Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

2 cooperatives sue over construction of low-income homes

Real-estate disputes can happen for any number of reasons, but for these families, the cost of construction defects has left them in a serious conundrum. In June 2009, buyers started to purchase homes through a city program that offered low-income residents a way to purchase a home. Now, the board of each complex the program used is suing the Briarwood Organization, stating that construction defects have created millions of dollars in repair bills and hurt the values of the homes.

Briarwood is in local Bayside, and it is run by a fifth generation of a local family. The firm works with many city-based projects and has over 600 total units in the Bronx and Brooklyn. In 2010, the company head even talked about how high-quality homes were being built with Energy Star appliances.

In March, the board from the Solara Cooperative, one of the communities in the Bronx, filed a lawsuit against Briarwood. Residents had seen that there were major defects on the property, and it was becoming a major concern. For example, the courtyard at the facility has now sunk down, making it impossible to close the surrounding gates. Some apartments are particularly loud and hear outside noises easily.

The board believes it's poor construction leading to these issues. It believes that the roofs, facades and windows were not installed well, leading to water damage. Another co-op, Waters Edge, has claimed the same thing.

In cases like this, it's the low-income families who suffer most. So far, the city has not stepped in. Families like these have the option of participating in lawsuits if they have been victimized by a construction company.

Source: Crain's, "Low-income families in leaky townhouses left to fight for themselves," Joe Anuta, Feb. 14, 2017

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