Written by Frank Lovece on July 27, 2012
Calling AT&T: Why have we been paying your electric bill for 18 years?
That's the question the condo board of The Leonori condominium — where residents include the actor Samuel L. Jackson and former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack — has put to the telecommunications giant after discovering the building has been paying to power the cell-phone towers on its roof all this time. Even more to the point, that's the question asked in the lawsuit that the condominium filed on July 18. The case is instructive for any condo or co-op board as a reminder to really look at your monthly bills.
Written by Tom Soter on July 26, 2012
One of the most important things co-op boards and condominium associations want from their property managers is new initiatives — ideas to help improve and upgrade your buildings, or to proactively solve problems. Fortunately, managers say that offering new ideas is a no-brainer — and a necessity if they want to be competitive with their colleagues.
Written by Bill Morris on July 12, 2012
Larry Weinstein has worked in a variety of fields, including electrical engineering, architecture and lighting design. A resident of the 422-unit Silver Towers cond-op in Kew Gardens, Queens, Weinstein was elected president of the board last summer. Even before that, he put his professional expertise to work, supervising a retrofit of some 500 common-area lighting fixtures. By reducing their wattage from 36 to 6, the building got a $25,000 rebate from Con Ed on top of $35,000 annual savings on electricity bills.
Written by Tom Soter on July 19, 2012
An exclusive Habitat co-op/condo board survey shows that co-op and condo boards seem to stick with their property-management firms. Slightly over 60 percent have been with their current firm six years or more; some 16.5 percent have been with the same firm for 11 to 15 years; and some 12.6 percent have had a more-than-21-year relationship.
But despite this longevity, 40.6 percent say the performance of their current managing agent is "subpar" or "needs improving." It's easy to see there's a difference between what boards accept and what boards expect.
Written by Richard Siegler and Dale J. Degenshein on July 17, 2012
In Bregman v. 111 Tenants Corp., Cornelia Sharpe Bregman alleged that in 1972 she was renting apartment 6C at 111 East 75th Street in Manhattan, which was converting the building to cooperative ownership. Because of an insufficient number of subscriptions to qualify for conversion, the sponsor asked her to purchase her apartment as well as penthouse Apartment 10A. Bregman says she entered into an agreement that gave her "full, unconditional, and perpetual sublet rights" to both apartments, because the sponsor recognized that she would have to sublet one or both.
July 16, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents.
This week, a high-end co-op has a low-rent board, according to a lawsuit claiming it's avoiding responsibility for fecal-contaminated water coming from the tap. Yuck. Plus, a pit bull featured on Animal Planet bites a condo neighbor, and elsewhere a pit-bull owner defies a condominium's no-dogs rule without even bothering to make up a "therapy animal" claim. Queens, the home of last year's tax-protest movement, examines the just-renewed tax abatement, and what happens when your storage locker gets broken into? Plus: An infestation of artists, all over Co-op Village!
July 02, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week,it's a nail-biter as New York City and New York State play chicken over the technically expired property-tax abatement for co-ops and condos. Plus, private playgrounds are the hot new kid-friendly amenity and Alec Baldwin's new wife buys a condo ... right next to her husband's. Is that like his-and-her towels? For condo and co-op boards, we've no less than The New York Times says sic 'em when it comes to condo arrears. And here's how you break up with the nice, friendly volunteer who's not so great at the job.
April 23, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, Mayor Bloomberg proposes a residential smoking ban. Or does he? Plus, a tree may grow in Brooklyn but a co-op's just sprouted in the ever-burgeoning Bronx; the highest-priced New York City co-op ever gets sold; and what could be the second-priciest condo gets put on the market. Good thing Co-op City is staying affordable. And we wonder what Jennifer Aniston's combined co-op apartments will sell for now that she's moving (or moving in) elsewhere.
Written by Tom Soter on June 26, 2012
A monthly column by HABITAT's editorial director.
Let's call the super Pete, and the only other thing I'll tell you about him is that he's honest, hardworking, and knowledgeable. Oh, yes, and I've known him for 25 years. When he complains about something, it isn't idle talk.
At this moment, he was pretty incensed: "This guy," he said, referring to another super he knew, "shouldn't have gotten that job."
Certainly, 55 Liberty Street is a beautiful building – the base of the roof on the 28th floor is adorned with a menagerie of massive masonry eagles, lions, alligators, fish, gnomes, and assorted flora – but that beauty can quickly turn deadly. That was the case in 1993 when chunks of terra cotta broke loose from the skin of the 32-story, 80-unit co-op and plunged to the crowded sidewalk below.
Designed by Henry Ives Cobb, the free-standing terra-cotta structure was the tallest building in the world when it opened its doors in 1909. It served as offices for Sinclair Oil and other businesses until 1979, when it was converted to residential living. Two years later, it became a co-op. Now it is dealing with capital challenges, safety, and the ever-present memory of the past.
Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.