New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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BAY TERRACE

Bay Terrace co-ops buy the land they sit on, secure their futures.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a Chelsea condo board has won its battle with a downstairs gym, New York City investigates possible fraud by Lower East Side co-op board members and a Queens co-op says it's not soulless. The Comptroller says the City goes too easy on water-bill deadbeats, raising rates for the rest of us. An expert answers: Are condo boards as powerful as co-op boards? And Law & Order's Richard Belzer sells his co-op. Dun dun!

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, union workers say they're getting a Bronx cheer, Christine Quinn gets a nod in Queens, and a City Council candidate gets endorsed by a board in Brooklyn. Plus, a condominium board near the U.N. sues a law firm, and if you've ever wondered if you can legally photograph or shoot video of fellow residents breaking rules, find out now.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, they do love their cigarettes in Queens, a Long Islander may face eviction for burning the wrong kind of firewood and Petey the Pig's "parents" are trying to sell their co-op apartment and fine a more swine-friendly place. There's a Harlem co-op / condo expo April 6-7. And where the wild things aren't is in the late Maurice Sendak's co-op, now up for sale. Plus, for condo and condo and co-op boards, we've advice on mediation.

Now it was time to talk to the dame's mouthpiece. Adam Leitman Bailey had made a name for himself writing books about real estate, like Finding the Uncommon Deal (2011). He had a pretty swell set-up, down on Broadway near the courthouses. He was the kind of guy that judges called, "Your honor."

Every January, the New York City Department of Finance releases preliminary figures for the coming fiscal year's property-tax assessments. Homeowners, typically, often contest these figures, and in a standard legal process called tax certiorari eventually receive a refund. The city even offers a database of property-tax refunds. But something different happened last year, when the DoF hit some co-ops in northeastern Queens with demonstrably unrealistic, triple-digit increases that shocked all reasonable observers. Yet it took public outrage in the form of protests and a widespread tax revolt before the DoF finally begin to question figures so obviously and blatantly incorrect. And now this year, say community leaders, it's all happening again.

Despite an average 4.1 percent increase over last year in Queens overall, according to tentative figures by the DoF, "My own properties have increased an average of 7.7 percent," says Warren Schreiber, board president of the 200-unit Section 1 of the 12-section Bay Terrace Cooperative, who says co-ops in northeastern Queens are seeing high double-digit spikes. "At Deepdale Gardens, one of the biggest garden apartment complexes in Queens, each one of their block and lots came in at a 50 percent increase. At another Alley Pond, they came in at about 47 percent."

We may go forward and

demand the resignation

of Commissioner Frankel.

Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village and co-president, with Schreiber, of the co-op /condo board-member group the Presidents Co-op Council, estimates the average increase at his 2,904-unit co-op complex at about 21 percent. "And we can’t forget about last year," he says, "when we were increased 50 percent with a five-year phase-in, 10 percent a year. Now we're seeing huge increases again. It is unsustainable, unfordable and unacceptable. They are pushing the middle class out of this city very quickly. These are just unaffordable increases in an economic period of time that is completely unjustified."

Among the other boroughs, Brooklyn saw a 4.2 percent average increase over last year while Manhattan's average jumped nearly five 5%, according to figures that the DoF released on Jan. 19.

"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."

... 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.

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