New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community



For a building with more than one elevator, urge residents to stagger their commute schedule so the only operating elevator isn't overloaded at 8 A.M. Residents should also avoid renovations or work like carpet cleaning during the upgrade. Some boards go so far as to restrict renovations entirely during an elevator repair project.

Every co-op and condo board dreads telling homeowners that elevator replacement or repair is upcoming. In buildings with just one elevator the weeks or even months of hard climbing and inconvenience is especially difficult, but it's hard even for co-ops and condos with multiple elevators, what with all the noise, clutter, workers and longer wait times. Earlier articles in this series have looked at how condo and co-op boards can help ease the burden, and how residents themselves can help. Our final suggestion: Smart scheduling of elevator use, spreading peak-time loads around. How is that even possible? Like this.

The co-op admissions process seems like it should be a straightforward affair: The seller gives the admission package to the buyer, the buyer completes it, management vets it, and the board reviews it and then says "yea" or "nay." Yet even the simplest procedure can become complicated where co-op boards are concerned. (Condo admissions are another story, since condo boards have little power to reject new buyers, short of buying the unit for the association.) That's why boards may want to follow a schedule.

Once a buyer's package has been greenlighted by the manager's transfer department, it is delivered to the co-op admissions committee and, absent that, the board itself. (In self-managed buildings, it is up to the seller to manage all the logistics, including hiring a lawyer as transfer agent.) A copy of each package is distributed to every board member, with confidential information, such as the social security number, redacted. Some distribute this data electronically. The admissions committee should spend a week to ten days before giving their recommendation to the co-op board.

For E. Cooke Rand, a co-op board member at a 48-year-old white-brick building on East 84th Street, his board's initial decision to install a gym "was made conditionally, to explore the idea — what would be entailed, what all the equipment would be. We had a subcommittee of the board, three people, who did the bulk of the work and kept reporting to us — doing all this exploration to see what it could cost and whether the space was suitable. The process wasn't getting together one night, making a decision, and turning it over. We consulted through the managing agent and directly with knowledgeable architects."

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, FEMA extends the filing deadline for homeowners, including co-op shareholders and condo unit-owners, applying for grants, some nervous neighbors at a co-op jump to conclusions, and a condo-owner has an overhead problem in the form of a heavy cell-phone tower. Plus, for co-op and condo boards, the tax-abatement renewal bill has passed the New York State Senate. Now will it get through the Assembly?

The New York State Assembly, in the wake of the Senate last week, has restored the expired tax abatement that was created with the intent of equalizing tax burdens between co-op / condo owners and standard homeowners. Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) announced today the passage of the legislation.

This year, resolve to cut your costs and properly fund your reserves. Oftentimes delinquent dues and bad debt will create cash-flow problems for your cooperative corporation or condominium association. Collections and liens can be costly and hard to retrieve as well, and as board members and property managers, you are expected to consistently look for ways to cut expenses. Here are a few areas in which condo and co-op boards can gain more control, resulting in cost savings.

After Your Energy-Benchmark Audit: The Improvements You'll Need to Make

Written by Stephen Varone & Peter Varsalona on January 31, 2013

New York City

New York City has four related laws designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet. Known collectively as the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, they cover benchmarking of energy usage, a new energy conservation code, energy audits and retro-commissioning, and lighting retrofits and submetering. We've previous discussed what a benchmarking audit entails. Now we look at the types of building improvements that are typically necessary for co-op boards and condo associations to make.

An onsite gym has become standard in virtually all new developments, and many older buildings are retrofitting to include them. In two past articles we've looked at how real estate professionals value them, and at the standard steps co-op and condo boards take to make the decision and to make it a reality. Now we look at the final piece: security and insurance.

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