Living in a co-op building can be a great opportunity for many New Yorkers. The downside to living in a co-op is having to share building expenses regardless if the expense improves your way of living or not.
A recent example of this was for a New York City building in the West Village of Manhattan. The co-op board wanted to start a project that would put central air-conditioning in each apartment. The project was going to cost $300,000 – which would be split among all the homeowners.
While it sounds like this would be a no-brainer “Yes” among all homeowners, what wasn’t put into consideration was some homeowners already paid for central air conditioning to be put in their individual units in previous years. In those instances, the homeowners who previously paid central air would now be chipping in for their neighbors central air. Some argued this wasn't fair.
When you become an owner of a co-op, you, along with all the owners, are expected to look after the entire building and plan for the building's future. In this case, the homeowners who opposed this plan didn't see the value the central air-conditioning would bring to their individual units, especially if they had already paid to install it themselves previously.
The same could be true for co-ops who need to have elevators improved, common area maintenance, building repairs, etc. While these areas may not affect the individual apartment itself, the expenses do. Even if an owner doesn't use the elevator, let's say they prefer the stairs, they are still expected as this is considered maintaining, updating, and investing into the building - as it is an asset.
If you are in the market for a co-op, the lesson here is to make sure you speak with you real estate agent so that you know what to expect. Ask your agent what is included and/or expected of you as an owner should you buy the unit. Ask about how situations like this were handled in past years, and if all owners were happy with the results.
All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area. Contact us today if you're looking for a professional property management company.