Our board is negotiating the sale of air rights. Should shareholders with lot-line apartments be compensated?
Our board is negotiating the sale of our air rights. Are shareholders with lot-line apartments entitled to compensation?
“Owners of apartments with lot-line windows will inevitably argue that it’s unfair for them to have their views blocked or windows bricked as a result of the sale of air rights for the benefit of the building,” says New York City real estate attorney Steven Wagner, a partner at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. who represents tenants, apartment owners, co-op and condo boards, and owners. This imbalance of who is affected within the building can make negotiating the sale of air rights a very difficult business for a co-op board.
However, unless there is an easement—a contract protecting your light and air—there are no standard rights to air or light or views in New York. This means once a developer owns an adjacent property and has the air rights, they can build right up to your property line. “Buyers of apartments with lot-line windows need to be aware of this,” Wagner says.
In many cases, compensating shareholders most affected by the sale of air rights may be prohibited under laws governing the conduct of co-ops because in nearly all cases shareholders must be treated equally. What’s important is that the board takes the lead on negotiations and gets the advice of an attorney with expertise in this area.