New York City
Northern New Jersey
Condo Price Index
Open House Planner
Shop for a Broker
NWT posted a URL to the original scandal in 1994. One of the firms mentioned in the article was back to their old tricks again in the early 2000's in the building I mentioned. It was the firm from which my acquaintance resigned.
There was a scandal with several managing agent firms about 15 to 20 years ago about condo AND co-op funds being misappropriated. This was published in several newspapers and the firms were deemed guilty in the courts. My condo changed firms and thought they were free and clear. Apparently, a long term president of the condo moved and everything started up again. The new president started to receive notices from Con Ed and other vendors about service being turned off or suspended due to non-payments for over 6 months. At the same time, the account balances showed ample funds to pay bills. What happened?
The managing agent was playing games and getting kick backs. The money was being used to cover bills for OTHER condos/coops where the sponsor gave the managing agent kick backs. They were crediting the sponsor's apartments in the other buildings with maintenance payments not made while the sponsor collected rents. The managing agent received a cut of the extra profit the sponsor made. At the same time, double ledgers were being kept to cover the issue with affected buildings. Fortunately, there was a show down with the owner of the management company; our sponsor supported the condo with his lawyers since he was not involved with the kickbacks. The firm had to provide more frequent updates on the payments and balances in the accounts.
I subsequently met someone who worked for that management firm and quit over this practice. That person confirmed that this was being done on a regular basis.
FC - What I was able to gather from previous years of SE postings by and about Truth before her account was deleted is that she actually sued either the board or the sponsor of a building in which she lived. I actually have always wondered about the identity of that building as well because I wanted to learn more about that particular lawsuit and how it turned out.
I own in a building in San Francisco that came online in 2007. One of the other owners is trying to get a coalition together to sue the sponsor because the sponsor still owns a considerable percentage of the building with no intention to sell. I have declined to participate in the proposed lawsuit because I feel that all of the risks that have materialized in that building were disclosed in the offering plan. I also have no issue with the way the condo board is running the building because the level of transparency is high and it all makes perfect sense to me. We are also pleased with the way the board of the building into which we bought in New York runs the building. As with the SF purchase, we did extensive due diligence prior to buying. I do not know the identity of the building into which this OP bought, but I am curious as to how this situation turned out. In our SF building, I know some owners have sold at a significant loss. It sounds like some owners in the building above decided to simply sell, and I would be curious to know if they sold at a profit or at a loss. One of the things that continues to fascinate me about New York real estate is/are the high price points at which new condo developments are selling. Most if not all of the people that I know in New York (small sample size) lives in coops; who is buying into all of these new condo developments?
I'm not sure what to make of all this. There was a 6 month delay between my apt and the apt 2 floors above getting bedbugs, and the inspection of the apt between us. The building mgr continues to tell the building that we cannot make a renter get inspected. She publicly blamed me for bringing bugs in the bldg (allocation of blame proves ignorance). but then 6 months later discovered that the tenant in the in-between apartment had the worst case the exterminator had ever seen. The board president and building mgr seem to be playing games about letting me see the service records. They won't re-inspect. Thus we might have to go through that hell again.
We have other problems though, a dictatorial board president, who has been manipulating all kids of decisions. 3 out of 5 board members agree with me about almost everything, but the pres and his minion keep outmaneuvering us. It feels like a bit of a mess. And I've been living here 16 months and am afraid to unpack.
Bedbugs is one thing "Inspecting Trashy Neighbors" is another. There are legitimate reasons to inspect apartments for unsafe conditions or illegal construction. I have met some kooks on boards who have some sort of OCD that drives them into intruding on other shareholders privacy. If you are on the board and can't fix the bedbug issue I doubt a lawsuit would.
This reminds me of a woman who lived in a development with a lease fully negotiated on an arms-length basis, who subsequently was involved - with her husband who is a law partner - in a lawsuit because she wanted legal protections irrelevant to her arms-length negotiated market-rate lease but intended for the working class. So she received a windfall from the lawsuit, and then the rent goes up for everyone else in the community while she went to a new area where her kid couldn't to school on time because of the extended commute. Then she blamed other people because the extended commute translated to providing community service. Yup, she didn't want her kid to have to do service to the community despite taking money from a community and causing a community's rent to increase. And NO, this woman is not affiliated with Al Sharpton.
First, use your existing mouthpiece (by virtue of your physical appearance at board meetings) to remind them the expense of litigation far exceeds the costs of remediating bedbugs or inspecting trashy neighbors
If you are serving on the board of a co-operative building you live in and had to sue the board, would you no longer be allowed to remain on the board?
(Lawsuit would be over bedbugs and failing to inspect neighbors.)
Well, look at me and my crappy manners! Hello again, folks - in case you're wondering where I disappeared to, I was very busy after my last post - BECAUSE THE BOARD ACCEPTED ME!!! I interviewed with them in mid July, went to closing in early August, and moved into my dream apartment on Labor Day Weekend. And of course, between painting, redecorating, work, and then the holidays, updating my good news here just blew right through my mind. Very sorry to have not updated sooner, but it's been a very busy, but wonderful, handful of months.
And I sincerely meant what I said - I am never moving again, LOL! First of all, this place is so fabulous, there's no need to even consider moving. Which is really lucky for me, because I'm staying put!
Thank you all again for your help back when I asked for it - it really did help put things into perspective for me during the whole waiting game.
two months is the typical time. you will not know in advance
There is no standard behavior for all boards.
On my closing, I went to contract @ 1st week of January
Submitted my board package @ 1st week of february.
Was interviewed by the 1st week of march and closed around the 3rd week.
I could have probably submitted my board package faster but I committed to my rental through april anticipating it would take 90 days for any emergencies. Once things looked smooth I actually slow played it and ended up with only a week of an empty rental apt.
I would be sitting on your broker.
I shouldnt judge your broker based on him/her not assembling/making copies of your board package, but if your broker is not from a boutique agency counting all it's pencils and staples, Im guessing they are not a good one.
A buyer's broker should be proactive on the package, it's the major part of the real work they'll do for the transaction.
Once on a unit I almost bought with a crappy broker, I went to an open house of another unit they were hosting.
When they saw I was still looking at other apts, that lit the fire under their azz.
(My board def goes darker in summer, we have foregone July and August meetings. But we are a small co-op)
Just wanted to comment that I have never heard of a buyer's broker not assembling or at least substantially assisting his/her client with the Board Package. Crazy. Keeping my fingers crossed for you! Keep us updated!
Forest Hills, Rego Park, Briarwood in Queens. treelinetoskyline.com
^^ although now I read your post -- she's leaving WaHi -- would Riverdale or Inwood really be better?
Bick, that's exactly right. It will be easier for you if you're moving your mother closer to you, and can make that statement to the board, but this is not an unusual narrative at all.
I'm sorry that this went, because it sounds like it have worked nicely for you: http://streeteasy.com/building/870-west-181-street-new_york/28
Off the top of my head, don't know anyone who has the bandwidth to do both upper Manh and Queens, but I'll give it a think.
With these specs your mother might be able to qualify on her own depending on her post close liquidity. She also might be a good candidate for HDFC buildings if she has little to no income for the past couple of years and can purchase in cash.
Thanks Jason. 1BR, price point is under $250K, need maintenance that is $800 or lower. Definitely looking upper Manhattan, Riverdale, and Queens. Also pet friendly hopefully. A big ask I know. If anyone has a good broker to refer for this kind of thing please post.
FYI: The PDF is for the listing agent/broker to review. The managing agent receives copies or what ever format they request. I hear you on the electronic portal, sort of cumbersome uploading all the documents. We wind up spending a lot of time with the buyers, sellers and other agent (if they have not done it before). If the docs are not entered correctly it wont allow you to continue. If the seller has not entered their information correctly it prevents us from entering ours. Far from perfect.
let's see, RED -- I had a client who had recently retired, so in the application, in addition to providing historical financials, and supplementing documentation for those, we provided a pro forma financial for what retirement income would look like, and supplementary documentation for that. I had another client who had a reference letter that was provided on letterhead from a referrer who had since changed her phone number, so I had to annotate that. I had another time where the Aztechs had to get reprocessed since the middle name of the purchaser had been omitted, and the legal name didn't match the driver's license. I represented a landlord who used his co-op sublet application, but we swapped out the boilerplate lease offered by the co-op for our own lease, and then both sides kept adding riders at the last minute.
Those are all examples I can think of from the past couple of months. None of these were $5 million deals, just everyday business in neighborhoods from Chelsea to Midtown to Hudson Heights, but each one needed that little bit of customization to get across the finish line.
Thanks for all of the comments. In regards to substituting documents, where (which sections/types of documents) do you generally see this? I assumed most applicants would be following the board application as requested rather than making their own edits.
I'm going to say "thumbs down" on electronic applications, because they don't allow for any variability. It's one thing (and fine) for a board to want a completed application scanned and submitted as a PDF, or -- the way Keith B. does it -- assembled in Acrobat Pro and then submitted as a PDF. If the management company wants to see the package on a thumb drive, no problem. But to ask for an application through a portal that goes document by document deprives applicants of the art of assembling a board package -- substituting documents, making highlights, and writing notes to guide the board through an application that can be 300 pages long. It's a disservice to any buyer who isn't cookie-cutter perfect.
The current electronic portals can be pretty confusing, though I think a step in the right direction. We have completed a number of them. We use ADOBE PRO to securely, efficiently process "paper" board applications. Digitize all documents and make them writable, use passwords when sending completed pdfs and sensitive docs. Essentially We Prepare The Entire package, Then Meet the clients to get signatures. Once you have a system in place it's not that difficult.
The Burkhardt Group
As I said the lock has a lever on the inside that can be easily flipped. If you call emergency services someone (call a neighbor, someone else in unit) can just run down at release it. In our building, since we were small as well, (18 units) whoever came entered around 11:00 would flip it to locked and whoever left first in the morning would unlock. So it was just the late night hours that we kept it locked. Lived there for 20 years and we neve had access issues.
Thank you apt 55! That sounds like a good solution tho you would have to remember to give the code to ambulance/firefighters if called. And glad to hear that you found a cheap way because the building near me that did this installed a costly buzzer system.
BTW... the lock cost $40 and the super was able to install. Very easy.
I use to live in a building with the same lobby set-up. We needed it to mostly keep out homeless, especially in winter from sleeping in between the doors. On the outter door we installed a combination type lock. It required you to push a 3 button combo to enter. That number could be given to friends, visitors to enter. The back side of the lock (inside the door) had a small lever the could easily be flipped to lock/unlock. It worked out well. Due to its ease of use with just a lever to engage the lock... it comes in handy if you feel unsafe (someone following you) as soon as you enter the first door, you could flip the lever, so you the door behind you is locked and you can then safely go through the second door. Vistiors would then still be buzzed up after entering the first door, so giving out the combo did not pose a risk. It was also very easy to change the combo which we did periodically.
Thanks for the info, I did not know where to begin researching this. Would like to find the law before approaching the rest of the owners to request a change in policy. We were going to research putting in an outer buzzer system, where you would need to know the code in order to buzz yourself in--but that would be costly and also does not solve the problem.
If you really want to know, here it is: 1. There is The Condominium Act, which is part of the NY Real Property Law, and you can get it on Find Law for free and read it. Do that first. It tells you generally, very generally, what CONDO by-laws must do, among other things. (Don't worry about how co-ops do things if you live in a condo.) 2. Read your condo's by-laws carefully. Somewhere in there it probably says the board has the authority to create such rules as to allow for orderly deliveries and the moving of households, or some such language. Find that part, or confirm that it does not exist in the BY-LAWS. 3. IF that language exists, and I'll bet lunch that it does, then the board has the authority to fine you and charge you. (If there is no mention in the by-laws, that's another story.) The managing agent is a general agent for the board and has a fiduciary responsibility to the board. They sent you a letter about this stuff, and you probably signed something at closing that covers this. And yes the property manager is your enforcer.
The smart thing to do is to pay promptly and move on, and let go of any resentment you feel. This sounds like a well managed building and boy oh boy do you want and need that. These is small money. And, it stays your money, as it goes into the coffers of your building so they can use it to fix things down the road; your property manager may get a small service fee, but possibly not.
So the argument that if its not in the by-laws or house rules it doesnt exist, doesnt apply here?
Also, they want to charge $125 for the supt, who never showed up because they didnt schedule him, and $250 fine. Can I argue that there is no reason for the $125 fee to pay the supt who wasnt here?
AH145: The move-in/out rules are basically the same in most condos (and co-ops). Monday - Friday, usually 9am-5pm or 4pm. They don't want the elevators to be used for moving during weekday hours when there are residents needing to use the elevator for leaving for work and returning home. The same for weekends because many are home and using the elevator.
You need to give advance notice because they need to schedule your move on a day when there is no other move-in/out for another resident.
Your broker or the seller's broker should have given you this information (and getting the information in writing is always important). Your attorney could get this information for you before the closing date.
This information should be listed in the house-rules but it's not always included.
Most boards will also require that your movers be insured and that you provide their Certificate of Insurance prior to move-in/out.
If this is the only problem that you ever experience in your building -- you can consider yourself to be lucky.
Enjoy your new apartment.
The house rules has no information on move in/out policy. The letter I got from the management company states that I need to give them at least 10 day notice, and if its a weekend delivery I need to pay $125. They claim that a quorum is needed for major changes and not small potatoes like move in/out and fees. So basically, this is mostly driven by the board and the management company is their enforcers?
The Board can change the House Rules without a vote of the residents. When I was on a condo board, we periodically distributed the updates, including fines, fees, insurance requirements, move-in/ move-out days and charges, etc. Frankly, I don't like "legislating" things when there is a problem in the building. Sometimes you just have to impose a fine system when people refuse to cease doing things that create problems and expenses for the rest of the residents. The managing agent just collected the monies, depositing them in the building's account.
If you have been notified the Board and the Managing Agent repeatedly over the past 2 years. hire an attorney.
I lived in a coop where just a few of the neighbors had no heat. They hired a lawyer eventually after being repeatedly ignored by the Board and the Managing Agent. Apparently, one of the Board members on that line made modifications to the heating units within their apartment that blocked others on the line from getting heat. That's why their complaints weren't handled. The Board member didn't want to go through the expense of fixing the heating system again or being caught about for an illegal renovation he did on his own.
The lawyer for these people called the appropriate city agencies to inspect the apartments. He also held the Board's and the Managing Agent's feet to the fire. The building was also slapped with numerous violations that the city uncovered at the same time.
Just call your managing agent or talk to your board.
Attorney, why use an attorney when you can have a wife of an attorney?
Thanks for the advice.
clearly the co-op board is going to have to hire an attorney to move this process along, and since I'm not an attorney, I can't say anything that can be construed as legal advice.
But as a broker, I have sold a number of properties that have passed through estates, and I would remind you that it's customary for co-op boards in this situation to ask that the Letters Testamentary (which in this case might be Letters of Administration -- your attorney will know) be updated so that they are not more than 180 days old at time of closing.
If the relative has been appointed by the Surrogates Court as the Administrator, then he does have the power to resolve the estate. He may be having troubles doing so because of multiple claims on the estate, particularly if the original owner died without a will (which is implied in there being an Administrator. Otherwise they would be the Executor).
NY state law limits who can be a distributee of the estate of somebody who died without a will, and if this relative doesn't have sufficient blood relation, then they may not be allowed to inherit the co-op shares. If this is the case, then they may be illegally converting the estate's assets for their own benefit, or 'wasting the estate' (assuming that the estate is paying the maintenance). If so, the co-op could be included in a suit brought against the Administrator for not properly handling the proprietary lease (i.e., the Board permitted somebody to live in the apartment that was not permitted by the proprietary lease). Your board needs to get their lawyer to square things away sooner than later -- if nothing else, fully understand any issues with resolving the estate.
That said, I know of a unit in a Brooklyn co-op that remained empty for 10 years while the estate sorted things out with the heirs.
I'd get the "administrator" out of the apartment ASAP. His role in this estate resolution seems dubious since this has gone on for 5 years.
It's taken 5 years because the Administrator doesn't have the power and hasn't tried to get the power to resolve the estate and the board has been remiss. It is frustrating that the previous board left this mess for the current board to deal with.
Yes, once you purchase it doesn't matter what you make any time after. Cash purchases either are gifts, inheritance, or a profit from a previous sale. For resale income restrictions will go up but they won't go away. We explored un-HDFCing for our coop and it's near impossible. There are rules in the property deed of what the property can be used for and the property taxes will go up considerably increasing the maintenance considerably. Some buildings have enforcement mortgages that you might have to pay as well.
NYC Matt, yes many people have lied to get an apartment and depending on location original owners can sell for a lot but if the coop wasn't foolish enough to reduce or eliminate the flip tax there is little opportunity for a cash windfall. Most HDFCs are not run well and have terrible financials limiting financing options for potential buyers. HDFC isn't perfect but the city continuing to be the landlord for these buildings would probably be worse.
"Once you are in the apartment, there is nothing stopping you from getting a new job that pays above the income limits."
Which is what you'd have to do to be able to afford these apartments in the first place.
Or just pull a Charlie Rangel and lie outright.
HDFC is one of the biggest legitimate real estate scams in the city today.
Yes, there is a bit of a gold rush mentality out there with at least some of the HDFC's, especially the one's in Manhattan. It's only been in the last 5 years where the Harlem HDFC's have been seeing prices out of line with the income restrictions. HDFC's that were originally built as luxury buildings tend to sell at astronomical prices, while the one's that were originally constructed as tenements tend to be closer aligned with the income restrictions- but still very expensive. There are HDFC's in Harlem where the prices are reasonable, but the boards are very strict about the amounts as well as the source of the downpayment (i.e. no parents buying for children).
That said, once an HDFC, always an HDFC- as posted earlier, don't count on the income restrictions going away. It's not a very common situation. That said, not every board is so strict, and they will allow for situations like parents buying for children. As to determining family income- the restriction is only applicable at the time of purchase and resale (your future buyers income). Once you are in the apartment, there is nothing stopping you from getting a new job that pays above the income limits.
Also, curious how they determine "family income". If I purchase an HDFC and my income is just under the limit, and then my girlfriend moves in with me, or I get a new job that pays a lot more, what happens?
I've looked at a few HDFC's in Harlem, and at least two of them the realtor later told me were purchased with "all cash". These were 500-600K apartments. I'm trying to understand what's happening. Parents buying for children? Or is there a "gold rush" mentality that believes (perhaps correctly that HDFC will "un-HDFC" at some point?
On my board, we only allowed 1 year leases. Renewals had to be approved by the board. However, any increases on the sublet fee were only implemented on a new lease or renewal. We didn't think it was fair to the owner to "change the game" after the lease was in effect.
The only "contract" here is between you and the tenant. The co-op can change its rules and fee structure at any time.
Typically you will have a contract between you and the tenant that last 1 year. If the board imposes a sublet fee per month, then it can be changed at any time, but I imagine if they charge a yearly fee, then it can only be changed after that year is up.
Hey, everyone. Does anyone have wisdom regarding sublet fees being raised after you've got a tenant in place? That is, when my tenant moved in the fee was $150, but two months later the board changed their policy and it went up to $175 a month. Am I beholden to the tide and I have to go with the changes, or should I remain on the initial contract when the tenant moved in?
Thanks so much,
Not fucking up the walls when you move in -- and not becoming a problem neighbor once you're in -- is thanks enough.
I'm on a board and have never been thanked (except for after the interview). I don't expect any thank you note or anything. There are many move ins and move outs in our building and it would kind of get annoying. No need for it in my opinion.
We've closed on a coop, upper west side, and I am wondering if it is proper or considerate to thank the board in some way? what way? Is this ever done?
you're still doing it? why? why so many different identities? why try so hard? why?
it is a shame that there are so many unanswered discussions on Streeteasy. A new poster comes on board, posts, then it finally gets approved and is several pages in, no one responds because it isn't seen. The new poster can't bump it back up because each post from the new poster has to be approved.
How did your search go?
I have decent financials: pre-approved mortgage just based on my income/zero debts/net worth/credit score. We are 40, have no kids/pets, and frankly are a bit introverted - so we rarely have guests. I think that we are pretty much the perfect tenants. Our only concern is that my wife plays the violin - often for a few hours a day. I'm hoping that this will be less of an issue because we are seeking an apartment in the upper west side where musicians seem to be more common. (The brownstone we've rented in for 5 years now has a professional saxophonist as well as a singer in addition to my wife) But is this something that would be of concern for a co-op board approval?
Thank you for your input.
cooper square is now first service residential, and they will milk you until your udders fall off, in so many ways.
Grogans behave in my opinion in thuggish unprofessional manner
Machinery is only 7 years old when Grogan staff just patches and hides the real issues only makes the situation worst in the long run that is why possible so many people are selling more than 60 percent in such a short period of time many board members sold so at a major loss
Also the building and the machine is only about 7 years old 10-30-14 930 pm went out super pops out in dark he was spray painting the rusting rails in the dark patch and hide Grogan at his worst by the way that was our super lucky someone did not call the police laying in the dark like that
We bought a new condo in a building in which the developer chose to exercise their right to (fully) control the board for five years (I know, it sounds crazy that offering plans with this option exist, even when as in our building all units were sold very quickly, but apparently this is not that uncommon during and since the bubble years, our lawyer told us... the developer seems to exercise this option to make it harder for unit owner to discover all the things that they screwed up...).
We now want to do some renovations, and approached the board to provide us with an alteration agreement form, the charge to review the DOB drawings etc. The architect the board chose wants to charge us a minimum of 30 hours at $160/hour -- you do the math. This is on the order of what our architect charges us for the actual design work in the first place!
This seems insane. Our architect, who has gone through this many times, thinks it should take them about 2-3 hours to review the DOB drawings.
We pointed out to the dev/board that their (architect's) charge seems unreasonable and they have ignored us since then.
Any suggestions as to what we can do would be greatly appreciated!
I agree. Say you pay off your credit cards in full and if they need more explanation or ask for more documentation, you can do so accordingly. If you were carrying large balances every month, your credit score would probably be horrible anyways and you wouldn't be pre-approved for a mortgage, etc.
agreed - they are looking for your contractual financial debt obligations, not your monthly living expenses (e.g. no line for your cable bill or your seamlessweb orders)... the question is how much debt will they be competing with in a personal bankruptcy situation
Write in "Credit cards paid off in full every month." The long form credit report often shows a balance and this sentence clarifies your real situation.
"Credit card debt" under monthly expenses is the fixed figure you pay each month for the sole purpose of paying down revolving debt. "Outstanding credit card debt" means the total balance of how much you owe.
In your case I'd put "0" in both columns.
Put 0 for both. You have no credit card debt since you pay off the balance before incurring interest.
Ali, If you are requested not to redact, can you request to receive all copies of the package back after the deal is completed, accept or reject? Not that someone can't be a low life and copy the numbers down but I would be more concerned with the package being thrown out in a non-secure manner. When I joined the board of my previous co-op, my first action was to purchase a shredder. I felt it was my risk to be sloppy with my own info but having the most intimate details of other's financial lives required that I respect and secure their disposal.
Check with the managing agent before you redact: last deal I did (rental in a GV co-op, representing tenant) I was specifically asked not to redact.
All great advice by everyone, and yes, your broker should be helping you with that. He/She should be corresponding with the co-op's managing company for preferences.
I would like to add, do diligently blackout the last few digits of your ss number and account numbers on every page.
This information will touch several hands.
Pay special attention to your tax returns, your ss # is on every page.
And of course do it BEFORE you make the several copies :)
I'm a binder-clip-and-rubber-bands girl myself. Remember that the managing agent is possibly going to take the package apart while reviewing it, and then reassemble it, so you don't want sections to get lost. (This happened to us when we were buying -- the managing agent put the package together minus our commitment letter; that agent was subsequently replaced.) Because paper does go astray, you might want to keep a spare copy of your package that you can bring to the board interview, if you are called to one.
Your broker should help you with that. Usually they make the copies and layout the documents in the format the particular board likes.