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Retaining Wall Graffiti and DebrisJul 12, 2007


The basement/first floor rear apartment in our co-op has a retaining wall around a cement patio area that is for the exclusive use of the owner of that unit. He has just painted some "artwork" on what has always been a white retaining wall. To the shareholder in the unit above hers, and who overlooks this yard, this huge eye pained toward the top of the wall it is not art, but tacky graffiti. Can the Board dictate what the owner does to this wall. Same goes for the garden, which has unsecured trellises falling over sideways. Former owners always took great care of this area. How can we insure this does not turn into Grey Gardens? Or can't we.

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Questionable art - AdC Jul 13, 2007


Oh! YOu had a nice cement patio and nice cement retaining wall; so the guy/gal thinks that the whole area is more a nice grave with open roof and wants to provide some additional ornamention.

First, read the proprietary lease as to who is responsible for the repairs of the cement patio and retaining wall. If the co-op is in charge, you can dictate and even charge for defacing it! It's co-op property. However, consult your co-op counsel prior to doing anything.

If the trellises are on sidewalk and are an obstruction to others, then you have liability on your hands. The removal or cutting of the trelises in the common property will eliminate the issue.

AdC



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Graffiti on retaining Wall - Boardnewb Jul 14, 2007


ADC,You really got the picture of what this subterranean patio feels like-an open grave is pretty close LOL. The "grave" unit is flipping at almost 1 Million too! The co-op is responsible for repairs to the wall and concrete courtyard BUT the prop lease states the unit owner is responsible for the maintenance of the courtyard. We had to shell out a lot of money to another owner when water was seeping in under her floor becuase of a crack in the party wall. If the current owner does not keep the drains in the patio clear of leaves, he would be liable for repairs, right? He is the only one with access. There is also a wooden perimeter fence seperating it from the other rear yards, and it is crumbling. Pieces of it break off in winter storms and crash into other shareholder's windows. The trellises are within his yard, but unsecured and, not to attractive. My feeling is that the words "responsible for maintaining" mean that it must meet a level of safety and aesthetics, the latter being the more difficult criteria to establish as there's no accounting for taste. But the defacing aspect is an interesting one. Is it defacing if the owner chooses to paint it a nice white shade as the previous shareholders did? Or, is defacing a matter of taste?

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Questionable art - AdC Jul 16, 2007


There are various issues that need to the clarified:

1. Maintenance of terraces or pavements: It should be understood as broom and water cleaning of the surface. It should never be "painting of any surfaces." This is similar to maintenance of local plumbing lines: Cleaning lines of soap, debris, grease and hair accumulations, etc.

2. Repairs by co-op: If the surface or even the pavement of the patio is broken, or there is a pipe under the patio that makes the co-op to dig the patio, the co-op is responsble for digging, repairing the line and resurface the patio.

3. If you have trellises or fences are crumpling and falling into other shareholders' property, the co-op must order the shareholder to take down the fence as it becomes an obstruction to others and liability for the co-op. In fact, if you allowed the fences to go up, you should have dictated the conditions of the fence with a signed document with the co-op standards for the fence, i.e., how the fence should be maintained, specify the type of fence and color of the fence. If the trellises are within the patio and they fall within the same patio, it may be an eyesore to the shareholder above, but that's about it. Only if you have House Rules as to how these terraces must be maintained on a daily basis, you may be able to enfoce the cleaning or upkeep of the trellises.

4. Now the RETAINING WALL AND THE QUESTIONABLE ART!!! Again, the board may not have found objection for the first shareholder to "deface" the retaining wall by providing a coat of white paint. However, such an action should have been with board authorization by way of a letter. In other words, the board always reserves the right to dictate USE of co-op property. Since the retaining wall is repaired by the co-op and the co-op is liable for retaining wall failure you can dictate the mode of use, even painting it!!! IN other words, the moment you allowed virgin cement to be painted and not powerwashed, shareholders assumed that they could do anything they wanted. NOW you are stuck with the issue of the retaining wall.

In my best Machiavellian thinking, I would suggest that your board paint ALL the patios with retaining walls of SAME neutral color (beige, light gray, white, etc.) and have a resolution stating that after painting the wall, shareholders with patio will not be able to paint the wall since it is co-op property. NO plants (e.g., ivy type plants) may be planted near the retaining wall and allowed to grow on the reatining wall or allow any attachments of any type. In other words, reclaim property and define what is permissible from thereon. The fences may be treated in the same say, i.e., provide standard fencing and maintain it so that you have a property that looks half-decent while avoiding conflicts!

AdC

AdC



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Painting on wall - Lefty 357591 Jul 14, 2007


Check your proprietary lease and house rules. This actually may be a public space similar to a hall that limits it's use

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