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COOP BOARD CHANGING RULES - JENNIFER WEST VILLAGE Sep 12, 2022

My coop board decided, on their own, to change both the pet rules and the sublet rules. The owners were never given the chance to vote. When I approached the building management company about this, she stated that 'if everyone voted on everything we wouldn't get anywhere'. Now, this is not a matter of whether to put a plant in the common areas. Both changes affect owners financially. Meanwhile, my building only has 30 units. It's not that difficult to vote.
I closed on this apartment 6 months before the changes, and I bought this unit in this building, because of the pet/sublet rules. Now, they are changed.
Do I have anything to stand on? Where can I find NYC law to research on this?

> Join the conversation Comments (3)

You'll need to check your coop's By-Laws and Proprietary Lease. Many coops - perhaps most, including ours - allow the board to modify the House Rules directly, without a shareholder vote. Similarly, deciding which contractor to hire for a major renovation is entirely within the board's authority. The board is empowered to make many types of significant decisions without the need for a shareholder vote.

Here is the text of Article XII from our own By-Laws:

"These By-Laws may be amended, enlarged or diminished either (a) at a shareholders’ meeting by vote of shareholders owning two-thirds of the amount of the outstanding shares, represented in person or by proxy, or (b) at any meeting of the Board of Directors by a majority vote, provided that the proposed amendment or the substance thereof shall have been inserted in the notice of meeting or that all of the Directors are present in person, except that the Directors may not repeal a By-Law amendment adopted by the shareholders as provided above."

Modifying the lease itself is a different matter. A material change to the lease pretty much always requires a shareholder vote. Many coops require a super-majority vote for such modifications.

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Arrgh, I also meant to quote our relevant House Rule:

"(33) These house rules may be added to, amended or repealed at any time by resolution of the Board of Directors of the Lessor."

Both our By-Laws *and* our House Rules may be modified by a simple majority vote of the board. Your coop may differ.

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I have printed them out and plan on going over them in great detail. I'm also contacting the office of the NYS Attorney General to find out what rights owners have.

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I understand and thank you for responding- as the board made this decision 6 months after closing, and as both decisions directly affect the shareholders financially (a lot plan or planned to rent and/or get pets) we are all infuriated -and are hoping there are some sort of laws in place to protect the shareholders from the board making financial decisions without a vote. This is incredibly frustrating- as I put an excessive amount of time into researching buildings that would suit both these purposes.

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I totally understand your frustration. We have 187 units in my bldg., and the rule was if no one said anything for the first 90 days of the dog owner move in, THE DOG STAYS! I've been here 21 years and every year there are more and more dogs in the bldg. It's a loosing battle. Good luck.! All those dogs are not grandfathered in! The board can change, update, modify anything the by Laws say. If I could afford to move, and if I had some place to move I would. Owning a coop is like many other things, NOT THE WAY THEY USED TO BE!

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In addition to what Sandra recommended, case law is on your side. If you have a pet and the rules change, courts have said that you can AT LEAST keep your current pet for its lifetime. It's hard when you're new, but see if you can find out who else has pets and may be effected. If 5, 10, 20 shareholders demand their pets be grandfathered in, it's harder for the Board to ignore.

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this is in violation of your rights. Actions of board of managers, the court must apply the business judgment rule. Under the business judgment rule, court review of the actions of a board of managers is limited to whether the board of managers' action was authorized, and whether it was taken in good faith and in the furtherance of legitimate interests of the condominium or Coop.
In your building this needs to be voted on by 2/3 of the shareholders which was not done.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Suzanne, I feel this is more an annoyance of shareholder rights than a violation. As Carl Tate stated early on, changing the Proprietary Lease or the By-Laws usually requires a supermajority. The exact terms are written into the PL and BL, but it's usually 67% or 75% of *all* co-op shares voting affirmative. Not just voting shares. A very high bar to achieve for very good reasons.

OTOH, changes to the House Rules usually requires a simple majority of just board members. House Rules regulate the decorum of the co-op and almost always affect individual shareholders only. They never address co-op corporation finances or governance.

If the changes to the HR's aggrieve enough individual shareholders, you might request to meet with the board at the next monthly meeting to hash things out. Remember the board is under no obligation to make any changes even if there is a majority or unimanous vote by the shareholders.

I don't know of any way individuals or groups of shareholders can make direct modifications to the HR's. The only other option I can think of is nuclear, and that is to run a slate of candidates at the next election who are favorable to reverting the HR's to their original form. This can get messy, so consider if the results are worth the animosity it could cause.

Good luck!

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New Skylights - Datrik Wass Sep 09, 2022

Hello, a shareholder is wanting to put skylights in their top floor unit where one does not exist. They have it in their architecture plans that were submitted to the board. I'm worried about not having anything in writing that states the expectations for who maintains these skylights or how to deal with the skylights in the event the coop wants to utilize the roof for another purpose, such as a roof deck or solar. Does anyone here have experience with a situation such as this? Many thanks in advance.

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

I feel your best course of action is to contact your board's attorney because there are multiple issues in play with this. Besides the list you provided, your proprietary lease needs to be reviewed to see if it has any provisions for a shareholder making any sort of modification to what is common property (the roof and the support structure above the ceiling of the apartment. You need to check if the transfer of common property is even permitted under the PL. If so how is the transfer accomplished? Do new shares have to be issued to the shareholder? If they can, how are they to be valued... I think you can see where this is leading.

For something like this you want to get it done right the first time to save yourself a lot of heartburn later on. You can properly bill the shareholder who wants to install the skylights for the legal work.

Remember, any legal advice you receive here is worth exactly what you pay for it. Good luck!

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When do Super's retire? - DM Aug 24, 2022

Hi - At what age do Union 32BJ - NYC co-op Superintendents usually retire?

Is there a regular age for this?

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I don't see any comments here. As a board member of a co-op where the super is 65+ I am also interested in this subject. I welcome any information or how others have handled a similar situation.

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It is up to them and so long as they are still able to perform and do their basic job functions.

They tend to step down in their early 60s.

Many building supers are pushing 60 currently. I have 6 out of 12 supers that are in their late 50s.

It will be an interesting shift once they retire in mass.

A Superintendent job has turned more into property manager role. The next generation will need to be more tech savy in addition to knowing building systems, the endless amount of local laws and knowing how to avoid building violations.

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I agree, as long as the super can physically perform their duties. They are staying. If a super is living rent free, let's face it that is all the more reason to try to continue working. Where is a person 65+ going to find a job to sustain today's economy? That also depends on how long he has been working. 25-30 years okay,(with a pension) but if they came into the job late, they may see it beneficial to stay working longer.

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Air conditioning and heating - Robert Aug 23, 2022

Thoughts on the pros and cons of a chiller vs heat pump system.

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Water Shutdowns. How many is to many ? - Gouverneur Gardens Aug 19, 2022

How many water shutdowns to a fully occupied building or development with primarily seniors is to many before reaching out to the DOB , DOH, or HPD , ?
The cooperators at Gouverneur Gardens , lower Eastside gone with no water to 782 apartments from 8am to after 11pm yesterday ,Thursday , 8/18/22.

The Property Manager was off site using " Building Link " to communicate to shareholders that many don't even use. . The Board was unavailable to anyone too.

The development is going through a capital project that's grossly mismanaged at every level.
Buildings , cleaned once a week, pest control inadequate , duct tapes , flyers , all over the walls, and contractors using both of our elevators . Your thoughts>>>


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E- Bikes stored in Coops and Condos - Gouverneur Gardens Aug 07, 2022

https://www.thecity.nyc/2022/8/3/23291085/two-dead-nycha-housing-exploding-ebike-battery?utm_campaign=mailchimp&utm_source=daily&utm_medium=newsletter

More needs to happen to regulate the storage of e- bikes and scooters . The Board at Gouverneur Gardens at the Lower East Side is a sleep on this issue . Your Thoughts

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co-op bullying - rivka Aug 03, 2022

I live in a nyc co-op over 30 years. my parents are the owners. the management, and sometimes the super, and the co-op board bully me. refuse to answers questions, scream at me, contradict themselves and just plain old lie.

what rights do I have????

> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Sounds like my coop!

Call 311 / HPD for any neglected repairs. That helps.
Keep everything in writing.

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This is a similar story in too many coops, but calling 311/HPD is bad for the coop owners/shareholders/you. It can bring increased violations which are then on your dime. I know this is easier said than done, but work to replace the board. Start talking to other shareholders, see if they are equally dissatisfied, and then run for the board. But you need to be organized and get your ducks in a row before you do that. Good luck.

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Bring it all up at the next Annual meeting.

Also the Super is in a Union (I’m assuming) and if he’s screaming at an owner write him up/document it and maybe ask to have a meeting with Super/Board/and his Union/Management company.

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Heat or no Heat - Queens Jul 16, 2022

My co-op has radiators that do not have heat controls.
The heat can only be turned on or off by the maintenance staff. We were told we can either have it on or off. There is no middle.

The heat is unbearable in the winter so many shareholders have the heat turned off and have opted to use electric heaters, which I think presents a dangerous situation.

we have been told to leave the windows opened or the air conditioning on rather then have them shut the heat because they will not come back and forth to turn everyone's heat on and off, which I understand but their solution to the heat situation is unhealthy. Any suggestions on how we, the shareholders, can remedy the situation will be greatly appreciated.


> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Doesn’t keeping the windows open waste heat and it’s cost effective?

What about installing a thermostatic radiator valve. This adjusts room temperature by using air to reduce or increase the amount of steam that warms your radiator.

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Opening of and closing of heating valves , and opening windows to cool off due to excessive heat is nonsense , and who's telling you this is ignorant .

A thermostatic valve , with a sensor ,and a proper steam trap will do the job
Your Management must be paying big bucks for heating ....
10 to 20% of outside air is recommended too.

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Thanks for the input..

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Some observations in a co-op - Pooh Jul 16, 2022

Hi

Would like to hear anyone’s thoughts on the below:

- is it appropriate for a Super to hire a relative to be a porter so then a direct report?
- is it appropriate that a Super buys a unit even though the co-op pays for his unit? So either he flips the purchased unit or has a relative live in it? So then becomes an employee besides a shareholder.
- is it appropriate that a managing agent purchases a unit in a co-op and then flips it?

> Join the conversation Comments (2)

Before responding to your individual questions, let me state that I see a number of potentially serious conflicts of interest. I feel your board will be well served to consult your attorney before allowing any of these transactions to take place. The legal requirements regarding conflicts of interest have recently been made more stringent so a consult would be in your best interests.

Remember, I Am Not A Lawyer!

- is it appropriate for a Super to hire a relative to be a porter so then a direct report?

I don't see anything inherently inappropriate, but a family relationship will definitely complicate an employment relationship. Especially if you're a union building with all the rules and requirements around discipline and termination. Related family members tend to let things slide a little more than non-related and you'll have to be careful the relationship doesn't build resentment.

- is it appropriate that a Super buys a unit even though the co-op pays for his unit? So either he flips the purchased unit or has a relative live in it? So then becomes an employee besides a shareholder.

Ask your attorney for advice. It will definitely be a complex relationship between the board and the Super and may require additional agreements such as occupancy and/or resale agreement.

- is it appropriate that a managing agent purchases a unit in a co-op and then flips it?

Up to the board if they want to approve the sale. MA can't buy without board approval so the board has final discretion if a sale is allowed.

I hope this helps.

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)

Perhaps try to get your co-op board and shareholders to amend your proprietary lease to limit sublets of units until the buyer has owned the unit for two years. This prevents investor owners who only seek to rent the unit or place someone in the unit who is not the buyer.

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We have 187 units of which 56? are rentals. A porter was living with a renter, then rented an apt in the bldg.in his own name. Now we can barely find him working in the bldg. WE (the board) have been told he's been seen many times during the day in the apt. The sponsor who rented him the apt. claims he could not discriminate. I personally think that is a total conflict of interest. I agree. A super should not be allowed to purchase within the coop they work in. We are looking into everything.

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> Join the conversation Comments (2)

You should not have turn to this site for a problem like this. Get a solid property manager and if you still are not sure,
get a lawyer.

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I agree.

Remember, the advice you receive here is worth every dollar of what you're paying for it.

Engage with competent professionals

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Is the property manager also managing the sponsors units?

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Mandatory Cozy radiator installs requiring demolion/renovation - CP Jun 13, 2022

In the case of our 12-building co-op, the Cozy covers have now been installed in at least 80% of the units. Thus the Co-op has met the standard of the law and need not worry about being out of compliance. Despite that, as shareholders we agree that the board has the right to require Cozies to be installed in remaining units, if it so chooses. However, this would means requiring some shareholders to demolish thousands of dollars of custom woodwork and other installed renovations — shelves, cabinets, etc, and in one case, a wall. The board is saying that individual shareholders must bear the cost of demolition and replacement alone, and to accept the corresponding reduction in value of their units and the loss of habitability and enjoyment during this work. It is saying that individuals must find and contract for these changes and complete them by Jan 2023. Moreover, it has established a near deadline (July 1) for committing, beyond which shareholders will be fined. It threatens legal action against shareholders who do not meet these deadlines, and has refused thus far requests for a meeting with those affected. We regard this policy as a wildly inequitable special assessment on a minority of shareholders, requiring them to pay far more than their proportionate shares for a co-op–wide project. We hope that the board will reconsider granting exemptions to shareholders who can document their built-in renovations, saving the co-op as well the unnecessary expense.

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