Two Harlem condominium boards are suing L&M Development Partners over defects and damage in their buildings, Crains reports. The suits are part of a larger pattern of litigation that typically crests around six years after co-ops or condos are built – just before the statute of limitations for breach of contract runs out in New York State.
Another factor driving such lawsuits is the shoddy construction work that is common during building booms. Since developers typically control condo boards for several years after a building opens, few condos built during the recent recovery have yet to file lawsuits. As more buyers settle into their homes and begin noticing defects, attorney Rob Braverman, a partner at Braverman Greenspun, offered this prediction: “There is going to be a spike [in litigation] in the next couple of years.”
In 2012, L&M completed the conversion of a turn-of-the-century school at 220 W. 148th St. into a mixed-income, 75-unit condo building. The board’s lawsuit alleges that the roof and portions of the facade leak and have sustained damage. It is seeking $6 million for repairs.
The second suit against L&M was filed by the board at La Celia, a 123-unit condo at 64 E. 111th St. The board there listed a litany of grievances with how the building was constructed, arguing in particular that the heating and cooling units are inadequate for the size of the apartments.
"There are first-time homeowners who took a leap of faith by purchasing in these buildings," says Joshua Bauchner, an attorney with Ansell Grimm & Aaron who is representing both boards. "It's a real hardship on people,”adds Shaynee Rainbolt, treasurer of the West 148th Street condo board, who says that some residents have had to stay in hotels because of leaks in their apartments.
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