New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

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Corona Virus COVID-19 Preperations - REAPLLC Mar 12, 2020

I was waiting for someone else to start the conversation but I suppose I will..

As a property manager, I have placed plans and contingency planning into play with every building.
this includes (but not limited to) staffing, staffing absenteeism, added staffing, added cleaning and disinfecting of specified areas, board meetings, party, and congregation limitations, laundry room and facility rules, and I am having a mandatory emergency preparedness seminar and meeting for all my supers and staff tomorrow to review communications, staffing, risk identification and mitigation and more...
For the purpose of improving and helping others to mobilize a plan, what are you doing? What are your concerns?
~AR

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Just to add a note - Washers and dryers are a breeding ground for Mold and Lint. Keeping them in Proper order is essential!! Please note that Aces Laundry is the ONLY route laundry operator to provide De- mold and De-lint and SANITIZING services for ALL of our locations on a regularly scheduled basis!!
WE CARE ABOUT OUR TENANTS HEALTH AND WELL BEING !!!

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Stan never heard of Aces, our co op lawyer has said we can not break our contract with Coinmat they are too rich to fight. I say get rig of our lawyer and get rid Coinmat.
Do you have a way of getting rid of them so you can do business with us?
Can you also post your contact # and e-mail. Thanks you in advance.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

PC - I never heard of Aces but it looks like they're based in Hartsdale (https://www.aceslaundry.com/).

If your current company is Coinmach, then I agree that they suck and they are so big that you'll never beat them. Keep your lawyer. He can't do anything about them.

We had no choice but to wait until the end of our contract and then, like failing the door test in a Bronx Tale, we dumped them and we dumped them fast!

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I too have never heard of Aces... But I did get rid of Coinmach in all my buildings and went with Hercules. I am satisfied with them.
In one instance, I placed their machines on the curb and called them to get them or lose them... Don't let their tactics push you into a corner.
~AR

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Can’t help you out of your contract, but when you are ready we at Aces Laundry are also !
Like I said - Scheduled De-Mold and De- linting
we have office throughout the Boroughs, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties -
We are here to Help Keep Our Patrons and Tenants Healthy and HAPPY !!!

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transferring coop at death to sibling - idlidosai Feb 26, 2020

There does not seem to be any clear policy mentioned about this in the bylaws.
Is it possible for a shareholder who has been living in the coop for a long time with a disabled adult son , to transfer it in his will to his sibling who lives out of state but visits and stays in the cop periodically , and allowing him to let this disabled adult child continue to stay in the apt? The relative has excellent financials , so there would be no problem paying the maintenance . The cop does not allow the apt to be placed in a trust which is what the shareholder would have preferred to do . Do coops allow exceptions in cases involving a disabled person , re rules limiting sublease , if that is wht this would be considered? Thank you .

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Look in the Occupancy Agreement if there's nothing in your by laws. I'm sure it's mentioned because it's such a common question.

Look for something that might begin with "If, upon the death of the Member..."

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The verbiage regarding transferring shares is usually in the Proprietary Lease and not the Bylaws. In my PL there is this:

16 (b) If the Lessee shall die, consent shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed to an assign ment of the lease and shares to a financially responsible member of the Lessee's family (other than the Lessee's spouse as to whom no consent is required).

I think this covers the financially responsible sibling.

As for subletting, the Board usually reviews the proposed sublet tenant to make sure they are a good fit for the building. The answer to your question might turn on the nature of adult son's disability.

You have a number of potentially conflicting rules and regulations in play when dealing with disability, tenancy and residency, and I would suggest you contact the co-op's attorney for a definitive answer.

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> Join the conversation Comments (3)

Steven makes a good point about checking with the co-op's attorney. I think that the co-op would be satisfied with a relative who can be relied upon to pay the monthly maintenance with no issues. I think the adult child is on safe ground morally and legally to stay in the apartment.

First off, it generally isn't good publicity for a co-op to kick out a disabled child of the shareholder.

Legally, I think it's okay. My Occupancy Agreement states that upon the death of the Member, the shares shall transfer to:

1) The spouse who resided with the s/h at the time of death, or

2) A natural or adoptive child of the Member who resided with the s/h at the time of death, and who has resided in the apartment as the child's primary residence from the later of:

1) The date of birth or adoption of the child

2) The date on which the deceased Member purchased their shares

Of course, this is what my Occupancy Agreement (OA) states, but I think that most OA's are probably written in a very similar manner. Sounds like the son should be able to stay.

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Marty - Did you have to sign a separate Occupancy Agreement in addition to your Proprietary Lease? I didn't because our PL spells out occupancy requirements. If you had to sign a separate document I'm curious as to why.

My concerns about the Adult Disabled Child taking ownership of the apartment and/or living there by himself, turn on the nature of the disability. If it's a physical disability, then I can't see there being any problems.

But if the disability is emotional or psychological, and the now-deceased parent was caring for and participated in the treatment of the disability, the question becomes, can the child live by himself? Will they become a nuisance or a danger to other shareholders, the building, and possibly himself?

IMHO this is where the issues of succession and sub-tenancy become dicey. The board will need to weigh the rights of the child vs. the rights of the other shareholders. The co-op attorney is the best resource for guiding the decisions of the board.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

I did not have to sign the Occupancy Agreement. It was a package deal with the By-laws.

I agree with you about weighing the rights of the child vs. the rights of the other shareholders. You know that this type of balancing act is a common dilemma facing many boards and can concern many different issues.

I would see a potentially very difficult road for an emotionally disabled adult who could pose a danger to himself and/or other shareholders.

Get the attorney involved.

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In my building, we require a complete purchase application from the proposed occupant, to ensure that he/she can afford the maintenance and have a reserve in the event of an assessment. We also do an interview.

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valeting your garage - pk Feb 20, 2020

My building doesn't have enough spaces in our covered heated garage. 150 units & no guest parking in NJ, in a small town with limited parking. We have 160 parking spaces and essentially 3 extra after all are divided up. Our 3 bedroom PH apartments or 5 units, each get 2 spaces & everyone else gets one space. We have 44 two bedroom units and the rest are mostly one bedrooms leaving 11 studios. We recently decreased our maintenance by $50 to increase the parking fee to $100 to see if anyone would give up their spot to those seeking an extra for a 2 car family. Waiting to hear the status of this. We've suggested valeting the garage to the Board, which would bring an additional cost, but they feel it would be too expensive. We feel it would add value to the building. They gave no numbers to back up the valet cost, but it would allow all day guests to park in the garage when many are out at work and hopefully allow for more parking.


Can anyone provide details on their valet situation at their building? Which company do you use? Did it solve any problems that you were having beforehand?

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I live in Queens so I don't have valet parking. Can't help you with that since I don't know anything about it.

I do find your overall parking situation interesting. You say you don't have enough spaces in your garage, but you actually do - for one car per unit. I think that's as fair as it gets. Are new buyers told at their interview that they are entitled to one car? I hope so. No surprises are needed.

What you actually don't have is enough parking for the # of units who want multiple parking spaces. I assume that people who want multiple spaces knew the situation when they moved in, so how can they complain now?

I hope you get some volunteers who grab the $50 maintenance decrease in return for giving up their spot, but I don't see that happening.

You describe your small town as having limited parking. So if I give up my car for the $50, where am I now going to park my car? That doesn't make sense to me.

Would having valet service somehow help these owners who surrender their spaces?

I can see how having a valet service could seem to add value to the units, but at what cost? The Board should be able to divulge exactly how much valet service costs. Perhaps you can also do your own research to see how much valet service would cost. Call up a few companies and get a quote. I'm sure that's all your Board did.

Good luck.

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I was just looking for feedback from anyone in a building with Valet & their experience using it, which company, etc. Everyone is told at the interview & prior that each unit gets one space, but we are always looking for ways to offer better amenities. Our parking is underground, covered & heated. I personally think that it would be great if all 2+ bedroom units were able to have 2 spaces. During the day many spaces are empty. The shareholders asked that an ad hoc committee be formed to see if there was a way to allow day visitors to park in the garage if space was available, but this request was met with silence.

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I'm guessing that allowing day visitors creates potential security problems for the Board. Since you have a garage, day visitors would need to gain access. How do you get into the garage? Remote control clicker? Key?

You would have non shareholders in a area where other owners' possessions (car, maybe other items in the garage belonging to owners) are located. That's an insurance/theft/personal injury liability situation to be considered.

Does the garage lead to any access into the units or is the garage a stand alone structure? Do you have cameras in the garage in case something went wrong?

You might need to review your insurance policy and check with your attorney if there are any liability concerns for your building due to day visitors parking there.

I understand how it would be nice if the 44 2BR apartments each had 2 spaces each. But, how will you do that? By taking 44 spaces away from other units who already have them?

We had a similar situation last year. Our attorney said that as long as they are not in arrears with their parking fees and they are not subletting their space (not allowed to do that here), the parking spaces belong to the unit and the Board cannot take the spaces away.

It's a pain in the neck issue for the Board, but they should at least give you the courtesy of finding out the valet costs and answering your questions.

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We are just lookin for creative ways improve the garage amenity.
We all have a fob to enter the garage, but you can buzz the front desk if you need to.

Thank you for the comment regarding day parking and liability. Good point!

All we are allowed to keep in front of our car is a shopping cart.

No other storage allowed. Occasionally someone steals a shopping cart, unfortunately.

I'm sure we could never give all 2 bedrooms a second space, but there are spots where we could double up cars and who knows, maybe a valet system could determine how many total cars could be parked in the garage. A premium could be charged for the 2nd car. We already have people saying they would pay more for a 2nd spot. Each unit is guaranteed a spot, so there is no taking any spots from anyone unless you somehow were able to acquire a 2nd or 3rd spot when there were some available.


And that is why I'm here, to connect with those that use valet to gather info. If our Board wants to inquire, they will or won't. The Board does not appreciate people getting info on their own.

You need a fob to get in to the elevator banks.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Good info and thanks for further explaining the situation. Let's say it's possible for valet parking to somehow put extra spaces in the garage.

How do you determine who gets first choice for these extra spots? Is it based on seniority as an owner or seniority from how long you've had a parking space?

I'd recommend reviewing your game plan with your attorney just to make sure you're on solid legal footing.

The Board will need to fine tune these details and have the answers ready for the shareholders, some of which will surely complain no matter what you decide.

As far as the Board not appreciating people getting info on their own - what does the Board expect people to do if the Board won't get the info for them?

Do you want the info or do you want the Board not to be mad at you? Your choice.

Good luck.

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film shoot compensation - Sheila Feb 17, 2020

The co-op board of the building I own in has recently decided to determine how much compensation a shareholder is entitled to..In past years the shareholder negotiated the fee for the use of their unit and the co-op negotiated for their fee.
Now the co-op has put a cap on the dollar amount a shareholder will be compensated. Is this legal???

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Less than 25% of owners have Garage Spot - increasing fee to market rate - TerraceBoardMember Feb 11, 2020

Our building has a covered garage with approx. 35 spots (149 units in the building) and an approximate 10 year waitlist to get a spot. The garage fee was $80/month until 2019 when it was raised to $100; and then this year the Board (4-3 split) decided to raise the fee to $125/month. Garage spot shareholders are complaining that this increase is unfair and meant to try and kick out elderly shareholders. The Board reasoned that the increase was because the current fee is much less than market rate (approx. $250+ in our neighborhood) so rather than increasing maintenance by 3% to cover the budget deficit, we raised the maintenance by 1% and increased the garage to bring it to $125. How have other Boards dealt with pushback about raising garage fees? My logic is that the shareholders are not entitled to a garage spot and Coop as a whole is a business and it makes business sense to raise the garage fees to be closer to market rate so that the building as a whole benefits financially. Anyone have any tips for how to deal with annoyed garage renters?

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I commend the board raising the garage rentals it has been long time coming. All garage renters expected the garage spots to be subsidized by shareholders. I don't understand why these people rather pay the high maintenance increase than their garage rental cost. Please do not let them bully you into feeling guilty they do this every time it goes up. I've seen a couple of them have a fit over a $20 raise. Also you have a handful of shareholders who use their spots as a car storage and not an active parking spot. These cars never move. I suggest you do what we tried to do raise the rental fees until it reaches the street value. Keep in mind you have 149 shareholders to only 35 parking spots. By your 4-3 count your board has 3 people that rent garage spots. What happened to your 2 other board members? Maybe before the new elections you can put it writing that it be mandatory to raise the rental fee every time maintenance is raised until it reaches street value. Since there was a budget shortfall makes sense to maximize any possible source of income for the benefit of ALL shareholders. Keep up the good work.

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we went thru this same situation a few years back. our garage was running more than $150 below market in the neighborhood. i suggested bringing it up by $50 and received a crazy amount of pushback. My point was that the garage has a waiting list and it's therefore a privilege (NOT an amenity) and it should serve as a source of income for the building. a higher maintenance will impact sale prices so the garage increase is the smart way to go. i finally got this thru the board when i had the treasurer do the math for the board members with parking spots and showed them the difference between the incremental garage cost and the incremental maintenance increase (about $2). good luck.

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My building doesn't have enough spaces. 150 units and no guest parking in NJ in a small town with limited parking. We have 160 parking spaces. Our 3 bedroom PH apartments or 5 units, each get 2 spaces & everyone else gets one space. We have 44 two bedroom units and the rest are mostly one bedrooms leaving 11 studios. We recently decreased our maintenance by $50 to increase the parking fee to $100 to see if anyone would give up their spot. Waiting to hear the status of this. We've suggested valeting the garage to the Board, which would bring an additional cost, but they feel it would be too expensive. We feel it would add value to the building. They gave no numbers to back up the valet cost, but it would allow all day guests to park in the garage when many are out at work.

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Shareholder behavior - Michael Feb 06, 2020

Curious what other issues boards have run into with demanding shareholders harassing board members? Have a situation with a shareholder making brazenly false complaints into 311, threatening lawsuits over completely unsubstantiated claims, etc. I realize there is likely some degree of mental illness at play here.

What are your stories and how were the situations dealt with?

Thanks!

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Pre War Building Roof Replacement with SOLAR Panels - GS Feb 05, 2020

Hi all,
My pre-war building potentially needs the roof replaced. We are thinking about pairing the roof replacement with the introduction of solar panels. We need to find some specialist engineers who could guide us through the cost benefits and feasibility of this plan. Presently we have wood joists under the roof. Does anyone have a referral base of specialists in these areas? Any guidance at all is appreciated.
thanks very much!

> Join the conversation Comments (3)

Congratulations! Wish my building will do this. Call Brooklyn Solarworks (347-474-7144) 200 6th St. Bklyn NY. They have done several roofs in my area. They will guide you and educate you on the process. Best of Luck moving into the 21st century. Your building will save in your electric bills. $$$$$

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Contact Bright Power and ask for Darren Johnson. Bright Power is a leader in all things energy. Our building is starting to think about doing the same.

https://www.brightpower.com/new-york-city-solar-co-op/

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This company has been installing solar panels all over Bklyn.
"Brooklyn Solar Works" (347-474-7144. They just installed solar panels in a co-op building in Prospect Pk S.W. the super said they are getting cuts already on their electric bills. It's a win win. Wish my building will do it, but they can't move away from 1990. Best of Luck

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Another minor issue you may encounter if your building is landmarked and any part of the solar panel installation will be visible from grade level along what's called a "view line", you may need to check with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. They sometimes get persnickety about what should be a non-issue.

If you are landmarked and someone who passes by your building sees the solar panels and complains to the LPC, expect a visit from an inspector. So if you're landmarked, check with the contractor who's doing the installation.

If you're not landmarked, please disregard all of the above...

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Coop board misdeeds - Brian Coyle Jan 31, 2020

Coop with no sublet restrictions, in univ. neighborhood. I sublet out. Shareholder below me, on board, has water damage in bathroom ceiling. Accused me of poor maintenance, board agreed without inspecting. I sealed floor, problem continued. Finally board hired plumbing co. - they found valve leak behind wall, bldg's responsibility. This disproved board president's expectation. Same day president directed super to pour 'pitchers of dye water' along floor edge. Took pictures of dye on ceiling below to show floor is problem. Then claimed plumbing co. did dye test. I contacted plumbing co. they asserted absolutely not. This isn't how such tests are done, by code. They found leak in valve only. President didn't deny, in writing, but claimed mgt co. instructed her. Mgt. co. denied this.

I hired professional bldg. inspector to assess floor, he declared it sound, above average. Forwarded to board. No response. Board has blocked my current attempt to sublet for over 30 day period permitted by policy, ostensibly because I don't "fix floor problem." They cause me fiduciary damage. Insistence that floor is problem will impact resale. Shareholder below wants to buy my place, could be tactic.

Do I have any recourse?

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

I commend you for sticking up for your rights, now hire a lawyer to solve your sublet problems. I would also consider running for your board they all seem to be do as I say not as I do. Does your board have open shareholder meetings? if not ask for one. Talk to your fellow shareholders to vote for new board members and see if they have the same problems as you. Then pack up run don't walk and sell ASAP. Best of Luck

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super's phone bill - DP Jan 15, 2020

Are there any standards, laws, or regulations, etc., regarding who pays for the superintendent's cell phone in a coop building? Mine is a 55-unit, 6-story apt. coop (with rentals) building.

I ask b/c our super's phone frequently "goes out," making it impossible to reach him for days at a time. He doesn't receive vm or texts. This is not only annoying, but potentially dangerous in an emergency.

Knowledgeable advice or direction appreciated. Not so interested in opinions, thanks.

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I'm not aware of any laws or regulations covering this. I think it's up to the Board to decide if they're going to partially or fully pay for the super's phone bill.

We give our super a subsidy each month for his personal cell phone. He uses his own phone to call us and have us call him. Since he's like a doctor on call, we choose to give him a monthly subsidy.

You have a dangerous situation if he's not staying in contact with the co-op. That's a far more important subject than who pays for his phone bill. I would think that being on call is a basic job requirement for any super, especially a live-in one.

Good luck.

Good luck.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Thanks Marty.


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We also give our super a $50 monthly stipend for his cellphone. In exchange we publish his cellphone number to all shareholders and it is expeced he will respond to all calls and text messages in a reasonable amount of time.

A few years ago we purchased five commercial-grade walkie talkies, for the super, three staff members, and a designated board member (me). You have no idea how useful they are and how much more efficient everyone is because of the dedicated communications link. I'd be happy to talk offline with anyone who is interested.

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Steven424 - Been a long time since I've seen your name. Good to see you dispensing your wisdom once again.

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Hi Marty - Thanks for the warm welcome back. My wife passed away in Sept, 2018 and I've been slowly re-engaging with the activities I was involved with before she required my full-time care.

I'm glad to be back.
--- Steve

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I don't know either of you gentlemen—Marty or Steve424—but since I began this thread, I'd like to offer my condolences to you Steve. I'm sorry for your loss and glad you're re-engaging. Best to you.

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Steven - I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. Please accept my condolences.

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Marty, DP -

Thank you both for your condolences. Her passing wasn't unexpected, and activities like my participation here help restore a sense of continuity with the past.

--- Steve

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Steve,
So sorry to hear of your wife's passing.

Queens

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Who gets Coop Abatement after sale of the unit, Part 2 - OG Jan 09, 2020

I can’t leave additional comments to my original post, so I created a new one.

First of all, thank you, queen & Marty for your support. I started the battle from April 2019 and it was frustrating because I could find very little information and there was no support.
You guys have been so great. I can’t thank you enough.

I just heard back from the DOF. This is better than I expected. Please see below.


As requested the tax benefit breakdown sent out 12/2019 is attached. Please note in the 19/20 report it states the new shareholders NEW OWNERS’ NAME as receiving the 19/20 abatement, but this is incorrect, this abatement should be distributed to the previous shareholder MY NAME since she didn't sell the coop until 1/23/2019 which was after the 1/5/2019 taxable status date and primary residency wasn't changed to No on the 19/20 change form submitted in February 2019. Please advise management of this. Additionally for the new owners of apt XXXX to receive the CCA beginning TY 2020/21, they must be on the change form as new owners, primary residency Yes by the 2/15/2020 deadline.

Thank you for contacting the NYC Dept. of Finance,

Candice Ficalora
Property Exemptions Administration Customer Service


The property manager really screwed up!
I probably shouldn’t let the management company know about the mistake he made until 2/15 deadline lol.
As a matter of fact, I wonder if they tried to lie about the status.
The coop I sold is a studio. They have a house in NJ. Their daughter is living there.

I’m going to talk to the management company with confidence!

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That s GREAT news! Tenacity pays off!!!

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Congratulations!

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OG here.
So, I contacted the management company and requested to return my 2 years abatements.
Sent an email to the Controller who was CC’d on the DOF’s response to my inquiry and the Property Manager of the unit. No response. Sent a follow up email. Nothing. Sent a separate email to the Property Manager alone who has been responsive, but no answer.
I guess they decided to ignore me.
The irony is that the very samevController is commenting in the Habitat February issue mentioned below about Property tax benefits.
My next stop seems to be Small Claims court.
I really thought this would be solved smoothly after I saw the response from DOF.
I will keep you posted.

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OG - Do you know the co-op's attorney? I wonder if a phone call to him might be beneficial. After all, he represents the interests of the shareholders (of which you're one), so he might be able to speak/call the mgt company and convince them to pay you the $$.

If that fails, you can always fall back on Small Claims Court.

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Marty-
Thanks again for your advice. I really appreciate your time. I do have the attorney’s contact but remember I’m no longer a shareholder? He is supposed to protect the purchaser who received and will receive our abatement.
I suspect both the Controller and the Property manager consulted the attorney and decided to remain quiet. I doubt it’s their own call.
I wish they would have replied to me if they believe they did the right thing or is my belief completely out of question and not worth paying attention to?

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I would still call the attorney because you have nothing to lose by doing so.

His job is to protect the shareholders of the corporation. You have a notice from the DOF that says you were legally entitled to receive those abatements as a shareholder.

His job is to limit the co-op's exposure to potential lawsuits and this is a potential lawsuit because that money is rightfully yours. It's the co-op's problem - not yours - if they erroneously paid it to the new purchaser.

Trust me, the attorney knows this. As an officer of the court he can't knowingly perpetuate a fraud, which would be the case if the purchaser gets to keep the abatements instead of you - the rightful recipient.

Everything's a negotiation. After you present the facts to him, you nicely tell him that all you want are your legally owed abatements.

You can also remind him that the co-op won't lose money because the purchaser has to repay the co-op all of the abatements they were not entitled to receive.

Tell him that the co-op just has to pay you and then recover that money from the purchaser.

See what he says and remember that 1) you have nothing to lose and 2) that money is legally yours.

Good luck.

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OG,
of course they are going to ignore you and hope you go away.

If the co-op's attorney won't work with you, forget small claims court. Contact your attorney. He/she can send a letter threatening legal action as well as reimbursement of your legal expenses, lost wages and emotional distress.

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Just a heads up that Habitat has published a story in the February 2020 issue explaining the different property tax benefits and how buildings and residents get them. Keeping track of who's entitled and how they get the benefit is a huge administrative task, and usually falls on management's shoulders.

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