January 20, 2014
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, we learn that property taxes are going up. That's news? It is when the jump will be 5.5 percent for co-ops and 7.4 percent for condos (per the New York Post) or 7.5 percent for co-ops and 9.6 percent for condos (per The Wall Street Journal) — as opposed to just 3.8 percent for owners of single-family homes! Wait, don't single-family homes already get their assessed values capped at 2 percent each year, while there's no cap on how high co-op and condo valuations can rise? Plus: We've board members who somehow couldn't predict the headline "Deaf Grandfather Fights Condo Board to Keep Service Dog." And isn't all this is exactly the kind of stuff a new co-op / condo social-media site will let apartment-owners talk about amongst themselves?
July 09, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a wonderful new affordable co-op in The Bronx (at left) finds loud, trashy neighbors drinking on the street and throwing dangerous objects from several stories above — and the police don't care. Bet they would if this were 15 Central Park West, another co-op in the news. Plus, why is a Queens condo paying to keep up land the Department of Transportation is supposed to maintain? And for boards, we've the latest on the Dakota's discrimination lawsuit and on two East Village co-ops' no-restaurant policy.
July 23, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a Central Park West co-op is fired up to evict a smoker, a Queens condo sets an asking-price record, and those maligned old white-brick apartment houses go high-end. Speaking of big houses, Peter Madoff's co-op is up for sale before he gets locked up in the big house. And for co-op and condo boards, we've bad news on the tax abatement bill, and the Dakota discrimination case has some bad fallout for boards. Plus: A lawyer tells us the seven biggest surprises for rookie board members.
October 01, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. More trouble for those involved in illegal short-term rentals, with a major real-estate agent involved. Plus, advice for dealing with co-op board rejection, how to gracefully decline writing a recommendation letter, second-class citizenship at luxury condos, and co-op capers with beer heiress Daphne Guinness and Academy Award-nominee Jessica Chastain (at right). And for co-op / condo boards, we've analyses of Fletcher v. Dakota and of the easing of FHA condo rules.
December 10, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. A co-op board is rightly skeptical of a claim that no possible antidepression treatment even exists other than a dog. A starchitect's building in Brooklyn comes without a trash room, and the city says it's legal — but still tickets the condo for, well, not having a trash room. Manhattan condos are selling strong, but co-op bargains are to be had in the Heights. And for co-op / condo boards, a discrimination lawsuit still stands, but its lawyers don't.
March 04, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, it's all about balance: When co-op maintenance or condo common charges are too high, the middle class leaves. Too low, and you may not be able buy a boiler. We've another analysis of the new tax-abatement law, eco-friendly floors in Brooklyn, superstorm Sandy debris in Staten Island, and a newly landmarked co-op in Queens. And for boards there's got The Dakota lawsuit — as told by Vanity Fair! Welcome to the big time!
June 03, 2013
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a co-op gets rid of a Citi Bike station — and we learn a co-op board elsewhere has banned shareholders from having bikes. A Bronx co-op owner tells a board horror story — and a board member asks how to get rid of a bullying board president. But on the positive side, Co-op City gets energy-efficient lighting — and Madonna's cut the price of her Harperley Hall co-op; now it's just $19.995 million!
November 05, 2012
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, winds of change sweep New York City as Hurricane Sandy strands seniors and clobbers cars. Plus, advise on filing your insurance claims, a heads-up on changes to real estate advertising, and do you want to buy Celeste Holm's home? For condo and co-op boards, the lawsuit against The Dakota's board takes a turn, secret-identity sales increase and we give some options to help counter illegal renting.
Written by Bill Morris on March 21, 2013
The current discrimination lawsuit against the famed Dakota Apartments co-op by African-American investment executive Alphonse Fletcher Jr. sent chills down co-op and condo board members' spines last July. That's when the judge in the case overturned one of the bedrock decisions in New York co-op law, Pelton v. 77 Park Ave. Condominium (2006), which largely protected board members from personal liability in discrimination cases. "[T]he participation of an individual director in a corporation's [wrongful act] is sufficient to give rise to individual liability," the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court wrote in July. But, really, what's the worst that could happen?
Ask Nick Biondi — who is personally out well over $100,000 plus legal fees.
Written by Bill Morris on February 12, 2013
When the news broke, it sent a shiver of dread through every one of the 40,000 unpaid volunteers who serve on co-op and condo boards in New York City. At one of the poshest co-ops in town — the Dakota Apartments at 1 W. 72nd Street and Central Park West, where Leonard Bernstein lived and John Lennon died — a longtime shareholder was suing two board members and the corporation for racial discrimination. Alphonse Fletcher Jr., an African-American who owns the Fletcher Asset Management investment firm, was seeking $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
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