The Clubhouse Rules Renting Out Common Areas

Amenities can be a major selling point for any co-op or condo. You don't have to be Jillian Michaels these days to have a spa or full gym at home. Naturally, they add to the property value of the building as a whole, as well as to the individual units. Some buildings or condo associations are lucky enough to have a library, a residents-only lounge, a rooftop deck, a screening room, an infinity pool, a community rock garden or various other amenity spaces. They can even be a potential source of income for the association community.

Party For Hire

Renting common spaces for private events—either hosted and attended by residents, or by outside groups, can be lucrative in providing additional revenue for a board or an association. But, such usage also comes with legal, liability, and security considerations.

The practice of renting out common spaces for private functions happens frequently in New York, where there never seems to be enough space for anything. But, before you jump on the renting bandwagon, you need to do so prudently and legally.

Condos would have a very difficult time renting out their common areas, even if they had the best common spaces in the entire New York City, says Bruce Cholst, a partner with Rosen Livingston & Cholst LLP, a full-service New York-based law firm specializing in condo and co-ops, and real estate transactions. “In a condo, under New York statutory law, condo unit owners own their unit and they own, on a pro-rated basis, their share of the common space,” Cholst says. “So if I own a 2 percent interest, I own a 2 percent interest of the common space.” 

Under New York’s condo act, unit owners have an ownership stake in the common interest, and no one can exclusively occupy the common space. “So theoretically, condo boards have to deal with that impediment,” Cholst says. But in a co-op, the board owns the entire building including the common spaces, so they operate the common spaces and they’re the landlord to the shareholders. So, it makes it much easier to decide whether to rent out the common areas and how to do so. 

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