Bimbos, sex offenders and families gone wild in November's Penthou--whoops, HABITAT Magazine

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Next month’s issue of Habitat magazine tackles a rather breathtaking array of legal problems faced by NYC co-ops and condos. 

The issue (released digitally yesterday to subscribers only) is worth checking out, particularly if you’re a board member—or a renter looking for an excuse to avoid the tragicomic business of owning an apartment in NYC.

For the rest of us (and any HBO execs looking for creative inspiration), here are some highlights worth mentioning:

  • A father buying a co-op apartment for his son to use during college showed up at the board interview with a twentysomething girlfriend.  When asked what he planned to do with the apartment once his son graduated, he gestured toward his companion and replied, “I don’t know. Perhaps I will let the bimbo move into the apartment after my son moves out.” His application was rejected, and the seller sued the board (and lost). (p. 52)

  • If you’re disabled, you may be able to strongarm your co-op into letting you have an otherwise verboten washer-dryer in your apartment….A lawyer advises boards to bend whenever possible to requests based on handicaps or disabilities rather than risk a lawsuit. (p. 13)

  • After learning that an owner was a registered sex offender, an Upper East Side condo board told the rest of the building, then arranged the man’s exit by buying his apartment. They lost $100,000 but considered it money well spent. (p. 56)

  • Famous people are expensive—especially for co-ops that have to hire extra security to deal with the crowds drawn to a celebrity resident.  Solution: Amend your proprietary lease to make an owner responsible for paying “extraordinary expenses” associated with the presence of the owner or their guest. (p.59)

  • If a family in your co-op is using the lobby as a living room--and its sofa as a changing table--there’s not a lot you can do if the lawyer letters don’t work. Suing is expensive and courts may not find the behavior as offensive as you do. But if the board turns down their request to buy the apartment next door, they might leave on their own. (p. 10)

  • If your neighbor stiffs his contractor, who then puts a gigantic lien on your entire co-op building ($1.8 million in the case of one unlucky co-op), your building becomes a pariah to buyers and mortgage banks.  Solution:  Have your building settle with the contractor, evict your neighbor, then recover all its costs through the sale of your neighbor’s apartment. (p. 43)

Related posts:

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The scariest co-op board interview ever

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The $100,000 love affair: How your super's sex life can cost you money