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Habitat Magazine

Habitat Magazine The recognized media authority for New York’s co-op and condo community for over four decades.

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Operating as usual

12/07/2022
BACK AND FORTH

So many steps. That's what your building's doorman is taking when he or she accepts packages, brings them to wherever packages are stored, then back to the front for door duty. There is a better way for this to work. Marilyn Sygrove, Sygrove Design Associates, explains how one co-op did just that. Listen to the full episode here https://bit.ly/doormanstation

12/01/2022
Take your building's temp! No, seriously.

You can monitor all the systems in your building - or rather technology can. It's an investment that can pay off - you just have to decide which system fits your needs. In this podcast you'll learn the difference between an information system and real time monitoring and who should consider what.

Lot’s of turmoil as the city sets about rule-making to meet carbon emission goals set by LL97. If you haven’t been on to...
11/15/2022
City Council Wants to Close a Loophole on Local Law 97 Compliance

Lot’s of turmoil as the city sets about rule-making to meet carbon emission goals set by LL97. If you haven’t been on top of these goals, well, chop chop, it’s time to get up to speed.

City Council wants to close a loophole on Local Law 97 compliance.

Bang, bang. Saw, saw. It is not uncommon for alteration agreements to run 70 pages, and those pages are often, to use th...
11/13/2022
Why Are Most Co-op Alteration Agreements Such a Mess?

Bang, bang. Saw, saw. It is not uncommon for alteration agreements to run 70 pages, and those pages are often, to use the technical legal term, a mess.

Why are most co-op alteration agreements such a mess?

Don’t you hate it when they lie? A Brooklyn board of directors sure did, and they took the liar to court.
11/11/2022
Co-op Boards Can Claim Fraud When a Buyer Lies

Don’t you hate it when they lie? A Brooklyn board of directors sure did, and they took the liar to court.

Co-op boards can claim fraud when a buyer lies on a purchase application.

11/09/2022
Lobby Redesign: Turning Bad News Into Good

One of the most controversial projects a co-op or condo can do is to redesign its lobby. On today’s episode, Louis Lipson, senior associate at the architecture firm Ethelind Coblin, shares the story of a lobby project at 785 Fifth Avenue in New York City, when last minute changes to a feature wall almost derailed everything. Louis Lipson is interviewed by Carol Ott for Habitat Magazine. To listen to the full episode on your favorite platform, click https://pod.link/1645553681

11/04/2022
PROBLEM SOLVED! Double Duty On Your Roof

Deciding how to use your co-op or condo's roof can be tough - but it presents many opportunities. Here, Tina Larsson, co-founder and CEO of The Folson Group , a business consultancy for co-op and condo boards, shares how an Upper East Side co-op in Manhattan managed to combine solar power and green space. Bill Morris, for Habitat Magazine, conducts the interview. You can hear the full interview wherever you cast your pods, or here at https://bit.ly/PROBLEMSOLVED_DoubleDuty

10/28/2022
Slashing energy costs in half!

In New York City, Con Edison steam is the most expensive form of heating and cooling buildings. Co-ops and condos are choosing to go from steam to natural gas and electricity not only to slash their energy bills, but also reduce carbon emissions and avoid paying fines under the city’s Climate Mobilization Act. Michael Scorrano, managing director and founder of En-Power Group, explains how one co-op made the switch. Michael Scorrano is interviewed by Carol Ott for Habitat Magazine.

10/19/2022
Preview Habitat's November Edition

In November, and continuing into December, Habitat is publishing legal insights from 45 interviews with New York’s leading co-op and condo attorneys. They are not long and not so complicated, but we’re pretty sure they can save your co-op or condo association money, aggravation and a possible trip to court. Plus, how a $68,000 project drastically reduced the wait time for hot water in a nine-story condo; why you need to understand that insurance companies look at water damage from these two events - flooding and rainwater - differently; and a cool website that tracks water tank inspections in real time. Click https://bit.ly/NovDigitalHabitatMag to read to read the digital edition now!

10/17/2022

Whether it’s caused by aging facades, construction defects, faulty pipes, or a roof that needs replacing, water leakage is a common problem for many co-op and condo buildings. Repairs need to be done quickly, but what’s a board to do if the leaks are caused by more than one issue? In this episode, Douglas Lister, president of the architecture firm Douglas J. Lister, explains what fixes should be tackled first, and what can be addressed later.
Douglas Lister is interviewed by Bill Morris for Habitat Magazine.

09/30/2022
From the sound studios of Habitat Magazine: Problem Solved!

Whether it’s caused by aging facades, construction defects, faulty pipes, or a roof that needs replacing, water leakage is a common problem for many co-op and condo buildings. Repairs need to be done quickly, but what’s a board to do if the leaks are caused by more than one issue? In this episode, Habitat's Bill Morris chats with Douglas Lister, president of the architecture firm Douglas J. Lister, as he explains what fixes should be tackled first, and what can be addressed later. Listen to the entire episode on your favorite podcast platform, or go here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/2025936/11306751

PROBLEM SOLVED! A nine-story condominium was having a long-term problem with domestic hot water supply to the apartments...
09/13/2022
Cutting Waste and Long Waits for Hot Water in a Nine-Story Condo

PROBLEM SOLVED! A nine-story condominium was having a long-term problem with domestic hot water supply to the apartments. It was taking 15 to 20 minutes or so for hot water to reach the upper-floor apartments, and approximately 10 to 15 minutes for hot water to reach the lower-level apartments.

Cutting Waste and Long Waits for Hot Water in a Nine-Story Condo

08/17/2022
Habitat's September Issue Trailer

There’s a new financial landscape that boards need to understand, and it involves Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the institutions that buy most of the mortgages made by banks for apartment purchases. They are paying close attention to the physical health of buildings – and your capital improvement plans. In September, we report on what you need to know. Plus, we continue our series of interviews with management executives to find out the most effective ways to run your buildings; explain how insurance premium financing can help with budgeting; and share how solving two problems at once can cost a lot, but in the end save you more; and much more. Read the digital edition here https://bit.ly/HMSept22

07/25/2022
See what Habitat magazine is covering now!

Habitat's July/Aug issue just published! Management execs on solutions from the basement to the boardroom,the scoop on sanitizing elevator buttons, what happens to a flip tax in a non-cash transfer, how the board at 785 Fifth Ave. did a design pivot with their lobby, and how an Upper East Side board used their roof space to accommodate a garden and solar panels. Read all this and more in our digital edition! https://bit.ly/JADigital22

06/08/2022

Little problems can morph into big ones – and suddenly your co-op/condo board is faced with issues you're not qualified to solve and don't want to deal with. In June, we're launching our Problem Solved Series, where experts offer fixes for common building problems (like deferred maintenance, elevator repairs, brown water issues, and tech solutions for energy efficiency). Plus, governance issues that can wreak havoc if ignored, how to earn revenue from rooftop cell phone towers, and an interesting way of dealing with gas leaks. bit.ly/JuneHabitat

04/26/2022

As Habitat Magazine celebrates its 40th anniversary with the upcoming May 2022 issue, watch Carol Ott discuss where Habitat came from and how it has evolved and endured as a leading source for the New York Coop and Condo community.

Celebrate with us by letting us know how your building has used Habitat in the comments below.

03/30/2022

In Habitat April's edition we are reporting stories that every co-op and condo board member needs to understand - prevailing wages, reverse mortgages, and loads more. Here's a brief overview of what's coming up.

02/22/2022

Our March 2022 Digital Edition is live. Read about how three different coops upped their energy profile and got their shareholders to buy in.

https://bit.ly/3h4XS8j

If you park your car in a co-op or condo you probably don't worry about ceiling collapse or tumbling walls. Well, the ci...
01/31/2022
For Co-ops and Condos, Garages Are the New Facades

If you park your car in a co-op or condo you probably don't worry about ceiling collapse or tumbling walls. Well, the city does, and buildings will now have to pay attention.

For co-ops and condos, garages are the new facades.

01/27/2022
Preview Habitat's February Issue!

When co-op/condo boards share unexpected news with building residents, it can turn into a complicated process of what – or what not – to disclose. Habitat's February issue reports on how the board at London Terrace Towers handled this challenge, adopting a communication strategy that worked. Plus, stories on reverse mortgages; carbon trading; a white-brick building facade renovation that cost a lot, but will deliver even more; why you shouldn’t rely on a certificate of insurance; and much more.

co-op and condo advocates got a reassuring news about the bill known as S3082, is aimed at protecting rental tenants fro...
01/27/2022

co-op and condo advocates got a reassuring news about the bill known as S3082, is aimed at protecting rental tenants from abuses by commercial landlords — and will not be applied to housing cooperatives or condominiums.

For co-op and condo boards, the rules keep changing in the middle of the game. In just this past year, the state Legisla...
01/25/2022

For co-op and condo boards, the rules keep changing in the middle of the game. In just this past year, the state Legislature and New York City Council passed major legislation affecting everything from tenant protections to shareholder meetings, reverse mortgages, housing discrimination, prevailing wages for staff, climate change, city construction codes, energy efficiency, interim certificates of occupancy and lead paint. The list goes on and on.

And it promises to keep growing....

https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Board-Operations/2022/2022-January/The-Rules-Keep-Changing-for-Co-op-and-Condo-Boards

If you live in a NYC condominium, and you are paying your building staff prevailing wages, make sure your board and/or i...
01/16/2022
Prevailing-Wage Affidavits Due for Co-op and Condo Tax Abatements

If you live in a NYC condominium, and you are paying your building staff prevailing wages, make sure your board and/or its managing agent submits this affidavit before Feb. 15, or risk losing your apartment's tax abatement.

Prevailing-wage affidavits due for co-op and condo tax abatements by Feb. 15.

Pretty nice for a roof they thought was useless. This 63-unit Queens condo turned this space into a solar money-making m...
01/12/2022
Problem Solved: Finding the Best Use for a Condo’s Roof

Pretty nice for a roof they thought was useless. This 63-unit Queens condo turned this space into a solar money-making machine, projected to earn a 25-year net profit of $225,000.

Problem Solved: Finding the best use for a condo’s roof.

Neighbors sometimes fight. But when it escalates to threats of lawsuits, even if it never goes to court, insurance costs...
01/10/2022
Insurance Fallout: When Neighbors Don’t Play Nice

Neighbors sometimes fight. But when it escalates to threats of lawsuits, even if it never goes to court, insurance costs for an entire building can increase. Now that's a reason to try and work things out!

A shareholder or unit-owner is upset. She sends an email to the board, saying it needs to step in. If the board does nothing, she’s going to bring in her attorney. What happens next?

It was an epic challenge. Raising the revenue for the project and working with their management company, the Ferrara Man...
01/07/2022
City Island Condo Is Now Safe From the Sound

It was an epic challenge. Raising the revenue for the project and working with their management company, the Ferrara Management Group and and BlueShore Engineering, this waterside condo finally has a reconstructed retaining wall.

City Island condo is now safe from the Sound.

Andrew Brucker from  summarizes a recent court decision and offers a reminder to co-op and condo boards: what goes aroun...
12/17/2021

Andrew Brucker from summarizes a recent court decision and offers a reminder to co-op and condo boards: what goes around comes around. Remember, the same rules that apply to residents apply to board members.

A board of a New York City condominium brought an action against Smith, a past president. While president, Smith expanded his penthouse apartment onto the roof. The board claimed that he took the condominium property without proper permission. The board further claimed that the expansion was illegal according to relevant law, codes, and regulations, and that Smith had filed false plans with the Buildings Department.
The claims also included abuse of office, as Smith did not recuse himself from any board decisions in regard to the expansion, and in fact he personally took over and excluded everyone else from overseeing and reviewing the expansion for over a decade. His lies and deception, according to the board, were to avoid detection of his bad faith and self-dealing (for example, he delayed turning over certain documents for two years).
Smith made a motion for summary judgment, in order to have the case dismissed, but after both sides submitted various affidavits (with numerous exhibits), the court dismissed the motion. The court noted that in order to grant a motion to dismiss an action based upon evidence, the defendant must present evidence that “utterly refutes” the plaintiff’s claims and establishes a defense as a matter of law. The court held that the defendant failed to do so.
TAKEAWAY: Though there was no disposition of the claims, this serves as a road map of what should not be done when a director makes alterations. Directors must be more careful in every step of the alteration: They should recuse themselves from related decisions of the board, allow others to oversee the question of compliance, and be forthwith and prompt in dealing with issues.

https://www.coopcondocaselawtracker.com/

In the December issue of the Co-op & Condo Case Law Tracker Digest, Advisory Panel member Michelle Quinn from Gallet Dre...
12/16/2021

In the December issue of the Co-op & Condo Case Law Tracker Digest, Advisory Panel member Michelle Quinn from Gallet Dreyer & Berkey summarizes a recent court decision and offers a takeaway that illustrates an all-to familiar issue in co-ops and condos – ignore the roadmap laid out in your association’s governing documents and there will be consequences.

Co-op Didn’t Follow Proper Notice Procedures
A cooperative corporation claimed that a shareholder installed a washing machine without authorization, which constituted a lease violation. But the cooperative corporation failed to follow its own notice procedures in issuing the notice to cure to the shareholder. So the court had no choice but to grant the shareholder’s order to show cause, preventing the cooperative from terminating or canceling her lease. The court noted that, due to the parties’ long-standing acrimonious relationship involving prior and repeated lease defaults, additional litigation is likely to ensue should the parties not be able to set aside their differences and reach an amicable resolution.

TAKEAWAY: Boards should consult their governing documents and ensure sufficient notice is given, and even add a day or two as a cushion. Courts will not dismiss a case if too much notice is given instead of not enough. Boards should also make every effort to resolve disputes with their shareholders so that harmonious and mutually beneficial relationships may be maintained.

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Founded May 1982 by Carol J. Ott, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, HABITAT magazine is an independent publication with paid circulation targeting decision-makers at the 8000+ residential co-ops, condos, and homeowner associations in the New York City greater metropolitan area.

(Source: New York State Attorney General’s office)

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“Whether a building is short on cash for a lump-sum insurance payment or wants to keep money on hand for unexpected costs, there is virtually no downside to taking out [Insurance Premium] financing”

Roger Kluge, Managing Director at Risk Strategies Company, emphasizes that “as annual costs for insurance continue to increase, premium financing is a valuable solution for Boards to give greater budget flexibility. In addition, often insurance companies do not provide installments.”

Find out more about this niche service that can help Boards manage their annual finances while still meeting the rising costs of insurance premiums.

Read the full Habitat Magazine article with insurance reps from Imperial PFS® and CNYM Risk Management explaining the service and weighing in on its benefits here: https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Legal-Financial/2022/2022-November/Insurance-Premium-Financing-Gaining-Traction-For-Co-ops-and-Condos

It’s time to update your building’s square footage and space-usage measurements. In October, the NYC Department of Buildings released a set of proposed rules to implement Local Law 97 of 2019 (LL97), which requires most large buildings to meet increasingly strict carbon emissions limits based on occupancy group starting in 2024 or face large penalties for failing to do so. One of the proposed rules expands the number of occupancy group classifications and will now account for the wide variations in energy use of different types of buildings falling within the same occupancy group, allowing a more accurate and fair tailoring of emissions limits requirements. Habitat Magazine takes a look at this new rule and speaks with RAND Principal and MEP Team Leader Peter Varsalona, PE about why checking your building’s measurements and submitting accurate benchmarking data are important steps to help meet LL97 compliance requirements and avoid hefty fines. Read it in their digital edition
https://bit.ly/habitat-tapemeasure-dig or on their website: https://bit.ly/habitat-tapemeasure-web.
Starting today, Nov. 1, 2022, all NYC employers with 4+ employees, including co-op and condo boards, must include a “good faith” salary range for every job, transfer and promotion opportunity that they advertise.

A similar law goes into effect in Westchester County at the same time. Like the NYC law, it covers jobs that are required to be performed in Westchester County, whether remotely or at a building itself.

Habitat Magazine
Confused over some of the specifics of the Climate Mobilization Act? Get clarification here:

Source: Habitat Magazine
As featured in Habitat Magazine, here's my take on what's happening with boards. Mired in paperwork and additional fees, boards need to be constantly vigilant!

The New York City Department of Finance has extended the deadline for boards to file a notarized affidavit certifying that they are paying prevailing wages to their staff to May 2.

Learn more here: https://bit.ly/3E7hm6P

Source: Habitat Magazine
A group of elected officials is calling for more transparency and sanctions against Russian oligarchs who have invested in New York condos. Read more. https://bit.ly/3td0uHV

Source: Habitat Magazine
A recent article in Habitat Magazine lauds Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas LLP's 2021 victory in obtaining a pre-judgment attachment motion in a construction defect lawsuit:

https://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/Legal-Financial/2022/2022-February/Condo-Boards-Have-New-Weapon-to-Correct-Construction-Defects
Many NYC co-op and condo boards have been looking for ways to reduce their buildings’ carbon emissions so they can avoid fines under the city’s Climate Mobilization Act.

Read to learn about one co-op's experience and how boards can avoid similar issues: bit.ly/3ox4bW3

Source: Habitat Magazine
Newly proposed legislation from NY Gov. Kathy Hochul could mean a surge of new developments of affordable co-ops and condominiums. Read more here: https://bit.ly/3H3v5Mq

Source: Habitat Magazine
New case study alert! - The Co-op & Condo Case Law Tracker with Habitat Magazine https://www.mugo.ca/Portfolio/The-Co-op-Condo-Case-Law-Tracker
Enhance, Upgrade, or Just Get a Website https://hubs.ly/Q0110qFZ0 by Habitat Magazine
Now is the time to electrify! City co-op and condo boards are looking to reduce their building emissions by implementing into their energy systems. Habitat Magazine has the story: https://bit.ly/3IKU4Wi
Urban Green Council
Now is the time to electrify! City co-op and condo boards are looking to reduce their building emissions by implementing into their energy systems. Habitat Magazine has the story: https://bit.ly/3IKU4Wi
Urban Green Council
Co-op Board Removes Menorah. Is it Discriminating?

Take a moment to review our Partner Slava Hazin's advice via Habitat Magazine.
Armstrong Teasdale is proud to have a strong team of seasoned attorneys practicing Cooperative and Condominium law in New York. Watch this video from Habitat Magazine to learn more about our team: https://www.habitatmag.com/Media/Issue-Preview-Sponsors/Premium-Sponsors/Armstrong-Teasdale