Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

NYC co-ops and condos trade vetting approaches

It's no secret that New York's residential real estate market is competitive, perhaps especially so in the area of cooperatives and condominiums. Recently, "Saturday Night Live" even satirized what can be an intimidating co-op application process for potential residents. However, since co-ops and condos operate in the same residential marketplace, the applicant-vetting processes for the two types of living arrangements have begun to blend.

For example, New York co-ops are reportedly making the interview and application process less daunting. A member of one board's admission committee said the goal now is to take a friendlier approach. The financial standards and neighborly requirements haven't changed, but it appears that, to draw in the best residents, co-op boards want to reduce the stress level of the application process.

For example, rather than making an applicant wait a long time for a verdict, some co-op boards have started announcing decisions, often positive, within a day.

Interestingly, condominiums have been tightening up their house rules. Condos have traditionally offered more flexibility than co-ops, but cooperative-type rules have begun showing up in condos. For example, one condo board has considered restricting residents' access to certain non-basic services if the residents don't make their common-charge payments.

Smoking has also been banned by some condos in the city, and short-term rentals have been discouraged to minimize the feeling that the condo is a hotel.

At base, these changes are aimed at bringing in financially strong and neighborly residents. Unfortunately, during the quest for the ideal living arrangement, disputes between boards and residents do arise. Resolving such a dispute often requires extensive preparation and in-depth knowledge of condo and co-op law. Boards and residents who are at odds would be wise to look into their legal options for achieving the best outcome.

Source: The New York Times, "Co-ops Chill, Condos Don't," Constance Rosenblum, Jan. 24, 2014

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