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Right of first refusal purchaseJun 05, 2007


Have any of your condo boards exercised their right of first refusal purchase in recent memory? If so, what were the circumstances and did this prove to be a tremendous financial burden on the unit owners? This is one of my great fears about living in a condo building, but I know I have to be prepared for this in the future.

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right of first refusal mistake - steve Jun 06, 2007


I don't live in a condo, but here's a link to an article about a Manhattan condo that used its right of first refusal to deny the sale of apartments to a group home for the mentally disabled.

The group home sued and won.

http://www.nysun.com/article/54635

If nothing else, this is an example of why we don't need Councilmember Montserrate's bill to pass -- existing laws work!

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coops laws - George W Jun 06, 2007


For condos you don't need the law, but Coops do need it

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Real Estate Agent Protection Bill 119 - Steve Jun 06, 2007


I'm afraid I have to disagree with you, George. Co-ops are covered by the same laws as condos.

That said, there probably are co-op boards that discriminate; ours is not yet a perfect society. But if a board member told you why that couple's purchase application was denied, she's not going to say, "We don't want children/Hispanics/gay couples in our building." Instead, she'll say something like, "Their financials weren't up to our standards," or "They don't have steady incomes because they're artists/freelancers/new to the area."

The same thing would happen under Bill 119. But that's only one reason the bill is unnecessary.

The State of New York already identifies 14 protected categories against whom discrimination is illegal. They include race, religion, sexual orientation, military service, familiy status (whether you have kids or not), marital status (cohabiting instead of being married) and others. Turning down someone for any of these reasons makes a corporation guilty.

The office of the attorney general of New York, Andrew Cuomo, investigates and prosecutes these cases. One thing that means is that the aggrieved party need not hire her own lawyer -- the state picks up the cost. Another thing that means is the defendant has a bulldog bringing charges against it. New York's attorneys general have a recent history of going after even the biggest and most respected corporations.

If you, George, or anyone else reading this, know of any co-op, condo or landlord that has violated this state law, please call the Attorney General's office at (212) 416-8000, or visit his web site: www.oag.state.ny.us. We need to put an end to housing discrimination, and your phone call can make a difference.

Proposed Bill 119 creates no further protection for the 14 categories. There is, however, one additional group of people who will enjoy protection under the bill: Real estate agents.

Yep, the real estate agent of the buyer would be entitled to make a complaint AND to win damages.

So who's really being helped here? It's not the people of color or the people with children. They're already covered and protected. It's the real estate agent who wins! (Don't get me started on the new specialty that would enrich lawyers for years to come.)

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