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Everybody Into the Pool!

Written by Tom Soter and Bill Morris on April 28, 2016

New York State

Now is the time to show your swimming pool some love.

A New York State law that went into effect Dec. 3, requiring all residential leases to contain a notice about the building's sprinkler system, appears to mandate that even co-op proprietary leases must be amended to reflect the language change. The new law also impacts leases offered by condominium homeowners renting their apartments as well as subleases offered by rental tenants and by co-op shareholders.

Condominiums continue to use the lion's share of the 421a tax exemption, with very few co-ops participating in the program that along with the popular J-51 exemption is set to expire in June, panelists said Wednesday in a housing symposium. Participants also revealed proposals for affordable homes and predicted the fates of "poor doors" and a new, related wrinkle, "poor fences."

 

May 8, 2014 — Now you have another six months.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced a further six-month extension for superstorm Sandy victims who carry the federal government's Standard Flood Insurance Policy. The deadline for filing an updated "proof of loss" form — a statement on the amount a co-op or condo apartment owner is claiming under his or her flood-insurance policy — was already extended once to April 28, 2014, and has now been extended to October 29, 2014. The extension applies to losses from Sandy flood damage that occurred between October 25 and November 6, 2012.

Co-op and and condo boards that work with union staff, do check your contract and speak with your attorney before proceeding. As for everyone else, you probably want to know the National Labor Relations Board has just upheld a ruling that says employees on Facebook who discuss plans for insubordination, neglecting rules and undermining leadership are creating grounds for dismissal. As two attorneys write at Lexology.com, the employees in this case described their planned action "in such detail that a reasonable employer would reasonably refuse to take the risk of waiting to see whether the employees would act on the conduct they so artfully advocated."

The lawyers caution there's no guarantee the NLRB will always agree with the employer in such cases — but it's notable that this particular employer supplied the NLRB with screengrabs of the conversations. When, oh, when, will people learn that Facebook isn't private. Why, I think we should tweet about that right now....

Residential-building service workers in New York State's Hudson Valley region, represented by SEIU Local 32BJ Hudson Valley, reached a tentative agreement yesterday with the Building and Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region (BRI), averting a possible strike with the Sept. 30 expiration of the old contract.

Owners of single- to four-family homes in New York State get an annual cap on their property taxes. So do rich folks who own townhouses. You know who doesn't get a property-tax cap? Cooperatives and condominiums. That's because we are — and we're not making this up — Class 2 properties under the tax code, while those others are Class 1. That's right: Co-op and condo owners are second-class citizens, as far as property tax goes. So while this Associated Press story, via Crain's New York Business, may not seem immediately applicable to co-ops and condos, we like to look at it as a start. The gist? A State Supreme Court justice has tossed a lawsuit alleging that property-tax caps are unconstitutional. It may not be much for us cap-less types, but the fact that a judge affirms that caps are constitutional? Like we said, It's a start.

Crest Manor is a seven-story, 160-unit co-op at 377 North Broadway, in Yonkers, N.Y. The 35-year-old property has been dealing with crumbling infrastructure for years, according to longtime managing agent Darek Chrzanowski of Stillman Property Management, who says that the time for stopgap repairs had passed. The building needs to replace its balconies, refurbish the swimming pool and fix the two-level parking garage. Budgeted for $2.5 million, the projects are being funded by a refinancing of the co-op's underlying mortgage.

As the Sept. 30 union contract deadline approaches for co-op, condo and other residential-building service workers in New York State's Hudson Valley region, members of SEIU Local 32BJ Hudson Valley will march today with elected officials and the community in of the 1,400 men and women who serve what the union estimates as 100,000 area residents. The march assembles at 5 p.m. at Our Lady of Fatima Church at 5 Strathmore Road in Scarsdale, N.Y., and the march will be on Garth Road in that town.

Rivercrest, a six-story, 95-unit cooperative perched beside the Hudson River in Nyack, N.Y., proved to be prophetically named when superstorm Sandy unleashed its fury in October 2012. The river crested its banks, pouring water into the co-op's lobby and its below-grade community room and boiler and laundry rooms. The wooden deck around the swimming pool was rudely swept away.

But for the co-op board and shareholders, the bad news was just beginning. Since the building is located in a flood plain, it was unable to purchase flood insurance from any commercial carrier. And while it was able to buy a federally backed flood-insurance policy, as mandated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the maximum coverage was just $250,000.

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