Ron Hershco and Living Under Co-Op Rules

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Can you imagine being told what shoes to wear in your own building? What about having your umbrella and rain boots taken away when you leave them outside your door to dry for a quick moment? How about being told you can have a dog, just not the breed of dog you currently own? These are just a few examples of harsh co-op board rules that exist in NYC.

Ron Hershco recommends getting a list of the co-op board rules for living BEFORE putting in an application. There most likely won’t be a rule to make you not buy the apartment of your dreams, but if you’re early in your process, a known list of rules could help you narrow down your options.

A recent article in The New York Times gave a more detailed background on where these rules came from:

“The average co-op or condominium has two dozen house rules. “Typically, they’re quality-of-life rules meant to benefit everyone in the closed community,” said Toni Hanson, a vice president and senior managing director of Douglas Elliman.

While there’s good sense behind many of these rules — don’t hang or shake things out the window; lay off the stereo before or after a certain hour — certain strictures can charitably be described as quirky, not to say capricious or overreaching. Your home is your castle? Think again.

It’s all, of course, in the interest of helping a building full of strong-minded New Yorkers coexist in (relative) harmony. Co-op boards have long issued directives about deportment and decorum, and condo boards are increasingly following suit. For the most part, they are well within their rights. Residents can either get with the program or get behind a co-op coup to remove the big-brother board members in their midst.

Generally, thanks to what’s known as the business judgment rule, boards have broad latitude in making, amending and rescinding house rules — the good, the bad and the decidedly wiggy. If board members think a situation needs to be addressed, they can address away without input from residents.”

Have you ever experienced any of these tough co-op rules? Do you think they are fair or unjust? What rules would you make sure to enforce?

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