We've all heard the phrase "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." The old saw applies to legislation as well. We've often seen laws passed with what seemed to be the best intentions, only to discover later that they have left a trail of ruin behind them.
The bad news is that we are on the cusp of seeing just such a law being passed by the New York City Council. This bill will have such a detrimental effect on co-op owners in Queens, I was surprised to find many of its sponsors are the elected representatives of those same owners. I can only conclude that they have not read their own bill—or that they haven't spoken to any of the co-op leaders in their district.
About Intro 119
The bill in question is "Intro No. 119" and it would require co-ops to provide a "specific reason" for rejection of any potential purchaser. Sure, to the uninitiated it sounds harmless and reasonable—who would oppose a bill called "The Fair and Prompt Disclosure Law" anyway?
But to co-op presidents like myself who are responsible for co-op finances and the monthly maintenance fees, it spells disaster with a capital D. Intro 119 is an unfunded mandate being forced down the throats of working class co-ops by the same councilmen whose districts will be financially impacted by the bill. This bill is likely to increase monthly co-op charges as it opens the floodgates of litigation, and makes the already difficult task of recruiting volunteer board members next to impossible. I have re-dubbed it the "2007 Attorneys' Full Employment Act."
Here in Glen Oaks Village, a volunteer admissions committee created by the board screens all new applicants. This screening process is what sets co-ops apart from other types of home ownership. Screening is done not to hassle people, but to insure that all co-op residents truly understand the nature of co-op living. Living in a co-op is more akin to living in a fish bowl than residing in a private home. You have neighbors not only on both sides of you, but also above and below you. This close proximity to one another creates all sorts of problems that homeowners rarely face.