Mar 26, 2020

Annual Meetings and COVID-19

ANNUAL MEETING photo

We have received a number of COVID-19 related inquiries from cooperative and condominium boards asking about how to deal with annual shareholder and unit owner meetings that their bylaws state should be held in the next few months. There are a number of options: The simplest, most straightforward option is to postpone holding the meeting until conditions improve and “social distancing” is no longer an issue. The NY Business Corporation Law contemplates that a corporation may fail to hold an annual meeting when required under its bylaws, and provides that, except in very special circumstances, doing so is without consequence…. Read more


Jan 18, 2019

Nuisance on Central Park West

Smoking violated condominium by-laws

A Central Park West condominium sued the owner of a first-floor unit and her son for breach of contract and nuisance. The Board wanted to enjoin them from smoking marijuana and making excessive noise in their unit. At the outset, the Supreme Court issued a preliminary injunction that prohibited defendants from smoking marijuana and permitting marijuana smoke and excessively loud noises from infiltrating into the common areas and other units of the condominium. And several months later the Court addressed the application for a permanent injunction. The by-laws prohibited nuisance within the condominium property, as well as improper, offensive, or unlawful… Read more


Sep 21, 2018

Court Addresses Dispute Over Display of American Flag

American flag on Condo

Condominium by-laws, declarations and rules and regulations govern many details of residential apartment living and unit owners are obligated to comply with them even if they feel that they impinge upon their rights.  This point is illustrated by a recent lawsuit involving the display of an American flag. A unit owner had installed a relatively small flagpole on the wall outside of his unit in order to fly a 2.5′ by 4.5′ American flag over an interior courtyard.  The condominium’s board sought to enjoin the activity, claiming that the unit owner violated the condominium’s declaration, by-laws and rules and regulations… 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


Aug 23, 2006

Interest on Unpaid Maintenance and Common Charges

Repairman - Elevator Circuit

Most cooperative proprietary leases and condominium by-laws permit the board to charge interest on unpaid maintenance or common charges and set forth a fixed percentage or amount for the interest.   Some leases and by-laws, including the forms recommended by our firm to its clients, provide authority to the board to set and change the interest rate or late fees from time-to-time.  However, where the by-laws or lease set a fixed interest rate or formula, it is important that the interest actually charged by the board and managing agent complies with the terms of the lease and by-laws. The amount of… Read more


Apr 28, 2006

Board Elections and Shareholder Status

NYC Conference Room with a View

As we enter the season when many cooperatives and condominiums hold their annual meetings, it is important to make certain that the election of board members is conducted properly.   Sometimes this can be difficult, especially in buildings that have contradictory or ambiguous by-law provisions.  These uncertainties lead to acrimony and, occasionally, to litigation. As an example of ambiguity, one provision may simply require that to become a board member the candidate must be a resident of the building (or sometimes just a resident of the state) and over 18 years of age, but not require that the candidate be a… Read more


Aug 9, 2005

Condominium Boards’ Right to Restrict Sales

For Sale Signs on Condo

A recent court decision has generated a considerable amount of confusion among some condominium boards and condominium unit owners regarding the power of condominiums to regulate the sale of units in a manner similar to cooperatives.  We hope that this memorandum will help to clarify matters. The decision, Demchick v. 90 East End Avenue Condominium, 18 A.D.3d 383, 796 N.Y.S.2d 62 (1st Dep’t 2005), was issued on May 31, 2005 by the Appellate Division for the First Department (which covers Manhattan and the Bronx).  The condominium at issue sought, through the amendment of its by-laws, to limit the sale of… Read more