New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, we already knew that Class 2 properties — co-ops, most condos and rental buildings — carry an unfairly higher tax burden than Class 1 properties such as single-family homes. But a recent Furman Center panel of academics and other experts — including a former Dept. of Finance commissioner and the deputy director of the New York City Independent Budget Office — quantified just how much: Class 2 is taxed at a rate almost five times higher than Class 1. Check out the first article below for details.

Among the other news this week: a co-op's attempt to evict a 78-year-old over minor hoteling and a condo board's ongoing suit against a bad-neighbor gym.

A condominium or cooperative's relationship with the building's superintendent is vital. He, and in rare cases she, is the caretaker of the property, the person who deals with emergencies and the one who meets with contractors, city officials and inspectors. The super often does private work for residents, and in larger co-ops and condos supervises the staff and oversees projects. 

Yet as with any relationship, sometimes things don't work out — and letting a super go can be as hard as any other breakup. You don't want it to be a cold Dear John letter, but you also don't want it to be Tiger Woods.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, the saga of Oceana may be nearing its end, as a judge halts construction on view-destroying boardwalk restrooms. Elsewhere, a condominium's residents get displaced by fire, Co-op City mulls Cablevision, and there's some legislative movement, finally, to thwart scammers who pretend to be disabled so they can have pets in no-pet buildings. Plus, Carly Simon sells her co-op, we've tips for co-op admission interviews — hopefully not like this one from Saturday Night Live — and apps, not fobs, may be the keys of the future.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a luxury building is actually chintzy, its non-union doormen argue. And a Staten Island board seems rather cheesy, if the parking-space perks its members gave themselves is any indication. A court puts the brakes on a co-op's attempt to be rid of a Citi Bike rack. And a condo-owner in Chelsea gets concrete results — from a construction site dripping it onto his patio. Plus, for condo and co-op boards, an attorney finds yet another novel way of dealing with unit-owner deadbeats.

The concept has been used in New York City since the 1980s, but shared savings agreements have only recently begun gaining traction with co-op boards and condominium associations as a way to finance green projects. It involves finance companies, energy consultants or contractor / vendors financing your green project with the promise they'll be repaid annually, with interest, through the subsequent energy savings. So when and why would such an arrangement be appropriate for your own building?

You want to do a lighting retrofit in your garage or convert your boiler from oil to gas. Where do you get the money? If your building is the right size, you may want to try a shared-savings agreement.

"For us, it was a no-brainer," says Herbert Freedman, the managing agent of Riverbay Corporation, which runs the 15,000-unit Co-op City complex in The Bronx.

Recent news affecting co-op and condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. The aftermath of superstorm Sandy lingers, Concourse Village workers may strike and a co-op / condo board-member group meets with mayoral candidate Joe Lhota. Plus, lot o' news for boards this week, as one court ruling partly limits the Business Judgment Rule and another says a particular type of Airbnb rental isn't illegal hoteling. And experts answer a board member's own plea: "What Can I Do About the Tyrants on My Co-op Board?"

Today Habitat introduces "Teachable Moments," an occasional feature in which leading management professionals offer quick takes on various topics of interest to co-op and condo board members. In the first of this series, four industry veterans give mini-lessons on how to find creative solutions to problems that resist the usual approaches.

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, 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.

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