Q&A: A Downward Modification Adjustment?

Q My question is, since Co-op City (in the Bronx) determines carrying charges based on household income, if there's a change in the household income whereby one of the occupants is unemployed shouldn't there be a downward modification adjustment? Riverbay states that the downward modification would only apply if the cooperator was paying a surcharge. Is this true?

—Curious Cooperator

A “The information that the letter writer has received regarding Co-op City is likely correct,” says attorney Jeffrey Reich of the New York-based law firm Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP. “Mitchell-Lama cooperatives establish base per share or per room charges that are application to all shareholders. However, in addition to those base charges, a surcharge may be assessed against those cooperators whose family income exceeds a certain threshold.

“Pursuant to Section 3-03 of the Rules of the Rules of the City of New York (for HPD (City) supervised Mitchell-Lama cooperatives) and Section 1727-4.2 of New York Code, Rules and Regulations (for DHCR (State) supervised Mitchell-Lama cooperatives) surcharges are applicable in the instance where the aggregate annual income of all occupants of the cooperative dwelling exceeds the statutory maximum as follows: Up to 100% of maximum income limit, no surcharge as percentage of basic rent; from 100% up to 105%, no surcharge; from 105% -110%, 5%; from 110%-115%, 10%; from 115%-120%, 15%; from 120%-125%, 20%; from 125%-130%, 25%; from 130%-135%, 30%’; from 135%-140%, 35%; from 140%-145%, 40%; from 145%-150%, 45%; from 150% and above, 50%.

“Thus, if a Mitchell-Lama cooperator, whose was paying a surcharge experienced a decrease in the aggregate income attributable to the apartment, the cooperator would be entitled to a downward adjustment to the surcharge payment. However, there would be no corresponding reduction in the base per share or per room charge.”

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  • I am also a co-op city resident who received a surcharge due to severance package causing an increase in my income. I explained that since I am now unemployed that money is being used to pay for my living expenses. I was told that because I did not apply for unemployment there is no way to prove and thus I am eligible for the surcharge. Is this correct? There seems to be no other resource for this information. Thank you
  • after my husband moved out of the apartment I was asked to continue to pay a surcharge for another 12 months. my household income decreased by over $100,000 am I still responsible to pay the surcharge?