New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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When Mold Invades From the Building Next Door

Midtown, Manhattan

Mold Misery
Feb. 6, 2018

This is why co-op and condo boards work out access and licensing agreements. When a new building went up next door to a midtown co-op, construction crews damaged the co-op’s exterior wall, allowing water to penetrate. Eventually, a shareholder reported mold growing in her living room wall. Thanks to the licensing agreement, the developer’s contractors have cleaned the mold and replaced the dry wall three times. The shareholder has asked to see the mold test results and remediation paperwork, but the co-op board and managing agent have ignored the requests. What are the shareholder’s rights?

This is a case where the board needs to step up because fixing this is the board’s responsibility, replies the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times. The licensing agreement is between the board and the developer, and the board is responsible for problems within the walls, says attorney Robert Braverman, a partner at Braverman Greenspun. “It is the board, not [the shareholder], that is in a position to enforce the terms of the agreement” with the developer, he says. 

Because mold was discovered in the living room walls, there is a good chance that reports exist identifying the type of mold and the extent of the problem. The shareholder should keep pressing the board to get hold of those reports, and any remediation reports, too, reminding the board that this is its responsibility. 

If the board continues to resist, the shareholder may want to hire an environmental consultant to test the apartment for hazardous levels of mold. If the consultant finds that the damage has not been adequately addressed, then the board must fix the problem on the shareholder’s behalf, Braverman says, and then go after the developer for compensation.

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