Have you been accused of “engaging in objectionable conduct” by your co-op? What are your remedies and how can you respond to your condo or co-op board?
Normally, if a landlord claims a tenant is engaging in objectionable conduct, then a case is brought in housing court and the judge decides. However, if your co-op board accuses you of objectionable conduct, there is no impartial arbiter because the same people are the judge and the jury. This occurs because most proprietary leases state that a shareholder’s lease can be terminated if that shareholder engages in objectionable conduct (vandalizing the building, attacking people, dealing drugs out of the apartment, etc.). There are some fuzzy areas and co-op boards are granted an unusual amount of discretion. Once you are accused, the board or shareholders vote on how to proceed.
The tenant will be given notice and has a chance to cure the objectionable conduct. If the tenant does not cure, then the next step is having the board or shareholders vote. Depending on the lease terms, the co-op can terminate a lease based on a two-thirds vote from the board or the lease can terminate based on a full shareholder vote.
If your lease gets terminated by a vote, there is little recourse due to a court case that set a legal precedent that makes it difficult to fight an eviction. The court decided that due to the business judgment rule, courts cannot review a co-op board’s decision unless there was some kind of impropriety, such as discrimination based on the protected classes under New York City human rights law or self-dealing by a board member.
If this is not the case for you, speak to the board and ask for leniency and attempt to address the issue of the objectionable conduct accusation. If you do not speak to them and get evicted, your apartment will be put up for auction and the board will use the proceeds to pay off outstanding maintenance fees, the shareholder’s bank and lastly the shareholder.
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