Q&A: Providing Services to Hotel-Converted Condo

Q The building where I live, a former hotel, was converted to a condo about four years ago. There are nine hotel-stabilized tenants remaining as renters within the condo. Management says that our hotel-stabilized units have been “condominiumized” but we pay our rent to __X__ hotel association (the sponsor) and three staff members, who provide some of our services, belong to the hotel workers union. Our rents are set each year by a hotel order issued by the Rent Guidelines Board.

In 1985, the Tenants Association, which I head, executed an agreement with a former hotel owner, which listed all the services to which, in Rider A, we were and would continue to be entitled. The attorney for the hotel asked me to draw up the list, “so that every future owner,” he said, “will know what services he has to provide you.” In other words, according to management's attorney, our agreement would be in full force and effect forever. Six of the remaining hotel-stabilized tenants are covered by this agreement. The condo's sponsor incorporated our agreement into the next to last version of their offering plan.

Two important services, which are at issue, are listed in Rider A:

Laundry room (with two washing machines and two dryers) available to tenants from 8:00 a.m. to closing hour of the Tenant Lounge.

5. Terrace for exclusive use of tenants and their guests...the entire fourth floor terrace (was) set aside for the use of the tenants...

In the final version of the Offering Plan, which was approved by the Attorney General, the Sponsor omitted the Tenants Association Agreement, so that the AG could not tell that the washers and dryers as well as the fourth floor terrace are exclusively for the tenants' use. Nevertheless, the Sponsor was obviously aware of those provisions and we expected them to honor our contract.

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