Co-Ops, Condos & Me
Adam Leitman Bailey was a featured in the book Co-Ops, Condos & Me for his contributions to real estate law. Bailey gave insight on how shareholders can respond to a co-op’s negligence when it comes to repairs.
“In addition, says attorney Adam Leitman Bailey, under habitability laws, the co-op has a clear-cut responsibility to repair the leak. In fact, the shareholder wouldn’t even have to go to court, says Bailey. The default action against the shareholder was so clearly done in a fit of pique that a letter from an attorney to the co-ops counsel would probably be enough to quash the action. If the shareholder did take it to court, Bailey says he would win and would probably be reimbursed his attorney fees.
As to the basis for the default – the demand that the shareholder repair the damage within a week – housing law is clear on this, too. According to Bailey, under the Multiple Dwelling Law, the board has a fiduciary responsibility to fix the leak and do at least basic repairs to the damage. ‘The co-op has to fix the problem and then [if appropriate] charge it back to the share holder.’
If the board still refuses to act on the initial leak compliant, Bailey says the shareholder has a couple alternatives: he can go to the housing part of the housing court designed solely for this issue – where he can get a court order to make repairs. Or he can always get results from dialing 311, as he did, and get HPD involved. “