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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

BUILDING OPERATIONS

HOW NYC CO-OP AND CONDOS OPERATE

The Value of Pitching In, the Simplest Cost-Saving Plan of All

Bill Morris in Building Operations on July 14, 2014

572 Sterling Place, Crown Heights, Brooklyn

572 Sterling Place, Brooklyn, New York
572 Sterling Place, Brooklyn
July 14, 2014

"Sometimes it gets pretty hectic, especially when we're doing a major capital improvement," says board president Mauricio Guerrero. "And there are always surprises. Last Saturday, I went down to the basement to check on things and noticed water dripping out of the water heater. It was a lot of work getting a plumber, finding a new water heater, removing the old one, and installing the new one. By Wednesday, we had it fixed, and people were without hot water for only about five hours. That was a bump in the road. It doesn't happen all that often. Generally, things run pretty smoothly because we don't let things slide."

Alert About Arrears

The board is also strict about collecting maintenance and arrears. "After a shareholder fails to pay maintenance for a second month, we start legal action," Guerrero says. "We don't want it to drag on for months and months, because that's bad for the building." Only once in his 10 years there did the board evict a shareholder for failure to pay maintenance.

And just last winter, when Arctic-grade snowstorms raked the city, board members and shareholder volunteers pitched in to shovel the sidewalks. "It became routine," Pinero says. "We just grabbed the shovels and did it, and it didn't cost anything."

572 Sterling Place Board

(l. to r.) Ralph Pinero, Claudia Clark, Brenda Reed, Mauricio Guerrero

Photo by Jennifer Wu

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