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Collecting Proxies & Soliciting - Beth Apr 02, 2007


My building currently accepts proxies for our Annual Meeting & Board of Directors election at our front desk. Last year, on at least one occasion, a proxy left for one running candidate was delivered to another accidently. A request for a "ballot box" or lockbox has been rejected by our Board. Any suggestions for ways around this, or other precedent?

We've also had shareholder complaints about our super soliciting them for their proxies. He's been accused of giving the proxies to a Board member/candidate that he has a favorable relationship with. Is it commonly accepted that supers can act shareholders for their proxies?


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Major US corporations direct proxies to a trustee (usually a bank representative) with some rules on how the vote is going to be directed for those shares where no preference is indicated.

I find co-ops should institute something similar. At best, shareholders should direct the proxies to Management or to the co-op counsel for purposes of counting and making sure a quorum is attained. However, a good board should make some provisions, policy or decision by way of resolution on how proxy statements should be voited if the shareholder fails come to the meeting. Such decision should be part of the instructions on the proxy. In this way, every shareholder will feel confident of returning a proxy in the event you are not familiar with other shareholders way of thinking.

Finally, if I were you, I would write a letter to the board stating your idea. Similarly, if you want to "rock" the meeting, this would be a good topic that you should be introduced at the annual shareholders' meeting to increase confidence on the proxy system. Again, seize the moments and use it to your best advantage!

AdC




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Beth - If you allow proxies to be left at your front desk, they should all be given to the managing agent who should give them to the Inspectors of Election at the annual meeting. You didn't say if they were left at the front desk in sealed envelopes - they should be. Front desk people, other staff and shareholders not named on the proxies have no business being involved or privy to proxy information. You also didn't say if proxies left for a candidate that were accidentally delivered to another candidate were transfered and tallied properly - or if the candidate who got them by mistake used them for himself.

Because some people are Board directors doesn't mean they have the right to access proxies or know who named whom as their proxy. I think your Board is wrong in not allowing a ballot box or lockbox to be kept at the front desk for proxies which, as I said above, should be kept sealed and given to the Inspectors of Election at the meeting.

Your super also has no business soliciting shareholders for proxies - and he should be told so outright by the managing agent. Shareholders should be advised in writing that a Board has a duty to do the best possible job for the coop and shareholders should use sound judgment and carefully consider all candidates based on their experience, ability and qualifications. This can be done in a diplomatic way.

Just because a super likes someone or finds someone easy to work with (maybe because that person makes his job easy by letting him do what he wants or do things his way) doesn't mean that someone is a good Board director. The super is an employee, not a shareholder, and has no vested interest in the coop, except for keeping his job and not having to work harder than he has to.


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Hi BP,
You sound very knowledgeble, are you in the realty business, and if so, can I contact you directly?


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Thanks for the compliment, Beth. Sorry but I'm not in the realty biz - just a shareholder who's been on the Board a long time, like to live in a nice place, and have a say in making it the best it can be for everyone. Our mgmt firm used to tell me I should become a property manager. I may be a sucker for punishment by wanting to be on my Board for so long, but a property manager? I'm not looking for that much punishment - haha!


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I forgot to say in my other message that you can't totally prevent your super from talking about Board candidates to shareholders and if he does it quietly you likely won't know it. You said you got complaints from people about his soliciting for their proxies. The managing agent should let him know if he values his job he'll stop doing that. You should keep reminding shareholders that as the Board goes so goes the coop and the action of any Board can have long-term impact, so whom they choose to represent their homes and investments should not be taken lightly.


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While I agree with you BP that the super should not get involed or canvass during election time, there is usually a reason one does. I have seen in the past where boards/management make house rules etc and the first ones to break them are the ones that set them in place to begin with. If in fact the super is canvassing (which I do not recommend)there is a reason behind it. After all the super is the "eyes and ears" of your Coop and probably knows more than anyone else about the "going ons".

FN


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FN - I agree with you that the super is a coop's "eyes and ears." He can be a source of info, but I've also found that when you ask for help he often resists. He doesn't want to tell people they don't recycle properly or are supposed to clean up their dog's mess in the lobby. He's afraid they won't like him anymore or doesn't want to be the "bad guy" and risk not getting $ at Christmas.

FN - I also agree with you that Boards/mgmt are sometimes the first ones to break rules, and there's usually a reason a super tries to canvas during election time. If you have responsible, fair, honest Board members, they shouldn't let one of them break rules. No one wants to turn a coop into a police state but the law of "what applies to one applies to all" should stand. Also, if a Board lets one Board member break rules, it reflects poorly on the entire Board.

Just my opinions --


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BP,I agree with most of what you say. If only it were so simple. If you are going to ask the super " to police" your building you had better back him 110%. To be quiet honest it is not a great idea to put the super in the line of fire as just by doing his job he may be in trouble. Example you inform your super to enforce a house rule regarding dog in the lobby. Soon enough all the people that walk their dog through the lobby will be pissed off with the super and fabricate stories etc. Come holiday season he suffers.

Now my question to you is, do you compensate your superintendent for loss of potential earnings at holiday season for doing a very good job and carring out your policies?

FN.


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FN - I too wish coop life was that simple. We do back our super 110% and make it very clear to shareholders that he's following directives. No one gripes and he doesn't suffer at holiday time. In fact, he does very well. I think people appreciate him more because he does a good job and he DOES remind people about certain things when he has to -- and in a firm but courteous and non-confrontational way. Bldgs have to decide about a super based on their specific needs.

I mentioned people cleaning up a dog's mess. Works for us, maybe not everywhere. Our super lives in but works Mon-Fri, 6am-2pm. He has another PT job, night school, doesn't get home until 10pm. We had 4 dogs when we enacted a no-dogs policy so they stayed. After them, no more dogs. We have a very expensive, dark-color lobby rug. The dogs are old now and make messes that aren't readily noticed - until someone steps in them. The super is told about dog accidents and he reminds owners it's their job to clean them up. In this case, he gets support from residents for doing this because no one wants to step in it, and it ruins our rug.

Like most things, when people see that rules a super helps to enforce benefit them they don't complain or take it out on him. Won't always work, but we keep trying to find ways to do our job, keep as many people happy as we can (they won't all be happy all the time, of course) and keep the coop environment cordial and...cooperative.

BTW, if anyone's wondering who cleans up dog messes when our super isn't on duty, it's not a problem anymore. The dog owners do because they know everyone in the bldg knows who they are, and if anyone will take heat about dog-doo in the lobby, elevator or wherever, they will.


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It boils down to doing what is profitable and easy versus doing what is right. The shareholders can break the house rules and the super allows it so he won't get short changed at Christmas by correcting them. What ever happened to doing the right thing?


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V, with all due respect you are missing the point. The issue we were discussing was doing the right thing and (here is the kicker, the board weighing in behind you). It is not a financial gain at holiday season for enforcing their policies (although it is nice to know that the board/residents appreciate you " policeing" their building on their behalf)

FN


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that went on for years at my building. in fact, the assistant manager used to call some people down to the office and "suggest" they sign a proxy. with Honest Ballot our elections are a lot fairer


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Our managing agent gets our proxies but a shareholder insists on us using a suggestion box. The managing agent doesn't do anything to discourage this person. Our election results were in question once and management blamed the errors on the software.


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We have a board member who was caught forging proxies...
He signed in for owners he knew would not attend the meeting, filled out their proxies, and voted for himself.
We have no idea how long this has gone on. And, unfortunately for a number of reasons (another issue) we do not trust our management to count the votes. Therefore we had the votes counted at the last Shareholders meeting, with observers.
I believe that shareholder have a legal right to have the counting of the votes monitored. There are agencies who specialize in this, and it’s a common practice -- telling us that we are not paranoid.
Some, management companies prefer (ours is very tight with the forger) specific board members. IE: Board members who don’t question their recommendations. (Another issue)


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>

yes a big problem. the first time i ran for the board i lost by 2 votes. two people came up to me and told me that when they went to vote in person they were told a proxy was already submitted and were not told they could revoke that proxy by voting in person. one was a person who was in the hospital and was not expected to be home ---this was known to management. i wonder how many other proxies were voted by management and the board.


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Parking Garage Door Noise - Queen of Queens Apr 02, 2007


Our 200 unit co-op has a ground level parking garage and recently the tenant who lives directly above it, who is not a shareholder, has made a complaint to management that the door mechanism can be heard loudly in his apartment every time the a car goes in an out. It is loud and is a nuisance. Can this constitute a breach to the right of quiet enjoyment a tenant has within their apartment. This is the first we've heard about the noise in all the years he's resided there. It is a sponsor-owned apartment. Whose responsibility is it to investigate this complaint and does it need to be remedied now if it has been noisy for many years? Does the co-op have an obligation to muffle/attenuate the noise or is it the sponsor? Thanks.


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Why are you surprised that the garage door now starts making noise? Don't you know a wonderful phrase called "mechanical failure"? Similarly, remember the movie "My Greek Wedding" and the use of Windex? Well, I bought the super and the porter a separate can of "10-40" or 3-in-1 oil. It works wonders on hinges and in Dracula's castle!

So... the lesson is the door belongs to the co-op; it is becoming noisy and requires some tender care.

No matter who lives above, there is a shareholder or a sponsor paying the amount of maintenance required to live there. It is not a favor or hand-me down. So, no matter how much you like or dislike the person is entitle to service.

The co-op is responsible and no two ways to escape responsibility!

AdC


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bad management company - al dente Mar 31, 2007


what do you do when your current management company of 12 years (knowing they are about to be replaced) lets their service deteriorate. they have given our accountants a hassle getting info for annual statements, they have not sent a bank reconciliation since december. monthly accounting statements from february still have not been provided. communication between the company and coop office employee is strained. there are many other factors playing into this that i should not get into on a public board. has anyone successfully sued a management company for such activities?


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Well, if you say they know that they are about to be replace, this is the attitude you may get or should expect.

Why do you think many employers leave workers out when advanced notice is given? to prevent disruptive behaviors.

So, when changing management, you should be as secretive as possible to avoid unresponsiveness.

AdC


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well there are other circumstances playing into this. our manager left us. he was still an employee of this company managing other buildings while supposedly working solely for us 24/7. he leaves and winds up at THIS COMPANY. they have been doing our back office operations over these 12 yrs. so with only 3 weeks notice we were forced to interview managemnt companies----as you know not nearly enough time to conduct this process. especially when you consider the management companies normally give you 60 days notice when they don't want to manage your building. so there are a lot of factors entering into this.


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I disagree: Our Board fired our previous manangment company, and not only did they continue to behave in a professional manner, they assisted the transition.

Its in the best intrest of the outgoing manangement to behave in a proper manner. The world of manangement, due to communication through the internet, is growing very small. And reputations do matter.






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Logic would dictate that if someone is displeased with services being rendered that the company make a concerted effort to improve service and not slack off.

But I guess when emotions are involved, logic doesn't come into play.


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If the management company is that bad...maybe you give there name...so no one else will use them!


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Jan, this is not a site where we wash our dirty laundry.We do not through names out there. This was discussed in the past. See archieves.

FN


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We need a good plumber - BP Mar 30, 2007


We've used Fred Smith, Capital Care and ABR Plumbing for years. The quality of work's gone downhill. They now have a bad attitude, are often rude, and say, "If you don't want to use us again, don't." They won't guarantee their repairs or fix a problem we thought was fixed unless we pay them to do it again or they do more work that will cost us more.

All 3 companies are disappointing us repeatedly. We never had problems with them and we're not a demanding group. There are many plumbers in NYC, and we don't need this. Can anyone recommend a plumber who does good work, won't argue with us at every turn, or try to convince us we need a lot of costly work done that we know we don't need? Thanks.


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also, you should ask the superintendent's club...


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BP we all need good plumbers but are your expectations a little too high. I have worked with many plumbing companies over the years some good some bad. If your are looking for a plumbing company to agree with you all the time, then they are not honest and doing their job. Do you have enough knowledge of plumbing and how it works to second guess these companies?

FN.


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FN - I know what you're saying, but our expectations are not too high and we don't try to second guess plumbers on everything. Examples of why we're dissatisfied

- Didn't keep an appointment or call 3 times in a row, said later they "forgot" or "had more important work to do".

- Billed us twice for the same work (4 times!).

- Replaced an old broken pipe with...an old broken pipe!

- Ignore "details" like putting in a washer or filling a hole. Still have leaks and they want to charge us to come back and do what they should have done the first time.

- Broke mirror on an owner's medicine cabinet with a wrench (super saw him do it), won't pay for it, claims he didn't do it and it's his word against the super's (super is very honest, been with us 14 years).

- Says pipes (put in 6 months ago by another plumber) are causing leaks because they're "poor quality copper" (?), wants $1,000 to replace them.

One or another of the 3 plumbing companies we use did the above (the same one didn't do all of them), and these are just a few examples of incidents in the past year. Any recommendations for a plumber are welcome.


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BP - I use Tana Plumbing and they are great. They are straight forward and reliable. Call them at 914-393-8620, Harry is the owner, tell him Virginia sent you from the Bronx, 1910.

Gin


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Now I understand your frustration a little better. You have been so unlucky I guess. I use one of the companies you have issues with Fred Smith and have found them OK. Here are a few suggestions which may help.

1. Try to find similar buildings to yours (when built, plumbing layout etc), and who does their plumbing.

2. Monitor your plumbers a little closer when they visit.

3. Can your Management Company recommend a plumbing outfit? (they obviously have many buildings).

4. Does you super network with other supers (on your block,)
They may have a good plumbing company.

5. If/when you do get a good mechanic, try to schedule the work so he is available. If I find that an individual is very good at handling my service repairs, I am more than happy when possible to ask for the specific mechanic to carry out my repair.

Hope this is some help.

FN


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Thanks, Gin, for the referral to Tana. :-)

Thanks also for the suggestions, FN. We used other plumbers our mgmt co. uses - they were even worse. We can't monitor work more closely than we do. The super's always present and sometimes even a Board member. Supers in other bldgs on our block like their plumbers even less than we like ours. A couple repair men did a good job and we try to get them if we can, but their companies say they won't work that way - they send whoever's available.

We'll just keep looking, but thanks for the help.


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Try these plumbers

A C Klem 718-433-4300
Pro-Tech Plumbing & Heating 718-767-9067
Ideal Plumbing & Heating 718-392-0480
A Steinman Plumbing 212-737-5857

Mike


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Thanks, Mike, for the plumber referrals. Appreciate your taking the time to send them.


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As avid Habitat readers our board has always felt it supportive of the magazine to call one of the advertisers when lookiing for services.

We have had positive experiences with this approach. Of course caveat emptor as always. Our latest success story is DeWaters Plumbing and Heating.

They are prompt reliable and reasonable for big and not so big jobs.

Call (212) 942-1011 ask for Michael Hill.

http://www.dewatersplumbing.com/repair-service.php


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Thanks for the info on DeWaters Plumbing ~


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Good luck with your plumbing!


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Steinman Plumbing
Ask for Dave
212-996-6777
Top notch guys
solved numerous problems for us...
Best Regards,

RH


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Thanks, RH, for the referral to Steinman.


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yes except it is one of the plumbing companies that paid off building managers in 1994 so the background is not great (this may have changed but still - someone was corrupt...) :

NYT: "...District Attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, yesterday translated a code used in the indictments to shield the companies cited as having made payoffs.

They were identified as Central Pump Plumbing of Brooklyn; Chelsea Hardware of Manhattan; Fred Smith Plumbing of Manhattan; M. Kraus Plumbing of Manhattan; Richardson & Lucas, a waterproofing and renovation company, of Manhattan; Steinman Plumbing of Manhattan, and Utility Painting of Manhattan."


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Try Kapnag, (212) 929-7111. We've had good lunk with them.


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Condo - Rose Mar 29, 2007


My building is a coop, sponsor 35 Shareholders 80
Is it possible to convert to condominiums. if possible how do we go about changing?


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Just search this space for "Conversion" However, one of the best advice came a while back from AR. I'm reproducing it below:

AR
Re: rewriting by-laws
Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:57AM209.166.28.93

I just finished one in a building I have. This Atty was very good as well. It was the first time I used him. Perhaps listen to several Atty's and see who you like best.

Stuart Nahas, Esq.
Zraick, Nahas & Rich
303 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1201, New York, New York 10016
212-686-0855/212-779-9548 / stunahas@znr.net

Also try the lawyer who originated the plan f\during conversion, he may be best.
AR



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drip pan - correction: Barbara - big al Mar 28, 2007


A lead pan is for a shower and NOT for a washer dryer installed in an older apartment. Drip pans to put under washers cost about $30-34 - see this link:

http://www.hometownstores.com/detail.aspx?ID=55086&ovchn=GGL&ovcpn=Ace%20Hardware&ovcrn=Washing%20Machine%20Drip%20Pan&ovtac=CMP

Home Depot probably has them even cheaper.




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Laundry in apartments? plumbing consultants?...please help! - barbara cano Mar 27, 2007


Hi,
I'm wondering if anyone out there can help me out: I'm a board member of a small 24 unit co op with no laundry facility of any kind and, after much review of the common areas, no hope for communal laundry facilities because of logistal brick walls (no pun intended).

Shareholders are lobbying to have washer/dryers in their apartments, which we quite support, but the building is quite old and we're concerned about structural/pipe issues. Has anyone run into this?? An article in Habitat mentions a "plumbing consultant" but there is no sign on one anywhere on the site- can anyone recommend or suggest such an animal?

Thanks VERY much


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make sure:
1) there is a rule that all residents must get the MOST energy efficient washers available (ie minimum water usage which is now much lower thn it used to be check Consumer Reports and present a list of suggested models).

2) make a rule (signed agreement) that they have the proper backflow devices installed plumbing-wise AND

3) charge a fee of $15 a month (subject to future change) for any apartments that install a washer and you should be fine.


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Thanks very much for this- we're in the dark, so your advice helps (while on the board, I'm also lobbying for washers in our apartments because our current state is no way to go through life)

Question? What exactly constitutes a "backflow device"? Also- that $15/month is essentially to cover the extra water used? Is this working for your coop?

Thanks!


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My take on washers in apartments is: where are you going to allow them to be connected? You mentioned old lines. Make sure you only RESTRICT the use of detergents to LIQUIDS ONLY. Powder detergents tend to clog lines.


My horror story is that we had an upper floor apartment with a clandestine washer. The waste stack had the worst clogging record with numerous incidents of major floods. Once this washer was removed due to a major flood at 6:00 am, we have reduced the clogging issues to minor issues on the line. Finally, if you have washers, you will also have dryers. So, I guess you will allow dryers as well with venting issues to address. Good luck!

Backflow devices or checkvalves are used to prevent water from flowing back into discharge drains of the apartment lines in the event that the stack gets full due to capacity issues or water handling issues.

AdC



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Barbara - A "backflow preventer" is a device that, in the event of flooding, etc., prevents the outflow of water that is now rendered unsanitary (or could cause blockages due to particles or debris) from re-entering your main water system and contaminating it.


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...this is all incredibly helpful. I can't tell if all of these great recommendations will translate into many dollars spent just for the luxury of clean clothes, but at this point it's worth it!



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Anyone heard of "Laundry Pure"? It's a laundry device made by EcoQuest, mfgrs of air purifiers for 15+ years. Many of our residents got the purifiers. They eliminate smoke that filters in from nearby apts. We have many smokers. There's one with a "sanitizer" feature. You can put it in a closet or on a sofa/bed to get smoke out of clothes/fabrics. About 9"x10", cost $400-$500, but work great! I digressed...

Our washers don't have "Laundry Pure" but I saw it used in two buildings. It's a device that attaches to a washer and the cold water line. It eliminates need for any detergent or bleach, makes clothes whiter/brighter, leaves no residue on clothes, takes less time to wash, reduces energy costs since no hot water is needed.

It's sold only by sales reps, cost about $700 per machine, can be installed by any plumber. I don't have full info. For more facts, go to www.ecoquest.com and click the link for "Laundry Pure." Just thought I'd pass this along.


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Check with a large commercial plumbing company, e.g., Citron Brothers. Usually, there is one or two master plumbers that will do this.

AdC


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While I am in no way an expert on the subject, I am of the opinion that you need a qualified person to do a survey. Do you know the number of shareholders that would consider installing washer dryers? if so will one company do all the work at a bulk rate etc. While washer dryers sound like a great idea remember you are limited to the wash load (they are not like the commercial type) and the dryers also heat up the apt in summer time which is not great. Also the added electric cost and water rates. In addition other things to consider. Best of luck with the project.
* plumbing codes regarding installation.
* Lead pan
* Water shut off devises.
* Venting exhaust (self venting)
* Back flow prevention.

Fat Nickie


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Hi- Thanks! This is very helpful. I guess I should have pointed out that we're (the board) not responsible for installing the washer dryers, paying for the increases in individual electricity bills, nor is it really our concern how warm it gets in the individual apartments (shareholders have the option to keep things status quo and take their laundry 3 blocks to the nearest laundromat, and probably will) but we're working on making sure that this can be permissable and, if shareholders make the choice, the building can handle it- structurally.

It's also important to point out that not all shareholders *can* have w/d in their apartments, presumably- as some are quite small.

What is a lead pan?

Thanks!


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A lead pan is basin/pan that catches the water in the event of a leak so it does not leak into the unit below/restricts the amount of damage if there is a leak.

FN


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Barbara, you could try having a plumber give you a consultation and maybe negotiate a deal for all residents.

Fred Smith plumbing: 212 744 1300
$99 per hour for one master plumber (insured & licensed) plus, I think, $50 to show up at your door. Again, if you could try negotiating a bulk deal.

In addition you might consider these rules surrounding washer/dryers:

1) Resident must have insurance (liability), renters/coop/condo) that covers any possible damages from the washer and they must maintain the insurance.

2) Must have a ventless dryer.

3) Must submit appliance model no. of the washer to the coop Board for apporval prior to installation or future replacement of any washers.

4) Fee of $12-15 a month (subject to increase).

5) Must have "drip pan" installed under the washer.

6) Must have proper backflow device installed.

This is from Consumer Reports:

Front-loaders. Front-loaders get clothes clean by tumbling them in the water. Clothes are lifted to the top of the tub, then dropped into the water below. They fill only partially with water and then spin at high speed to extract it, which makes them more efficient with water and energy than regular top-loaders. Most handle between 12 and 20 pounds of laundry. Like HE top-loaders, front-loaders wash best with low-sudsing detergent. Many front-loaders can be stacked with a dryer to save floor space. Price range: $600 to $1,600.

Space-saving options. Compact models are typically 24 inches wide or less (compared with about 27 inches for full-sized washers of all types) and they can wash 8 to 12 pounds of laundry. A compact front-loading washer can be stacked with a compact dryer. Some compact washers can be stored in a closet and rolled out to be hooked up to the kitchen sink. Price range: $450 to $1,700.

Washer-dryer laundry centers combine a washer and dryer in one unit, with the dryer located above the washer. These can be full-sized (27 inches wide) or compact (24 inches wide). The full-sized models hold about 12 to 14 pounds, the compacts a few pounds less. Performance is generally comparable to that of full-sized machines. Price range: $700 to $1,900.





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Barbara, I tend to agree with Big AL. Fred Smith are good at specking out the work and following up. I have used them in the past for such work.Contact Dave London or Phil Krauss. Of course they will not know who FN is.

FN


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Locating Dogs - Tom VB Mar 27, 2007


Hello, I am President of a co-op on LI and I am looking for some help. We have a strict no dog policy. We are currently in litigation to remove a dog that is a major nuisance, however there are more dogs on the property.

We have asked our shareholders to help us by identifying anyone who is harboring a dog. The problem with this is that many are reluctant to "snitch" on their neighbors.

Does anyone have a method for locating apartments that are harboring dogs without relying entirely on shareholders or the maintenance staff? I bought a dog whistle the other day, but they need to be tuned to the dog and they don't always result in a bark. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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Some dogs bark when they hear a noise in the hallway. Mine barks when the intercom buzzes or when there's a knock on the door. Maybe board members can walk the hallways during the day when people are usually at work to listen for dog noises? Good luck!


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I have done this. It works! Soon as you walk by the front door, the dog(s) reveals themselves by barking.


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Forgive me for asking what appears to be a stupid question. If (like you said you have a strick no dog policy) did you not ask the prospective shareholder when they were interviewed? Secondly, did anyone not notice, and if they did, why was in not mentioned that people had dogs in the building until now. What were the other tenants, and staff doing not to notice?

Fat Nickie


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We always ask if they have a dog, and each shareholder must sign a paper stating they do not have a dog. However, people break the rules.

The neighbors are reluctant to report the violations for a variety reasons. I also can't ask the maintenance crew to spend their time searching for dogs, its not their job. Granted they will try their best, but the challenge is in locating which apartment the dog resides.

We have 27 buildings and 287 units spread over 3 addresses. Pinning down the specific apartment is a bit of a challenge, and we can't send a violation until we have this info.


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In our co-op, at every admissions committee meeting with the prospective buyer, we reinforce the "no four legged animal" rule.

In addition, before we interview we have the prospective owner sign a special letter that indicates that the “co-op” has a ban on four legged animals.



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I see why people wouldn't want to snitch on neighbors about having a dog but maintenance staff should help locate them. You don't have to identify who tells you about dogs. That would make staff feel more secure that they won't "get in trouble" with owners if they report them.

We have a security videocam for our lobby. People with dogs have to go through the lobby to take them out to walk them. The videotape will show who has a dog. If you have more than one way that residents can go in/out of your building, additional videocams to cover the other areas are not that costly once a main system is installed.


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I agree with you on security cameras to identify dogs and owners. However I am not in favor in using the building staff as snitches. It just puts the staff in harms way and in the line of fire. If staff snitch somehow it works its way back to the shareholder. First hand experince on this one.

FN


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FN, I respect your opinion on not using maintenance staff to report dogs. Our staff knows they can trust our Board not to reveal who reports what - because WE don't know. We only asked our staff to report on dogs and one other issue in the past. Both times, our Board agreed the only person staff should report to was the prop manager - by putting an unsigned note in the locked "Staff" box in his office which residents can't access. So even he doesn't know what staff person reports what. The only thing we care about are the findings and that they're accurate, not who reports them. Our staff feels very secure with this system. It may not work for some buildings. Things do have a way of getting around. But it's worked well for us.


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I must applaud your confidentiality on this issue. Unfortunately our board promised to keep "the informants" anonymous but when certain shareholders who were violating the house rules challenged, the board members they revealed their sources. Sad but true. Needless to say, the staff are not willing to cooperate on such issues anymore for fear of being outed. Good to see it works for you.

FN


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why woud you have a dog free building anyway? ridiculous.


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Don't misunderstand. I love dogs. I love all animals. But why might some bldgs not want dogs? Because they:

-- have been known to bite or jump on people in elevators
-- frighten some people, especially big or unfriendly ones
-- tussle with other dogs in the elevator, lobby, etc.
-- have "accidents" that mess up bldg rugs and floors
-- can also damage lobby or other bldg furnishings
-- bark a lot and drive neighbors crazy
-- howl when they're home alone - sometimes for hours
-- are sometimes allowed to run free in bldg hallways
-- stomp on, chew or do their business in the landscaping

Dogs that do these things make some residents uncomfortable and damage property. I was in a bldg lobby recently and saw a woman sitting in an armchair with a dog on a leash. The dog was chewing on the wooden leg of the chair and she did nothing about it. And yes, she saw what he was doing. Bldgs have the right to say "no dogs". If someone doesn't like it, live somewhere else.

Anonymous - Did you ever have people above you with no rugs or carpeting and had to listen to a dog run and skittle his nails across the floor every day and night? Or get in an elevator and step in a puddle of dog urine? Or had to weave your way around two dogs barking and jumping at each other in the lobby as their owners held them back? If you had, maybe you'd think differently. And remember, I like dogs. wouldn't


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I like dogs as well but it's their owners I have issues with, I argued with one dog owner because she allowed her dog to urinate on the trees outside the co-op and thought nothing of it. During the summer months that rancid smell rises from the trees and makes the entire block smell bad. We own the sidewalk as well, I told her. She keeps telling me that the rain will come and wash the smell away. I asked her does a rain cloud follow her around? I asked her how would she like to be a tree and have dogs come along and pee on her? She would have to stand in the urine and could not go anywhere. She saw my point. She doesn't allow her dog to pee on the trees anymore. Allow dog owners to have more respect for trees and property. I understand now why landlords don't like dog owners or dogs. Dog urine kills trees and dogs damage property. Not to mention dog owners who won't clean up after their pets after the dog makes a mess in the lobby and/or in the elevators.


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Re: dog urine killing trees, we planted flowers around the trees on our block, but people (not from our bldg, we don't allow dogs) walk by and let their dogs urinate on them. We put short wire stake-in fences around the trees but people let their dogs hop over them. Bricks didn't work either. BTW, kids run across tree beds and cars back into them, and they ruin trees/flowers too. One thing that keeps dogs and others out is a solid iron tree pit guard. Most are black but can be painted any color. NYC recommends getting ones that are 18" high. You don't need NYC permission to install them. They're costly but protect greenery, are attractive and last for years. Go to www.treesny.com. The site has good info on tree pit guards + a list of companies that make them or look in the yellow pages under "iron works".


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Thanks!

I will look into this! We have the same problem with other people's dogs as well.

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Sorry, accidentally had the word "wouldn't" at the end of my message about no dogs. I hate when that happens. :-)


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I lived in a dog free building and liked it. No loud barking, no messes in the hallways. The super didn't get fined for not cleaning up behind other dogs. No dog fights in the lobby. Less hassle overall and noise, what's not to like?


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Can you get energy star windows and - Number Six Mar 26, 2007


get a tax credit? AFAIK the only aluminum windows that qualify for Energy Star do not open and are meant for large commercial buildings

If people use window air conditioners look at getting 1 window in each room that has a solid bottom to permanently mount the AC unit. Leaving them in during winter can be a big source of heat loss


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roofdeck: capital improvement? - alice Mar 25, 2007


is a roof deck (as part of a brand new roof replacement) or community room a capital improvement?


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Do you mean a roof deck for residents to enjoy and that is part of a roof replacement may be considered capital improvement?

The answer is yes. A capital improvement is any major outlay of money (usually above $5,000) that improves the conditions of the property. A capital investment may be on new projects or replacement projects such as replacing an old mechanical elevator with an integrated circuit elevator or buying new cabs. Even, the cost of replacing floors or carpets are considered capital investment, unless this is done on a yearly basis, and is then considered a recurrent event.

AdC




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