Category Archives: Co-Ops

Some Cases Are Like a Bad Cold—They Keep On Coming Back

This article was originally posted on the SGR blog.

Boyd Richards Parker & Colonnelli, P.L. and Bryan J. Mazzola sought a temporary restraining order, dismissal of the matter, sanctions, and requested the Court to enforce its prior order requiring James Pettus to seek judicial leave prior to filing any further papers with the court.

Pettus, without counsel, initiated the action in late 2018, ostensibly seeking further relief upon prior actions which he initiated against the co-op board of his building. The pending action named the law firm which represents his co-op, their attorney Bryan Mazzola and the Honorable Laura Douglas, who ruled against Pettus in a prior related matter. Pettus’ complaint, according to the Court, “ reads as a stream of consciousness wherein he accuses most of the staff of the Bronx Supreme Court of corruption, racial animus, bribery, fraud, and a litany of other violations most familiar to anyone who has studied intentional torts.”

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Don’t Mess With a Senior Citizen/Tenant (Whose Son is an Attorney)

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Phyllis Kossoff, a 92-year-old woman, lived in an apartment at 910 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan since 1966. After the building was converted into a coop, Kossoff and her husband became proprietary lessees of their unit. A recent dispute arose about whether Kossoff or the coop was responsible for replacing and paying for the replacement of the balcony windows and sills of the unit.

On March 22, 2018 Kossoff was approached by the coop and asked whether she was interested in selling her apartment to another shareholder who lived on her floor. Kossoff said she was not interested in selling her home of over 50 years.

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Rooftop (Legal) Warfare on Washington Avenue

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

A recent lawsuit resulted from an ongoing quarrel, between neighbors in a Washington Avenue co-op apartment building, over who owned a 2-foot by 20-foot strip of a shared rooftop terrace.

Justin Theroux (Apt. 2B) filed a complaint against Norman J. Resnicow and Barbara Resnicow, his downstairs neighbors (Apt.1A), for allegedly depriving Theroux of his right to enjoy his property.

Theroux contended that the Resnicows had engaged in a malicious and years-long harassment campaign that included frivolously challenging the boundary line between Theroux’s and the Resnicows’ shared roof deck.

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Co-op Boards Are Not Quality-Control Watchdogs

Copyright  by,  and republished with permission of, Habitat Magazine

Wade and Vanessa Johnson thought they were getting a “triple mint” luxury unit when they bought a gut-renovated apartment from the sponsor of a cooperative conversion at 1150 Fifth Avenue. But after the closing, the Johnsons learned that there were numerous conditions in the apartment that were not up to code – or actually dangerous – most of which had been concealed.

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The Great “Washing Machine” Dispute

This was originally published on the SGR blog.

Nancy McCaskill  bought the shares for a cooperative apartment in Mount Vernon, New York in April 1998. At the time she entered into possession a washing machine was installed.

In 2014, the Board of Directors enacted the following House Rule 21:

The Board of Directors having determined that the plumbing systems of the Buildings are not sufficiently robust to allow use of washing machines without damage to the plumbing and to other apartments, washing machines, dryers or combination washer/dryer machines are not permitted to be used or kept in any apartment.

The cooperative did not contact McCaskill regarding her washing machine after enactment of House Rule 21.

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Murder in Apartment 3P

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

It was a grim and bloody night at the Sea Cliff Towers co-op on Staten Island. The New York Times carried this terse account:

“A fight between two friends who were dating the same woman ended in the death of one of them, the police said yesterday. On Wednesday night, Michael Cafferata, 33, was visiting Michael Kett, 41, in Fort Wadsworth. The two argued, and Mr. Kett stabbed Mr. Cafferata with a steak knife, the police said. Mr. Kett fled, but was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder.”

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Which Rule Rules?

Please see my recent article on Habitat.  Copyright by, and republished with permission of, Habitat Magazine.

A dustup at the Village Dunes co-op in Montauk highlights the differing standards that may govern the enforceability of decisions made by co-op boards.  Click Here For More.

 

Beware of the “Espinal” Exceptions

Documents included with offering plans (i.e. declarations, by-laws, rules and regulations, etc.) and other evidence are used to determine whether the board of a residential cooperative or condominium or the owner of an apartment is responsible to fix failures in a building system.  Keep in mind, however, that a board or managing agent may become responsible for damages (which are otherwise the obligation of the apartment owner) if they voluntarily or gratuitously inject themselves into addressing or remediating a unit owner’s problem.

Read more on the SGR blogs.

“UP ON THE ROOF”

When this old world starts getting me down

And people are just too much for me to face

I climb way up to the top of the stairs

And all my cares just drift right into space…[*]

Every aspect of residential cooperative or condominium life sooner or later becomes the subject of disagreement. And disputes as to responsibility for maintaining, and the right to use or build on, the roof are frequent in our Courts. A few recent examples follow:

Hersh v. One Fifth Ave. Apt. Corp., 2018 NY Slip Op 05522, App. Div. 1st Dept. (July 26, 2018) Continue reading