New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

HABITAT

UPPER EAST SIDE

Controversial luxury condo used loophole to bypass zoning laws.

If you’re a sucker for stories about janitors hitting the Lottery, this one’s for you.

Attorney Tip: Stop the Spread of Smoke Now

Written by Stuart Saft on April 07, 2016

Upper East Side

A recent court ruling on second-hand smoke should push boards to act.

Lock It Up

Written by Bill Morris on April 05, 2016

Upper East Side

Storage for two-wheelers is the hot new amenity.

A Board of Expert Jugglers

Written by Tom Soter on March 30, 2016

Upper East Side

At The Newport, the ball never gets dropped.

What to do when guests abuse amenities.

Do illegal sublets mean your board is asleep at the wheel?

Lessons From the Great Flood

Written by Tom Soter on March 16, 2016

Upper East Side

It was a crisis that brought out representatives of the New York City Fire Department, the Department of Environmental Protection, Con Ed, even the New York Small Business Administration (SBA) – but, paradoxically, few of the residents in the 328-unit building were even aware that anything unusual was going on.

 

In most co-op and condo buildings, the super helps residents with minor side jobs – painting a room, hanging a light fixture, maybe even installing a dishwasher. The resident and super usually agree to a price, and it’s usually paid in cash. Some residents worry about alienating the super if they seek outside bids for such work. A co-op shareholder on the Upper East Side has a question for the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times: “Should a super be held to a standard of ethics regarding bidding on a job or receiving payment?”
“Residents should never feel beholden to the staff on site,” says Mark Levine, a principal of Excel Bradshaw Management Group. “The work should be done by the most qualified technician for that particular job.”

Policies on moonlighting supers vary. While some buildings have lax oversight, others spell out that building staff is not allowed to perform side jobs while they’re on the clock. Some even forbid staff from any moonlighting in-house.

“Some buildings do have a rule that prohibits such work to avoid these types of problems,” says real estate attorney Adam Finkelstein. If you’re unsure about your building’s policies, ask the board for clarity. Boards that don’t have a policy in place might consider instituting one – along with a mechanism for enforcing it.

If you do hire the super, be aware of the risks. Does he have the necessary skills to do the work? If a pipe springs a leak, does he have adequate insurance to cover any damages?

“It’s easy to have the staff members taking care of these projects,” says Levine, “but it’s not always in the best interests of the building.”

Lessons from Falling Bricks

Written by Bill Morris on December 10, 2015

Upper East Side

No, the sky wasn’t falling.  Hundreds of bricks were falling – from the exterior wall of a high floor on the 34-story co-op at 340 E. 64th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  The bricks rained on the surrounding streets and sidewalks shortly before 10 p.m. on Dec. 7.  Miraculously, no one was injured.  The worst casualty was the shattered rear windshield of a taxicab.

“Thank God nobody was hurt,” Dr. Romana Farrington, a resident of the building, told WABC-TV News.  “That’s the most important thing.”

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