They say that it takes a village to raise a child. If that’s true, then it takes even more than that to keep the thousands of New York City co-ops and condominium building communities solvent, harmonious, and informed. With all its potential social, political, and financial quagmires, who on earth would take on such a job? Enter the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums (CNYC), an organization founded in 1979 by a group of people up to the challenge.
Stuart Saft has been involved with the CNYC for 26 years and has served as the CNYC’s executive chair since 1988. He says that while the goals of the CNYC have always been clearly defined, the organization doesn’t have an actual mission statement because, laughs Saft, “We’ve always been too busy to sit down and write one!”
The intention of the organization, as Saft sees it, is at least threefold. “The purpose of the CNYC is to provide education to members of co-op and condominium boards, to act as an advocate for co-op and condo members and boards when dealing with important issues and to be a resource to government officials examining various aspects of co-ops and condominiums,” he says.
What kinds of issues does he mean? “They run the gamut,” says Saft. “We deal with everything from legal questions to the role of officers, from renovations to violations.”
He says that among the topics discussed at any CNYC meeting or brought to the organization by co-op and condo board members can include local laws (i.e., the city’s lead paint law—Local Law 1 of 2004, for example), taxes, self-management for smaller buildings and issues as seemingly simple as how to operate a better laundry room. Whatever the topic, the CNYC makes it their job to help by giving a voice to members, whether they’re co-op shareholders or unit owners in a condominium development. “It doesn’t matter what type of ownership it is,” says Saft. “We deal with issues that come with the operation of real estate assets.”