New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Historically low rates, capital needs and maturing mortgages led many co-op boards to refinance their co-ops' underlying mortgages this past year. A few areas came to light where involving general counsel at the beginning of the refinance process could save a co-op money and affect the timing for locking the interest rate — specifically, requiring closing to occur within 30 days of rate lock. Just what are those areas, and how do they affect you in practical terms?

Being a co-op or condo board member is not for the faint of heart, particularly these days. Virtually all volunteer boards face a number of tough decisions, such as whether to pursue an owner for an assessment balance due, even though his home is foreclosed. And, of course, board members have pressures of their own, such as trying to balance you co-op or condominium budget while worrying about your 2009 college grad who still lives at home working the want ads.

What to Expect When a Thermographic Professional Arrives to Check for Leaks

Written by Stephen Varone, AIA & Peter Varsalona, PE on September 04, 2012

New York City

A thermographer begins a roof survey by first conducting a visual observation, looking for obvious defects that could cause leaks, such as a torn or blistering roofing membrane, missing or defective flashing, cracked or spalling bricks in parapet walls, open coping joints, ponding, etc. The thermographer also notes the orientation of the roof to the sun, the position of surrounding buildings or structures that cast shadows on the roof, and any debris or other items that could skew the results of the infrared scan.

Depending on the air temperature, the type of roof construction and the length of time the roof was exposed to the sun that day, the thermographer waits anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour after the sun leaves the roof to perform a scan with the infrared camera. Analyzing the color distribution in the scan, the thermographer can see which areas along the roof are warmer (typically red in the infrared spectrum of colors).

Q. I am a member of cooperative/condominium board in New York City. Can I be held personally liable for my actions and conduct as a board member?

A. Members of a co-op/condo board can be held personally liable for their actions as board members only if they engage in tortious conduct (that is, wrongful conduct other than a breach of contract) that is independent from their role as board members. In contrast, board members will not be personally liable for conduct that is within the scope of the board members' authority, is taken in good faith, and is in the best interests of the building's shareholders/unit-owners.

The grades are in.

They're not posted, they are not public and you might have to do some digging to find yours.

But if your New York City building is over 50,000 square feet, it was energy-benchmarked by the city and it has now been scored.

Update: Mandatory-Greening Bill Now Set For Wednesday

Written by Frank Lovece on December 31, 1969

New York City

June 22, 2009, following posting June 10 and update June 17 — After two previous reschedulings, the public hearing by the New York City Council's Environmental Protection Committee regarding Intro. 967, which mandates energy audits in buildings of 50,000 square feet or more, has is now scheduled to take place Wednesday, June 24, at 1 p.m., at the Council hearing room, 250 Broadway, near City Hall, on the 16th floor. (See map.)

It was originally set for 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 18, changed to noon, and rescheduled to Friday, June 19, at 10 a.m. before this latest scheduling. The hearing allows for public comment on the proposed legislation sponsored by Councilmember James F. Gennaro.

Service Animals in Co-ops / Condos: The Law and What Boards Should Require

Written by W. Alexander Noland, Esq. on September 21, 2012

New York City

Condo and co-op boards and property managers should be aware that homeowners do have the right — subject to restrictions — to have service, companion and therapy animals, even when they violate co-op / condo pet restrictions. Yet boards have certain rights as well, including the right to demand medical proof that such an animal is needed.

Board 101: What Are the Duties of a Condo or Co-op Board Treasurer?

Written by Tom Soter and Bill Morris on September 18, 2012

New York City



Board 101: What Are the Duties of a Condo or Co-op Board President?

Written by Tom Soter and Bill Morris on September 13, 2012

New York City

For those serving on condo or co-op boards, some things are immutable and commonly agreed upon: The president is the head honcho, the big cheese, the first among equals. The treasurer follows the money and let's everyone know whether the maintenance goes up or down. And the secretary gets the facts.

Immutable they may be, but the same? Definitely not. For each officer has his or her own style of operating, from the consensus-builder to the autocrat, and those styles (in long-serving members) often mesh with the needs of the building. In the first of a series, "Board 101," we offer a look at the duties of these three positions and the differing approaches of three board officers each.

Vendor Contracts That Protect You: An Attorney's Three Simple Steps

Written by Steven J. Tinnelly on September 14, 2012

New York City

Every condo or co-op board will at some point hire a vendor to perform certain tasks or furnish services — possibly exposing the building to liability brought about by vendor actions and/or the terms of the vendor contracts. Boards of directors and managing agents must understand how to properly protect the building when hiring a vendor. Three issues are key to doing so: hiring properly licensed, bonded and insured vendors; the employment status of a vendor as an "independent contractor" or an "employee" of the co-op or condo; and the importance of having proposed vendor contracts reviewed by legal counsel prior to execution.

Ask the Experts

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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

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