When Co-Ops and Condos Are Caught Off Guard Property Managers Share Stories of Unusual Occurrences at Their Buildings

One property manager spoke of an unusual occurrence involving a cornice (iStock).

In late February, as reported by the Associated Press, a Massachusetts man crashed a homemade aircraft into the roof of a condominium building, resulting in the tragic death of the pilot. Because this happened in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon, few people were inside the building, and, thankfully, no one else was hurt.

A good homeowner's association recognizes – and saves money for – any possible rainy day, but the grim truth is that some things are just outside the realm of prediction. There's a fine line between being prepared and being paranoid, and having a contingency plan ready for an instance wherein someone flies a single-occupant aircraft into your property most likely ranks as the latter. Ideally, a board and its management company will be well-organized and functional enough that, should something unusual and potentially dangerous happen, they can react in a way that minimizes damage and adequately protects residents.

It's Coming From Inside the House

The occasional dramatic incident is an entirely internal affair and thus can give residents of a condo or co-op deserved pause about their safety at home. If a resident acts in a way that can cause property damage or, much more alarmingly, bodily harm to their neighbors, a board must react immediately in a way that restores the faith of their community.

“We managed a building in Forest Hills many years ago, and there were neighbors--one party living above the other--that were at each others' throats for quite some time,” recalls Robert Rinaldo, vice president of D&J Management in Queens. “One of the owners was a woman living alone; the other was a man and a woman. They were of an older generation; I believe in their 70s. As management, we, with the board, would have to step in when they would lodge complaints about one another and referee.

“I cannot confirm that this was true, but, allegedly the married woman believed that her single neighbor had an eye for her husband,” Rinaldo continues. “And the husband was a rather well-known salsa musician. There was a lot going on. And, one day, upon arriving to the building's sole elevator simultaneously, things came to a boil. I can't remember which woman was responsible, but one pulled out a gun, and threatened to shoot the other. Suffice to say, things got scary. I want to say that a shot was, in fact, fired, but no one was hit or injured. Thankfully there wasn't a horrible ending. But it made the news; the media had fun with it, running headlines along the lines of 'Pistol-Packing Grandma,' hyping the love triangle angle.

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