New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Once a buyer's package has been greenlighted by the manager's transfer department, it is delivered to the co-op admissions committee and, absent that, the board itself. (In self-managed buildings, it is up to the seller to manage all the logistics, including hiring a lawyer as transfer agent.) A copy of each package is distributed to every board member, with confidential information, such as the social security number, redacted. Some distribute this data electronically. The admissions committee should spend a week to ten days before giving their recommendation to the co-op board.

For E. Cooke Rand, a co-op board member at a 48-year-old white-brick building on East 84th Street, his board's initial decision to install a gym "was made conditionally, to explore the idea — what would be entailed, what all the equipment would be. We had a subcommittee of the board, three people, who did the bulk of the work and kept reporting to us — doing all this exploration to see what it could cost and whether the space was suitable. The process wasn't getting together one night, making a decision, and turning it over. We consulted through the managing agent and directly with knowledgeable architects."

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, FEMA extends the filing deadline for homeowners, including co-op shareholders and condo unit-owners, applying for grants, some nervous neighbors at a co-op jump to conclusions, and a condo-owner has an overhead problem in the form of a heavy cell-phone tower. Plus, for co-op and condo boards, the tax-abatement renewal bill has passed the New York State Senate. Now will it get through the Assembly?

The New York State Assembly, in the wake of the Senate last week, has restored the expired tax abatement that was created with the intent of equalizing tax burdens between co-op / condo owners and standard homeowners. Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) announced today the passage of the legislation.

This year, resolve to cut your costs and properly fund your reserves. Oftentimes delinquent dues and bad debt will create cash-flow problems for your cooperative corporation or condominium association. Collections and liens can be costly and hard to retrieve as well, and as board members and property managers, you are expected to consistently look for ways to cut expenses. Here are a few areas in which condo and co-op boards can gain more control, resulting in cost savings.

After Your Energy-Benchmark Audit: The Improvements You'll Need to Make

Written by Stephen Varone & Peter Varsalona on January 31, 2013

New York City

New York City has four related laws designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings larger than 50,000 square feet. Known collectively as the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, they cover benchmarking of energy usage, a new energy conservation code, energy audits and retro-commissioning, and lighting retrofits and submetering. We've previous discussed what a benchmarking audit entails. Now we look at the types of building improvements that are typically necessary for co-op boards and condo associations to make.

An onsite gym has become standard in virtually all new developments, and many older buildings are retrofitting to include them. In two past articles we've looked at how real estate professionals value them, and at the standard steps co-op and condo boards take to make the decision and to make it a reality. Now we look at the final piece: security and insurance.

Space is the final frontier. And in New York, where every square foot is valuable, finding extra space that costs your co-op or condo little and earns income in the process is a worthy goal. An Upper East Side co-op, for instance, successfully added a second floor to an existing penthouse level. A Soho co-op added a penthouse level that turned the top-floor unit into a duplex. In both instances shareholders gained space and shares, and the co-ops now collect more in maintenance.

Where there's work, there are accidents. And where there are accidents, there are lawsuits. In one case, a contractor had insurance to cover himself while working on buildings six stories and lower. The problem? The building he was working on was eight stories. Elsewhere, a contractor was doing façade work — a risky job that carries a high insurance premium — but told his insurer he was a low-risk and low-premium-paying carpenter. In yet another case, a contractor had insurance but the policy specifically excluded accidents that happened because of construction activity.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, we're still waiting for the New York State legislature to keep its commitment to renew the tax abatement that tries to equalize co-op / condo property taxes with those of single-family homes and townhouses. Plus, experts advise you on preparing your co-op admission package, on upping your credit score and on not rushing into a mortgage. For condo and co-op boards we've expert advise on the best and worst types of commercial tenants you can have in your building. And for Coen heads, we've word on Ethan's apartment

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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