The job of a co-op or condo board member seems pretty straightforward: have meetings, take votes on this or that item of business, approve checks, keep an eye on the budget, and so forth. That’s the administrative part of the job. But board membership also comes with a whole slew of legal and ethical considerations as well—many of which the board member may have never stopped to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the common ethical and legal pratfalls board members fall victim to, and how to avoid them.
Q We own a three-family house in Brooklyn that is part of a 140-building homeowners’ association. We have not had an annual meeting for more than five years. Two months ago, we asked the board for a special meeting as outlined in the bylaws, but we have not received a response. What can we do now?
Q. I live in a condominium community in Queens. I recently wrote to the board of managers and asked whether I, as a homeowner, have the right to attend monthly board meetings. I was told that no homeowner (other than a board member) may, under any circumstances, attend a meeting of the board. Is this correct? Is there a law in New York that prohibits homeowners from attending monthly board meetings? ... George P. Silberman, Bayside, Queens.
There is a general uncertainty within the real estate community with respect to the requirements for conveying clear title to individually owned condominium and cooperative apartments when one or all of the record owners are deceased. This article will discuss what a seller's attorney must do prior to closing to assure that the seller can deliver on his or her obligation to convey clear title at closing, as well as to satisfy the title agent and the managing agent of a cooperative corporation, that all of the necessary documents are in place in order to effectuate a transfer of good and clear title of the unit.
When shareholders of a cooperative or unit-owners of a condominium vote to elect members of a board, balloting may be done in secret or in the open. Secret ballots, as the term implies, are private. In open balloting, both the fact of voting and the person for whom the ballot is cast are public knowledge.