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Coop Boards-how much power do they really have?


Once you move in, how much power over you/your apt? can they really dictate things to you? Just curious if anyone has had experience with this.

the boards can make your life miserable, if they want. any renovation can become almost impossible to accomplish. sending letters to you to drive you crazy. fine you for complete stupidity. make it very unpleasant for you to live in a place that you call home.

this is the kind of mindless drivel that should be curtailed. the board controls what kind of renovation; beyond that, unless you are criminally antisocial, they have little or nothing to do with your daily life.

I am a treasurer on a co-op board and have been on co-op boards for close to 6 years. It all depends on the building and the board. I have been in laid back buildings where the board's only interest was the financial and structural security of the building. All of the board members I have worked with were cool, reasonable people whose only interest was protecting their investment. As a tenant and a board member, I have never had issues gaining or granting approval for reasonable renovation requests. Most boards outsource the review of your renovation request to an architect who asks all the questions as board members typically are not qualified. As far as control over you, or dictating things to you, not sure what you mean. They can't come in and say "You will drink coffe, not tea!". They can rightly tell you that an engineer has determined the building's plumbing will not handle a washer/dryer connect and therefore you may not install a washer/dryer, or that a wall is known to be structural so best not to take it down. But they don't do these things to be arbitrary or vindictive - just to fulfill their duty of protecting shareholders. As for fines, I have never been fined or issued a fine in 7 years of living in 2 seperate co-op buildings.

As a co-op board VP, I take issue with ab's comments. Yes, we can make life "miserable", but only for those shareholders who make life miserable for the other shareholders with whom they share a roof. Namely:

-- illegal renovations that result in flooding, structural damage, or electrical fires.
-- noise that disturbs other tenants.
-- not adhering to the NYC recycling laws, forcing us to fine you (because the city has fined the building).
-- not adhering to the NYC refuse laws, forcing us to fine you (because the city has fined the building).
-- installing illegal appliances (like washers) that back up the drains of the neighboring apartments.
-- trashing the hallways and other common areas of the building.

And so on, and so on.

And as far as "any renovation" that "can become almost impossible", it depends on the renovation. As long as you aren't tearing down structural walls or overloading the the plumbing or electric, were' perfectly fine with your renovation. Just make sure your contractor adheres to the licensing requirements (that protect us all from shoddy workmanship), and the time of day he's allowed to do the work.

I am currently renovating a prewar co-op on the UWS. The board took a little while to approve everything, not terribly long and since it started the building manager, super and everyone else has been great! There were some silly annoying things along the way, but as long as you follow the rules--you shouldn't have a problem--there are difficult boards out there so I would talk to people in the building before you move in if you're concerned

ab - I am guessing by your response that you are, or have been in the past, a PITA tenant in a co-op. Matt's responses are entirely accurate. If you are not prepared to be a good tenant and abide by the rules, expect to be fined, harrassed and otherwise whipped into shape. You can, and SHOULD, read a building's by-laws before making a purchase, so you know what to expect. At the end of the day, if you plan to be a good neighbor, being a co-op resident will make your life no more difficult than living anywhere else.

DO NOT BUY A CO-OP. I've owned two, two condos, lived in several rentals. Only co-ops boards are crazy, and they are uniformly nuts.

LOL ... so that leaves out about 85% of NYC apartments for sale.

YUP. Better to live anywhere than with crazy boards.

Only if you're an asshole neighbor.

"Only if you're an asshole neighbor."

I suppose that's in the eye of the beholder. But co-op boards lose most lawsuits brought against them, so it would seem the courts are on the side of the owners.

brainjames, just to get a sense of what an idiot a person on a board can be, look at a lot of information/bull posted by NYCMatt. an imbasil like him will fine you if you through out an extremely dirty can into the garbage rather than wasting 10 gal of water to clean and recycle it.

i haven't had any major run ins with the board in the building that used to live in, but know that they gave a hard time to some people for no reason. here are a few examples:

1 - a person had to get up at 5:30 am to go to work and had their alarm go off. the board member on the other side of the wall drove the person crazy for that, sending nasty letters. they got in touch with an attorney who wrote back a nasty letter to the board. no more letters after that. the 6 months of stress that caused was not pleasant.
2 - a person wanted to paint their apartment. there was never a requirement to have license and insurance for a peainter with a paint brush and a roller. one of the board members did not like the owner for some reason and made the person get license/insurance/etc. the $2000 cost of painting ended up $5000.
3 - for 20 years, shareholders were allowed to leave their car for 5 min in the circular drive to bring large items/shopping upstairs and then park their cars. once the majority of the board members had parking spots, they decided the rule should be revoked and started fining people $50 for this. the rule change was not voted on by shareholders.
4 - since there was an incompetent super, people had to hire handy man to do small ($50-100) jobs. the super became upset and did not let any of them in. the board agreed that you needed license and insurance ($500-1000) to tighten a screw or replace a drain or change a light fixture.

these are some of the issues that i've seen. i spoke to other people who were in far worse buildings where you needed to let the board know if you had someone staying with them for a few days.

Just look at the asshole board of 350 Bleecker Street, sued the sponsor & lost $1 million. They sued a tenant for excessive noise & loss, and their latest is a $10,000 "fee" for asking to move plumbing. Just for "asking"!

Which of course is an illegal fee.

They granted a board member owning 3 apartments the right to add a washer / dryer, then changed the rules back denying everyone else.

Real estate agents on boards telling people the board won't approve a sublet when they would, just to get a sale listing.

I could go on and on. If they like you, you're in heaven. But if you point out their incompetence - boards seem to attract the incompetent - you're doomed.

the amounts spent on lawsuits that the boards always lose can get them a new lobby within 5 years or new hallways or pay a significant amount of Local Law 11 repairs.

the board in my previous coop sued 5 people in 3 years about their dogs. guess what? everyone used the same attorney, owners always won and the building ended up paying approx $7-9K per suit.

Yeesh - anecdotes don't make a trend. 100's of thousands of people live in co-ops and have never had an issue. Are there unreasonable people that can make your life difficult? Of course. They exist at your place of employment, as neighbors in suburbia, as local politicians, as underpaid gov't employees etc. etc. etc. If you happen upon a bad situation, sucks for you. Try to do some due dilligence, ask for copies of board meeting minutes (your attorney will have these available during contract negotiations), talk to people in the building, before buying a place. I have a feeling the issues above are groslly mis-stated. No one will fine you or charge a fee to tighten a screw - it is impossible to enforce. Also, if your alarm cab be heard through the wall, maybe you should turn your alarm volume down. If it is waking up neighbors, it is a problem and should be addressed.

when you have paper thin walls where you tell your neighbor bless you when they sneeze, you'll hear even a quiet alarm at 5:30 am.

I agree w OTNYC. Before you buy, get a good attorney and dig in. There are crazy stories out there, but most coops are run professionally with the shareholders in mind.

I also think some of these same issus (i.e. noise, bulding fines) appy to condos as well. It's part of apartment living.

with thick skin and attorneys as friends, you can enjoy living in coops/condos. 90%+ of the time, there are no issues.

stevejhx writes: "But co-op boards lose most lawsuits brought against them..."
Once again the writer's offers 1/2-baked or out-right incorrect legal opinions. I have no idea what the writer bases this statement on. Has the writer considered that the disposition of most suits go unreported; this is especially the case in those which are disposed of upon motions to dismiss or motions for summary judgment in favor of the respondent board. I do not believe any source could be found to support the bizarre claim that the majority of suits against coop boards are "won" by the shareholder-plaintiff. While I can't back it up with any stats, my impression based on completely anecdotal experience is quite the opposite.

The Co-Operator.

As to the pros and cons of boards in general, the cons are often discussed on here. Personally, I feel to pros outweigh the negative and thus have chosen to live in coops for 20+ years. I like that if a resident has a vicious dog that terrifies children, barks all day and lunges at other pets, there's a board to address it and the shareholders don't have to. I like that if an applicant runs a bondage porn website a board is likely going to ensure he won't be my neighbor. I like that a board can monitor renovations and insure that dust doesn't escape into public halls, that the contractors clean up everyday and work only during specified hours and that the reno doesn't take more than 3-4 months. I like that there are virtually no subletters in the building and appreciate the sense of community and safety that comes from that. I love that a note left in the board's box gets a call within hours and any problems--big or small--begin to get addressed immediately. And finally, since my home is my largest investment, I like to guard it zealously. I like that the building can be discerning about who it is that I share my investment with in terms of who is permitted to be a fellow shareholder. I like that the board imposes financial requirements and sifts financial data to decide who should be allowed to live with us. That's a strong plus to me--not a minus.

And if a board gets out of control and a majority agree, then a check on the board in established coops is the annual election. In one building I was in the board began to spend too freely and seemed detached from the common concerns of the shareholders. So the shareholders organized to elect different and new board members. Problem solved.

I well understand the negatives, but for those unfamiliar with coops, I thought touching on some benefits would offer some balance. Coop living isn't for everyone--no form of ownership is. But coops appeal to many perfectly reasonable, intelligent people.

can you imagine what a PITA steve would be as a tenant in a co-op? the guy is a former auditor (though not accomplished enough to be a CPA), who is now a spanish translator, yet thinks he knows everything there is to know about the law, finance and economics, subjects people study for years on end to be qualified in. I'm sure he is constantly opining on matters of stuctural engineering and overall bldg management to the board members. he's the guy who writes letters every time someone in the building moves a piece of furniture.
please, stay away from co-operatives - you'll do everyone a huge favor.

kylewest, you have very good points, but here are some not so good.

1 - the board accross the street from where i lived 75% of the time turned down the first 2 people who wanted to purchase an apartment and always let the 3rd one purchase.
2 - i actually ran for the board and won. the president had the doorman buzz a few apartments to come down and vote. i lost by 1/2 a studio. i was informed of that by a few other board members who felt that this was wrong.
3 - there is a board that only approves religious jews to get into the building. some people formed a group and were enlisting people for a class action lawsuit.
4 - what are you gonna do if a board member lives upstairs from you and wants to stroll in her heels all day and night or likes to fall asleep with the TV so loud that it sounds like it's in front of you.

just remember. you can be in the building where there currently is the best board around. what will happen in 10 years, you'll never know.

the rule of thumb that i use is: if the majority of the board have been on the board for 10 yrs or more, there will be problems.

printer, thank you for your vote of confidence. They day you are capable of doing what I'm doing, then call with your criticisms. There is a very long learning curve, which is why I make the big bucks.

Actually, I do state my mind when the Board is about to embark upon a folly, like spend $1 million to sue the sponsor & lose, or spending $250,000 on landscaping before replacing the roof. I never had any problems in a condo or a rental building - only co-ops, where boards think they're omnipotent, have I ever had any difficulty.

Other than a board member, I never heard of ANYONE who likes a board.

ab_ wrote: "(2) i actually ran for the board and won. the president had the doorman buzz a few apartments to come down and vote. i lost by 1/2 a studio." I have no idea what you are saying. You won and lost? In my coop, everyone is reminded for days about election night, proxies are gathered at the front door for convenience if people like on the day of elections by the managing agent who has extra forms if anyone needs them, and the annual meeting is fairly well attended. It was like that in my old building, too, minus the managing agent at the doorman's post collecting proxies.

As to point 4, in my coop everyone is required to have x% of floor covered with rug or carpet, no exceptions. The coop doesn't police this unless there is a complaint. If there is a complaint, compliance is 100% required by everyone--board member or not--it is in the rules and these guidelines are followed. As for noise, a coop can deal with that in ways condos can't so easily. For example, sound may be found to carry through ceilings rather easily and speaker recessed into ceilings can cause probs for neighbors. A coop can simply say no renovations with recessed speakers in ceilings. Very reasonable. Board in such a case acts for the greater good. Such things are quite common in coop operations.

As to point 3, that is obviously illegal--what's your point? That people can do illegal things? Tell me about it. You site an outlandish example to support a general proposition that coops are bad? Come on.

People that do well in co-ops are people who in general know how to get along with others. We had an issue with an upstairs neighbor making some noise. We wrote a very polite note, explained that the tenant had every right to do what they want, and that unfortunately the noise carried. We didn't make demands, just alerted them to the fact that we could hear them when the volume was loud, etc. Have never had a problem since, and then tenant has apologized multiple times. Most of the time, people don't know they are bothering you with noise, etc. The best approach is to alert them to the issue. If this doesn't work, offer a compromise. "Hey, your alarm happens to be loud, maybe if you could turn it down, I will walk your dog while you are away on weekends." Of course, there are always going to be whack-jobs that are impossible to deal with, but in my experience they have been the minority.

OTNYC: I obviously agree with you. And as an admissions member at times over 20 years I looked #1 at finances and #2 at whether the applicant was someone whom I thought would be easy to get along with and who would be considerate.

When I moved into a new coop recently, I made a point of asking neighbors I ran into whether they ever heard my TV or if there were any other issues I might not be aware of that they wanted to share. I asked my downstairs neighbor the same thing fearful that my sub-woofer could be bothering them or that my walking on areas without carpeting might be annoying them. No one complained, but I was ready to adjust things if necessary. Of course, the neighbors immediately asked me the same things. We are all "in it together" and there is a strong sense of comraderie. That would be diminished by subletters and I'm glad we allow very few and only for hardship situations for limited periods of time.

Coops aren't for cowboys. They're made for people who work and play well with others.

i'm the same way as you kylewest. always asked my downstairs neighbor if the kids were bothering her, put rugs down to impede noise and soundproofed a wall that was shared with another apartment (corner unit, so only one wall).

i did have issues with new buyers of the upstairs unit. they had family come from Asia who felt that dropping things every 1/2 hour or so at 2 am and waking up my kids were fine. their child could run around and drive his powered car in their apartment until midnight and during the day in the hallways. i spoke to them and they denied that they were even in the house. there was no noise prior to their arrival though. they had a combo unit and were disturbing the next door neighbor as well, a board member. we both complained, but the board decided to do nothing because they had many shares and were expected to give them the proxy.

as far as won/lost. by the final tally of the votes, i won a seat. once the president of the board saw that, he did not announce the new board, but had the doorman call a few people who did not come down or provide him proxies. he knew how they were going to vote.

And I asked a Board to try an experiment, replacing carpeting with soundproof floating laminate flooring with far better ratings than any type of carpet, and they refused even if I promised to cover over the floors if the experiment failed.

And the co-op board is (unnecessarily) replacing single-pane glass with double-pane glass which will require constant repair, in a complex that is closed in the winter.

And a Board member breaks the rules about candles on decks with impunity.

And I can go on and on and on and on.

Thanks for the answers. But what exact legal power do they have? Can they evict you? is there some kind of probation period?

ab: your coop seems like it is run like a banana republic. most have rules such as an official end to voting is declared and the votes tallied with witnesses. that was in the bylaws of my last coop and honestly i didn't bother to check in my current one. voting provisions should be pretty clearly set out. in any event, obviously not that many people seem to even care in your coop, so the majority must feel things are being run fine. as for the noisy neighbors, once the election was over, why would the board member continue to tolerate the noise? it doesn't make sense what you describe.

In addition, the coops I know have strict policies about public spaces not being used by children as play areas. Or dog runs. Or meeting areas where a couple of people can set up for a few hours to chat. I guess what attracted me in part to the coops I joined was the fact that the rules did seem to be enforced and that the rules appeared perfectly reasonable to me.

To an extent it is a crap shoot, but on the other hand, how do you think the noise problem you describe would be better addressed in a condo? All types of problems are no more indemic to coops than condos. The difference is that in a coop you have a shot at getting it addressed. In a condo you have just about no chance of effective action being taken.

there is no probation period. if you adhere to the proprietary lease and house rules, there's nothing they can do.

as far as eviction, it is a difficult process. sometimes the same or more difficult than evicting a tenant of a rental.

brian: a board can't just up and evict you. they are constrained by the laws of ny, the by laws, and the house rules. Evicting a shareholder is not at all easy and is a very, very, very rare action by a board. In the only cases I'm aware of, a board successfully got rid of a disgusting shareholder who bought from the sponsor and ran a porn mag that was pretty raunchy. After he stabbed his girlfriend in a crazed frenzy one night and she was carted off by ambulance and he was arrested, the board had had enough. I don't know if he was forced to sell or the coop took over his shares, but it took something that egregious. In the other case, the shareholder was something like 2 years delinquent in paying maintenance and was doing nothing to correct the situation. Again, I don't know if the board forced a sale by threatening to take over (or whatever the formal name of the process is) or actually took possession of the shares. These powers are expensive to exercise for a board and unpleasant for all involved. They are for emergencies--not run of the mill issues.

Whenever I hear "The Board" is makes my skin crawl.

Thanks everyone

kw: what would you think of a Board which instituted a Pullman action against a former Board President for actions he took as Board President? I'm, assuming you know that in a Pullman action, the Board must FIRST send a letter warning that if whatever the offensive behavior isn't stopped, they will evict. But how about in this case where all the actions took place while the shareholder was acting as Board President, and both the original Pullman letter and the eviction were served AFTER the shareholder was no longer Board President, and the actions claiming to have violated the Pullman Letter occurred back with they were Board President? How about if there was testimony by by the entire current Board that the real reason for the Pullman Action was things the ex-Board President did while he was Board President (obviously then before the Pullman Letter) and by shareholders saying they were told the reason was that there couldn't be peace with the commercial LEASEHOLDER (i.e. NOT A SHAREHOLDER) while the shareholder/ex-Board President was still in the building? In other words, the Board was trying to evict a shareholder for the benefit of a non-shareholder. What if teh Board admitted that when they first instituted the Pullman action they thought they were going to sell the unit at a profit and KEEP the profit, rather than turning it over to the shareholder, and that the Attorney's for the Coop had taken the case on contingency for part of the profit? (obviously, Pullman actions are NOT intended as a profit making tool for Coops, but as emergency relief from "problem tenants"). What if these same attorneys called up the insurance company who handled the Coop's Director's insurance and tried to induce them NOT to cover the ex-Board President for his actions as Board President? What if the Coop had a Judgment awarded it by the Court for Contempt against the commercial tenant, but rather than collecting on that judgment elected to go after the former Board President for that money? What if in an annual board meeting, the entire shareholders voted unanimously to make it a priority to go after the commercial tenant for back rent, but the new Board ignored it and went after the ex-Coop Board President for the money instead? What if the Judge in the case told the Coop that they had no case and should settle immediately, but since the Coop's Attorneys had actually gotten up in front of a Special Meeting of all the Shareholders and inexplicably
"Guaranteed a win" (have you ever heard of an attorney ever doing such a thing?). What if the Coop Board instructed the commercial tenant to place their HVAC units on the former Board President's property just to further harass him? (and as soon as that former Board President brought a suit against them, immediately changed their mind and had them placed on the roof of the building where they belonged all along? What if the Board paid tens of thousands of dollars for 2 shareholders to maintain private decks on illegal extensions built by the commercial tenant, and the current Board President lied under oath about this in a deposition? What if the current Board didn't charge these 2 shareholders a penny for their illegal decks (either the construction, maintenance or usage of) even though they had no rights to them under the offering plan? (waste of assets). What if the current Board President has sworn under oath multiple times in multiple cases that the former Board President had absolutely nothing to do with a Notice to Cure from the Coop (as Landlord) against the commercial tenant, but the Coop's Attorney's who "guaranteed the win" got up in front of the Judge and stated that the notice was written by the former Board President (even though it was written by the former Managing Agent/In House Counsel for the Coop, and this was testified to under other multiple times by multiple parties)? I could go on, but everyone is probably already asleep.


DO NOT BUY A CO-OP IN NEW YORK STATE. Completely opaque corporate structure, no accountability.

30yrs, that is the longest, dullest, most twisted hypothetical ever posed. I suppose it tracks something or other, but what is the point? I'd say that coop is really screwed up and I'd want no part of it. The board minutes must read like a blank page or Payton Place, which in either case would cause any sane person to run. The financials must reveal a horrendous legal bill that would raise eyebrows of any buyer. A simple search of law suits past and present involving the coop would doubtless also raise flags giving any buyer pause. Like a prior poster, you have described what is nothing less than aberational, bizarre conduct by an out-of-control building that is utterly atypical of the cohort of coops in NYC.

What if I told you a story of criminal conduct by plumbers? Would you decide to forego a toilet in your home? Or criminal conduct by a medical consortium--no more doctors for you? Or an auto dealer that tinkered with odometers? Lesson learned is to walk, not drive? I'm lost as to your point.

My two cents on coop boards, only an asshole with too much free time has the desire to be a board member. Then, the asshole board members hire a building management company that employs other assholes with attitudes and IQs similar to members of the NYPD. Between the board and the management company and their proxy…the building super, you the tenant are screwed. You can be the building’s best tenant, but when you need anything from the board, you the perfect tenant will be screwed. There are many reasons why condos sell at a premium to coops!

Just to be on the safe side, do not buy in any NYC co-op if a Board member introduces himself as "Matt" during your interview.

Do you know what a camel is?

It's a horse designed by a Coop Board.

"30yrs, that is the longest, dullest, most twisted hypothetical ever posed."

Only if it was a hypothetical, which it isn't.

All involved in cases you cite, 30yrs, sound like just delightful people and wonderful neighbors.

On our board we had:

1) One member who had to sell his apartment because he claimed he lived in Chicago to avoid paying NY tax, and was caught.

2) Another member who would shout profanities ("f*ck me in the a**, f*ck me in the a**") in the mornings during his masturbatory fantasies. Unfortunately, his apartment was right in front of the elevator.

3) Another member who had combined multiple apartments, and would pace the floors at night screaming (alone) at the top of his lungs and throwing things.

4) A fourth member who was a real estate agent who would tell anybody anything they wanted to hear, just to get a listing.

no wonder they accepted you Steve - you fit right in with that bunch.

"you fit right in with that bunch."

Thanks again, printer! Actually, all of those board members save #3 were not on the Board when I bought. I fought them tooth-and-nail against the lawsuit they filed against the sponsor (who had an absolute defense) & I lost that battle, but they lost the war: to the tune of $1 million.

When I left the board the remaining members APPOINTED the other 3 board members because they supported the million-dollar lost lawsuit.

kylewest-I am curious who manages your building? It sounds well run (obviously with direction from the board).

I have lived in 2 large co-op (approx. 200 units). Entrenched board (same board president for 15+years). In both cases, the good outweighed the bad. Both were troubled co-ops (last to convert in the 80s boom, many unsold units) - presidents guided the building through some hairy financial situations. The bad consisted mostly of less than arms-length-transactions between vendors & bldg management, staff issues (favoritism, etc.) and somewhat dictatorial whims of board (decorating schemes, etc.).

how much of recycling should tenants be responsible for ? people should be separating items before the super gets to it right ? this seems like something the coop board can enforce..any thoughts ?

Tenants are entirely responsible for their recycling.

If the super has to separate (which he still often does), he takes note of any identifying items in the garbage and reports them to the building management.

We then apply the $50 fine to their monthly maintenance.

When in doubt, throw it out.

There are trash pickers, rude neighbors, incompetent supers, etc. After one experience where my properly disposed of mail was identified as being placed in the wrong bin, I do not recycle any paper, period. The city fines can be as much as $400 for unseparated recycles. Don't risk being fingered for it.

I have seen too much -- neighbors removing your bag of recycles to stick theirs in, people rooting through recycles to pick out magazines and then dumping the paper into the metals container, trash pickers coming around and leaving the cans a wreck -- to risk it.

In my building, we have had various trash and recycle related controversies. Until the trash is secured with a lock, I will always vote to "socialize" a fine unless someone confesses and assumes responsibility.

Lots of lawyers busy there. Here's the judge's summary:

And a board member's affidavit:

To see the whole thing, it's index 650868/2011 at eCourts.

Coops were not a good thing for this city.Prior to coops people believed in live and let live. A few footsteps heard above or kids in the hall was not reason to call a lawyer. People sat outside and looked out for their neighbor. Now we are not allowed to sit in front for long. Now boards, good or bad ones, have to investigate nonsense complaints. Pets are very healthy for people to have but are not allowed except in the most expensive buildings or unsafe neighborhoods. As for power, yes they can give tenants a hard time. It depends on their point of view. I have known wonderfuls board that loved pets and kids. Then there was the board that harassed you for no reasonable cause. How do you know? The lawyer can only tell but so much by reading the minutes before you buy.

Can anyone tell me whether exterior renovations are possible in coops? For example, could one take out windows facing a courtyard and replace them with French doors and add a balcony? Thanks.

I recently purchased an apartment in a co-op building on the UES in New York, and we started renovations. Everything was going smoothly until a minor mishap (we weren't aware of one particular rule), so when I asked the building super to fax me a copy of the building rules, he said "no, I don't have to fax you anything. This is my rule. Thank you." And then he hung up on me!

This can't be appropriate, can it? Do I go do the board with this or do I complain to the management company? What is the proper way to handle this? I don't think I was treated fairly, was I?

I think the super answers to the management company, but I might be wrong. Ours is not great, only causes issues for us and is of very little help.

On the topic of whether coop boards are "naughty or nice" (sorry, it's Christmas time), it depends on the board obviously but also on what you attempt to get done while living in a coop building.

We have lived in our UWS apartment for nearly 8 years now and have had no issues whatsoever with our board. Last year we purchased the apartment below us to combine into a duplex, and though the board eventually approved the plans (took them a few weeks), we are now stuck in an endless struggle to actually proceed with the demolition, construction, etc. The board failed to give us their complete and specific requirements upfront (mainly: insurance requirements for contractors, qualifications needed from general contractor). Therefore, we went ahead and hired a general contractor (GC) based on the information that was given to us, and now we are having extreme difficulties getting him approved. Initially, the GC's insurance was the only holdup (although still remains an unresolved issue). While we were unsuccessfully seeking clarification on the insurance requirements, the board decided that the GC was not qualified to do the stairs, and they won't consider evidence of prior experience that initially was not submitted (our GC is qualified I may add). Now our GC is not allowed to do the stair, which creates issues and costs since we now have to sub that out to someone else. Meanwhile, what insurance was still required remained unclear (the GC was no longer involved with the "risky" part of the project, so does the board still require the same level of insurance?).

Eventually, after using someone with connections to the board president to discuss the project (since they refused to call the board meeting we requested), we got approval to start the demo work using our current GC (or so we thought). No conditions attached to this decision were communicated to us. Our GC got started with demo, only to be told that unless he gets this auto insurance immediately, he will not be allowed to work. Seems easy you may think, but the issue is that unless you own a vehicle, which our GC does not, you cannot purchase said auto insurance. Not that the board seems in any way interested in listening to our issues, meet with us, our even communicate with us in any shape or form. Throughout this process, we have received only one official letter listing outstanding issues. So right now, zero work is being done while we have all our belongings in storage and commute to the city since the apartments are now inhabitable.

In sum, you're in a coop and just live your life and "behave" (don't make noise, recycle like you should, don't keep prohibited pets, etc), you'll probably be fine unless your board is completely insane. If you try to do a larger scale renovation and you're not a board member yourself, good luck. There's a reason why renovated apartments increase so much in price, and it's not just the cost of materials and labor. It's to compensate the poor suckers who had to go through hell to get that renovation done.

Up until trying to take on an ambitious, but in no way unreasonable or overly expensive project, we were fine living a peaceful existence with our neighbors etc. We have been exemplary shareholders, never complained, never caused any problems. At this point, we have no choice but try every option to get this project done, but we sure despise our board and don't really feel like it's a building we want to live in. The plan was to expand so that we could stay for at least another 10 years, raise a family, etc... Now we are not so sure anymore.

why in NYS (Little Neck, NY) does it cost a tenant in a coop $1,000.00 plus to change her name on her property. 15 years as a model coop owner. She is trying to change her name back to her maiden name and the board is charging her this out insane amoumt, which to me is criminal!!

I am disabled and a senior, I finally found a co op I can afford but they do not allow dogs only cats. My dog is only three pound he is half the size of a cat, he does nothing but want my to hold him all day is there anyone who can advise me, is there anything i can do?

In my opinon m at beekman is slowly killing this building by hiring inept personal and poor decisions 9 or 10 units have sold in the last year or so and another unit is on the market sad but true

Co-op boards are not subject to the laws of NY, NYC, or to Federal laws.

That is to say, for example, if the Board votes to terminate your existence on Earth, the government has little power to stop them.

I believe this condo board is slowly killing this building as far goverment I believe the previous blogger is incorrect but in short time we will see Thank You

And I will alert the proper authorizes to will ills I believe murder is a crime hopefully someone will speak to you shortly have a nice day

Murder is a crime? Are you serious?

If a board fines you, are they required to tell you what exactly happened? I got an email from the mgmt office, not even a proper notice or phone call, telling me that the board of directors approved a fine to me in regards to violating the house rules re alterations. They did not specific which house rule and what I did. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT I DID!
I already had a problem in the beginning with them and had to go an extra step to get the DOB permits, which they did not ask for in the beginning. I have been following all the DOB procedures and this is just getting out of hand. Anyone has any suggestions? I have a feeling I am being targetted since they already fined me once and now again! $2500 each! I need to know how to get out of their rador! I feel like they are coming at me just for my money so they can build up their reserve.
Btw, someone just jumped off the building 3 days ago. Literally jumped off from 6th floor and hit the ground. I don't even see it on the news because obviously the board hates to have the news spread.

to stevejhx can you elaborate on your comment that most coop boards lose cases bought against them? how do u know this? My co-op board is sending me legal notices left and right. they initially gave me permission to take down a wall. then a board member came to my apt., and asked me what I was doing? I looked at her confused as I just saw her 2 days ago at the mtg., that gave me permission. she "cursed me out," just based on my look. I emailed the board members telling them I did not want her near me. they then hit me with an alteration agreement they never mentioned when I initially asked to take down the wall. The agreement included a deposit, which I cannot afford. And can I tell you it's an HDFC bldg., which means a dump, but they just give me a hard time on something that would benefit all. I refuse to pay the deposit, I know i'll never see that money again and obviously since it's an hdfc bldg., as it indicates I am a broke a**. I can't afford it. anyway all my research indicates it is fool hardy to go up against co-op boards. although they are under business law, I do not think they are really treated as a business. businesses don't get away with what they get away with. the board is entering my apt. illegally. I am miserable. their failure to disclose is the only legal loophole I can see, but the more I read the more I am scared. however, I know I couldn't live there if I capitulate. my apt. was on the market for 2 yrs. as it was. and I truly believe it is because it was so poorly designed. anyway stevejhx if you know different and co-op boards lose, please tell me where you obtained this information. BTW the woman who cursed me out, who I wrote to the board about her confrontation, is president of the board. eff me.

I invite all to get on the email list of, they are attempting to fight for the rights of shareholders.

Wow, a lot of whining and complaining.
A simple solution is for you all to get involved with your building, run for the board and see how easy it is the run a building with zero compensation. I have been on 3 boards and most problems I have seen are with shareholders who think they have the right to do illegal renovations with no consequences. I have seen neglected elderly parents living in filth while their kids count the days to inherit the apartment. I have seen sewer lines being blocked from illegal work and shit overflowing in the unit below's living room, fire hazard electric work, construction debris left in front of the building and the building getting a fine. So save all your complaining and move to your prepper cabin where you can do what ever you want. And let me finish with all the nasty complainer shareholders that never do a thing for the building and want everything.


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