Category Archives: Condominiums

Subdivision Declaration Prohibited Daily/ Weekly/ Monthly Sublets: Court Decides if One Year Rental was Covered or Permitted

This was originally posted on the SGR blog.

Reported decisions abound relating to the violation/enforcement of the prohibition of short-term rentals of coop and condo units. But are those restrictions enforceable where contained in the declaration of a residential subdivision in which each singular property was separately and privately owned?

LG Lakeside Limited Liability Company, owned by Glenn and Laura Kupsch, completed the construction of a home at 6 Mayfair Drive in Bolton Landing, Warren County in early 2018/late 2019. The home is located in the Mayfair Resort subdivision on the shores of Lake George, with all homes in the subdivision subject to a Declaration of Covenants, Restrictions, Easements, and Assessments dated May 15, 2012, and amended on November 13, 2013.

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Condo Unit Owner Inconvenienced by Defective Exhaust Fan: Was the Board Entitled to Foreclose the Common Charge Lien?

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Condo unit owners often feel aggrieved by every day “housekeeping” type problems—and withhold payment of their common charges until the matter is resolved. But the Board may file a common charge lien as a result of the non-payment. Was the “inconvenience” of a broken exhaust fan sufficient to stop foreclosure of the lien?

Bristol Plaza is a 50-story “white glove” condominium at 200/210 East 65th Street. Angus McCallum is the fee owner of apartment 21K in the 308-unit building.

The Board sued McCallum to foreclose on a $10,202.72 lien for unpaid make common charges, assessments and other charges assessed against the apartment. The Board moved for summary judgment alleging that no material issues of fact existed as to whether the Board was entitled to foreclose on the lien.

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Family Cash Pooled to Build $23M Mixed-Use Condominium in Flushing: Court Determines Interests of Parties in Absence of Definitive Paperwork

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

New York real property development disputes often require the Court to navigate hundreds of pages of lengthy and dense contracts, agreements, or understandings that are the source of contention despite having been drafted by experienced attorneys and signed by sophisticated investors. But, as a recent case illustrates, matters become even more contentious where family members informally invest large sums of money with little concomitant paperwork.

Chun You Cheng (“Cheng”) and Chiu Ming Yan Cheng (“Chiu-Ming”) brought a derivative action against family members and other entities (“defendants”) seeking a judgment declaring the ownership interests of the investors (or their successors or assigns) in Garden View LTD (“GVL”). The Court held a 10-day “bench” (non-jury) trial over several months.

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Declaration/By-Laws Meet Arbitrary/Unreasonable at Madison Ave Condo:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Did Prior Practice Trump Governing Language in Facade Signage Dispute?

New York City abounds in mixed-use condominiums where the rights and obligations of the commercial and residential unit owners are often meticulously defined in the declaration and by-laws. But disputes nevertheless often arise where those living in the building take issue with conduct of those doing business there. And, as a recent case illustrates, the scrupulous detail of the governing documents may not be dispositive where a prior course of conduct arguably suggests otherwise.

The Board of Managers of the 80th at Madison Condominium sued 1055 Madison Avenue Owners LLC for violating the condominium’s Declaration and By-Laws by affixing signage to the granite exterior facade of the building located at 45 East 80th Street without their approval. The Board sought to compel Owners to remove the signage.

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Would UWS Hi-Rise Developer be Forced to Demolish Top Floors?: First Department Tackles Complicated/Ambiguous Zoning Rules

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Questions presented: Was it proper for Supreme Court to annul the determination by the Board of Standards and Appeals to approve a new 55-story condominium building at 200 Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan? For Supreme Court to direct the demolition of an unspecified number of floors from the building? And were legal proceeding moot because the building was substantially completed and the Committee of Environmentally Sound Development and the Municipal Art Society of New York failed to exercise continued due diligence to halt the project by not seeking injunctive relief at every stage of the protracted litigation?

The building lot was originally part of a single parcel of land, which in the 1960s consisted of five buildings along West End Avenue. In 1987, the DOB approved a subdivision into two separate parcels that included partial tax lots and, subsequently, two mergers with four other tax lots. In 2015, the DOB approved another zoning lot subdivision, creating two new zoning lots, both of which contained partial tax lots, and filed a declaration with the City Register. The pertinent subdivided zoning lot included the improved land at 200 West End Avenue, the unimproved land at 200 Amsterdam Avenue, and portions of four other tax lots.

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The Long Arm of the Business Judgment Rule at a Queens Condo

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

The Village Mall at Hillcrest Condominium, a pair of 15-story towers built in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, in the 1970s, bills itself as a place “Where Neighbors Become Friends.” But a recent court case shows that it’s also a place where friends can become enemies – thanks to the ironclad protections and long life of the Business Judgment Rule.

Way back in 1979, unit-owners Sunil and Sabita Banerjee claim they received permission from the condo’s managing agent to enclose the balcony on their apartment, creating a new room. Almost three decades later, a successor condo board revoked the permission, claiming access to the balcony was required to complete work on the facade mandated by the city’s Facade Inspection and Safety Program (FISP), formerly known as Local Law 11. The Banerjees refused to remove their enclosure.

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“Family Feud” Is Not Just a Primetime Realty TV Show: Conflicting Claims to Unit Ownership End Up in Court

This post was originally published on the SGR Blog.

By agreement, circumstance or inheritance, residential cooperative or condominium units often end up being owned by several family owners. A “happy family” can only be found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. So, as two recent cases demonstrate, the family members sometimes end up in a so-called “partition” proceeding in which the Court must decide if the unit should be sold and the parties account for their claims to the proceeds of the sale.

Vernon A. Anthony and his brother, Robert S. Anthony, own condominium Unit 1 at 46 President Street in Brooklyn, as tenants in common. Needless to say, litigation ensued.

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A Bridge[water] Over Troubled Waters

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Local Law 11 Project Divides Condo

Coop and condo boards and unit owners often split into competing factions where one group questions and challenges the decisions of the other. And, as a recent case shows, the charges, accusations and acrimony can lead to very combative litigation.

Petitioners Mike Tong, Cathy Tong, Ann Chen, Te Chen, Nicole Crooks, Kamila Khavasova, Naturi Naughton and Gloria Lee  sought a declaratory judgment and a temporary/permanent restraining order to stop the  Board of Managers of the Bridgeview Tower Condominium from continuing with repairs and renovations relating to New York City Local Law 11.

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“Arbitrary and Capricious” Confronts the “Business Judgment Rule” at 137 Duane Street

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

What Standard Applies in Article 78 Proceeding Challenging Decision of Board of Managers?

Proceedings challenging board decisions under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Rule are governed by the test of whether the disputed action was “arbitrary and capricious”. But challenges to the action of members of the boards of residential condominiums are governed by the “business judgment rule”. So which standard governs when a condominium unit owner questions the conduct of the board of managers?  A recent case addresses that question.

Notoya Green, as Trustee of a family trust, sought an Article 78 order: annulling and setting aside, as arbitrary and capricious, the rejection by the Board of Managers of Diamond on Duane Condominium, of her alteration application with respect to the renovation of two units; and  compelling the Board to consent to the requested alterations or deeming that no consent was required under the building’s governing documents.

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E-Mail to Unit Owners: Privileged or Defamatory? Pause Before Hitting Send

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Four things predictably happen in the Fall. Clocks are changed. Leaves lose color. Board controversies surface. And lawsuits result.

Residential coop and condo disputes often now involve nasty on-line accusations and exchanges. Those snarky missives may—or may not—be the basis of a claim for defamation. As a recent case illustrates, the Court may have to decide whether or not the attacks are privileged and protected communications or defamatory and actionable

On April 11, 2018, the Board of Managers of Brightwater Towers Condominium sued Nina Shlivko to recover damages for defamation.

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