Dec 7, 2018

Co-op Board and the Great “Washing Machine” Dispute

Co-op Board vs. Washing Machine

Nancy McCaskill  bought the shares for a cooperative apartment in Mount Vernon, New York in April 1998. At the time she entered into possession a washing machine was installed. In 2014, the Board of Directors enacted the following House Rule 21: The Board of Directors having determined that the plumbing systems of the Buildings are not sufficiently robust to allow use of washing machines without damage to the plumbing and to other apartments, washing machines, dryers or combination washer/dryer machines are not permitted to be used or kept in any apartment. The cooperative did not contact McCaskill regarding her washing… 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

Sep 3, 2010

Recent Legislation on Short-Term Leasing and Powers of Attorney

Power of Attorney Paperwork

Two newly enacted laws in New York State affect cooperatives and condominiums:  one prohibits the leasing of apartments for less than 30 days; the second involves the effectiveness of powers of attorney which are often used in cooperative and condominium transactions.   Short-Term Leasing Chapter 225 of the Laws of 2010 prohibits the leasing of apartments in Class A multiple dwellings, which includes virtually all residential cooperatives and condominiums, for time periods of less than 30-days.  This effectively eliminates the use of apartments as hotel rooms, “bed and breakfast” accommodations or other short-term rentals.  There are some exceptions.  Non-family members… Read more

Aug 25, 2009

Authority to Impose Fines

Red Card

We have been asked from time to time by cooperative (“coop”) and condominium boards about their ability to impose fines to ensure compliance with house rules.   While the fines that boards seek to impose are generally small, boards occasionally seek to charge considerable sums for repeated or continuing infractions. You should be aware, however, that regardless of the amount, the legality of fines or penalty fees may be subject to question.   Courts have determined that the New York Condominium Act authorizes a condominium board to impose fines.  See Sweetman v. Board of Managers of Plymouth Village Condominium, 1998 WL 112655… 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

May 21, 2003

“Objectionable” Shareholders

signing lease

This memorandum was initially issued by the cooperative/condominium practice group of Balber Pickard Maldonado & Van Der Tuin, PC which joined Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP on February 1, 2017 and now practices as part of SGR’s cooperative/condominium practice group. We are pleased to report that the New York Court of Appeals in 40 West 67th Street Corp. v. Pullman unanimously affirmed the decision our firm obtained last May from an intermediate appellate court.  As you may recall, in that decision, a divided court upheld a cooperative’s right to terminate a shareholder’s proprietary lease on account of “objectionable” conduct.  This… Read more