Being on your co-op or condo board carries a lot of responsibility, liability, and, let's face it, headaches.
On Legal Talk, you'll meet New York's leading co-op and condo attorneys, who will offer advice and guidance for some of the peskiest problems facing boards today.
If you own an apartment next door to a hoarder, well, that’s rough. There can be smells, and the hoarder’s apartment can be a fire hazard. What can be done about the situation? Who is supposed to deal with this? Geoffrey Mazel of Hankin & Mazel and Steven Troup of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin offer lessons from the hoarding frontline.
If you think your board of directors is not paying attention to what the ordinary joe apartment owner thinks is important, it’s time to get their attention. There are lots of ways to do that, and organizing a special meeting is one of them. Marc Schneider of Schneider Mitola and Elliott Meisel of Brill & Meisel offer some down-to-earth advice on this powerful option.
Brill & Meisel
Marc H. Schneider
Selling an apartment is a huge undertaking, and lots of money changes hands. One hand that is often outstretched is that of the co-op being left. Depending on what a co-op’s governing documents say, a transfer or flip tax might be collected. For the seller, now flush with cash, that fee provides welcome revenue to a co-op’s coffers. But for the co-op corporation that doesn’t have a flip tax, it’s a missed opportunity. Listen as Norman Himmelfarb, of Himmelfarb & Sher, and Andrew Brucker, of Schechter and Brucker, lay out what’s needed to make the flip happen. Featuring the song “Jazz’n’Out” from the album Jazzafari Bea Tape Vol. 1, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.
Boards make all kinds of decisions, and most of the time it’s pretty clear what is legal and what is not. But some activities cross into the gray zone – not really illegal, but not a good place to be, either. Dennis Greenstein of Seyfarth Shaw and Marc Landis of Phillips Nizer mark the boundaries of this zone and come up with the ultimate solution to avoiding it.
In every co-op or condo, there is a go-to guy. He’s the super. These men, and yes, they are mostly men, work for your building, are covered by your building’s insurance policy, and are on your building's payroll. They take care of everything in your building. The one thing they are not paid to do, though, is to fix stuff in your apartment. But they do. And for co-ops and condos, that can be a problem. Dean Roberts of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, and Phyllis Weisberg of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, offer advice on what to do. Featuring the song “Lose the Box” from the album Swing Soiree by Ménage Quad, licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0.
Mark Gauthier’s ten unit co-op is steeped in history. It’s in the Jackson Heights’ historic district, it was built in 1922, and it still uses the original set of bylaws. That’s right. Their bylaws are 92 years old. Seems like it’s time for an update. Listen as David Berkey, partner at Gallet Dreyer and Berkey, and Joel Miller, of the law firm Miller and Miller, lay out the what’s needed and why, and what it might cost. Featuring the song “History Repeats” from the album The Simple Life by Josh Woodward, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Okay, let’s be honest: some people are born to whine and complain. And sure enough, some of these people end up buying apartments and they morph into complaining neighbors. If you’re a board member on the other side of this complaint litany, you can just go crazy. Don’t do that. Instead, let Habitat’s legal experts calmly, and clearly, tell you what to do. Listen as Matthew Leeds, partner at Ganfer & Shore, and Pierre Debbas of Romer Debbas offer advice to weary board directors dealing with squeaky wheels. Featuring the song “Failure” from the album netBloc Vol. 41: Brought to you by the numerals 4 and 1 by Derek Clegg, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
What happens when someone on your board is governing for personal gain? Lots. Sometimes money gets spent when it shouldn't and decisions are made that are wonky. And those who suspect something's up get intimidated. Listen as Ken Jacobs, partner at Smith, Buss and Jacobs, and Stuart Halper, partner at Stuart Halper & Associates, offer advice to a former board director on steps to take when something smells. Featuring the song “Bad Scene” from the album Grit by Podington Bear licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
In Brooklyn, there is a 16-unit condominium with an access problem: The cable box for the entire building is in the back of the condo, and to get to it you have to go through one of the two ground-floor apartments. Problem is, when there’s cable trouble, there’s no super and no doorman. And the ground-floor owner isn’t always around to open the door for the repairman so he can get to the cable box. Listen as Seth Sahr, partner at Novitt, Sahr & Snow, and Robert Tierman, partner at Litwin & Tierman, help this board president figure out what to do. Featuring the song “Banging on My Door,” by Waylon Thornton, from the album Paranormal High School licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US.
May 6, 2014 — This is a saga of too few parking spaces, a co-op board vote to raise the monthly garage fees, a president who ignored the vote and a board member who resigned over the whole affair. Listen as Stuart Saft, partner at Holland & Knight, and Scott Greenspun, partner at Braverman Greenspun, discuss where is the right, and where is the wrong. (Featuring the song “Parking Lots And Strip Malls,” by David Rovics, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.)
Thinking of buying a co-op or condo? Already bought, and not sure how co-op/condo life and rules work? Learn all about purchasing a place and living in your new community. It's not like renting, and its not like owning a house. What's it like?