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Possible Leaking Roof - NYC Mar 02, 2022

The unit above me has a brown spot on their ceiling. They are new owners and have asked the manager to check the matter. He told them he would but has not made any arrangements for an inspection. I have lived in this building for 25 years and the roof has never been replaced. they have repeatedly asked for someone to check this out but are being ignored. What would the next step be?

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Here are a few suggestions. Others will probably add to the list.

* You said you asked the manager to check. I assume you mean the Managing Agent? What about board members? Have they been approached about this?

* Do you know if other shareholders are aware of the situation and how they feel about it? If your building is not too large you might try organizing the shareholders to take some action as a group.

* Do you know how long the brown spot has been visible? If it didn't just appear but has been there for months you should call 311 and ask them how to report a possible mold situation.

These are things you can do which have a low impact. Ultimately it's your board who are responsible for the condition and wellbeing of the building. If they're receptive to your notifications they should take over.

If they're hostile to you, tight with the managing agent, haven't raised maintenance in years, they're probably not going to start now. You should run for the board, or better, put together a slate of candidates to replace the entire board. Sometimes the mere threat of opposition or replacement can have a wonderfully motivating effect.

Regardless of what you do, it's going to cost money. Be prepared for an assessment to cover the cost of roof replacement.

Good luck!

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Thanks for pointing the direction. :-)

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You're welcome

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Hold Harmless agreement - herb zyd Mar 02, 2022

Anyone aware of the pros and cons of a coop board requiring shareholders to agree to a hold harmless agreement for simple contractor work - like carpet cleaning? Thanks.

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The practical uses, requirements, and drawbacks of hold harmless agreements are complex. As a first step, search for "hold harmless" in google, you'll find a ton of articles, After you've have a basic understanding and knowledge of hold harmless agreements, get in touch with you co-op corporation's insurance carrier and speak to your account rep. They should be able to answer your questions and more.

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Mortgage Originators' Requests for Insurance Coverage Increases - Steven424 Feb 23, 2022

Lately, some of my shareholders who are looking to refinance and at least one new purchaser have approached the board with requests to increase insurance coverage limits. What I don't understand is, the increased coverage amounts are minuscule. For example, one ReFi requested an increase in Fidelity Bond (theft and embezzlement) from $435K to $450K. Another was for a D&O increase for some similar small amount.

Has anyone on here been hit with these kinds of requests? If so, how did you handle them with your shareholders, and also with the offending.... errrr... requesting banks? If you said or did something that worked and caused the bank to forego their increase request, please post it on here so the rest of us can benefit.

Thanks!
--- Steve

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Flip Tax - Glazer Feb 22, 2022

I was a holder of unsold shares in a coop. One of the benefits of that status is not being subject to the coop's flip tax. Then, 23 years after I purchased the apartment I moved in. That triggered loss of unsold share holder status. Now, 13 years later, I am selling the apartment. Our Coop has a flip tax based on profit. Do I use the initial purchase price (from 36 years ago) or measure the value of the apartment at the time of loss of holder of unsold share status in computing the flip tax?

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You'd need to ask an accountant (or a lawyer) to be sure, but it's hard to see how you could argue that the base price is anything other than your original acquisition cost. You were the owner from that point forward and your stock and lease surely carry that date.

Also, as a practical matter, unless you had an apartment appraisal done when you lost your status as a Holder of Unsold Shares, you'd be hard pressed to establish its actual value at that point.

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Management company requiring “Refinance Application” - J Feb 07, 2022

My Mom is refinancing her co-op. She is almost done with the process and the management company emailed her today saying she had fill out a refinance application before the recognition agreements were signed. I said to her “wth is that?” She showed me the application and its a blank financial statement as if she buying a co-op asking for all financials credit report and asking for $250 application fee. I told her don't fill it because there is no reason to give this info when she is already a shareholder.
There is nothing in the by-laws, proprietary lease talking about this. She already paid $500 for the questionnaire which ok.
Has anybody every heard of refinance application required by management?

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This is very common, especially if the shareholder is borrowing additional money against their apartment. The coop's shares are being used as collateral and the board has a right to guarantee financial security.

That said, board review of the whole financial package for a straight refinance is pretty silly. We did away with that requirement in our building many years ago. All you have to pay now is the fee for the managing agent to fill out the bank's Coop Questionnaire. No board approval is required for a basic refinance. But other coops can and will vary on this policy.

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yes, many co-ops require financial disclosure for refi. co-op has to sign the agreement so needs to know the details. although most re-fis are for less money i have seen folks take additional cash in the re-fi and impact debt to income ratio.

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Cleaning out Deceased' Unit - NYC Feb 06, 2022

Does anyone know if there is a time frame to clean out a unit by the beneficiaries once the owner has passed?

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I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm assuming you're asking about a standard market-rate co-op unit, so the first questions are, what was your relationship to the deceased, how was the stock certificate titled, and did the deceased have a will. If *any* questions come up about your needing to clean out or vacate the deceased's apartment, they should be referred immediately to the attorney handling the estate.

Very broadly, the answer is, there is no time limit. Depending on a lot of factors, the deceased's ownership of the stock (full or shared), usually passes to a spouse, or the deceased's estate and ultimately to the beneficiaries. As long as monthly financial and habitability obligations are met, things can and should continue pretty much as they were for a very long time.

If there are immediate environmental and health issues like the deceased was a hoarder, maintained more than one or two pets, or there are other sanitary concerns, then correcting those issues take precedence and the board has an obligation towards the rest of the shareholders.

If you could describe in more detail the circumstances behind your question, it would help narrow down responses.

--- Steve

[I am not an attorney and nothing I write is to be considered legal advice. My wife practiced Trust & Estates law and regularly dealt with these issues.]

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Thank you Steve424, I am sorry I was not very clear regarding my question. This is not a high rise comunity, rather garden apartments. The members died 2 and 3 years ago. There is a will leaving the co-op to family members. There are no issues with anyone contesting the will. I had spoken to the family at the time of their loss. They said they needed time to mourn. Since then the family has not removed anything from the unit. The other members are concerned about living in a building with an unmaintained apartment. The concern is not that the unit is uninhabited but rather unkept. We have noticed water bugs in the hallway and the member below hears scratching sounds. Just wanted to know before approaching management again, does the beneficiary who the shares were transferred to, have a time frame to clean out the unit. Our rules do state the co-op can go in once a year to check that the apartments are well maintained although this has never been done since I live here.

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Hi NYC - Thanks for the explanation. As far as I'm aware, there is no time limit in any co-op governing documents (proprietary lease, bylaws, house rules, etc). The shares are owned by some entity, either the decease's estate or the beneficiary if the probate is complete and the shares have been distributed. The new owner has all the privileges and responsibilities of your deceased friend.

What the family needs to be *very* concerned about is the apartment's sanitary condition. If other shareholders complain to the board or board members notice for themselves bugs, vermin, foul odors, etc, the PL should grant them the emergency right to enter the apartment at any time to ascertain its condition. This is in addition to the annual cleanliness check.

If the board discovers any unsafe and/or unsanitary conditions, the board has the right to take whatever actions are required to eliminate the conditions. It can also impose a very short time limit if the conditions are serious. At worst, and if the current shareholder is unresponsive, the board can start a proceeding (called a Pullman Proceeding) to terminate the lease and then evict your friend. That's very messy and your friends can lose everything.

Something else to be concerned about is if there is someone living in the apartment and they are not the share owner or immediate family, the arrangement can be considered an illegal sublet with it's own bag of problems.

It's more complicated than this, and I am not a lawyer, so my advice to you is to contact the attorney who handled the estate and probate, and make them aware of what you wrote above. You can also contact the family, but it sounds like they have their head in the sand

Best of luck.

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Hi Steve424, we don't want to cause the family any problems. I know how difficult it is to remove a loved ones possessions. We, the others living in the building, have agreed to wrote a letter, signed by all of us, to the management company and the B.O.D., requesting they do a walk through, to make sure there no dangerous conditions or vermin taking up residence. :-(. Hopefully the beneficiary will be emotionally ready to clean out the unit and sell. Co-Op's sell very quickly here. Thanks again for the great advice. :-)

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Wouldn't it be nice of all of you to volunteer to help the family. Why don't you slip a note under the door offering your help if needed to clean the apartment.
If it was me I'd tell you guys to MYOB How would you feel in that families place? You all have some nerve. How do you sleep at night? Good Luck

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I sleep very well thank you but I might suggest you take a chill pill.

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This is a sensitive topic, and there are lot's of thoughts about it. The forum is designed to help other board directors, so we ask that personal thoughts on board actions be voiced in the privacy of your space, but not written here.

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Whatever actions you and/or the other family and friends decided to take, I recommend you do it sooner than later. Anyone in the building can lodge an anonymous complaint to 311 or the Dept of Health. If that happens, your friends will have lost control of the situation and will be subject to the whims of government.

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Steve424- I will share your good advice with the others in the building and take immediate action. None of us want that to happen. Regards, NYC, BTW, so glad Carol put a report field up :-)

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I hope this all works out to everyone's satisfaction.

RE: Report Field. I use it extensively on that poor soul who's forever trying to convince us to use his friend to recover all our lost cryptocurrency.

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Adding/Removing People from Stock Certificates - Christian Jan 28, 2022

Hey All, we've had two shareholders recently want to add and remove a family member from their stock certificate. In both cases the transfer attorney our co-op employees charged them $5,000. This seems like an outrageous amount of money to me. Our Treasurer who is friendly with the transfer attorney said it was possible that recent changes in how co-op shares are treated for tax purposes may have led to the high bill. But I've been doing research online and cannot find a single article mentioning this change. Is there a validity to this or are our shareholders being gouged.

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toilet backup - dee Jan 25, 2022

Hi There,
If anyone could give some advise..please? Live in a co-op and having an issue with our toilet backing up. It starts off making gurgling sounds when neighbor upstairs flushes his toilet then all this water comes spewing up..just great..we call to tell management. They send the plumber...Plumber snakes the pipe...2 weeks not even ...later gurgling noises again and water spewing ...tell the plumber..comes back snakes it again...not quite 2 weeks and its making same noises etc..I contacted management...their girl in the office starts yelling at me (shareholder) that i the plumber was here twice already and I can't keep calling them to have plumber here to unclog my toilet! What??? Excuse me but first we can't just call the plumber unless it goes through management and the toilet getting clogged is not of my doing?? There is a problem clearly in the sewer pipes is my understanding if when the neighbor flushes my toilet gets backed up.
Management is trying to put the responsibility on me to pay to have this done?? I need to "maintain" my toilet. What?? If the toilet is 7 years old and the toilet isn't the problem its the plumbing.
How do go about getting them to get this resolved? The plumber has been working this property for 30 years and I honestly think he's been just milking this place. He never went upstairs to check neighbors toilet, never went under building to check pipes. My memory plumbers are all over the place checking to see whats going on..

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Hello:

Where is your Super? He should be involved and speaking with the plumber and the management company. You’re right it’s more then snaking. It’s not your responsibility. What happened with your neighbor? Also where is your managing agent. I’m assuming it’s not just whoever answers the phone at the management company. Speak or email the President of the management company and/or Board about the girl being disrespectful to you - the client.

Have you contacted the Board?

Anyone else on the line that has this issue besides two units?

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They let go of the super 2 years ago. We now have no on site maintenance person. They hired someone who quit. Probably due to the board. Someone on the board asked him to stay and he said; "Its not worth it"
The office keeps saying "its only my unit" funny i've seen the plumbers truck here all year in various units in this building and the Duplex behind.
Think they are trying to push the problem ($$$) on me. Yet you can't just call anyone if you wanted too without asking the office first. (which i"m sure you know how that works) I had cleaned out the toilet last night just to make sure no overflow and woke up this am to what must have been the neighbor flushing and now his stuff is filled my toilet this am!
I dont know if I should call the board of health, my neighbor upstairs suggested to call the state..Im trying today to get the management by phone. I emailed them twice yesterday with photos of whats going on and heard nothing back I even took a Video of the toilet backing up after asking the neighbor to flush for me...
Due I threaten to stop making any payments to them and use the $$$ to pay a plumber?? A police report? I dont know but this am I am so upset..this is disgusting..

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Are you friendly with other shareholders who might support your request to the Board? We have an issue in our co-op and I'm basically organizing my neighbors (even though I'm on the Board) to get the old timers to do something about it.

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yes I am...and did get some help..they thought it was terrible no response from management. As you can imagine board members try not to be seen to often unless of course they are looking for a vote..then their knocking at your door..right now they remedied the problem but its going to happen again unless they fix the cause. Maybe if i put an out house on the front lawn they'll wake up..lol

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Nothing worse than a lazy managing agent. Email them saying you give them 24 hours until you call 311.

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i had my finger on the towns board of health..when the plumber called in...of course snaked the toilet again..now they have to get back with a camera and look down there...my guess ...pipe needs replacing..over 60 years old ..Its TIME...then they want to put an access pipe IN MY BATHROOM?? uh ..no that goes on pipe under buidling..talking about cutting through pipe in wall and perhaps making a door to access...crazy..they won't go under building ..why is that?? all that pipe will do is make it so they don't have to lift toilet off...so make my bathroom a mess ...try again..or try fixing the problem with the clogged pipe..

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You should try snaking the vent pipe, sounds like the vent is starving for air with the gurgling sound? I had a problem like this and we found the vent pipe was partially clogged with scale and other items that people throw down the pipe.

Good luck!

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Yes! I have suggested this and it seems the plumber that comes here doesn't even want to go under building to check pipes, upstairs to neighbor whenever it is suggested. I get a "no" when i suggest that the stack pipe may be the problem. I dont understand why?? Any plumber I've ever seen work is checking the whole house when they arrive?? Either this guy is milking the co op by visiting and then "we' the shareholders are getting remarks from management like "you can't keep calling the plumber every time your toilet gets clogged! Later for them...happens again im calling department of health, or the state..

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Proprietary Lease Says Nothing About No Dogs - J Jan 20, 2022

There are no rules in proprietary lease or house rules banning dogs. But me and wife heard there a no dogs allowed and we have not seen any dogs around the property. The shareholders here seem to be in lala land walking around in fear of the board. I We want to get a dog but are trying to figure out how to go about it. The board sucks and have not had any annual shareholders meetings in 2 years. Management said its up to the board on case bases. I think thats b.s. We would like to know would there be any legal ramifications if we get a dog and then we are told to get rid of it?

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No meeting in two years? That is in violation of the lease/by-laws. Covid is not an excuse., They can hold it online now. I would move. Probably your coop sucks.

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If your PL and House Rules don't mention a "no dog" rule, then there isn't a rule banning dogs. I agree that mgt seems to be copping out with the case by case basis.

I would email the Board and cc the Board's atty asking if there is a rule prohibiting non-service dogs and to please provide it for your records. (Service animals must be allowed if medical documentation is provided)

If they can't give you written proof that dogs are not allowed, then you ARE allowed to have them. The email is your paper trail.

Good luck.

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Our co-op doesn't allow animals...yet the board member who interviewed one of our neighbors heard a parrot in her place. lol So, that being said ppl will have an animal. Here if they don't see it or here it they won't complain. We do have someone here who has a small dog and its a therapy dog for their son who is autistic. Well, she was being obvious walking it all around the place and the dog got attention naturally and then it happened...one pain in the neck board member with the big head complained..turns out the woman who has the dog her sister is an attorney went to court and they are still here with dog. So, it is true if the dog is needed as therapy they can get passed the board. Its discrimination if not allowed. I mean what if you have lived in your co-op for years and you go blind and need a seeing eye dog? What are they going to do kick a person out? Don't think so..I would tho if you do get one look into some type of insurance just in case their is an issue and have it trained.

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Can a co-op be Inherited via a will? - Queens Jan 19, 2022

Can I leave my co-op to a friend who is not an owner or on the proprietary lease in my will? The person would not want to live in the co-op, it would be sold.

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I am not a lawyer. My wife practiced Trust & Estates law, and this is from memory of our discussion on this topic.

You can leave your shares in the co-op in your will to anyone. If your Proprietary Lease is the one commonly in use, the person you leave it to will have to undergo the same financial review, interview, and any other activities normally associated with a new purchase. The person is *not* guaranteed the shares will be transferred into their name just because the deceased owner said so.

In your will you might want to direct that the shares be sold by the executor of your estate and the proceeds from the sale given to your friend and not bequest to your friend outright.

Keep in mind that there are overlapping and sometimes contradictory tax consequences in the way your estate is distributed. All of these questions should be answerable by the attorney who is preparing your estate. If you're not using an attorney, whatever will you prepare stands a good chance of being disqualified, at which point the Surrogate's or Probate Court will step in and do what *they* want.

Remember, I Am Not A Lawyer. I was just married to one. You need to seek the advice of a qualified T&E attorney to make sure what you want after you're gone is what will actually take place.

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Thank you Steve. I have an appointment with an attorney next week. Your advice was very informative and helpful.

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Thanks, Queens.

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FYI Steve, I now have a will. It was very easy and the fee was well worth the peace if mind. Thanks again...

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Hi Queens - I'm glad you found the estate planning process to be a positive experience and many bonus points for going to an attorney. :-D

I hope others on this board read your messages and feel a little less anxious about taking the first step.

May you not need probate for a very very long time!
--- Steve

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