Q&A: Rights to Building Insurance Certificates

Q I own a co-op unit in Jackson Heights, and recently I asked to get a copy of my building’s insurance policy. The board’s management told me that they only give this information out when an owner is buying, selling or refinancing—none of which I’m doing. Am I entitled to this information? If so, how can I compel my management company to allow my access to it?”

— Queens Shareholder

A “Your management company is within its right to withhold this information, unless your co-op has a policy of permitting it, as this is not among the type of information which a co-op must disclose (e.g., shareholder list, annual financial statement),” explains attorney Steven Troup, the head of Manhattan-based law firm Tarter Krinsky & Drogin, LLP’s co-op and condo practice group. “This is the type of information which shareholders have a strong interest in knowing. We perceive no business reason why this information should not be subject to a shareholder’s inspection. Perhaps the managing agent would be willing to do so upon payment of a small fee to cover its expenses.

“This inquiry should be raised with the board of directors, and perhaps be brought up at the annual shareholders’ meeting. If enough shareholders join in the request, the board would be hard-pressed to deny reasonable inspection of the insurance policies, or at the very least, the declaration page, which shows the types and amounts of the various coverages.”

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