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Is Condo Board Allowed To Censor Residents?
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This new rule was put into place by a very controlling Board. Is this legal? Has anyone heard of this in any other buildings?

Monday, March 22, 2010

RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF MANAGERS


To: All Homeowners/Residents

From: The Board of Managers/Cooper Square Realty, Inc.

Re: Resolution of the Board of Managers

Date: March 22, 2010

Dear Residents:

The Board of Managers of the 310 West 52nd Street Condominium, in their effort to protect the residents and its employees from abusive behavior from other residents has approved the attached Resolution.

In summary, the Resolution provides that the Board has the authority to impose $500.00 fines for each instance of a reported occurrence of any verbal abuse, or otherwise harassing behavior by a Unit Owner, tenant, or occupant of the Condominium towards any fellow Unit Owner, tenant or occupant or to any of the Condominium's staff and/or other employees.

In addition, this Resolution provides that the Board has the authority to revoke the use of the concierge and other non-emergency staff related services for a period of time if a Unit Owner, tenant or occupant fails or refuses to treat the building staff and other employees in a respectful and professional manner.

The Board does not take the issue of abusive behavior toward the residents and employees lightly and will do everything within its power to insure the safety and security of the residents and employees of the 310 West 52nd Street Condominium.

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Truth, you got it right about The Board of Managers trying to intimidate residents. The Board President is an unemployed lawyer who recently ran for a seat in Congress. The only others on the board are hand picked friends of his. He puts a new rule in place whenever a resident disagrees with him. This probably is not about staff. More than likely another in a long line of vengeful acts by him, but what can the residents do short of electing another board or moving out?

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Smearing poop all over his door?hmmmmmmm......
Legally challenging it will cost money
Would the Attorney General be interested in this?

Matt, Suppose a resident insisted on verbally accosting another resident in the common space?

So much for life at condos being peachy and coops sucking.

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the president of this condo seems not not understand that this is a CONDO. i would expect that this rule is so vague, that it would be difficult to enforce in a coop.

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Fact - we have a condo President who is an unemployed lawyer and knows his way around the law.
Fact - We don't have the money to fight this.
Question - Can they impose this fee whenever they determine someone to be abusive and can they turn this over for collections and ruin your credit?
Question - Can they cut off service to residents whenever they feel like it?
Question - If someone on the board abuses a resident, which they have on many occassions,who imposes the $500.00 penalty on them?

This is a HAHAHAHAHAHA!

If someone is being accosted, verbally or otherwise, the solution is to file a criminal complaint. A board (co-op or condo) would be CRAZY to get involved with something like this.

But then - my views on communal living are well known.

If this "abuse" occurs within the framework of corporate elections, there is ZERO chance of enforcing it. Political speech is given the greatest protection under the law. And then, disregarding the freedom of speech issues, corporate fines are limited by NY public policy to reflect the administrative burden of enforcing a rule. You can't have, say, a $10,000 fine for smoking on the roof (as my former co-op has) because it doesn't cost $10,000 to enforce the rule; you also can't have a $15,000 "fee" to review plans to move pipes (as my former co-op has) if the cost of that review is not $15,000.

Boards are full of nutcases.

Be grateful he is not your Congressman!

Here's a question for you. If this is clearly illegal, why would the management company, Cooper Square participate in this?

Who is the president of your condo board? Hugo Chavez? Vladimir Putin? Oh my. If it were me, I would confront the condo board president and made sure I cursed him out no less than 10 times.

"If this is clearly illegal, why would the management company, Cooper Square participate in this?"

Because the Board pays their bills and renews their contract, so they'll do just about anything to keep the account.

Need another reason?

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Yes, the condo President is very similar to Chavez. It is similar to a Cult. His loser followers were handpicked to be on the board with him. Most of them are either out of work or have no life. This is the only power they have in their lives. They were not elected. No one wanted to run against them this time because the President runs a very dirty campaign and if you go against him you pay dearly.

Truth, the managing agent does what the President of the Board says and they will not try to get to the root of the problem as they are the problem. I once saw one of the board members before the elections struggling physically with a small lady who was holding a sign in her hands to elect a new board. He then called out obscenities. This is the kind of sleaze bag we are dealing with.

Are you saying that if a penalty is imposed, we should just ignore it? This will not work against our credit? Truth, I would very much like to meet with you whenever you are available.

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Get the judge to hold the board president in contempt of court. A night in jail will be a great experience for her.

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mother of gawd, if it's that bad with a fellow resident, call 911.

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stevejhx: as usual your legal advice is priceless. It is not a crime to shout obscenities at someone, to insult them, to disparage them, to tell them you slept with their mother and didn't like it. You cannot "file a criminal complaint" for that. Even if witnessed by a cop it wouldn't be actionable.

Boards are filled with nut jobs who think that their position is way more powerful than it really is. Board presidents think that they are the mayor. Even NYC Matt over-estimates the power of his VP position. Wake up board presidents and VPs. You have less power than a first grade gym teacher!

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Speaking of lawsuits, many times when someone disagrees with the President of the condo at The Link, he threatens to file a lawsuit against them. Now I suppose he will "fine" them. He then refuses to act on their behalf in the future, by saying that he will not respond to any future correspondence. Obviously this is not appropriate behavior from a Board President, but is he allowed to refuse to address a resident when the resident is paying condo fees? Doesn't a resident have the right to ask questions and have an opinion without being told that the board will no longer respond to them?

Hey anon,

I'm a little disappointed that they did not include tushie spanking as a possible punishment. Oh, I jest!!

But, seriously, perhaps contact the The Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums: http://www.cnyc.coop/archive-legal.htm & see what they say.

I'd be kinda upset if I received that notice. But, something must have happened & the Bd is trying to CYA.

"Here's a question for you. If this is clearly illegal, why would the management company, Cooper Square participate in this? " CYA

I agree with Truth: "Something doesn't pass the smell test ,here."

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"The 2- man law firm of the condo board's attorney; has just broken up. One attorney headed for the hills, rather than face the wrath of the Judge. And, he was the "in- person man" of the 2 lawyers. He shows up in court, and at depo time. The putz who is left, is the paper-pusher; threatening letters, etc."

This sounds VERY familiar to a case I am involved in. It would greatly help to know who it is (i.e. if it is the same firm).

If you don't feel like saying here, could you email me at David@DGNeary.com ASAP please?

Please?

"And, nobody else in the building will know; and it won't be found in the minutes."

Truth: if the bld's insurance co pays a claim, that isn't reflected in the minutes? I don't know, just asking, but seems to me that payment of an insurance claim should (must?) be reflected in minutes.

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Truth, thank you for your very helpful input. Your last post is pretty much on point. Our President is the "Bully" of all bully's. With no job, what else does he have to do other than cause havoc and spend our money.

truth,

where's your lawsuit thread? I'm just curious. Sorry you've been going thru all this crap.

"No other owners in the building even were aware that there was a lawsuit filed against me! " I'm like 99% sure that if the Bd sues a unit owner, that must be recorded in the minutes.

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Truth:

at least tell me was it St****l & C***n?

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We REALLY need to talk. Our situations are eerily similar. There may by some info I can give you which will help. They really pulled stuff which was unethical, etc. I am wondering if they had a pattern of pulling these type of cases if there is a case which can be brought against them of even a Bar Action? H*** REALLY needs to be disbarred ASAP.

"It must, but they did not, Dwell! It was like pulling teeth, to get the minutes produced in Discovery. And, there seemed to be many minutes missing, or meetings held about the lawsuit without minutes being taken. Another issue for which the president has no good explaination."

OMFG. I just went to read the minutes last week and they have been totally "sanitized" - at the very least to the extenet where there is no records in the minutes of several votes which are totally necessary for the Board to take many of the actions which they have taken.

Truth,

Next time there's a unit owner mtg, take your atty with you, he/she can be your witness, so they can't make stuff up.

Sounds like you had/have both a sh*tty Bd & a sh*tty MA.

"I just went to read the minutes last week and they have been totally "sanitized" "

Yes & this is one reason why ya need to go to the mtgs. Bring yr lawyer with ya & record the meeting, but 1st make sure you can record the mtg under NYS law.

"Yes & this is one reason why ya need to go to the mtgs."

Dwell: we aren't talking about unit owner's/shareholders meetings here: we are talking about board Meetings which are not open to all unit Owners/Shareholders (and were often held by conference call.

I don't know if they pulled this on Truth, but in my case they refused to turn over minutes because they were talking about the lawsuit and were "attorney /client privileged".

petscomm: if yelling at someone is criminal, I'd love for someone to tell me what the name of the crime is.

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Great conversation.

I have another, related, question.

I wanted to run for my condo board.

Each year, there is a single meeting at which the board is elected.

This year, there wasn't a quorum of owners at this single meeting.

The condo board claims that because of this, no election need be held, and they maintain their board positions.

There is nothing to this effect in the bylaws.

Answers?

I hate the current board and would toss them all out given the chance.

30:

Truth wrote: "Dwell: Not in the minutes, not mentioned at the Annual unit owners meeting. I didn't attend for the last 2 years, since they filed the lawsuit."

My emphasis added: "not mentioned at the Annual unit owners meeting. I didn't attend for the last 2 years, since they filed the lawsuit."

30: Yeah, you'd have to get the Bd mtg minutes via discovery.

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Don't worry, these guys (the law firm) wouldn't have let you bring your attorney. When I tried, they said no, so I had to have my co-defendant give her proxy to him in order to show up in her place.

At this year's annual meeting, on an item which was on the agenda "To discuss X", when I started to ask questions about the issue, I got from H*** "I'm not going to answer those questions, if you don't like it, just vote no". The Board had misled shareholders as to what was actually going to happen at the meeting in order to get proxies rather than having them attend, so he knew they had the votes to pass it no matter what. But the especially underhanded part was that the agenda sent to shareholders on 2 HUGE items wasn't "to discuss and vote on", but merely "to discuss", but once they saw they could pass whatever they wanted and claim the shareholders voted for it, they held votes on both the issues even though it wasn't on the agenda.

Blue,

I am a lawyer, but I am not up on coop condo law. To answer you, I'd have to research it, but, sorry, don't have the time (or desire!).

However, I will point you in the direction of the info you seek, (short of just asking a coop-condo atty):

First & foremost are your bylaws: Do the bylaws discuss what must be done of there's no quorum at the unit owner meeting? What do the bylaws say about elections? Read thru all the bylaws.

Also,lotsa good stuff here at the Cooperator:
http://cooperator.com/categories/Archives/2010/2010-Feb/

Also, here:http://www.cnyc.coop/links.htm
& here: http://www.ag.ny.gov/bureaus/real_estate_finance/condominiums.html

I suggest you also google "condominium board election quorum NY" & see what you find.

I'm gonna take a guess here: unless the bylaws state otherwise, if there's not enuf people for a quorum, then, they have to call another meeting & get the quorum. Bd executives cannot hold their positions in perpetuity w/o an election.

Truth,

You are already in litigation, so, I'm not advising, but, since the sponsor is still involved, have you filed a complaint with the NYS Atty Gen?

30, I find it hard to understand how your attorney could be banned from an annual mtg if you're in litigation w/ the Bd. Yr atty is your legal rep & therefore, I don't see how yr atty can be banned from the mtg. Just because opposing counsel said no, doesn't mean he's right. But, apparently, yr atty agreed that he/she could not accompany you unless he/she held you co-def's proxy?

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Thank you very much, dwell..

Your welcome, blue. Please report back & tell us what you found.

Truth,
Didn't the NYS AG recently change the rules re: Sponsors, who own lotsa units, must begin to give up control of the bd?

"it was called-off for lack of a quorum. They never held a make-up meeting that year, either."
Yes, this is a problem when SHs/Unit Owners are unfamiliar with the 'corporate governance' of their blds & fail to assert their rights.

So, the question is: if there's an annual mtg in which election of officers is to be held, but there's no quorum, what happens to the election?

Geez, I gota A in Corps, I should know this!!!!!!!

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Truth, we've already deterimined that both of our condo boards are full of unethical twits, but I still have the same question. If the managing agent "fine's us and then sends to collection when we don't pay, will this be a scar on our credit and what recourse do we have without spending a lot of money?

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30_yrs: in NY "assault" requires physical injury and attempted assault requires more than threatened injury. But I'm not clear that anyone threatened anyone else with injury here. I think it was rudeness or something. I don't even know what this thread is about.

kyle: I think you are incorrect: "BATTERY" requires physical injury (as in Assault and Battery"), but simple assalt doesn't.

Well, I got a little obsessed with this & found the following:

http://cooperator.com/articles/2038/1/QampA-No-Quorum/Page1.html

"“Unfortunately, according to the New York State Business Corporation Law and your bylaws, a quorum is necessary at a meeting of shareholders in order to elect a board of directors,” explains Geoffrey R. Mazel, an attorney with the Manhattan-based law firm of Hankin & Mazel, PLLC. There are no exceptions to this law. A quorum is usually defined in your bylaws and is most commonly fifty percent of the outstanding shares present at a meeting. A quorum may be reduced to a lower number, but this requires a shareholder vote to amend the bylaws. It sounds like a serious situation in light of the fact that your shareholder can not get a board elected, and the board is not functioning."

http://cooperator.com/articles/1662/1/QampA-Board-Ignoring-Quorum/Page1.html

"“Section 603 of New York’s Business Corporation Law entitles a minority group of shareholders, provided they own at least ten (10%) percent of the corporation’s stock, to cause the secretary of the corporation to call a special shareholders’ meeting for the purpose of electing directors,” says attorney Eliot H. Zuckerman, a partner with Hartman & Craven, LLP in Manhattan.

“If the secretary fails to give notice of such a meeting, any one of the shareholders in the group may then give the meeting notice to all shareholders. In either event, an election of directors may be held at that meeting even if a quorum is not present.

“One or more shareholders collectively owning less than ten (10%) percent of the corporation’s stock cannot rely on Section 603, but they may commence a court proceeding seeking to compel the board to fulfill its presumptive obligations under the corporation’s bylaws to call annual meetings and conduct elections. However, without the availability of Section 603, if the stockholders present do not constitute a quorum, there is no basis for compelling the holding of an election at such a meeting. In the absence of an election, it is typical for bylaws to give the remaining board members the right to appoint new directors to fill any vacancies. "

And, this one's for you, Truth:

http://cooperator.com/articles/1662/1/QampA-Board-Ignoring-Quorum/Page1.html

“The regulations of the Attorney General’s office prohibit the sponsor, either acting alone or together with affiliated shareholders (i.e. ‘holders of unsold shares’) from controlling the board after a certain period of time elapses (typically five years) after the closing of the cooperative conversion of the property. If that time period has expired and the sponsor (with its affiliates) has not given up control, such failure could also be challenged with a court action, and possibly with a complaint to the Attorney General’s office.”

"what recourse do we have without spending a lot of money?"

anon,
if you're really upset with this, perhaps file a complaint with the NYS attorney general: it's free.

So, it appears that the answer is as follows: If there's no quorum at the annual SH/Unit Owner meeting to elect a Bd, then you can use Section 603 of New York’s Business Corporation Law to call a special shareholders’ meeting for the purpose of electing directors.

30yrs: you know a lot about a lot of things. but on what constitutes criminal assault in NY, you are wrong. in nys even the lowest level of assault, criminal assault in the third degree under Penal Law sec. 120.00 requires that a person with intent to cause physical injury causes such injury to another person. In nys there is no such thing as "battery" in the criminal law.

"30, I find it hard to understand how your attorney could be banned from an annual mtg if you're in litigation w/ the Bd. Yr atty is your legal rep & therefore, I don't see how yr atty can be banned from the mtg. Just because opposing counsel said no, doesn't mean he's right. But, apparently, yr atty agreed that he/she could not accompany you unless he/she held you co-def's proxy? "

If you saw the case, you would find it hard to believe much of anything these Attorneys or the Board did:
1) They tried a Pullman action based on actions I took as Board President to intimidate me,
1a) They tried a Pullman action on my co-defendant (the former Vice President) based solely on entering into a Joint Defense Agreement with me and the third party who was being sued along with us in the case
2) The Judge told them on day one that they had no case and better settle, but they didn't,
3) The Coop's attorney called the insurance carrier and tried to convince them NOT to cover me or my co defendant (both shareholders in the Coop).
4) About a year and half later the judge was so sick the case not being settled she Ordered a settlement conference in her Chambers and that the Coop have someone show up with full authority to negotiate on behalf of the Coop. A settlement was worked out where the Coop would pay $600,000. The Coop attorney then said they needed to get all the Shareholders to vote on it even though the Judge had instructed them to have someone with full authority to negotiate on behalf of the Coop show up. The two Board members promised the judge they would push the settlement through. One then asked if me and my co-defendant had to be present at the meeting and the Judge got angry and howled "Well, they are SHAREHOLDERS aren't they?". The Coop's attorney then asked our attorney if we could not show up at the meeting because "it would be easier to sell the settlement to the shareholders if were weren't there" (yeah, right). And then the Coop's attorney and Board Members told Shareholders to vote against the settlement!!!!!!!

A couple of months later, the Judge made a Summary Judgment Ruling against the Coop for over $900,000.

5) One of the main causes of action against the 3 (counter claim) defendants was that "we knew or should have known that a 'coop this size and budget' could never afford $600,000 for litigation". And now they just agreed to pay the Sponsor $700,000 because he THREATENED to sue the board. They told the shareholders that the Coop's insurance wouldn't cover the suit, but wouldn't give the breakdown of where they cam up with the supposed $750,000 of "exposure" their "legal counsel" came up with. After not getting answers, some of the shareholders put enough pressure on the Board to set up a meeting with the "2nd opinion" attorney who they got to justify their BS settlement. Not only had he not been given 95% of the documents he needed to make a real opinion, he admitted not having read any of the prior decisions regarding the claims from the Sponsor which were already res judicata or the Lease with the Sponsor which all the claims were based on, or.. or.. .or..., but said that he advised the Board that the *****Director's and Officer's**** policy wouldn't cover the cost of the litigation. In other words, the Board was looking out for their own personal interests, not the Coop's.

I could go on and on, this is just a fraction of the BS they pulled throughout the case, and continue to pull afterward in more litigation and Board shenanigans.

Here's the New York Business Corporations Law (but always check for changes)

http://law.onecle.com/new-york/business-corporations/index.html

kyle; you are right. In NY (as opposed to other places) what i am used to being called assault is called

S 120.15 Menacing in the third degree.
A person is guilty of menacing in the third degree when, by physical
menace, he or she intentionally places or attempts to place another
person in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical
injury.
Menacing in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor.

Oh, Geezus, 30, sounds horrible, a real f*ckfest. Sounds like it's been dragging on for years.

"the Judge made a Summary Judgment Ruling against the Coop for over $900,000." Good for you!! Shows you were in the right all along. Are they appealing this?

Will the coop sue the 2nd opinion atty for malpractice? Now I see why the firm broke up & one has fled.

When the whole thing's over, perhaps you'll tell me what was the basis of the original Pullman action.

Life is tooooo short for this kind of BS litigation. A bunch of scared & angry yentas & bullies, all in need of psychiatric help.

Generally speaking, "battery" is a word used in common law. Today, each state has criminal statutes, which often use the word "assault" & various degrees based on intent & damage caused.

"Sounds like it's been dragging on for years."

Only like 12 years in some form or another.

Dwell,

Maybe when I get the energy I'll write up a thread about "how bad things can get in a small Coop", but it will probably be too long for anyone to read. The guy who Truth and i are talking about screamed for years that even if we won, the would appeal. Now they aren't.

The Board won't sue the 2nd opinion guy for malpractice because basically he gave them what they wanted, which is a back-up to the first idiots opinion, both of which were used to justify handing over $700,000 to "settle" worthless claims for their own personal reasons. NB The settlement agreement doesn't even reference what is being settled, and although they are supposedly getting a General Release, they AREN'T getting any indemnification from suits by the guy's former or current subtenants, employees, etc. which I've never seen (i.e. you always get an indem to go along with the release). While I haven't seen any papers filed yet, it appears that one has bought an index number?

9th Street Restaurant LLC
v.
Penquin Tenants Corporation
3/11/2010 10-103235

Breach of lease. The plaintiffs, the owners of the restaurant "Employees Only" on Hudson Street, were forced to abandon their plans to open a restaurant on 9th Street because the defendant board failed to remediate extensive mold damage at the restaurant premises. $10 million.

Michael Rogers
Wasserman Grubin

How long do they have to file papers? I don't see anything on the eCourts site yet?

30yrs: Its really neither here nor there, but my comments about what is actionable criminally refer to shouting and screaming and hurling insults--I've not said anywhere that threatening physical violence against another is permissible. However, in truth, the police aren't arresting anyone because a neighbor walks in and says, "x said he wants to break my neck," or "the Board president said he wished I were dead." Frankly, I'm not sure a desk sergeant would even take the complaint because those types of hyperbolic statements are not really what the statute contemplates. Menacing 3 is the lowest possible criminal offense (B misd.) and is virtually never charged on its own. It is an ancillary charge added mostly to misdemeanor assaults and criminal mischief cases where property gets damaged during disputes. You see it in domestic violence cases mostly.

I would not waste a second of time trying to "fight" this until the Board tries to use it. The AG is not going to take issue with a Board trying to "protect" residents. The Board does have a responsibility to enforce house rules, including "quiet enjoyment" or whatever is written. This is obviously silly, and should be treated as such. If the Board tries to levy these fines, then there's some meat on the bone.

It sounds like this particular board is led by a jerk. I deal with condo boards all the time, and I can tell you that contrary to many of the comments here, most boards are made up of people who just want their buildings to run smoothly and cost-effectively.

the simple answer is that you have COOPER SQUARE. they are the worst and sleeziest management company around. remind me of the ones that were put in jail in the 90's. the management company is suppose to assist the board in creation of the rules that are enforceable. cooper square is in the business of letting the board know of how to get the most kickbacks, that's all.

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pm, you need to look up your terms. "quiet enjoyment" refers to peace of title, not peace of mind.

@ab_11218 So true. I'm not going into any detail, suffice to say I once lived in a Cooper Square managed building, and I vowed NEVER, EVER AGAIN. Agree... they ARE the worst and sleaziest. They are the worst. And I would advise anyone to STAY AWAY from any building they manage.

Oh, dwell, if you feel like reading it just for jollies:

https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/DocumentDisplayServlet?documentId=n8u9z AQBnkCaT 0jPAOPg==&system=prod

Just to clarify the above comment... I found Cooper Square to be unresponsive and unhelpful with the issues I had while living in a Cooper Square managed building. By no means do I wish to suggest this would be true for everyone... I am sure many people have wonderful experiences living in a Cooper Square building, and great interactions dealing with management, but that simply wasn't the case for me.

""Business Corporation" law does not apply to CONDOS"
Ok, so Matt, what governs their meetings & elections? Some law must govern the procedure to elect a Bd.

"I would not waste a second of time trying to "fight" this until the Board tries to use it." pmorrow, I agree, but, anon is upset & perhaps he wants to be proactive & not wait for the sh*t to hit before finding out whether this resolution has teeth.

I have heard so much bad stuff about Cooper Sq, I will stay clear of them.

Stevie is correct about quiet enjoy.

30, thank you for this, I will read it.

Matt,

think I found it: http://www.condolaw.com/public_html/sa107.html
New York Condominium Act in 1964, (Laws of 1964, chapter 82, effective March 2, 1964).
But, I don't know if this governs meetings & Bd elections

Old, but interesting, seems like all this stuff is in the condo documents:

http://www.tenant.net/Rights/atgcondo.html

Q. Where can I find the condominium's internal rules?

A. Copies of the original by-laws and declaration (plus house rules, if any) can be found in the offering plan that was distributed when the building first converted.

Q. If I can't find an offering plan, where can I find the bylaws and declaration?

A. The Board of Managers is required by law to make copies of the declaration, by-laws, floor plans, and any rules and regulations available for inspection in their office.

Q. What kind of information is contained in these documents?

A. The by-laws, declaration and rules will set forth the following:

* The powers and duties of the Board of Managers.

* Dates when annual unit owner meetings and elections to the Board of Managers are held, and how notice is given.

* The number of seats the sponsor can have on the Board of Managers and when the sponsor must give up control.

* Whether unit owners have the right to call extra or special meetings (a very valuable right if you wish to ask the board to focus on particular matters).

* The quorum for voting.

* Sublet provisions although, generally, there are no restrictions.

* How the declaration can be amended (including percentage required).

* The method of adopting or amending rules.

* The procedure for amending the by-laws.

* The restrictions on the use of units and common elements.

* The obligation to repair.

* Pet restrictions, if any.

Q. If something isn't specifically addressed in these documents, can the board do whatever it wants?

A. No, there are legal restrictions. The Condominium Act is the New York State law which governs the establishment of condominiums. The decisions made by courts in cases involving the Condominium Act are the case law which interprets the statute.

Q. Where can I find a copy of the Condominium Act?

A. The Condominium Act is Article 9-B of the Real Property Law, which is published as volume 49 of McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York Annotated ("McKinney's"). It can be found in law libraries, many lawyer's offices and in certain public libraries. Included in Article 9-B of volume 49 are brief descriptions of case decisions.

Q. What does the Condominium Act provide?

A. Important provisions of the Condominium Act, and the sections in which they are found, include the following:

* Requirement that unit owners comply strictly with the bylaws, regulations, resolutions, and decisions of the condominium. Failure to do so is grounds for a lawsuit for money due, damages, and/or an injunction by the Board of Managers or by an individual owner. (Section 339-j).

* Declaration that the common interest appurtenant to each unit shall remain permanent, and subject to change only with the consent of all unit owners affected. Any such change would necessitate amending the declaration. (Section 339- i[2]).

* Provision that expenses will be charged to unit owners according to their respective common interests, with specific exceptions.(Section 339-m).

* Copies of the declaration, by-laws, floor plans, and any rules and regulations shall be available for inspection in the office of the Board of Managers. (Section 339-q).

* Contents of the by-laws (Section 339-v):

o election of managers and terms (with at least one-third ending annually);

o powers and duties of the board;

o method of removing members of the board, election of the president, secretary and treasurer;

o operation of the property, including hiring and firing of employees;

o adoption and amendment of rules;

o amendment of by-laws by at least 66 2/3% of unit owners;

o restrictions on use of property (units and common elements).

* Detailed records of receipts and expenditures must be kept by the board and made available to owners. A written report must be rendered annually. (Section 339-w).

* Right to file a lien for unpaid common charges (may be exercised by any member of the Board of Managers). This is a key provision if a sponsor has defaulted on its payments. (Section 339-aa).

Q. What's the best approach when the Board of Managers is not complying with either the Condominium Act or the condominium's own declaration, by-laws or rules and regulations?

A. A unit owner should point out this lack of compliance, in a tactful way, expressing the expectation that the matter will be corrected. Sometimes this is all that is needed to solve a problem.

Q. What if the board won't respond to an oral request?

A. You should write a letter to the board. It should be factual, brief and not hostile. Keep copies of any letters that you send, and notes of telephone conversations (date, time, who called whom, and the gist of the conversation) in case the matter is not quickly resolved.

Q. Should I do this on my own or get together with other unit owners?

A. An attempt to influence the board is always more persuasive if it is presented by a significant number of unit owners. If your problem is one that will affect others too, it is worth organizing the other unit owners. If you do, and the attempt to change the situation is not successful, the organized group can always seek to elect new managers at the next annual meeting.

Q. What if the board still doesn't respond to my complaint? Should I hire a lawyer?

A. If the situation is serious enough, you may want to retain a private attorney. However, the following should be kept in mind:

It is a good idea to select someone with experience in handling condominium unit owners' problems. You could begin looking for an attorney by talking with unit owners in your condo or other condos or with attorneys in other specialty areas. If this fails, you may wish to contact a local Bar Association for referrals.

Some lawyers will not charge for a single initial consultation or will charge only a minimal fee.

Most lawyers will attempt to resolve any matter through negotiation before considering litigation, as litigation is costly and usually lengthy. Litigating against the board of a condominium, people with whom one lives, can also be very unpleasant.

Q. How long can a sponsor control the Board of Managers?

A. Condominiums are generally established by a sponsor which files an offering plan with the Attorney General's office and then can sell condo units to the public. When the condominium becomes effective (established), the sponsor usually owns most of the units and thus controls the Board of Managers. In most cases the Attorney General requires sponsors to promise, in the offering plan, that they will give up their control of the Board of Managers after they sell over fifty percent of the common interest, or after five years have passed since the closing, whichever comes first.

Q. How can the Attorney General's office help me?

A. The Attorney General's office regulates the offer and sale of real estate securities (which includes condominium units) by the sponsor. If the sponsor of the condominium is still controlling the Board of Managers or is not keeping the commitments which it made in the offering plan, the Attorney General's office may intervene on your behalf.

Comment removed.

As a funny side note, This President was so infuriated when someone was putting flyers under doors before the last election,(flyers recommended another board)that he called in his troops immediately went door to door tearing up every flyer he could find. When the person who went to great effort to distribute these flyers saw this being done, he grabbed a handful of them away from the President and they had words. The President then called the police and started yelling, "I've been assaulted, I've been assaulted." Funniest thing you've ever seen. Then of course the boyfriend yelled obscenities as he does many times. Wonder if that is on his resume when he ran for Congress? LOL

Oh 30,

What a bullsh*t case. Unbelievable that so much time, energy & $ was wasted on this crap. Based on the decision, seems clear there was both actual & apparent authority & no conflict of interest since you disclosed from the beginning. Also, silence is acceptance when there's a need to speak and they never complained about the bills.

IMO, this is an example of SHs who fail to actively get involved, let other people handle the details & then bitch about the outcome, as well as paying the bill. Too bad Bd didn't cut a deal w/ lawyers on the fee cuz now, there's a jdgmnt for the full amount. IMO, in this case, seems like suing the lawyers for their fees was really stupid.

Also, the subT had offered to settle, but Bd said no. Just curious why. Commercial leases can be a mine field.

Oh well, 30, I hope this is over, but I see there's some Appell Division stuff going on, which is dumb de dumb dumb.

"Dwell: Wow! For a lawyer who has no desire -- you sure are making the time to help out with useful info"

Truth, I know, I'm a sic pup, but, like I said, I got obsessed. Even sicker: this is fun for me. I really need a vacation or lobotomy!!!!!!!!!

Comment removed.

Now it's downloadable:

New York Laws: Real Property : (339-d - 339-kk) Condominium Act

http://law.justia.com/newyork/codes/real-property/idx_rpp0a9-b.html

But, remember that case law (court decisions) interprets the statute (Condominium Act)

OK, that's it, no more. maybe.

aw, shucks, Truth. thanx :)

Comment removed.
Comment removed.

Truth,

No offense to MAs, but, some MAs are really stupid. And, that is very unfortunate because, in NYC, MAs are a necessity of life & many of them suck.

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