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Board Confidentiality vs. Government Inquiries - H. Dec 22, 2019

If the Department of Buildings, NYPD, or Fire Department was investigating violations or other matters,, and the Board had otherwise confidential information that would be of assistance, could it be freely disclosed?
(This is a hypothetical)

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I'm checking with the Board's attorney before I disclose anything.

I worked for a law enforcement agency. This sounds like a 3rd party request for info, meaning that the original agency with the info (the co-op) would have to give permission to the agency requesting the info (DOB, NYPD, FDNY, etc) before the info could be disclosed.

To me, confidential information that would be of assistance is not necessarily the same as information that is mandatory to disclose. I do not think the confidential info SHB disclosed.

See what your lawyer says.

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Maybe I watch too many police procedurals (binging “ Bull”) but indulge me.
What if the police are urgently investigating a crime in an apartment and can’t locate the shareholder. A Board member has the purchase application that includes family contacts, employer information..) it can’t be shared without delay?

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

That's why I made a distinction between "being of assistance" vs. what you now describe as "investigating a crime." Big difference.

If someone needed to enter the apartment, then I'd say that most co-ops have emergency contact information for shareholders, including the name and number of a person who had an extra key.

As a Board member, I have every legal obligation to protect our shareholders' privacy. That's why I'd be checking with our Board's attorney before I disclose any information a 3rd party.

You must have had a specific circumstance in mind when you asked your question. Why don't you just ask about it and maybe someone can give you an absolute answer?

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A hypothetical -What if the police were going door to door in the
building, on a weekend, asking for information on the whereabouts of a shareholder who is a crime suspect. If a Board member had the
purchase application with family contacts, and good friends who wrote letters of recommendation, could that be disclosed to the police?

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Does your board know you are contacting the co-ops attorney for personal reasons Marty? Who ever's question this is, the police can check the names on the buzzer console or call the super/managing agent. Everything is posted in the lobby entry way. So the police, fire dept. or family and friends have the names and apt.#s Whether you rent or live in a co-op or condo.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

I would certainly check with my fellow Board members to get their input and get a consensus before contacting the attorney.

By doing so, it becomes a Board decision and not just my own.

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In my hypothetical, the police KNOW the name of the shareholder. But he is a crime suspect and they are urgently trying to find him. Add to the scenario that the Managing Agent’s office is closed.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Since the police are looking for a suspect, I think the Board should cooperate with the police in any way possible to help them do their job.

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Considering all the different possibilities and permutations of requests and responses, this is a good question to ask your board attorney *before* you have to deal with it directly, possibly in an emergency. Your attorney should know, or at least be able to find out for you what you are required to disclose and under what circumstances.

This would also make an excellent article for Habitat to have one of its legal contributors put together. Just sayin'... ;-)

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I live in a 8 unit coop. A few years ago we had the neighbors from hell - they were running a carpentry shop from their basement using all kinds of VOCs and toxic chemicals; in the midst of this, a tree from the same neighbors rental building fell on my fence and into my backyard and the landlord would not do anything to rectify the situation. In addition, he was renting to a college students who did not understand the basics about how to be good neighbors in terms of noise, parties, etc. Most of this affected me, being located on the first floor on the side of the building next to this horrid neighbor. All this was very distressing and the coop board did not want to do anything to help make my space safe and livable because it really did not affect anyone else in the building.
In my efforts to reduce chemical exposure to myself and my son, I asked the board to assist. They would not and said so adamantly despite my efforts to engage them. At one point, in order to try to further make my case at a shareholders meeting, I asked if they had seen the photos that I had taken with the wood working products stashed right in the window outside my bedroom. The sarcastic response by the soon-to-be president was "I've seen it 100 times". At the same meeting, the current president made the announcement, unprovoked "no one wants to work with you". Then her husband called me disingenuous person. Things continued downhill from there to the point where I have been bad-mouthed, shunned and excoriated at various meetings that followed. I expressed that the ongoing bad mouthing of me at meetings was akin to bullying and scapegoating. (There are 2-3 board members that have been particularly ugly).
With all that said, I would like to know if there is anything that I can do to compel them to stop pouncing on me and attacking me publicly and personally for saying something that they simply do not agree with. Following a great deal of research and reading on the subject of bullying, I have learned that repeated intentional humiliation is a form of bullying. Is there anything that I can do legally to stop the public excoriations and allow me to come to meetings without the anxiety of public humiliation and would compel the board to stop these types of public and personal attacks?

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No good - David Dec 19, 2019

Why are the people so nasty in this building? We went to go see it and when they showed us
the garage it smelled like urine!! what kind of place are they operating here?? not friendly at all!!

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?????

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Hmm... I hope you realize that no one can possibly understand what in the world you're talking about. And that this is not the forum to ask amorphous questions.

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David - if you were thinking of renting or buying in the building, sounds like you got your answer

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shareholders names/addresses - list of shareholders & addresses Dec 16, 2019

do shareholders of a coop have the right to have a list of shareholders and their addresses if the use of the list relates to apartment building business?

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The Truth about rights to shareholder list.

According to the BCL 624, Yes shareholders have a right to review the list with names and addresses, number of shares and date that ownership became effective otherwise known as the record date.

However the person requesting the list is required to
sign an affidavits stating that this list will not be sold or used for any nefarious purposes.

So basically if you are approved to review the list which by the way the key word here is review. They do not just give you a copy of the shareholder list. They allow you to review it in the office where it is being housed and make extracts, in other words bring a pen or two and a ream of paper.

If you are denied the right to the S.L. because lets say you want to share negative information about a board member, then the only way to get access to it is probably with the help of an attorney.

This question has been asked so many times through the years, clearly not very many people have been successful in obtain a copy of the shareholder listing.

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There is a  podcast by Robert Baverman

Titled: What documents are we required to permit unit owners/shareholders to review?

that you should find helpful.

https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Ten-Questions-About/Legal-Advice-for-Co-op-Condo-Boards

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Live in super - peoples choice #1 Dec 10, 2019

Our co-op has a live in super for way over 20 yrs. for the last few yrs. he has been very lacked and sends the handyman in his place. A couple of times a shareholder will be knocking on his door, no answer. So I called him on his cell he comes out of his apt. and straight in front of us.
With new equipment and 85% shareholders have renovated their apts. he is not needed 24/7 if anything he should be on part time and be replaced by the handyman. My question is how do we get everyone on board to agree to sell his given apt. and hire an emergency company after 5PM-8PM since the record shows the hotline will instruct the shareholder what to do or wait until the super comes around at 8AM. FYI if he comes at night he smells from beer and saids don't call at night.

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Sounds like you just really need to get rid of the super, ASAP. Questions come to my mind... Union/Nonunion? What is the manager doing in all this?
Why would you want to sell the apartment? How many units are in the building? Do you need the handyman also, or just an adept superintendent?

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

REAPLLC- We are Union Managing agent needs to also go they are also to comfortable after 12 yrs. the agent also calls the super before they come to our building. Thats when the super starts to do things so he can see him doing work.
If we don't have a live in super and higher a company to be on emergency call 24/7 Why not sell the apt? We have a great handyman and porter, like I said the handyman does 99% of the supers job.

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There are two NYC laws related to this. Depending on the size of your building and the number of units you can be required by law to have a live super.

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Gas Line Testing - Local Law 152 - REAPLLC Nov 22, 2019

Here''s a conversation starter and food for thought... Con Ed is on a shut down frenzy and it's going to get worse!

As many are aware, all buildings need to be tested and inspected by a licensed professional, with certifications beginning whenever your specific community Board schedule mandates.

Many pre-war or war era buildings could never pass a pressure test if put to it, and if a line is suspect, they will pressure test it and shut it down.

The inspections right now are simple visual inspections followed by an ambient gas leak detector scan around all visible lines (my assumption is that within a couple short years they will amend the law to include a 5 year pressure test). Only if something is suspect does it become an issue. I was informed by one of our plumbers that Con Ed is wanting them to have special waist clipped detectors that are automatic and will contact Con Ed autonomously if ambient gas is detected. This can be a nightmare since it does not give the opportunity to resolve a simple issue before getting Con Ed involved.

Whats the solution? There isn't one that I know of, butt what I am doing in all my buildings is equipping the supers with personal gas leak detectors and performing constant in house inspections. preemptively replace anything that seems suspect and start making plans and budgets to replace individual lines.

Anyone else have any ideas, thoughts or preventative measures to suggest?

~AR

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I did a full podcast with this with Greg Quattlander from NY Plumbing, and you may find it useful. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/20-local-law-152-2016-gas-inspections-greg-quattlander/id1316217394?i=1000457877512

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RF Reports and Cell Site Antennas (5G) - REAPLLC Nov 21, 2019

I have a verizon cell site on one of my buildings where they are wanting to convert to 5G. I am very skeptical about the RF bleed levels into the building and any exposure to my residents in the building. There seems to be too little known about the long term effects of exposure at various levels. FCC sidesteps the safety issues by allowing for signage and precautions on the roof or where ambient RF is, as a way of making what is otherwise not legally acceptable now acceptable and somehow safe.
I have requested from the carrier a complete RF report showing the levels in and out of the building. They agreed and now supplied me with this report which to me does not look as if I would want it in my home, but FCC says its safe with certain compliance mitigations, which is merely signage!

Here's my question: Since I am not an RF engineer, or an expert at reading these reports and only making my assessment based on my limited knowledge and experience, does anyone have or kn-ow of an engineer who can read the report, assess and evaluate the risk and make a recommendation as to whether I should permit or deny the upgrade application?

This is something that I believe effects many buildings, and Board Members and Managers should do whatever possible to not only ensure the safety of the residents, but to mitigate any risk or liability on our end.

Thoughts? Advice? Referrals?

~AR

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Valid questions and concerns. We have also wrestled with the long term effects of cell towers.

I agree that there is no definitive long term info out there and because of that, we have declined to install it in our co-op. For us, it would be like taking blood money at this time.

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Security Cameras - Unosay Nov 15, 2019

Our cooperative has not had a quorum in 11 years which is bothers me because we are a large cooperative.Quite a few shareholders didn't get the notice and a complete master list has been denied so we can't reach out to all shareholders. Is a redacted shareholder's list legal? Our board is not knowledgeable about the BCL's and our attorney allows them to do as they please. Security is of the upmost concern here for all due to alleged drug dealing. The board and management has allowed it to escalate to the point we are destroying the quality of life on an entire block of cooperatives. They just started to install cameras on every floor without discussing it with the shareholders. This is after removing live security ten years ago and installing cameras around the complex which is a cul-de-sac. Shareholders were not asked their opinion then nor are they asking them now. What can we do to get our voices heard? Shareholders are reluctant to sign a petition for a special meeting out of fear of retaliation from the board or refusal of services.

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you are not alone in having shareholders that are disheartened.  I have the same situation in my co-op,

There have been many people who have run or wanted to run for the board but once the current board members and property manager got wind of the candidates, the retaliation began.

Little by little people started to back away, so far away that they stopped coming to meeting or giving their proxies to be voted on their behalf. 

It is difficult to get these shareholders back once they have had their cars damaged, their beautiful gardens that they planted destroyed and were last on the list for any repairs or any type of service.

However, we did get a petition together by gathering a brave group of people from various sections, going door to door to get signatures.  We were successful and with our request for a Special Meeting following the guidelines of our by-law, we were able to stop the few real mostly dummy cameras from being installed. BTW the cameras were from a friend on the board.

As far as the shareholder list section 624 of BCL, I believe you can review the list even write down information but the list only shows the name number of shares and possible unit number. 

Shareholder addresses are to be kept and recorded but the shareholders addresses are confidential except to the person(s) who have fiduciary responsibilities, agents or attorneys and would be needed if legal action was brought against the board.

If a shareholder wants their name redacted from the list seen by other shareholders, an affidavits can be drawn up to protect their privacy.

In the link below it states “For starters, according to the BCL (Section 607), “Upon request, any shareholder is entitled to receive a list of all shareholders [in the building], with the addresses of any non-residents.”  It only mentions address of non-residents.

https://cooperator.com/article/i-got-rights/full

I worked for a large financial institution.. we did not even give the shareholders name. They were referenced by a number. Since co-op are governed by the same laws. I would say you would not be able to see addresses.

https://www.upcounsel.com/lectl-access-to-shareholder-lists-who-and-how

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By-Laws Amendment - marym Nov 11, 2019

We recently had a by-laws amendment proposal approved at a special shareholders' meeting. The notice of the meeting contained the proposed language and it was also read out at the meeting prior to the vote. However, when we got the amended by-laws, they did not contain the exact wording that was voted on. Sentences were moved around and new language added. I thought the verbatim proposal should be in the new by-laws with no changes. Anybody have advice? Thanks.

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Sounds like the co-op's attorney needs to get involved immediately. What you voted on is not what is now written in the amended by laws. Therefore, the new amended by laws as now written were never approved by a vote of the shareholders at the special meeting.

From my experience, the wording in the proposed by law amendment must be exactly the same as the written by law amendment after the voting takes place.

Some questions come to mind:

Was the attorney present at the special meeting?
Did the attorney draft the proposed by law amendment?

Speak to that attorney ASAP. Good luck.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Thank you Marty and NYC.

The proposal was drafted by one Board member (in consultation with her own personal attorney). Some shareholders had encouraged the Board to invite our attorney for a discussion prior to the vote but the Board refused.

In various emails, we were told by the Board that our attorneys had "vetted the proposal's legality and language;" "reviewed the amendment for legality and clarity of language;" " "this plain language document has been vetted by our attorney at...for clarity and legal precedent...;" and "It has been carefully reviewed by the Co-op attorney." We don't know for sure that the co-op's attorney actually approved the document that was mailed to us purporting to be the new By-Laws. There was a Certification included from our secretary that said "I hereby certify that the annexed document is a true and accurate copy of the By-laws of the Corporation and that said By-laws are in full force and effect as of October 28, 2019, and have been properly amended as of October 28, 2019." Nowhere does she say they were voted on on that date.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

You are being handed a bunch a gobbledygook with the "various emails" explanation. Of course the motion must be vetted for legality and clarity of language - but it's supposed to be done by the co-op's attorney, not the personal attorney of a Board member. That doesn't pass the smell test. Keep in mind what Judge Judy says: "If it doesn't make sense then it's probably not true."

This tells me that your co-op's attorney has probably no idea what's going on - only because he/she has been intentionally kept out of the loop. That raises red flags.

If this is such an honestly drafted amendment, then why has the Board operated in such secrecy about it? Why is the Board paying money to retain an attorney and then not use him/her for such an important matter such as a by law amendment? You know the answer.

Bottom line - as you stated, what was voted on is NOT what's now being presented as having been voted on. That is illegal and invalid. NYC and I agree on this.

There's something very rotten going on here with this Board and it can impact the lives of everyone in the co-op. Someone has got to stop this. You've taken the first step by reaching out here for opinions. Take this ball and run with it - straight to your attorney.

My suggestion is to call the co-op's attorney and personally meet with him/her to show him/her this conversation that we are having here on Board Talk. I think your attorney will be very surprised, among other emotions.

Best of luck.

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I have to agree. According to Roberts Rules "The proposed amendment, has to be precisely worded". As was it was in notice of special meeting.

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down payment - pauline Nov 04, 2019

can I use my 401k money for the down payment

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You’d need to check with the rules of your particular 401K plan. I think that most plans allow it, but make 100% sure about your own plan before doing anything.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

401k's allow for hardship withdrawals which you don't have to pay back. For example paying a house, dental bills, Dr. bills. The other one is a loan against your 401k this allows you to pay back into your 401k every payday.
I chose the Hardship withdrawal. Talk to your human resources or the person in charge of 401k's. You'll need to fill out papers if you chose a hardship withdrawal. Best of Luck and let us know what you decide.

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Co-op Intercom System Upgrade - Board Prez Oct 30, 2019

To upgrade an aging Video Intercom system, can the board bill individual shareholders for the intercom panel inside their units, or does the cost have to be recovered through an assessment? If the shareholders pay for the panels, do they become individually responsible for the maintenance and replacement of that portion of the system?

Thank you

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Systems like GateGuard® (which is only $49.99/mo) will ring your phone, iPhone, Android, or tablets which you can put anywhere in your apartment.

It's a massive waste of money to install on-wall units. (Those who want on-wall units can get them from GateGuard, and they can use existing wiring saving you many thousands on labor. Or they can mount a Samsung tablet to the wall and get the same functionality from the GateGuard app).

Hundreds of buildings across NYC and North America use GateGuard. It's impact resistant, works in all weather, is insured (if it fails they'll replace it free!), and they install it themselves so you're not paying thousands in markups to a 3rd party installer. You'll see them all over NYC, the glowing blue screens.

Https://teman.com/GateGuard

(if the history of this board is any judge, sadly you'll now see ugly replies and false accusations from guys trying to push cheap Chinese knockoffs and sell their expensive installation services... Buyer beware. Speak directly to the sources!)

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If the system is needed, the Board can certainly choose to assess if the funds are not in reserve or on hand. The mechanics of the assessment are also at the discretion of the Board.
I have a building where we did a complete system, which allows for a basic panel in the apartment (also has mobile capabilities), and multiple individual upgrade options for the interior panels. The building supplied a basic panel and Shareholders have the opportunity to upgrade at their own cost. Any and all upgrades are become a part of the building system and remain as such.
Consequently, the repairs and ongoing maintenance is a building responsibility.

I hope that helps
~AR

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Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

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