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Teachable Moments: Dealing Effectively with Illegal Co-op Sublets/Condo Tenants

New York City

Sept. 24, 2013


Donald E. Wilson
President, Blue Woods Management Group

We manage a co-op that permits subletting with board approval. I became concerned because several shareholders have been subletting for many years without any apparent intention of returning to the building. Given the tightened lending policies that the banks are now following, my concern was that if new sublets were approved, it could lead to problems for shareholders who needed to refinance their mortgage or for buyers looking to obtain a mortgage. The lesson is that the board has a tough task in deciding what is best for the entire community and must look at all of the consequences of their policies. The board is now reviewing its sublet policy, including a restriction on how many years one can sublet.


Josh Koppel
President, HSC Management

The tenant in 1A was dead. But then who was that man living there? When I learned that a long-term resident in a rent-stabilized apartment in a co-op I managed had died in prison a decade before, I was surprised. The board claimed not to know who the stranger in 1A actually was, although several members had relationships with both the late tenant and his replacement; they were clearly bending the truth. Eviction proceedings began, but several board members advocated for the mystery man’s neighborliness. When a private detective discovered the impostor had a felony record and had left a threatening note on the president’s door, things escalated. Still, several members wanted to forgive "in the spirit of community." Only when I hit them with hard facts — about liability; the principles of fairness, community, and rent stabilization; and the dangerous precedent of awarding a lease to someone who had been committing fraud —  did they vote unanimously to evict the enigma in their midst.


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