New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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LONG ISLAND

Pat Whaley has learned a few lessons in her position as board president at Villas on the Bay, a 42-unit condominium in East Moriches, N.Y.

Built in the early 1980s on Long Island’s South Shore, not far from the tony hamlet of Southampton, the four-building condo was, she says, falling apart. "We are on a beautiful piece of property overlooking a beautiful coast, and our buildings were awful. They were really in deplorable shape." Fixing the problem was the main reason she had run for the board. "We are right on the water with full front exposure, so it had been at least 30 years, and it was a continual maintenance and repair project; we needed lots and lots of work." 

 

May 8, 2014 — Now you have another six months.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced a further six-month extension for superstorm Sandy victims who carry the federal government's Standard Flood Insurance Policy. The deadline for filing an updated "proof of loss" form — a statement on the amount a co-op or condo apartment owner is claiming under his or her flood-insurance policy — was already extended once to April 28, 2014, and has now been extended to October 29, 2014. The extension applies to losses from Sandy flood damage that occurred between October 25 and November 6, 2012.

Co-op and condominium managing agents throughout the region continue to cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, even as a new storm is predicted for Wednesday, November 7.

Peter Lehr, the director of management at Kaled, reported that Birchwood on the Green, a 334-unit co-op in Oakdale, Suffolk County, on Long Island, was hard hit by the storm: “The power went out and we have to deal with [the building’s] sewage treatment plant. We were scrambling around to get the power up and running, at least to the sewage treatment plant. They got power back in the complex Friday — that’s three or four days without it — and our environmental team has been monitoring the situation because you’ve got to make sure that the [sewage plant] chemicals are balanced right. [If they’re not,] Suffolk County will come in and violate you.”

Baby, it's cold outside, and your boiler and heating system are going full-blast. That's a big energy cost for your cooperative or condominium. Fortunately, you have options. With supplies of natural gas high and prices low (though higher than last year), it may make sense to switch from oil to gas — or perhaps to to a dual-fuel burner capable of operating with either. In our latest Teachable Moments column, two veteran property managers relate some real-world experiences of how they helped their co-ops and condos pull the trigger on pulling the switch. Did it work? Well, one place is saving $50,000 a year and others are saving six figures. Might be worth the energy to consider.

The 99-unit co-op at 4 Maple Drive in Great Neck Plaza, a village in the town of North Hempstead, N.Y., doesn't have its own parking garage. No problem! There's a municipal lot next door! And since village residents in multiple-dwelling buildings can buy a residential parking permit for just $90 a quarter, it seemed a pretty good deal — at least until, as the residents made clear at a village board of trustees meeting recently, the garage became "the scene of car thefts, teenagers smoking marijuana, having sex, taking sexually explicit photos while on a resident’s car, drinking, public urination and other obscene acts," according to The Island Now. Tires are being stolen and the super's truck was vandalized. And since the local police don't patrol there much, the residents want security cameras. But there's a problem! The village mayor says there's no money for cameras and a security company to monitor them. Sooo ... nightly party at the garage, kids! Be sure to bring your tire irons and jacks!

Sept. 21, 2009 — We don't usually write laundry-industry trade stories, but we're invoking the kids-with-cancer exception. That's the one that says that if a company with some connection to your usual beat does something to help kids with cancer, you write about it.

The company in this case is the Hercules Corp. of Hicksville, N.Y., a longtime laundry-room service provider for co-ops, condos and others. Founded 50 years ago this year, Hercules last week donated 12 new industrial-strength front-load washers and nine similarly commercial-grade dryers to the New York City Ronald McDonald House, a major pediatric oncology facility and a provider of low-cost accommodations to the families of gravely ill children being treated in the many nearby hospitals.

May a board impose fines and other penalties when homeowners fail to cure a violation, even though the owners claim they are being prevented from doing so by another owner?

That was the question in Tucciarone v. The Hamlet on Olde Oyster Bay Homeowners Association.

The Habitat Management Survey: Transitioning from Sponsor Control

Written by Pamela DeLorme. The latest in a series of exclusive Habitat Management Survey responses. on September 15, 2014

The Seasons at East Meadow, East Meadow, Nassau County

One of the most difficult situations a board of directors faces is the transition of a community from sponsor control to homeowner control. One of my boards, The Seasons at East Meadow, has just completed the first year of resident control. My board had its first election of all homeowner seats in June 2013. With the help of management, the board members faced the job of organizing a 400-unit community, including its clubhouse and pools, security patrols, landscaping and snow contractors and site employees. It also had to deal with the numerous open items left by the ex-sponsor.

Regardless of what type of emergency for which you're preparing, the hallmarks of your plan should be communication, organization and clarity. If everyone knows what his or her role is in an emergency — including the property manager, board members, shareholders, and building staff — then executing that plan becomes much simpler.

When superstorm Sandy hit, co-op and condo owners and many others trying to evacuate and later return home found endless lines at the few gas stations that hadn't completely run out of fuel. Even some emergency vehicles faced gasoline shortages. In response, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has just launched two initiatives under the heading Fuel NY. It includes the nation's first State Strategic Gasoline Reserve and the requirement that about 1,000 gas stations in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County and Rockland County have backup-power generators. The reserve — nearly three million gallons of fuel stored at Northville Industries' terminal in Suffolk County — will be sold to distributors at market prices to provide it to emergency responders, government customers and retail gasoline outlets during emergencies.

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