Making Changes Alterations Mean More thand Just Picking a Designer

Eventually, most co-op owners will get bored with their surroundings and want to spruce up their apartment. Sometimes this will involve a full remodeling or redesign of the unit, while other times it simply means adding a new coat of paint or some new cabinetry.

Or perhaps a new owner will want to do something to make an apartment more their own once they move in, rearranging the rooms or making the bathroom a little bigger.

Whatever alterations are planned, it’s important to abide by a building’s governing documents on how they should be scheduled and structured, how they impact other residents, and what kinds of insurance risks such projects pose.

Know the Rules

“A co-op board has many responsibilities and among them is undoubtedly to protect the corporation’s property and the peace and quiet the other shareholders enjoy,” says Andrew P. Brucker, a partner with the Manhattan-based law firm of Schechter & Brucker, P.C. “Therefore, the board should require that all alterations be reviewed by an engineer to protect building-wide systems from being compromised, that the contractor has insurance and that the work be undertaken in a manner to minimize interference with the lives of the other tenants in the building.”

Almost all remodeling and renovation work will be governed in the proprietary lease, bylaws and building rules, which should make clear the responsibility to submit an alteration agreement prior to the commencement of any work within their apartment or unit.

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