Category Archives: Real Estate

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 Gray Area of Liability When Building Systems Fail

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

A pipe bursts. An apartment floods. The resident files a damage claim against the co-op or condo board, contending that the flood was caused by the board’s failure to provide necessary maintenance of building systems.

The board should not simply write a check for the damages. Instead, it should check the declarationoffering plan or other governing documents to determine if the pipe is located in the so-called “common area,” for which the board is responsible. If it is not, the shareholder or unit-owner must deal with the problem on her own. Continue reading

The Dangerous Side of Security Cameras

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

Surveillance cameras are a valued tool for keeping co-op and condo residents safe. They also have a dangerous side – when their footage is needed as evidence following a crime or accident on the property. Boards need to understand that they have legal obligations – and that they’re open to liability – in such situations.

When a board learns that someone has slipped on ice and fallen on the property, sustaining personal injury, it should immediately do three things. First, notify the managing agent; second, have the agent put the building’s liability insurance carrier on notice; and third, implement a so-called “litigation hold” with respect to all surveillance videos in, on, or around the premises.

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