As part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's new initiatives, Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) Commissioner Vicki Been has announced that one goal for a more economically diverse New York City is to build 80,000 new units of affordable housing — placing apartments for low-income households in middle-class neighborhoods and moderate-income housing in poorer areas. The Daily News reports that exact locations have yet to be chosen, and that de Blasio has increased HPD's budget from $1.2 billion to $3.1 billion to help fund this large-scale project.
An annual rite of spring in New York City has been the often-contentious debate over the setting of the rate homeowners, including co-op and condo buildings, will pay for the city's water and sewer system in the coming fiscal year. Rising costs have led the Water Board to increase the water and sewer rate every year since 1995, sometimes in excess of 10 percent. Over the past decade, the rate has increased by 135 percent — with the current rate of $9.27 per 100 cubic feet of water working out to 1.2 cents per gallon used.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's Administration recently made its first water-rate proposal, calling for an increase of 3.35 percent. This rise to $9.58 per 100 cubic feet averages out to an annual cost of $666 per co-op or condo unit, up from $644. Beginning next week, the Water Board will hold a series of public hearings on this year's rate proposal. What points should co-op and condominium board members attending these hearings bring up?
May 12, 2014
The practice of turning apartments into hotel rooms or bed-and-breakfasts has become so common that it has attracted the attention of legislators, the State's bar association and the State attorney general. Co-op and condo board members, as well as apartment-owners concerned about non-vetted, non-background-checked strangers roaming halls and stairwells, should know what's going on, in order to keep the pressure on elected representatives.
Following the agreement last month between union leaders and representatives for New York City building-owners, including cooperatives and condominium associations, the new contract for the city's 30,000 union doormen, superintendents, handymen and porters has been formally ratified. It provides a cumulative 11.3 percent raise over the next four years, and keeps intact pension benefits and family health care fully paid by the employer.
May 22, 2014
The National Cooperative Bank (NCB) has announced it originated $18.6 million in new loans in April, with co-ops in Manhattan accounting for more than 50 percent of the bank’s financing activity in the region, according to Edward Howe III, Managing Director of the NCB New York office. Howe personally arranged the largest loan of the month, a $3.6 million first mortgage and a $750,000 line of credit for a co-op in Forest Hills, Queens.
Written by Frank Lovece on May 21, 2014
A five-member panel comprised of a condo-board president, a management-company executive and representatives of Con Edison, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York City Mayor's Office last week warned co-ops, condos and other residential buildings that incentives for green upgrading have limited lifespans, and that boards intending to participate in any particular program should do so before that incentive expires.
New York’s experience with hoarding — from the Collyer brothers to apartment dwellers today — is a complicated one. It’s made more difficult when the hoarder in question is not a renter but a member of a co-op or condominium. As one more tool in a board-member's arsenal, the company Address Our Mess has trained crews that are used to the unique challenges of the urban setting, such as tight corridors, elevators, narrow stairways and tightly packed rooms.
With the condo and co-op world reeling from revelations of the Saparn Realty scandal, in which a top executive in the management firm allegedly stole more than $2 million from dozens of buildings, boards need to wake up. With co-op and condominium expenses and revenues alike higher than ever, the ever-growing amount of money flowing through New York City apartment buildings means temptation is higher than ever as well. Boards have never needed to be more vigilant and aware.
"People think, 'Oh, the managing agent is responsible for everything,'" says Richard Montanye, a certified public accountant (CPA) with Marin & Montanye, "and the reverse is actually true. The board has to stay on top of things." But how?
Co-op boards in buildings still containing grandfathered rent-stabilized tenants, take note: On the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio's new housing plan for New York City, DNAinfo has an enraging report about the tens of thousands of rent-stabilized apartments that are actually occupied not by middle- and lower-class tenants but rather by such big earners as a former Philip Morris executive and an oral surgeon at New York Presbyterian. The fact that they can exploit legal loopholes is leading to serious debate about the City's deregulation laws and how this will affect the Mayor's housing initiative.
Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.