How Can I Power My Co-op Board to Repair a Ceiling Leak?

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Q: We purchased an condominium on the highest ground of a co-op in Yorkville in April 2020. After dwelling there for some time, we moved out and now lease it out to a tenant. A couple of times a yr, the ceiling leaks throughout rainstorms. We all the time notify the tremendous and the administration firm, the tremendous “finds” an issue and “fixes” it, our ceiling is patched and we go on with our lives. Nevertheless it retains occurring. I’m apprehensive there could be mould or structural harm, and apparently it leaked into the elevator shaft. What can I do to stress them to get a extra thorough analysis and everlasting repair?

A: Ceiling leaks can result in a lot greater issues in the event that they aren’t mounted, in order that they should be addressed correctly for the great of your unit and your constructing. You want an analysis by knowledgeable who’s skilled find leaks, usually an engineer.

Reaching out to your managing agent was a superb first step. Doc the dates of contact, and the response you probably did or didn’t obtain. Managing brokers usually have many buildings of their portfolio, and shareholders’ issues aren’t all the time addressed promptly.

Rent a lawyer to draft a letter to the co-op’s board of administrators and to the managing agent. Inform them you’re conscious of the leak, clarify that it’s a recurring downside, describe the harm it’s inflicting, and be aware that your repeated efforts to handle the problem have did not end in knowledgeable analysis“In lots of situations, a lawyer’s letter will get the eye of the constructing,” mentioned Lawrence Chaifetz, an actual property lawyer with Chaifetz & Chaifetz LLC.

The co-op board of administrators has a fiduciary duty to maintain the constructing, which is why they have to reply. “I believe crucial factor is to impress upon the board their duty in addressing it,” mentioned Lorraine Nadel, a lawyer with the agency Nadel & Ciarlo, who handles actual property disputes and litigation.

If the board doesn’t reply to the lawyer’s letter, you’ll be able to name 311 to report the leaks. If a metropolis inspector visits, it might end in a constructing violation — or, if the inspector discover different issues, unrelated violations. Simply remember that this might harm your relationship with the board.

Litigation is the subsequent step, and isn’t unusual if the board is dysfunctional or if there is no such thing as a cash for repairs, Ms. Nadel mentioned.

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