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Possible unapproved sublet - Pooh Jun 21, 2021

We think one of our broad members is subletting . He was asked who was living in his apartment ( as neighbors notice someone new) and he said a roommate but yet he’s never in the building and a woman lives in his apartment and it’s a one bedroom. Don’t want our board to look bad. What should we do? Report to management company? If it is true what would be the consequences?

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It's going to be very difficult to "prove" the shareholder/board member is not living in the apartment for the purposes of determining an illegal tenancy. You need some way of capturing if the shareholder actually comes and goes, you can't post a watch 24x7.

Is his social situation such that it's possible he has a girlfriend and works long or odd hours? Do you have a doorman who could note when he comes and goes? Any security cameras or swipe cards that record entrances and exits? All of these are very labor-intensive and may not be worth the effort.

The board as a whole is not going to look bad because one board member had chosen to ignore or violate the rules on subletting. The management company works for the board, so anything the management company finds out will be reported to the board.

Short of hiring a private investigator, I think the best you can do is, if the shareholder is truly subletting, hope that he slips up somewhere and his error is caught. As for consequences, that's a question best answered by an attorney.

Good luck!

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No one sees him in the building and especially neighbors who notice the woman in the apartment and he lives somewhere else with his partner.

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Steven424 is right. Knowing it and proving it are two different things.

Good luck trying to prove it but be ready to let it go if you can't.

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Electronic and/or Print communication - Fleetwood Jun 20, 2021

What are you thoughts on all communication which includes financial report, voting info and basically anything as an email /PDF instead of making copies for all the residents/shareholders? It saves on cost because the management company is expensive or unless some documents need to be mailed out?

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We have been trying to be a paperless co-op for a number of years. Everything that is not required to be sent in paper format via USPS is sent electronically in PDF format. We have not had any complaints. You just have to make sure you keep your distribution list up-to-date.

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My only thought is that something sensitive should be treated with special consideration, such as your financial report. Remember you can send out 100 copies via email in two seconds. Caution shareholders to be careful how they dispose of sensitve documents.

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Annual meeting - Fleetwood Jun 18, 2021

My co-op didn’t have an annual meeting last year due to Covid (management company isn’t very tech savvy) and this year I had to push it to have one. There’s definitely some confusion with the setup. Voting and instructions packages didn’t arrive in the mail to all so I said please email too besides the fact that some might be WFH somewhere else. I also had to push to get the financial report. We have 6 slots and 6 candidates so basically all get in. Can they insist on a quorum if we didn’t have a meeting last year? How could you skip two years without having an annual meeting?

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that you are in violation of your Prop Lease and probably additionally NY State Corporate law.
Raise your voice to move strongly to get your current managing agent out the door with no return. Get someone smarter and with more of a work ethic.

These are tough times for coop's with good management, you cannot afford this incompetence.

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Thank you.

I also think that a management company should lead any communication to all the shareholders about the Annual meeting and not also a board member confusing things and chiming it besides the fact that if they’re running to me it’s inappropriate. Too many emails about the same thing. Also one of the board members communicated to all - to have a “legitimate” meeting etc.. I felt that was inappropriate and why put that out there.

Please advise

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PPP loan - Fleetwood Jun 17, 2021

Why would a co-op get a PPP loan if a co-op is financial solid?

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plain and simply; free money

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Financial Reports - Fleetwood Jun 16, 2021

I wanted to know if its common practice that the board members and shareholders do not get backup to yearly financial reports? We just get 15-16 pages but nothing to review against? How do we know if the management company and/or auditor were correct?

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Yes, it's completely standard to get a 15-16 page report prepared by the coop's accountants, with no backup material. The coop's managing agent, president, and treasurer are required to sign off on a representation letter affirming that all relevant material has been given to the accountants, and the accountants work from that information. An annual financial report typically contains summary numbers plus breakdowns by category, so you get fairly detailed info but not individual invoices and bank statements.

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Raw sewage leak in unit - dev Jun 15, 2021

I am a shareholder for a 1 bedroom Coop, The building is a pre war building, the unit was unoccupied, The managing Agent sent me pictures of the Ceiling, Walls and the entire kitchen demolished, along with leaks in the closet bedroom and bathroom. She claims that the sewage Pipes from the basement exploded because of Age and lack of use. She recommended contractors that they have used in the building, and that based on the circumstance I could go ahead with repairs to make it habitable. A contractor was currently working on another unit and agreed to start the repairs, I contacted the Agent 1 month ahead of the start date, and left several messages which she never responded to. I also notified the superintendent who claimed he was on Vacation for 3 weeks. One week into the repair the contractor was removed from the building. I contacted the Agent, screaming and very hostile, that I need to file an application to the Board for consideration to repair. Along with A $600 application fee. I requested the details of the Directors of the Board, and was given Names and address only. The renovations will cost $ 19,000 out of pocket so I took a loan. should I be reimbursed by the Coop. The power has to be turned by con Edison, but the Agent refused entry. The Agent claims we cannot enter until the work is approved. Do I have any recourse ?

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This is so wrong on many levels. Raw sewage leak is the responsibility of the building. This sounds like your apt. is contaminated.
Did you contact your insurance company and explain exactly what happened? They will help with giving you answers and also depending on your insurance carrier they will pay for a hotel while work is being done by the Co op. The cost of repairs and making your apt. livable is the Co ops responsibility.
Just keep in mind your insurance company will re coop all cost from your Co op. Paying $600 to get answers is crazy, it's cheaper to call your lawyer or 311.
Best of luck

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you've made so many wrong moves before contacting us here! The facts are as close to your prop lease in terms of who is responsible, etc.
You should have documented every communication you had with management.

Read your prop lease or consult a lawyer and then return here if you need anything clarified.
Oh, and never yell at people when arguing. Never won a debate that way.

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skylights owner or building responsibility - Robert Jun 15, 2021

Trying to research options on handling the repair or replacement of skylights in the 12 of 62 units that have them.
The bylaws are silent on whether the skylights are building or owner responsibilities.


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I've seen this issue go both ways for both skylights and windows. As they say, the devil is in the detail, and in most instances and standard Proprietary Leases, the wording about windows (and by extension, skylights), can hopefully be found in section #18. If you have a non-standard PL, it could be anywhere or not addressed.

Since you're looking at what could be a major building expense, you should consider having your co-op attorney or another attorney very familiar with co-op PL's and Bylaws parse your documents and provide you with a formal legal opinion. There will be fees, but I feel it is money well spent.

Good luck!

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Thank you for the input

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Transparency vs. Confidentiality - qiumoforever May 18, 2021

While I understand the need to protect board internal deliberations, I am wondering what is the best approach to voice dissent? While the majority rules on the Board, are individual board members allowed to voice their individual opinions in the public? If someone does that, is it considered as "undermining the board"?

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We'd like to know too. Is there any lawyer here to help us understand
Transparency vs Confidentiality

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I asked our lawyer in front of the entire board at one of our meetings. The 1st amendment is alive and well, including being able to tell shareholders what is going on in their building. Naturally anything of a personal nature is excluded, such as quoting someone's income tax returns from a Board Package for a purchase.
Politics does dictate that you try hard to maintain good relations with the rest of the Board in order that you all do what is best for the building. Creating hard feelings is never advised, unless you have a very good reason. Judgement is the byword here!

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I know a board member that was informed by the President of their board that because a shareholder was helping them on a small project (getting money back for the co-op from a vendor) that this board member should be removed from the Board for giving out information. The President of the Board actually contacted the co-op attorney and included him in the email. I also don't think the majority of the board members even wanted to do that. It didn't get that far but of course the Board member was upset. Also the President of the Board wasn't on top of getting the money and because of the shareholder they were able to get back over 50K. Also this information was also discussed to the shareholders at a group meeting in the building lobby but no one was on top of it so how confidential could that be?

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Our coop's by-laws contain this section. I think this is pretty common:

Section 12. Confidentiality: Information disclosed to directors should be kept in confidence and not disclosed under any circumstance until a decision is made by the Board to make the information public. Once determined, decisions of the Board are to be presented in their final form, and any discussions leading up to such decisions are confidential. Board members shall never disclose how other Board members voted.

There's no bar to disclosing how *you* voted, though you should use common sense and good judgment in disclosing such information. Also, our board typically publicizes the rationale behind significant decisions, especially if they are likely to lead to questions: "Why did you raise maintenance?" or "Why is such-and-such prohibited?"

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fire escape repair company recommendations - chuchuliga May 15, 2021

We are a small self-managed Soho coop looking for a company to inspect and repair our fire escape. Any recommendations?

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Financial records - belmarbeagle May 15, 2021

A newly elected treasurer wants to see the financial records of the coop for the last 5 years. The board president has denied that request. The treasurer is not a neophyte having been on the board before and serving as a treasurer knows she is entitled to view them. Outside of hiring a lawyer and making a big deal out of it what other steps should she take?

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What's the point of having a treasurer that doesn't have access to financial records?

I think hiring a lawyer and making a big deal out of it is an excellent idea, but another option might be to discuss the matter with the co-op's accountant at the next annual meeting.

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this pres is outrageous and worthy of your disrepect.
Agree with the advice to get a lawyer if talking with him doesn't loosen the finances for review.
I'd work on voting this guy out.

BYW, every shareholer should see the finances on a regular basis.
My first consideration is to think he is a crook.

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I fully agree with PhilC and Grant. This has a very bad smell to it.

As suggested by PhilC, I think the first course of action would be to have the treasurer ask the co-op's accountant for copies of the last five years of audited financial reports and annual budget projections. How the accountant reacts to the request will tell you a lot about how you proceed.

Another approach would be to contact the Real Estate Finance Bureau. They are a division of the NYS A/G's office. Either they can help you directly or point you in the right direction. If there is anything illegal going on with your building's finances, the A/G's office is who you want involved.

Your final recourse will be to have a group of shareholders hire a private attorney familiar with co-op and condo law. It won't be cheap, but ask the attorney if you can recover any expenses from the co-op and under what circumstances.

Have you considered putting up a slate of candidates to run for the board at the next election meeting? If it's not that far in the future, this might be the least painful way to gain control over your finances.

Best of luck to you.

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Why doesn't the entire board vote on this? The president doesn't have the power to unilaterally withhold documents from officers. If the full board votes to conceal past financial records from the treasurer, then I'd be worried for many reasons. The treasurer should have access to any financial records from the dawn of the coop onwards, in my view.

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