With the economy still in the weeds and building administrators looking for creative ways to save money and build up their bottom line, it’s no surprise to hear that co-ops and condos are taking a hard look at their maintenance and building improvement wish lists and making some tough decisions. They’re reassessing which projects they can afford to undertake and which ones they need to put off until later.
But is putting off a project merely postponing the inevitable? Will sitting tight in the hopes that the economy will improve court disaster in the form of an equipment meltdown or a lawsuit? Is there a formula that building administrators can employ to help them make intelligent decisions as they try to reshuffle their priorities and steer their communities through murky financial waters? Is this a wise decision though and what can happen if a building puts off a repair, but it ends up injuring someone or causing damage to the building?
To address those questions and others, The Cooperator spoke with a number of industry professionals and got their advice for boards in just this situation.
According to the experts, the only repairs that boards can really defer for any significant period of time are discretionary items, such as aesthetic repairs—like a front lobby or hallway renovation. “Another example,” says Eric Goidel, a partner with the Manhattan-based law firm of Borah Goldstein Altschuler Nahins & Goidel PC, “is if your building’s elevators are functioning, but look a little tired and could use an upgrade. That can be postponed.”
Anything else must be dealt with as soon as the situation arises, regardless of how squeamish a board may be about ponying up the funds.