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When Tragedy Affects Your Building – Picking Up the Pieces at Your Co-op or Condo

According to a story in the New York Daily News on August 18, a construction worker died after apparently hanging himself from a fifth-floor window at a Queens condominium complex. By any estimation, this event was tragic, and surely devastating

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Preparing For the Invasion: How Can Co-ops and Condos Deal with Invasive Species

Trees have their own natural enemies, but perhaps the most devastating for co-op, condo and HOA communities are invasive species of insects like the emerald ash borer (EAB).  Originating in Asia, this predator of ash trees is now present in

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When a Board Breaks Bad: Righting the Ship at Your Co-op or Condo

Owners and shareholders trust their elected boards with their very lives. Okay… it’s probably not a life-or-death scenario, but residents of co-ops and condos do put a great deal of faith in their association’s representatives to have their best interests

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Priority of Liens—Evolving Rules for Condominiums and Lenders (NY)

Cooperative housing corporations have a first lien on the shares and appurtenant proprietary leases for co-op apartments. As a result, in the event of a foreclosure (whether initiated by the co-op to collect maintenance arrears or the holder of a

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Home Safe Home: How to Handle the Aftermath of a Crime in Your Co-op or Condo

Man is but a flawed creature, cursed by his very nature to succumb to his own worst impulses. And one of those impulses might lead to criminal activity. Unfortunately, crime is an inevitability, even in a fairly secure condominium or

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Traits of Effective Property Managers – Evaluating Your Management Team

A cooperative, condominium or homeowner’s association is more likely than not governed by a ragtag band of brave volunteers. Oftentimes, these folks have outside jobs that have little to do with maintaining a residential real estate property, and thus the

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Putting a Premium on Your Insurance Coverage – A Guide to Understanding Condominium Property Claims

Even with proper risk management best practices, it’s impossible to completely avoid all types of insurance claims from happening. At heart, a claim is like any other business dealing—a negotiation. Your ability to convincingly argue your position and support it

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Insuring Amenities: Don’t Make Luxury a Liability

Like beauty, what constitutes an ‘amenity’—particularly a ‘luxury’ amenity—may well be in the eye of the beholder. Young families may want indoor and outdoor play equipment, while professionals may appreciate a well-appointed gym, and seniors might gravitate towards card rooms

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Condo Board Liable in Worker Injury Suit

In a ruling that will come as a relief to every condo unit-owner in the city, an appeals court has ruled that an Upper West Side condominium’s board of managers – not the owners of units – is liable for

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Deed Holder Not Liable for Condo Accident, Panel Rules

A Manhattan appeals court has ruled that the building deed holder and owner of certain units in a Manhattan condominium building should be dismissed from a lawsuit brought by a man who fell from unsecured scaffolding in the building’s boiler

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When Boards Need to Act Like a Chameleon

Sometimes, co-op boards and their property managers need to be as adaptable as a chameleon. This came home during a recent oil-to-gas boiler conversion project, when the city changed the rules in the middle of the game – and the

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A Calamity That Produced Cohesion

After getting battered by Hurricane Sandy, a Long Island co-op came together.  Fred Brand wasn’t there at the start, but he’ll certainly be there at the finish.  As board president (and now vice president) of the 160-unit Town N Harbor

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Real Estate Watch: Condos vs. co-ops, pros and cons

We have many customers who prefer or can only afford to purchase a cooperative type apartment and then there are those that only want and can afford the higher priced condominium.   Both have there benefits and detriments and your choice

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When the Buyer Is a Liar (NY)

In a case decided by an appellate court, a condominium board did what many have surely wanted to do: it sued to rescind the transfer of a unit based upon misrepresentations made by the purchaser.  Shortly after she entered into

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The Perks – and Perils – of Virtual Board Meetings (NY)

“Life moves a lot faster than it used to,” notes attorney Stuart Saft, a partner in the firm Holland & Knight, and it’s only natural for boards to look to technology to save them time – and aggravation – when

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Transition From Sponsor Control (NY)

New York boards have a more difficult time understanding and managing the transition process than other places in the country because specific rules and regulations exist elsewhere to guide them through the process, according to experts at a recent Community

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Turning Bad Habits Into Best Practices

Property managers can play a key role in ridding boards of some nasty habits.  Most co-op and condo boards run reasonably well. And then there are those with some very bad habits: boards who pay themselves; boards who hire a

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Secondhand Smoke Is Now a First-Class Headache (NY)

A Manhattan co-op that allowed secondhand smoke to waft into shareholder Susan Reinhard’s apartment recently took a big hit: the State Supreme Court ordered the co-op to refund all of Reinhard’s maintenance since 2007, which came to about $120,000, plus

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The Top 10 No-No’s for Board Newbies

With the co-op and condo board election season now in full swing, it’s a safe bet that many boards will soon be welcoming neophyte members. Here are the Top 10 mistakes newly elected members should avoid:     Read the article…………

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Today’s tech tools can save your board time, trouble, paper – and money.

Where co-op and condo boards once thought of e-mail and Skype as strange and exotic, members today regularly use online file-sharing, scheduling apps, automated message systems, and resident-only computer forums. Some are low-cost, some are even free, and this technology

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It Just Got a Little Tougher to Be Pet-Free

A service founded by Eisenstein called the Emotional Support Animal Center helps pet lovers locate a mental health professional who, for a $150 fee, will assess them and provide a letter that can then be presented to property management companies,

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Attorney Tip: Stop the Spread of Smoke Now (NY)

Earlier this year, state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron awarded a co-op shareholder named Susan Reinhard the staggering sum of $120,000 in back maintenance, plus interest and attorney’s fees. Reinhard claimed in a lawsuit that the co-op board at Connaught

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Paying Maintenance with Credit Cards (NY)

Late last year, along about November, Ira Meister started noticing something strange. A lot of people living in co-ops and condos started paying their monthly charges with credit cards.   Read the article………….

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The Drone Debate: Should Drones Take to the Skies at Your Co-op or Condo? (NY)

Drones. Everyone has heard of them. No one is sure what to make of them. Are they destined to be the scourge of the skies? Or are they simply a brilliant convenience that will allow regular folks to complete everyday

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When Insurance Doesn’t Insure

During the job, one of the subcontractors was seriously injured, and the worker sued the co-op. The board, as is typical in occurrences like this, contacted Utica First, requesting coverage because the co-op had been listed as an additional insured

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Time For Your Building to Plug Into Electric Car Charging? (NY)

In 2014, more than 10,000 plug-in cars were on the road in New York State. That number is projected to triple by 2018 and reach 1 million by 2025. It would be natural for an enterprising co-op or condo board

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Is Electronic Voting Right For Your Board Election?

Election season is coming. Everyone you know is preparing, taking sides, discussing the issues, and maybe reassessing who their real friends are – based on who they’re supporting. It’s never an easy task to elect a new co-op board. But

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The Yacht Club’s Stormy Story (NY)

I have represented cooperatives and condominiums every day of my 32-year legal career. And on multiple occasions in every one of those years, I have had to remind my client board members that theirs is the least appreciated position on

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The “Rep” Letter: the Biggest Little Three-Letter Word in Your Annual Audit

Before the accountant completes the annual audit of your co-op’s or condo’s financial records, the board and the managing agent will be asked to sign a letter acknowledging that they, not the accountant, have primary responsibility for the financial statements

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Boards Don’t Need to Go Nuclear When Dealing With a Bad Apple

It seems that every co-op and condo building has at least one: the bad apple, the shareholder or unit-owner who turns life sour for everyone else. Co-op boards have a powerful weapon in the battle against problem shareholders – eviction

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After an In-House Theft, a Co-op Board Cleans House (NY)

In April of 2014, shareholders in the 146-unit Lindenwood Village co-op in Howard Beach, Queens, got the worst kind of news from their accountant. The self-managed co-op’s office manager had siphoned $88,000 out of the co-op’s coffers.   Read the article……….

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Courts Say Condo Boards Can’t Levy “Confiscatory” Penalties

The bylaws of many condominiums authorize the board of managers to impose fines for violations of the rules and regula­tions, and also authorize the collection of late fees for failure to pay the common charges on time. However, recent court

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The Seven Steps After You’ve Read the Monthly Management Report

As a board member, reading your building’s monthly management report isn’t enough. It’s just the beginning. Once you’ve finished reading the report, here are seven steps you need to take every month.    Read the article…………

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As the Population Ages, Boards Need to Think of Safety First

As baby boomers slip into middle age – and beyond – many co-op and condo boards are facing a huge challenge. Even if your building is not yet officially a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community – that is, a building where

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It Is Possible to Ban Bogus Support Dogs (NY)

When the co-op board first learned about the shareholder’s dog – kept in defiance of a long-time pet prohibition – they also learned that the dog was purportedly a “therapy dog,” a trusted companion that a resident claims is vital

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Curse as Blessing: How the Discovery of Theft Kept a Co-op From Sinking

Sometimes, what initially appeared to be a curse turns out to be a blessing. This was the case at Lindenwood Village, a 146-unit co-op in Howard Beach, Queens, where the discovery of a theft by the office manager led to

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How a Self Mis-Managed Co-op Ran Amok

As New York real estate scams go, this one was not staggeringly lucrative, but it gets bonus points for creativity and audacity. It was a scam made possible by the fact that, for years, the Lindenwood Village (Section D) co-op

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Noise Complaints: Co-op and Condo Boards’ Worst Headache

Noise complaints are the migraine of the headaches besetting co-op and condo boards. They come without warning, they tend to be brutal, and there’s no simple cure. Worst of all, they can come from almost any source – stereos, TVs,

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The Seven Steps After You’ve Read the Monthly Management Report

As a board member, reading your building’s monthly management report isn’t enough. It’s just the beginning. Once you’ve finished reading the report, here are seven steps you need to take every month.   Read the article…………

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How to Run a Successful Board Meeting

I have been to my fair share of residential board meetings and was able to offer key insights into how to most effectively and efficiently run these meetings. Here are some of the key takeaways:     Read the article………..

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The State of the Business Judgment Rule Appellate Court Rulings (NY)

The greatest changes in cooperative and condominium law this past year did not come from the legislature or from the courts but from the New York Attorney General’s office (NYAG). This article will review some of those changes and the

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The Most Important Document You’ve Never Read

If you’re like most co-op and condo board members, your eyes glaze over at the sight of the monthly report from your managing agent. Big mistake. That report may be the most important document you’ve never read.  Read the article…………

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Properly Written – and Enforced – House Rules Can Keep Your Building From Becoming a Living Hell

Today’s New York Post carries a story about a unit owner in a luxury Upper East Side condo who has sued his upstairs neighbors for allowing their kids to play floor hockey in the hallway, sometimes as early at 6:30

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There’s One Thing You Need To Do When Mold Appears: Act Fast

Mold loves moisture. It doesn’t grow overnight, but co-op and condo boards need to act fast when it appears because mold-induced health complications – and lawsuits – can be devastating.    Read the article…………

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Incoming! When A Disruptive Resident Bombards Your Board With Complaints

Every co-op seems to have at least one: the disruptive resident who never stops bombarding the board with complaints. Unfortunately, co-op boards can’t dismiss the impossible-to-placate shareholder as a whiner and a mere nuisance. Boards need to determine if all

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Loan or Assessment? Your Condo Board Might Want to Consider “Split Funding”

Assessments have been the traditional vehicle for condominiums to raise money for repairs and capital improvements. However, assessments have a couple of drawbacks. First, they usually take a fair amount of time to collect since most unit-owners don’t have a

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Getting Politicians to Care About Your Building (NY)

Back in 2011, New York City’s Department of Finance released its annual property assessments for residential buildings in all five boroughs, and co-op and condo residents in Northeastern Queens were not happy with the results. The valuations were comically high,

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Mold Faithful: Four Things You Need to Know About This Unwelcome House Guest

Co-op and condo boards must take any reports of mold in their buildings seriously – and address them quickly, thoroughly and properly. Here are a few basics all boards should know:  Read the article…………..

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Make Sure Your Crime Insurance Has Got You Covered

It’s every co-op and condo board’s worst nightmare: your property manager is a crook. Could anything make it worse? How about a technicality on your insurance policy that allows the insurance company to deny your claim? Believe it or not,

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How a Queens (NY) Condo Got Its Groove (and Its Lights) Back

It was a Saturday afternoon in the summer of 2005. Eng had been living at the 318-unit Regent’s Park Gardens condominium in Queens for just three months, and at first he thought there had been a short circuit in his

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