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Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
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Published: Autumn 2013

IDENTITY CRISIS

ASSERTING THE HOME OWNER STATUS OF SHAREHOLDERS & UNIT OWNERS

People who make their homes in cooperatives and condominiums are home owners. They show commitment to their community and their City. Here they pay taxes, raise their families, and support educational, religious, cultural and social organizations. This home owner status should not be questioned.

But it is. Regularly and repeatedly.

PROPERTY TAX INEQUITY
New York City's property tax structure imposes much heavier tax burdens on home owners in cooperatives and condominiums than on owners of more traditional one, two and three family homes that make up property tax Class 1. Despite long acknowledgment of this inequity, little has been done towards remediation, and the City's most recent initiative takes the giant step backward of treating home owners in cooperatives and condominiums even LESS like Class 1 home owners. See pages 1 and 3 for the modifications to the abatement program and pages 8 and 9 for a history of our ongoing crusade for property tax fairness.

UNEQUAL DISASTER TREATMENT BY FEMA
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has also misunderstood the nature of housing cooperatives, condominiums and home owner associations, and therefore currently does not provide grants for restoration of building systems destroyed by disasters such as tropical storm Sandy. Strong efforts are being taken on a nationwide level to help FEMA better understand the nature of this form of home ownership and to revise its policy to allow for grants to bring back building systems devastated by storms, floods, and other disasters. Happily, FEMA is cooperating in these efforts, and legislation has been introduced to correct this problem. See page 7 for details.

DIFFERENT TREATMENT BY LENDING INSTITUTION
Loans to purchase a condominium unit or shares in a cooperative are subject to greater scrutiny, more stringent requirements, and often higher interest rates than loans for the purchase of a house. Cooperatives and condominiums with a low percentage of owner occupied units often find that potential purchasers have great difficulty securing loans. Lenders impose unrealistic requirements rather than focusing on the financial health of the building and the borrower.. While many lenders do understand the intricacies of New York State conversion, more education is needed in this area. At CNYC 33rd Annual Housing Conference on Sunday, November 17th there will be a midday class on Condo Financing Challenges. See the Chart of Conference Events on page 17.

URGE CANDIDATES TO LEARN ABOUT COOPERATIVES & CONDOMINIUMS CNYC
will continue to work in all these areas to seek equitable treatment for cooperative and condominium home owners. In this important election year, this includes making candidates aware of the many cooperatives and condominiums among the constituency whose support they seek. Page 6 describes efforts to bring these issues to the attention of the candidates for Mayor.

Please speak of coop/condo issues with each and every candidates for City office that you meet as Primary Day approaches on September 10th and then the election on November 5th. The more our elected officials understand about cooperatives and condominiums, the better our chances of fair treatment.

 
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