Residential Real Estate Laws: Resolving Co-op Disputes

LONG ISLAND, New York. Buyers in New York and Long Island will often have to decide whether to invest in a co-op or condo when purchasing residential property. The differences between a co-op and condo can be significant and can affect your living situation for years to come. According to Solomon Richman P.C. in Long Island, the main difference between a co-op and condo involves ownership of property. When you buy into a condo, you are not purchasing property, but are instead purchasing a share in a company that owns the building. When you buy a condo, you are purchasing real estate and will own the property.

When purchasing property in New York and Long Island, you’ll have to weigh your needs with price points. Co-ops tend to be less expensive, but in order to buy into a co-op you’ll likely have to undergo extensive background checks from the board. Condo purchases have their own challenges.

Resolving disputes with your neighbors in a co-op can also be tricky. For instance, the New York Times has written often about cases where noisy neighbors, smoking neighbors, or neighbors with unruly pets faced issues with their co-op board. While many co-ops will try to handle disputes in a reasonable manner, these issues can become delicate and problematic, especially if they are ongoing.

Co-ops may have rules that govern pets, noise, and smoking. So, if you are sensitive to noise, are allergic to pets, or are a non-smoker (or a smoker, for that matter), you may want to carefully review the co-op’s rules before making a decision about buying in. Many co-op disputes arise after a person has already moved in, however. In some cases, co-op disputes must go to court. In this case, it is wise for parties to seek the counsel of a residential real estate lawyer. The New York Times writes that in some cases, a legal mediator can offer an alternative to taking an issue to court. However, when cases cannot be mediated, they sometimes have to go to litigation. Here, having a qualified residential or commercial real estate lawyer on your side can make a difference. Solomon Richman, P.C. are commercial real estate lawyers in Long Island who help individuals facing disputes.

Of course, if you are facing a dispute, it is important to be realistic about what can and cannot be changed. If your upstairs neighbor has children, it isn’t likely that you’ll stop the noise of footsteps up above, but you may be able to fight to make sure your neighbor puts in carpet. After all, living in New York often means living with some degree of noise. In another case, a New York co-op shareholder wondered whether the co-op would be able to evict a shareholder because of a crime that he committed. Unless the shareholder’s actions affect the building or quality of life, the co-op won’t likely be able to take legal action.

If you have a dispute that just won’t go away, it may be wise to try means that don’t involve litigation first—like talking to your neighbor or talking to the board. However, when that doesn’t work, and the problem is persistent, legal action can sometimes get results.