Posted by Leonard Steinberg on April 1, 2011
No, this is not an April Fool’s joke: All of us in New York have either heard of or experienced first hand the outrageous behavior of a co-op board, and yes, even a CONDO board.
This morning the New York Times reports that a bill now before the Connecticut legislature would establish an ombudsman within the Department of Consumer Protection, in the Attorney General’s office to oversee the actions of Boards and address disputes between boards and owners of condomiums. The agency would be financed through an annual $4 fee on all condominiums. Connecticut has between 240,000 and 250,000 condo units. Manhattan has many more, and of course even more co-ops
The bill would require condominium associations to set up internal procedures to resolve disputes. Condo owners would be required to go through that process before filing a complaint with the ombudsman, for which they would pay a $35 fee. The ombudsman’s office would investigate and resolve complaints, and could impose a penalty of up to $200 for knowing violations of state statutes.
I think this would be a great idea for Manhattan. Right now, the only recourse an owner has against a runaway Board is to sue. That is absurd. It is time to make the actions of Boards much more transparent….board members have a fiduciary responsibility to the owners who elected them.