New York condo board sues fashion designer over home renovation

On Behalf of | Feb 6, 2015 | Real Estate Disputes

A recent post in this blog discussed the importance of condo owners getting approval from their condo board before undertaking any renovation of their units. A lawsuit recently filed in New York Supreme Court alleges one defendant failed to get condo board approval for an extensive renovation. But in this case the defendant is not a condo owner in the building; she’s the owner of the townhouse next door.

The condo board of a landmarked building in the West Village has sued fashion designer Cynthia Rowley over allegations she damaged their building while renovating her neighboring townhouse. According to the condo owners, Rowley illegally installed three ventilation and plumbing pipes on their building without approval of the condo board. They also allege the pipes emit fumes and are noisy. The condo board also claims the construction has blocked one of their building’s fire exits and that workers left debris in an air shaft on their property.

The condo owners claim Rowley failed to get the necessary approval from New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission before installing the pipes on their historic building at 28 Perry Street. The Commission, however, says it issued permits and had not received any complaints about the construction issues.

Rowley is undertaking a half-million dollar renovation of the second and third floors of her townhome at 30 Perry Street. The new pipes were reportedly installed to replace old ones from the fireplace, boiler and cooking fixtures. The condo board wants Rowley to remove the three pipes and clear up the debris and obstructions. They are also seeking monetary damages.

As this case illustrates, before undertaking renovations in New York it is a good idea to get legal advice from an experienced real estate lawyer. By resolving permit issues and seeking necessary approvals in advance, a building owner can avoid costly real estate litigation.

Source:, “Cynthia Rowley Infuriates Neighbors by Damaging Landmarked Home: Lawsuit,” Danielle Tcholakian, Jan. 29, 2015