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Teachable Moments: Quality-of-Life and Health / Safety Nuisances

New York City, Upper East Side

Sept. 12, 2013

 

Ira Meister
President & CEO, Matthew Adam Properties

Hoarding has gained recent attention as a problem in many communities. It creates risks to safety and health. We recently took over management of an Upper East Side co-op that had a longstanding problem with a woman in her eighties who was a hoarder. Newspapers, items she picked up off the street, and other detritus were crammed into the apartment. Residents complained about the conditions and smell and the building staff refused to enter the apartment because of the unsafe conditions. No one knew of any relatives, but after an extensive Google search, we found a son in Wyoming, who was not in touch with his mother. We got him involved, along with the city's Department of Social Services, and hired a firm to clean up the mess. Working with the woman's son, we had an administrator appointed and got his mom the care she needed. The teaching lesson: resourcefulness pays off.

 

Sami Najjar
Partner, Sandra Greer Real Estate

At one of our annual shareholders' meetings, a heated argument began between the president of the board and a disgruntled shareholder regarding excessive noise and music emitting from the shareholder's unit. The shareholder began to accuse the board president of being prejudiced toward her religion and race. At that moment, I intervened because I take prejudice accusations very seriously, and when I was told by the shareholder that she was not talking to me I made it clear that I represented the co-op and all her remarks and comments should go through me. I closed the discussion and told her to continue any legal actions through her lawyers. The lesson here is that the managing agent should always be neutral but also has to know when to step in and put things in the right place.

 

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