New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Father and Daughter, Keeping New Yorkers Squeaky Clean

Written by Bill Morris on May 19, 2017


From quarters to smart cards, Automatic Industries has changed with the times.

Is Smoke-Free the New Amenity?

Written by Kaya Laterman on March 24, 2017


North Shore Towers becomes the largest smoke-free co-op in the city.

The 7 Will Be the New L

September 05, 2016


Shutdown of L train will be a bruise for Brooklyn but a potential boon for Queens.

Co-op and condo boards are not responsible for shoddy renovation work.


Under the leadership of board president George McGrath, the posh co-op called Forest Hills South Owners dodged a shady property manager. But that didn't change the fact that it faced major capital investments. Roofs and aging elevators needed to be replaced in all seven buildings. In addition, the board recognized that evolving dynamics in New York's real estate market meant general improvements were required to keep the curb appeal of its buildings, so the co-op added an indoor gym for residents. All of that costs money. The co-op was in fairly good financial shape but they wanted to get into better financial shape.

George McGrath, board president of the posh co-op called Forest Hills South Owners, says his board has maintained a "trust but verify" policy for many years. That legacy includes a simple but effective list of processes when dealing with building finances and management companies.

When the cops finally came for Michael Richter, the board members of one Queens co-op knew they had done the right thing. Richter, owner of Charter Management, had acted as managing agent for Forest Hills South Owners, a 605-unit co-op spread across seven buildings. They fired him.

On July 13, 2010, police arrested Richter and charged him with five counts of second-degree grand larceny and five counts of first-degree falsification of business records. Richter was also charged with embezzling almost $1 million in tenant maintenance fees throughout a six-year period from five co-op buildings in Jamaica, Forest Hills, Rego Park, and Elmhurst.

Cashing in on History: Tax Breaks for Co-ops

Written by Tom Soter on September 15, 2015



A touch of history can pay off in a big way.

Take Dunolly Gardens. The 360-unit Queens complex earned thousands of dollars in tax credits because the property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the official federal list of historically significant districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects.

For co-op and condo boards, historic designations have often brought little beyond the honor of being recognized (usually a plaque). Owners of private property listed in the National Register are free to maintain, manage, or dispose of their property as they choose, provided that no federal money has been spent on restoration. 


It's no news that the city can be tough on its many residents, but things are about to get much tougher for thousands of properties — co-ops and condos, included. According to The Real Deal, the city has filed "in rem" actions against not just apartment owners but also building owners in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. It's a move that could spell foreclosure for owners who owe taxes. There's still a chance to pay up or set up installment agreements. "The deadlines are September 22 in Manhattan, September 29 in the Bronx, October 6 in Brooklyn and October 13 in Queens," according to the article. And if they miss the deadline, those affected will still have 20 more days from their respective deadlines "to file answers in court." Gulp! 

How getting a two-in-one contractor made a difference in a window replacement project in Queens.

The Forest Hills Chateau is not really a chateau nor is it actually in Forest Hills, but that hasn't stopped purchasers from buying into the attractive 189-unit property, built in the 1960s. The redbrick façade is clean and the building is on a tree-lined street with easy access to Manhattan, and reasonable sales prices (two recent sales were for $142,000 and $127,000).

Oh yes, and they have new windows.

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Ask the Experts

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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

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

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