December 28, 2012
Homeowners rose in tax revolt again in 2012, yet politicians still failed to act to solve inequities hurting co-ops and condominiums. A board may have helped drive a resident to suicide. No-smoking rules, digitized offering plans and automated water-meter readers all made the news. And good boards and bad have their say and their day in some of the year's most interesting utterances.
Written by Frank Lovece on June 27, 2013
Written by Frank Lovece on March 21, 2013
UPDATED March 22, 2013 — Following an interagency raid by investigations who took files and computers from five local heating-oil business, two lawsuits have been filed by real-estate concerns charging that the companies have been selling oil diluted with waste product. Authorities and the plaintiffs claim such tainted fuel oil has been delivered for years to both commercial and residential buildings.
December 26, 2013
Along with taxes and, for co-ops, the underlying mortgage, energy costs are possibly the single biggest non-discretionary budget item. You have to heat your cooperative or condominium in cold weather, keep the lights on in common areas and power everything from smoke alarms to garage gates to swimming-pool filters. There aren't a lot of corners you can cut here — but that doesn't mean there's no way to save money. Our latest Teachable Moments column offers some tested, real-world strategies by three longtime property managers who have found it doesn't take a lot of energy to save on energy.
Written by Tom Soter on December 17, 2013
In most co-op and condo buildings, supers, porters, doormen and other staff members receive two different sources of extra income at the holidays: a year-end bonus from the board and cash tips from individual residents. What should a board and staff expect of residents when it comes to tipping staff?
Primarily that different residents' financial situations differ.
Written by Frank Lovece on December 19, 2013
The process of terminating the super begins with what is colloquially described as "writing him up." This can take a relatively short or relatively long time. "Documenting incidents is key," says Nadir Maoui, vice president of a 150-plus-unit co-op in Sunnyside, Queens, that recently fired its superintendent. The board spent almost two years preparing a list of offenses. "We went from [oral] warnings to write-ups with the union, and we went as far as suspension," Maoui explains. "If you go for union arbitration with no [prior] warning [to the super] whatsoever, the first thing they'll ask is to give him a chance. You have to show you gave him warnings and can't deal with him anymore. Otherwise, it's your word against the super's."
Written by Jennifer V. Hughes on December 12, 2013
With superstorm Sandy still fresh in our minds, and scientists predicting more such extreme weather in times ahead, many cooperatives and condominium associations are considering installing a backup generator to provide at least some basic electricity and water functions when power goes out due to flooding, ice storms, blackouts or even terrorism or vandalism.
Written by Patrick B. Niland on December 13, 2013
Refinancing an underlying mortgage loan is the most important decision a co-op board can make during its tenure. A refinancing affects not only the monthly maintenance but also the market value of every shareholder's apartment. It is a decision that should be based on thorough and careful analysis, not impulse. There are six essential steps.
Written by Frank Lovece on December 10, 2013
A change in the processing of the New York State School Tax Relief (STAR) program may cause nearly half of New York City's homeowners, including co-op shareholders and condo apartment-owners, to miss an average $280 property-tax break due them.
For the first time since the STAR exemption was enacted in 1997, homeowners under 65 years old who are already enrolled are now required to register with the State in order to continue receiving it. Previously, enrollment was automatic so long as the taxpayer continued to own the residence. As the Dec. 31 registration deadline approaches, 53 percent of City homeowners have registered, compared to 66 percent statewide.
Written by Tom Soter on November 28, 2013
Two months ago, I wrote about the difficulty of getting the Department of Buildings (DOB) to send an inspector to our small, 22-unit cooperative. The problem: Contractors remodeling a commercial space were working without any posted permits. It should have been simple to solve: Send a DOB rep and shut it down.
Nothing is ever simple with New York City, however.
Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.
A free digital resource for co-op/condo board directors. Published twice a month. Read now on all digital devices.