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A Guide for Co-op and Condo Board Members

Real Estate Legality, Real Property

Acting as a board member for a co-op or condo can seem like a full time job. Shareholders select board members to make and implement day-to-day decisions for the building. As a board member your role is to protect the interests of all tenants, owners and shareholders.  This requires playing an active role, effective communication, and demonstrating good leadership. However, what resources are available to help board members effectively manage their buildings? Whether it is for guidance on the impact of new laws and regulations or whether  your building is a landmark, there are various agencies and departments for board members to utilize.

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) “promotes the safety of all people that build, work, and live in New York City by regulating the lawful use of over one million buildings and construction sites across the five boroughs. With a focus on safety, service, and integrity, the Department enforces the City’s Construction Codes, Zoning Resolution, and the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law.”[1] The DOB provides vital information from building permits and sustainability to hiring licensed professionals and enforcing the rights of landowners, tenants and businesses. The DOB’s website keeps an updated track of all legal and regulatory changes that may impact your co-op or condo.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is “responsible for protecting New York City’s architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings and sites by granting them landmark or historic district status, and regulating them after designation.”[2] Why is this important for board members? Before a building undergoes any renovation, it is imperative to know whether the building or district has been marked as a landmark. The LPC provides guidelines for when buildings need to seek a permit before initiating interior or exterior alterations. Board members should note that LPC permits are not necessary for ordinary repairs or maintenance.[3]

New York’s 311 number has a housing and development sector for all five boroughs, which allows board members to reach the city 24/7 regarding any information or concerns. If the operators are unable to answer your question they will direct you to the specific office or agency you need. The City of New York’s website also provides helpful information on building management, maintenance, construction, ownership and taxes.[4] Another key resource for board members is the Attorney General, currently Eric Schneiderman. The AG’s office provides an abundance of guidelines and tip sheets for co-op and condo board members, shareholders and tenants. Tip sheets even include guides on how to handle problems with your condo and co-ops board of managers.[5]

Utilizing the different offices and agencies will help make sitting as a board member as seamless as possible. Quick resource guide:

  • New York City Department of Buildings – nyc.gov/dob.
  • Landmarks Preservation Commission – http://www.nyc.gov.lpc/ or (212) 669-7817.
  • Mayors Office and 311 – nyc.gov/mayor or 311.
  • Attorney General’s Office – http://www.ag.ny.gov/ or (212) 416-8122.  

[1] NYC Buildings. About Us. Available at: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/about/about.page. Accessed on Jan. 25, 2018.

[2] LPC. About Us. Available at: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/lpc/about/about-lpc.page, Accessed on Jan. 25, 2018.

[3] LPC. Applications. Available at: http://www1.nyc.gov/site/lpc/applications/applications.page. Accessed on Jan. 25, 2018.

[4] See http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/categories/housing-development.page.

[5] See https://ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/housing-issues.

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