New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Boards need to start preparing for a future without gas-powered vehicles.

Celtic Park’s Car Ports Are Generating Electricity

Written by Bill Morris on March 04, 2020

Woodside, Queens

An ingenious two-fer: board covers parking lot with solar panels.

A Queens Co-op’s Mantra: Negotiate – Don’t Litigate

Written by Marianne Schaefer on August 14, 2019

Woodside, Queens

Co-op board wins settlements without going to court.

It’s Crunch Time for Elevators

Written by Bill Morris on January 09, 2019

Woodside, Queens

Co-op and condo boards must make a major decision, and soon.

Locks with keys on bedroom doors are illegal.

A Queens co-op is “tormented” by the music and exhaust of ice cream trucks.


At a co-op in Woodside, Queens, where the building’s electricity usage is included in the monthly maintenance, a shareholder complained that the board president burns a string of 40 ornamental lights on his terrace every evening and sometimes during the day. The co-op lawyer replied with a stern letter stating that the president is “not required to sit on his terrace in darkness.” What recourse does this unhappy shareholder have?

“Courts take a dim view of board decisions that are made in bad faith or with self-dealing,” real estate lawyer Andrew Bart tells the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times.

On the bright side, the board president’s ornamental lights are probably not driving up the co-op’s electric bill by much. Shared costs are a part of cooperative living, and there’s usually some inequity.

“Just as you may choose to watch television every evening or listen to music, your neighbor may choose to read,” says real estate lawyer Leni Morrison Cummins. “Life’s not always fair in a cooperative.”

Especially when it’s time to share the ConEd bill.

I believe in transparency. I believe in communication. And I believe in my co-op. 

Rafolin, at 65-15 38th Avenue in Woodside, Queens, is a wonderful place to live. I'm 40 years old and have lived in this six-story, 145-unit property practically my whole life. It is family-oriented. That's why, when I was in grade school, my dad and his four brothers decided to buy units in this building. My mother and a few family members still live here. What's great is you get the best of two worlds: The building is on a large, secluded block, with a lot of greenery and private space, but walk for a few minutes and you come to a transportation hub, with good shopping and great restaurants.

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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