Lawsuit potential in co-op renovations

Malcolm Carter’s real estate blog, Service You Can Trust, had this informative piece about co-op renovations and alterations: Liking paperwork, you’ll love co-op renovations |.

I sent it immediately to my cousin Thomas, who has bid on and was accepted for a co-op purchase, because he wants to put another bathroom in his (new) apartment, and of course do all those kitchen renovations everybody wants to do.

Someone (not just me) informed him about how the co-op board of directors has absolute supremacy over whether they’ll allow him to do renovations, and how elaborate plans will have to be submitted to the board — and only after he closes on the apartment. There can be no guarantees from the seller (or the board) that his desired renovations will be permitted.

And at least a few recent lawsuits I’ve read about, and have commented on here, concern owners who do not get permission for alterations from a board, and go into lawsuit snit about it.

Boards have a lot of power. But board power has recently been reduced — and directors’ liability increased seriously — by New York State higher courts. We can debate, therefore, whether board restrictions will influence boards to be more lenient in permitting alterations and renovations … or whether it’ll just get their board dander up. Will boards aggressively grab fiercely at the powers they still do have?

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