Q&A: Board Problems

Q. I  have recently been elected to the board of directors at my co-op in Suffolk County. I rocked the boat when I was elected. The current board is not interested in doing necessary things, but rather stall projects and try to distract the shareholders from the current issues.

 Some shareholders had assigned parking spots in the luxury co-op section. They have just voted to remove the assigned parking. Although I find it wasn’t in the offering plan, they have been there for over eight years. Aren’t they then considered grandfathered in?

Also, I have many shareholders asking questions regarding the monthly meetings, and if can they have a copy of the minutes. The board refuses to release any minutes to the shareholders. Can they get away with that? They also told me that they do not record who voted for what in the minutes. I don’t think they can get away with that either. 

                                               –Feeling Stifled

A. “The writer raises a number of questions regarding the governance of his cooperative corporation,” says attorney Jeffrey Reich of the New York City firm of Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas LLP. 


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  • I own a condo in upstate NY. Recently there was a problem with a leak somewhere in the heating system (our bldg. gets the heat via a furnace in another bldg., and both bldgs. were found to have leaks). This necessitated a plumber going through each unit in both bldgs. to locate the leak(s). One was in our bldg. but not our unit, the other was in the other bldg. Up to the point where they identified a water leak, we had NO problems with our heating and had not had any in the 30 years we have lived here. Once the testing was done, and repairs done in the units with the leaks, our heat was turned back on, and low and behold, we now had no heat at all. After much ado, they finally managed to restore heat to us and the other 8 units in our bldg. Now, we had heat even when we turned the thermostat off. The bottom line was the zone valve was stuck open (no doubt caused by the work done, as we have never had a problem before and know of several other owners in these 2 bldgs. who were told they needed to buy and replace their zone valves). In light of the water leaks, the many zone valve break downs, and the location of the zone valve which is inside of the baseboard unit, it is my contention that this is part of the common heating unit and should be paid for by common fees. However, our board has decided that it is up to the owner to replace these valves. Is there any basis for charging owners for repairs to heating systems which affect all of the other unit owners by running non stop even when off?