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To Choose or Not to Choose

By Danielle Braff

Running the day-to-day business of a co-op, condo or HOA of any size—be it a self-contained high-rise in Manhattan or a sprawling, multi-building community in Queens—requires not just a functional board but a team of competent outside professionals. These professionals keep things running smoothly and efficiently for residents and boards—from the legal counsel who advises board members on their responsibilities under the law, to the accountant who balances the books and keeps tabs on the building’s assets, to the property manager who juggles board, resident, and municipal concerns. Read More

Cooperation is Key

By Jonathan Barnes

Working together is something we all must do in one or many ways pretty much every day. But it’s a rule of thumb that’s easy to forget, given the varying pressures of a 21st century economy and the needs of businesses to profit, and of residents to have reasonably peaceful lives in their multi-family dwellings. Read More

A Board Too Far

By Jonathan Barnes

While it's true that having apathetic leadership is an all-too-common problem in a lot of co-op and condo buildings, having a board that oversteps the boundaries of its power or invades the privacy of residents can be just as bad. Ignorance of proper procedure is usually the reason for this kind of problem, rather than malice or other nefarious intent—which means that a better informed board is less apt to go beyond its authority and cause trouble for the community. Read More

Writing the Rules

By George Leposky

Community living' in the context of a co-op or condo building means abiding by a set of rules and regulations designed to serve the community’s best interests and maintain property values. The building board makes the rules, and the residents abide by them. Usually, this give-and-take is pretty painless but sometimes the rulemakers themselves run amok. Read More

Being Grilled

By Raanan Geberer

Of all the stages of co-op life, the initial application and approval process, especially the interview, is certainly the most harrowing. Many people are in fear that just one wrong word will mean the difference between acceptance and rejection. The more “exclusive” and upscale the building, the more difficult this process seems to be. Read More

On Board

By Cooperator Staff

Bob Ricken -- North Shore Towers

The Building: North Shore Towers & Country Club, a cooperative spread out over 110 acres, commands the highest point in Queens with views of the Empire State Building, Long Island Sound and Connecticut, the Atlantic Ocean, and JFK International airport. Three three-story buildings are connected by an underground arcade that features a supermarket, drug store, a bank, beauty parlor, spa, restaurant, 460-seat movie theater and a dry cleaner. Amenities also include an 18-hole golf course, five Har-Tru tennis courts, a fully-equipped gym that provides classes from early morning to 10 p.m. One indoor pool and three outdoor pools also serve residents year-round and other recreational offerings include basketball, shuffleboard, ping pong and billiards. The buildings also have their own emergency generators. The property is managed by Charles H. Greenthal. Read More

Multifamily Storage Options

By Greg Olear

The perks of living in New York are obvious to anyone reading these pages, and won’t be listed here. But there is one glaring drawback to city life: lack of space. We all have winter coats we don’t need in August, air conditioners we don’t use in February, and a lifetime of old tax returns, pay stubs and old issues of magazines we subscribed to in 1992 that we can’t bear to part with. Where to put all that stuff? It won’t all fit under the bed. Read More

Happy Holidays!

By Christy Smith-Sloman

Holiday decorations are an easy way for an association to spread some seasonal cheer and add a cozy, communal vibe to the neighborhood. But what was once a practice limited to a couple of lights, ornaments and a menorah or two has migrated toward a decorating empire complete with 10-foot tall blow-up Santas, multicolored lights that pulse and twinkle and even moving reindeer and elves, synchronized to holiday music. Read More

The Ruling Class

By Hannah Fons

If your neighbor blasts his music during the weekends, do you have a right to complain to the management? Can you sublet a room in your co-op apartment to make some extra cash? How many unit owners have to be present at a meeting in order to amend the by-laws? These are questions that co-op shareholders, condo owners, and even board members frequently ask. While the answers can be complex at times, they are often simple resolutions found in each building’s governing documents. Read More

Dealing With the Disruptive

By Maggie Puniewska

Living in a condo means putting up with certain occasional inconveniences: that curious odor emanating from the neighbor’s unit, the downstairs saxophone player who practices every Tuesday afternoon, or that one resident that insists at every meeting that the board is spending too much money (even if they are way under budget). Read More

Meeting Minders

By Danielle Braff

You may love your building. You may even love your neighbors and the members of your board. But there are few people who can say that they love their monthly board meetings or annual owner or shareholder meetings. That’s because these meetings can drag on for hours, making even the most ardent condo association booster feel like they're an exercise in time-wasting. Still others watch their board and shareholder meetings devolve into pointless shouting matches, complete with name-calling. Read More

Just One Big, Happy Family...?

By Enjolie Esteve

Finding the right balance of involvement between HOAs and condo boards and residents can be like maintaining a healthy relationship with a significant other—you want to be compassionate, responsive and attentive, but not too needy, nosy or aggressive. Read More

High & Mighty

By Keith Loria

There’s nothing worse than being a unit owner in a building and seeing someone on your board breaking a rule and seemingly getting away with it. Read More

Resolve to Get Along (and Not Get a Lawyer)

By Steven Cutler

It’s no secret that lawsuits are expensive, acrimonious undertakings that can severely erode both the finances and morale of building communities. When a disagreement between a resident and the board escalates into a serious dispute and the threat of litigation is brought into the mix, it can make a bad situation worse. Read More

When Snowbirds Fly

By Anne Childers

Every year the cycle repeats itself in co-ops and condo communities in New York City: as temperatures drop and snow begins to swirl, flocks of empty nesters and others fortunate enough to own a second home in a warmer climate pack up and head south. Read More

The Democratic Way

By Marie N. Auger

Freelance photographer Jocelyn A. lives in a charming, post-war brick townhouse community of over 1,600 units and a $3 million annual budget. She receives a monthly newsletter with over 20 pages of everything to keep residents informed, but states, “sometimes I don’t even open it… what with my travel schedule and work commitments.” Read More

This Old Board

By Liz Lent

Read More

Get to Know Your Board

By Keith Loria

 Most co-op and condo residents have taken part in at least a few annual board  elections, and perhaps, they’ve even served on committees, or volunteered on behalf of their building in some  other capacity. But those who’ve never taken a serious interest in the administrative aspect of their  community may not really understand what it is that each officer on their  building's board actually does.  Read More

It Just Takes a Minute

By Jonathan Baron

 While a lot of the day-to-day business of running a co-op or condo building  happens in the management office or on-site at the level of maintenance and  staff management, meetings—board-only and resident alike—are the forum where important information is shared, policy formed, individual  voices heard, and big decisions made.   Read More

Unresponsive Boards

By Keith Loria

 There are a number of things that make shareholders unhappy in a co-op or condo,  but chief among the complaints is when the board just doesn’t seem to hear their concerns or doesn’t do its duty to keep shareholders informed of board meetings, important  decisions or anything else that might affect shareholders’ investment and day-to-day life in the building. Read More

The Importance of Being Transparent

By Jonathan Barnes

 A key to success and functionality in any relationship is clear, consistent  communication. In a residential community, part of achieving functionality is  managing the information in the governing documents and records which detail  the community’s finances, legal proceedings and correspondence between unit owners, the board,  the management company and others. Read More

Know the Rules

By Jonathan Barnes

 Back in the late 1800’s, an army officer named Henry Martyn Robert wrote a distillation of  Parliamentary Procedure (which was used by the American Congress at the time),  to help people run smooth and effective meetings, whether it be a church, local  government gathering, or other “deliberative societies.” Today, nearly every type of organization, from Fortune 500 companies to  small-town PTAs, use Robert’s Rules of Orderto keep their meetings focused. They use the procedure because it works. Read More

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

By Lisa Iannucci

 Read any of the major business publications or websites and you’re bound to find articles on the importance of delegating. It’s one of the most fundamental skills for a successful business owner to have. A  simple Internet search finds scores of tips for CEOs and smaller entrepreneurs  alike on how to delegate more effectively. Running an association isn’t quite like running a Fortune 500 company, but the concept of delegating tasks  works just as well with a board of directors for a homeowners association as it  does for a titan of industry or finance.   Read More

The Shareholder Versus the Board

By Ann Malaspina

When it comes to key security, most co-op shareholders and other tenants have no choice but to trust in their building manager. That's because New York state law requires tenants to provide landlords with duplicate keys, if requested. Whether that key goes into a locked box in the superintendent's office, hangs in an open cabinet next to the doorman or is placed in a high-tech key management system depends on building policy. Read More

Storing Your Life

By Debra A. Estock

 It’s the age-old question for apartment dwellers living in cramped spaces: where do  you store all of your possessions? If you live in a New York City co-op or  condo, most buildings have a solution: sizeable storage units at the ready that  you can rent out. Read More

Getting Good Help

By Steven Cutler

 Who wouldn’t want to be on the board of directors of their co-op or condo, watching over  their most precious possession and probably their most significant investment—their home? Read More

The ABC's of City Resources and Municipal Agencies

By Keith Loria

 You may live in the most well-run and self-sufficient building in the city, but  no building is an island, not even in developments from the sprawling  Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan to Co-op City in the Bronx to  the small six-story condo building in the Lower East Side needs to utilize a  plethora of municipal services and interact with the various city agencies that  run them. Read More

Knowledge is Power

By W.B. King

 While essential to the successful operation of all cooperatives or condominiums,  the contents of governing documents are often only glossed over by otherwise  well-intentioned boards members and managing agents leading to potential  pitfalls. As a result, co-op and condo attorneys often suggest that boards at  least revisit—and in some cases memorize—the various components of this all-important and varied document. Read More

Keeping the Books

By Danielle Braff

 Accountants are a norm for most people around tax time. And then, post-tax  season, we rarely think about them. But for co-op and condo owners, this  shouldn’t be the case. It’s crucial that large buildings hire an accountant to help with multiple items  within the building.

Read More

Write That Down!

By Raanan Geberer

 Everyone has experienced disorganization at one time or another. Say you have to  go somewhere, and you forgot your driver’s license, only to find it in the pocket of another jacket. Or you can’t locate your cell phone because you turned it off—only to finally find it under a pile of mail in the kitchen. Read More

Breaking Bad

By W.B. King

 As the old adage goes, one bad apple can upset the apple cart. The same theory  holds true for residents who choose to ignore bylaws or house rules, even if  they are well-intended and in place to serve the greater good of the community.  In the end, it’s the board that must take the pulse of the community and determine what rules  are appropriate and instruct the managing agent to enforce them as necessary. Read More

Following the Rules

By Lisa Iannucci

 The old adage says that everything old is eventually new again, but if we are  talking about a landmarked building in New York City, you may want everything  old to stay that way. New York City has over 80 historic districts featuring  unique styles of design, exceptional attention to cultural details, and  hand-painted or hand-carved architectural embellishments. Of course, a lot of  these historic gems are homes to modern people with modern lifestyles and  repairing, renovating or changing these buildings in any manner may require  special permission.   Read More

You're In Charge Now

By J.M. Wilson

 Launching a successful business requires talent, the commitment of many people,  dedication and of course, a clear cut plan and strategy. Just like launching a  business, a co-op or condo needs this kind of support when it makes the  transition from sponsor-run to board run. Read More

Can We Talk?

By Lynn Whiting

 The difference between a residential building that is successful and one that is  troubled can be the level of communication between the building’s shareholders and its board members. Although not commonly discussed, this is perhaps one of the most fundamental  relationships in managing a building that boasts happy residents and successful management  practices. However, like most things in life, external factors often create a  static in the communication lines between both parties, which may create  problems and leave issues unresolved. However, with several simple tools and a  keen awareness of the necessity of routinized communication, nagging problems  and resident angst can easily be eliminated. Read More

Getting Out the Vote

By Lisa Iannucci

 When it comes to running board elections in a condo or co-op community, the  biggest concern among those involved is making sure the elections are fair and  balanced and nobody has a reason to cry foul. Elections can be heated as it is,  so the voting process should run smoothly and without any hiccups.   Read More

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