New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine July/August 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

THE SPENCER

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week: Can we talk? I mean, what kind of world is it where a comedy icon who personally takes on the work of being condo-board president has to deal with some broad who's $200,000 in arrears and throwing insults like Don Rickles in drag? Oh, please. Elsewhere, some condo boards want to act like co-op boards when it comes to admissions. And there's a twist in the Dakota Apartments discrimination case. For boards, we've news on a big battle in the New York Attorney General's fight against illegal hoteling, and watch out! There are toilets exploding in Brooklyn! Actually, it's not funny — one co-op shareholder needed 30 stitches. Still, it's kind of funny. But not really.

Joan Rivers' tragic and untimely death not only deprived the world of a comic genius but also — can we talk? — a condo board president. And she surely would have liked to have known that her and her board's long-running battle with eccentric resident Elizabeth Hazan, who owed $200,000 in arrears, has ended. The story has more twists than a European road — Hazan had signed her apartment at The Spencer over to a Belize-based corporation, a judge in November forbade her access to the place, and much more went on — and the insults got extremely personal on both sides. But the day of Rivers' death, just before she passed, the New York Daily News reported that her board and Hazan reached a settlement after three hours of negotiation before a judge. It's nice to think of Joan, out there somewhere, having the last laugh.

The largest condominium in New York went smoke-free, boards crawled their way toward formal gun and privacy policies, buildings NIMBY'd restaurants and board prez Joan Rivers won a court battle. And, of course, some things remained constant, like the ubiquitous push-pull between residents and boards. All this and more helped make up the year in co-op and condo news … and we've got the quotes to prove it!

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, condo-board president Joan Rivers scores a court victory over a deadbeat resident, and residents around One57 no longer have to keep relocating because of that freaking construction crane. New York City's getting greener with new electronic-waste recycling bins for your garbage room. Plus: news on tiny apartments, colossal condos and, for boards, the latest on Airbnb hoteling and what's new in combined heat and power (CHP) generators.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, police erroneously force a doorman to let a delinquent owner into her condo apartment — while almost simultaneously, a judge is ruling that she pay up first. Add the fact this occurred at the condominium where Joan Rivers is board president only goes to show that no matter who you are, board members (as another comedian put it) get no respect, I tell ya. Except here, of course, and for boards we've news of a lawsuit against an insurance agent who procured inadequate flood coverage, efforts to keep an alleged hoarder away and that graffiti on the side of your building? It may be worth six figures.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, The Plaza puts the pedal to the mettle, as the storied hotel-condominium sues to get rid of a CitiBike rack. Also suing: Corporations fighting Joan Rivers' condo nemesis Elizabeth Hazan (see last week's News Roundup), and Yoko Ono, who says her West Village co-op board is walking on thin ice. We've renovation plans a board won't like, the latest on mortgage rate-locks, and superstorm Sandy woes persist in The Rockaways, Coney Island and elsewhere.

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, we're all about to lose our tax breaks. Not a joke. And, what tax credits we're entitled to are being delayed this year. Plus: Dog spas and triathlon gyms are among the latest condo amenities, a court says a co-op may be entitled to keep the deposit when a buyer throws the admission interview, and dryer lint catches Robert De Niro's apartment on fire — check your own dryers, folks; again, not a joke. And in keeping with this theme,  it's no laughing matter when Joan Rivers is your condo board president.

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Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

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