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New York Condo & HOA Articles Archive

/ Owner - July 1, 2012
  • Why Condo, Cooperative, and HOA Boards Need a Legal Eye on Their Documents
    As a board member or property manager for a condominium, cooperative or HOA, you shoulder significant responsibility. You make decisions impacting the finances, safety, and quality of life for a whole community. Your actions are, of course, guided by your entity’s governing documents – but were these documents designed to protect the association and its members in the best way possible?      Read the article…………………………….
  • NYC Condo Boards: Know When Unit Owner Approval is Required
    Last year, the Circa Central Park condominium decided to spend $60,000 to make the building’s many windows more visible to birds. The board decided to add translucent dots to the windows so the birds would see them and not crash. If this was your condo board, would you get unit owner approval before doing that project?  Read the article…………………………….
  • Hoarding in Condominiums: When Individual Rights Clash with Community Concerns
    The recent case of Board of Managers of the 48-54 West 138th Street Condominium v. Flora Burdock highlights the complexities that arise when an individual unit owner’s behavior impacts the health, safety, and well-being of a condominium community. In this case, the condominium board sought legal intervention to address a severe hoarding situation within Ms. Burdock’s apartment.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Threat of Litigation Not a Good Idea when it comes to Housing Discrimination Complaints (NY)
    New York’s highest court decided that the threat of litigation may support a retaliation claim under the New York State Human Rights Law. The Human Rights Law prohibits retaliation against those who make discrimination complaints or engage in other protected activity. The New York Court of Appeals definitively decided that the threat of litigation itself may constitute the requisite adverse action under the Human Rights Law to support a retaliation claim.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Enhancing Governance: Lessons from a Recent Condo Board and Property Management Company Lawsuit (NY)
    Condo Boards and their Property Management Companies play a crucial role in maintaining harmony within residential communities. A recent legal battle involving the Sky House Condominium sheds light on the importance of meticulous governance to avoid potential pitfalls.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Navigating Sidewalk Shed Disputes: Insights for Condo or Coop Boards (NY)
    The court’s decision in 157 W 18 OWNER, LLC v. THE BOARD OF MANAGERS OF THE SLATE CONDOMINIUMS provides clarity on the interpretation of RPAPL 871 and the enforcement of Building Code requirements in construction-related disputes. The ruling underscores the importance of demonstrating a substantial encroachment and balancing equities when seeking injunctive relief for property disputes.     Read the article…………………………….
  • Community Association Board Members can be Sued for Breach of Fiduciary Duty (NY)
    The Board of Managers of the 72 Poplar Street Condominium and individual board members were sued by a unit owner who was overcharged common charges. The Board allegedly knew about the overcharge and eventually refunded the overpayments to the owner, and then called a unit owner vote to amend the Condominium’s bylaws to change the method by which common charges were calculated and assessed to each unit owner so as to conform with the method set forth in the plan bylaws.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Here Are the Top Reasons Why People Run for Co-op and Condo Boards (NY)
    Serving on a co-op or condo board is nice work if you can get it. The pay is terrible (that is, nonexistent). The hours can be long. The level of satisfaction among shareholders or unit-owners can range from sky-high to the bottom of the basement. When things go wrong, it’s the board’s fault; when things go right, people tend not to notice. And if the board has to raise monthly charges or levy an assessment — fuhggedaboudit. So why would anyone of sound mind want to take on such a thankless, unpaid position?  Read the article…………………………….
  • Unique Challenges for Condo and Coop Boards Facing Local Law 97 Requirements (NY)
    New York City’s Local Law 97, passed in 2019, aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large buildings. By 2024, condominium and cooperative buildings over 25,000 square feet must meet strict emissions limits or face heavy fines. While the law’s environmental goals are laudable, the legislation poses unique financing challenges for condo and co-op boards as they undertake retrofits to improve energy efficiency.     Read the article…………………………….
  • Condo, Coop, HOA Board vs. Dissidents – Navigating Contentious Times
    In the intricate realm of community associations, addressing the process of compelling a vote to remove a board is a crucial but often overlooked aspect. One of the primary challenges arises when the sitting board refrains from calling a special meeting, necessitating potential litigation funded personally by the owners or shareholders.    Read the article…………………………….
  • City Has a Skeleton Staff to Enforce Compliance With Local Law 97 (NY)
    Some 50,000 large New York City buildings, including thousands of co-ops and condos, will be required to comply with the city’s sweeping climate law, Local Law 97, which went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year. And how many inspectors does the Department of Buildings (DOB) have on staff to make sure those buildings are meeting their carbon-emission caps? Eleven. Read the article…………………………….
  • Business Judgment Rule: Lessons for Co-op and Condo Boards (NY)
    The business judgment rule often serves as a perceived safety net for boards, shielding them from legal scrutiny. However, this rule is not an impenetrable shield and boards should be aware of the nuances. Simply put, the business judgment rule states that, with four exceptions, a court cannot overrule a co-op, condo or HOA board-issued rule or policy no matter how strongly the judge may disagree with it. 
  • Co-op Boards’ Broad Powers Do Not Include the Right to Discriminate (NY)
    Q: A shareholder in a co-op in Jackson Heights, Queens, is trying to sell her apartment — but the co-op board has used its considerable powers to reject a series of potential buyers. One sale was blocked because the board said the co-op’s financial information was unavailable while the co-op was undergoing an audit.   Read the Q&A………………………………….
  • Dealing with Marijuana Complaints in NYC Co-ops and Condos
    The pervasive smell of marijuana in New York City is presenting challenges for co-op and condo buildings as residents complain about smoke and odors. Since August 2018, a mandate has required all residential buildings to establish a smoking policy and inform residents on the details.  Read the article……………………………..
  • New Law Affects Contractor Retainage for Co-ops & Condos: Add Another Item to Boards’ List of Things to Worry About (NY)
    As if New York co-op and condo communities weren’t under enough pressure from sluggish sales, high interest rates, and the ever-increasing volume of work required to comply with environmental requirements like Local Law 97, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law on November 17 amending Sections 756-a and 756-c of the New York State Prompt Payment Act. This law governs restrictions on retainage and invoicing of final payment by contractors in construction contracts.   Read the article……………………………..
  • Navigating the Complex Landscape of E-Bike Bans or Restrictions in Condos, Coops and HOAs (NY)
    In recent times, the proliferation of E-Bikes, coupled with concerns about their combustible batteries, has thrust the issue into the spotlight. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the bustling streets of New York City, where E-Bikes seem ubiquitous. The potential dangers, including fire risks, property damage, and casualties, have prompted association boards to grapple with the critical question of whether to impose a ban on E-Bikes within residential apartments.    Read the article……………………………..
  • Co-ops and HOAs Are Democracies. They Run on Laws
    The board at a homeowners’ association (HOA) on Long Island has mandated that residents allow an outside inspector onto their properties to determine the condition of building exteriors and windows. If deficiencies are found, owners will be given time to correct them — then fined if they fail to do so.    Read the article…………………………..
  • Elevate Your Co-op Board Game (NY)
    Ever found yourself navigating the tricky waters of a coop board with that one steadfast but hesitant volunteer? Picture this: a decision hangs in the balance, and despite the collective will of the board, this one individual assumes/ possesses the power to halt, delay, or even stop progress.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Holding Elections – Every Board’s Duty (NY)
    Shared residential communities such as co-ops, condos, and HOAs are modern examples of classic Athenian democracy: citizens governing themselves through active participation in governance. The key to that governance is the regularity of elections to the community’s leadership—which in this case is the board of directors.    Read the article……………………………..
  • For Co-op and Condo Boards, Electrification Looks Better and Better (NY)
    A growing number of co-op and condo boards are buying into the gospel of electrification — switching from fossil fuel-powered buildings systems to electric-powered ones as the electric grid gets greener and cleaner. This, they believe, is the best way to cut their buildings’ carbon emissions enough to comply with Local Law 97, which goes into effect in 2024.   Read the article………………………………..
  • Condos and Coops are Impacted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Changes
    Government backed mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, issued temporary project review requirements relating to significant deferred maintenance in condominiums, co-ops, and similar developments. To assess a project’s eligibility, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each promulgated a standardized “Condo Project Questionnaire Form” to obtain information related to significant deferred maintenance, the plan for addressing same, and the corresponding financial burden on condos and unit owners.   Read the article………………………………..
  • Challenges: Condo Boards and the Duty to Maintain Common Elements (NY)
    In a recent legal battle, LiNQ1, LLC found itself at odds with 170 East End Condominium and its Board of Managers over allegations of negligence, breach of contract, and more. This case, indexed as No. 154594/16 Appeal No. 953 Case No. 2022-04598, serves as a cautionary tale for New York condominium boards, emphasizing the importance of addressing problems with common elements promptly.   Read the article……………………………..
  • Banning Short-Term Rentals: A Guide to Local Law 18 (NY)
    Short-term rental platforms, such as Airbnb and VRBO, are a thorn in the side of many co-op and condo buildings in New York City. With the recent passage of Local Law 18, often referred to as the short-term rental registration law, boards are getting some welcome relief. The law primarily targets three key entities: the hosting platforms where listings for short-term rentals are advertised, hosts who rent out their apartments, and building owners, including co-op and condo boards.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Electrification Is Facing Some Strong Headwinds (NY)
    Earlier this week Habitat reported on 420 Beekman Hill, a 110-unit Manhattan co-op that’s replacing the building’s steam heating, cooling and hot water system with rooftop electric heat pumps. The cost of the $3.2 million project is being defrayed by more than $1 million worth of incentives from Con Edison and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The heat pumps will bring the co-op into compliance with Local Law 97 through 2049.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Perseverance Pays Off for the Board of the New Hampshire House (NY)
    After a year of intense grassroots efforts, the board at New Hampshire House, a 139-unit condo in Rego Park, Queens, finally succeeded in persuading owners to take out a $3 million loan to repair the building’s facade. The board’s success means the condo will finally be able to perform the necessary repairs mandated under the Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP), something it had been unable to do previously.   Read the article…………………………..
  • How to Handle New Construction Defects (NY)
    When buying a condo apartment in a new construction, it’s very likely the building will have some defects, whether it’s issues with the roof, the elevator or amenities. Defect claims occur in about 90% of new construction condos in New York City, and approximately 30% to 40% of these end up in litigation.   Read the article……………………………….
  • Short-Term Rentals in Co-ops and Condos Plunge as New Law Kicks In (NY)
    Many co-op and condo advocates applauded when the city adopted Local Law 18 last year — a tool for ending illegal short-term apartment rentals. And since the law finally went into effect last month, the reason for the applause has become clear.   Read the article…………………………….
  • In a Big Boost for Co-ops and Condos, State Revives J-51 Program (NY)
    Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation that will authorize the city to replace the J-51 program, which expired in June 2022, with the Affordable Housing Rehabilitation Program. The new program, Crain’s reports, will mirror J-51 by providing co-op and condo boards and landlords with property tax exemptions in exchange for renovating multifamily buildings.   Read the article………………………………….
  • Heat pumps may be the solution to a host of problems, but can your building handle them? (NY)
    Heat pumps seem like a logical solution for individual New York City condo and co-op owners who want to regulate their own heat and switch to a more efficient, greener and cheaper energy source that has a new tax credit, so how should a board evaluate an owner or shareholder’s request to install them?   Read the article…………………………..
  • The Evolution of Today’s Co-op Boards: “They Want Progress” (NY)
    With condos dominating the market and commanding higher prices, some co-op boards have turned to new and in some cases offbeat measures to boost their coffers and lower their monthly maintenance costs. From investing in commercial property to renting out rooftop space, the buildings are changing their ways to contend with the economic challenges.  Read the article………………………………….
  • What is a working capital fund contribution for condos? Are these common in NYC?
    If you’re looking to buy a condo in New York City, you’ve probably experienced sticker-shock at the extra cash you have to spend on closing costs. Those fees will likely include something called a working capital fund contribution for those purchasing a condo at a new development.   Read the article……………………………
  • The Property Management Contract (NY)
    Retaining a new management company is not unlike getting married, but instead of romance, there’s a management contract. Each company has different clauses in their standard contract, and it’s important to understand the scope and limits of these terms. You should also know that you can negotiate a property management contract.   Read the article………………………………..
  • 3 ways to lower your condo or co-op building’s insurance costs (NY)
    Insurance can be a life saver for condos and co-op buildings facing problems such as flooding, accidents, or lawsuits. But it doesn’t come cheap.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Castle Village Is a Snapshot of the Pressures on City Co-ops and Condos (NY)
    When its 65-foot-tall retaining wall collapsed onto the Henry Hudson Parkway in 2005, shareholders in the Castle Village co-op were on the hook for $27 million in repairs. That trauma is ancient history, but today those shareholders are faced with rising costs that are less dramatic but possibly even more devastating. And they’re emblematic of the pressures that are squeezing co-ops and condos across the city.    Read the article…………………………..
  • Bill Seeks to Put Off Local Law 97 Enforcement by a Decade (NY)
    A new bill introduced to the city council by two Queens Democrats would push back enforcement of Local Law 97 by a decade, part of an effort to protect middle-class co-ops and condos in the outer boroughs.   Read the article………………………………
  • Time to Give Your Governing Documents a Tune-up? (NY)
    Like the family car, co-op and condo governing documents need periodic tune-ups if you want to avoid costly breakdowns in relations between boards and residents. The “mechanic” guiding these tune-ups will be the board’s attorney. Here’s a check list:   Read the article…………………………
  • Castle Village Is a Snapshot of the Pressures on City Co-ops and Condos (NY)
    When its 65-foot-tall retaining wall collapsed onto the Henry Hudson Parkway in 2005, shareholders in the Castle Village co-op were on the hook for $27 million in repairs. That trauma is ancient history, but today those shareholders are faced with rising costs that are less dramatic but possibly even more devastating. And they’re emblematic of the pressures that are squeezing co-ops and condos across the city.    Read the article………………………..
  • Co-op and Condo Green Retrofits Are Good for the Environment — and the Economy (NY)
    All those workers installing solar panels on New York City co-ops and condos, or replacing steam radiators with electric heat pumps, or performing other clean-energy retrofits are not only helping the environment. They’re helping the economy.    Read the article………………………..
  • New Rules Define “Good Faith” Efforts to Comply With Local Law 97 (NY)
    The other shoe has finally dropped. After issuing a first round of rules late last year on how co-op and condo boards can comply with Local Law 97, the city has now released a second round of proposed rules. The new rules will be welcome news to boards that are worried about the high cost of reducing their buildings’ carbon emissions under the law’s prescribed caps — and the stiff fines they will face for failing to comply, beginning next year.   Read the article………………………..
  • RPAPL 2001 Does Not Serve As Time-Bar to Condominium Board Requesting That Unit Owner Remove Structures From Outdoor Space )NY_
    ……a recent case filed by a condominium unit owner that touches on concerns related to the use of outdoor space associated with a cooperative or condominium apartment, such as who actually owns the space and if costs associated with the use of outdoor space can be charged.   Read the article………………………..
  • Simple Ways Co-ops, Condos, & HOAs Can Help the Environment
    Nobel Prize–eschewing poet and folk-rock music legend Bob Dylan might have been the first person to be known as “going electric” (at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965), but as with much of his oeuvre, the world is now following in his footsteps. Now it is imperative that as many people, industries, businesses, and buildings as possible go electric—that is, stop using carbon-emitting fossil fuels   Read the article………………………..
  • Q & A: Can a Condo Board Spy on Staff and Unit-Owners? (NY)
    Q: The board president at our Midtown East condo building has installed cameras above the doorman’s desk and in the passenger and commercial elevators. We suspect the cameras monitor conversations, as well as everyone’s comings and goings. But only the board president and our superintendent can see the video footage. The doormen go outside so they can talk to one another without fear that their conversations are being recorded. Can a condo board spy on unit-owners and staff like this?   Read the article………………………..
  • 3 Tips for Weathering Today’s Hard Insurance Market
    Today’s so-called hard insurance market is the result of a perfect storm. Record personal injury claims have driven up the cost of liability insurance. Umbrella policies for excess liability protection are shrinking, with fewer carriers offering less coverage at higher prices. Property insurance premiums are soaring due to increased labor and material costs. And reinsurance carriers, the companies who insure the insurers, are also raising their rates.    Read the article………………………..
  • Condo Unit Owners have to Pay Their Common Charges
    The Supreme Court in Richmond County threw out a condo unit owner’s defenses to a nonpayment case seeking a money judgment for common charge arrears. The Court found that the affirmative defenses by the investor condo owner were boilerplate and couldn’t withstand summary judgment.  Read the article………………………..
  • The Impact of Prevailing Wages Mandate on NYC Co-ops and Condos
    Have you ever considered the potential ramifications of recent mandates on the territory of New York City co-ops and condos? Let’s delve into the intricate world of the prevailing wage mandate. If you’re a board member in a union-affiliated co-op or condo, this may or may not have an effect on you. However, for those in non-union buildings aspiring to retain their property tax abatement, this is a development you can’t afford to overlook.    Read the article………………………..
  • It’s Hurricane Season. Do You Know the New Rules on Flood Insurance?
    Hurricane season is here. All co-op and condo boards — and especially those whose buildings are located in or near flood zones — need to be aware that the insurance landscape is changing right alongside the Earth’s climate.      Read the article………………………..
  • Condo Board’s Win-Win: Saving Money While Saving the Planet (NY)
    Ray Murphy isn’t trying to save the planet. He’s trying to save money. As it turns out, he’s doing both.  Murphy has been the resident manager at the 29-story, 266-unit Avery condominium on the West Side of Manhattan since shortly after the building opened in 2009. In that time he has overseen three capital projects that have saved unit-owners hundreds of thousands of dollars — while reducing the building’s carbon emissions enough to keep it safe from Local Law 97 fines through 2030.   Read the article………………………..
  • Court Upholds Law Requiring Registration of Short-Term Apartment Rentals (NY)
    In a ruling sure to thrill co-op and condo boards, Judge Arlene Bluth of New York State Supreme Court has rejected Airbnb’s attempt to overturn Local Law 18, which requires short-term rental hosts to register their units with the city before they can get paid. With the failure of Airbnb’s last-ditch legal ploy, Crain’s reports, the law is scheduled to go into effect in the fall.   Read the article………………………..
  • Fair Billing, Bright Futures (NY)
    Sub-metering in master-metered buildings simplifies billing and brings brighter prospects for energy efficiency. Most co-op and condo owners in New York City are either directly metered by ConEd, or already sub-metered. However, there is still a small percentage of buildings that are master-metered. Those buildings need to install sub-meters before January 1, 2025 to comply with Local Law 88.    Read the article………………………..
  • Co-p and Condo Buyers Are Responsible for Previous Alterations
    In 2005, a shareholder at an Upper East Side co-op renovated his apartment after signing an alteration agreement in which he took responsibility for any damages that might result from the alterations. The agreement carried an additional requirement: if the apartment was ever sold, the new purchaser had to agree to assume responsibility for these alterations, even though he or she hadn’t made them.    Read the article………………………..
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