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Incorrect Tax Abatement Charge - JC Oct 27, 2019

We need some advice if anyone has some suggestions. We both have been living together in our coop for over 25 yrs. My spouse is the original owner (their for over 35 yrs), and we were married 8 yrs ago. Back in Jan 2018, I was made a shareholder. Sometime in March of this year, all shareholders received an abatement update from building management. Basically, it said the eligibility requirements for the Co-op Real Estate Tax Abatement have changed due to an amendment of New York State Law. To now qualify for the abatement, your apartment must be your primary residence. It was also mentioned that shareholders whose status was in question would be receiving a form to fill out. If the apartment is not your primary residence, then you are required to pay this operating assessment in full, with no offset of any abatement.

Shockingly enough, WE received the form days later, and immediately filled it out with the correct information informing them that this was indeed our primary residence for many years. We don't even have summer home! The representative from building management even knows my spouse and how long he's been a resident. The coop is fully paid off and we are on auto-pay with our maintenance.

Weeks later, our monthly bill arrives and there's a surcharge to our maintenance for over 2000.00! It was the abatement tax! We called building management and they said "oh, that happened to a few residents in various buildings - that's an error on NYS's part. I told them we immediately returned the form to your office so why is the state charging us? They looked up our information once more, and figured out how this error occured: apparently, when I went on the lease, it caused some kind of glitch, making it appear we BOTH just moved in. Building management said don't worry, you'll be getting credited.

This has been going on since April! Every month we've received our maintenance bill so far, there's been no credit. We call management, and each time, they tell us they have people actively working on the case, and it will probably be on the next bill, AND it's the state that's slow.

Is this something can we take on ourselves with the state, or do we have to wait for management. I feel like they're tagging us along for a ride. I already asked and was told ...oh no that's between coop management and New York State.

Thank you

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From my experience, it does take a while... NYS does make these types of errors and it is important for your manager and you to stay atop of it because it can fall through the cracks if not.
You may also call the City of New York Department of Finance 311 Hot Line help center yourself to check on the status.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

I know this seems like a nightmare, but it can be solved. Your problem is quite common. The city often makes mistakes when adding or subtracting a name.

First of all, the co-op real estate abatement is administered by NYC, not NYS. That means you need to contact a city agency to help you. That agency is the Dept of Finance.

The person we dealt with 2 years ago is Sheelah Feinberg. Her email is FeinbergSA@finance.nyc.gov. She was very helpful in resolving our issues, correcting our account, and getting refunds paid to the shareholders who were entitled to receive them.

I would contact her with the subject line reading "Abatement error made. Please help".

I would then describe the situation as you have done here. I will say that it will likely take several months for the error to be corrected, but at least you'll get your foot in the door by contacting Sheila. I know it's hard because you're frustrated and angry, but remain calm and polite with Sheila. She didn't cause the problem, but she'll be helping you fix it, so smile a lot and hang in there.

She will need to send forms to you or more likely, your management company. Ask her and your management company to copy you on every email between her and management, so you can stay in the loop. Those forms will need to be completed and returned to her. The info needed includes your co-op's block and lot numbers. Then the DOF can begin to correct your account and get it where it needs to be.

I think you're being told a story when your mgt company said that the law has changed. It hasn't changed as far as I know. Your apartment ALWAYS had to be your primary residence in order to receive the Co-op R/E abatement.

Please be patient since this is going to take time. But, it will get fixed.

Something you said should be confirmed with Sheila or your mgt company. You became a s/h in Jan 2018. Your husband was already a shareholder. My understanding is that you don't get extra abatement because there's 2 of you living there instead of one. Whether it's your husband alone or you and your husband, your R/E co-op abatement should be same amount - as long as it's the primary residence. Adding your name to the account should not affect the amount received.

Good luck and be patient.

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I'm giving you a link to see what the abatement change form looks like.

Google "NYC Department of Finance Cooperative Property Tax Abatement Change Form".

The 4th item from the top will say "[XLS] abatement renewal and change form - NYC.gov".

Click on this link and open it. This will be the excel form used to input the changes that you need. At row 39/40 of the excel sheet you'll see the word "Continue". Click on it.

This will put you into Section B. This is the section where the necessary changes need to be input BY YOUR MANAGEMENT COMPANY and given to the Dept of Finance.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Thank you for the input Marty and REAPLLC! This is very helpful. Marty, thank you for the links and the time you took to detail all of this.

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Deductions before Flip Tax - marym Oct 27, 2019

Our co-op is currently proposing reducing our flip tax and have included closing costs before the flip tax is calculated. They have defined closing costs as all fees and transfer taxes paid by the seller at closing. They include: broker fees, seller attorney fee, co-op attorney fee, city and state transfer taxes, loan satisfaction fee, UCC-3 filing fee, NYS equalization fee, deed transfer fee, co-op stock transfer tax, any co-op processing or move out fees."

When asked if there would be a cap on certain fees, such as attorneys' fees, we were told there was none and it was not the co-op's business.

Do other co-ops allow all these deductions and, if so, is there a cap on them, particularly on those that are not fixed?

Thank you.

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We do our flip tax based simply on a $$ per share basis. It makes things much less complicated.

Having said that, I agree that the co-op can't limit attorney fees and other similar charges. Those charges are set by the attorney and banks and have nothing to do with the co-op. It IS none of the co-op's business.

However, if your Board wanted to limit those fees as far as incorporating them into a flip tax formula, that would seem to be within the jurisdiction of your Board.

Perhaps your Board should look into making life easier by comparing your present flip tax calculation with a flip tax based on $$ per share. The difference may be small enough that it's just easier for all if you do it on a $$ per share basis.

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Employee of Management Co. Secretly resides on Board - NYC Oct 16, 2019

No one wanted to run for the openings on our board this past election. There was one available seat that shareholders assumed was just not filled.

Usually there is a posting with names and positions held of the new B.O.D. this year that was not the case.

It recently came to light, unbeknownst to cooperatives, that an employee of the management company was listed as a board member.

Is this a legal and executable practice?

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A few thoughts...

First thing to do is check your by-laws. They probably state who can serve as a Board member. Mine state that the Board member must be a shareholder in the corporation. If yours state the same thing and the mgt person is not a shareholder, then they must be removed from the Board immediately.

How did you learn that the mgt person listed as a Board member? Just curious.

You say there was one vacancy on the Board, but no one wanted to run. In these situations, the Board usually has the leeway to fill or not fill that position until the next election.

Good luck

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Thanks Marty, I am not at liberty to discuss how I became privy to this information.

Our by-laws do say that to be on the board you must be a shareholder in good standing and yes when there is an empty seat, the board can appoint someone until next election.

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Secret or not? The main problem is share holders don't want to serve on the board. This creates a problem in so many ways. Everyone should get involved at least once (become a board member) It's not hard to be one. It doesn't take up much time. Plus you can get involved in what is happening in your building. The most important thing is Communication and communicate with the share holders this will stop rumors. Best of Luck in running for the board.

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Thanks, Great advice. Much easier said than done, especially if the current board members are determined to keep their seat no matter what Hopefully next proxy season will bring positive change.

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Is the managing agent also managing for the sponsor?
The sponsor may be entitled to hold a seat, and that would be the one the managing agent is legally able to hold.

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No, but thanks for the input.

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Elevator service company esp small residential - dlasday Oct 16, 2019

Any recommendations for reasonable elevator maintenance company esp ones that would take on a two family townhouse. We happen to have original Otis drum mechanism fwiw.

It appears to be easy to find not-great companies

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Confidentiality and Committee Members - H. Sep 22, 2019

I understand that Board members must keep confidential much of their information.
But if there is a voluntary committee - say on laundry room and vendor issues - with a Board Liaison - are the committee members required to keep information they have confidential?

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I think that confidentiality applies here. Seems that the voluntary committee is acting as an extension of the Board because they are gathering information on issues affecting the co-op, and the Board will later use that info to make decisions.

Here's a good rule of thumb to keep in mind - When in doubt, keep it confidential.

So much of the Board's time is now taken up with legal issues that a judgment error could result in a lawsuit. Better safe than sorry.

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My niece and nephew came to spend the summer with me. My downstairs neighbor complain to management. Can I be evicted for this.

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No you can not be evicted. I would have carpeting covering 80% of your floors. Next time go to your neighbor and say you have guest staying with legs and feet so you may hear some noise.

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Do you reside in a coop? If so, are there rules about overnight guests? There may be a procedure to follow.

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Remortgage - Queens Sep 18, 2019

The mortgage on my co-op will be paid in full next year.

Rumours are out but no official announcement that the board is going to remortgage the co-op for repairs.

Does the board have to present to the shareholder/owners estimates from contractors of the repair work scheduled to be done. The order and manner the repairs will commence?

Are the shareholder/owners entitled to vote on the amount being borrowed?







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First of all, have you asked any member of the Board if there will a remortgage? Don't listen to rumors. Go directly to the source and ask them yourself.

Generally, the Board does NOT have to present estimates to the shareholders and the shareholders don't get to vote on the amount being borrowed.

The Board was elected by the shareholders to make these types of decisions on behalf of all of the shareholders.

Kind of like voters electing our representatives in Washington to make decisions on behalf of the voters.

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Thank you Marty, I get it. Actually I have spoken to one board member who secretly confided in me and said they were going to take out a new mortgage once the current one was paid off.


Unfortunately there is zero disclosure in my co-op. Shareholders would find out about the new mortgage after the fact. I just wanted to know if shareholders had any say in such a major decision.

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So the co-op is just about done paying off a mortgage and its monthly financial obligations, and now the Board wants to repeat that process. Why??

It’s one thing to refinance an existing mortgage. It’s another thing to get a new mortgage after you’ve completely paid off the initial mortgage.

Ask your Board member why. I’m guessing that the new mortgage may provide the Board with a line of credit or some other access to money if the co-op needs it quickly.

Of course, the co-op would then have to repay that line of credit money with interest. That’s not good for the co-o’s bottom line.

The Board has the alternative of doing an assessment which at least would have no interest attached to it.

Ask that Board member why the Board wants to take that approach. Perhaps there is a situation that you’re not aware of at this moment.

Good luck.

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The co-op is old and in need of many repairs.

The annual report said we we in the RED. Our reserve and operating accounts are low.

That is why I was questioning shareholder rights when taking out a major loan/LOC and was hoping we would have a right to see how much and where and what the $$$ was going towards.

I as well as other shareholders, would prefer an assessment but apparently we do not have a choice unless we go the route of a petition and special meeting.

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What surprised me or make me question taking another mortgage is that the co-op that go up for sale, sell very quickly. They are not all cash sales so how are the banks giving mortgages after reading our annual report and financial statement.

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Every Queens co-op is old and needs repairs. lol

Banks that give mortgages are more concerned with the ability of the s/h to repay the loan than if the co-op survives.

Does your co-op have a flip tax? If so, ask the Board member if flip tax revenue is part of the budget. It shouldn’t be since apartment sales can vary from year to year and thus cannot be relied upon. They should be put in the co-op’s reserve fund and not included in the budget.

Has your co-op always been in the red or is this just a recent occurrence? Ask the Board member.

If it’s something that only recently happened then that’s understandable. However, if this has been an ongoing problem then perhaps the Board is not planning well enough for the long term.

Have you had yearly maintenance increases and/or assessments? How is the Board planning to get out of the red?

You are wise to ask these questions. Continue to do so. Get a petition or a special meeting organized.

Bottom line - this is YOUR money! If the co-op fails, all s/h are in a tough spot. Do your best to prevent that. If that means being a pest, so be it.

You and others have every right to know where your money has been spent and what plan of action the Board is taking to fix the situation.

Every co-op faces the same financial challenges as yours. Fight for your money!

Good luck!

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Supers unit - Connie S Sep 11, 2019

I think I recall supers unit is not subject to property taxes, if they get the unit as compensation for their work , but if it is rented out by the condo to an individual you have to pay property taxes... Is this true?

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Elective Fees - Crystal Sep 11, 2019

How would you introduce the following to be fair and consistent in your practices as a board. We currently have bike racks on property at no charge, however with the increasedd numbers it makes since for accomodation purposes to offer paralell racks the residents/owners will rent/purchase from HOA with free installation. Dog owners have asked for a fenced area on the property should the cost only be assessed to pet owners as we donot charge a pet fee at this property ? Finally we have a compost program where on 20 participants have paid to participate, if we open it up should there be a charge for only participants or all residents. curious what your thoughts might be.

Thanks in advance,

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J51 - marym Sep 09, 2019

We are about to complete a façade restoration on our small co-op (12 units) at a cost of $250,000. Is it advisable to file for J51? If so, does anybody have recommendations on professionals who do this?

Thank you very much.

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Superintendent - Best Sep 05, 2019

How many buildings or Supt responsible for

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I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you wrote. What information are you looking for?

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