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bohemia realty group - bohemia realty group Mar 19, 2018

Hello
I was wondering if anybody ever used bohemia realty group and why do they ask for so much information.

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Hard to know why they're asking for the information without more details.

What kind of information are they asking for and what is the situation requiring the information?

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Are you selling or buying? If selling use a broker that works with other agent, I found Corcoran is the best.
If your buying, a good agent will make sure you have 20% and your financials are good before you decide to buy. I find Pre Approval is the way to go. Best of luck.

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Discrimination in a coop btw renters and shreholders - DM Mar 18, 2018

Our coop has storage lockers with a waiting list for all residents.
Recently, however. they may this new
House Rule. It seems "poor door" and discriminatory to me - thoughts?

"When a Resident leaves, the storage locker will be offered to the next shareholder on the waiting list. If there are no shareholders on the waiting list, the locker may be offered to the next non-shareholder Resident on the waiting list."

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Doesn't sound discriminatory to me. Shareholders have invested 6 or 7 figures to become part of the co-op. Renters have invested zero.

Shareholders' rights come before renters' rights.

The policy doesn't say renters can't use the storage lockers. It says they can use them only after shareholders have been offered the lockers first.

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Your answer sounds elitist to me. It is not about equal access to amenities.
The past system has always been an equal first come first served system. We only have 11 renters out of 90 units.

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The storage lockers are the property of the co-op for the use of shareholders. Renters - whether statutory tenants (rent regulated) or
market rate subtenants approved by the co-op - are leasing from a shareholder. Only a shareholder can enter into a direct agreement with the co-op. If the co-op wants to offer a place on the waiting list for non-
resident shareholders who are leasing apartments - whether a sponsor or an individual shareholder - that's appropriate. Even if certain conditions to non-resident shareholders are applied - if warranted in the
Proprietary Lease as a decision reserved for the Board - that is also appropriate.
Many co-ops DO NOT permit non-resident shareholders to sublet storage lockers or in-house gym memberships or parking spots - all of which are amenities available to shareholders.

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Excellent explanation, mr.gardenz. Shareholders essentially collectively own the building and their individual apartments. Within NYC laws and regulations, sublet tenants' rights are always subordinate to shareholder rights. Access to building amenities are guaranteed to shareholders but discretionary to sublets. Remember that if a sublet is not happy with a particular situation they can always not renew their lease. Shareholders don't have quite as easy a way out of a bad situation.

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Are Coops worth investing in ? - Unosay Mar 15, 2018

I have been reading comments by fellow coop owners and has me wondering "is investing in coops a wise decision?" If your board is ethical and operating by the book fine, but if it is uneducated and unethical you are screwed. Most shareholders don't know a thing about BCL laws that coops are to adhere to. Therefore they don't look at their purchase as a investment in a corporation thus a investor in their building/community. How can a handful of shareholders turn their cooperative around when legally it is expensive and time consuming. The cooperative has a lawyer to protect the board but what happens if they allow the board/property management to be unethical in decision making? Allow nepotism and some board members to act in their own interests? Essential services are not being rendered properly and no checks and balances by proper supervision. Property manager is a relative of the super in charge and resides on site. Union employees are fearful of speaking up for fear of losing their jobs. Doesn't union delegates come around to check on their members at all? Can the super their boss be the union delegate also when they didn't vote him in? Other lawyers advise you to just sell and get out once they ask the lawyer's name of the cooperative. Is there a old boys club when it comes to certain lawyers not going up against other lawyers? Or is it they know it would be too expensive to fight? I am not in NYC but in Westchester County where I get a strange look of pity. Please advise.

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Co-ops came about as affordable housing but now all you hear is business law. There is also you don't own I only shares in it. Well I knew all that crap when I bought it! What I did not know was how ruthless and depraved the board members were, they looked normal. I would rather live in a tent

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Yes it was designed with a means to affordable housing with a stake in the coopervative or community. But shareholders don't understand this thus not involving themselves in the day to day operations. Most don't know what the board is doing or not doing until it's too late. What happens to a cooperative when the renters outnumber actual residing shareholders in place? When you can't get a quorum in many years or actual numbers of renters vs shareholders? Do you run or stay? Why can't lawmakers who devise the BCL laws support the shareholders who are suffering?

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Directors Monthly Meeting - Queens Mar 12, 2018

Do board members have to attend a certain amount of monthly meetings each year? I don't see anything referencing a B.O.D. must attend every monthly meetings only that a majority of members must be present to conduct business.

If the rules and regs. on a particular matter are different than the bylaws, do the bylaws supersede the rules.

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Check your co-op corporation bylaws. Those are the rules and regs governing the conduct of corporation's board and officers. If there isn't anything about attendance then there probably isn't any minimum meeting requirement.

The bylaws *are* the rules and regs for co-op corporation conduct. Where else are you seeing anything regarding board member meeting attendance, or anything else?

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We have rules and regulations that are occasionally updated, bylaws and proprietary lease.

I find the rules and regulations are in conflict on many issues with the bylaws.

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I agree with Steven. There is nothing in our By Laws about attendance by the Board at monthly meetings, so we created our own standards.

However, if there is a conflict between the By Laws/Occupancy Agreement and any house rule, the By Laws/Occupancy Agreement would supersede the house rule.

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Thanks

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Annual Meeting per By-Laws - Board Prez Mar 12, 2018

The co-op's By-Laws are clear about when the annual meeting must occur in the year. For many years the Annual Meeting did not adhere to the rules in the By-Laws. Currently a shareholder asked that the meeting be held in compliance with the By-Laws.
Management obtained input from an attorney (but has not presented an opinion letter) and says:
"... if the corp. was in fact holding meetings outside of the terms dictated, after 'x' years it becomes usual and customary to continue to hold the meetings on or about those times since that is what can be reasonably expected."
Does the past non-compliance supersede the By-Laws?
Thank you

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"Does the past non-compliance supersede the By-Laws?

Not in my opinion. The By Laws state that the AM must be held.

Since management does not actually have an opinion letter (because I believe it would be unethical for any attorney to put this in writing), then management legally has no opinion that can be upheld.

Past inappropriate behavior does not negate the validity of the By Laws.

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I agree with Marty that sections of the Bylaws are not negated simply because they've been ignored for X number of years. That being said, there may be cases where it is permitted that we don't know about, so best to check with an independent attorney.

I found this article written by an attorney which may help.
https://www.brickunderground.com/co-ops/my-board-doesnt-follow-the-rules

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This article has as complete a description of the ins and outs of co-op annual meetings as I've seen online. I hope it helps.

https://cooperator.com/article/same-time-next-year/full

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Both Marty and Steve try to be as helpful as they can. I believe both of them are acting board members. The problem is when you have a bad board they do not adhere best practices. The fragil egos prefer to do as they please. So yea if the people are normal reasonable people you can reason with them. If they are not reasonable then you can't. Plain and simple there are no laws to protect you unless you want to spend 50 thousand in litigation to make them play fair. After that they will be certain to make your life miserable. That is why any attorney you speak with will tell you to just sell. It is a loose loose situation. I hope the whole corrupt co-op market collapses. I also hope my old co-op building collapses with all 5 board members and the 2 MAs in it. I am not joking when I say that either, I would do the happy dance on their graves!

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Confidentiality vs. Criminality - H. Mar 11, 2018

This is just a theoretical, but if Board members become aware in the course of business of possible criminal activity, the source being Board business emails, can a Board member notify authorities or is prohibited by
confidentiality?

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In the theoretical situation you described, my very theoretical and non-legal opinion is that you should immediately notify the board's attorney. Don't take it upon yourself to decide how to proceed because you may be entering a minefield of conflicting and ambiguous requirements and prohibitions.

If you think the co-op's attorney is a party to the theoretically questionable activity, I'm not sure where you would start. Try looking on the Attorney General's website for a place where you can report suspected questionable attorney activity.

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What if the Board is informed by a shareholder via email that another shareholder is engaged in illegal activity in the apartment, or a shareholder is making illegal no permits) renovations. Can authorities be notified?

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

I agree with Steven's advice about contacting the co-op's attorney. He will ask what proof do you have of criminal activity.

So, before you contact the attorney, you need to be able to specifically provide examples of what illegal activity is taking place in the apartment. You'll also be asked how do you know the shareholder has no permits.

Steven is correct when he advises you to tread lightly. An email from a shareholder claiming there is illegal activity is not proof of wrongdoing.

Knowing it and proving it are 2 different things.

Good luck.

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I'm sensing here that there are two separate issues being questioned - illegal and unauthorized.

If the board becomes or is made aware of illegal activity such as growing pot, cooking methamphetamine, prostitution, financial "boiler room", etc, the board's attorney should be notified immediately so she/he can notify the the authorities. If, in the opinion of the board the illegal activity represents an immediate danger to shareholders or the building, in my opinion the police should be contacted immediately.

If the activity is simply unauthorized, like the example given of unapproved or undocumented alterations, the board has the power to assess the situation and unilaterally shut it down. The board can enter the apartment without permission if they believe an unauthorized activity is taking place. If there is no immediate danger (such as an unlicensed plumber making a gas hookup), the co-op's attorney should be contacted first if possible. If someone smells gas or other fumes, safety is the primary concern.

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Do You Have an Emergency Plan? - Abby Mar 09, 2018

New York City Emergency Management will ensure that your residents are prepared for emergencies in NYC. The goal of the presentation is to teach New Yorkers the important steps they need to take to prepare, including important information they need to include in their written plans, developing a support network, and gathering supplies.
All attendees will receive the My Emergency Plan booklet to write their own individualized emergency plans. All presentations and materials are free and our guides are available in multiple languages and audio format.

Interested in a presentation email the Ready New York Program at readyny@oem.nyc.gov

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Excellent presentations by OEM and a wealth of information is presented. Oh, BTW....TOTALLY FREE! HIGHLY recommended!

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Legal Threat from Co-op Board over new House Rule - Seth Thomas Mar 09, 2018

This is happening in a NYC midtown Manhattan luxury 250 plus unit Co-op built in the late 50’s.
My niece has lived in my apartment without issue for over five years. I live in NY but not at this apartment. Under the original proprietary lease this was allowed. I recently received a letter saying my niece has to move out since I am not living there concurrently with her. This is due to a new house rule.
Is it legal for a board to make a house rule of this magnitude? I would think that a change to apartment occupancy would be more suited for a vote by the shareholders and not just a majority of the board. I think the intent was to combat Airbnb issues but I think the board overstepped their authority by making this change under house rules and not taking it to the shareholders for a vote.
Does anyone have any experience with a situation like this?
Can just a board make a house rule that has such a substantial impact to the shareholders?

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Hi - You may be OK in tha coop has waived it rights in your case by not acting sooner. On the other hand, , a "niece" may also not be a close enough family member. There was just a case/lawsuit about this where the owner of the apt. basically won due to "ambiguity" in the lease bout who could / can reside in the apt. . You should get a lawyer and have them write the coop a fierce letter bout how they have waived their rights and the situation is ambiguous. Also, a Hour Rule is different than the lease. Did they actually change the lease? That requires a shareholder vote.
The case: 221 Middle Neck Owners Corp. v. Paris

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Generally speaking, the terms of the Proprietary Lease supersede any House Rules. If the two are in conflict, the PL is the governing document.

I read through the case cited by another poster (221 Middle Neck Owners Corp. v. Paris). Any time a decision uses the word "ambiguity", the results are not going to have a happy ending.

Your best bet in this situation is to contact an attorney for an opinion and advice on what your options are and how to proceed. Do not try to be your own attorney, write any fierce letters, or do anything to antagonize the board. They hold most of the power, courtesy of the Business Judgment Rule, and really, all you want is to have your niece to continue living in your apartment as before.

Rules made to counter the encroachment and illicit subletting of AirBnB tend to carry a lot of weight. If your niece's occupancy termination is collateral damage, it's a shame, but it may be reality. I checked my Proprietary Lease and nieces and nephews are not listed as permitted family members.

Perhaps you could post the verbatim text of the new House Rule. That might help us come up with some creative ideas.

Good luck!

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As per Steve sad but true, the sad part is you have to get a lawyer. As time goes on I find some boards get carried away with power an as boards do not change because share holders have something more important to do. As the old saying goes if one share holder tries to pull something off all the share holders get punished. Do you know if other share holders got a letter and if so maybe you can get together and all higher one lawyer to fight for all. Best of Luck

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This is very good advice. I'd like to see the wording of the House Rule to try to figure out if the board is being arbitrary or if they're making an honest attempt to control what they feel is an epidemic of very short term and questionable rentals. In my Proprietary Lease, the list of recognized family members is in paragraph 14.

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The original applicable part of the lease says:
The lessee shall not, without the written consent of the lessor, occupy or use the apartment, or permit the same or any part thereof to be occupied or used, for any purpose other than as a private dwelling apartment for the lessee, the family, employees and servants of the lessee........

1. The occupancy policy statement from the board says:
Family members enumerated in the lease may occupy an apartment when the shareholder is also in residence without the prior consent of the board.
2. If the shareholder is not in residence of the apartment, family members other than the Shareholder's spouse will require prior Board consent to occupy the apartment.

There are several more restrictions that followed.

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I read through my proprietary lease. It looks like yours is different than mine, in that mine enumerated who is considered a family member (paragraph 14):

"14- The Lessee shall not, without the written consent of the Lessor on such conditions as Lessor may prescribe, occupy or use the apartment or permit the same or any part thereof to be occupied or used for any purpose other than as a private dwelling for the Lessee and Lessee's spouse, their children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters and domestic employees, and in no event shall more than one married couple occupy the apartment without the written consent of the Lessor."

It's possible that your board used this list as a guide for who is considered a family member for the purpose of the new House Rule. Check your PL to see if there is any list of included family members.

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No fee for sublets and fees for others in a coop - fair? - DM Feb 26, 2018

My coop charges 15% of maitenance for any portion of the first year in which an apartment is sublet.

However, for shareholders who are renovating they have allowed sublets (of vacant shareholder apts) where this fee does not have to be paid. This seems unfair and inconsistent.
Is this allowable/ equitable/legal?

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My Co-op charges a monthly fee for sublets. It is on a per-share basis, but since maintenance is based on the number of shares, it is roughly equivalent.

There are a number of reasons why co-ops charge a sublet fee. Probably the most significant is to discourage sublets. A sublet puts extra work on the board and managing agent to make sure that the strangers being granted access to the building do not present a security and safety risk, and will fit in well with the rest of the shareholder community.

Too many sublets make it difficult for shareholders to sell or refinance their apartments because banks use the number of concurrent sublets as one of the factors in deciding to approve or reject a mortgage.

Sublets cost money in terms of extra paperwork and bookkeeping for the MA, credit and background checks, interviews, etc. The fee helps to recoup some of these expenses.

These are the reasons why most co-op charge a sublet fee, impose a time limit (usually 2 years) on the length of a sublet, and have a limit on the number of concurrent sublets.

If the board allows an existing shareholder to use a vacant apartment during a renovation, almost all of the reasons for discouraging a sublet vanish. The shareholder's character is already known to the board, the duration of the sublet is usually very short, and almost no additional expenses are incurred by the co-op or MA.

Is is allowable/equitable/legal? In my opinion, absolutely. First, in my opinion it is both allowable and legal. Subletting to an existing shareholder without a fee does not create a new class of co-op shares, which is prohibited under co-op regulations. I'm assuming that either the co-op owns the shares of the vacant apartments or that the shareholder-owners have given permission. I don't believe a board can force the owner of a vacant apartment to sublet to another shareholder or anyone else.

Is it equitable? I believe the Business Judgement Rule gives a co-op board the power to waive fees like the sublet fee if they feel it is appropriate to do so. It might be a different story if the board waived the sublet fee for some sublets to external tenants and imposed the fees on other sublets to external tenants. That would be a question for an attorney, or maybe someone else on here knows the answer. There may be finer points to the definition of a "sublet" I'm not aware of.

I hope this helps.

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Conflict of Interest - Queens Feb 20, 2018

Is it fair to say that it is a conflict of interest if the by-laws state "The majority of the board must be members" where as the Rules and Regulations state "Only members can vote at annual meeting".
If a non-member can sit on the board, why isn't a person who lives in the co-op but not on the deed (inherited) entitled to vote?

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Roughly put, a conflict of interest exists when an individual stands to receive a personal gain due to a decision they make or an action they take in an official capacity, without disclosing their potential personal gain to the rest of the official decision-making body.

First, a clarification. Shares in a co-op are *not* a deed to the apartment. Condominiums have deed and title. If you're talking about a condo (you mentioned the individual not being on the "deed") and not a co-op, please don't read any further because what follows doesn't apply to you.

In answer to your initial question, think of any public corporation. Only shareholders can vote at the annual shareholder meeting, but non-shareholders can be elected to and sit on the board of directors. They often are to get a diversity of opinions and expertise.

Votes are tallied based on the number of *shares* owned, not the number people or other entities (i.e. trusts, estates, etc) who own the shares or live in the apartment. An individual apartment may be allotted 100 shares. It doesn't matter if a single individual owns all 100 shares, if a couple own all 100 shares jointly, if four casual friends each own 25 shares, or if the estate of a deceased shareholder owns all 100 shares, they still have only 100 votes.

Please understand that what I've written is not a legal opinion or advise, because I am not a lawyer. To get a definitive legal opinion you need to consult with an attorney.

I hope this helps,
--- Steve

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Well said Steven. You stated everything clearly and correctly.

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:-)

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Thanks, understood

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Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

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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