New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine June 2020 free digital issue

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A reader asks: How do you deal with a bylaw provision that doesn’t include "life partners"?

The facts in this particular instance are that a co-op shareholder wants to give some of her shares to her life partner. The proprietary lease limits the occupancy of apartments to certain listed family members — not including life partners. The bylaws of the corporation provide that transfer of shares must be for the entire amount of shares —  no partial transfers. Does the bylaw provision violate the shareholder's right of alienation of her shares and is the bylaw provision enforceable?

A co-op in New York City that has always had set policies regarding how stock in apartments may be held had an interesting question regarding how stock should be held by two same-sex individuals under the state's recently enacted Marriage Equality Act, which grants same-sex couples the right to marry. The policy of this co-op is to require all shares with more than one shareholder listed on them be held as joint tenants with right of survivorship. However, the co-op will make exceptions when shareholders complete an application and explain the basis for a different form of ownership. Normally, the exception that arises is for the stocks to be held by married couples as Tenants by the Entirety

A bill introduced in Congress Wednesday by New York Rep. Steve Israel (D - 3rd District) would make housing cooperatives and condominium associations eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency grants.

Co-op shareholders and condo unit-owners themselves already are eligible for such funds, with many such homeowners after superstorm Sandy having received up to $31,900 each for emergency housing not covered by insurance. Homeowner associations, however, cannot apply for FEMA grants, which co-op and condo boards say are needed to repair common areas as well as such physical-plant necessities as boilers.

Sure, your doorman probably isn't gossiping about the people you're dating. And sure, that fellow co-op board member who wants you out isn't looking through security-camera footage to prove you're not cleaning up after your dog. And, surely, you as a parent aren't going to ask your board or management to let you see electronic key-fob data and confirm what time your teenager came home.

Except … what's to stop you?

The co-op board was complaining about the superintendent. "He sends us bills for everything he does," said the treasurer. "He paints the hallways, we get a bill. He repairs the burner, we get a bill. He fixes plumbing in the walls, we get a bill. What are we paying him for? Cleaning up the hallways and common areas?"

I listened carefully to the duties enumerated by my colleague on the board and thought, "That's an awful lot of work to do for the pittance we pay him."

Marijuana is becoming legal, to various extents, in a lot of places. Some states such as New Jersey and California allow if for medical purposes. Colorado just plain allows it. Some predict that sooner or later it will pretty much just be legal, basically everywhere.

The question is whether condo and co-op boards will be able to ban marijuana in instances where the state says its legal. Will a board be able to just say no? The answer is not so cut and dry.

 

In a major shift welcomed by co-ops and condos battered by superstorm Sandy, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will now allow residential cooperatives and condominium associations to use disaster-relief funds to repair buildings' physical plants. Previously, condo and co-op boards were ineligible for grants but could obtain low-interest repair loans from the Small Business Administration.

 

On October 29, Superstorm Sandy bore down on Lido Beach Towers on Long Island, unleashing its wrath on the 184-unit condominium complex. The first floor was overwhelmed by a 15-foot storm surge and five feet of sand. The water reached the ceiling tiles. All the mechanical equipment housed on the ground floor was destroyed, along with numerous ground-floor apartments.

But the upper levels were largely spared despite the building's beachfront location. Although no one can live in the six-story condo because it lacks heat and running water, all of the apartments above the ground floor are sound. The condo board says its 2002 decision to overhaul the Lido's façade is the reason the vast majority of residences did not suffer damage. The $18 million project had the unintended consequence of making the exterior sturdy enough to withstand the might of a hurricane.

Attorneys Answer Six More Questions Boards Have About Superstorm Sandy

Written by Adam Leitman Bailey, Leonard H. Ritz and Dov Treiman on January 15, 2013

New York City, New York State

In this second of two installments, leading real-estate attorneys answer more condo and co-op board members have been asking about what's expected of them and of shareholders / unit-owners in the terrible aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

Post-Sandy: Three Attorneys' Plain-English Guide for Co-op & Condo Boards

Written by Adam Leitman Bailey, Leonard H. Ritz and Dov Treiman on January 15, 2013

New York City, New York State

In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, many condo and co-op board members have been facing unprecedented challenges, with little experience to guide them.  In the first of two installments today, three leading attorneys answer eight questions at the top of every affected board members' mind.

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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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