New York based property management firm, All Area Realty Services blog. Find tips for Co-Op Boards & Residential Building Management.

Following The Rules Of Your Co-op

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Nov 12, 2019 4:42:01 PM

New York City has many co-op buildings. Each co-op has different rules, which are determined by the proprietary lease, the bylaws and local, state and federal laws. The laws protect from illegal leases or by-laws. These three areas balance each other out and create a fair living experience for the people in the building.  

A proprietary lease establishes the terms in which you abide by in your building, including maintenance fees and other terms. Bylaws outline the relationship between the board and the unit owners. It defines the board’s powers and responsibilities, including who can serve on the board, how members are elected and how owners request information.  The local laws rule and if the lease or the bylaws violate a state or federal law, it is not legally binding. 

Who is responsible for all building and unit maintenance? The co-op is responsible for everything out of your apartment but you are responsible for the interior of your apartment. The building is responsible for maintaining the pipes within the walls, ceilings or floors. 


There are heating laws in NYC and the co-op is obligated to abide by them. A warranty of habitability guarantees the right to a livable, safe and sanitary apartment, which includes communal areas.  

A co-op owner can be evicted if they are disruptive, unable to abide by the building’s rules or are violating federal laws.  First, make sure that there is a reason for the eviction. Document any wrongdoing so you have the proper paperwork when you go to evict the owner. Lastly, make sure that the board conducts its business properly that way the board does not have to answer if the unruly shareholder calls them out.  

 Each co-op can set the rules in regards to pets. If the co-op is pet friendly, be prepared for strict guidelines. Check your renters insurance about pets and dog bites. Most buildings allow cats but if you have a smaller pet, ask your board if it is allowed. 

 NYC has the Roommate Law, which allows one additional occupant in addition to immediate family, as long as you are currently living in the unit at the same time. If you are charging the roommate rent, it could be a sublet and that is not typically allowed in co-ops. Ask your board, its rules regarding sublets. 

If you decide that you want to renovate your unit, you need approval by the co-op board. Most likely, you will need to sign an alteration agreement and to provide details to the board. 

Remember, that just because you live in a co-op does not mean that you lose all of your tenant rights. Knowledge is power and knowing your rights is an important step in ensuring your rights will not be violated. 

All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to run buildings smoothly and efficiently while keeping both tenants and owners happy.  With over 30 years of experience, and many clients with us for decades, you can trust All Area Realty Services with taking care of your building and tenants. 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management, condo