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Boards and the Law

By Jonathan Barnes

Having an apathetic, uncommunicative board is a big issue in many buildings and associations, but the opposite situation—a board that oversteps its authority—can be just as problematic. When a board does something it should not do, or fails to do something it should (like holding a meeting), it can cost a community in money spent on lawsuits, bad press, and discord among neighbors.

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Managing Smaller Buildings

By David Jones

One of fastest growing segments in New York area real estate is the increased popularity of boutique condos and co-ops. According to Propertyshark.com data, there are about 5,000 condo or co-op buildings across the city that have between just one and six units. Read More

Keeping the Beat

By Mike Odenthal

In any co-op or condo association, as with any decision-making body, meetings are essential for influencers to gather and make choices that best represent the interests of their communities. Read More

The ABCs of Municipal Government

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 on the Lower East Side needs to utilize a plethora of municipal services and interact with the various city and state agencies that run them. Read More

You Want To See What?

By Liz Lent

Big purchases come with big reams of paperwork...it’s frustrating, but a fact of life. For co-op shareholders and condo owners, that concept can equate to hundreds of pages of documents outlining everything from the financial status of their residential community to rules on sharing common areas. Read More

How to Be a Great Board Member

By Danielle Braff

Often, the best, most successful boards and communities share the same combination of habits and traits; all the while, the worst, least successful boards and communities share the same habits and traits, as well. Case in point: there isn’t tremendous mystery in what actions make certain communities successful…and others complete failures. Read More

Vendor Relationships

By Keith Loria

Frequently, there are needs for repairs, replacements, services, cleanings, or renovations; thus, service vendors are necessary trade professionals for condo or association boards. Carmelo Milio, the president and director of property management for Trion Real Estate Management in Yonkers, says when dealing with vendors, you should treat them equally and compare apples to apples. Read More

Building Social Media at Your Community

By W.B. King

Social media impacts just about everyone…few escape its presence in personal life or the business world. Whereas Facebook was once a leading platform for millennials, the portal has increasing appeal to the aging demographic, especially in lieu of Twitter and Instagram. Regardless of the chosen medium, social media has redefined 21st century communication, doubtlessly. Read More

Home Sweet Home

By Anne Childers

The concept of high-rise living—people on top of each other—or across a privacy fence in condo living, doesn’t automatically equate to a sense of community; in fact, the close proximity sometimes has opposite effect. The reality is, residents with hectic schedules and thriving careers, or those who are continuing their education and/or raising children, often have minimal time or interest in socializing with neighbors. Read More

Property Management Contracts

By Danielle Braff

Any New York building of significant size needs a professional building manager in order to function from day-to-day, and even smaller buildings often need some help from a management company. Before any management company is hired, however, there’s a contract involved, and this can be tricky. Read More

The Dream Team

By Christy Smith-Sloman

The “Dream Team” label is often used to describe a perfect combination of highly-skilled people drawn together for a particular purpose. The 1992 U.S. mens' Olympic basketball team is probably the most famous example, but 'dream teams' have included everything from legal defense attorneys to diplomatic missions. Read More

Called to Serve

By George Leposky

In a dense urban or sprawling suburban environment, people can still feel isolated. While high-rise residential buildings and suburban subdivisions put many people and families in very close proximity to one another, living side-by-side doesn’t automatically transform a group of people into a community. Sometimes, just the opposite. Read More

The Call of Duty

By Mike Odenthal

When electing board members to serve on behalf of your condo or co-op community, you expect them to act as crusaders for prosperity, considering the needs of the building and the people who live there to be paramount when making their decisions. The responsibility that a board has to serve in the best interests of its community is called “fiduciary duty,” and it is not to be taken lightly. Read More

Proxies & Procedures

By Elizabeth Lent

The candidates. The issues. The campaigns. Excitement and suspense are built into just about every election, including those of co-op and condo board members. In fact, those elections can stir even more emotion given the impact they may have on the daily lives of the residents casting the votes. Board member elections take place regularly and invite the participation of all who wish to help shape the future of the community in which they live. They present a chance each year for the voices of shareholders and unit owners to be heard. Read More

Foundational Documents for Co-ops & Condos

By Elizabeth Lent

From the Magna Carta to the U.S. Constitution, written documents have helped shape the way people live and interact with one another for centuries. The fundamental documents that establish co-ops and condos have that same importance in building a well-oiled, well-functioning community albeit on a smaller scale, of course. That is why it is so important to ensure that these materials are up-to-date, accurate and fully reflect the co-op, condo and people who live within it. Read More

To Claim, or Not to Claim?

By Greg Olear

Individuals, associations and other entities carry insurance coverage to protect them from liability, loss, and other financial and legal threats—that's pretty basic. What isn't always so basic is deciding when to file a claim versus paying out of pocket for a loss or damage. Read More

Monster Meetings

By Lisa Iannucci

The headline of a recent Walpole, Massachusetts newspaper article reads: “Fight between Walpole selectmen cuts meeting short.” The first sentence of the article stated, “Selectmen came to verbal blows on Tuesday night, prompting other board members to cut the meeting short as two of their colleagues took the altercation outside.” Read More

Who’s Responsible for Repairs?

By Raanan Geberer

Say you’re in bed and you hear what sounds like the shower going, but it's late, and you're tired, so you pay it no mind. You wake up at 4 a.m. to get a glass of water, and find half the rooms in your apartment flooded— you forgot to turn the shower off! You throw blankets and towels on the floor to soak up the water, then you call your building’s maintenance staff. Read More

The ABC’s of Insuring Your Co-op or Condo

By Elizabeth Lent

Sometimes insurance and the terms that accompany it can feel like a completely foreign language. It can be mystifying and overwhelming, whether for individual co-op or condo residents or the board members who oversee the community as a whole. The insurance industry uses a tremendous amount of shorthand, and the degree of coverage has seemingly grown exponentially in the last couple decades. With lawsuits and other forms of legal recourse now just a common reality of life in co-ops, condos and HOAs, board members and property managers need to be diligent about what kind of insurance coverage they have and require. Read More

Identifying Insurance Options

By Anne Childers

You can’t underestimate the value of insurance. In a simple analogy, operating a business—or the day-to-day business of a co-op or condo—without adequate insurance coverage is a lot like skydiving without a parachute. Needless to say, it’s a risky proposition. Read More

When Waters Rise

By Keith Loria

According to a 2013 poll by the Insurance Information Institute, only 13 percent of American homeowners have some sort of flood insurance policy, and those living in New York City are low on that list. Read More

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

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