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Q&A: Assessments and Maintenance Raises: What’s the Limit?

Q. Is there a lawful limit on assessments and maintenance increases that a co-op board can inflict upon shareholders/tenants in one year or one period? Please advise. 

                               —Watching My Wallet 

A. “There is no statute relating to financial increases that a board of directors of a residential cooperative corporation can impose on its shareholders in any one-year period,” says attorney Deborah Koplovitz of the New York City firm of Anderson Kill. “It is possible, although highly unlikely, that your bylaws and proprietary lease contain such a restriction.  

“Aside from contacting an attorney to analyze your particular governing documents, the short answer to your question is that it is improbable that there would be any basis to object to increases imposed by a co-op board in a one-year period.   

 “That being said, bear in mind that a board is required to exercise its business judgment in establishing the budget and in running the cooperative. A board can rely on the advice from professionals to this end. If you feel that your board has overstepped its obligation to act in good faith and in the best interests of the corporation, you could have a reason to challenge the board’s decisions. However, this would be a very tough course of action. 

“Aside from that, the only possible concern you may be able to raise with your board is if there has been a miscalculation of your share of the maintenance increase and assessment. A shareholder is only required to pay the proportionate amount of the annual budget or assessment based on the number of shares allocated to that apartment. If your building is not properly calculating your maintenance and assessments based on the number of shares you have in the corporation, then you could reach out to your board to make any necessary adjustments.”

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