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City Council bill 119Apr 26, 2007


Have you heard any discussion in your co-op about Councilman Monserrate's bill to require co-ops to provide, in writing, "each and all" reasons for turning down applicants? Did you know that it allows a denied applicant's real estate agent to file suit (in addition to the applicant/s)? I am curious what you and your colleagues and neighbors think about the bill.

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Info for Steve and all - BP Apr 27, 2007


Re: the proposed bill requiring coops to give buyers the reasons why they're rejected in writing, it was discussed yesterday on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC-FM Radio. Bill sponsor, Councilman Hiram Monserrate, was on the show. It was about 20 minutes long, with callers arguing the bill's pros and cons. To download the audio, go to www.wnyc.org then go to The Brian Lehrer Show Archives link. The show is "Rejection Made Clear" on April 26.

There was also an article on this in the NYTimes on April 21 called "Pushing Coops To Explain Why You Can't Buy." You can download it from the archives at www.nytimes.com.

This is a hot topic. Most surveys indicate that a great majority of shareholders in NYC favor the bill but an even greater number think it won't be passed.

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Monserrate - Steve Apr 27, 2007


Hi, BP,

I heard the segment on WNYC. What surprised me most was when Brian asked Councilman Monserrate (this is a paraphrase based on my memory), Were the real estate agents pushing hard for this bill?

And the Monseratte said: "Yes."

No wonder real estate agents would be given grounds to sue if the bill passes! I have never heard this point made in any discussion of the bill. If co-op owners knew that their buildings could be sued by buyers' agents -- many of whom have staff attorneys in their real estate offices -- those owners may feel differently about the bill.

After all, everyone *should* be opposed to discrimination, and in *favor* of corporate transparency.

But this bill aims to reduce the independence and rights of boards, and expands the category of protected classes to include their real estate agents.

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Reply to Steve - BP Apr 27, 2007


Hi Steve,

I never heard of RE agents getting the right to sue a coop in any discussion of the bill either. We had an open house last night. The two agents handling it were in the lobby. One of them heard the WNYC show and were discussing it.

I asked if they're for the bill and agents' right to sue. One of them said, "I'm out to make a commission. I'm sick of boards rejecting people and making me work harder. If I can sue and get money for the time I spend on rejects, I'm all for it." An owner (never on the board) walked by, heard this and said, "Maybe you should focus more on finding qualified people who'll make good owners and neighbors and less on making money as fast and easy as you can. If boards should be accountable for good ethics and practices, so should you." Can't say I disagree with that.

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RE rights -- clarification - steve Apr 27, 2007


I should clarify my point about suing.

The bill does not give injured parties the right to sue. It gives them the right to make a complaint to a city attorney, who can then file charges.

But the bill does, in fact, include real estate agents. Under Chapter 11, Section 8-1102, Paragraph C, " 'Proper party' means a person whose application has been rejected or a real estate broker who would have been entitled to a commission ..."

Later, in Section 8-1105, the bill allows "each proper party" to receive from a co-op found guilty fines ranging from $1000 to $25,000.

So no, real estate agents couldn't sue. But they would reap the benefits of a guilty verdict -- and would have reason to encourage a city attorney to file charges.

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Re: Monserrate - Pgrech Apr 27, 2007


I am all for freedom of responsible speech and for the right to know. I am also for the right to protect the coop and condo and all shareholders. Why limit the lawsuit just to the person/s denied and his broker? Why not add the contractor and moving company as well as anyone else whom would have made money if the deal went through?
I think the key word is responsible. If the bill does pass, there has to be some legal protection from lawsuits for the coop/condo and all involved. Other wise it wont be responsible.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Pgrech

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Grounds to file - Steve Apr 27, 2007


I agree, Pgrech.

Why not add the buyers' lawyers and the guy who sells moving boxes and packing tape?

The reason was revealed by Councilman Monserrate yesterday (he's the sponsor of the bill) on Brian Lehrer's show on WNYC.

As I remember it (this is a paraphrase; check a previous post here to find a link to a podcast of the show), Brain asked if the real estate community had been pushing for this bill all along. Monserrate said Yes.

* * * * *

I should point out an error I made in my original post. Under the bill, no one gets the right to sue, but rejected buyers and their real estate agents can complain to the city, which could then file charges; if a co-op is found guilty, both the buyer AND the real estate agent would be awarded damages of $1000 to $25,000.

Any lawsuit would come as a result of the bill's requirement that boards put in writing the reason for the denial and swear to its accuracy. The rejected buyer could then hire a lawyer to sue with the letter as evidence.

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