Written by Tom Soter on December 03, 2013
The holidays are here again, and so is the annual rite — and delicate art — of holiday tips and bonuses. The more thought and care that a condo or co-op board puts into this annual gift to the building staff, the longer the gesture will be savored. Although a tip and a bonus are very similar (both are intended to reward service), there is a subtle difference. Mary Ann Rothman, executive director of the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums (CNYC), offers this definition: "Shareholders tip, boards give bonuses."
Written by Phyllis H. Weisberg on November 28, 2013
A board may make a seemingly innocuous — and certainly well-intended — change in house rules without consulting counsel. After all, it has the authority to enact these rules, so what could go wrong? The answer is plenty.
Written by Jennifer V. Hughes on November 26, 2013
At Morgan Court, a 22-story condominium in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan, a balky old generator stood sentry in a courtyard for decades. It provided some power to the building during the August 2003 blackout but then failed to function during routine maintenance checks. The condo board sporadically talked about fixing or replacing it but never did.
Then, the big storm hit.
Written by Tom Soter on October 22, 2013
As the president of our Upper West Side co-op board, I was concerned: I'd discovered that the leaseholder of a commercial space in our co-op appeared to be doing construction work without permission from the city; at least his workmen hadn't posted permits, as required by law. Since our building is self-managed, I took it upon myself to investigate.
My investigation didn't get very far. When I knocked on the door of the space, one of the men in dust-covered, paint-splattered overalls said, "Yes?"
"What are you doing in there?" I asked.
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.
November 14, 2013
Few things are more important, so it's a topic worth revisiting: An effective co-op board or condo association needs to build and maintain good relationships with shareholders or unit-owners. Not only is this practical and pragmatic from a governing standpoint, but it makes living in a cooperative or condominium much, much nicer than where there's rancor, suspicion and even lawsuits against imperious, secretive or disrespectful boards. Here, three veteran property managers offer their real-life experiences on maintaining a good board / resident relationship.
Written by Frank Lovece on November 22, 2013
New York City Council has approved property-tax rates for fiscal year 2014, slightly dropping the rate for co-ops and most condominium apartments to 13.145 percent of assessed value, the lowest in five years. The new rates, approved on Nov. 14 after significant delays, apply retroactively to the tax year running July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014.
Written by John Drake on November 21, 2013
In the midst of al the decisions a board might have to make about the day-to-day upkeep of a co-op or condo building, one of the more subtle fiduciary responsibilities can get forgotten: the need to maintain or, preferably, increase the market values of homeowners' apartments. Adding amenities, of course, is one way to do this. But are there also policy-driven ways you can consider?
Written by Frank Lovece on November 15, 2013
Updated Nov. 18 — New York City co-op and condo boards doing minor construction and renovation projects can now have their architecture and contracting professionals submit plans to the Department of Buildings for review and approval electronically, eliminating the time-consuming step of submitting them by hand to a borough office.
Called Hub Full-Service, under the aegis of the New York City Development Hub, this digital review and approval process impacts what the DOB says are 50,000 annual minor-construction applications known as Alteration Type-2 and Alteration Type-3 that are submitted each year by all categories of homeowners.
Written by John Drake on November 19, 2013
When a co-op shareholder or condo unit-owner living alone has either died or become incompetent or significantly incapacitated, and is no longer residing in the apartment, what should a board do? Whether you're in a cooperative or a condominium, you occasionally will be faces with requests for access to the apartment by a person claiming to be a close relative, boyfriend, girlfriend or legal representative of the owner. And even though the person making the request may be known to building staff or management, making them inclined to provide such access, you still should seek legal advice in this situation.
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