New York Condo Association Rules
In New York, condominium associations are governed by Article 9-b of the Real Property Act, as well as various case holdings and judicial opinions. Unlike cooperative housing corporations (co-ops), which are governed by state corporate laws and common law, condominium associations are bound by the Real Property Act with regard to the transition of authority, governance procedures, property maintenance obligations, and various other matters impacting New York condominiums.
In essence, the Article 9-b “Condominium Act” offers boards a skeletal framework of the proper way to lawfully organize and run a condominium association – and allows boards the opportunity to construct their protocols in a way that best suits the unique needs of the property as a whole.
Declaration & Governing Documents
In New York, a building is not automatically considered a condominium for purposes of the Condominium Act. By contrast, residents wishing to organize as a condominium must prepare and record a “Declaration” along with the association’s bylaws – which must specifically reference the intention to be considered a “condominium” within the meaning set forth in the Condominium Act. Of course, all residents must be provided notice of the intent to organize as a condominium, and the Declaration must be duly reviewed by the county planning agency prior to recordation.
Section 339-V of the Condominium Act sets forth the various required elements of property-drafted bylaws, including:
- Format and identification of board members
- Method of calling meetings, including a definition of what shall constitute “quorum”
- Election of a president, secretary & treasurer
- Operation and management of the property & common expenses
- Method of adopting administrative rules, including hiring/firing property employees
- Restrictions on the use of units
- Protocol for amending bylaws
This section also provides for several optional provisions, including those governing the sale of property, payment and disbursement of funds, or the authority of board members to encumber or lease the property.
Board Duties & Obligations
As a condominium association board, there are a number of duties and obligations that come with the job – some of which may create conflict with unit owners. The scope of the board’s authority generally derives from the language of the bylaws, as well as applicable state statutory and common law directives. Boards are unequivocally required to engage in sound business practices and stand in a fiduciary relationship with unit owners. From there, the law addresses rules and regulations with regard to the maintenance of common areas – also known as “common elements.” As a governing board, these common elements must be properly maintained for their specific purposes, and unit owners must be provided unrestrained access to common areas as set forth in the language of their individual deeds and the bylaws.
In addition to maintaining common elements, New York condominium associations must engage in proper accounting practices, including the allowance of reasonable inspection of books and records. Moreover, boards owe a duty to unit owners to properly manage all funds derived from association dues and maintenance fees.
Ensure Strict Compliance – Contact Griffin Alexander, P.C. Today!
If you are involved with a New York condominium association and would like to discuss your duties and obligations as a member, please contact a New York condo association lawyer at Griffin Alexander, P.C. today at (212) 374-9790.