New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

HABITAT

LONG ISLAND

A past installment of our Teachable Moments series looked at disaster preparedness and recovery. With scientists predicting more such extreme weather as superstorm Sandy, and with New York City's history of electrical blackouts, terrorism and other disasters — as well as lesser incidents like road-choking blizzards and plumbing-destroying cold snaps and ice storms — it's worth listening to two experienced property-management professionals as they each share a real-life story of how they spearheaded co-op / condo readiness and remediation.

At 51 Fifth Avenue, the co-op board came into possession last year of a 2,000-square-foot two-bedroom apartment overlooking a church. The board enlisted a broker who told them to put the apartment on the market for $1.5 million as is. That's when the property manager stepped in and put a stop to it.

After two devastating North Atlantic storms in two years, heavily hit insurance companies are becoming increasingly cautious. What can co-op boards and condominium associations expect in the coming months in terms of rates and coverage? Habitat spoke with independent insurance broker Michael Spain, third-generation head of Long Island's Spain Agency, for his views on current trends.

Lido Beach Towers, the historic, 184-unit complex in Nassau County, Long Island, is appealing a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that resulted in the condominium receiving only $8 million in flood-insurance coverage despite suffering what FEMA acknowledged as $32 million damages from superstorm Sandy.

The reason for the $24 million difference? According to the condo board's attorney, just a $20,000 missed premium that the board wasn't even aware of due to simple lack of communication.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, long faces on Long Island, as a the FBI arrests two men they allege ran a Ponzi scheme at their Montauk resort containing over 100 co-op apartments. Another kind of white-collar criminal may be robbing you when you apply for a mortgage. And is it criminal to pay $80,000 for parking space at a car condominium? Plus, the co-op board of The Cambridge House sued the City to get Citi Bike racks in front of its building removed — and now the City says it's above the law and the courts have to stay out!

Promoting staff based on how popular someone is with the residents, rather than on strictly professional criteria and experience, is an invitation to problems — and there could be no greater example than the experience of one co-op board in Freeport, Long Island, when a staffer's popularity allowed him to buy two apartments and eventually win election to the five-member board, where he and two cronies gained control of the building.

A bill introduced in Congress Wednesday by New York Rep. Steve Israel (D - 3rd District) would make housing cooperatives and condominium associations eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency grants.

Co-op shareholders and condo unit-owners themselves already are eligible for such funds, with many such homeowners after superstorm Sandy having received up to $31,900 each for emergency housing not covered by insurance. Homeowner associations, however, cannot apply for FEMA grants, which co-op and condo boards say are needed to repair common areas as well as such physical-plant necessities as boilers.

New York City and State legislators have introduced bills that would institute timelines for when co-op boards have to reach an admissions decision, with one bill that would mandate boards either give a reason why they rejected a potential buyer or swear that the reasons for rejection were not based on discrimination. 

Are these reasonable? For a real-world example, we can look to Suffolk County, Long Island, which in 2009 enacted a co-op admissions law with both time clocks and required reasons for rejection.

Hoarding is a mental illness, and condo and co-op boards need to treat hoarders with the same care and understanding as they would anyone with a mental-health issue. But that doesn't mean you ignore the safety, hygiene and vermin problems that hoarders bring about. Here are some tips.

 

The  Beachwalk Landing Condominium in Long Beach, on Long Island, was having its share of problems. The oceanfront property — two buildings nearly 30 years old with a total of 72 units — was suffering from wear and needed all sorts of work, ranging from replacing terrace doors and air-conditioning sleeves to repairing the balconies and terraces. While there was little argument that things needed to be done, paying the price tag of $3.75 million for all that capital work was an issue. Some residents simply couldn't afford it to pay their share of the needed assessment. Or could they?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?