Written by Frank Lovece on January 11, 2013
Politicians and others called today for FEMA grants to be made available to residential cooperatives, which the federal agency characterizes as a form of business and so ineligible for emergency housing help. Yet the statements specifically excluded condominium associations, and failed to make clear that co-op and condo residents already are eligible for grants.
Written by Ronda Kaysen on January 01, 2013
An elevator modernization project generally takes six to eight weeks to complete. That means the elevator will be out of commission for the entire time – and that doesn't include the period when you are waiting for an inspection by the city. However, a building can shave two or three weeks off the timeline by requesting an expedited schedule. "If you can afford to pay the premium, do it. Even for buildings with multiple elevators, having to wait longer drives people crazy," says Bram Fierstein, president of Gramatan Management.
Written by Frank Lovece on January 03, 2013
As New York City prepares to issue its annual property-tax bills this month, the State's promised extension of the expired co-op / condo tax abatement remains in limbo. And a report issued today by the New York City Independent Budget Office — based on current legislation in Albany intended to equalize tax burdens between co-op / condo owners and standard homeowners — shows tax inequality will continue even presuming legislation is passed.
Written by Frank Lovece on January 01, 2013
The president of a roughly 160-unit Long Island co-op complex is incredulous. “There’s a website where you can buy a kit that ‘certifies’ your dog as a companion dog. It comes with an ID, looks very official, it has a little vest for the dog so it mirrors a service dog” like trained seeing-eye dogs. “So you call up, say I’d like to get my pet certified, fill out the form, send in the check. Do I need documentation? ‘No.’ So anyone can do it? ‘Yeah.’”
Written by Patrick B. Niland on December 27, 2012
When it comes to refinancing a co-op's underlying mortgage, your building's overall debt burden is just one aspect of the financial profile that a loan officer looks at. There are other, perhaps more significant, factors. For example, a history of balanced budgets would show prudent fiscal planning, while frequent operating losses could signal poor financial discipline. Minimal shareholder arrears would indicate strong collection policies, but large and/or persistent delinquencies would raise serious concerns. What else?
Written by Tom Soter on December 27, 2012
John W. Toothman, president of Virginia-based firm The Devil's Advocate, which advises housing associations nationwide on ways to lower legal costs, says condo and co-op boards should treat attorneys no differently than how they treat other contractors who are seeking employment: they should be subject to competitive bidding. That doesn't just mean getting a schedule of hourly rates for partners and associates (although that's part of it). You also want to examine the financial arrangements.
Written by Elliott Meisel on December 25, 2012
We represent a condominium on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. One of its units was unoccupied, with no common charges paid for more than a year and a mortgage that was for more than its market value.
The first mortgagee — the lender — has a first lien on the unit ahead of the condominium (unlike with co-ops, and something the condo community should strongly lobby to repeal). So, if we were to foreclose the condominium lien for the outstanding common charges, the result would be that after protracted and expensive legal proceedings the lender would receive all of the foreclosure proceeds. That would leave no reimbursement for the condominium of either its arrears or its legal fees.
Written by Steven Troup on December 25, 2012
In a large co-op we represent, a shareholder purchased a penthouse unit and applied for the board's consent to gut-renovate it. All parties were aware that there were sporadic roof leaks into the unit at that time. The co-op board agreed to make repairs prior to the start of construction. The roof was patched and the unit-owner did the renovation. Then the rains came….
Written by Ronald L. Perl on December 20, 2012
In what seemed to be a routine matter for the condominium board, it hired a mason to perform pointing and repairs on a brick façade. The president signed a contract prepared by the managing agent, who in turn secured the contractor’s signature. A deposit was paid to the contractor, and he began work.
Problems began shortly after the start of the project when homeowners complained that the contractor was not cleaning up at the end of the work day and that the sidewalks and walkways were filled with trip hazards. In addition, work progressed at a far slower pace than anticipated; some days the work crew was a single person.
Written by Tom Soter on December 18, 2012
Money is tight. Lawyers are expensive. Can you cut costs without cutting essential services? That's the question condo and co-op boards may be asking as they face the beginning of a new fiscal year. Many boards regard legal charges as a big cost that must be reduced. Yet is such cutting wise?
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.