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Board Service: Finding an $89K Water Credit — And Then Actually Getting It

Written by Joni Peltz, Board President, Hilltop Village Cooperative No. 3. One in an occasional series of real-life stories by board members about serving on co-op and condo boards. on June 12, 2012

Hilltop Village Cooperative, Hollis, Queens

As a child in 1955, I moved into Hilltop Village Cooperative No. 3 — two seven-story buildings, with 100 units per building, in Hollis, Queens.

It's 57 years later, and I have now spent the last six years as board president. Hard to believe, yet true!

"A balanced budget" is the key phrase all condo and co-op boards must embrace when putting their fiscal house in order. "You should always have a balanced budget," notes David Goodman, director of management at Tudor Realty, "and if that means setting up extra storage lockers, charging for bike storage, or increasing maintenance, you have to do it."

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. New York City Controller John Liu wants to hear from co-ops, condos and others who suspect the Department of Finance overvalued your building for tax purposes. Plus, a Queens co-op is putting up signs to try to prevent people parking legally on a public street, the Attorney General gives developers an extra six months to digitize their offering plans, and a co-op board goes after a widow and widower. And speaking of boards, a lawyer tells how to collect arrears by cutting off amenities.

April 18, 2012 — Hurricane Irene brought a day of reckoning to The Seville, a 270-unit co-op complex in Bayside, Queens, last August. With leaks in six of 18 semi-attached townhouses, it was clear their 40-year-old roofs were living on borrowed time. “The question was whether you continue to put bandages on things, or looked to do something that is more life-sustaining,” says Felicia Chapman Jenkins, board secretary and a townhouse resident herself.

But the estimate for replacing all nine roofs at once before winter set in was nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Was there another way? Read more >>

... could an East Harlem co-op board be about the worst slumlord around, and corrupt as well? Another board on Park Avenue isn't smelling like roses, either, or gas. We've smoking, squirrels and squash — the vegetable, not the game — plus the latest in condo / co-op amenities. And for boards, we've got fallout from the Dakota co-op discrimination suit and more.

... a court rules against a Queens co-op that tried to evict an elderly couple when the asthmatic, severely allergic wife needed a disallowed air conditioner in order to, you know, breathe and live. Also: How to prep an apartment for sale, what to expect from brokers in 2012, and how condos are becoming like co-ops when it comes to admissions.

... they're buying Brooklyn, some co-ops dig dogs, a building thinks a name will bring cachet, and 2 East 67th Street says, "Name? Who needs a name when our co-ops sell for $30 million?!"

... it's deja vu all over in Queens as co-opers prepare for another year's tax revolt. A new state law allows digital offering plans, condo prices are up in the outer boroughs, and why is New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez no longer safe at home at The Rushmore?

... a tax revolt grows in Queens (again), a condo developer must return $16 million in down payments and Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei (at right) thinks filmmaker John Waters is all wet. Or, well, she's made him that way. And for board members: Why your confidential e-mails may be anything but.

Read all the latest co-op /condo news for buyers, sellers and board members in Habitat's weekly Monday News Roundup. Also included: Permanent archival links. If a link ever goes dead, you'll still be able to read the backup at WebCitation.org.

... co-op residents on Park Avenue win a victory over liquor sales, a new high-end condo is offering income-restricted apartments via lottery, co-op boards may be becoming more open to hardship sublets, and is Susan Sarandon your new neighbor in Brooklyn?

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