New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide

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Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, we pick up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy, with timely advice from insurers, property mangers and others, along with a sneak peek at an e-mail exchange among some condo owners in Lower Manhattan. Plus, a former doorman tells how incredibly cheap the billionaires are at 740 Park Avenue, and a free-speech case goes to court.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. More on price floors keeping people locked in their apartments, and billionaire buyers at one midtown condo may reap 421-A tax abatements meant for lower-income housing. There's one degree of Kevin Bacon at an Upper West Side co-op trying to tone down a big honking new penthouse next door. And for co-op boards, a candidate for the New York State Assembly wants to revive the issue of board oversight and accountability.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, The Beresford, where Jerry Seinfeld lives, goes after a sidewalk hot dog vendor. Hey, don't let the fact that the city and the police both say he's legal — you just keep on fighting the good fight against nitrates! The FHA is relaxing condominium-certification rules, making it easier to get mortgages. And just in time: New York City condo prices are jumping. Meanwhile, for co-op / condo boards, there's a new resource for tree guards, and an old lesson for Law & Order fans: Don't mess with Lt. Van Buren!

Paul Vercesi moved into his 80-unit building near Gramercy Park way back in 1962. After the building converted to a co-op in the 1980s, he served a dozen years as the co-op board treasurer, then returned in 2000 as board president, a post he still holds today. His philosophy, in its simplest terms, is to get to know your fellow shareholders so that the board's decisions reflect the will of the majority of the building, not just the majority of the board.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, New York City cracks down on people illegally turning their apartments into hotel rooms. On the other hand, state legislators want to soften ILSA, the federal Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act that helps protect condominium buyers from bad developers — allegedly like the one the condo board at On Prospect Park is suing. Plus: What's an ongoing assessment, and how did the co-op board shut up that rooster? And Cynthia Nixon may no longer be your co-op neighbor, but David Duchovny might be your new one. The truth is out there — or it will be at the admissions interview.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, condo-owners don't want a visit from St. Vincent, the ex-wife of the Intuit software chairman loses out in a co-op sale, and the government wants home appraisals to be more transparent. And co-op board members can see one of their own taking the next step and running for office.

It sounds like something from a horror movie: Walls seeping with horrible, foul-smelling, oozing human waste from the, um, bowels of Hell, one might say.

But that's not the most horrific part. The most horrific part is that the board of this prewar doorman co-op — where sprawling, 10-room apartments sell for up to $3.5 million — was willing to pay only $20,400 of the $23,360 bill to make good on the damage, and to go to court over a difference of less than $3,000. So ... just what was the big stink about?

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, Seward Park Co-op shareholders protest the suburbanization of the Lower East Side, a church rattles a co-op's walls, and there are, like, 10,000 LEED-certified buildings in the U.S now. Is your co-op or condo one of them? Why or why not? Please discuss. Plus, an Upper West Side arborcide, mandatory volunteerism at a self-managed co-op, and a condo owner wants to turn his place into a bed-and-breakfast. Kate Winslet, on the other hand, is looking for a more long-term rental of her Chelsea condominium.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a Greenwich Village co-op board refuses to discuss why it's evicting a financially responsible doctor's family that's owned a Fifth Avenue co-op since 1985, and residents of Harlem's Riverbend co-op are asking why the board just re-upped a management company they say has let the place fall into disrepair. Plus, a co-op / condo insurance checklist, and when a building installs a noisy playground, apartments overlooking it are out luck.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week,it's a nail-biter as New York City and New York State play chicken over the technically expired property-tax abatement for co-ops and condos. Plus, private playgrounds are the hot new kid-friendly amenity and Alec Baldwin's new wife buys a condo ... right next to her husband's. Is that like his-and-her towels? For condo and co-op boards, we've no less than The New York Times says sic 'em when it comes to condo arrears. And here's how you break up with the nice, friendly volunteer who's not so great at the job.

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