New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



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.

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Feb 6, 2013 — Ron is trying to sell his co-op unit. His buyer won’t commit unless the deal includes roof rights. Ron doesn’t own the rights – and he’s not sure who does – so where does he even begin? It may sound hopeless, but this sale is far from a lost cause, as you’ll learn in this episode of Habitat’s Legal Talk podcast. Attorneys Steven Troup of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin and Dennis Greenstein of Seyfarth Shaw join Habitat Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Carol J. Ott to explain how to trace the ownership of your building’s roof rights; determine the possible uses the roof can handle; and negotiate a complicated transaction between the seller, the buyer, and the board to bring in a potential windfall for your building by selling these rights.

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Feb. 20, 2013 — Co-op and condo boards can rely on their management firms for a lot. After all, they’re the pros: they know the laws, the critical deadlines, the principles and practices of good corporate governance. But sometimes – whether through malice, negligence, or just an honest mistake – they screw up, and the consequences of that screw-up can be devastating to a board. The management contract may offer boards some recourse, and in this episide of Legal Talk, attorneys Jim Glatthaar of Bleakley Platt & Schmidt and Dennis Greenstein of Seyfarth Shaw join Habitat Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Carol J. Ott to explore a board’s options for repairing the damage – and maybe even the relationship with its management firm.

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March 6, 2013 — The buying and selling of New York apartments is one of the hottest topics today. Everyone’s talking about prices, availability, and of course, admissions. In some co-ops and condos, brokers do more than sell apartments - they also serve on the board of directors. And that’s when conflicts can arise. On today’s episode of Legal Talk, attorneys David Berkey of Gallet Dreyer and Berkey and Andrew Brucker of Schecter and Brucker join in to answer Queens board president Steve Miller’s question about how to deal with “two hat broker” problem.

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March 20, 2013 — Parapets. Joints. Re-sealing. These are expensive fixes on most buildings, and you might be wondering how to bring down the cost. Hey, here’s an idea. Why not just hire the company who can fix it? On today’s episode of Legal Talk, attorneys Geoffrey Mazel, of Hankin and Mazel, and Elliott Meisel, of Brill and Meisel,  join in to help Queens board president Bill Kirrane figure out whether this is a good, or bad, idea.

April 3, 2013 — If you live in a New York apartment, there’s a good chance you have been bothered by one of two things — noise or smell. Either one of these two can wreak havoc on your life. Out in Westchester, a board and its property manager have been dealing with this issue at their 350-unit building. And for them, it’s even more complicated because the noise is caused by a young child with serious developmental problems. On today’s episode of Legal Talk, attorneys Ken Jacobs of Smith, Buss & Jacobs,and John LaGumina of The LaGumina Law Firm join Habitat Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Carol J. Ott to help the board figure out what steps it should take.

April 17, 2013 — Anyone who claims Second Amendment rights will allow them to store guns or ammunition in their co-op or condo apartment has got it all wrong. Further, a co-op could turn down a potential buyer because he or she owns a gun. On this episode of Legal Talk, attorneys Peter Zlotnick, partner at Kagan Lubic Lepper Finkelstein & Gold, and Stuart Saft, partner at Holland & Knight, explain just what a board can, and can’t, do about guns in their buildings.

May 1, 2013 — If you sit on your condo board and think you aren’t required to take minutes of board meetings - you could be right. But right doesn’t equal smart, and there are many reasons why this isn’t a good practice. On today’s episode of Legal Talk, attorneys Steven Sladkus, partner at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, and Pierre Debbas, partner at Romer Debbas, explain what’s right  - and smart.

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May 15, 2013 – It can be found almost everywhere, and most of it won’t harm you. But when it’s found in an apartment, it means water has leaked into the building or is coming from somewhere inside. Who is responsible for the clean-up? On today's episode of Legal Talk, attorneys Marc Schneider, partner in Schneider Mitola, and Richard Klein, a solo practitioner in Manhattan, discuss the many issues that mold causes.

In 1997, a federal jury found that the board of the Beekman Hill House co-op had illegally discriminated against an interracial couple. The couple was awarded $640,000 in damages. Of this, board president Nick Biondi was personally liable for $125,000 in punitive damages. Every few years, that case, and others like it, sends fear throughout the community. Today’s episode of Legal Talk – with Dean Roberts, partner in Norris McLaughlin & Marcus and Stewart Wurtzel, partner in Tane, Waterman & Wurtzel – explores how board members can protect themselves from this kind of financial disaster.

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June 12, 2013 — What follows is a question about washing machines in apartments. Well, not washing machines per se, but house rules that regulate whether an owner can have a washing machine in his or her apartment. And to complicate matters, the house rule has been in effect at this Queens co-op for years but never enforced – until now, that is. Today’s episode of Legal Talk, with Norman Himmelfarb, partner in Himmelfarb & Sher, and Marc Landis, chair of the Real Estate and Co-op Condo practice at Phillips Nizer, hangs the house rule question out to dry.

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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

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