Westchester Co-op Council Thwarts State Legislation Would Have Forced Co-op Boards to Automatically Accept Applicants

Pictured at the State Capitol from left to right: Carmelo Milio, BRI president; Albert Annunziata, CCAC; NYS Assemblywoman Amy Paulin; Kenneth J. Finger, BRI; and Glenn Riddell of The Riddell Group.

Westchester’s Building & Realty Institute (BRI) and its Cooperative & Condominium Advisory Council (CCAC) managed to halt a bill in its tracks that would have coerced cooperative boards into granting automatic acceptance of applicants.

Prior to the close of the legislative session in Albany, Senate bill S5644, the “Fairness in Cooperative Home Ownership Act,” sponsored by Sens. Kemp Hampton (R-6) and William J. Larkin, Jr., (R-39), passed in a 59-2 vote, where its companion legislation in the Assembly (A1120) awaited action. S5644 would have required applications to purchase cooperatives to be acted upon within 45 days. Failure to do so would have resulted in automatic approval of the application.

Lobbying Effort Successful

In stepped the BRI and CCAC, which lobbied vociferously against the bill in a full-scale attack, claiming that it “would have created unreasonable restrictions on a cooperative board’s ability to properly, prudently and thoroughly process applications and make admissions decisions in that same manner, legally and without discrimination or bias. The draconian penalty for a board failing to comply with the mandatory 45-day period to process applications and make a decision would be the automatic acceptance of the applicant in question as the new unit owner.”

By way of background, the BRI is one the largest construction, development and real estate-related industry trade associations in New York State. Founded in 1946, the organization has more than 1,500 members, primarily in the Westchester/Mid-Hudson Valley region of New York. It is composed of six major component realty industry councils, including the large and active Cooperative & Condominium Advisory Council of Westchester (CCAC).

Diana Virill, chair of the CCAC, spoke on behalf of the approximately 400 boards and 20,000 unit owners in member co-ops throughout Westchester, “We are unalterably opposed to these unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions. The excessively stringent time-line proscribed in the legislation is intrusive, impractical, unnecessary and unfair.”

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