As someone who owns a co-op, it’s a good idea for you to know what your contract entails. You may, at some point, end up having to pitch in for repairs or services that don’t directly affect you. That’s one risk of being part of a co-op.
For most people who live in co-ops, this isn’t a problem unless it’s a project that doesn’t need to be done for them. In New York, one feud began when one co-op suggested getting air conditioning for all its units. Several homeowners already had air conditioning, so they didn’t want to be part of, or fund, any updates to that system. They argued that the costs were extraordinary and would bear no results for them.
Shareholders on both sides of the argument found difficulty coming to terms with any kind of negotiation. Some believed those refusing to share the burden of the cost of air were only acting in self-interest. Others opposed the changes because they would not improve the value of their own homes.
Finally, in this case, a proposal was made and approved. In the new proposal, anyone who wanted air conditioning would pay between $20,000 and $50,000. In addition, no one who opted out would be able to add their homes to the new system in the future.
Real estate disputes like these and others can put you in a difficult position. It’s essential that you know your contract and your rights so that you have a chance to dispute anything you don’t agree with as soon as it comes up.
Source: The New York Times, “When a Co-op Project Turns Into War,” Ronda Kaysen, April 27, 2018