With a co-op there are no legal limitations. Having said that, usually if a co-op raises the maintenance it is well thought out with the plan being that they will not have to raise the maintenance again (or at least not soon). The bottom line is that the only reason the maintenance is raised is because the co-op is in a bad financial situation whereby they need to accumulate more funds/assets to pay the bills and stay financially solvent. It is for this reason that as a buyer you need to check out the co-op's financial statements to make sure they are in good shape. If they are in good shape it is a safe bet that the maintenance will not be going up soon. You also want to look at the overall condition of the building and the reserve fund. If the building all of a sudden needs a large capital improvement and the co-op doesn't have the funds to pay, the maintenance will probably be going up. A well run co-op will be prepared for that and have a feel for when those large capital improvements will be necessary.
In the end, the co-op board and owner's vote on such matters and in the end they have to do what is in the best interest of the co-op which may mean you paying a higher maintenance down the road. On a side note, when purchasing a co-op, always find out what the flip/transfer tax is on the co-op. This is a fee that the SELLER pays when they sell their co-op. This amount varies from co-op to co-op and can be as low as $0.00 or as high as 20% of the sales price. Even though the seller pays this it is a concern for the buyer because you will have to pay that when you sell and also if the flip tax is too high some banks will not be willing to give a mortgage attached to that co-op.
If I can be of further assistance, please let me know. Good luck!
Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783
NMLS # 6395
Financing Kentucky One Home at a Time