Category Archives: Co-Ops

In 2020 Residential Coop Unit Owners Challenge 2013/17 Sublet Rule Changes

Were Breach of Contract & BCL Claims Barred by Statute of Limitations?

Alison Fricke and others  were shareholders in Beauchamp Gardens Owners Corp., a cooperative corporation, and the owners of separate apartments in the cooperative complex. On February 17, 2020, they commenced an action alleging that BGOC  breached its contract with them and violated Business Corporation Law § 720 by enacting certain sublet policies which limited the number of years shareholders could sublet their apartments and imposed an annual sublet fee. The challenged policies became effective on January 1, 2013, and January 1, 2017.

BGOC subsequently moved to dismiss the causes of action alleging breach of contract and violation of Business Corporation Law § 720 as time-barred. Supreme Court granted those branches of the motion. Fricke and the others appealed

Continue reading

Commercial Tenant Sues After Coop Board Rejects Installation of Outdoor HVAC

Did Board Unreasonably Withold Consent/ Breach Fiduciary Duty?

Heykal Properties, LLC, a commercial tenant of Unit 2S in a commercial cooperative building, assert causes of action against the board of 450 West 31St. Owners Corp. and board member Karen Atta for breach of fiduciary duty in rejecting Heykal’s’ proposals to install an HVAC on an outdoor space adjacent to the leased unit. The motion by the board and Atta for summary judgment was denied. And they appealed.

The proprietary lease provided that, to make alterations to a unit, a lessee must first obtain the written consent of the lessor, “which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.” Where a “reasonableness” standard is imposed, the actions of the board and its members must be legitimately related to the welfare of the cooperative. The board contended that Heykal’s alteration plans were reasonably rejected because the plans sought to use a common element of the building for the tenant’s own exclusive use, and there were concerns about whether the space was structurally sound for the proposed alterations. The board moved for summary judgment..

Continue reading

Purchaser of $19m Residential Condo Claims Non-Disclosure/Concealment of Doorman’s Hours

Court Determines If There Was Justifiable Reliance and Entitlement to Return of $1.9m Deposit

Kora Dille entered into a contract of sale to purchase a condominium unit for $19,000,000 from Zoelle LLC,  allegedly in reliance upon extra-contractual representations made by Zoelle that the building had a doorman. In fact, the building had a doorman physically present during the daytime hours of each day, and a virtual doorman for the remaining hours that a doorman was not physically present on site. Dille, alleging that a full-time doorman was material to her decision to enter into a contract to purchase the unit, refused to close the transaction, declaring the contract null and void and seeking a return of the $1,900,000 down payment on the basis that Zoelle had misrepresented the presence of a full-time doorman.

Continue reading

Board Denied Chelsea Co-op Unit Owner Permission to Improve Adjacent Roof Area

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Owner Moved to Reargue Court’s Denial of Relief Sought Against Co-op/Board

Yetta Kurland is the proprietary lessee and shareholder of apartment 5C at 161 West 16th Street, New York, New York. 161 West 16th St. Owners Corp. is a cooperative housing corporation, which owns the building. According to Kurland, the Board of Directors of the co-op manages all maintenance and affairs of the building.

Kurland alleged in her complaint that she had undertaken a renovation project with respect to the apartment. The project included improvements to a portion of the roof area directly appurtenant to the unit– and to which the co-op board agreed. The complaint alleged that the board subsequently refused to sign the necessary forms, approvals and/or consents as required for Kurland to complete the renovations as they related to the roof. Kurland sued. Her complaint set forth causes of action for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, breach of contract, and a violation of Civil Rights Law § 52-a.

Continue reading

Apartment Owner Sues Co-Op Board and Managing Agent

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was There Liability for Almost $1M Façade Repair?

The owner of an apartment in a residential co-op has every right to sue the board and managing agent for a perceived breach of the proprietary lease or for breach of fiduciary duty. But sustaining a claim may be easier said than done. And, as recent case illustrates, a shareholder’s claim arising out of an almost one-million-dollar façade repair was tested at the outset by several threshold legal defenses.

Bernard Weinstein, a resident in a cooperative apartment building owned by 12282 Owners’ Corp., asserted claims against the Co-Op’s Board of Directors and against the Co-Op’s managing agent, AKAM Associates, Inc., for failure properly to maintain the exterior of the building. The Co-Op and AKAM moved to dismiss the complaint.

Continue reading

Frozen Pipe Bursts on Ninth Floor of Commercial Co-Op

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Who Was Liable for Damage to Eighth Floor Unit?

High-rise commercial co-ops necessarily house utilities, pipes, and connections behind closed walls. As a recent case illustrates, where an enclosed pipe in one unit burst and damaged another unit, the Court may be required to navigate a web or relationships and agreements to determine who may be liable for the damage.

Metropolitan Productions, Inc. and Daylight Studio LLC sued Good Light Studio, Inc. and Good Light Studio 2, LLC and sought six million dollars for property damage and loss of income. The claim was the result of a frozen pipe that burst on February 1, 2015 and caused damages to a space occupied by Metro/Daylight on the 8th floor of 450 West 31st Street. Good Light moved for dismissal and/or summary judgment.

Continue reading

Neighbors Sue Each Other at Park Towers Co-Op

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Did Facts Support Claim of Emotional Distress?

Occasional disputes between neighbors are a common occurrence of residential cooperative/condominium life. But, as a recent case illustrates, the Court may have to decide if an alleged course of false complaints and hallway confrontations constituted a legally cognizable claim for intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

In two actions, next-door-neighbor shareholders of a Manhattan co-op were at loggerheads. Danielle Toussie, Michael Toussie, and Deborah Touisse sued the cooperative corporation, Park Towers Tenants Corp., alleging that the Board was wrongfully attempting to terminate their proprietary lease based on false complaints of loud noises and music emanating from their apartment.

Continue reading

Coop Tenant Claims Fans on Roof Targeted Her West End Ave Apartment

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Adjudicates Panoply of Claims, Counterclaims, and Defenses

Martha Schwartz alleged that 170 West End Owners Corp illegally installed and/or manipulated industrial fans on the roof of the building directly above her apartment. Schwartz was a tenant in apartment 30E at the building, a cooperative governed by Owners Corp.

Schwartz alleged that in 2009 Owners Corp. relocated a certain number of industrial fans directly above and/or near her top-floor apartment, in an attempt to force her out of the building. She alleged that in 2012 Owners Corp. manipulated the fans to direct polluted and freezing air into her apartment, and testified that she witnessed the fans in different locations by visiting the roof on various occasions both before and after 2009. Schwartz alleged that the relocation and manipulation of the fans caused excessive noise, vibrations, and odors in her apartment which continued and that her health declined as a result of these conditions.

Continue reading

Proprietary Lease Did Not Give Unit Owner Exclusive Right to Parking Space

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Did Coop’s Course of Conduct Effectively Grant Such Exclusivity?

Sara Baer asserted causes of action for a declaratory judgment, breach of contract, and trespass to chattel, and sought a permanent injunction against 825 Ocean Corp. She alleged in her complaint that she was the proprietary lessee and holder of cooperative shares for unit 2D at 930 East 7th Street in Brooklyn. In 2004, when she purchased those shares, she was told that a parking space was provided, which was ancillary to the premises. She further alleged that the parking space was provided for in the proprietary lease and that her decision to purchase shares within the building was based upon her right of continuing use of the parking space. She contended that, on or around February 2011, Ocean Corp. sought to allow another person to use, and sought to keep her, from continuing to use the parking space.

Ocean Corp. moved for an order granting summary judgment and dismissing the complaint, and contended that the complaint should be dismissed as Baer’s causes of action were all premised on the claim that she had possessory right and interest in the parking space because, as a non-resident shareholder, pursuant to the Ocean Corp.’s policy regarding the use and distribution of parking spaces, Baer was not entitled to utilize a parking space. Since Baer did not reside in the apartment, she was not entitled to use of the parking space.

Continue reading

Companion Sues Former Beau for Damages Arising Out of Long-Term Relationship

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Court Decides Whether/ Which of a Dozen Claims Survives Motion to Dismiss

Andrea Coulter entered into an intimate relationship with Carl Sorenson, eighteen years her senior, in 2008 when she was 25 years old. Sorenson was a businessman who owned Nanz Custom Hardware, LLC., a substantial enterprise which manufactured and sold high-end custom-made metal hardware products used in the construction of residential and commercial properties. During the course of their decade-long relationship, Coulter and Sorenson lived together at more than one of Sorenson’s homes. At some point during the course of the relationship, Coulter started working, allegedly without compensation, for Sorenson both as his personal assistant and at Nanz.

In or about 2013, Coulter allegedly proposed that Sorensen utilize a Tribeca co-op apartment Sorenson owned through the Carl Sorenson IV Revocable Trust as a short-term rental space using the Airbnb platform, and claimed to have been responsible for fully managing the Airbnb initiative, including overseeing the apartment’s renovation and decoration, servicing the apartment, as well as managing the business’s account and the greeting of guests.

Continue reading