With a purchase of a co-op property, often many new homeowners do not understand the different ownership style this property has. With a co-op property, the building co-op technically owns the entire building and the homeowner just leases the space they call home. This means the co-op board must approve any changes you want to make to your property.
While this can seem like a nuisance, it could secretly be a blessing for all parties involved. For instance, if your neighbor decides they want to embark in a large renovation, they must ask permission of the co-op board and get approval before doing so. And only if the co-op board approves, you'll just be faced with a few months of noise and disturbance.
In the event that you are not planning a renovation, but are looking to make a simpler repair, it would be a good idea to find out who is responsible for co-op repairs and what repairs do or don't need co-op board approval. This will save you a lot of time.
For those homeowners who are not worried about ticking off a few neighbors for a better kitchen, or maybe new wooden floors, they may be wondering how to get their co-op board to approve their next renovation. We're going to outline that below.
The first task in your renovation plans will be to have an architect draw up a blueprint of what you would like to have renovated.
For smaller renovation projects, the co-op will most likely let you use the building's preferred architect. Even though the co-op is providing you with an architect, you’ll still need to pay for the bid which could range anywhere from $2,000+. If you would like to save a little, ask the architect if they would be willing to give you a discount since they’re the main person on the project. It doesn't hurt to ask!
For larger renovations, you may need to outsource the architect’s responsibilities by hiring someone outside of the preferred list of vendors the co-op may have.
Getting Co-Op Board Approval
Your renovation may require city permits, which will need to obtained and presented to your co-op board. If you need a list of what renovations require these permits, you can find out more here. It is important you take those costs, procedures, and time for approval into consideration. Once you are ready to submit your plans and you have all permits in place, it’s a good idea to ask for permission through e-mail. This will allow you to attach any relevant blueprints and documentation that may help persuade the co-op board in favor of your project, as well as keep a time stamped record of all communications and documents shared.
It is also common that you be asked to sign an alteration agreement, which outlines provisions to your specific renovation project.
Another common aspect of renovations is for the co-op to put time limits and restrictions on the hours of the day the construction crew can be in the building. This ensures no other neighbor is disturbed during “quite hours”. And also keep in mind that many buildings will only allow one renovation taking place at a time.
If you serve on a co-op board and need professional property management services, contact All Area Realty Services and find out why our over 30 years experience and loyal clients makes us experts.
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.