Aiming to “minimize board liability” and “define the appropriate roles of the co-op board and the agent,” the Real Estate Board of New York has issued guidelines for co-op boards that specify application requirements and an explanation of how to reject and accept hopeful buyers.
The organization recommends designating one or two individuals to receive and review the full application package, with the rest of the board or committee getting just the summary tax return pages without the supporting schedules to reduce waste. It further suggests having the packages submitted on a password-protected flash drive or CD to be read on board members’ computers or setting up a secure website for applications.
Among other of its recommendations:
- Acknowledge receipt of the application package and non-refundable application fee within two business days;
- The Managing Agent should review the application for completeness within seven business days of receipt;
- Do not schedule an interview until all financial information/questions are answered
- It should take no more than 30 days (barring holidays) from the time the application is complete until the board makes a decision to proceed to an interview or to reject the applicant;
- Ideally, interviews should be conducted with three board members present; however, no fewer than two should be present in order to protect the board from potential legal actions;
- Interviewers must be trained not to ask discriminatory questions;
- All applications should be personally shredded;
- For those coops that permit subletting, all the same issues pertain. In addition, the time sensitivity is frequently greater as the potential subtenant has an expectation to move-in at the start of the sublease.
If you think these guidelines will be religiously observed and that boards don’t discriminate against protected classes, you probably also think that man never walked on the moon. Guess again!
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022