New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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How Transparency Helped Implement Big Changes and Win Over Shareholders

Written by Bobby Sher, President, Bell Park Manor Terrace, Queens. One in an occasional series of real-life stories by board members about serving on co-op and condo boards. on March 01, 2012

Bell Park Manor Terrace, Queens, New York City

I took the criticisms to heart — and not just because I was president. I have lived in this cooperative for much of my life: After World War II, my father settled here in what was then known as the United Veterans Mutual Housing Company, run by New York State; it went private in 1990. Although I moved out when I was 17, I returned to live here some years later. After a successful career running a music / entertainment business, owning a video-production company and serving as a board member elsewhere, at the Floral Park co-op North Shore Towers, I think I know how to work with people and get things done.

Bullying is huge in the headlines lately. Lady Gaga is starting a foundation to fight the problem, the government's involved with StopBullying.gov and there are hundreds of recent news articles on the subject. Bullying is pervasive and infects every area of life. But what can co-op / condo residents and board members do about it?

You must first and foremost consider the shareholder's precise circumstances and thus the true motivation for making that proposal. If he has a loan secured by the apartment, he also probably cannot afford to pay that, and already might have attempted and failed to secure that lender's approval for a short sale. If that is the case, then in all likelihood the apartment cannot be sold under current market conditions for even close to the amount of the loan, let alone for any additional amount that the shareholder might want the co-op to pay.

On one level, the stock that you own in your co-op is no different from the stock that you might or could own in Google or Apple. Your co-op is a corporation probably governed under New York State Business Corporation Law (BCL), the very same law that governs most New York business corporations.

Also, the co-op stock that you own is, in some sense, publicly traded. The brokers in either case would broadcast the availability and terms of sale of such stock to the public at large (although they do so, of course, by very different means, with real estate brokers using property-listing sites and stock brokers using stock exchanges and the over-the-counter market).

Building Neighborly Ties with Co-op / Condo Holiday Activities

Written by Beth Brittingham on December 09, 2011

New York City

While co-op and condo boards choose to celebrate the holiday season in many different ways, the sense of community and camaraderie that results from coming together and helping others lasts all year long. Speaking as an experienced association manager, here are practical ideas that we've implemented successfully — as can you.

June 24, 2011 — New York struck a blow for clean air when officials declared that pollutant-heavy No. 6 heating oil would be banished from the city's oil burners by 2015. But an unwelcome surprise awaits condo associations and co-op boards and property managers preparing to upgrade their boilers: You may be faced with a much earlier deadline than you thought.

A standard process of co-op boards and condo associations — the pro forma filing of "tax certiorari" appeals to get real estate tax refunds for the cooperative and for condominium unit-owners — just got better. A common problem for condo boards in particular has been how to find the right owner to give the refund to, since a unit-owner may have sold and moved away in the years between a board filing for the real estate tax refund and when the refund is actually issued. But now, a new database in New York City may put an end to the hunt by giving the hunted the information they need in order to contact the board.

As an attorney, a great deal of my time and efforts of late have been devoted to representing several "new construction" condominiums where board control was just turned over to the new unit-owners from the developer. As is unfortunately typical with new-construction condos and gut renovations, the unit-owners were encountering problems with the building's common elements because of poor construction.

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