Bill Morris in Co-op/Condo Buyers on October 6, 2023
When the standard contract for co-op apartment sales was last updated, George W. Bush lived in the White House and the Twin Towers loomed over downtown Manhattan. The year was 2001.
Now, more than two decades later and after six years of pandemic-interrupted labor, the city and state Bar Associations have hammered out a new, up-to-date sales contract that should smooth the transfer of co-op apartments not only in New York City but across the state.
“It’s quite revolutionary,” says Margery N. Weinstein, a partner at the law firm Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas who chaired the city Bar Association’s Co-op and Condo Law Committee during the drawn-out redrafting of the contract. “The old form from 2001 hadn’t kept up with changing times, and the goal was to bring it current. For example, it clarifies that emotional support animals are not classified as pets. It provides for wire transfers of funds, and it allows emailing of contracts instead of requiring hard copies. Also, there’s a place for the seller’s lawyer to attach the co-op’s smoking policy.”
The new form also updates rider provisions and incorporates them into the contract. “For example, the riders on bed bugs, mold and leaks,” Weinstein says. “And buyers can no longer require the co-op board to approve alterations prior to the sale.”
Work on the revisions began back in 2017 but was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Negotiating sessions sometimes produced disagreements.
As Weinstein wrote recently in The N.Y. Real Property Law Journal: “Some of the changes between the predecessor form and the new form are the outcome of lengthy dialogue, debate (and disagreement) within members of the review panel; the resulting language, on occasion, presents a ‘compromise’ position between a seller's position and a purchaser's position.”
In ironing out their differences, panel members had an eye on transactions outside New York City, where buyers and sellers and their attorneys may not be as familiar with the peculiarities of housing cooperatives as their city counterparts.
“Lastly,” Weinstein says, “we tried to make the form more accessible to lawyers who might not do co-op contracts. It’s very user-friendly.”
For a free preview of the revised contract from Blumberg Law Products, click here.
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