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buying ex husband out of jointly owned NYC coop apartment - deb Sep 01, 2018

If I buy my ex husband’s share of our jointly owned coop (nyc) are all the flip taxes and state and city taxes applied as if I’m a new buyer, with no ownership of the apartment?

thanks

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Since you are no longer married, I would assume the sale will be treated as if it were between unrelated parties.

You should not rely on my opinion but consult with the attorney who handled your divorce or an attorney who specializes in real estate law. If the divorce decree was not worded properly there could be all sorts of tax consequences.

Remember that fees imposed by the co-op corporation like the share transfer fee (i.e. flip tax) are in no way related to any applicable state and city taxes and fees. These would also depend on how the shares were titled before the divorce.

Something like this can grow very complex very quickly. It's best to spend the modest $$$ on an attorney today to save the big $$$ if the matter is not handled properly.

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Master Shareholders List - Unosay Aug 26, 2018

I requested a copy of the shareholders list recently and noticed a lot of the names were missing. As a former board member I thought it was odd that it was altered and not up to date. I was told by my property manager shareholders requested their names to be omitted. I know that not to be true as I was the only one to request it. I was thinking to run again for the board to try to protect our investments. Unfortunately shareholders here do not know their rights or what they are entitled to. Our board members never seen a master list or the parking list to understand the proper running of a corporation. While on the board we only received a financial report when it was time to do the budget. Please advise and thank you for your time.

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One possibility is to find other shareholders interested in running for the Board, as a slate. Flyers could be circulated stating the issues and candidate backgrounds.

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Section 624 of the New York Business Corporatiin Law states

“Any person who shall have been a shareholder of record of a corporation upon at least five days written demand shall have the right to examine in person or by agent or attorney, during usual business hours, its minutes of the proceedings of its shareholders and record of shareholders and to make extracts therefrom for any purpose reasonably related to such persons interest as a shareholder.”

You can inform your Management company and Board President that they are violating the law.

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I followed the BCL procedure with a written affidavit for the master list. I got a altered copy with blank spaces because I suspected certain board members, our property manager and family members purchased apartments whole gainfully employed by the corporation . They have lowered our property rates for sales to meet the needs of their buyers. What is the best solution to my situation which has gotten out of hand? I read and subscribe to your magazine which has educated me along with attending the cooperative and condo expo for years. Most sharerholders haven't a clue of what they bought or the resources out there to inform them. Thank you!

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

If you've already submitted an affidavit and got an altered copy as your response, then you may have no other choice other than to hire an attorney to force them to give you the complete master list.

Good luck!

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Thank you kindly for your advice and it pains me to have to go that route. But it is time for complete transparency and honesty .

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Provision in Will - marym Aug 09, 2018

Does anybody know what this means? Thank you.

Section 4 : Executors
...I direct my executor to take all actions legally permissable to have the probate of my will done as simply and as free of court supervision as possible under the laws of the state having jurisdiction over this will, including filing a petition in the appropriate court for the independent administration of my estate

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I asked my wife who is a retired Trusts & Estate attorney what it might mean. She said that generally it is meant to instruct the court probating the will to not get overly involved in the estate administration. The testator (person whose will is being probated) is saying to the court that they have complete confidence in the named executor, and the court should not try to second-guess the executor's actions or decisions.

The Usual Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. This should not be construed in any manner to be a legal opinion or advice. If you are a party to an estate where the will contains such a paragraph, you need to consult with a T&E attorney to get a formal legal opinion.

Good luck!

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Legality of Ethics or Non Disclosure Agreements - H. Jul 31, 2018

Can Board members be compelled to sign such Agreements?

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You need to contact your board's attorney to have him/her review the NDA and advise whether or not to sign it. NDA's are fraught with complexities that you do not want to blindly commit to without any sort of legal review. Even if it is one board member trying to get another board member to sign, your co-op attorney is working for your co-op corporation and not individual board members. In all circumstances she/he should be giving advice that is beneficial to the corporation.

Remember also that any legal advise you receive in these forums is worth exactly what you paid for it.

Good luck!

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So NDA’s are not intrinsically illegal? Depending on content, they may be legal?

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Unless someone has had direct experience with an NDA, I doubt anyone besides a co-op/condo attorney has the background and knowledge to properly advise. I worked for a very large IT corporation and we were not allowed to sign *any* NDA without in-house counsel review. Much better to err on the side of paranoia... :-)

But to answer your question, I don't think they are intrinsically illegal. For example, suppose a solar energy company wants to use your building as a test-bed for a new type of solar panel. They may ask you to sign an NDA preventing you from revealing facts about efficiency, problems, cost, anything like that. In my opinion, that sort of NDA should be ok.

On the other hand, suppose one of your shareholders has some adverse knowledge about another shareholder that they won't divulge to you without a form of an NDA. The first person you should go to is your attorney. Otherwise, you may end up liable for things (and financial penalties!) you never dreamed of. Ignorance of the law is not a defense.

Once again, this is just my very non-legal opinion and you should not rely on it as any sort of legal advise. If someone is asking you to sign an NDA, speak to your lawyer.

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I agree with Steven's advice.

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Elevator replacement - GS Jul 17, 2018

Our pre-war building is moving forward with complete replacement of elevators (cabs, rails, motors etc.) It's a 6 story building. The project is expected to take 8-10 weeks. We have many tenants who have mobility issues (wheelchairs etc.)
We do not have a service elevator. The building has two wings with one elevator servicing each wing. We are considering constructing a covered rooftop walkway so that residents can take the elevator on one side, cross the roof and then take the stairs down to floors 6, 5, 4, 3. We've looked into motorized chair lifts on the stairways but were told this involves increased liability for potential falls. We are very concerned about people being stuck in their apartments or having to leave their apartments for the duration of the project. Any and all suggestions for how to address this problem are greatly appreciated!

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Our co-op (6 stories, 2 unconnected buildings) replaced both of our elevators last year and this year. We also had no service elevator and also had many seniors and people with mobility issues. It took 8 weeks from start to finish.

The good news is that the elevator company finished work on the 56th day, with the mandatory NYC inspection taking place the next day. Make sure your managing agent contacts the NYC agency who does the inspections before the work starts, so the inspection can be done ASAP after the work is finished.

There is no painless way to do this, so we felt that our #1 priority was to ease the pain as much as possible, even if that cost substantial $$.

Your covered walkway sounds like a possibility. We didn't have that option, so here's what we did...

1) Give as much lead in time as possible to the residents and constantly communicate to them exactly what the process will entail.

The less surprises there are, the easier the process will be for the residents and the Board. We gave our s/h 4-5 months notice before the work began.

2) Suggest that s/h arrange, if possible, to stay with friends/family for all or part of the time during the replacement process.

3) We placed 2 folding chairs on each floor landing in both stairwells so that s/h could rest if needed going up/down the stairs.

4) We provided water to s/h who requested it. Make sure the staff hands it out instead of having all the water in one public location because the water will grow legs and disappear if the staff doesn't control its distribution.

5) Try to do the replacement from March - May or Sept - Nov to avoid the hottest times of the year.

6) Inform the s/h of food delivery services such as Peapod or Fresh Direct as a substitute for going to the supermarket.

7) Advise your s/h to stock up on heavy shopping items (canned goods, bottled water, etc) in the months prior to the replacement so their shopping is limited to lighter weight items being brought up the stairs.

8) Our biggest decision was to spend money to hire extra staff (our managing agent took care of this) to be available solely for the purpose of helping s/h carry food up and down the stairs, in addition to helping residents schlep their laundry up and down.

We bought a burn phone and gave that phone number to our residents, and told them to call ONLY that number if they needed help (as opposed to calling the personal cell numbers of our maintenance staff)

We had our extra workers available 7 days a week with staggered hours, recognizing that not all s/h keep the same hours. Our extra worker schedule was:
Mon/Wed/Fri…8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday/Thursday…10:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Saturday/Sunday: 10 AM - 4 PM

We felt that this would reduce the stress of our residents as much as possible.

Of course, we informed s/h that there may be times where 2 or more s/h call the burn phone at the same time, so we need everyone's patience and cooperation to make this work.

We kind of made this up as we went along since we never had such a massively inconvenient project take place before, but we erred on the side of caution to make sure we minimized the pain as much as possible.

Overall, we had very few complaints because we really tried to provide as much information and services to our residents as possible.

No one complained about the extra money because everyone felt it was money well spent.

I wish you the best of luck. You're going to need it.

Communicate often and provide as many details to the residents months in advance so everyone can plan ahead.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Thank you so much for responding and for the details of your action plan.

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Marty - Excellent, excellent write-up and procedure guide for doing an elevator replacement where there are no backup elevators. We replaced our elevator in 2005 and followed pretty much the same process you did.

Communications is absolutely the key to reducing shareholder angst and aggravation. Emails and lobby fliers together are a potent communications tool.

Habitat should publish this as a HOW-TO for future elevator replacements.

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Marty,
It sounds like you were happy with the elevator company. Which one did you use?
Thanks,
GS

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

We used Genco. One thing you'll discover is that the company you select to do the replacement must be your servicing company for the next 5 years after the replacement is completed. Apparently that is an industry wide standard.

We've learned that some co-ops are having trouble finding companies to do the replacement because the demand is very high at this time. That's because all elevators must meet new NYC code standards by 2020.

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Package offer for new super - Elle Jul 17, 2018

Do any co-op board members or building managers for small (~36 apt) co-ops in NYC (Manhattan) have advice on package offers for a live-in superintendent?

The RAB guidelines have a lot of detail around non-superintendent position salaries and benefits but little specific to supers - perhaps because they are not always live-in positions? There also seems to be phasing-in of salaries for new to union employees (e.g. 80% of full salary for first 30 months) but I am unclear on whether this is applicable to super positions too.

Any advice or additional resources to look into would be greatly appreciated.

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I have several smaller buildings that size, all non-union and 1 union... theres a big difference in the 2...
My non union guys make the following:
27 unit, part time super with live in: 28,000 plus basic benefits
35 unit, part time super, 2 bedroom apt, 35K per year plus (he's actually there full time anyway)
40 unit, full time super, 2 bdrm apt, 40K per year plus basic benis..
Those are non union...
I have a 44 unit union building where he came in at 55K plus
~AR

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We, too, are looking to learn salaries of live-in Supers/RMs of Park & Fifth Ave buildings. Our co-op has 50 units. The current Super worked his way up & now mostly manages a staff of 8.
Nice man, but no education & needs to look at YouTube for repairs. Managing company keeps suggesting raising him to be in-line with others who he insists are at 150k, but my sense is that those are larger buildings.

REAP LLC: Can you offer a sense of the 44 Unit Union building, location, demographics?

Thank you.

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No Star Revisions - NYC Jul 09, 2018



What are the consequences to the property manager if the revisions to the star exemption were received but not distributed to the shareholders by June 30th?

Does the DOF give extensions to P.M.'s?

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Were the STAR revisions/updates not received in time by the DOF to qualify for this year, or were they properly processed, the MA has the list of rebate amounts, and the treasurer has simply not credited the abatement against the monthly maintenance?

Remember that there is no actual transfer of funds from the DOF to the co-op for the abatement. Instead, the co-op receives a list from the DOF showing the amount of the abatement for each apartment. It is then an obligation of the co-op to pass the abatement on to each shareholder. This is usually done by issuing a one-time credit against the monthly maintenance for the amount of the abatement.

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On site property manager retired - Unosay Jul 06, 2018

Our own site property manager retired without property management company posting a official notice. A shareholder posted a farewell notice alerting us about a party. Should the board and management been the ones to give official notice? Why did they wait until the last minute to make a decision about a replacement? Can a 490 unit cooperative operate with a off site property manager so we can sell the office or rent it out for revenue?

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Maybe those questions you should answer or address to the board & management. Sounds like the property manager had enough dealings with the board and managing agent. The shareholder that posted about a farewell party didn't want the board or managing agent involved or meddling in the festivities. Why? You need to address the way the board and management is run, because the shareholders didn't want you guys to be making this decision.
It's up to the board to address replacing the property manager, 490 units sounds like you need an on site managing agent. Good luck in finding the right property manager.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

As a board member what information are members entitled to such as master shareholders list, parking list, contracts, hiring of new employees, and communication to our membership? For years our cooperative has been ran like a secret society without transparency. We want to change this image to include all board members in decisions being made for the best interest of the corporation. Loyalty was to former employees who joined the board with their own interests at heart who have resigned without explanation after many years of service. We want to restructure as a well oiled machine with transparency and accountability to our shareholders. Who can we turn to with guidance to make this happen as too much is unknown? Our lawyer doesn't offer advice until there is a need.

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Sounds like there were other unknown issues involving the managers departure that would come to light at a later date... keeping the ball rolling and the building functioning at peak performance is top priority now anyway and there are alot of variables unknown that make it hard to answer a question as to if you need on or off site management.. the short term gain of selling the unit can cost more in the long term if you remove a needed service.
~AR

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Who is Responsible for Interior Apartment Doors? - H. Jul 01, 2018

In a coop, who is responsible for repairing aging room doors that warp with age and can’t close properly? Or closet doors?

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You should be able to find the definitive answer in your Proprietary Lease. There are sections in the PL that define who (shareholder or co-op corp) is responsible for what.

If your's is a standard PL, then you are most likely responsible. Most PL's state that the shareholder is responsible for everything (doors included) that are contained within the envelope of the unit; the four walls that frame the unit, the base floor, and the ceiling. The shareholder is usually responsible for any special wall treatments (wallpaper, wainscotting, etc) and floor treatments (parqueting, carpeting, etc), because the co-op corporation cannot be held responsible for anything that was not part of the original unit.

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No Date for Board interview - VJ_A Jun 29, 2018

I'm the buyer for a COOP in Upper East Side Lenox Hill area. The Board package was delivered by my agent to the management company of the COOP, 5 weeks ago.

The agent forwarded me an email update 2 weeks ago from the management company that the package has been received and reviewed by the board but I still don't have a date for the interview.

Does anyone have opinion on the timelines of how long after the package has been received by the board does the buyer typically get an board interview?

thanks,

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There are many variables that can affect how long it takes for a board to complete it's review and schedule an interview. Most boards won't schedule the interview until the finances have been fully reviewed and approved. Some of the factors that can delay the review are:
* Complexity of the financials. Anything more complicated than straight salaries (W-2's) and standard bank and investment statements can require additional analysis. Not every board has a CPA on it.
* Completeness of the package. Did it include everything requested? Has the board or MA asked for additional documentation or explanations?
* Number of other purchases being evaluated by the board at the same time.
* Other major issues the board has prioritized over your purchase.
* Availability of board members and MA. It's summer, and people go on vacation.
* Concerns about your credit and background checks.

There are probably many other very legit factors affecting when the board is ready to interview. You might have your R/E agent or attorney contact the MA or whoever handles sales for the building and ask when they think they'll be ready to have the interview.

If there is a lot currently going on in the co-op or with board members, it could be delaying the financial analysis. Remember that board members are all volunteers who have day jobs, families, obligations, and other personal reasons for not being able to devote their full energy to a new purchase.

Hang in there. If time does become of the essence, have your agent or attorney communicate that to the board. Good boards will try to accommodate legitimate requests (like a rate lock expiration) because at the end of the day, you will probably end up being neighbors.

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Thanks a bunch for your time on a detailed response. I would like to mention add some additional details on the topic, if that help in the context:

Positives:
1) Loan Commitment letter: We took an additional 2 weeks after going "In-Contract" to get a loan commitment letter issued. So the board package did include a firm loan commitment letter from the bank.

2) The additional detail that the board has asked since the package was sent to them is the monthly statement from June (original package was sent in May).

3) All the other basics looks solid: FICO Scores (810+ for all 3), job history, relatively small COOP with no other COOP purchases currently in progress in the building.

Negatives:
1) I moved to NYC from San Francisco, and my house in that city (SF) is now a full time investment property and even though rental income ($11K/month) is way more than the mortgage ($6.5K/month ) of the property. There is a valid monthly money commitment involved from me on that.

2) The board did ask about my plans to "continue" the rent the place, although I'm sure they know that San Francisco, is one of the most intense rental markets in the country.

So in summary, I wonder how much of the delay is due to the above (investment property) scenario.

Thanks again for your response. I'm hoping for the best and keeping your suggestion in mind, I have asked my RE agent to contact the Board on when the interview date be available?

thanks,

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Thanks a bunch for your time on a detailed response. I would like to mention add some additional details on the topic, if that help in the context:

Positives:
1) Loan Commitment letter: We took an additional 2 weeks after going "In-Contract" to get a loan commitment letter issued. So the board package did include a firm loan commitment letter from the bank.

2) The additional detail that the board has asked since the package was sent to them is the monthly statement from June (original package was sent in May).

3) All the other basics looks solid: FICO Scores (810+ for all 3), job history, relatively small COOP with no other COOP purchases currently in progress in the building.

Negatives:
1) I moved to NYC from San Francisco, and my house in that city (SF) is now a full time investment property and even though rental income ($11K/month) is way more than the mortgage ($6.5K/month ) of the property. There is a valid monthly money commitment involved from me on that.

2) The board did ask about my plans to "continue" the rent the place, although I'm sure they know that San Francisco, is one of the most intense rental markets in the country.

So in summary, I wonder how much of the delay is due to the above (investment property) scenario.

Thanks again for your response. I'm hoping for the best and keeping your suggestion in mind, I have asked my RE agent to contact the Board on when the interview date be available?

thanks,

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

No way to know for sure why there is a delay, but my co-op would certainly want to get more details about your SF rental property situation.

The co-op may be concerned about your ability to pay your $6.5K monthly mortgage commitment, even if there is a "valid monthly commitment" from you. Not sure what your "valid monthly commitment" entails. Maybe the Board is still checking that out.

Your Board may feel nervous about this large financial obligation. Even though it's SF and the rental market is strong, any Board would have valid reservations about this situation.

Since you say this is a relatively small co-op, each shareholder has a larger impact on the bottom line when compared to a larger co-op. This may be weighing on the Board's mind.

Just guessing at the possible reasons, besides all of the excellent information that Steven provided to you.

Good luck

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I agree completely with Marty's thoughts about the property in San Francisco. As the one who does the detailed financial analysis for my building, the most important assets are those that can be easily and quickly liquidated to help meet maintenance obligations. If you lose your tenant, you not only lose the income, but you effectively "acquire" an additional $6.5k monthly debt.

If you find the board is concerned about your ability to meet your maintenance obligations, a suggestion I would make is to offer to put a minimum of a year's worth of maintenance into escrow. That guarantees the board will receive their monthly income from you, and eases the concerns of your being a burden on the rest of the shareholders.

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