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Should Renters Sit on Co-op and Condo Boards?

Upper West Side

Renters on Boards
July 7, 2016

A long-time renter in an Upper West Side co-op says he’s tired of being treated like a second-class citizen by the super. He has a hunch that having a voice on the co-op board might alleviate the problem. So he has a question for the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times: “Is there any precedent for renters having representation on a condo or co-op board?”

Attorney Ronald Gold, a partner in the firm Kagan Lubic Lepper Finkelstein & Gold, answers the question with a rhetorical question of his own: “Why would you want to put economic decisions in the hands of people who don’t have the same stake in the building?” In other words, KEEP OUT.

His point is that since renters are immune to the sting of assessments and maintenance increases, which are borne exclusively by co-op shareholders and condo unit-owners, renters aren’t entitled to a say in financial decisions. Besides, the bylaws of most buildings prevent non-owners from sitting on the board.

If renters are being treated unfairly, the column advises, they could form a tenants’ association to demand changes from the board, since there are rules that guarantee services and protect against harassment. A compromise might be for disgruntled renters to get on the board’s committees, which don’t control finances but can influence the building’s quality of life.

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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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