For years, people have been trying to speed up and remove the mystery from the buying of cooperative apartments in New York City. Last year, once again, a raft of proposed bills in the city and in Albany inspired stiff resistance from co-op advocates. As in years past, the bills were all shelved. Now the battle has spilled into Westchester County.
Anyone whose purchase application gets rejected by a co-op board in the county would be entitled to a written explanation for the rejection, under a bill proposed this week, USA Today’s lohud.com reports. If enacted into law, the proposal would also speed up the application process by giving co-op boards 10 days to acknowledge receipt of a completed application or inform the buyer of any defects in the paperwork. Boards would then have 45 days from the receipt of a completed application to either accept or reject the bid – and offer an explanation for every rejection.
The bill was proposed by county legislators Catherine Borgia and Chris Johnson, both Democrats, and it has been referred to a committee for discussion. A memo describes the proposal as an anti-discrimination measure.
But Ken Finger, chief counsel of the Westchester Cooperative and Condominium Advisory Council, said housing laws already protect applicants against racial, sexual and other forms of discrimination. He called the proposed law unnecessary, saying rejections are rare among the roughly 50 boards that are members of his organization.
“Basically, what it’s designed to do is intimidate the cooperatives into accepting people who might not be the best match for cooperative living,” Finger said, adding that such a law would burden volunteer co-op board members and invite litigation.
A similar bill last year got a similar reaction from co-op proponents in New York City. “I don’t think there’s a need for this law,” said attorney Deborah Koplovitz, a shareholder in the firm Anderson Kill. “I don’t think any board – any good board – purposely sits on applications. For the government to step in and say boards need to let in people who may have a negative impact on the building – that’s contrary to the board’s good-faith obligation. I don’t think this law furthers any legitimate objective that’s not already provided for.”
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