HABITAT

SUFFOLK COUNTY

Which Rule Rules?

Written by Victor M. Metsch on October 18, 2018

Montauk, Suffolk County

Lease’s demand for “reasonable” decisions trumps Business Judgment Rule.

Alvin Wasserman decided early on that he wanted to do something for society.

Raising the Roof Money

Written by Bill Morris on December 09, 2015

Suffolk County

 

The gravel-shingle roofs on the 12 buildings in the Hampton Vistas condominium in Suffolk County were a couple of dozen years old and beginning to show their age.  The money the condo's board of directors had been setting aside every year was proving inadequate to keep up with rising repair bills.  The board had to wrestle with several questions:
 
Should they hire an engineer, at a cost of about $20,000, to do an assessment of all the roofs?
 
Should they replace all the roofs at once, or attack the worst ones first and stagger the replacements over several years?
 
Above all, how should they pay for the job – with a bank loan or through an assessment?

 

Fast work — if you can get it.

That could be the catchphrase for the recent repair job at Quail Run Condominium 1, where a major re-roofing job was completed in about 30 days.

The 160-unit condominium, located in Deer Park on Long Island, was built more than 40 years ago as a collection of one- and two-story buildings, now an enclave for the middle class. About ten years ago, leaks began appearing, although they were minor and the nine-member board felt it had them under control.

Earlier this month, Tudor Oaks — which consists of five two-story garden-style apartment buildings — reverted from a co-op to a rental property after going into foreclosure. It's a very rare, and extremely sad, occurrence, but documents confirm that the 106-unit property in Middle Island, Suffolk County, was sold at auction, after it failed to reorganize under Chapter 11. Now shareholders are left with unsecured loans, rather than share loans, since the stock and leases were canceled. And it was a tense Thanksgiving for tenants who, since they aren't shareholders, are now wondering where they stand in this whole mess. CBS New York reported that Fairfield Properties, the new owner, told 1010 Wins' Mona Rivera it has no plans to evict anyone. Fairfield Properties added that it "has invited every occupant to apply to become a tenant with Fairfield, and many occupants have already accepted that invitation." But the situation for renters is a little more complicated. According to Rivera's report, Vanessa Baird-Streeter, a spokesperson for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, stated that tenants received letters from Fairfield letting them know that as of Nov. 17, anyone occupying a unit who is not the shareholder no longer has a right to remain in that unit. The letter to renters from Fairfield also states that it will send out a separate notice "with respect to options and payments." Now many of these renters may end up having to find a new place to live.

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." 

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.

When times get tough and the choice of paying your mortgage or paying your condo's common charges looms, the bank usually wins. But that doesn't mean a condo board is just going to stand still as arrears build up, so expect your board to take action. How, you wonder? By taking away the very thing that enticed you to buy in the first place: your amenities.

Some condo boards are struggling to pay their association’s bills, and are turning to legal machinations to get lagging apartment owners to pay their monthly common charges on time, or even at all. But one Long Island condominium is using a new strategy to collect from deadbeats: filing a lien against the unit, and then foreclosing on the lien.

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