Q&A: One Good Reason

Q When an applicant applies to buy into a co-op and pays the high application fee, yet is denied by the board, shouldn’t they be given a reason why they were rejected? I feel strongly that the board is wrong in turning someone away without so much as an explanation, especially after accepting the non-refundable application fee, which is often in excess of $700 and holding the prospective buyer up with all the documentation required before even meeting him or her. Is the no-reason-given policy written into law, or just standard board practice?

—Manhattan Shareholder

A According to Attorney Adam Leitman Bailey of the Law Firm of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. in Manhattan, “The policy derives from New York State courts’ interpretation of the law. The Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest court, has held that cooperative corporations may withhold consent to a transfer of shares for any legal reason without having to provide an explanation to the rejected buyer or shareholder. However, a cooperative board cannot reject an application based on his/her race, religion, sex, creed, national origin, marital status or disability.

“The writer may receive his/her wish soon, though, as a proposed amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law, titled the Fair and Prompt Co-op Disclosure Law, would require cooperatives to disclose a written explanation for any and all reasons for a rejection.”

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