Q&A: Missing Maintenance

Q We are having a few issues with our co-op board and the management company. Since the new management company has been ‘in power’ (about three years) the maintenance payments have been raised more than 20 percent in two increases. The past year we had another large six-month assessment for ‘lobby repairs.’ There have been no repairs and no improvements to the building as well as many visible problems that would be simple to repair. We have asked the management company to share the minutes of the meetings and they refuse.

The lobbies are dirty, fire extinguishers expired, light fixtures missing covers, broken windows, etc.…and nothing is being done. Do shareholders have any recourse?

Is there anyplace online where I can find a ‘boilerplate’ example of co-op rules and regulations in New York City?

—Concerned Co-op Shareholder

A “Shareholders have several avenues to pursue in these circumstances,” according to Thomas D. Kearns, a partner with Olshan Grundman Frome Rosenzweig & Wolosky LLP, a law firm in New York City. “The typical cooperative’s organizational documents provide for the right of a group of shareholders to call a special meeting. Typically 20 or 25 percent of the shareholders need to sign a petition or proxy in order to force a special shareholder’s meeting. In addition, shareholders have a right to inspect the books and records of the corporation under statutory and common law. Included in the books and records available for inspection are minutes of shareholder’s meetings, a list of owners and certain accounting records.

“In addition, at the next annual meeting, shareholders who are unhappy with the existing board may propose a new slate of directors and solicit proxies to oust the current board.

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