Monthly Archives: April 2018

Roof Rights Come With Rules and Responsibilities

Copyright by, and republished with permission of, Habitat Magazine

For residents of New York City co-ops and condominiums, roof access is a cherished amenity. When that access is the exclusive right of one unit, the amenity becomes a treasure. But it’s worth remembering that private roof access is not the same thing as roof ownership. The people enjoying exclusive access to the roof are bound by various agreements – the certificate of incorporation in a co-op, the declaration in a condominium, and the by-lawsrules, and regulations in both types of buildings.

A recent court case concerning a roof terrace in a condominium illustrates two points: exclusivity may be trumped by the necessity for inspection and repair; and obstructing such work can backfire against a unit-owner.

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Court of Appeals #15

We recently published a new update on decisions from the Court of Appeals

The Fine Line Between Reasonable and Confiscatory Fines

Copyright by, and republished with permission of, Habitat Magazine.

The Business Judgment Rule is a powerful shield for co-op and condo boards. It precludes the courts from reviewing board actions so long as the board has acted in good faith, within the scope of its authority, and in the best interest of the co-op corporation or the condo association. That’s a broad protection, but it is not a license for boards to do as they please. That lesson came home in a Manhattan condominium where a dispute arose over a fine for a sublet.

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The “business judgment rule” is the “guiding light” for the boards of residential cooperatives and condominiums.  While easy to state, application of the rule is a source of constant fact-based/specific litigation.  Our examination of the rule begins with the decisions of our Court of Appeals in Levandusky in 1990 and in Pullman in 2003.  And almost all subsequent litigation about the business judgment rule stems from arguments about the application of the law as set forth in those two cases.

Levandusky v. One Fifth Ave. Apartment Corp., 554 N.Y.S.2d (Court of Appeals April 5, 1990) Continue reading