New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine October 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

Subscribe for Daily Updates!
3 Year subletting expires in AugustApr 28, 2020

Hi I own a coop on Long Island, NY and I sublet it. It's a 3 yr. sublet (rule made up by coop board) the sublet expires in August. I love my tenant but she has to move out so I can sell it, Board won't let her stay. I asked the board on behalf of my tenant to bend the rules during this coronavirus pandemic to extend her lease another year. It is difficult for her to find an apartment and difficult for me to sell with social distancing and realtors not being essentials. Board said they can't bend rules. How come Cuomo and Trump can bend rules but this Board won't. They are so heartless. My tenant is a wonderful tenant and they do love her ....but won't bend the rules. I want my tenant to feel she has a place to stay...and doesn't have to go and search for an apartment during this crucial time. Marketing an apartment virtually is insane. What can I do about Board? Who can I contact?

Join the Conversation Comments (2)
3 Year subletting expires in August - Steven424 Apr 29, 2020

Hi. By way of disclosure, I am a board member, and my response is from a board member's perspective.

I completely understand your angst because I encounter it with my shareholders. Please try to understand that the rules limiting sublet durations are not enacted by simple majority votes of the board, but are most likely enshrined in your proprietary lease. Overriding a clause in the proprietary lease would be like overriding a clause in the Constitution. It takes much more than a simple majority.

Then there is the issue of precedent. Even if the board *were* able to vote to change the term limit, making an exception for you would leave them wide open to having to make exceptions for anyone who asked. No board wants to be in that precarious position or give up that much governing authority.

I'm sure your tenant is a perfectly wonderful individual, but as often the case, one person's angel is another's devil. That's the reason documents like the Constitution and Proprietary Lease exist - to remove subjective influences from the need for objective decisions.

There really is no one individual or department you can contact. Almost all board decisions, especially those that are backed by the governing documents, are fully protected by a concept known as the Business Judgment Rule (BJR). The BJR states that any reasonable decision made in good faith by a co-op BOD is assumed to be in compliance with a board's fiduciary obligation and cannot be challenged. Enforcing a three year sublet limit clearly falls within that definition.

I assume your tenant knew about the hard three year limit when she signed the lease, and the expiration is not coming as a surprise. Co-op boards are bound by their governing documents, and as much as I am sure your board would like to accommodate your request, they do not have any flexibility. Your board does not sound heartless in the least, but simply acting in the way all conscientious directors are supposed to.

Marty, PC#1, and some of the other regular contributors may have other thoughts and ideas about this, so it may not be over. You have a very uphill battle, and I would recommend your tenant assume she will have to vacate in August.

--- Steve

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation Comments (1)
3 Year sublet - Marty Apr 29, 2020

I am a board member like Steven 424. I am in complete agreement with Steven's detailed explanation and rationale.

We feel for shareholders in these situations, but our legal obligations give us no leeway.

I'm sorry for your troubles, but the 3 year sublet must be honored.

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation Comments (1)
3 year sublet - peoples choice #1 Apr 29, 2020

I agree with Steven424 & Marty. But there is a very deadly virus and people can not move around as if things are normal. Have your sublet start looking around and maybe get an agent. She has 4 months to find something. Best of luck you are one of the lucky people to have a gem of a renter. Stay safe.

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation
3 Year subletting expires in August - Maria Apr 29, 2020

Hi, actually my tenant is an Angel. She is clean, quiet, does not have parties and works all the time........ask the superintendant. I totally agree with you with the bylaws, But we are in the middle of a crisis.....this month is the month my tenant and I would be looking for an apartment or buyer. Have you heard...realtors can not do showings. Public health experts urge everyone to stop doing all but essential outside tasks in order to flatten the curve of infections. My husband and I are afraid to go outside!!!!!!. It doesn't have to be a year renewal...it could be 6 months.............STATE laws have been suspended and put on hold to assist the state in disaster. I think a Board of a coop could do the same. A month to month lease is insane.........COVD-19 is out there for a while......You board members think your God.....You can deviate from rules because of the COVD-19. My husband and I are in our 60's...........if this happened to you.......I think you would think differently.......Also.......the Board is not letting anyone in the building unless you live there.......so how can I do a showing or market the place? Governor Cuomo says "We should work together" I hope you don't think I'm shouting........I am just frustrated....my niece is a nurse and she has seen so many die in front of her........I'm just asking for a little more time ..............until me and my tenant feel comfortable going out. Shame on that President of that Board..............I think I might write to Gov. Cuomo....he says stay inside..........social distancing.......whenever possible

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation Comments (2)
3 Year subletting expires in August - Maria Apr 29, 2020

Sorry, I meant to write that Board member thinks she is God.........not you guys........I don't even know you. She has enforced other thinks at the building that owners or tenants disliked.....because she is old and crabby.

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation Comments (1)
3 Year subletting expires in August - Maria Apr 29, 2020

It's really just saying........We care and we want to help.........

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation Comments (2)
Three Year Subletting - H. Apr 29, 2020

I just want to add that in our coop, the Board changed the sublet rules several times over the years, whether length or reasons for sublets. By majority vote.
There were no governing documents preventing policy changes.

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation
3 Year subletting expires in August - Maria May 01, 2020

I fear that if I can't sell it during this pandemic, then i will be delinquent in paying my maintenance because of financial hardship. I have a bad feeling that the Management is trying to regain possession of the unit. When the pandemic begins to taper, I will be able to market it....but by then I won't be able to pay the maintenance bill of the coop which is $1,029.00 a month. Why won't they put a temporary halt on this bylaw or rule. I don't know how I will weather this storm. My husband is in his 60's and going to work, worrying about getting the virus. I'm at home worried about my husband and afraid to go out.......I feel like I am being cornered by the Coop Board and Management company and now I have this extra stress.

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation
3 Year subletting expires in August - Steven424 Apr 29, 2020

Hi Maria - We definitely hear you and feel deeply for the predicament you and your tenant are in. Co-op boards are not sovereign governmental bodies and do not have the... errr.... leeway the executive and legislative branches of government do.

Boards can be sued or worse if they knowingly violate the co-op governing documents. The fact we are all in a situation where accomodations are being made due to COVID-19, we may not have all the answers. Perhaps you and your tenant should consult with an attorney who specialized in co-op and real estate law. There may be some temporary allowances being made which benefit your tenant the attorney would know about.

Another remote possibility is to propose to the board that in August your tenant become a "tenant at will" which means there is no lease and they can be asked to leave with 30 days notice. At the very least your tenant would need to perform a very diligent search for a new place and keep detailed records to show she is at least trying to find a new place.

Ultimately your tenant can refuse to leave. This would put you in a very uncomfortable position of being in direct confrontation with your board. It can have all sorts of repercussions, up to and including the cancellation of your proprietary lease and you losing your apartment in an eviction proceeding (remote possibility). It's the nuclear option, and you must consult with an attorney before starting down that path. It might just buy you enough time to mount a challenge to the crabby old board member and get her voted out at the next election.

And in the spirit of full disclosure, I'm old (70 years) and can be pretty crabby (ask Connie S who went on a rant about her Asian neighbors) [chuckling]

Again, good luck!

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation Comments (2)
3 Year subletting expires in August - Maria Apr 30, 2020

Thank you so much for responding......but I can't do that to my tenant. She has always paid on time and is a teacher in her 30's who is very respectable to us. I don't think I would want to go the attorney way, because then when I sell......they (the Board ) will give me a hard time....you know .....they will delay the interview and application date. She is a real scrooge. She has done that already to people. When she became president the pool had to be closed at 7:00 instead of 9:00....and there's other stuff too...But getting back to the 3 yr subject if you hear of any TEMPORARY ALLOWANCE will you let me know? I would appreciate that. Do you know of any good coop attorneys on Long island............just in case I want to pick their brain.

Thanx again..........Stay safe and well!!!!

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation Comments (2)
3 Year subletting expires in August - Maria May 01, 2020

I fear that if I can't sell it during this pandemic, then i will be delinquent in paying my maintenance because of financial hardship. I have a bad feeling that the Management is trying to regain possession of the unit. When the pandemic begins to taper, I will be able to market it....but by then I won't be able to pay the maintenance bill of the coop which is $1,029.00 a month. How can I have them put a temporary halt on this bylaw or rule. I don't know how I will weather this storm. My husband is in his 60's and going to work, worrying about getting the virus. I'm at home worried about my husband and afraid to go out.......I feel like I am being cornered by the Coop Board and Management company and now I have this extra stress.

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation
Apartment ownership - Steven424 May 02, 2020

Hi Maria - I'm confused about your relationship with your co-op. In your initial message, you said that you "own a coop on Long Island, NY." I assumed you are a shareholder in your co-op corporation and that you have a proprietary lease.

In your latest message you wrote, "I have a bad feeling that the Management is trying to regain possession of the unit." That implies you rent your unit either from a shareholder or a sponsor, and they are trying to evict you for some reason. Evicting a tenant, which is an arduous process, is much easier than evicting a shareholder, and makes no sense unless enough other shareholders feel you are a real nuisance (look up "Pullman Hearing" in Google).

Finally, you have your own tenant you are trying to protect. Many co-ops do not allow a shareholder's tenant to have their own tenant.

So I'm confused. :-)

A lot of shareholders wonder why a board can't just stop collecting maintenance during an emergency like coronavirus, or superstorm Sandy, or even Sept 11. When you think about it, shareholders are the *owners* of the co-op corporation. Cutting off the major source of income to the corporation (monthly maintenance) would make it impossible for the corporation to pay its mortgage, pay its real estate and other taxes, pay its staff, purchase supplies, make repairs, etc, etc. Your co-op corporation would very quickly go bankrupt, and your apartment, probably your largest asses, would become worthless. Not a pleasant prospect, and why withholding maintenance is counterproductive.

I am the treasurer of my building and I meet with shareholders in your situation, and much worse off. What I try to do is work out a partial reduction in maintenance during the emergency, and then a repayment plan once the situation stabilizes.

You say your husband still works and I assume receives a salary or other income, and you stay home. Did you also earn an income which you recently lost? Do you receive unemployment compensation, a form of income? You rent out your unit, which was the start of this thread. Where are you living now? If things got really bad, what prevents you from moving back into the unit you own once your tenant moves out? There are a lot of contradictory statements that make it difficult to offer any meaningful suggestions.

Finally, taking the totality of what you've written so far, I have to disagree that you are being "cornered" by your coop board and management company. Everyone is under additional stress these days. Some of my shareholders have *no* income and are living off of savings and retirement accounts. Besides wanting to provide for your angel of a tenant, which is admirable but possibly not doable, what else makes your situation so dire that you're thinking of writing to Gov Cuomo and other agencies?

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation
Year subletting Expires in August - Queens Apr 30, 2020

Just wondering why thumbs down to these great responses? I think she's back! LOL

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation Comments (1)
3 Year lease - Queens May 01, 2020

Yep..She's back!!!

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation Comments (1)
3 Year subletting expires in August - Maria May 01, 2020

who is back? ............The answers are great! I'm writing to Cuomo and the national coop board. "because in one of the board's letters to me they wrote " I understand you might be paying for an empty unit for a while, but it's out of our hands"........why would anyone find pleasure in someones hardship.

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation Comments (1)
3 Year subletting Exires nAugust - NYC May 01, 2020

Hello Maria,

I agree with the others. Your co-op board can make things very difficult when you try to sell, if you challenge the proprietary lease.

Since your 3 year lease is valid until August, why don't you and your tenant work with the same realtor for your respective needs. You probably can negotiate a lower commission for your sale and your tenant's rental.

Then speak to your board and show them that you are both diligently trying, under these very difficult circumstances.

Rather than ask for a 6 month extension, would they take a month by month extension with a six month maximum if necessary, under consideration.

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Register

Forgot your password? Click here

> Join the conversation

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Log in below or register here.

Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Introduce yourself to other members of Board Talk! Login below or register here.
Board Talk members who registered prior to March 9th, 2016 will need to reset their password.

Ask the Experts

learn more

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

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?