New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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Worried about guns in your building? Steve Rosenstein is. As board treasurer of a Brooklyn co-op, he maintains and updates the purchase application for unit sales in his building.

"After [the shootings at] Sandy Hook, I started thinking about adding a question or two about gun ownership to the application," he says. "I can tell you definitely that boards are starting to ask questions about guns and firearms as part of co-op admissions and habitability." With gun violence in the news, it may be time for your board to consider gun control.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, Airbnb brings financial support to the case of Nigel Warren, fined $2,400 for illegal hoteling. Read the company's justification for why landlords, co-ops and condos should allows streams of strangers to turn residential buildings into hotels. The best part? Airbnb writes this on the company's "public policy" blog — never once mentioning that overturning New York's illegal-hoteling restrictions would give its business explosive growth. Yep, they're just looking out for the little guy, that's all.

Plus, is a co-op board backing bullies in Park Slope? Sure seems that way from the photographs of a Yuppie's obscene hand gestures toward an 88-year-old woman, her 53-year-old daughter and the grandkids at 808 8th Avenue in Brooklyn. Plus, Judge Judy sells her co-op, and the condominium board of a landmarked building sues to keep a Denny's restaurant out of it.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, sponsor abuses stir up the latest call for a co-op ombudsman in the Attorney General's office, a Queens condo board changes apartments' locks to keep owners out during Sandy repair — commandeering one home for a construction office — and West Village co-opers sue to keep away bicycle clutter. For condo and co-op boards, we've the latest hoteling lawsuit. Plus: Condopedia! Which we're sure is as accurate as regular Wikipedia.

Unlike many board directors, Jeannie Hutchins finds the demands of leadership stimulating. "I think it's a challenge to try to be fair to everyone, and to look at all the paths and find the one that is the most democratic," she says.

Hutchins has certainly had her hands full over the past two years. During that time, as president of the 70-unit co-op at 30 Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, she has been overseeing a demanding exterior and interior renovation of her building. "I found this project very interesting. It was a headache - it was no picnic - but it was very educational for me."

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a Brighton Beach condominium goes from lawsuits to protests over a public toilet its residents say is in the wrong place — blocking their ocean views. Plus, the noisy saga of 199 Bowery continues; a condo buyer who pulled out of a deal not only lost the deposit but owes $577,000 in legal fees; and looking to buy? Dont' overlook The Bronx! Plus, for condo and co-op boards, we've a Sandy-related lawsuit, a lawyer's thoughts on absentee ownership and more.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. Quite the tabloid week this week, as police tell more about the Penn South embezzlement, as international money-laundering sends a Chelsea condominium apartment into auction, and as a suspect is arrested in a Co-op City killing. Plus, a bathroom may block views, a "maintenance-free" co-op and are Manhattan apartment prices up or down?

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. Yet another restaurant, yet another building fighting it: Like the planned Denny's in FiDi and a still-unnamed Mexican place in Tribeca, the Atlantic Terrace co-op in Brooklyn (left) wants to say arrivederci to Tony Roma's. Plus, a shareholder's riled in Riverdale and we remember the Rembrandt, New York City's first co-op. And co-op / condo boards won't want to miss the lawsuit alleging a scam of Weekend at Bernie's proportions!

J-51 may be the nicest letter-number combination in all of New York City's co-op and condominium tax statutes: a property-tax exemption and abatement for renovating your apartment building. But what happens when the Department of Finance miscalculates and gives you more than you're due? You have to pay it back with interest, right? Not necessarily. Here's how a co-op in Brooklyn managed to keep an extra $153,000.

In February, a 105-unit condominium near Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn saw its insurance premium spike by 30 percent to $44,000. A 148-unit condo on the Upper East Side of Manhattan watched its bill jump 10 percent, to nearly $72,000. And a doorman co-op in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, recently swallowed a 9 percent premium increase. Condos and co-ops across New York City are bracing for an expensive insurance market, as insurers raise rates for the first time in years.

No building seems immune. Even co-ops and condos that are fully insured and haven't filed claims are watching their rates jump by as much as 9 percent and their deductible limits rising. Other buildings are discovering that their carrier simply won't cover them anymore.

It may be scant comfort to know that almost all small co-ops encounter this problem. One reason comes from the lender's perspective. It takes the same amount of work, and sometimes more, to do a small loan as it does to do a big one. As loan size drops, it begins to make no economic sense to do a deal. This is especially true for large lenders.

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