New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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Committees are an invaluable tool in condominium associations and cooperative housing corporations, where it can be hard to get enough volunteers sufficiently capable of dedicating the time, attention and skills required to serve on the board. As well, since it's often effective to have a small board, having committees can extend the board's reach, ability and effectiveness. This allows the benefits of a smaller board without sacrificing the distribution of workload that comes with a larger board.

... condo secrets in Brooklyn, a Manhattan condo sets a record asking price and how low can mortgage rates go? Find out!

... a court rules against a Queens co-op that tried to evict an elderly couple when the asthmatic, severely allergic wife needed a disallowed air conditioner in order to, you know, breathe and live. Also: How to prep an apartment for sale, what to expect from brokers in 2012, and how condos are becoming like co-ops when it comes to admissions.

"Noise complaints are the bane of our existence," says Maryann Caputo, president of Tribor Management, which manages some three dozen co-ops and condos, mostly in Queens. "I'd rather have any problem other than a noise complaint."

They may be intractable, but noise complaints between neighbors are not insoluble — provided condo and co-op boards understand the nature of the quagmire they're getting into. And how to get out of it.

 

1.  Standardize your collection process

One of the easiest problems to avoid in collecting payments is the issue of selective enforcement. Condo and co-op boards sometimes give greater deference to owners they like or for whom they feel sympathy, and eagerly pursue owners they see as troublemakers.

Unfortunately, this approach creates two problems. First, it sets up a legal defense that the co-op / condo rules are not being applied uniformly. Second, it promotes the idea that if you have a good enough excuse and stay out of trouble, the board will let you slide on paying.

Condo and co-op boards are taking a variety of steps to address budgetary shortfalls. A survey by the Community Associations Institute finds that about half nationwide have increased common charges or monthly maintenance, and reduced contributions to reserve accounts. Many have deferred maintenance of common areas and postponed capital-improvement projects. And about a quarter or less have reduced professional costs or management fees, borrowed from their reserves or levied special assessments.

Given all that, here are some pro-active steps every co-op / condo board should consider.

In the bizarre world of the Department of Buildings bureaucracy, a phantom stop-work order can continue to exist even after it has been resolved. And woe to the co-op or condo board member who tries to get it removed.

A reader asks: For about a year, our co-op board has discussed refinancing our underlying mortgage. We almost did it about nine months ago when rates were pretty low, but one member of the board convinced everyone that rates would fall further. Our current loan comes due in about six months, and we need money for façade work in the spring, but this same board member still wants us to wait for lower rates. Do you think that rates will fall even more?

Depending upon the composition of a co-op or condominium's roof and its type of supporting deck type, there can be multiple reasons why a bad roof in need of repair does not leak. While there are numerous potential reasons, the most common are:

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.

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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