There are basic laws that govern condominiums (“condos”) and cooperatives (“co-ops”) in New York. Condos are governed by the New York Condominium Act, Article 9-B, Real Property Law (the “Condominium Act”). Co-ops are governed by the Business Corporation Law. There are always new issues that arise, requiring new laws that impact residents of New York condos and co-ops.
One bill in New York that has many residents, board members and managers concerned is the “Fair and Prompt Disclosure Act”, also known as “Intro 119”. This bill would require co-ops to provide specific reasons for the rejection of any potential purchaser. This bill is at the City Council level and is the same as the bill in Albany under consideration, AO1000. Bill AO1000 requires co-ops to provide a prospective purchaser with a written statement of reasons when withholding consent to purchase and void any agreement inconsistent with such requirement. Those who support these bills contend that there is a problem relating to discrimination that is spreading throughout NY. Those who oppose the bill rely upon the current laws already in place that prohibit discrimination.
Another bill, Bill A3677, has been referred to the judiciary to amend the real property law, in relation to requiring hearings before placing liens on common interest community units. This bill would require boards of managers of condominiums to provide a unit owner with an opportunity to be heard prior to placing a lien on such person`s condominium unit. Currently, condominium owners who withhold payment on common charges like monthly maintenance fees and special assessments because the board of managers has failed to repair problems, which fall under the board`s responsibility, face having liens placed on their property. A condo owner with a lien on his or her condo is unable to sell his/her property and is in jeopardy of damaging his/her credit rating and ability to obtain loans. This bill seeks to protect New York State`s many condo owners from unreasonable financial hardship by requiring that boards of managers provide unit owners with an opportunity to be heard.
Another bill in Albany that relates to condos and co-ops in New York is A00475. The bill would require the licensing of building managers of multiple dwellings. It will also prohibit owners from operating without a licensed manager. Managers would be required to take building management courses with minimum a number of hours of classroom work conducted or approved by department of buildings. The bill provides criteria for determining competency to receive a license, how to apply for a license, and the revocation and suspension of a license. It addresses judicial review of department of building’s decision to grant, refuse, renew, or revoke a manager’s license.
While some legislation is enacted to protect owners and/or residents, Bill A6155 expands the authority of the board of managers. This bill will allows a board of directors or board of managers to take appropriate action against an objectionable tenant who fails to comply with the by-laws or rules and regulations of the common interest community or homeowners association. Failing to comply with the by-laws or rules and regulations of a condominium or homeowners association in a proper case would be grounds to bring a summary dispossess proceeding against the tenant of a non-occupying unit owner, giving the board of directors or board of managers another avenue of appropriate action.
There are many local, state and federal bills in consideration. It is imperative for owners, managers and board members to closely monitor court decisions and legislation affecting co-ops and condos. We will continue to monitor pending legislation and provide timely updates as to the progress of same.