Liking paperwork, you’ll love co-op renovations

(Flickr photo by luxomedia)

Anyone planning to undertake major renovations in a co-op apartment faces a forbidding task.  Without the building’s prior written consent to undergo structural alterations of an apartment, count on trouble ahead.

If you are a brave soul with plans to expand the kitchen you soon will acquire, add a bathroom or take down a wall, there is no guarantee that the co-operative will approve the alteration request.

Many boards won’t even consider formal consent prior to purchase, and few are the sellers in a robust market who will allow the co-operative’s approval as a contract contingency.

Purchasers need to know that most co-ops have specific rules and procedures relating to renovations — for example, a requirement that the work be completed by a particular date.

Boards will insist on purchasers executing an alteration agreement.  Such an agreement binds the applicant to complete the project; submit contractors’ certificate of insurance naming the co-op as an additional insured; indemnify the co-op for all claims that arise out of the alteration work; and provide a security deposit to the co-op.

In addition, buildings will require assurances that the alteration conforms and is completed in accordance with all applicable New York City laws, rules and regulations. That includes the filing of building permits and applications.  Also, a registered architect or professional engineer must certify that the alterations were finished in accordance with those filings.

(For lesser project such as repainting, many boards now demand completion of a decoration agreement, which likely will include references to lead-paint removal and contractors’ insurance.)

Negotiating the long, tedious and costly path toward big changes in a co-op is an undeniable challenge.  But as tough as the going gets, the satisfaction of arriving at the end of the journey can be hard to beat.

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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