Q&A: When a Mitchell-Lama Co-op Goes Private

Q. I currently live in a Mitchell-Lama co-op I purchased for $15,000 27 years ago. The building is going private. My question is: will I have to pay more money for my apartment to own it outright? 

  —Worried about What Happens Next

A. “When a Mitchell-Lama ‘goes private,’” explains Andrew Brucker, attorney at the New York office of law firm Armstrong Teasdale, “it reconstitutes as a free-market co-op. Since the shareholders own the shares already, there should be absolutely no reason for any shareholder to have to purchase their stock over again. 

“Is it possible that the plan to reconstitute includes some sort of assessment? It is possible—but very, very unlikely. If there was any expenditure by the shareholders, the plan would probably not get approved by the shareholders. That is the reason I have never heard of a plan to reconstitute that includes any cash outlay by any shareholder.

“Every owner of a Mitchell-Lama [unit] should remember that before the final vote to reconstitute, there is an offering plan prepared which outlines everything. Only after the shareholders have reviewed the plan with all of the details of the process is there a final vote to reconstitute.”

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