In many co-op and condominium transactions, a key part of due diligence for New York buyers is reading the co-op board's minutes. These can give you an idea of how the board operates and what may be going on among residents in the building. Some people neglect to review the board's minutes, and other people spend time trying to decipher what in some cases is a gobbledygook of terms. Real estate attorneys are able to pick apart and analyze the board's minutes to help give buyers a clear picture of their future in the building.
For example, how has the board voted in the past with regard to owners renting out their property? And how has the board handled past disputes? Is the board business savvy? Have there been discussions of major repairs in the future? Is there a lack of clarity in the minutes that suggests a masking of certain issues with the building or among board members?
Buyers can sit down with the minutes and scan for these matters, but it's also a good idea to have the input of a real estate attorney with experience in condo and co-op transactions.
By the time buyers have reached the point of reviewing the co-op board's minutes, the deal is usually well on its way. But a careful analysis of these documents could reveal an issue that prompts a concession from the seller. Maybe the board has discussed a future cost, and the seller is willing to help cover it.
These days waiting too long to review the co-op board's minutes could allow for another bidder to slip in front of you. It is important, then, to review the minutes carefully but quickly.
For more on cooperatives and condominiums, please visit our pages on condo law.
Source: The New York Times, "Spending Hours on the Co-Op Board Minutes," Jim Rendon, Nov. 14, 2013