Publication Date: Winter 1997
CONTROL CONTRACTS CAREFULLY
CNYC has long recommended that member
cooperatives and condominiums have their attorneys carefully review even
the most routine of contracts before they are signed. Your commitment
to this consistent practice of review may save you a great deal of aggravation
and money. By reviewing documents, your attorney may be able to find and
eliminate certain unacceptable clauses that are often found in contracts,
and which may look just fine to the untrained reviewer.
When a service provider presents your cooperative with a contract, you
can be sure that the attorneys for that company have carefully constructed
it to provide maximum protection for their client. Your own lawyer will
ferret out onerous provisions and help you negotiate their removal or
For example, some laundry companies offer contracts that include provisions
granting the company the right of first refusal for successor contracts
when this contract expires. Simply stated, this will make it extremely
difficult for you to change service providers at the end of the contract.
You should strike this provision from any contract that you are offered.
Similarly, when a contract is not for a fixed amount, it opens the possibility
of additional fees for materials, hours, work changes, copying, messengers,
faxes and so on. Your attorney will help you either eliminate this opportunity
or refine the circumstances under which there would be additional charges.
A consistent practice of professional review of every contract will save
you unpleasant surprises both small and large.
INSURANCE TO COVER "ENVIRONMENTAL
In reviewing the insurance for your building, you will want to be certain
that you have protected your property well against potentially costly
and distressing surprises. One area to be sure to ask about is your coverage
against lead paint hazards. In some instances, when policies are silent
on the issue, insurers have refused to cover claims made for lead-based
paint problems, stating that this is excluded in a clause excluding so-called
Some carriers will specifically include lead-based paint hazards within
their coverage; others will sell you an additional policy to protect your
During the next 10 months, CNYC will be reviewing insurance issues and
compiling an insurance checklist, which will be distributed to members
in the autumn Newsletter. We welcome your suggestions as our research