New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

MANHATTAN

The co-op board of our 118-unit building at 242 East 19th Street in Manhattan tried to change our bylaws for indemnification purposes one year and failed miserably. What we learned was that even though we think of ourselves as a tight-knit community, when it comes to the annual meeting, most  shareholders' agenda is usually to get out of the meeting as quickly as possible. They want to hear that their corporate structure is sound and that their investment and their shares in the co-op are increasing in value or at least holding their own. And so though we approached our shareholders with a tremendous amount of reasoning about why we wanted to be indemnified as a board, we did it at the annual meeting at the end of all of our regular business, and no one really wanted to sit around and listen or take part. We came up very, very short after the vote was taken.

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.

... tiptoeing on tipping, fulminating on flooring and trying out Tribeca. And see why a broker says not to pay brokers ... directly.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, uncertainty still abounds after the Department of Finance makes a claim neither New York City nor New York State will confirm about the possible extension of a crucial property-tax abatement. Plus, a court forbids a Mitchell-Lama co-op to privatize, Madonna is selling one of her apartments and a Financial District condo board gets sued for its actions, or lack thereof, in the wake of superstorm Sandy.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a co-op claims victory, sort of, against Citi Bike, a condo owner will only accept Bitcoin and how hot is Long Island City? Plus, for condo and co-op boards, there's more on Intro 188, which would regulate co-op admissions more tightly, as well as a big fine against a condo's illegal hoteler and let's all have fun with quirky house rules!

We all want to feel safe in our own homes, and in a small co-op or condominium, any incident from theft of a bicycle to a personal confrontation can cause a major shift in perspective. For boards of small and midsize buildings without doormen, the first reaction is often to look at your security system, which encompasses front- and roof-door locks, intercoms, exterior lighting, keeping sight lines clear by trimming trees that could conceal someone lurking near the entrance, and moving mailboxes to the front of the building, where security is generally concentrated. But how do you do it affordably?

In December 2007, the original sponsor of 75 East End Avenue's 1974 co-op conversion sold Simon Elias and Izak Senbahar unsold shares representing 18 apartments. The proprietary lease states that unsold shares stay "unsold" until an actual occupant buys them. Because Elias and Senbahar did not purchase the shares for occupancy and never lived in the apartment, their shares remained "unsold." Selling these unsold shares required only the consent of the managing agent, but the co-op board also had a policy, the "financing rule," that said the board wouldn't consent to a sale if the buyer proposed to finance more than two-thirds of the purchase price. And therein came the hitch.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, Zeckendorf Towers goes smokeless, the folks at Alwyn Court and The Briarcliff go homeless, and thanks to 24-hour construction crews, a Rockaways co-op goes sleepless. Plus, three Lower East Side co-ops install fuel-efficient boilers to save money heating 2,700 apartments, Airbnb lobbies politicians to take the "illegal" out of illegal hoteling, and people debate the pros and cons of the proposed co-op admissions disclosure law.

Our bags were gone. 

My fiancé, Mike, and I had come home after having dinner at my parents' house. While he was parking, I took a few bags of groceries upstairs to our sixth-floor walk-up apartment and left a suitcase and another bag of groceries in the lobby for Mike to bring up when he came in.

But by the time he arrived — only a brief 10 minutes later — the bags had disappeared. After knocking on a few doors and finding that no one had seen or heard anything, we realized that our bags had been stolen — from our locked lobby!

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. Lots of news for boards in particular this week, as one co-op board sues the developer of One57 — the condo with the crane — and other boards face lawsuits against them because of superstorm Sandy. And it's board member vs. board member at The Bronx's Brady Court. Plus, a third of all homebuyers don't know what an "annual percentage rate" is. And while we'd bet that Ben Stiller (at left) does, he and his actress wife Christine Taylor still lost a million selling their co-op duplex on the Upper West Side.

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