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Maria, Other/Just Looking in Bronx, NY

How much can a Co-op board legally raise maintenance fees?

Asked by Maria, Bronx, NY Fri Jan 23, 2009

When I was in the process of purchasing my Bronx, NY Co-op apartment the maintenance was $611 plus a $34 fuel assessment. When I closed the seller, board nor the property management advised me that the maintenance fee has increased to $710 with the permanent fuel change now built into the fee. I know the board is the authority but is this kind of increase (by $100) legal?

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Answers

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As a shareholder, it's in your rights to ask to see documentation explaining this increase. You can also see if board minutes explained the increase prior to making the decision (you could've seen these before buying, too).

If you think the fuel charge is uncalled for, now that fuel prices have sunk, you can attend a board meeting and bring this up as a challenge. Better yet would be to talk to neighbors about this.

You should investigate though, because there may be another possibility: If your board is failing to collect monthly fees from some shareholders, or has a heavy debt because of liens or unpaid past fees, they may be taxing unfairly the debt load on the paying shareholders. That is cause for concern, and yes, it might be improper if not illegal. Getting on the board is essential to having the power to change things. Maintenance seldom goes down, but if you can change other rules in the bylaws, such as flip taxes, it can defray rising costs. If you need help, contact Member Services at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, or UHAB. They help shareholders ensure their buildings stay in financially healthy positions. We offer free training on record-keeping and can train boards to keep better account of expenditures.
Web Reference: http://www.uhab.coop
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
Depends on what is addressed in the Building By-laws which were put there for those types of situations. They must be accountablity for the increase.
Web Reference: http://PaulMVPteam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 24, 2009
At work you receive cost of living increases yearly. Justifiable because your expenses increase. The expenses of a cooperative to run the building also goes up (e.g. Super's salary, building insurance, etc.). So, as these things go up so must the maintenance.

Typically increases are yearly and yes they may add a heating surcharge if the heating season utilities (oil and electric) charges are excessive for the building; usually it is mentions this fact the "by laws" .Consider it a cost of ownership increase, so keep extra cash available in the winter time just in case.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
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