New York Articles

Back to homepage

No Regrets: How to Research a New-Construction Condo Before You Buy (NY)

Recently I was considering buying a condo in a four-unit new-construction building in Brooklyn. The pictures of the unit in the glossy marketing materials, naturally, looked gorgeous. But after some intensive digging into the building and its developer, I bailed.

Read More

With Insurance Claims, Time Is of the Essence

In our upcoming special November issue, “Governing Powers Through a Legal Lens,” several prominent lawyers advise boards and the residents of co-ops and condos on the vagaries of establishing liability for leaks, fires, and other unwelcome mishaps. Their advice, though

Read More

Condo Board Slams Door on Verizon

In a case that could significantly expand the powers of condo boards, 54 multiple-dwelling properties in New York City refused to grant access to Verizon fiber-optic cable installers. The 63-unit Beekman Regent Condominium, in Manhattan’s Turtle Bay neighborhood, was among

Read More

Withholding Your Maintenance Payments: Do You Have a Right to Do That During a Dispute?

Conflicts between both unit owners and their co-op or condo, or between neighbors, can get ugly pretty quickly. Often due to many considerations–in particular the slow pace of anything in common-interest properties and the general reluctance to spend money–these conflicts

Read More

Can You Afford NOT to Pay for Cyber Security?

Last month, the credit-reporting agency Equifax announced that it had fallen victim to a data breach, in which cyber thieves stole the sensitive data of more than 140 million Americans. It was only the latest episode in a widespread cyber

Read More

“You Simply Can’t Get Away Without Maintenance Increases.”

Yesterday we heard from co-op and condo board members who rigorously resist raising monthly charges; today we hear from counterparts who believe that regular raises, though unpalatable, are the only responsible way to handle a board’s fiduciary duties.  “In this

Read More

Problem Boards: What to Do When Your Board Breaks the Rules

A condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association elects a board for a specific purpose: to manage the community’s day-to-day business, oversee special projects, and draft and uphold the rules and regulations that keep life orderly and harmonious. In fact, the board

Read More

Legal Issues Surrounding the Rise of Short-Term Rentals (NY)

In recent years, vacation rentals and other short-term rentals have become incredibly popular. Homeowners can gain some extra income and travelers can enjoy relatively inexpensive accommodations. The most prominent short-term rental business is, of course, Airbnb. Other short-term rental businesses

Read More

The Fine Art of Making Fines Stick (NY)

Most condominium bylaws give boards the power to impose fines on unit-owners who break the house rules. However, a condo board’s power to levy fines is limited, and the courts cannot be relied on to enforce the collection of fines.

Read More

A New Way to Defuse Noise Complaints

New York City is loud and getting louder. The number of noise complaints filed with the city’s 311 line has more than doubled since 2010. The main culprits, in no particular order, are raucous parties (which the police no longer

Read More

Cord Cutters a Factor When Buying Cable TV Service (NY)

The bulk buying of services has long seemed like good business to co-op and condo boards. But in today’s brave new world of cable TV services, suppliers are making unprecedented demands, often requiring that buildings guarantee a 100 percent buy-in

Read More

Non-Disclosure Agreements Open to Legal Challenge (NY)

Despite the recent rulings, there are still restrictions on the viewing of documents by shareholders and unit-owners. In addition to what’s already in the law, such as the co-ops’ five-day written notice requirement, the most notable changes come down to

Read More

Artificial Intelligence: Boon or Bust for Property Managers?

This summer, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made headlines when he called artificial intelligence (AI) an existential threat to mankind, predicting that robots will one day do everything better than people, thus taking away their jobs.  Building managers, be warned: you

Read More

Board Changes Its Mind – and Winds Up in Court (NY)

What happens when a co-op board approves an alteration project and then changes its mind? What usually happens is a lawsuit. Consider the case of Salvatore Moltisanti.  In 2012, Moltisanti purchased an apartment in the four-building 1,672-unit Co-op Village on

Read More

Your Property Manager May Soon Be a Robot

The Jetsons, the titular nuclear family of a popular 1960s cartoon show, lived in Orbit City and had a robot maid named Rosie, a slightly obsolete blue machine that did a lot of the household grunt work and even dispensed

Read More

Crazy House Rules Sometimes Make a Lot of Sense (NY)

At a co-op in Woodside, Queens, the house rules include a prohibition against locks with keys on bedroom doors. “Why would such a rule exist?” a mystified shareholder writes to the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times.

Read More

Non-Disclosure Agreements Defend Against Fishing Expeditions (NY)

In the aftermath of the Pomerance and Musey rulings, boards face the question of how they can allow increased access while still protecting the properties and residents through such devices as non-disclosure agreements (NDA). “The rights of an owner to

Read More

Housing Discrimination: Who’s Protected? Protected Groups That Buildings Need to Know

In this series, The Cooperator has examined discrimination laws in relation to multifamily buildings. Among the issues we’ve covered included people with physical and mental disabilities. A disability is just part of the general housing protections that people in New

Read More

Indemnity Clauses: What Your Board Needs to Know

Whether a small service contract for something like snow removal, or a larger initiative like replacing all the windows in a building or HOA, boards and property managers have to exercise extreme due diligence before signing on the dotted line.

Read More

Encouraging Board Participation How to Attract Talent

With so many people leading busy, sometimes hectic, lives that revolve around work, kids, social functions, and other obligations, it’s often very difficult for co-op/condo/HOA administrators to find residents willing and able to serve their community as board members (or

Read More

Recent Decision Limits Liability of Condo Sponsor’s Principal (NY)

On May 24, 2017, a New York appeals court dismissed construction defect claims against a condominium sponsor’s managing members and principals. The plaintiff Board of Managers sought to hold these individual defendants personally liable for the corporate sponsor’s breach of

Read More

Seward Park Co-op Board Wins Big in Garage Lawsuit (NY)

The uncivil war at the Seward Park co-op has finally reached its Appomattox.  In a major affirmation of the Business Judgment Rule, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has thrown out a lawsuit brought by shareholders who were disgruntled

Read More

When a Worker Dies on the Job, Who’s Liable? (NY)

When shareholders perform work in their apartments, the concept is that the shareholder assumes all risk and liability in connection with that work. In other words, the cooperative corporation is not responsible for any damage or injury. Those principles are

Read More

Email Security as a Board Concern: Two Views Once That Sensitive Info Gets Out There, You Can’t Take It Back

As we’ve recently seen in the news–from the Democratic National Committee email leaks about Bernie Sanders from last year’s presidential election, to the latest in the Trump-Russia brouhaha–emails aren’t always the safest and securest method of communication. And once that

Read More

An Election Handbook Designed to Dispel Distrust (NY)

“Nobody will walk out of that meeting feeling the system is unfair.”  A few years ago, Cody Masino, vice president of David Associates Real Estate Management, started noticing two startling trends in the co-ops and condos he manages. First, the

Read More

Bills Seek to End Conflicts of Interest on Co-op and Condo Boards

Proposed laws would require annual reports on all contract awards.  Smart co-op and condo boards treat conflicts of interest – even the appearance of conflicts of interest – the same way they treat the bubonic plague. They want absolutely nothing

Read More

Legal & Liability Issues for Programs & Activities: Get Covered

As more and more co-ops and condominium communities seek to attract residents, boards and managers have turned to attractive new programming opportunities for individuals and families. Whether it’s a rooftop Fourth of July party, a gardening workshop, or an off-site

Read More

Liability & the Law: Reducing Liabilities in Co-op & Condo Communities

It’s no secret that insurance is a necessity for any building or association. Nevertheless, the expense of coverage means that issues of liability and risk are all too often examined only after problems have occurred. Usually, insurance holders address matters

Read More

Emails Are a Legal Minefield for Co-op and Condo Boards (NY)

A recent decision by the state’s highest court drives home a lesson every co-op and condo board member needs to heed: if you use your employer’s computer, tablet, or smart phone to communicate board business, expect zero privacy. While the

Read More

How Condo and Co-op Communities Take Advantage of Outdoor Environs

Most people don’t usually think of New York City for its ample greenery. Crowds, traffic, and tall buildings–there’s a reason why it’s usually referred to as a “concrete jungle”. While the Big Apple has its lovely parks, including the most

Read More

Beware When Revising Your Pet Policy

Want to make sure you get a quorum at your annual meeting? Announce that the board is going to discuss one or more of the following: redoing the lobby; raising maintenance; modifying the building’s pet policy.  “Any change to a

Read More

Pool Safety: Don’t Let an Amenity Become a Liability

According to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), there are 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools in the United States. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an agency that is independent of the US government, states

Read More

Appeals Court Reverses Big Smoking Verdict Against Co-op (NY)

A year ago, state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron sent shivers through New York City’s co-op community when he ruled that Susan Reinhard, a shareholder at the Connaught Tower co-op at 300 East 54 Street, was entitled to $120,000 in

Read More

Protecting That Nest Egg Called the Reserve Fund

Is an investment-policy statement right for your board?  Like any co-op or condo board, you keep a reserve fund for capital projects and emergency repairs. In fact, the New York Cooperative Corporations Law requires that boards “periodically set aside reasonable

Read More

From the Court to the Board: Lessons From Recent Decisions (NY)

Over the past few months there have been several interesting and insightful court decisions. Here are a few legal cases that provide some helpful lessons for boards and managers alike.   Read the article………….

Read More

Co-op conflicts: Lawsuits challenge Rombout Village fines

The residents had something else in common. Each had challenged the actions and authority of the co-op’s board of directors, its property manager or both.  Now, Rombout Village’s management is back in a familiar place — state Supreme Court. The

Read More

A New Tool in the Condo Collection Kit (NY)

Co-ops have more leverage, but there are ways for condos to collect arrears.  At a luxury Chelsea condominium called the Heywood, the condo board used an ingenious strategy to collect from a unit-owner who owed $100,000 in unpaid common charges,

Read More

Dogs Take a Huge Bite of Homeowner Liability Claims

Dog bites man, man sues board. Are you adequately insured?  “My dog doesn’t bite.”  Don’t believe those four innocent words. Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claims paid out in 2016

Read More

Condo Boards Have a New Tool for Collecting Arrears

Court ruling gives condo boards a new way to evict delinquent unit-owners.  When it comes to evicting residents, co-op boards have traditionally enjoyed a bigger arsenal than their condo counterparts. But condo boards are not without their weapons. And that

Read More

When Boards Have to Fight for What’s Right (NY)

Sometimes, co-op and condo boards have to be willing to fight for what’s right. That was certainly the case for Larry Kelter, who got hit with a one-two punch after becoming board president at the Hamlet at Windwatch, a 228-unit

Read More

Making Special Assessments Work: Fixed Incomes, Low Incomes, & Hard Times

For residents on fixed incomes, or those who are already struggling to make ends meet because of a job loss, illness or divorce, any hit to their already-stretched-to-the-max budget can be devastating. So when a board levels an assessment on

Read More

How Should Boards Handle the Reporting of a Crime?

A burglar slipped into a Hudson Heights co-op as a shareholder was leaving the building, then proceeded to steal a laundry cart and some packages. The theft was reported to police, but it took the co-op board almost two weeks

Read More

Serve on the Board – or Pay Up

Here’s a novel way to fill those unfillable vacancies on a co-op board.  Many co-ops struggle mightily to find people willing to take on the thankless job of board service. That’s not surprising. The job comes with some to-die-for perks,

Read More

One Board President’s On-the-Job Training

John F. Kennedy said, famously, that there’s no school for presidents. The only way to learn the job is by doing it. The same goes for presidents of co-op and condo boards. Just ask Darren Arithoppah.  Like many of the

Read More

How to Avoid Becoming a Money Laundry

Boards have tools to keep unsavory buyers out of their buildings.  In response to an influx of Limited Liability Companies – also known as LLC’s, or shell companies – paying cash for pricey apartments in New York City, the U.S.

Read More

As More Americans Work From Home, Co-op Boards Need to Adapt

Can a co-op board stop a shareholder from giving tuba lessons at home?  More and more people are working for themselves, and more and more of them are working from home. Today, according to the Freelancers Union, more than one

Read More

New Software Keeps Managers on a Shorter Leash

Maria Palumbo was getting an earful. The shareholders at Carmil Apartments, a 100-unit, two-building co-op in Kew Gardens, Queens, were unhappy with management, and they wanted Palumbo and her six fellow board members to do something about it.  “I was

Read More

Handling Touchy Complaints in Co-Ops and Condos: It’s About Sense and Sensitivity

Conflict comes hand-in-hand with living in close quarters. Such is the nature of condominium and cooperative living. Some dust-ups between neighbors are settled with a polite conversation, or a mild nudge from the condo or co-op board. Others can get

Read More

The Expensive Surprises That Lurk Behind Walls (NY)

Sometimes, maintaining the facade of a building can be a bit like peeling an onion. The deeper you go, the more you find. After workers removed the outer brick layer of the exterior walls at 700 Park Avenue, the co-op

Read More

Handling Maintenance and Repairs: In-House, Or Outsource?

In the wake of the recession and facing an uncertain economic climate on the heels of a tumultuous presidential election, condo, co-op, and HOA boards may instinctively want to pinch pennies where they can, especially when it comes to maintenance

Read More