New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine June 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

NEW YORK CITY

As an attorney, I recently read a report of a settlement in a lawsuit where a woman sued a property owner for damages she suffered after tripping and falling over a concrete parking barrier in a parking lot. Although the case did not involve a co-op or condominium parking lot, it easily could have. The fact is, some our condo clients have been sued by owners, residents or guests after they likewise tripped over a concrete parking barrier, claiming that it was a dangerous condition because they could not distinguish the parking barrier from the asphalt parking lot surface.

What to Expect When You Need to Have a Local Law 11 'Special Inspection'

Written by Stephen Varone and Peter Varsalona on May 30, 2013

New York City

The well-known Local Law 11/98, requiring every-five-year façade inspection of buildings seven stories or taller, sometimes requires co-op and condo boards to have "special inspections" of particular items. Formerly called "controlled inspections," they cover such items as materials, equipment, installation, fabrication and construction methods and are typically more rigorous than standard "progress inspections." Part 1 of this article gave an introduction to special inspections. Here we give more detail of what condo and co-op boards should expect.

We all want to feel safe in our own homes, and in a small co-op or condominium, any incident from theft of a bicycle to a personal confrontation can cause a major shift in perspective. For boards of small and midsize buildings without doormen, the first reaction is often to look at your security system, which encompasses front- and roof-door locks, intercoms, exterior lighting, keeping sight lines clear by trimming trees that could conceal someone lurking near the entrance, and moving mailboxes to the front of the building, where security is generally concentrated. But how do you do it affordably?

Con Edison has a pool of about $1.5 million available to help co-ops, condominiums and other New York City buildings convert from oil to gas. Incentives vary based on the size of the building. For example, buildings that have between five and 75 units can get up to $22,500 for the conversion process and up to $5,000 for purchasing a highly efficient boiler. For larger buildings, customized incentives are available.

Our bags were gone. 

My fiancé, Mike, and I had come home after having dinner at my parents' house. While he was parking, I took a few bags of groceries upstairs to our sixth-floor walk-up apartment and left a suitcase and another bag of groceries in the lobby for Mike to bring up when he came in.

But by the time he arrived — only a brief 10 minutes later — the bags had disappeared. After knocking on a few doors and finding that no one had seen or heard anything, we realized that our bags had been stolen — from our locked lobby!

New York City has extended its deadline for property owners and managers to provide their buildings' 2013 energy-benchmarking data, following a cyberattack late last month at the U.S. government website where that information is entered into a database. Buildings falling under the benchmarking requirements now have until May 31. However, buildings wishing to use the government's spreadsheet template for entering information into that "Portfolio Manager" database, rather than entering information manually, have only until May 15 due to the planned release of an upgraded database.

Marijuana is becoming legal, to various extents, in a lot of places. Some states such as New Jersey and California allow if for medical purposes. Colorado just plain allows it. Some predict that sooner or later it will pretty much just be legal, basically everywhere.

The question is whether condo and co-op boards will be able to ban marijuana in instances where the state says its legal. Will a board be able to just say no? The answer is not so cut and dry.

How would you like to make sales dry up in your building? Or guarantee you'll lose every challenge to your authority as a board? What if you couldn't charge assessments, collect flip taxes or go after people who were in arrears? Nutty, right? Well, not so nutty if you're one of those condo or co-op boards that don't keep minutes.

Very soon there will be no more No. 6 heating oil. By June 2015, buildings in the city will not be able to burn the smog-producing fuel. Lots of buildings have already switched to cleaner-burning No. 2 or No. 4 oil, or to natural gas. But there are plenty of buildings where co-op and condo boards are still wrestling with what to do next. If your cooperative or condominium is one of them, which path is right for your particular situation?

Rising insurance rates might be unavoidable, but there are steps condo and co-op boards can take to keep control of runaway rates and prepare for the unavoidable increases. Here are three simple steps every building should contemplate.

Ask the Experts

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Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

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