December 27, 2013
Gandolfo ("Dolf") Ferucci has served on the board of the 66-unit Smith Street Gardens in Freeport, Long Island, since the mid-1980s. He moved into the 56-year-old building around 1982, and bought in as an insider when the building went cooperative in 1986. The apartments have very large rooms, he notes, and most residents are elderly and middle-income. Here, talking with Habitat Associate Editor Aparna Narayanan, the co-op board veteran discusses lessons learned over 25 years.
Written by Frank Lovece on December 10, 2013
A change in the processing of the New York State School Tax Relief (STAR) program may cause nearly half of New York City's homeowners, including co-op shareholders and condo apartment-owners, to miss an average $280 property-tax break due them.
For the first time since the STAR exemption was enacted in 1997, homeowners under 65 years old who are already enrolled are now required to register with the State in order to continue receiving it. Previously, enrollment was automatic so long as the taxpayer continued to own the residence. As the Dec. 31 registration deadline approaches, 53 percent of City homeowners have registered, compared to 66 percent statewide.
November 26, 2013
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.
Written by Ronda Kaysen on September 05, 2013
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.
September 20, 2013
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.
Written by Frank Lovece on September 13, 2013
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.
August 05, 2013
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!
Written by Bill Morris on August 06, 2013
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.
Written by Frank Lovece on August 02, 2013
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.
Written by Jennifer V. Hughes on July 11, 2013
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.
Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.
A free digital resource for co-op/condo board directors. Published twice a month. Read now on all digital devices.