Whether it’s pending Airbnb legislation in various markets, proposed legislation on New York State co-op applications, or homeowners winning the ability to sue condominium developers for faulty practices, co-ops, condos and HOAs are often at the mercy of legislators and the legal system. As constituents, they have a voice, but the question remains: are the interests of this niche collective fairly represented?
In Westchester County, for example, a bill was proposed in January 2018 that if made into law would require co-op boards to provide written explanations for their rejection of individuals who have applied to purchase apartments, explains Stella Goldstein, an attorney with the White Plains-based firm Steinvurzel & Levy Law Group.
“If passed, the bill would also set deadlines for boards to acknowledge receipt of a completed application, and to either accept or reject that application,” says Goldstein. “The purpose behind such a law is twofold: Lawmakers are seeking to protect applicants from racial, gender and other discrimination by co-op boards, as well as to accelerate the process of purchasing cooperative apartments.”
While similar proposals have been made in the past several years in Westchester, New York City, and Albany without success, Goldstein says realtors and county officials believe the bill would have a positive effect on the Westchester market.
“They feel this makes the purchase of a co-op unit more appealing,” she adds, “[while] co-op boards tend to feel that the legislature is overstepping their bounds with such a bill, and that if passed, the law will unnecessarily burden co-op boards at best, and result in increased litigation at worst.”