Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
Current Articles

Published: Spring 2018


Bills have been introduced in the New York State Legislature and the City Council which, if passed, would force dramatic changes in long-standing admissions procedures in housing cooperatives. Each claims fairness and transparency. CNYC disagrees and urges you to contact your representatives and ask that they oppose these bills:

  • S.7523 Hannon/A.10084 Lavine would impose a one-size-fits-all time frame on the Admissions Process. Given the immense diversity of housing cooperatives and the fact that board members are volunteers with other demands on their time, CNYC finds this impractical. Rather than improving the admissions process, this legislation will deprive boards of flexibility and will likely result in more rejections.
  • S.4551 Sanders/A.10216 Hunter requires boards to provide a written statement of reasons to any rejected candidate. Imposing this mandate on boards will likely discourage shareholders from serving on their boards. Many resources are already available to prospective purchasers who believe that a board discriminated due to their membership in a protected category.
  • In the City Council much harsher Int. 0822 deals with time frames and Int. 0761 is punitive in its requirements regarding reasons for rejections. Both were introduced this year by Brad Lander and Jumaane Williams.

These proposed laws will undermine decades of viable practice in housing cooperative where the Admissions process seeks to ascertain that prospective purchasers are not only financially able to pay all carrying charges, but that they understand that they are becoming part of a community where they will be expected to contribute their time and talents to making the cooperative a congenial, thriving, safe community.

The City Council may soon consider proposed Int.0737-A, which would institute commercial rent control by requiring property owners to offer ten-year renewal leases to their commercial tenants, and to resolve differences via arbitration. This legislation could permanently saddle a building with a difficult tenant; and when an owner opts not to offer a renewal lease, this legislation would require that the tenant be given a reason for this decision. When the tenant demands the issue be arbitrated, the building could lose months or more of rental income while the matter is decided with shareholders and unit owners having to make up budget shortfalls. Cooperatives and condominiums that own and control commercial space should continue to have the right to determine what entity will occupy that space, and to negotiate lease terms with them. Please contact your lawmakers. Ask that they oppose commercial rent control.

Legislation passed in 2004 required annual lead paint inspections---and remediation where necessary--in all NYC multiple dwellings build prior to 1960 and established procedures for removing or encapsulating lead based paint. This June, the City Council will hold a hearing on 23 bills focus on many aspects of further controlling lead paint. Among these is Int.873, which would require of that in any multiple dwelling built before January 1, 1960 that has not previously been certified lead free, as units become vacant all lead paint must be removed or encapsulated. Other bills that could impact cooperatives and condominiums relate to testing water and soil for lead content. CNYC is monitoring the progress of these bills and will alert members to any that are passed.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy we learned that FEMA could not provide recovery grants for building systems destroyed by disasters, because cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner associations are categorized not as homes, but as small businesses. The National Association of Housing has been working to change this policy. Progress is very slow, but Congressman Jerrold Nadler has passed the Disaster Assistance Support for Communities and Homeowners Act of 2017, requiring FEMA to report on how to change this policy. This year, Mr. Nadler's legislation has been included in H.R. 4, a Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization measure that passed the House of Representatives on April 27th. Senate passage is expected.

In April, on behalf of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, CNYC participated in a delegation that met with experts at HUD to request that this HUD administration reconsider a 2016 statement that HUD would not be making reverse mortgage loans to seniors in housing cooperatives, nor would it provide guidelines for such loans. While this meeting was cordial, HUD did not give any indication that its policies would change.

In the absence of HUD support, NAHC has turned to the providers of proprietary reverse mortgage loans to encourage them to make loans to seniors in housing cooperatives. In New York State, a 1994 regulation currently presents an obstacle to such loans. In 2016 and 2017, the State Senate passed legislation removing this obstacle, but the Assembly was unwilling to consider companion legislation at the time, expressing concern about the need for consumer protections.

On May 16, 2018, Assembly member Jeff Dinowitz introduced A.10755, a new bill to allow reverse mortgages for seniors aged 70 or older in New York housing cooperatives. Senator Jeff Klein introduced companion bill S.8888 on June 1st. These bills contain extensive consumer protections. They have been referred to the banking committees in their houses. CNYC will continue to monitor the progress of this legislation and to encourage lenders to consider providing reverse mortgage loans to seniors in housing cooperatives. Please ask your Albany representatives to support this important legislation.



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