Q&A: Without Board Consent

Q Three shareholders organized the development of 861 square feet of unused courtyard space behind their building, after having surveyed the building for interest (57 percent of shareholders responded—of which 70 percent were in favor).

After getting counsel from an urban greening expert, the three shareholders designed and budgeted for the garden, developed house rules based on the survey findings, got endorsements from ten top New York City real estate brokers who agreed that a garden would enhance the value of the building and salability of units and generated positive interest from 24 shareholders (contributing/ maintaining), raising one-third of the budget ($2,000 out of $6,000).

When the three shareholders presented a proposal to the board, the board

dismissed any involvement saying the shareholders hadn’t obtained majority interest and was not interested in giving fiscal support. They said (verbally) if the three shareholders wanted to undertake the project and pay for it, fine, accepting the argument that, as shareholders, we were entitled to “quiet enjoyment” of the space as they are to their apartments—under page 7 of the building’s proprietary lease.

In the meantime, the board surveyed the building, made a presentation, and claims that a majority of the building wants to institute a gym for $120,000. In doing so they are seeking to debit all of us one month’s maintenance.

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