New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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Household mold is the stuff of high-dollar lawsuits, contentious insurance claims and an upcoming appellate court ruling. But one co-op shareholder in Greenwich Village has come up with an effective solution to the problem of what to do when an apartment gets invaded by mold: Talk with her neighbor, and contact the insurance company before sic'ing lawyers after anyone.

As a board member, I think a call should go out to New York City co-op and condo boards for great ideas that buildings left without power came up with to help cope with their situation. Superstorm Sandy hammered home the point that every board ought to have an emergency preparedness plan. Your ideas will inform such plans and enable us all to be better prepared.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, we pick up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy, with timely advice from insurers, property mangers and others, along with a sneak peek at an e-mail exchange among some condo owners in Lower Manhattan. Plus, a former doorman tells how incredibly cheap the billionaires are at 740 Park Avenue, and a free-speech case goes to court.

On March 19, 2007, Bianca Razzano had an admissions interview with April Anderson, co-president of the co-op board of Woodstock Tower at 320 East 42nd Street in Manhattan's Murray Hill neighborhood. The prospective buyer of one-bedroom apartment #2009 in the 459-unit, 32-story building said on e they discussed was the no-sublet policy. Razzano said she explained there was a possibility she might need to sublet her apartment due to temporary relocation for work, and Anderson, she claims, told her the policy was flexible if someone had a financial hardship due to unemployment, ill health or a work need outside New York City.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, even paying all-cash and additionally transferring a year's maintenance and $30,000 extra into an escrow wasn't enough for a Murray Hill co-op board being sued after allegedly leading a buyer on. Oh, and they also wanted his British documents translated to, um, English. And you wonder why a new sitcom makes fun of co-op boards. Plus, The Sheffield gets a work by renowned sculptor David Hostetler, and OSHA cites poor construction in a Brighton Beach condo collapse.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. More on price floors keeping people locked in their apartments, and billionaire buyers at one midtown condo may reap 421-A tax abatements meant for lower-income housing. There's one degree of Kevin Bacon at an Upper West Side co-op trying to tone down a big honking new penthouse next door. And for co-op boards, a candidate for the New York State Assembly wants to revive the issue of board oversight and accountability.

It seemed a simple thing for the co-op board: Cancel shares and foreclose on a shareholder long in arrears. But in a case taking on new attention, now that a 2001 court decision was published for the first time yesterday by the New York State Law Reporting Bureau, this textbook case reminds us that even when just walking to the newsstand, make sure your shoelaces are tied.

In June 2010, the board of the Upper East Side condominium The Leonori pulled the trigger to make the switch from oil heat to natural gas. Your condo association or co-op board may be contemplating the same thing, what with New York City phasing out the two dirtiest heating oils, Nos. 4 and 6. So what can you expect when the workers come in to do the actual, physical switch? Here's what.

With natural gas prices falling and the city phasing out two of the dirtiest heating oils, Nos. 4 and 6, buildings are rushing to switch to natural gas. But switching is not simple. It requires coordination among various city agencies, private contractors and Con Ed. With requests up by 400 percent within the last three years, according to Con Ed, the system is overloaded. In 2010, Con Ed received 400 requests to convert. In the first half of 2012, it has received 1,200.

Should your co-op or condo approve such a switch? What are the factors to consider? What are the potential benefits — and the potential pitfalls? The story of how the condo board of The Leonori made the changeover can help other condo / co-op boards looking for a roadmap of how to make the decision.

Theodore Xenakis bought shares of 50 Sutton Place South Owners Corp. and was the proprietary lessee of Apartment 6J. In August 1980, he purported to transfer the shares and assign the lease to Cia. Naviera Financiera Aries, a Panamanian corporation. Xenakis never told that co-op board he had transferred the shares and lease.

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