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


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


Mar 7, 2016

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand Smoke from Ashtray

Over the past few years a number of our clients have asked about the legal implications of secondhand smoke in their buildings. The law on the issue has been largely unsettled.  However, boards and property managers should be aware of a clearly emerging trend of imposing liability on cooperative and condominium boards that permit smokers to subject their neighbors to secondhand smoke.  This trend is highlighted by a recent decision in the case of Reinhard v. Connaught Tower Corp., a lawsuit brought in the New York State Supreme Court for Manhattan. The plaintiff in the Reinhard case had purchased a… Read more


Mar 4, 2015

Occupants

Packing to Move

Our clients frequently ask questions concerning what occupants are allowed in a cooperative or condominium apartment. The answer is very situation-specific and depends on four sets of rules: (i) the governing documents of the building – principally the by-laws for a condominium and the proprietary lease for a cooperative, (ii) New York state’s “Roommate Law”, (iii) state and city laws involving short-term occupancies, and (iv) federal, state and city anti-discrimination laws. Cooperatives’ proprietary leases usually limit occupancy to the lessee and the lessee’s “immediate family” and domestic employees unless board permission is granted for other occupants. In both cooperatives and… Read more


Aug 7, 2014

More on Mold

man coughing

In a recent decision, the New York State Court of Appeals[1] has resolved conflicting lower court decisions we have reported in previous memoranda[2] and raised the bar for the successful prosecution of claims based on alleged injury from mold.  Although cooperatives and condominiums will still be subject to such claims, the Court made clear that the claims should be judged based on the strict application of the evidentiary rules applicable to expert scientific evidence.[3]  In the case before it, the Court dismissed the claim because the evidentiary requirements had not been satisfied. The decision reviewed the two casual determinations required… Read more


Mar 21, 2013

Casualty Loss Deduction for Coop Owners

Tax Form

In the aftermath of a natural disaster or other casualty, apartment owners are faced with the cost of repairs, sorting out insurance, and tax issues – for both their own apartment and their building.  Fortunately, one of the tax issues has now been resolved by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (which includes New York City) in a manner favorable to owners of cooperatives. In Alphonso v. Comm’r of Internal Revenue, ____ F.3d ____, 2013 WL 440162 (2d Cir. 2013), the court reversed the position of the Internal Revenue Service and held that owners of cooperatives… Read more