Owners of co-ops and condos in New York are apt to find that the neighbors down the hall live according to a different set of rules and often pay less then they do for the same apartment.
Thanks to the state law in effect when most cooperatives and condominiums were converted from rental properties, called The Martin Act, a large segment of their population is likely to consist of rent-regulated tenants.
According to Manhattan-based real estate attorney Helene Hartig, “The Martin Act was designed to give the tenant stronger protection.” It was enacted, she said, because, “there was a concern when the conversions started in New York that the tenants would be forced out of their apartments.”
To Evict or Not Evict
The Martin Act allows building owners to convert their rental buildings according to one of two schemes, the “eviction plan” and the “non-eviction plan.”
The eviction plan requires 51 percent of renters to purchase their units. “That didn't work out that well for developers,” says Hartig. “Tenants organized and formed tenant associations and had the famous ‘no buy’ pledges. It wasn't a sellout of the whole building as they had hoped.”