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

Q: We purchased an condo 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 few times a 12 months, 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. However it retains taking place. I’m frightened there may be mildew or structural injury, and apparently it leaked into the elevator shaft. What can I do to strain them to get a extra thorough analysis and everlasting repair?

A: Ceiling leaks can result in a lot larger issues in the event that they aren’t mounted, in order that they have to be addressed correctly for the nice of your unit and your constructing. You want an analysis by an expert who’s skilled to find leaks, sometimes an engineer.

Reaching out to your managing agent was an excellent first step. Doc the dates of contact, and the response you probably did or didn’t obtain. Managing brokers typically 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 might be conscious of the leak, clarify that it’s a recurring drawback, describe the injury it’s inflicting, and be aware that your repeated efforts to deal with the problem have did not end in an expert 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 accountability to care for the constructing, which is why they have to reply. “I feel an important factor is to impress upon the board their accountability 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 possibly can 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 bear in mind that this might injury your relationship with the board.

Litigation is the following step, and isn’t unusual if the board is dysfunctional or if there isn’t any cash for repairs, Ms. Nadel mentioned.

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