In New York City, most construction disputes between co-op boards and co-op shareholders involve conflicts over upkeep, repairs, damage or building maintenance. In many cases, the house rules or by-laws address these issues only in a general way, and that can lead to different interpretations of what is permissible on the property.
Sometimes, however, co-op or condo boards may challenge the right to build or make repairs not on the private property itself but on city property. For example, a number of boards have brought complaints regarding the city's bike sharing program, which the Department of Transportation implemented about a year ago. One co-op in Manhattan claims that the bike sharing station in front of the building obstructs access for firefighters and ambulances.
The board for the co-op, which has about 135 units, filed a legal complaint last year. The board vice president claims that shortly after the complaint was filed a co-op resident required emergency medical attention. The vice president says the emergency responders had trouble removing the elderly resident from the building because of the 39-rack bike sharing station that partially blocks the entrance.
A spokesperson for the New York City Fire Department disputed that claim, however. According to him, the emergency responders "had absolutely no problem accessing this building." He added that the bike sharing stations haven't caused problems anywhere else in the city.
Nevertheless, days after the emergency incident, some of the bike racks near the building were removed. The co-op board is also still pressing its complaint, which a judge dismissed in October 2013. In May an appellate court heard oral arguments on the matter, and the co-op board is still awaiting a ruling.
City residents with condo and co-op concerns may want to follow up on this story in the coming weeks.
Source: Habitat, "The Cambridge Awaits Appellate Ruling on Its Citi Bike Lawsuit," June 19, 2014