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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.
LJR, I was researching AirBnB stuff and I learned that yes, the situation you describe is illegal. I wish I could remember where I read this, though....I do think it is Multiple Dwelling Law. But I might have read this in a judge's discussion in a case. You can access the MDL for free on the web. Even if it were legal, it's just not a good idea, as you realize I know.
What neighborhood is this in?
We live in a small coop, with 10 apartments. We have 2 lobby areas, the first is where the apartment buzzers are located, and the second has the mailboxes. So there is an outer door, which gets you to the buzzers, and then an inner door which provides access to the building. There are no apartment buzzers located on the outside of the building, only in the first lobby. It has long been the custom to lock the outer lobby door at 9 PM for security reasons. But that means that any food deliveries, or much more importantly, emergency service like ambulance or firefighters have no way to buzz an apartment after 9 PM. The buzzers are inside a locked outer door. We experienced this problem once when we had to call an ambulance at 11 PM and in the moment forgot that the ambulance guys had no way to buzz us since the outer door was locked. Someone told me this situation is actually illegal, that there has to be a way to buzz the apartments for the sake of emergency services access. Does anyone know if this is true and if so, where to find the applicable law? We would like to change the policy here to leave the outer door open all the time, but we need to know if we have legal backing or not.
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!
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!
"This idea that Boards go dark for the summer is exaggerated." I'm the Treasurer of my board, and I agree. General life intervenes, that's all.
Once your package is submitted to the broker(s), the broker(s) is/are the one(s) who should put it all together and submit it to the management company. Then the management company generally gets it set up for the board to review, with all the "math" on the front page (income to debt ratio, financing percentage, etc.). Then the package is submitted to to board (or sent back to the brokers if incomplete). Then the individuals on the board review the package as their own time permits. Could be a day, could be a month. Most have full-time jobs (and many have families), and none get paid for being on the board, so review to them is not as pressing as it is to you.
A majority of the board need to approve for financials, and except in rare circumstances, if you're invited to an interview, you're in (unless you really blow the interview, which is difficult to do.)
So time-wise, depending on whether you're financing, depending on a host of other things, it could be a GOOD two to three months before you hear back from the board that you're invited to interview. The length generally means nothing, other than the board members have regular lives like everybody else.
Hope this helps, and I wish you the best of luck!!
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.
I closed on a sponsor unit this summer, and just learned of an assessment of over 10% of my annual maintenance to be paid over the next 4 months. The board states that it is for higher than expected heating costs, and an increase in real estate taxes. The letter implies that the tax increase was known about as of January 1st, 2014. So I am wondering: (1) Should I be responsible for costs related to heating that were incurred well before I closed, and (2) Should I be responsible for the portion of the real estate tax increase that applied before I closed? I am also curious to know why this assessment is only happening now, when the board has evidently known about these extra costs for some time. The sponsor is renovating many of the units, most currently in contract, and still owns a majority of the shares.
So you imagine me as a certain pre-embalmed, recently deceased loudmouthed comedienne? HMMPH!!! The noive!
That's it - our engagement's off!!!
Well hello Fieldchester (what, no new screen name yet?!?
All great replies that have helped me sort out a lot of confusion about just wanting to do the right thing. Thanks!
Hey, Walpurgis! Streeteasy automatically capitalizes Walpurgis . But not c0lumbiac0unty or ab0utready. Hmmm... Hope your throat surgery is successful.
Thank them when/if you happen to meet them by chance; avoid any further contact (other than incidental) thereafter.
Wonder whether a co-op board (rather than a condo association) would have had better luck keeping them out?
Oops - spelling error in title. I meant "renovation."
Back in January I bought an HDFC co-op and had, at that time, an architect who submitted plans to the board. They agreed to almost none of the items we proposed initially, but eventually allowed me to have a washer/dryer. That, I believe, is the only significant change I made to the apartment (besides demo of a on-structural wall and moving the kitchen sink a few inches.) I paid for expediting, drafting and several inspections. My architect was way too optimistic about what permitting would cost as I went forward.
I should note that my wages as an adjunct professor are shockingly low. My whole reno was done with a licensed contractor who came to his profession via an 80s diy community. In memory of that spirit, he was able to work within my budget by using salvage materials and creativity. But I did run out of savings.
In March the architect had still not filed with the city. He told me it could cost another $2000 to complete the filing and I told him to hold off. Now he is saying that I have an outstanding bill with a structural engineer for $750. But that is perhaps for another conversation.
My question is this: If I don't complete the filing, what kind of trouble can I get in? Others have more recently told me that filing was kind of unnecessary for this project. I have begun to regret the $4000 or so that I had put toward this end. And yet I worry that, having begun the filing, and leading the board to believe I will file, could lead to problems at some point, at resale etc. Does anyone have any insight on this? Sorry if any of it sounds naive.
Anon: I'm afraid you are on the way to official insanity. Try NOT to perseverate so much on this issue or it will truly drive you to the nuthouse.
Go to bedbugger.com and read the forums check out what pesticides other do it yourselfers use. Delmethrin may not be effective since most have immunity. I have to say if the tenants above have it, they will keep coming back in and infecting your place.
I'm feeling increasingly more optimistic about self treating these days. The insecticide and steaming binge from this weekend seems to really be paying off. Slept on the floor last night and didn't get any new bites. I found something unmoving in the bed that I'm not sure was even a bed bug and that's it. I bought lavender and a squeeze bottle for de yesterday.
That said I was scheduled to have another professional treatment today. Then the board president sent me a letter stating that it would be the last treatment they would pay for. I love the way they put it, in the language of "courtesy" treatments and some kind of implied addiction ('hey- we're cutting you off!') Since the unit upstairs is still delaying inspection, I opted to cancel and postpone my treatment until the situation upstairs becomes clear. And that led to a flurry of verbal abuse from my exterminator, who happened to let it drop that he is hurting for work right now. All of which leads me to wonder whether his results are not that great or more people are self treating.
Thanks to both of you for giving the most useful advice and support yet. :)
Wow, and I thought I was/looked antiquated because I still carry my suitcases! Good point, Matt.
"If you self treat you will only spread the problem to surrounding apartments until they come back to you."
Um, this is the essence of life in New York City.
Even "qualified professionals" cannot keep bugs (of any kind) out of a building permanently, because there will always be at least one tenant in the building who's not as scrupulously clean as you are.
I find it amusing that over the past 20 years since we've gone from CARRYING our suitcases (http://image1.masterfile.com/getImage/846-05648104em-1950s---1960s-MAN-SALESMAN-BUSINESSMAN-WITH-TWO-SUITCASES-RUNNING-JUMP.jpg) to dragging them all over God Only Knows Where, we're only know wondering why we have a problem with bedbugs.