Sep 19, 2019

Statutory Changes Affecting Cooperatives and Condominium Unit Owners — Update

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Last month, we distributed a bulletin describing recent New York State legislation affecting cooperatives and condominium unit owners. One of the items we noted was a change to the New York Real Property Law imposing a $20 limitation on the fees that may be charged to applicants for leases. In light of this change, we suggested that cooperatives charge such fees to the sellers of apartments rather than the applicant/purchasers. (The bulletin we issued is available here.) On September 13, 2019, the New York State Department of State issued official Guidance stating that the $20 limitation does not apply to… Read more


Sep 11, 2019

Common Charges in Mixed-Use Condominiums

photo of man using calculator

Condominium boards that operate buildings with both commercial and residential units frequently ask us for assistance in disputes involving the calculation of common charges. Determining common charges in buildings that are completely residential is typically straightforward — the board develops a budget and then divides the projected common expenses among the units based on each unit’s respective percentage of the common interest.  However, in a mixed-use building where there are both commercial and residential units, the New York Condominium Act permits them to be allocated common charges differently where authorized by the condominium’s declaration and bylaws. Unfortunately, in our experience,… Read more


Aug 9, 2019

Statutory Changes Affecting Cooperatives and Condominium Unit Owners

New York rent laws - Condos & Co-ops

The sweeping changes in New York’s rent laws that were passed by the Legislature and signed into law on June 14, 2019, have been widely reported. While these changes will have a substantial, if not drastic, effect on conventional rental housing, they are largely irrelevant as far as the operations of cooperatives and condominiums are concerned.  The legislation that made changes to the rent laws also made a number of changes to other laws that do affect cooperatives and condominium unit owners. Among these changes are the following: Under a change in the NY General Obligations Law, security deposits and rent… Read more


Oct 15, 2017

New 2018 Requirements for Cooperatives and Condominiums

Central Park West NYC

The New York City Council and the New York State Legislature have recently passed legislation subjecting new compliance and reporting requirements for cooperatives and condominiums.  Although these requirements do not go into effect until 2018, cooperative and condominium boards and their managing agents should be aware of them. Smoking On August 28th Mayor De Blasio signed into law a number of bills passed by the City Council amending the New York City Administrative Code to further regulate and discourage smoking.  The use of electronic cigarettes, which many had assumed was already subject to the same “smoking” restrictions as tobacco products, is… Read more


Aug 23, 2017

Collecting Arrears – When Owners Fail to Pay

Mortgage Payment on Calendar: Collecting Arrears

Most cooperative and condominium apartment owners pay their monthly fees and assessments in full and on time.   However, some of our clients have recently reported an uptick in arrearages.  There are both similarities and differences that address collecting arrears for cooperatives and condominiums. First, the similarities. Allowing habitual or significant arrearages to accrue poses at least three potential problems for all buildings.  Arrearages impose cash-flow difficulties that, if not addressed promptly, place a financial burden on both regularly paying owners, who must shoulder the deficit, and on building managers who must juggle it.  They can create a downward spiral, acrimony… Read more


May 10, 2017

More on Second-Hand Smoke

Coffee and Cigarette

Cooperative and Condominium Directors and Managers: There was a collective sigh of relief last week when the Appellate Division, First Department – the New York appellate court whose jurisdiction includes Manhattan and the Bronx – unanimously reversed the lower court’s decision in Reinhard v. Connaught Tower Corp. and vacated an award of substantial damages to a cooperative’s shareholder who claimed that the use of her apartment had been impeded by the infiltration of second-hand cigarette smoke. The Appellate Division did not eliminate the liability of a cooperative or a condominium for second-hand smoke; however, it did indicate that such liability… Read more


Mar 1, 2017

Cooperative Transfers to Family Members

Cooperative Building

Cooperative Directors and Managers: The New York Court of Appeals recently issued its decision in the case of Del Terzo v. 33 Fifth Avenue, which had been moving through the New York courts for four and a half years. The decision is significant because it establishes statewide limitations on the exercise of board discretion in many cooperatives insofar as reviewing the applications of family members to acquire apartments following the death of a lessee. At issue in Del Terzo was the application of a proprietary lease provision providing that after the death of the lessee “consent shall not be unreasonably… Read more


Oct 25, 2016

Update on Short-Term Rentals

happy young couple opening door and welcoming friends apartment

On October 21st, Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill that allows fines to be imposed on persons who advertise short-term rentals such as those commonly marketed through Airbnb and similar services. The penalties available are $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation and $7,500 for third and subsequent violations. Airbnb challenged the validity of the law almost immediately in federal court but, unless its enforcement is enjoined or it is struck down, it will remain in effect. As we discussed in our prior memorandum dated March 4, 2015, titled “Occupants”, New York State law bans the… Read more


Sep 2, 2016

Directors and Officers Insurance—Some Pitfalls

Business Meeting

In recent instances, a number of boards that have come to us for representation have been chagrinned to discover that their insurance policies for directors and officers liability (“D&O”) did not fully cover claims by shareholders or unit owners. The result has been anxiety for board members, litigation expense for the building that would have been avoidable, and conflicts with the managing agent who had worked with a broker to place the insurance. It is important for board members and managing agents to understand the terms of D&O policies at the time they are purchased. All D&O insurance is not… Read more


May 3, 2016

Access to Adjoining Property During Construction

Construction Worker

Just about every cooperative and condominium in New York City will at some point need access to a neighboring property to be able to do work on its building or will be asked to provide access for its neighbors to allow them to do work on their building.[1]  The intrusion may be minimal – like putting protective planking on a roof – or extensive and disruptive – such as erecting scaffolding, closing off courtyards or terraces, or causing significant noise or vibration.  What do you do?  What can you do? The basic rules are pretty simple.  The property owner who… Read more