. Everyday noise within individual apts may override it. People, especially in a place like NYC, also learn to adapt. Your residents may get used to it. When I was growing up, we lived not far from an elevated subway line. Visitors from out of town used to ask how we could stand the noise. Our standard reply was "What noise?"


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§24-227 Circulation devices. (a) No person shall operate or permit to be operated a
circulation device in such a manner as to create a sound level in excess of 42 dB(A)
when measured inside a receiving property dwelling unit. The measurement shall be
taken with the window or terrace door open at a point three feet from the open portion of
the window or terrace door.
(b) On and after the effective date of this section, when a new circulation device is
installed on any building lot or an existing device on any building lot is replaced, the
cumulative sound from all circulation devices on such building lot owned or controlled
by the owner or person in control of the new device being installed or the existing device
being replaced shall not exceed 45 dB(A), when measured as specified in subdivision a of
this section. For a period of two years after the effective date of this section, this
subdivision shall not apply to the replacement of a circulation device that was installed
16
on any building lot prior to the effective date of this section by a device of comparable
capacity.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision b of this section, with respect to
circulation devices installed on any building lot prior to the effective date of this section,
the sound level limit of 42 dB(A) referred to in subdivision a of this section shall apply to
each individual device except that if the cumulative sound from all devices owned or
controlled by the same person on a building lot exceeds 50 dB(A), when measured as
specified in subdivision a of this section, the commissioner may order the owner or
person in control of such devices to achieve a 5 dB(A) reduction in such cumulative
sound level within not more than 12 months after the issuance of such order.

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Thanks, Big Al. This is all good stuff but not sure what this means in terms of the noise problmes we are having. It may not be measurable by DEP meters becuase it is low frequency constant rotating noise--like you're in a washing machine or a bus is idling outside your apt. seems And where to begin? We actually have two rear yard offending neighbors-a Chinese restaurant that does their own illegal installations and repairs-called DOB when they were gerry-rigging another piece of noisy equip to their roof and the DOB has not responded to our 311 complaint. When and if they finally send an inspector, half the time they don't seem to know what they are looking for -there's so much junk up on that roof, and they close out the complaint- say "no response required-no work being done." Of course not, it was two months ago when we called! The other building has three tenants with equip on the roof (including a new exhaust for their lobby) and they all say it's the other guy's equipment making the noise. The DEP came by a month ago after the restaurant was closed so we knew noise was from Building #2 but it was just under the legal level--still enough to disturb our rear shareholders-they are not being unreasonable-some subletters are threatening to not renew because of the noise. We are thinking of sending a letter to the DOB Commish to have a meeting and go over the plans and permits for these buildings and compare it to a photo of what is up on the roof tops. The offending Board does not seem to want to do anything about the noise but the store owners say they would be happy to work with us to attenuate. SO there is a disconnect here. Doesn't each new piece of equipment require an electrical and/or plumbing permit whether it's an addition or a rehab? Are these new laws actually significantly lowering the threshold for the offending noise or just taking a reading on cumulative noise? Thanks for all the feedback we've gotten from Board Talk members.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)


311 is horribly inefficient and the inspectors just sometimes seem to be lazy. You often have to call the complaint in multiple times and BE VERY SPECIFIC as to when/where the equipment is that may not have a permit. do it today. do not delay. If you hear the noise from the neighboring coop and it is disturbing - it is probably over the legal limit. Often, with city agencies (inc the DEP) you have to continually contact them and compain and send many letters to have them be fully efficient. It is worth the effort.
noise is a health hazard.

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I agree that 311 is very inefficient. City agencies (incl the DEP) can be too. As Big Al said, you often have to call or send many letters before you get any real action from them. What a waste of time and energy that is.

Newbie, did your managing agent call the DEP re: noise from the coop next door? Sometimes they seem to respond more quickly/effectively to a call from an "authorized" agent instead of an lone individual, even if it's a board member.

I'd also suggest calling your district councilman. Get to get to know him and those who work for him. He may be very responsive and get further than you can with the City, specially if he's proactive, up for reelection soon or new to his office. If the noise next door disturbs your bldg, it may disturb others too. Talk to the boards/residents in neighboring bldgs. Maybe they can help make a stronger case for you with your councilman. There's strength in numbers.

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Big Al and Newbie are right about 311 and the city's response.

Here's what I've learned from calling 311 (about a neighbor building's construction trash heap). If there's no response the first time, call back a week (or so) later. When I called the first time, the 311 operator sent my request to the DOB. As you may have guessed, there was no response, or the response was like the one you mentioned (along the lines of "no action needed.").

So I called again. Made the same complaint, but this time the operator forwarded it to the DEP (she did this on her own; it wasn't my suggestion). This time, a Dumpster was hired, the trash went in it, and when I called 311 back to find out what had happened, I was told the building had two violations and a date for a court hearing!

You won't be so successful all the time (I'm not either -- don't get me started with Sanitation Dept problems), but don't give up. Try having another board member or a neighbor down the hall make the same complaint. When the city sees that there's more than one person complaining, they're more likely to take action.

Steve

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this does not directly relate to neighboring buildings but it does relate to the fact that coops must be very careful additions that make noise that may violate warrent of habitability/ quiet right to enjoyment:

March 2007: Excessive Noise from Ventilation System Violated Cooperative's Warranty of Habitability

Any lease of residential real property, including a cooperative proprietary lease, is deemed to contain a warranty of habitability. This warranty, codified in Real Property Law § 235-b, provides that the landlord or lessor is deemed to have warranted that the premises are fit for human habitation and the uses reasonably intended by the parties and that the occupants of such premises shall not be subjected to any conditions which would be dangerous or hazardous to their life, health, or safety.

In Misra v. Yesid, 2007 N.Y. Slip Op. 1371, 2007 WL 474018 (1st Dep't Feb. 15, 2007), the Appellate Division upheld a trial court decision holding that a Cooperative had breached the warranty of habitability based upon excessive noise from the Cooperative's ventilation system, which was located directly above the plaintiff's unit. The plaintiff claimed that her apartment was uninhabitable for more than two years because the ventilation system was so loud that she was unable to live in peace and quiet. Plaintiff contended that despite being on notice of the problem, the Cooperative failed to take any effective remedial action. In support of her claim, plaintiff produced reports from the Cooperative's own engineer, indicating that the level of noise and vibrations exceeded those permitted by the New York City Administrative Code. The Court accepted plaintiff's contentions and rejected the Cooperative's argument that the plaintiff had not suffered any damages because she had been traveling and was away from the apartment for some or all of the time period in question. The court ordered a hearing to determine the amount of plaintiff's damages, which could include, but were not limited to, the amounts she paid in maintenance charges during the period in which the apartment was uninhabitable. However, the Court dismissed plaintiff's claim for breach of the warranty of habitability insofar as it was asserted against the Cooperative's management company, because only the landlord or lessor owes obligations under the warranty of habitability.

The Appellate Division also affirmed the trial court's ruling that plaintiff's could pursue a claim of fraud against the person who sold her the unit and the seller's real estate broker. There were issues of fact as to whether the broker had actively concealed the noise problem by reducing the fan speed of the ventilation system when plaintiff came to visit the apartment before acquiring it.

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staff work - chargeback - anyone? - Bia Al Apr 17, 2007


We have an ongoing problem in our coop with tenants receiving reliable and equitable repairs. the super fixes repairs of board members and heavy-tippers quickly but ignores everyone else. he also does lots of proivate work on coop time. I am wondering who out there has a chargeback system for private jobs and who also might have a system for repairs where residents have to sign off on how satisfactory and timely the work was. it seems like we should institute something similat as it would help improve the situation. all advice and input needed . thanks


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May I suggest you tip the guys the next time. Let me know how this works out.

FN. (I may post a serious response later)


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Fairness of services is something that is instilled by way of policy from a board. First, a building staff, even if they provide service, are EMPLOYEES of the corporation. Consequently, HOW they should conduct BUSINESS to RESIDENTS is a matter of CO-OP OR CONDO policy. When people live in a RENTAL, the super does many things on his own because the owners are INVISIBLE. With Condo or COOPS the building staff become a main topic of discussion. This is WHY the postings with the lengthiest amount of response happen to be related to SUPERS and MANAGEMENT.

Therefore, it is hard to break a legacy that has been handed down over ages in building employees unless BOARDS understand their roles as employers and the need to CREATE policy on EXPECTED services. Obviously, this is like dealing with TARZAN in NEW YORK.

The way we have sort of broken this overt behavior also deals with what support we give the staff when people complain and WHY the board needs documentation. Obviously, many will find the some of the steps a bit too much, but it has worked 90-95%:

Part I:
1. Institute a multiple job order form. No resident shall receive service without a written form. The resident retains a copy for his/her records for reference. When the service is provided, the employee enters the nature of the problem attended, the day and time.

2. Check the problem forms on a weekly basis for the nature of the work and the turnaround.

3. If you have a computer keep track of your forms. It will help you find out record of repairs for the future.

Part II
Check your repair policy for apartments, i.e., do you demand the use of licensed plumbers and electricians to do work in the building and insured contractors for repairs? If you were to do so, you may be eliminating the use of the superintendent and handyman doing work for residents. Also, you will eliminate the headache of the multiple complaints that the super or handyman did substandard job or charged me too much, etc.

My motto is: if I use licensed plumbers and electricians to maintain the infrastructure of the building, why should I find substandard plumbing in local lines of residential aparments (e.g., no waste trap under a kitchen sink,code violation, and similar sins)? Let residents do the same to ensure a code-compliant system.

Part III

If you institute a tipping policy on what each resident is expected to receive from your personnel, e.g., heating element maintenance (if applicable), moving practices whatever they may be in your place, it may eliminate the confusion on some "forced" tipping that might be going on for basic services.

Let residents know that there are letters of commendation are always welcome as a way to find out how the staff is perfomring.

Part IV
Make sure you investigate any complaints regarding bad services and confront your staff with the complaint. Make such confrontation a positive feedback as a way to RETRAIN your staff.

I'm sure others will have other ideas.

AdC







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Have you raised the question with the management company/board? I think the fairest way is to implement work request dockets/tickets. They are not too difficult to come by. It is a three part work order where the shareholder or doorman etc fill out the particular request.(logging date, time etc,) The super upon completion of the work, writes down what repairs etc he carried out, gives the shareholder, management, and himself one copy of the ticket. I have used a system like this in the past with great success.

This is a very simple,reliable, and inefficient way of tracking work done in your building.

FN


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Work orders/tickets maintenance forms can be purchases at a reasonable cost from Peachtree business Products 1800 241 423 to order or get catalog or Property.PBP1.com
We used them they work for our needs. How ever this doesn't answer your main question, which I will a temp to answer soon.
Pgrech

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First of all, "taking care" of heavy tippers and board members is a human reaction. It happens in restaurants, hotels etc. I am not saying that it is acceptable, only that it is a human thing and is done all over. What is not acceptable is ignoring those that don't tip. If a resident is entitled to a service, then the super is compelled to provide that service as that is what he/she is paid to do.

Secondly doing private work on company time is theft of service. This is also not acceptable and should not be tolerated. Theft of service and ignoring those that don't tip only show the true character and integrity of a person (super or otherwise). So perhaps the real issue is you need a super while being human has the "right stuff."
To echo ADC, board needs to put policies in place to make sure that private work is to be allowed or not and place guidelines if it is. Without guidelines then you have a Dodge City.

Third the private job "chargeback system" creates a lot of paper work both for super and management. In some cases it works in many it is more of a pain then its worth. Some management companies may increase there management fee to provide this, as it is a lot of book keeping. Furthermore, most workers need to make extra money, and there is nothing wrong with it as long as honesty and integrity is observed. The private job thing is a way to make extra money and also a way for the owner to save money as well. When done right, it is a win win situation.

Forth and last issue, I have yet to see a work order form that has a section for satisfaction. In my buildings, every year or two I send out a survey of satisfaction form to be filled out by residents grading various performances of staff etc. This might work for your building as well.
Pgrech

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Confidential information - Dazed and confused Apr 15, 2007


I recent contacted our management company regarding shareholder confidentially. The question asked was.

What is the buildings policy when a shareholder asks the front desk for another shareholders number.

The response was, if a board member is looking for a shareholders number it is OK to give it out. If on the other hand a sharholder (who is not on the board)is looking for a board members number, we are instructed not to give it out.

I am of the opinion that no number should be given out, period. Simply instruct the staff to take a message and relay it to the other tenant. The other tenant can then decide for themselves.

D&C


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In our 500 unit co-op, the doorman (or the office) will only provide phone numbers to board members.

And, no one, not the doorman or the office, will provide the resident’s telephone number to my wife even though she is the spouse of a board member.



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Let me ask you this, D&C.

If a board member finds out that the apartment above you has sprung a leak and water is most likely dripping into your apartment, would you prefer for the board to call you right away or to leave a message at the front desk?

Now, even if you, in fact, would prefer to wait until you walk past the front desk and read the message, there will be many shareholders who would demand to know right away. In fact, some of them may threaten to sue the board if their property was in danger and no one informed them right away.

What if you complained to a board member about the insane noise coming from a stereo in the aparment below -- would you be satisfied if she simply left a message at the front desk?

Remember, legally speaking, in a co-op a shareholder is a tennant of the corporation; the corporation is the lease-holder and the board is the landlord.

You will probably find in your co-op by-laws or proprietary lease a clause that says all shareholders are required to provide the secretary (or the mgt co) with their up-to-date contact information.

Most of the time when the board contacts you it's not because your property is in danger. But if the board is taking the trouble to get in touch (remember, board members are volunteers with their own lives who would probably rather be watching Jeopardy! or playing with the children), the reason is probably fairly important.

Steve W


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Steve, with all due respect you are missing my point. (or maybe I did not explain myself). Our building staff know how to handle leaks,emergencies, etc and what the protocol is. I am more concerned with confidential issues. Sure it does not help much if a shareholder is in financial difficulty and a board member stops off at the desk and gets the number and calls the shareholder for his/her own self interest.
Now do you see my point.

D&C


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Hi, D&C,

I may have missed your exact point, but I don't see much difference.

The fact remains that board members are obligated to have contact information for the shareholders. Whether they get it from the doorman, the super, the managing agent or their own list is immaterial.

If a shareholder owes the corporation money, and is behind in his/her payments, the board has a duty to make sure that money comes in -- they are running your business, after all, and if someone isn't paying her fair share, then you and your neighbors are making up the difference. To me, that's truly unfair.

The only exception to your example depends on what you mean by a board member calling the shareholder for "his/her own self-interest." If the board member is not, in fact, trying to find out when the shareholder will pay her bill, but harassing the shareholder, then yes, the board member has crossed the line.

Otherwise, I would want my board members to aggressively collect arrears. (To put it another way, if you invest in GM and you find out that GM is letting some customers own cars for free, would you want to hold or sell your stock in GM?)

Your Proprietary Lease may indicate otherwise, but it's unlikely.

Steve

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I'm with you. No board member should get the telephone number, specially when you have Management. If there is a leak, those affected by the leak should call management for the emergency so that staff may be called. STaff will then report to management or board the problem.

Similarly, a loud stereo is a problem of police or management. A board member should not be dragged to be a policeman for noise, violations, etc. Let it be taken care by management, staff and police if necessary.

A board member can always write a note to the shareholder requesting to be called for the reason explained in the note.

AdC




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I agree with you. As I said previously we know very well how to handle emergency situations. We do not drag the shareholders into the situations, give out names, etc. We write up incident reports when such happens and cc: management. It works out really well. As from my previous post, you have answered my question. (I was looking for reassurance to my question/opinion which you have supplied)

D&C (well not any longer)


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D&C,

I'm glad I reassured you of your conviction; howerver, thorugh this chatroom, you find opinons that are diverse and may help widen even more the thinking. Don't just get reassurances, but also get point of views. It helps articulate to your own shareholders WHAT TO EXPECT FROM board members, management and counsels.

As BP states, arrears are only taken up by management and counsel. It should be totally out of the hands of the board. One out of 500 shareholders will come to the board to let them know of some financial hardship that the shareholder wishes the board to consider. Although not the most ideal situation, the shareholder may be asking or reaching for advice in their particular case; the shareholder should deserve empathy, frank discussion and knowledge of the shareholder's short range plan so that counsel may be consulted and engaged at the appropriate time.

AdC




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Board members can be given owners' telephone numbers, assuming: (1) the Board members are calling on Board business, such as trying to arrange payment of arrearages; and (2) the Board has agreed that the specific Board member is authorized to do so.

Board members are obliged to keep the contact info confidential and should only use it for Board business. Otherwise, telephone numbers should be strictly confidential. If someone wants their neighbor's telephone number, they can use a phone book.

The building's managing agent and/or super should already have keys/contact info in case of emergencies.

Note that our attorney actually recommends that Board members contact owners directly in certain situations (such as arrearages), since being approached by a neighbor/Board member on sensitive issues is more effective, and less threatening, than being approached by the managing agent or the building's attorney. Of course, the Board member should be able to "stick to business."


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NSB, I don't agree with your attorney that board members should contact owners on issues such as arrearages. I don't think they should try to resolve arrearages but of course should be aware of them. It should be handled by management and/or their accounting department. Reasons for arrearages are many, and board members can get into a hornet's nest by trying to handle this area of coop biz. It's tough enough keeping board service and friendships (or at least being on good terms with owners) as distinct relationships without getting into direct discussions with them about their personal financial issues.

I agree that at times talking with a board member can be more effective and less threatening than by management or the coop attorney. We have an owner who travels a lot on business. Her three sons (in their 20s) had parties when she's away and "friends" of all ages coming and going at all hours. Residents were afraid to get in the elevators with them because they either looked scary or were stoned blind. Our board VP's known the owner for years, had a talk with her, and said things were escalating and she risked eviction if this didn't stop and he wouldn't be able to help her. She appreciated being approached this way, laid down the law to her sons (but good!) and we haven't seen or heard any funny business in over a year now.

Good board members have to use good judgment, and I think that includes knowing what their duties are, when to get involved with owners and when not to.


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BP, I agree with you. NSB, your are paying a management company to "manage" your building. Late fees etc they address, if not successful the attorney is then contacted. I do not understand how someone on the board should be involved.

D&C


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As AdC points out, there are many ways to run a business, especially when that business is a co-op.

On our board, the managing agent works hand-in-hand with the board. Together we watch arrears very closely because maintenance fees are more than 96% of our corporation's operating income. When someone stops paying her maintenance, it affects every shareholder: bills keep coming in and we have to pay them; if we're short on cash we have to borrow money; the interest on that borrowed money is payed by every single shareholder.

Income (specifically, cash flow) is important to our co-op, and financial matters are among the most important that any board member oversees.

While board members do not need to be involved at every step of recouping arrears, there is no reason for them to be excluded.

As the treasurer, I examine the monthly statement of accounts closely. When a shareholder is two months behind, I inform the board and instruct the managing agent to send a letter (which says we notice you're behind, if you need extra time please contact the managing agent).

If the shareholder does not respond and does not pay his/her bill, I inform the board. We may then choose to have someone from the board approach the individual, or we may write a letter from the board.

When a shareholder is three months behind, and if she has a mortgage, the board sends a letter informing her that the mortgage contract she signed with the bank obligates us, the board, to inform the bank of arrears equal to or greater than three months. (Banks are not pleased when a customer does not pay her bills -- and one's maintenance is connected to your mortgage, according to the contract you signed.)

With one exception, we have not had to inform a shareholder's bank because shareholders respond to that letter.

As a side note, those shareholders who appreciate a board that holds down costs appreciate this approach because it keeps the lawyers out of the process (and they're not cheap -- we just interviewed a firm that charges $2000 to be an arrears shark for one shareholder; I kid you not).

Perhaps there is a personality clash involved in the case D&C brings up. I can sympathise with that, but the reality is that a co-op is a business; board members have a fiduciary duty to run it in a financially sound way. Some board members have abrasive personalities (we're New Yorkers, after all!), but as long as they're seeking what the corporation is owed, they're acting in the interest of every owner in the building.

Steve W

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Board members who gossip - HKM Apr 14, 2007


Recently a board member was gossiping to me about confidential coop information about a shareholder who has been a vocal opponent of board policies. The board member essentially accused the shareholder of bribery for special favors. This violates our board confidentially agreement and is completely unethical. Anyone have experience in handling this situation?


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HKM, are you a board member? Or is the gossipper (whom you have identified as a board member) gossipping with a "civilian"?

Board confidentiality is of critical importance. The private details we have about the financial and personal lives of our neighbors must never be shared casually, even among board members.

Your co-op attorney can provide you with ethical guidelines that the board can review and vote to adopt.


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No, I'm a civilian. The gossiper is a board member making accusations about another shareholder who is an opponent of board polcies. In other words it was an attempt to discredit the shareholder and sway public opinion and possibly intimidate other opponents. It will be difficult to bring this issue to the board since it implicates one of their own and this board member has a bare majority of seats in support; the remaining seats are pretty much in opposition.


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That's a very serious situation. I think you are morally obligated to mention this to the board president because board members should not be sharing private info with other shareholders, especially to discredit them.

I suggest talking with the board president -- don't e-mail about this. Bring it up in a calm, non-confrontational way, such as by saying that you want to make the pres aware of a comment that you feel is inappropriate. You don't need to ask the pres to do something; he/she should automatically.

If you feel uneasy, remember that a board member could choose to share private info about you with others. Your talk with the board pres should put that activity to an end.

Finally, if you're incomfortable talking to the board pres, call the co-op attorney.

I am curious to read what others suggest.

Steve W


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Tell the board pres what the gossiper is doing. I assume from your last message he's spreading gossip/accusations to others, not just you. If the board doesn't know what he's doing, they must be told. If they do and don't try to stop it, they're as bad as he is.

The gossiper isn't one of "their own" (the board's). He's one of "everyone's own". If he felt you were a threat to him, I'd bet he'd do the same to you, or anyone else. If his accusations can't be proven with facts, he's guilty of slander. That prompts a question. HKM - does the victim of this badmouthing know what's being said about him? If so, he can sue the gossiper for slander if he wants to. That would be a private matter, not the coop's.

If the gossiper has little support, it shouldn't be hard to get him voted out. If other board members don't try to stop his activity, they should go too. I bet anyone who knows what's going on thinks: "If he discloses private info or gossips about X, I wonder what he may be saying about me."

The gossiper lacks key qualities that every board member should have - honesty, ethics and respect for others. By doing what he's doing, he's proving to everyone that he's not trustworthy. If a board member can't be trusted to uphold coop standards and not victimize others unfairly, he probably can't be trusted about anything and shouldn't be in a position of responsibility for the coop.


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Thanks to everyone for your responses as a double check that this behavior is unethical and should prompt immediate action. A petition to call for a meeting to discuss the board member's actions and possible removal has been successful, however, the board member has refused to attend and instructed supporters to do the same and, surprisingly, some have agreed.

I'm not sure why telling people to NOT attend a public meeting isn't raising everyone's red flags.


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We are having a conflict we have 8 nominees for the board
three of them have been disqualified for nocompliances in
giving in their resume to run.

Now the board is split 3-3 and one side is refusing to
agree to the meeting, even though we have a legal opinion
that the disaqualied people did not comply with the
requirements.

Does anyone know what New York State Law provides for
in this situation? any help real fast if possible.

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Lynn -- According to NYState's Business Corporation Law (the "BCL") under which most coops were created and with which they must comply - an annual meeting of shareholders must be held every year. Also, check your bylaws, probably Article II. Your board can't refuse to schedule and hold an annual meeting. It's not a matter of board voting. You have to have the meeting. It's clear cut in the "BCL".

As for not getting resumes from people who want to run for the board: a) your coop governing documents, b) an existing board-enacted policy or 3) what was standard procedure in the past may dictate that submitting a resume is required.

You say you have a "legal opinion" that disqualified people didn't comply with requirements. It would therefore seem that some policy or statute for your coop requires resume submission in order to run for the board.

A question: Who disqualified those people and what do they have in writing to support their right to do this?
A suggestion: I'd also ask your "legal opinion" to show you where in writing requirements are outlined and how those people failed to comply with them.

We have nothing saying that resumes must be submitted prior to an annual meeting. We don't ask for them because we're fairly small (60 apts). Only in some years does anyone run for the board in addition to incumbents. If we have many new owners and a flurry of people who want to run in any given year, we mail a letter to all owners suggesting that anyone who wants to run send mgmt a resume by X date and all resumes received by X date will be sent with the formal meeting notice to help owners make informed decisions. In my coop's case, this doesn't prevent anyone from standing up at the annual meeting and saying he wants to run for the board even if he didn't send in a resume.

So... You must have an annual meeting. You should find out what your coop requires regarding resumes for candidates and where it says so, and your counsel should provide you with solid basis in fact for his "legal opinion."

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Thanks for the reply.

Our co op has a procedure that requires resume from
candidates so all shareholders have an idea of their
policies,

this year all resumes had to be certified mail return
receipt postmarked by 4/10/07. however some real
smart people decide to circument the system and send
e mails which was not designated as a means of delivery
these candidates were in legal opinion disqualified.

Now the board (3 of them support these candidates) want
their names on the ballot. We the valid candidates feel
this is not reight as the rules and procedurese were
clearly outlined.

So some board members are now saying they will not agree
to the annual meeting package to be mailed out the annual
meeting package to shareholders.

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Particularly in a small community, working to keep others off the ballot is usually the best way to guarantee a year of unproductive & unpleasant infighting.

Even though some candidates haven't complied with the rules, I suggest taking the high ground & being generous. Welcome them to the debate, focus on specific issues & style of governance, explain why your ideas & qualifications will best serve the community, & allow voters to choose.

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I forgot to remind you that these candidates could always be nominated from the floor at the meeting. Since they have board support, you should expect they'll be granted time to speak & that there will be ample write-in slots on the ballots.

It will be a more civil meeting & better serve voters if all candidates present as equals.

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Under procedures set up we do not allow nominations from
the floor. this has been the policy for over 15 years.

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If everyone knew resumes had to be sent via certified mail, my opinion is that those sent via e-mail shouldn't be part of the annual meeting package. If a coop makes exceptions to clearly defined rules/procedures on one issue, it could affect how any issue is handled. An "exception" could become expected for anything. The infrequent exception made in some cases (e.g., not charging a move-in fee if a tenant moves into a furnished apt) could become the rule instead of the exception.

On the other hand, if your board doesn't mail all resumes with the meeting package, it could create a lot of discord between now and meeting time among owners, and make for a contentious meeting, with time wasted if things get heated.

I still say rules are rules, and this case doesn't warrant an exception. But I'd suggest two things in an attempt to be fair to all and stem the rising tide:

#1 Ask counsel if there's anything applicable to your coop that says people can't run for the board on meeting night if their resume wasn't mailed with the meeting package or sent in at all. Not sure if it's "law" but my coop allows this and I know many others do too.

#2 A formal annual meeting notice is supposed to just state swhere/when/why the meeting will be held. But if #1 applies to your coop, a line could be added (with NO mention about resumes) that all those who wish to run for the board will have, say, 2 minutes to address attendees at the meeting. (An impartial party at the meeting should make sure this is adhered to for ALL candidates, note when they have 15-30 seconds left, and cut them off when it expires.)

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You say the petition was successful, implying the board president has called a special meeting. If so, just proceed...the fact that the offending member chooses not to defend himself should make your task easier. If you convince enough voters--& I agree the board member's behavior re: the meeting raises red flags, you've resolved the problem [& sent a message that other board members will remember for some time].

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I don't know whether or not you're also on the Board, but regardless of that answer, this scenario is dreadful. Board confidentiality is an absolute; having a gossip on the Board is an inexcusable breach of ethics, and the Board should act swiftly to constrain this individual.

Separately, if a Shareholder IS bribing someone on the staff or Board for special favors, this is also a breach of ethics by the Board/staff member, which also needs to be dealt with immediately.

If you are not on the Board, alert someone who is. If you are on the Board, ask for a special meeting to deal with the situation.




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Confidentiality is critical and something board members too often fail to honor.

If you ARE a board member, tell the board member gossiper he's guilty of a serious breach by disclosing private info about a shareholder. If it's in your governing documents, a board can vote someone off the board for good reason. Maybe your board should think about removing the gossiper from office for this breach.

If you ARE NOT a board member, tell the board about this and insist they address it immediately with that member. But don't repeat the private info to them - or to any other shareholders. If you feel it's warranted, you could inform fellow shareholders diplomatically of this breach and try to get the gossiper voted out at the next annual meeting.

Whether you are a board member or not, tell the gossiper he could be sued for slander for telling you and/or others a shareholder accepts bribes for favors. If he has solid evidence of it, he should present it, otherwise he should keep quiet. Is he saying it because the shareholder is a vocal opponent of board policies and he's afraid he won't be reelected? Maybe the shareholder wants support against standing policies and hopes to get on the board himself?

The gossiper has a reason for his claims. Maybe they're in the coop's best interests. Maybe not. In any case, private info about a shareholder must remain private, and unless the gossiper can prove his accusations of bribery, he should be instructed to keep quiet or removed from office. Just my opinion.


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Yes, it is unethical but a board member who gossips should be warned on the spot that the behavior is not only unwelcomed, but the board will take action on such a person.

AdC


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Condo policy on film shoots in units - NSB Apr 13, 2007


A few unit owners in our condo have recently asked permission to allow commercial film (movie) shoots in their units. The Board is very hesitant, but not dead-set against. Does anyone out there have written polices on shoots in units that I can use as models? Thanks.


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A friend of mine allows the use of his apartment for a weekly crime drama. I will see what I can get on it for you.

Fat Nickie.


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Looking forward to your response, Fat Nickie!

Is there a way to list your apartment/building with production companies to let them know they're welcome to film in our building?

A few years ago, before I was on the board, one of the TV cop shows asked to film in our building. The board said no because they were afraid of damage to public areas. Now, we're hardly a fancy building -- pretty basic, in fact, with plenty of scratched walls and cracked tile. I can't believe a film company wouldn't make a certificate of insurance available.

Now other buildings around us are used for films. I hope we haven't missed out.

Fat Nickie, if you find out what your friend's building charges for the right to film in it, please let us know.

steve w


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I did not go into the fees charged for shoots. He did inform me that the crews are very professional and responsible. Some of the issues to be concerned with are.

* Keep your shareholders informed of when shoots will take place.

* Makeing sure the walls and floors are protected as heavy equipment will be rolled around.

* Many will have their own touch up crews if hallways etc get damaged.

* They may need to hook up to the buildings electric panels.

* Be aware that shoots may run later than scheduled.

* Security issues.

* There will be a lot of traffic in/out of the building.

* The location manager should be able to answer all you questions/concerns.

FN.


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it is $4-5k a day to the building of a coop or condo is publiic areas are used and about 4k as a fee if they are just passing through the common spaces to get to an apartment. for the apartment owner it ragnes about 5k depending onthe budget of the movie company.


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TITLE Hollywood Shuffle
DESCRIPTION Getting Hollywood to film in your building can pay off...
TOPIC Access
AUTHOR Frank Lovece
MAGAZINE ISSUE June 2006 - Number 224
ARTICLE TYPE Feature
PAGE # 26-34



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TITLE Hollywood on the Hudson
DESCRIPTION Extra income from film and TV productions
TOPIC TV
AUTHOR Rob Cummings
MAGAZINE ISSUE May 2004 - Number 201
ARTICLE TYPE Hotline
PAGE # 43-45

ABSTRACT Film and television production bring over $1 billion a year to New York City. How can your building get a piece of the pie? This article discusses what's involved in using your co-op or condo as a set, including expected income, inconveniences, and necessary precautions.



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Folks,

Not to throw water on a party, but what happened to the mantra: “quiet enjoyment” to which all residents are entitled?

The activity does not pass the test, so we would not approve.



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Re: ID theft protection - R Apr 13, 2007


As board member I am being refused copies of any documents which contain the signatures of the board officers, ie contracts, loan documentations, etc. because of fear of identity theft as their signatures appear on these documents. Therefore, I am expected to review at the board meeting, 250pg loan document & give it back or go to the lawyers or managing agents office. When suggesting that signatures be blacked out, answer was that is is too time consuming as many pages have their signatures. It is my understanding that BM should have access to all documentation. by the way our attorney as advised me that I can only get copies of documentation if approved by the board. Please adivse.


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Convincing the Board - BP Apr 11, 2007


I'm on my board a long time. We have very little debt and a reasonable reserve. For years I've asked my board to paint resident service areas, patch holes in storerooms to keep out mice and bugs, and do general repairs in bldg rooms that haven't been touched in years. Total cost is $4K-$5K.

They say why spend money on areas visitors don't see. They want to redo the lobby for $50K only because they want a more "modern" look, and to redo our landscaping which is fine and thriving. I know curb appeal is important but how do I convince them some bldg work has to be done and the cost won't break our bank? I feel like doing the work myself (which I won't) but this is very frustrating.


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I know what you mean and believe me, I am with you. If your lobby and landscaping is still in good shape, it may need some retouches at lower cost to make it look refreshed. HOwever, total care of the building is important to even increase general quality of living of the building.

Years ago, the compactor rooms in my co-op were painted, holes patched to prevent bugs, and new ceramic tiles were used to make the room look nicer. The cost was less than $2,000. Interesting enough, many residents put down the project and even came to say they looked like shower closets, etc.

A year later, they were praising the look of the place and what a great idea was to do them over.

In your case, learn from water and wind. The elements will not break or wear the rock in one day, but over a period of time. If I were you, I would go to the pet shop and contribute to the point by planting some mice and roaches to add to the point! Well never mind devilish idea. When budget time comes, try to convince the board to put a discretionary amount of money such as $4K or $5K to do minor projects that will contribute to the enhancement of "occult" areas of the builidng.

Good luck!

AdC


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Thanks for the advice. The property manager and I have tried to work money into the budget for minor projects and my board won't go for that either. And these are different board members, not all the same ones every year. They don't get it that because a bldg hasn't caved in doesn't mean it doesn't need work to keep it in good shape. Maybe something has to cave in before they got the picture. ugh


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A problem that I see in many board members is their lack of interest for the physical plant. I have told board members to come for a walk on Saturday or a Sunday to look at all the problems. GREAT IDEA!!! but the words do not follow the action.

So, when I tell them that we need to excavate certain areas of the foundation because of water penetration, they look incredulous.

What can I tell you. Unless it happens in the apartments of those who serve, it is not considered life threatening. No wonder you find individuals with garage doors that make noise, yet they questions whether the co-op needs to pay for it, or the gas leak behind the wall and who to charge for the problem.

AdC

AdC


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That is the problem with some people on boards. They are there to service themselves only with no regard to anything else that happens to shareholders. I too am in the same boat. Can't get the board to focus on anything small that will aid in the long run. Keeping bugs and rodents out of a building is more important in the long run than having a pretty lobby. Where did these myopic people come from and when are they leaving? People elected to boards should be looking at the big picture to run their buildings


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I have found over the ages, that a building that has the mechanical areas, basements, elevator rooms, etc., clean, painted and well lighted add to the motivation of the staff. It also gives the staff pride. In other words it is not a dingy place to work. Also, the attitudes of contractor change as well, when they work in such well kept buildings (they tend to do a less sloppy job). While these areas are hidden to most people, so are the rewards of their good up keep.
It is rather simple, pay a little now or pay much more later as the cost may end up costing more then just money later.
Not sure if I am making any sense.
PGrech



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When prospective buyers have building inspectors come, they often look at "private" areas, and these inspectors will note how well you maintain the building as a whole. Exterminators, contractors, and other vendors notice these things, too.

Our building has made an effort to maintain such spaces, and I speak from personal experience; our building has a reputation as "well kept." It makes a real difference in attitude from outside visitors.


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Thank you for giving another perspective of the positive.

You're absolutely right! It adds to motivation, it adds to perception of vendors and inspectos.

I would say that in my builidng, we have tried to keep these areas painted, and above all clean. In fact, the staff is reprimanded if they allow vendors to be sloppy in these areas. There is no reason why a vendor is paid for a service and leave things in worse shape.

Finally, the fact that clean areas are a morale booster to employees is a fact and I thank you for those good reminders!

AdC


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When my children were in junior high school in Rockland County (previous residence), the principal and I were very well acquainted as we both were active Scouters.

The story he related to me, which is probably germane here, was his philosophy on graffiti. Basically the custodians had standing rules that graffiti needed to be cleaned or painted within minutes of discovery as one begets many.

Likewise in a co-op, a failure to pay attention to detail in one area, so begets poor or slovenly practices in many areas. Some practices may even give rise to hazardous conditions that could lead to injury. A case in point is our indoor and outdoor parking areas. As soon as a vehicle is discovered with an oil leak, absorbent materials are applied and the resident is admonished to remove the car and have it repaired, lest oil accumulations lead to pedestrian slips or falls and damage to the protective coatings.

While we don’t “fine” in our building for infractions by shareholders, we do admonish via formal letters.



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Don't quote me on this Ted but I think they refer this as "the broken window theory". If left unchecked it becomes two, three, etc windows broken.

FN.


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I agree that poorly maintained bldg areas can be hazards. Our 2 stairwells were used by everyone, including movers, during our 8-wk elevator upgrade in '05 and a power failure in '06. Some residents use the stairs daily for exercise. Steps have cracks/broken edges. You think I get my board to patch/paint the stairwells? Last time was 1997. They won't even spend money to just repair the faulty steps. I also suggested battery-operated stick-on lights for stairwells in case of future power failures. They said no to that too. I guess someone has to fall down the stairs and break a leg (and probably be sued) before my board wakes up.

I'm tempted to ask shhldrs at the annual meeting to vote on allocating, say, $20K for small bldg jobs. I'd avoid saying our boards repeatedly refuse to do it. If I can't avoid saying that, my board will resent me for going "straight to the people". I'd rather not do that anyway, but I'm at a loss for other solutions to this. Anyone have more ideas?


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I agree with each and everyone of you on the above. It should be the upkeep and maintenance of the entire property.

Should we not worry about the service entrance as many shareholders/guests come in the main entrance anyway?

Not many people use the storage facility in the sub cellar so that is OK I guess? (why sweep and mop it)

It is the housekeepers that mess up the laundry room, so let them sort it out.

No,no,no, last time I checked this was part of the property. And yes, shareholders do notice. A good superintendent will perform periodic inspections, write up punch lists and if it is within his/her power take care of it. If funding is needed the super should bring it to property manager/boards attention (documented of course)

Fat Nickie




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Sometimes in situations like these it's best to get back to the basics and see if the Board is in compliance with governing documents and applicable law.

Maintenance of common areas is one of the Board's major responsibilities. It seems that the "minor" repairs, especially those to keep out vermin, are unavoidable. There could even be code violations there. Not repairing these areas could be putting the building at risk in a number of different areas. A Board that does not act could open itself to fines and/or lawsuits.

Regarding the facelift, again, the Board has fiduciary responsibility to the owners. Is the facelift in the best interest of the building? Can the Board's decision stand up as "prudent business judgment."

Otherwise, think about a vote by all shareholders. There may even be a clause in your governing docs that requires a vote if capital expenses exceed a certain amount. If you go that way, make sure the shareholders know the impact the costs would have on the building’s finances.

Where are you in the lifespan of the building's major components? Will your building be able to recover the cost of the facelift before it's reasonable to expect, say, an elevator or boiler replacement?

Finally, maybe you can get some compromises to reduce the costs of the facelift.



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board disagreement - Anonymous Apr 10, 2007


One of our shareholders just moved in this year and uncovered a pre-existing condition within the walls of their aprtthat will result in the bldg having to repair with an outside plumbing company. In addtion, most of the work will be done in the bldg outside the shareholders apartment. This also opened up several other issue within the bldg that will require repair.

The board wants to charge the shreholder for everything and I feek this is wrong. what do we do. Shouldn't tne bldg's insurance pay as the shareholders ins already denied claim


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Again, the condition is important. There are conditions that do not make the building to collapse, but if the condition is dangerous or is damaging the co-op and other units, then BE THANKFUL, take care of the problem and BE DONE!

I don't understand a board who is afraid to fix things. If ASSESSMENTS are required to take care of the problem, SO BE IT! After all, boards are responsible for conditions that they know that may threatened lives or major catastrophes!

Our building had two joist issues discovered after the resident moved out; so we bit the bullet and took care of it. It cost $5000 to fix the problem, but we do not have a whole room collapse into another person's apartment with potential for injuries.

AdC


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there was a pre-existing gas leak in one of the main risers that was caused(many years ago) by a long screw placed in to the wall to hang something up. The new shareholder uncovered this and their Ins. will not pay becuase they did not cause the leak.

It turns out that there is more work being done for items not up to code that have nothing to do with the leak itself. (these repairs were picked up by the dept of bdlgs)


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Please no more anonymous posts. Give yourself a name (even Mary Jane) so be it. Then we know who we are responding too. Its impossible to respond to anonymous. (now was that anonymous that posted the question, or anonymous that was responding?. See my point

Bob.


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Yes. Point well taken. Do you have a response?


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I am getting how this works now. Yes. Point well taken. Do you have a response?




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It is acknowledged that the shareholder did not place the screw in the wall that severed the riser. Two lines were shut down and all of the work was done by a well known plumbing company in NY. The screw was so old that it had the concrete of the wall all over the screw. It was probably done years ago by either the former shareholder or a worker in the bldg.

The shareholder wants to do work but the board will not let them do anything until they clear the additional 17k plumbing bill added to their maintenance. The shareholder was advised to make an offer to the board to settle. The board, knowing all of the facts, will not budge.



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Agreed,however it came to a standstill and the shhldr was not allowed to do future work unless they cleared this bill. As Attny fees would be in excess of the 17k,Shldr reluctantly offering 5k to settle just to move on.

do you think this was not a smart move by the shldr based on the circumstances?

Regards




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First, you should rationally address each topic, i.e., the nail has nothing to do with the out of code work. So, the fact that out of code work is being done does not mean you are to hang the bill for a nail.

Staring here...

(1) There are many things that will accidentally cause problems in common areas. In this case, a nail that penetrated or broke an old pipe. However, the nail was not driven by the current shareholder, or you cannot prove that this is the case.

Then, the co-op as the ultimate landlord for the building has to step in. Tough! Did you have the gas turned off for the entire building??? If this is the case, then I feel sorry for the co-op.

(2) Work out of code: A co-op should have an alterations / renovation policy and anyone who is to do work in a building should submit papers to the co-op for review. Demand licensed plumbers and electricians, review certificates of insurance, find out from the code what types of work require permits. Obviously, you cannot allow shareholdersto do work w/o the co-op knowledge. People usually have good intentions, but they are probably as ignorant as your board when it comes to renovations.

AdC


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It is acknowledged that the shareholder did not place the screw in the wall that severed the riser. Two lines were shut down and all of the work was done by a well known plumbing company in NY. The screw was so old that it had the concrete of the wall all over the screw. It was probably done years ago by either the former shareholder or a worker in the bldg.

The shareholder wants to do work but the board will not let them do anything until they clear the additional 17k plumbing bill added to their maintenance. The shareholder was advised to make an offer to the board to settle. The board, knowing all of the facts, will not budge.


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Well, in this case, let the shareholder sue the co-op and be finished. For $17K, I will do it if in the case of the shareholder.

A board that cannot distinguish night from day should be fired when elections come!

AdC


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Agreed,however it came to a standstill and the shhldr was not allowed to do future work unless they cleared this bill. As Attny fees would be in excess of the 17k,Shldr reluctantly offering 5k to settle just to move on.

do you think this was not a smart move by the shldr based on the circumstances?

Regards


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Agreed,however it came to a standstill and the shhldr was not allowed to do future work unless they cleared this bill. As Attny fees would be in excess of the 17k,Shldr reluctantly offering 5k to settle just to move on.

do you think this was not a smart move by the shldr based on the circumstances?

Regards



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Well, what's done is done. If the shareholder caved in, that's its problem.

However, the board who pressed so far should go to bed with not such a clean conscience. Too bad!

AdC


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Thank you for your comments and insightful thoughts. If the board were to no charge or settle woth the shhldr, do youknow how would they absorb the cost? Is the only way by assessment or do they take the money from the reserve fund? Have a nice day


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I tell the board at budget time not to cut their nails too short since there is a need to scratch money from stones if necessary. With this said, not only do we pad our budget a bit to take care of this contingencies, but if necessary and depending on the magnitude of the repair, you either go to reserves and/or assess to replenish your reserves.

I find it EXTREMELY unethical to charge for something that was there and was found through incidental construction.

Case in point, last year we uncovered an A/C that was pulled from the wall by God knows what renter or shareholder at one point in the history of the co-op. The co-op found the problem because a commercial space that had not been rented in years was getting water through the head of the window in beautiful days. The problem was traced back to the unit above. The co-op, not only paid for the sleeve ($270) but for its installation. If this story could have cost more to the co-op, the co-op would have taken care of it, because the board knew that the sleeve was not taken by the person.

AdC


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No Subject - Anonymous Apr 10, 2007


Do all coops have nominating committees? and is this a way of the board obtaining as much control as possible over the coop?


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How do you recruit your board in your co-op?

First, one should learn from politics. Some forms of democratic governments throw out their legislative bodies if the elected president and the legislative body come from different parties. This is done to eliminate the wasted time arguing party issues.

Second, a board may look for shareholders who may exhibit certain characteristics: discretion, good judgment, vision,initiative and show some preocupation for the property as such. (No need for PhD's or extremely impressive credentials - I know many "well educated" individuals that you question their practical sense).

Obviously, to wait for surprises at the annual meeting is foolish for a board. You may get a shareholder who may try to advance its own agenda, or you may get a shareholder with mental issues (certified, of course!) attempt to run for the board. There are many shareholders who may not know these individuals and when they present themselves they may sound impressive. So, shareholders may be willing to give them a try to the detriment of the co-op.

Obviously, a Nominating Committee should not be controlled by the board, and the committee should do the most to make sure that information on each individual or even informal meetings are held to promote all the candidates. However, from the many years on the board, I think that a good board should try for sharholders with the right skills sets to make a productive board member who will bring advancement rather than division to the corporation.

AdC


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thank you. Do most bldg's have term limits for President, etc....?


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Speak with your co-op counsel as to how you go about instituting terms if this is perceived as desirable, whether an Amendment is required or just a simple Resolution of the Board.

Now... terms may be good or may be bad. As they say, every action has an equal but opposite reaction. Some presidents and board members do a great job. Consequently, if they like to serve, then you may be at an advantage. However, as long as you have new members who get into the the board and are trained you have succession. Contrary to what many participants of this chat room say, presidents and board members are not all on ego trips, or are controlling. So, each situation is special and temrs is just a matter of preference.

AdC


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Your by-laws will tell you if term limits already exist. If they don't and you want them, you'll have to amend the bylaws, which probably requires a vote of all shareholders.
I would suggest that before you go that way to limit only the terms one can sit in each office -- that is, one could be president no more than three terms, but membership on the board can be six years, or even unlimited.
Remember that the more vacancies on your board, the more volunteers in your building you'll have to recruit for this thankless job.


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We have a shareholder who left because of health reasons, got the operation, recovered and was re-elected to board for a two year term. And there are some shareholders who better not even think of running for the board again. They will be met with serious protest. But so far we don't have terms limits.


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Term limits can be good in some cases. New board members can bring fresh ideas/perspectives to the table or weed out self-serving or ineffectual members. The best board is a mix of new and old. Those who aren't new provide stability, experience and continuity which every board needs.

Term limits can be bad too. Board vacancies don't always prompt people to run. What if no one runs? What if a few people get elected as a slate and have majority control? If they're new and don't know what they're doing, it can be a disaster - especially if they share a personal agenda and want to do things their way and get what they want.

Term limits can also be a problem in smaller bldgs. Board members may try to get certain people to run. They may convince someone but if that person's heart isn't in it, that won't make for a good board member. It's hard to get an ongoing flow of new board members in smaller bldgs. If you know most/all of your shareholders, think about the ones who probably wouldn't run because they're:
-- not interested enough or don't want the hassle
-- are mainly focused on their work/career
-- often work late or travel a lot on business
-- have many other obligations (e.g. family)
-- may be very ill or elderly

Then there are those who don't live in the bldg...aren't (in your opinion) qualified or whom you don't want on the board...are very new to the bldg and (in your opinion) should get a better "lay of the land" before they run for the board...never come to an annual meeting or even send in a proxy. There may be a few who own two or more apts. After you eliminate all these people, you may have a handful who could be potential board candidates in any given year - if they want to run and, of course, they'd have to be elected.

Shareholders in my bldg (60 apts) voted down term limits a few times. Almost all felt it's unnecessary. But as AdC said, each situation is special. Whether a bldg is large or small, it depends on the board, how effective it is, and what the bldg needs.


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AdC makes some good points, but I've seen it work in the opposite way. In a coop where I used to live, the board essentially chose whom it wanted to fill vacancies. Then, at the annual meeting, the board nominated a slate. It happened amazingly quickly, as if it were an auction. Like this:
BOARD PRES: I open the floor for nominations.
FRIEND OF BOARD PRES: I nominate the slate.
BOARD PRES: All in favor?
And it was done. Not even a motion to close nominations, let alone a call for others to run.
So if there's to be a nominating committee, I agree with AdC that it should exist separate from the board.


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In addition to believing in independent co-op nominating committes, I believe in drumming up the business for the board. I speak to shareholders who have demonstrated many of the following traits and/or virtues: independent thinking, concern for the building, integrity, ethics, responsibility as a shareholder, and good judgment. I don't recruit among FRIENDS. In fact, I can say, as a board president I have NO FRIENDS.

Why do I recruit members for the board?

1. I don't want to come to an annual election with SURPRISES.

2. I would like to see a board composed of shareholders who exhibit the outlined traits and/or vitues so that their talents and decisions can be put to work, free from the influence of FRIENDS, who exercise prudence and fairness at the time of decisions, a group of shareholders who will work in harmony for the advancement of the co-op if elected.

3. I would rather present 5 good candidates for shareholders to select for 3 positions, but sometimes reality is that good people may not be available that year for personal reasons; but if I were to have them, I would present them all. Why? because it gives variety for shareholders to select from.

Two problems I had to face last year:

1. The investor who only had 10% came to the annual meeting with a second representative to be elected. The investor got one position. The second representative was outvoted because the board (to the dismay of the Habitat's forum readers) collected proxies to ensure a quorum and that business would be transacted and proxies were voted against the second representative.

2. A shareholder who has serious health issues and does not exhibit 90% good conduct and judgment submitted its name. Well, there were many new shareholders who do not know the person who casted a vote for this individual. Having a person on the board with such issues would have been as explosive as a roadside bomb.

AdC


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