Board/Management Relations

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Managing Amenities

By George Leposky

Whether a building is a luxury high rise with an in-house movie theater, rooftop pool, and climate-controlled wine cellar or a much more modest low-rise or townhome community with a simple community room or gazebo, managing common amenities is just another function of co-op and condo administration. Read More

Secrets of Successful Managers

By W.B. King

As jugglers of multiple and oftentimes complex tasks, property managers must be adept at mediating between board members and unit owners, as well as resolving all manner of maintenance and legal issues. To this end, property managers don’t have 'typical' days, but rather varied and challenging ones that are often complicated, and require a particular skill set to navigate. Read More

Knowing When to Call Your Manager

By Greg Olear

Olivia Pope, the main character on ABC’s Scandal,is a professional fixer. If you have a problem—any problem—she can fix it. Over the past two seasons plus, she’s rigged elections, covered up murders, employed professional hit men, exposed secrets, made and ruined countless lives, and played hard to get with the President of the United States. But the most amazing thing about Olivia Pope is that she’s always available. Walk into her office, she’s there. Call her cell, she’ll pick up. And when she answers, she can make even the biggest problems disappear. Read More

Changing Managers or Firms?

By Anne Childers

Whether change is good or bad often depends on who you talk to; even a welcome change produces a certain level of stress and adjustment. Personal changes are challenging enough, but for co-op and condo residents, a board decision to change property managers or firms will quite literally hit home. Even if a board has done adequate research, and the change is for the better, adjustments will still be required. By the same token, if a board has done less than satisfactory due diligence, there will almost certainly be unnecessary and unwanted chaos, as well as possible financial ramifications. Read More

A Day in the Life of a Manager

By Keith Loria

 A friend of a property manager of a New York co-op recently remarked that “Superman has finally met his match” when a task came in that seemed to have the effect of kryptonite and slowed him  down—for a moment at least.   Read More

Friend Us on Facebook

By W.B. King

 With smart-phones dominating the cellular market, people now have Internet  access anywhere and everywhere they go. While shopping and “googling” are leading reasons to use the Internet, the rise of social media has changed  the way in which people interact with one another, businesses and government.  Earlier this year, the City of New York hired its first chief digital officer,  a former Bloomberg Businessweek “Most Promising Social Entrepreneur,” Rachel Sterne. She has been charged with developing Web 2.0 technologies and  social media initiatives geared toward connecting the city’s 83 agencies and keeping residents informed. Read More

A Matter of Style

By Greg Olear

 Every co-op, condo and HOA community is different—each has its own distinctive character, attitude, and expectations. The same is  obviously true for the individual people who manage these communities and help  them run their day-to-day business.   Read More

Revenue or Reduction

By Liz Lent

 Budgeting is never easy, not for a family of four and certainly not for a co-op  or condo community of hundreds or thousands of residents. That fact is made all  the more difficult by the lingering effects of the recession, which continues  to wreak havoc with our confidence as well as our overall bottom line. For many  boards, trying to balance a budget these days requires making difficult  choices. If the budget is falling short, what is the solution? Raise more  revenue by raising fees? Or reduce costs by cutting back on services and  amenities? For residents, neither option is likely to win a popularity contest.   Read More

Come One, Come All

By Cooperator Staff

 The holidays are behind us, and the long haul toward spring is underway. Along  with the usual springtime showers and flowers, of course, comes The Cooperator’s annual Co-op & Condo Expo. The Expo is quietly taking shape as this spring’s must-attend event for the tri-state area’s property managers, board members, and unit owners.   Read More

Come to Order!

By Anthony Stoeckert

If you’ve ever attended a meeting and witnessed the group president call it into order, heard the secretary review the minutes of the previous meeting, heard motions, seconds and then voted, you have participated in parliamentary procedure. Very likely, you saw something called Robert’s Rules of Order put into action — even if you didn't realize it. Read More

Handling Sub-Par Maintenance

By Greg Olear

In most buildings—even otherwise well-run, well-managed ones—building staff and administration can sometimes get a little bit lax in their day-to-day maintenance duties. Equipment doesn’t get serviced. Paint peels. Dust and dirt accumulate in the corners of the hallway carpets. Spiders claim ownership of hard-to-reach ceiling corners. And in the basement, where the expensive machinery sits, less obvious signs of neglect can spell havoc for a building’s bottom line. Read More

The Least Popular Decision

By Jonathan Barnes

The boards of some co-op and condo buildings pride themselves on not raising their monthly maintenance fees for years at a time. At first glance, this might seem like a good thing—after all, low fees are appreciated by residents and can be attractive to potential buyers. Read More

Hiring the Pros Who know

By Raanan Geberer

Tax time is coming soon, and a time no one really enjoys will likely be even less fun thanks to the current recession. In the case of condo and co-op buildings however, accountants and attorneys may be able to help the communities they represent save money during the tax season. They can do this by making sure they’re assessed properly and, in the event of an error, by challenging these assessments via a tax certiorari proceeding through the New York City Tax Commission. Read More

Next Generation Property Management

By Benjamin Watson

Remember Stanley Roper from the 1970’s sitcom Three’s Company? To some, he might still be their idea of a property manager—the upstairs landlord or the guy you’d call when your plumbing’s on the fritz. And indeed, when the plumbing in your co-op or condo does spring a leak onto your hardwood floors and oriental carpet, or when it’s a freezing February morning and your heat is not working, the property manager suddenly becomes the most important person in the world. Today however, property managers do much more than fix plumbing. Read More

New York City Professionals Weigh in

By Brendan Flaherty

Last January, not even television psychic, Ms. Cleo, could have predicted the events that were set to unfold in 2008. With the unraveling of the economy that we’ve already heard quite a bit about and forecasts for a gloomy start to 2009, it’s as if we’re dealing with an economic Murphy’s Law. As a result, it is no surprise that most professionals in the industry have some concerns and trepidation looking forward. But the New Year is also a time to look back. A time to look at the hard facts, while moving forward and hoping for something better. Read More

How Companies Can Stay Competitive

By Stephanie Mannino

In a competitive industry, management companies must continuously find ways to retain current clients while honing an edge that makes them appealing to new customers. This is especially true in these tough economic times, as many individuals and communities face financial hardship and must make tough choices about the services they purchase. While economic turmoil and the housing slump have affected many areas of the real estate industry, management has not been hit as hard as some other areas—at least not yet. Companies are rolling with the punches and offering their new and existing clients the same high level of service, plus a few extras as well. Read More

Management and Board Relations

By Jonathan Barnes

Building boards and their managing agents function best when they work together as a team. Ideally, the two parties collaborate to implement policy, carry out administrative duties, and make decisions about the efficient operation of the building or association. Management contracts usually spell out the duties of the manager, but confusion sometimes arises among board members regarding the extent of their manager’s duties versus the limits of the board’s duties. Read More

What Size Management Company Fits You Best?

By Keith Loria

As anybody who’s ever been to an “all you can eat” sushi buffet can tell you, bigger isn’t always better, and if “more” is mediocre, sometimes you’d rather have less. The same applies when it comes to property management companies. Management firms come in all shapes and sizes, and offer different items on their service menus. When negotiating (or renegotiating) your building’s management contract, determining the type of company that is the best fit for your particular community is an important decision, and one that deserves a great deal of careful consideration and critical thinking. Read More

Making the Grade

By Lisa Iannucci

No matter what the job—be it flipping burgers at a chain restaurant or running a multinational investment firm—employees should be given periodic reviews of their performance to assess how they’re doing and identify both their strengths and areas where they could use improvement. Read More

Preserving Institutional Memory

By Edgar A. Falk

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Focus on Building Community

By Ronald L. Perl

It is easy to focus attention on the governance and business aspects of operating associations because of their immediacy. However, clear lines of communication and a strong sense of community among residents focuses everyone's attention on the positive benefits of being a part of the community and encourages participation in association activities. As a result, governance and business operations become less problematic. Read More

Above and Beyond Management

By Domini Hedderman

It's been said before, but bears repeating: while there are certain similarities, every co-op and condo building in New York City is different, and every building community has different needs, expectations, and amenities. Those expectations and needs may change over time as well—what works for one community for a few years may not work so well as building demographics shift and redesign themselves. Read More

Coping From a Management Perspective

By Lisa Iannucci

Lawsuits are an unfortunate, often expensive fact of life these days, and co-op and condo communities are not immune from seeing the inside of a courtroom, or at least a lawyer's office suite. An issue that arises between a resident and the board or between two or more residents can spiral out of control, wind up involving the managing agent, and end up in court. Then it becomes a battle of he-said/she-said until the lawsuit is over, a settlement is declared and it's back to building business as usual. Or is it? Read More

What Makes a Good Property Manager?

By Brendan Flaherty

A good property manager is like a hip dad. He or she may not say things like, "Hey pal, whatcha say we go toss around the ol' pigskin?" but like a hip dad, a property manager needs to have a certain set of specific traits and other, harder-to-define skills in order to be successful. Read More

When to Call Your Managing Agent...

By Stephanie Mannino

Whenever a problem arises, board members often have a knee-jerk reaction to call their managing agent immediately. In many cases, this is appropriate. But although it might be part of their job to communicate with the board, managing agents might not be able to respond to every call right away. And if your board is calling too frequently, your persistence might begin to irk your manager and put a strain on your working relationship. Read More

The Debate on Licensing Property Managers

By Liz Lent

In a number of states throughout the U.S., including Florida, Nevada and the District of Columbia, property managers are required by law to be licensed. This is not the case in New York, although a debate over the necessity of licensing has boiled quietly—and sometimes not so quietly—under the surface for decades. As can be imagined in a city of eight million property-obsessed people, there are myriad voices and opinions on the subject. Read More

The World on their Shoulders

By Mary K. Fons

If your planner or BlackBerry is full of to-do lists and scheduling conflicts, if you're often running up against deadlines and your cell phone rings constantly, you've got a lot in common with a New York property manager. Read More

The Co-op Manager Shortage

By Alexandra Wolf

The horror stories abound: Ivy Leaguers flipping fries. Dot-com darlings begging for work. A six percent unemployment rate. It's no secret that the New York job market is in the intensive care unit right now. So then how is it possible that co-op management agencies are taking out full-page wanted ads and offering hefty signing bonuses for qualified (and sometimes even less-than-qualified) recruits? Read More

Board/Building Harmony

By C. Jaye Berger, Esq.

As an attorney who represents co-op boards, building managers and shareholders, one sometimes wonders if the expression—“ You can’t please all the people all of the time” best applies to the idea of creating harmony between these parties. However, I believe that there is hope and that you can try to please more of the people more of the time, if you just listen to what they are saying and respond promptly. Read More

Noise, Graffiti and a Greener Environment

By Debra A. Estock, Liz Robbins and Kim Cameron

In its last meeting of 2005, the New York City Council enacted legislation to make the city a quieter, cleaner and more environmentally-friendly place to live. Perhaps one of the major initiatives sought by the mayor’s office was revising the city’s 30-year old noise code. Honking horns, noisy refuse trucks, construction clamor, boom boxes and car alarms are just some of the undeniable facts of life in living in the city that never sleeps. However, residents may sleep a little quieter when that outdoor noise, music and even barking dogs are muzzled by new restrictions that carry fines ranging from $50 to $8,000 depending on the nature of the offense. Read More

While You Were Out

By Lisa Iannucci

Mel Garskof is thrilled about the lobby makeover that will happen in the coming year at the Kips Bay area cooperative building where he lives. The public halls will be renovated, including new wallpaper and carpet, doors will be repainted, new molding will be applied and the spacious lobby will be reconfigured to include mailboxes and additional security measures. Read More

Strategies of Success

By Mary K. Fons

Property managers have a lot on their minds. There are board meetings to attend, legal issues to wade through, phone calls to return, emails to answer and a constant parade of maintenance issues to contend with at any given time. The job is tough -- especially if the person with the job is interested in going above and beyond the call of duty. What are the qualities of a good property manager? And what makes a good manager great? Read More

The Long and Short of It

By David Garry

Every co-op or condo community in New York City has its own personality and character, from the tiny 20-unit brownstone co-ops of the West Village to the towering modern high-rises of the Upper East Side. The wide range of sizes, demographics, expectations, and overall building personalities poses a special challenge to managing agents, whose portfolios might include both a 20-unit prewar and a 200-unit high-rise. Read More

Avoiding Management Mistakes

By Peter J. Grech

Mistakes happen - they're part of everybody's learning curve. There are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes in the course of running a residential building; in nearly three decades in the building operations field, I've both made and been witness to quite a few of them myself. The trick, however, is to minimize the impact of our mistakes and make sure we don't make the same one more than once. Below you'll find a short list of some of the mistakes I've seen happen again and again in buildings all over the city, along with tips on how to avoid such problems in your own building community. Read More

Disseminating Information

By Keith Loria

There's a lot of paperwork that's involved in running a co-op or condo building - everything from financial records to legal documents, shareholder correspondence and management statements from board meetings - and it's important that the documents are available to the board and shareholders when needed. While it's up to the managing agent to keep this material organized and secure, sometimes copies of the paperwork can also be found in the co-op office itself. Read More

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