In New York City, 75% of residential buildings are managed by cooperative boards. These boards collect dues, handle maintenance, and are responsible for a multitude of tasks that keep the building safe for residents. When disputes between members and boards arise, it’s best to discuss your case with an experienced condo/co-op attorney who is well-versed in housing cooperative law.
At Woods Lonergan PLLC, we have handled a wide range of legal issues related to housing cooperative laws. Our law firm provides clients with creative solutions based on our in-depth knowledge of co-op law. If you are searching for a law firm to assist with your legal issue, we can help. Contact us to learn more about how we can protect your rights today.
Housing Cooperative Laws Affecting Co-Ops
Co-op owners encounter legal issues daily, from drafting contracts to legal disputes with tenants. Whether you are an individual owner, a managing agent, or on the board of directors, working with an experienced attorney is essential. At Woods Lonergan, we have successfully represented clients in a diverse range of legal matters and provide the following services:
Compliance with local, state, and federal laws
Preparing, negotiating, and reviewing contracts, house rules, and by-laws
Addressing repair and maintenance issues
Resolving disputes between condo unit owners
General legal counsel for day-to-day legal issues
Understanding Housing Cooperative Laws in New York
Residents in a cooperative apartment are tenants who pay rent to live in an apartment managed by the co-op. Concurrently, residents own shares in the corporation that owns the building. The lease between a tenant and the corporation that owns the building is called a “proprietary lease.” Tenants pay maintenance fees to the corporation every month for the expense of operating and maintaining the building. They also pay property tax, and some require tenants to pay a portion of the underlying mortgage on the building.
Generally, the board of directors that manages the co-op consists of tenant shareholders. The board is required to follow the rules set forth in the by-laws. They also have to abide by the terms of the proprietary lease. These legal documents specify the rights and responsibilities of the tenants and the corporate owner of the building.
In most cases, the shareholder is responsible for repairs inside his or her apartment. The corporation is responsible for repairs to the common areas, building systems, and building exterior. When a dispute arises between a tenant and the board, the governing legal documents will determine how the disputes should be resolved. When the parties can’t come to an agreement, one party may take legal action in court.
Can Co-Op Tenants Be Evicted?
Tenants living in a co-op can be evicted for valid legal reasons. For example, if a tenant is not paying his or her required dues, the board can start a non-payment proceeding or a holdover proceeding against the tenants in Housing Court. In New York, co-op boards have a significant amount of discretion when deciding whether to evict a tenant.
As long as the tenant has engaged in objectionable conduct, the Housing Court typically upholds the board’s decision to evict. However, boards cannot simply evict a tenant for any reason. They are required to show that some form of objectionable conduct has occurred.
Attorneys for Start-Up Co-ops
If you are considering starting a New York City co-op, there are many different regulations and laws with which you will need to comply. One of the attorneys at Woods Lonergan will review the initial plans for your company. We can also help you negotiate any construction contracts you will need. Our business attorneys can help you structure your legal entity in a way that protects you while helping you navigate the often complicated process of starting and managing a co-op.
General Counsel for Co-Op Associations
Managing a co-op effectively is a significant undertaking. The attorneys of Woods Lonergan work with clients to help them achieve the confidence and smooth operation of their coop. We have represented co-op associations ranging from small, self-managed buildings to some of the largest co-op associations in New York. Our attorneys have extensive commercial real estate experience which helps us understand the day-to-day operating needs of our clients. We work with clients to develop creative solutions to their unique challenges. Woods Lonergan guides boards in every aspect of governance, including:
- Drafting and reviewing governing documents
- Election disputes
- Fiduciary obligations
- Disputes with tenants/shareholders
- Protection against potential liability
- Contract negotiation
- Labor law representation
- Alternative dispute resolution
Housing Cooperative Law Litigation Assistance
When legal disputes can’t be resolved, our trial attorneys are prepared to advocate for your interest in any type of legal proceeding. Our attorneys are prepared to represent you in the city, state, or administrative proceedings. We routinely litigate matters involving flip taxes, subletting agreements, disputes over non-payment, and pets. If you are involved in a dispute that may lead to litigation, we recommend discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible.
Sales and Purchases of Housing Cooperatives
At Woods Lonergan, we give our clients the peace of mind they need when selling or purchasing a housing co-op. Our law firm will provide thorough due diligence before the purchase while handling the matter with the care and attention to detail our clients deserve.
The attorneys at Woods Lonegan ensure that our clients are protected from unnecessary liability and risk. When we detect red flags, we advise our clients and work with the other party to resolve the issue. If you need legal advice before purchasing a condo co-op, our business law firm is here to help.
Discuss Your Case with a Co-Op Attorney in NYC
At Woods Lonergan, we advise many cooperative associations throughout the greater New York metro area. We have also represented tenants involved in disputes with the governing board. Our attorneys are ready to become involved at any stage of the dispute, from the initial disagreement to taking the case to court. When negotiation fails, we are prepared to pursue a resolution in court. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.