New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

HABITAT

UPPER EAST SIDE

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week there's a lot of news for boards in particular, with a growing wave of scammers falsely claiming disability in order to have dogs in a no-pet building, with the latest on publicly naming residents in arrears, with the expansion of no-smoking buildings, and with converting a club space to an apartment for resale. Plus: families buying multiple apartments together, broker-free sales and Judge Judy (above) buys in Sutton Place.

For a condo association or co-op board, nuisances take on all shapes and sizes, and the word "nuisance" doesn't even do the issue justice: These are quality-of-life and even health and safety concerns that involve the place your residents call home. Here, two veteran property managers give two real-life, practical responses to two common nuisances: hoarding and excessive noise from an apartment — with the latter covering an interesting additional issue.

For a recent hallway renovation at an Upper East Side co-op, the plan was to remove old wallpaper and replace worn carpeting. But in the process, remembers Marion Preston, former board treasurer of the 111-unit co-op, the previous board had ordered a huge supply of excess wallpaper and carpet. "They had extra of everything just in case, but no one ever used it or needed it," Preston says. "For our job, we had all-new material, so we obviously didn't need this anymore. I couldn't bear to just toss it out. It was still in its original packaging." So what to do?

It's hard enough for condominium associations to go after unit-owners in arrears for their common charges. It's even harder when the unit-owner "gives away" the apartment to somebody outside the country who moves around and doesn't give a forwarding address. And since courts don't recognize it when you serve court papers to the "former" unit-owner — who still lives there — what can a condo board do? Are you out of luck? Is this the magic-trick loophole, the get-out-of-jail-free card, that prevents a board from taking someone in arrears to court?

Maybe so, at least judging from a case still in its early stages involving The Spencer condominium in the Lenox Hill neighborhood of the Upper East Side.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, for some reason, we're big on board-specific news: boards suing developers and residents, a board president squeezing "donations" from building vendors for a political bid and a board turning amateur cop and firing employees it suspects of thievery — hindering the investigation by actual cops. A George ZImmerman board, as it were. Plus, exclusive co-ops learn to compete for buyers and an alleged illegal hotelier has people arrested who complain! Man, late August is crazy!

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, the case may have involved a rental landlord, but a court approved "heavy surveillance" to build evidence of an illegal tenant. Condo and co-op boards dealing with illegal hoteling, take note. Elsewhere, the chickens come home to roost and the co-op board says they have to relocate, and at $125 million, a co-op penthouse becomes the most expensive publicly listed home in New York City history. Plus: Co-op board presidents tell their horror stories!

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, the Attorney General brings down the hammer on a real estate attorney we hope wasn't yours, Hell's Kitchen residents want a homeless woman to get the hell away, a family feuds over a Park Avenue co-op, and we've an update on that Florida condo where faith-based discrimination against unmarried straight and gay couples made national headlines. Plus, for condo and co-op boards, we've the latest on the City Council bill for regulating co-op admissions.

 
 
Aug. 22, 2013 — The co-op board president and two building managers of the monumental 360 E. 72nd Street, between First and Second Avenues, tell how they swung a refinancing that paid for an $8.5 million refacing from white-brick to red-brick, plus  $3 million dollars in additional upgrades -- not only without raising shareholders' monthly maintenance, but putting $12 million into the co-op's reserve fund.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, long faces on Long Island, as a the FBI arrests two men they allege ran a Ponzi scheme at their Montauk resort containing over 100 co-op apartments. Another kind of white-collar criminal may be robbing you when you apply for a mortgage. And is it criminal to pay $80,000 for parking space at a car condominium? Plus, the co-op board of The Cambridge House sued the City to get Citi Bike racks in front of its building removed — and now the City says it's above the law and the courts have to stay out!

Dumpy. Once upon a time, that was the best word to describe the lobby at 1150 Park Avenue, a Carnegie Hill co-op in Manhattan that featured imitation 18th-century green fabric, English-style furniture in the lobby and wallpaper that imitated stone in the vestibule. "The lobby looked dilapidated, tired and old," recalls board president Lillian Brash.

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