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Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
 
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Tentative Labor Agreement Averts Strike

The Realty Advisory Board has tentatively reached an agreement with SEIU Local 32BJ for a renewal of the residential building workers contract that is set to expire on April 20, 2014. The deal covers more than 30,000 residential building service employees, including doormen, porters, handymen and building superintendents, who work in more than 3,000 residential rentals, co-ops and condos. The tentative agreement is subject to ratification by the Board of Directors of the Realty Advisory Board and the membership of the Union, processes that will occur over the next few weeks.

The tentative agreement was reached an unprecedented nine days before it was set to expire on April 20. That is great news for owners and managers, not to mention all the New Yorkers who reside in our buildings.

Today’s announcement is the result of months of planning and several weeks of meetings between RAB and the Union. Our negotiating committee spent long hours working through extremely difficult issues. Though we have a very positive working relationship with the Union, we didn’t start on the same page. We believe the final result, after much back and forth, is a fair and equitable contract that reflects today’s economic realities while protecting the long-term health of our industry.

While the complete details of the agreement will be announced after ratification, the broad financial parameters of the tentative deal are:

  • An average wage increase of 2.71% each year over the four year contract, or approximately 11.3% total -- bringing wages for a typical doormen or porter from $44,389 to $49,402 in 2018.
  • There is a 3.4% total average annual increase for wages plus benefits.

To help offset these costs, our negotiating committee was able to deliver a modified start rate for new employees and several other key measures to enhance employer flexibility.

CNYC Executive Director Mary Ann Rothman serves on the negotiating committee. Updates will be provided in future memos.


CORRECTING MISINFORMATION WE SENT YOU
ABOUT ABATEMENT FORMS

Contrary to the memo we sent on Tuesday, the NYC Department of Finance is
NOT requiring every co-op or condo renew their benefits.

ONLY CERTAIN CONDO BOARDS MUST FILE BY FEBRUARY 18TH
The Department of Finance conducted a small audit of less than 1% of the co-op/condo units and asked those unit owners to renew their benefits if the unit is their primary residence. This required a new form, which is the Condo Renewal Form. ONLY those condo units that received the audit letter AND are eligible for the benefit must file.

In addition, condo boards can use this form to report changes in eligibility, such as a commercial unit like a doctor's office that is converted to a residential unit which the owner use as their primary residence or a condo owner purchasing a four unit in the development, making all four units ineligible.

The Condo reporting form has been revised so that there are only two section, A and B. Section A should be completed by the condo owner and Section B by the managing agent/board.

COOPERATIVES FILE AS IN THE PAST
As in years past, DoF is simply asking co-ops to correct any discrepancies in the data in its Co-op Tax Benefit Letter, sent in December to the contact entity for all participating cooperatives (usually the managing agent). NOTE THAT co-op shareholders who recently received letters from DoF and whose cooperatives are their primary residence must make sure that management knows this and includes this information on the Correction form. The Co-op Tax Benefit Change Form is due February 18, 2014 and it CAN be signed by management.

Please accept our deepest apologies for our prior errors.

Forms and guidance can be found at:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/forms_reports/property_forms_condo_coop.shtml


NYSERDA Event to Help Building Owners
and Boards of Co-ops and Condos
Improve Building Performance and Bottom Line

Free Seminars Will Detail Incentives Available
to Improve Energy Efficiency and Control Costs

To help cooperatives and condominiums with energy-efficiency projects, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will hold a seminar on Friday, September 6, 2013 in Manhattan at the SUNY Global Center at 116 East 55 Street. There NYSERDA experts and engineering resources will be presented to help buildings begin to take advantage of NYSERDA’s Multifamily Energy Performance Portfolio (MEPP).

The class for property owners and board members in cooperatives and condominiums will be held from 8:30 to 10:30 AM in the Global Classroom. In the afternoon from 4:30 to 6:30 PM there is an additional class for cooperatives and condominiums interested in electrical submetering. It will be held in the Tiered Classroom.
 
The series will also include afternoon sessions for contractors, builders, HVAC specialists and non-profit advocacy organizations interested in growing their businesses by becoming a Multifamily Performance Program (MPP) Partner.
 
Properties that make energy-efficiency upgrades can generally realize significant cost savings and offer residents units that are more comfortable, healthier and sustainable.

Multifamily building owners, property managers, developers, and members of cooperative and condominium boards can register for these free seminars at nyserda.ny.gov/PowerEvents/2013.
 


The 2012 Annual Water Supply and Quality Report
is now available for viewing at
www.nyc.gov/dep/2012waterquality

This report contains important information about your water supply and the quality of your drinking water. Water quality test results from the drinking water supply are summarized in the tables in this report. Please go to www.nyc.gov/dep/2012waterquality to view the report and learn more about your drinking water. For a translation of the report, or to speak with someone about the information in the report, please call 311. If you would like a paper copy of the report mailed to your home, please call 311 and DEP will mail you a paper copy.
For more information about the New York City Water Supply and to view previous years' reports, go to www.nyc.gov/dep.


ABATEMENT ADJUSTMENTS ARE IN JULY TAX BILLS
CORRECTIONS CAN STILL BE MADE UNTIL JULY 22nd
BY CONTACTING THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE

CNYC has been advised by the Department of Finance that property tax bills for July 1st payment have gone into the mail today, Monday, June 10th. In addition to billing for taxes due for the first quarter of Fiscal 2013/2014, these bills include retroactive adjustment to property taxes collected during Fiscal 2012/2013 from cooperatives and condominiums:

  1. For coops and condos with an assessed value that averages less than $50,000 per unit, DoF credits additional abatements to all qualifying units to bring their abatement up to 25% of the property tax.
  2. For coops and condos with an assessed value that averages $50,000 - $55,000 per unit, DoF credits additional abatements to all qualifying units to bring their abatement up to 22.5% of the property tax.
  3. For coops and condos with an assessed value that averages $55,000 - $60,000 per unit, DoF credits additional abatements to all qualifying units to bring their abatement up to 20% of the property tax.

PRIMARY RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT IS NEW

The legislation extending the abatement program that was signed into law on January 30th, grants abatements only to units that are the primary residences of their owners (primary residents can then qualify for abatements on up to 2 additional units in the same cooperative or condominium as their primary residence. Units held in Trust form that are the primary residence of their occupants qualify for continuing abatements. Those held in corporate ownership form do not.

The Department of Finance has tried its best to contact all units where primary residency was in question, and it has updated its records based on responses received. Condominium owners whose July bills do not accurately reflect their residency status should contact DoF (dial 311) to make corrections. Appropriate adjustments will appear on their October bills.

Contact entities for cooperatives (generally the managing agent) will soon receive from DoF an updated chart of abatements and exemptions. It is hoped that past inaccuracies regarding primary residency will be corrected on this chart. It will be possible to contact the Department of Finance to correct inaccuracies in the next few weeks. Adjustments will be made on October bills. Thereafter, there will be no further opportunity to adjust Fiscal 2013/2014 primary residency status.


TRUST UNITS THAT ARE PRIMARY RESIDENCES
TO RECEIVE FULL ABATEMENTS

The State legislature has passed legislation requested by the Mayor to enable individuals with trust ownership of the cooperative or condominium that is their primary residence to continue to receive the property tax abatement for home owners in New York City cooperatives and condominiums. CNYC is optimistic that passage at this time will enable the Department of Finance to continue full abatement eligibility for these individuals.

Changes made by the City in the structuring of the abatement program now allow it to go only to individuals whose cooperative or condominium is their primary residence (up to two additional units in the same cooperative or condominium as the primary residence also qualify). Much work has gone into trying to ensure that all those eligible will continue to receive full abatements.

Contact entities for each NYC cooperative will receive revised charts for distribution of abatements and exemptions in mid June, and tax bills for July payment will make retroactive adjustments for the fiscal year 2012-2013, including increased levels of abatement for cooperatives with average assessed values per unit of $60,000 or less and phasing out of abatements on units that no longer qualify. A mechanism will still be available for correcting errors regarding primary residency. May 23, 2013


Department of Finance
Extends Deadline for Forms
to April 12th

Please make sure that any owners who received letters from the Department of Finance asking if their unit is their primary residence to complete and return the form on the second page of that letter. Each form is bar coded so that the information provided can be quickly entered into City records for accurate distribution of abatements on bills for Fiscal 2013/2014.


RELIEF SOUGHT FOR COOPERATIVES & CONDOMINIUMS
AFFECTED BY TROPICAL STORM SANDY

March 1st is the deadline for applications for FEMA grants to repair homes devastated by tropical storm Sandy.

Even though FEMA is not processing grants for cooperative corporations and condominium associations to repair buildings and grounds affected by the storm, it is suggested that applications be made prior to the deadline. This will leave open the door for an appeal when they are rejected.

The National Association of Housing Cooperatives believes that FEMA’s position results from a misreading of its mandate and has written to urge a reexamination.

Meanwhile Congressman Steve Israel has written with a similar request to FEMA and to Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano (see below) and has also introduced legislation to remedy this situation. Senator Chuck Schumer has proposed that HUD provide block grants to facilitate recovery. His press release and letter to HUD Secretary Donovan follow the information from Senator Israel.

Downloads:


ABATEMENT UPDATE
FEBRUARY 4, 2013

Representatives of the Department of Finance met with industry leaders today to discuss the way that the recently enacted changes to the abatement program will be implemented.

Because it is late in the  City's 2013 fiscal year  which began in July 1, 2012 and ends on June 30, 2013, the changes will be deferred to July 1 , 2013 bills.

April  2013  bills will continue to follow the pattern that the City established in July, giving abatements to all units that qualified for them in the fiscal year 2012  (which ended on June 30, 2012).   The Department of Finance will send  a letter and chart in February , 2013 telling management how to distribute what has been received. 

On property tax bills  for July 1, 2013 payment,  the Department of Finance will include all changes due for  City fiscal year 2013 (which ends on June 30, 2013)   as well as those for the first quarter of  City fiscal year 2014 which begins on July 1, 2013.  Buildings with average assessed values of $60,000 per unit or less will be credited with the full first year of increased abatement on that billing, plus the first quarter of  the City's fiscal  year 2014  .  Units that are not the primary residence of their owners will have their abatement reduced by 50% of what was credited to it  for City fiscal year 2013 and will be credited with ¼ of the abatement on each of the bills for  City fiscal  year 2014, as their abatement is phased out.

In a strong effort to ascertain whether units are the primary residence of their owners, the Department of Finance is checking recipients of the STAR abatement and also reviewing Income Tax records to help with address verification.   Additionally,  the Department of Finance is  writing now to some 122,000 units that don’t appear to them to be primary residences, to give the individuals living there a chance to prove that their coop/condo is their primary residence.

Condo unit owners whose units are not their primary residences should anticipate increased bills in July , 2013 .

Cooperatives with many units that are not the primary residences of their owners --- and most particularly buildings where the bank holding the mortgage takes monthly payments from the cooperative for property tax and water & sewer payments -- should prepare themselves and their lenders for the likely increased payment that will be due in July.

Note that an individual can still receive abatements on up to two additional units in the same cooperative or condominium as their primary residence, but investment apartments in other buildings, pieds-a-terre, etc., will have their abatement reduced by 50% for the first year of the extender (all charged against the July 2013 bill) and by 75% for the second year which begins with that same July 2013 bill. After June 30, 2014, those apartments will not receive any abatement.

The Department of Finance website has a fact sheet on the abatement program, and a form for verifying primary residency will soon be available. Anyone registered for the STAR program has already confirmed primary residency and need not take any further action.


CITY’S LEGISLATION THAT INCLUDES THE ABATEMENT EXTENDER HAS PASSED THE STATE SENATE

On January 23, 2013, the New York State Senate passed S-5508 with 55 votes in favor and 8 opposing. This is the legislation proposed by the City, extending the property tax abatement for three years for home owners whose NYC cooperatives or condominiums are their primary residences (these home owners can receive the abatement on two additional units in the same cooperative or condominium where they live. Abatements for non-primary residences will be phased out over two years. Cooperatives and condominiums whose assessed value averages less than $60,000 per unit will have increases in their abatement phased in over three years. The legislation also continues the J-51 program retroactive to its sunset date but severely limits eligibility for cooperatives and condominiums. It also addresses Subchapter S corporations and the City’s 421A program.

A companion bill was introduced in the Assembly on January 25, 2013.

CNYC and the Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes will provide full details once both houses have passed the legislation.


MAYOR BLOOMBERG, COMMUNITY PRESERVATION CORPORATION AND CITI LAUNCH $40 MILLION STORM RECOVERY LOAN FUND FOR MULTI-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS

Fund Provides Low-Cost Loans to Restore Multi-family Buildings to Habitability

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Director of Housing Recovery Operations Brad Gair, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua, New York City Housing Development Corporation President Marc Jahr, The Community Preservation Corporation President and CEO Rafael E. Cestero, and Citi Community Capital Co-Head Andrew Ditton have launched the Storm Recovery Loan Fund, a pilot program to provide up to $40 million in low-cost loans to fund the repair of multi-family buildings damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Building owners can put the funds toward resiliency measures, like installing state-of-the-art heating and electric plants that are repositioned to withstand the next storm by being located on higher floors and/or in waterproof compartments. This focus on mitigation will decrease the cost of recovery and reduce the destructive impact of future storms. The program will also promote green improvements that will conserve energy and save money over the long term. The new fund blends a subsidy from Housing Preservation and Development with Community Preservation Corporation financing to provide loans that are below market rate, allowing owners to make needed repairs in the aftermath of Sandy.

Read the Entire Story >


SBA Deadline is Extended -
SBA Loan Approvals Increase

The deadline to apply for a Small Business Administration loan to fund recovery from the effects of Tropical Storm Sandy has been extended to January 28, 2013. Cooperatives and condominiums and their unit owners are all eligible to apply for these loans. See the following detailed announcement and fact sheet:


RECOVERY FROM SUPERSTORM SANDY

Individual shareholders and unit owners can apply for FEMA grants to help restore their units damaged by the storm, but cooperatives and condominiums cannot. Instead, they can apply for loans to the SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION to cover costs of recovery that are not covered by insurance (or to use while waiting for insurance). See the following informative flyers (click to download):


ABATEMENT WILL BE ON JANUARY BILLS
by Andrew J. Hawkins (as reported in Crains, November 19, 2012)

The city will continue to honor an expired $430 million tax break for hundreds of thousands of condo and co-op owners, despite news that the state Legislature will not convene this year to renew it.

Lawmakers were expected to vote to extend the popular tax break for property owners, retroactive to its mid-2012 expiration, in a special session before January. But Superstorm Sandy and the uncertainty surrounding control of the state Senate has reportedly persuaded Gov. Andrew Cuomo to cancel his plans to convene a session, leaving many issues, including the tax abatement, dangling.

But the city’s Department of Finance said it would continue to apply the tax break to property owners’ bills, in the hope that it will eventually be retroactively renewed.

“The city will send out the bills this month as originally planned, and we expect that new legislation will be acted on early in the next legislative session," a Finance Department spokesman said in a statement to The Insider. “The abatement will be applied."

Spokespersons for Mr. Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and legislative leaders did not respond to a request for comment.

Condo and co-op owners have been in limbo for weeks, worried that a continued delay in Albany would send their property-tax bills soaring by as much as one-third. Property owners seeking information from the Finance Department are being directed to the agency’s website for updates. But that information is even more worrisome.

If the average assessed value of a condo or co-op is more than $15,000, taxes on the property will increase by approximately 21%, according to the Finance Department’s website. If the average is $15,000 or less, taxes will increase by 33%. As of last June, the expiration of the abatement had been expected by the city to raise property taxes by $430 million for 360,000 apartments.

"This is a major concern," said one real estate insider.

Mary Ann Rothman, executive director of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums, said she was hopeful that city officials would commit to keeping tax bills low before the Legislature could vote to reauthorize the program.

“Co-ops and condos are very, very nervous as they try to prepare realistic budgets," she said. “Without the abatement, the prop tax component of a maintenance bill for a co-op will go up on the order of 20% to 22%. Condos … will directly experience this terrible surprise."


HOUSING THOSE MADE HOMELESS BY THE HURRICANE

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers have been displaced from their homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy, and will need some form of temporary housing. CNYC urges its member cooperatives and condominiums to consider ways to make vacant or infrequently used units available to these families. The Red Cross is providing financial help towards payment of rent, and would serve as an intermediary in bringing families to the coop or condo board.

CNYC has already heard of numerous instances of shareholders requesting and securing quick board approval for friends or family displaced by the hurricane to stay in shareholder apartments. We add these cooperatives to our list of silent heroes of the hurricane rescue. Now we encourage members to do more.

Naturally, complying with our suggestion of opening this policy much wider, will require consultation with your professionals and may also involve formal modification of the sublet policies of most cooperatives and some condominiums. An expedited review process would also be desirable.

If your cooperative or condominium has units available and is interested in making them available to the City, please contact CNYC Rothman@CNYC.coop or the Real Estate Board of New York apinsky@rebny.com.


CNYC Thanks ALL THOSE ATTENDED FOR MAKING THE
32nd ANNUAL HOUSING CONFERENCE
A GREAT SUCCESS!


Tax Alert:
Hurricane Emergency Sales Tax Exemption Program (HESTEP)


In response to the impact caused by Hurricane Sandy on New York City businesses,
the New York City Industrial Development Agency has established the
Hurricane Emergency Sales Tax Exemption Program ("HESTEP") to assist small businesses.

HESTEP is providing a sales tax exemption up to $100,000 for each applicable company for purchases of building, construction and renovation materials, machinery and equipment and other items of personal property and related services needed to rebuild after the storm.

The sales tax waiver will be limited to 250 applicants
and has a maximum $100,000 sales tax benefit.

All businesses with storm-related physical damages are eligible for the
exemption program, however, priority will be given to industrial businesses
located within Flood Zone A and the area of New York City impacted by an
extensive power outage as a direct result of Hurricane Sandy.

The scope of renovations may include: repairs, in-kind replacements and reconstruction of facilities damaged by the hurricane. Reconstruction efforts must begin within six months of the application and must fully utilize the sales tax benefit within one year of commencement. For more information on this program and to obtain the HESTEP application please visit http://www.nycedc.com/backtobusiness.


New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Region 2 - Division of Environmental Remediation

Spill Prevention and Response Programs
47-40 21st Street, 1st Floor, Long Island City, New York 11101
Phone: (718) 482-4929 • Fax: (718) 482-4098
Website: www.dec.ny.gov

October 31, 2012

Carter Strickland, Commissioner
NYC Department of Environmental Protection
59-17 Junction Boulevard, 19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

Dear Commissioner Strickland:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) has received a request for guidance from the City of New York with regard to the removal of water in basements, tunnels and other areas due to the unprecedented flooding related to Hurricane Sandy, where such water is known or suspected to be contaminated with petroleum or other hazardous substances.

Pursuant to 6 NYCRR 750-1.5(a)(1), a SPDES permit is not required under ECL Articles 17, Title 7 and 8, or Part 750, for "[a]ny discharge in compliance with the instructions of an on-scene coordinator pursuant to 40 CFR 300 … or 33 CFR 153.10 … or an order issued pursuant to Article 12 of the state navigation law." This letter serves as those instructions. This letter only applies to releases of petroleum or hazardous substances related to Hurricane Sandy where an expedited response is needed.

All significant petroleum and hazardous substances spills that occur within New York State (NYS) must be reported to the NYS Spill Hotline (1-800-457-7362). Spill Guidance Manual Section 1.1 includes notification and reporting requirements (see link below).

If a structure to be pumped out contains significant recoverable material (e.g. fuel oil floating on water that could cause significant further damage to the structure if not removed first or significant environmental damage), all reasonable measures should be taken to collect and properly dispose of the material prior to pumping out the structure. However, if any of the water to be removed does not contain significant recoverable material, a SPDES permit is not required. In all cases, such pump outs should be directed to the storm sewer wherever possible.

Where a significant spill has occurred, the owner or operator must use licensed environmental contractors to handle, treat and dispose of such substances properly prior to the discharge of floodwaters. Contractors who collect and dispose of released petroleum or hazardous substances must comply with requirements for waste transportation permits, recordkeeping/manifesting, and for the proper disposal of the collected materials.

Additional guidance on the above requirements can be found at the following weblinks:
http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/2634.html - spill notification requirements http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/76659.html - general storm response information
http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/86505.html - guidance on fuel oil clean ups in residences during storms/flooding

Please be advised that Department Spills staff is available to consult by calling the NYS Spill Hotline (1-800-457-7362). If you have any further questions regarding SPDES permitting, please contact Koon Tang, Director, Water Permits, at (518) 402-8111, or questions regarding spills, please contact myself at (718) 482-4929.

Sincerely,
Randall Austin
Regional Spills Engineer


NYSERDA Events to Show
Multifamily Building Owners

How to Improve Their Building’s
Performance and Bottom Line

Free Seminars Will Detail Multiple Paths and Financial Incentives
Available to Manage Energy Consumption and Control Costs

To make it easier to start energy efficiency projects in multifamily buildings, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is holding free half-day seminars at the Pratt Manhattan Center at 144 West 14 Street on Tuesday, September 18th and Friday, November 16th. Registrants can select a morning class from 9:30 to noon or later afternoon from 4 to 7. The events will connect multifamily building owners, property managers, developers and board members of condo and co-op associations with NYSERDA experts and engineering resources to begin taking advantage of NYSERDA’s Multifamily Energy Performance Portfolio (MEPP). The September classes will focus specifically on coops and condominiums.

Announced in July 2012, MEPP brings together all NYSERDA multifamily programs under one brand to provide more paths for implementing energy efficiency, as well as higher incentives than were previously available. The seminar will include an overview of available funding and technical assistance, along with panel presentations by multifamily building experts who have helped owners successfully implement energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives at existing buildings and new construction projects.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Select the most appropriate path for implementing energy efficiency
  • Qualify for cash-back incentives and low interest loans
  • Become eligible for bonus incentives of up to $300 per apartment
  • Decrease building energy use through submetering of electric billing


Properties that make energy efficiency upgrades can generally realize significant cost savings and offer residents units that are more comfortable, healthy and sustainable.

Multifamily building owners, property managers, developers, and members of condominium and Co-op boards can register for this free seminar at http://nyserdapowerevents.org/participants

About NYSERDA
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.


IMPROVING COLLECTION OF RECYCLING

CNYC has been contacted to help in an effort to make recycling more effective in New York City; we seek your cooperation in this important matter.

The Department of Sanitation and the Sanitation Committee of the New York City Council seek to recycle as much as possible of the waste stream in our City, both to help the environment and to minimize the cost of disposal of garbage that cannot be recycled. It has come to the attention of these government entities that a substantial amount of recyclable materials are not included in this effort, because they are removed by entities other than the Department of San itation. In some cases, buildings or complexes enter into agreements with private carters to remove some or all of their recyclable materials. In other cases, ' poachers' take large items designated for city collection and sell the components for their own gain.

Legislation was introduced in June to stop ' poaching' activities and to regulate recycling pickups by private carting companies. CNYC testified against the harshness of some ofthe measures proposed. We pointed out that storage of recyclable materials is often a problem in buildings or complexes where residents and staff are committed to maximize recycling - a problem that is compounded in warmer months when odors combine with the unsightliness of piles of bags of recycling awaiting pick-up ( that is often behind schedule). Many cooperatives and condominiums remedy this problem by hiring private companies to supplement the City collections. They make the decision that the additional cost incurred is justified by the improved appearance of their buildings and grounds. And they followed proper procedures, which include obtaining authorization from the City to use the supplemental service.

CNYC also protested the complex procedures being proposed for private carters, pointing out that this would add to the cost of their services.

As a result CNYC has been asked to help the City find reasonable solutions to the problems cited. We, in turn, need your help. Please download and complete the brief questionnaire and return it to CNYC by fax (212 580-7801) or by e-mail to Rothman@CNYC.coop to help get a clearer picture of the recycling needs in our City, as we seek ways to meet these needs: Please feel free to include further suggestions, comments, etc.


PROPERTY TAX UPDATE
Department of Finance Further Clouds the Issue
June 27, 2012

Today's CRAINS reports that the Department of Finance is preparing letters to advise home owners in New York City cooperatives and condominiums that it will reclaim the 17.5% or 25% property tax abatement that it had deducted from property tax bills for July 1st payment, now that the legislation extending the abatement program has failed to be passed by the State Legislature.

No one yet knows what the terms or the timing of the recovery will be. This makes it all the more urgent that EVERY HOME OWNER IN NYC COOPERATIVES AND CONDOMINIUMS should contact their ASSEMBLY AND SENATE REPRESENTATIVES and MAYOR BLOOMBERG NOW to tell them of the unfair hardship that the loss of this abatement will cause.

Click here for sample messages and advice on finding your representatives.

PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENT LIMBO
June 22, 2012

The State Legislature ended its session yesterday (Thursday, June 21, 2012) without passing any legislation relating to the property tax abatement program for home owners in New York City cooperatives and condominiums.   Fortunately, tax payments due July 1, 2012 include the abatement, because the Department of Finance, confident that some form of extender would be passed, prepared these bills last week to include the abatement at the same level as last year.

At this moment, no one is quite sure what will happen next. Will an additional legislative session be called to complete negotiations on this and other bills?   Will DoF be forced to adjust our October or January bills to recapture unauthorized abatements?  No one knows.

But you can be sure that CNYC and its Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes are keeping a close watch on this vital issue, with the help of our excellent lobbyists.

Please do your part by letting your State Senator and Assembly representative know how distressed and disappointed you are that the abatement program has not been extended. Be specific about the hardship that loss of the abatement will cause the shareholders or unit owners in your building. It is imperative that you communicate your concern to your elected officials to rivet their attention on the importance of this extender.

As soon as there is any news; it will be posted here.


PROPERTY TAX UPDATE
June 6, 2012

1. ABATEMENT WILL BE ON PROPERTY TAX BILLS. We have been advised by the Departrment of Finance that property tax bills for July payment WILL include abatements for home owners in cooperatives and condominiums that have received in the past. As in the past, once final legislation is passed, DOF will make any necessary adjustments on January bills.

2. STAR Adjusted Downward. State Legislation had capped STAR increases at 2%. July property tax bills will include the retroactive adjustment for 2011. DOF will shortly send a report to contacts (usuallly the managing agent) of cooperative with a list of these adjustments. There is no necessity to make any adjustments at this time; they can be done in the context of the distribution of the 2012/2013 abatement.


CITY CLOUDS PROPERTY TAX ISSUE
May 18, 2012

The property tax abatement for home owners in NYC cooperatives and condominiums is due to sunset on June 30, 2012 Since the City had failed to offer any ‘long term plan for property tax fairness by February 2011’ as mandated in the 2008 legislation, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senator Martin Golden had introduced A.10071 and S.7091 respectively, to extend the abatement program for four more years and giving the City until February of 2016 to produce the long awaited long term plan for property tax fairness.

If this important legislation is not enacted into law in the next three weeks, the Department of Finance will have no legal mandate to include the abatement in Property Tax Bills for July payment. These bills will require payment from every condominium unit owner and every housing cooperative in the city at FULL, UNABATED PROPERTY TAX LEVEL causing immediate as well as long term cash flow problems for many.

CNYC has long pushed for property tax reform to deal fairly with all NYC tax payers. It was our expectation that the City would lead a transparent process to arrive at a better overall property tax system, a process that would include opportunities for all affected parties to make comments and contributions, a process that would actively seek input from the Independent Budget Office, from the Real Estate Board of New York, the Rent Stabilization Association and from CNYC and its Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes.This is a process that needs time. It cannot take place in a few days or weeks.

Please contact your State Senator and Assembly representative again and ask that they work their hardest to have A.10071 and S.7091 enacted into law by early June, so that your cooperative or condominium can experience a seamless continuation of the abatement. Contact Mayor Bloomberg at City Hall, (212) 788-3000, and Finance Commissioner Frankel at (212) 669-2275 and tell them how important it is to your cooperative or condominium that the abatement program be extended NOW, with discussion afterwards.


URGENT MEMO TO MEMBERS
From Mary Ann Rothman, Executive Director
May 9, 2012

PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENT EXTENDER LEGISLATION
INTRODUCED IN ASSEMBLY (A.10071) & SENATE (S.7091)
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has introduced A.10071 to extend the property tax abatement for home owners in New York City cooperatives and condominiums to June 30, 2016.  Senator Martin Golden has introduced necessary companion legislation– S. 7091 in the State Senate.

For the abatement program to be continued seamlessly into the tax bills for July, 2012, A.10071/S.7091 will have to have been signed into law by the beginning of  June,  when the NYC Department of Finance begins preparing our tax bills. 

TAKE ACTION TODAY IN SUPPORT OF THE EXTENDER
YOUR help is urgently needed to urge your Albany legislators to pass this vital legislation at once.  Turn the page for sample letters and instructions on finding your lawmaker.  Send a succinct  e-mail message urging swift passage of the appropriate bill and follow up with your version of the sample letters (see links below).     

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

* * * * * *
A Brief History of the Abatement Program

The Action Committee for Reasonable Real Estate Taxes  was founded in 1990to work for fair and equitable property taxes for all New York City taxpayers.     

*In 1993, a blue-ribbon commission appointed by Mayor Dinkins acknowledged that homeowners in New York City cooperatives and condominiums pay more than their fair share of property taxes

*In 1996, Mayor Giuliani and the City Council together called for tax reform. A three-year property tax abatement was instituted for homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums, and the City was to produce a long term plan for tax fairness. 

*In August, 1999, September 2001, May 2004 and June 2008 the abatement program was extended for two, then three then four years (twice) until June 30, 2012. In 2004 and 2008, extender legislation was passed early enough to provide for a seamless transition (prior extenders were not signed into law until after the start of the fiscal year, so full taxes were collected in July and October, with adjustments made on January and April bills).

With an outpouring of support for A.10071/S.7091, the Action Committee hopes for swift passage of this important extender legislation.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD SAMPLE LETTERS:


2010 Comparative Study
of Building Operating Costs
now Available

The 2010 Comparative Study of Building Operating Costs has been mailed to CNYC members, and is also available for purchase in the CNYC office, 250 West 57th Street, Suite 730, New York, NY 10107-0730. The price is $25.


ABATEMENT EXTENDER LEGISLATION INTRODUCED

Senator Martin Golden of Brooklyn introduced S.7091 on Friday, April 27, 2012. His legislation calls for a four year extender of the property tax abatement for home owners in New York City cooperatives and condominium to run through June 30, 2016. His legislation further mandates that the City develop the long awaited plan for tax fairness by February of 2016. We are optimistic that a companion bill will soon be introduced in the Assembly and that the two will be passed and signed into law prior to the time when the Department of Finance prepares property tax bills for July 1st payment.  Unless there is an abatement program in place at that time, DOF must bill at the full property tax!!!

If Senator Golden represents you, please thank him for championing this important issue.  If he is not, please ask your own State Senator to support S. 7091.  Explain how vital the property tax abatement is to your cooperative or condominium and the individual home owners who live there.

SENATOR GOLDEN, WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP!


BENCHMARKING REMINDER
2011 DATA IS DUE ON MAY 1st

If your New York City building is 50,000 square feet or larger according to the Department of Finance, then you are responsible for annual Bench marking.  Information is due on May 1st.  Last year, in the first year, there was leniency.  This year, fines will be levied against delinquents.

Please note:

  1. That your Benchmarking square footage will likely be different from (and greater than) the Department of Finance figures as all parts of the building must be measured. 
  2. Con Edison will send customers’ data for up to 24 months electronically.  The cost is $102.50.  To be sure that the information arrives in time for the May 1st filing deadline, Con Ed must receive your request and your payment by April 11th.
  3. National grid will send customers’ data electronically at no cost.  To be sure that the information arrives in time for the May 1st filing deadline, National Grid must receive your request by April 20th.
  4. This year, for the first time, water use will be recorded in the bench marking. The NYC Department Environmental Protection will forward this information upon receiving a request to do so from the building.
  5. Finally, when data is entered into Portfolio Manager, it requires 24 hours to update its files, therefore to meet the May 1st deadline for submitting your information, all information must be entered by April 30th.

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) recently conducted a detailed class on this important topic.  A video of the class can be viewed on the REBNY website.


ACRRET

URGENT PROPERTY TAX FAIRNESS ALERT

On Thursday, January 19, 2012, the New York City tentative tax assessments for fiscal year 2012-2013, which will begin on July 1st were made public.  Increases averaged more than 4% citywide with some buildings increases in excess of 30%. 

The ever-increasing property tax burden makes it all the more urgent that the long-established property tax abatement program for qualifying home owners in NYC cooperatives and condominiums be extended beyond its June 30, 2012 sunset date.


Benchmarking Information and Resources
Local Law 84

1. Date for Penalties: While compliance with Local Law 84, Benchmarking, was due on May 1, 2011, the City will accept the 2010 Benchmarking Compliance Report up to December 31, 2011 without the issuance of a penalty.

2. Warning Letter: A warning letter was sent to all buildings that did not comply by August 1, 2011. If you received this letter and believe you have benchmarked it could be for the following reasons:

a. You benchmarked after August 1. If you correctly entered your borough, block and lot number (BBL) in Portfolio Manager’s Notes field, and you have a confirmation email from the EPA, then you are in compliance and there is nothing further to do.

b. The BBL was entered inaccurately or not entered at all. If you benchmarked before August 1, please check the confirmation email you received to ensure the BBL entered is correct. If the BBL is inaccurate, then simply enter the BBL correctly and resubmit the report, as you did initially, by 12/31/11. (See instructions on how to enter the BBL)

3. Benchmarking Help Center: A hotline is available to answer general benchmarking questions and assist with the use of Portfolio Manager. It can be accessed Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-5pm and Fridays from 10am-2pm, by dialing 311 or 212-442-7901. If the Help Center is not open, leave a message and they will return your call. This resource has been made available through a partnership between The City University of New York (CUNY), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and the City of New York.

4. Benchmarking Training: The Association for Energy Affordability is offering in person training on the Portfolio Manager tool. The training also covers how to comply with Local Law 84. For class dates and to register visit their website.

5. Updates on the City’s Website: Please regularly visit the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan website for more information and continual updates on Local Law 84: www.nyc.gov/GGBP


CITY MANDATES PHASE OUT OF #6 OIL

Starting in July 2012 the City of New York will not be renewing any triennial permits for boilers that use number 6 oil. The City would like those buildings to switch to natural gas if possible. When it is not economically or geographically possible, affected buildings must switch to #4 oil (which must be phased out by 2030) or #2 oil. In an effort to encourage as many buildings as possible to switch to natural gas, the City has compiled the list that follows of 500 building currently burning #6 or #4 oil that are located near a gas main making it possible at very little cost or no cost for the utility to bring a natural gas connection to the wall of the building. All work inside the building is at building expense. Note that natural gas presently costs much less than oil.

Is your building on this list? Click to download (Excel file).


NYC BUILDINGS OF 50,000 SQUARE FEET OR MORE ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE BENCHMARKING FORMS BY AUGUST 1ST

Benchmarking Information and Resources

1. Date for Penalties: The City will accept the 2010 Benchmarking Compliance Report up to August 1, 2011 without the issuance of any penalty. Failure to benchmark will result in a building violation and a penalty of $500. Continued failure to benchmark will result in an additional penalty of $500 each quarter.

2. Benchmarking Hotline: A hotline is available to answer general benchmarking questions and about the use of Portfolio Manager. It can be accessed Monday through Friday, 10:00am-4:00pm, by dialing 311 or 212-442-7901. This resource has been made available through a partnership between the City University of New York (CUNY), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and the City of New York.

3. Benchmarking Training: The Association for Energy Affordability is offering the last in-person training on the Portfolio Manager tool Tuesday, July 26th. The training also covers how to comply with Local Law 84. To register for the class visit their website: http://www.aeanyc.org/site/c.dhJJJTOzFoH/b.6441573/k.5FCE/Benchmarking_Training.htm

4. Updates on the City’s Website: Please visit the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan website for more information on Local Law 84: http://www.nyc.gov/GGBP

5. Presentations on the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan: The Urban Green Council is providing free presentations on New York’s four new energy efficiency laws. To book a presentation, go to: http://www.urbangreencouncil.org/education/ggbp-education/

NYSERDA Launches oil conversion program

NYSERDA's Multifamily Carbon Emissions Reduction Program, is live and on the street. $6.5 Million in incentives are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For information and an application packet, go to:
http://getenergysmart.org/MultiFamilyHomes/OilConversions/Overview.aspx


Energy Benchmarking Grace Period
Issued Until August 1st

At the NYC Dept. of Buildings hearing on proposed rule amendments to Local Law 84, held on March 21, 2011, there were numerous requests for an extension of the energy benchmarking deadline of May 1, 2011. The city has responded favorably to those requests.

While the official deadline is still May 1, the city is allowing a three-month grace period before it will issue violations for non-compliance.

However, experts advise buildings not to put off their compliance efforts:

  1. Apply for rebates and subsidies now, while they last.
  2. Score high, to bypass energy audits and retro-commissioning later.
  3. Know your score sooner, to avoid backlogs and to give your building an edge in the marketplace.

For more on Benchmarking, please click here


TRANSFER FEES NO LONGER A PROBLEM

Last summer the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) which regulates the institutions of the secondary market such as FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC, issued a proposed Guidance which would have prohibited these institutions from purchasing loans where a transfer fee is in place. This provoked an outcry nationwide from supporters of cooperatives, condominiums and home owner associations, where transfer fees go back to the community to help maintain the housing, etc.

FHFA received more than 4000 comments on this proposed Guidance, the vast majority in opposition to this unreasonable attach on transfer fees that benefit the community. Many of these comments were sent by CNYC members in response to our request. Other member buildings sent information on their own transfer fees, enabling CNYC to compile a survey of transfer fee arrangements in more than 400 New York cooperatives and condominiums; this survey was included in the Comments to FHFA.

Today, February 1, 2011, the FHFA sent a prpopsed runt to the Federal Register to begin formal rulemaking on private transfer fees. The proposed rule would exclude private transfer fees paid to homeowner associations, condomiums, cooperatives and certain tax esempt organizations that yse private transfer fee proceeds to benefit the property. (see linksto full FHFA notice and to proposed rule).

CNYC thanks all the members who helped make this imporant turn-around possible.


IMPORTANT FINANCING ISSUE FOR CONDOMINIUMS

The Federal Housing Agency insures lenders against defaults. FHA recently implemented a re-certification requirement for all condominiums that were granted Project Approval prior to 2008. Project approval expedites loans for the purchase of individual units within the condominium. An expired FHA Project Approval can have a negative effect on the availability of credit and, therefore, the marketability/price of units for sale in your development.
In that event, FHA insured loan products would not be available to your condominium. Individuals purchasing units would not be able to get a FHA mortgage, reducing the buyer pool. Further, without FHA Project Approval, FHA loan products for refinance, debt consolidation and reverse mortgages would not be available for qualified unit owners in your development.
Today’s FHA insured loan requires full documentation of the borrower’s credit for each individual loan, e.g., the borrower’s tax returns are verified with the IRS. Together with other requirements such as a stable work history and clear credit, FHA requires a high level of due diligence be completed by the lender before insuring the loan, allaying concerns regarding the creditworthiness of the borrower.

Effective February 1, 2010, FHA will only insure loans in condominiums that have Project Approval. Re-certification requires compliance with the guidelines published under HUD Mortgagee Letter 2009-46B. Published on November 6, 2009, this guidance established new standards for Project Approval eligibility that include: budget reserves, percentage commercial space, investor ownership, right of first refusal, insurance, delinquency, pending litigation and more. The process is more onerous for condominiums originally certified prior to the year 2008 Consult your property manager and your attorney to ascertain whether your condominium needs to apply for re-certification.


Green" Your Super with 32BJ

Green Buildings are a reality, not some far off future concept to be pondered later.  More and more CNYC members expect their building to be using the latest green strategies to reduce waste and pollution and maintain a high quality indoor environment.  In 2011  City law requires buildings of 50,000 square feet and more  to start ‘benchmarking’ their energy and utility use..  And utility costs continue to rise, demanding greater efficiencies to hold down costs; the best way to control these costs involves employing the latest green strategies.  

Cick to read this story >>


NEW 4-YEAR  BUILDING SERVICE EMPLOYEES CONTRACT

A Fair Contract with Significant Innovations
At midnight on Tuesday, April 20, 2010, Michael Fishman, president of Local 32BJ of the Building Service Employees International Union,  and Howard Rothschild, president of the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc. shook hands on a four year contract agreement that includes pay increases of 2.33% per year. for 32BJ’s 3000 residential apartment building workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

Pledged Savings in Health Costs
The contract further provides that the Health Fund, which is jointly administered by trustees from the Union and from the RAB, will commission a study to help implement annual savings of $70,000,000 or 10% of the Health Plan’s  current average annual expenditures beginning no later than January 1, 2012. 

Employer Contributions Firmly Capped
Caps on employer contributions to the Health and Pension plans during the life of this contract ensure that if, as was the case in 2004, the reserves of either Health or Pension plans should become depleted, employers will not be responsible to make any additional contributions (the opposite was the case in 2004 when employers agreed to substantial, unexpected contributions ($2400 per employee) to rescue the then failing health fund.  This dramatic change in the paradigm ensures employers of certainty in their budgeting for labor during the term of this contract.  All parties are optimistic that no problems will arise, and that the anticipated economies will be easily achieved.

Reduction In Force
In addition, in recognition of the length and the extent of the economic downturn an important phrase has been added to the contract provision regarding Reduction In Force, enabling a building to reduce staff upon submitting proof of financial hardship, provided that no additional work is added to the job descriptions of remaining employees.

A Fair Agreement
The building service workers who are members of Local 32BJ are the best paid service workers in the world; they also have excellent benefits and training opportunities.  And this is as it should be.  These workers  keep our buildings safe and clean. They are part of the community that is our cooperative or condominium. They watch our children grow up; they help us daily in many ways largae and small.  We are all pleased that the current negotiation has produced a contract that is fair to one and all.  

Pattern Agreement
The RAB negotiates a pattern agreement, which each of its residential members with 32BJ employees is then invited to sign,   Copies of the agreement will shortly be sent to your building (or your managing agent).  If your cooperative or condominium has six or more employees, your superintendent is a Resident Manager, subject to an agreement that expires June 20th.


WARNING: BE ALERT TO A NEW SCAM

Do not be taken in by the clever marketing ploy of a lead inspection company that may send to your buiding a very official looking notice advising you that you are required to perform inspections for lead paint.

Note that this is an inspection that building staff can perform in your public areas if your building was built prior to 1978, and that cooperatives and condominiums do NOT have any responsibility for inspecting apartments occupied by shareholders or unit owners. While professional inspections may be appropriate in certain situations (in which case, you will seek out a known, reliable company), the law permits inspections by building staff.


CNYC TESTIMONY ON "GREEN BILLS"

The City of New York is deeply committed to energy conservation, a goal which CNYC shares. However, some of the requirements which the City seeks to impose appear to CNYC to be costly to our members. On June 26, 2009, CNYC testified on four proposed bills, supporting two and challenging two on the grounds of cost and of imposing decisions upon boards of cooperatives and condominiums .which should have the right to set priorities for their own buildings. CNYC always prefers incentives to mandates and expressed this view in its testimony.

Please click to download a copy of the testimony (PDF).


BORROWING OPPORTUNITIES EXPAND

During much of last fall and spring, the economic crisis was aggravated by the reluctance of lenders to make money available for the purchase of homes, including cooperatives and condominiums. Happily, a number of lenders are now making loans available, but they are hesitant to lend for the purchase of apartments in recently converted buildings or those with a significant sponsor presence, since they want to be sure that the loans will qualify for purchase by institutions of the secondary market.

Read the complete article >>


Building Boards Hit by Downturn, featuring CNYC President Marc Luxemburg (courtesy The Real Deal)
Click on video to play

RECYCLE CLOTHING AND OTHER TEXTILES
IN YOUR BUILDING

Upper West Side Recycling and Wearable Collections will organize and publicize your textile drive. We’ll also provide a portable clothing bin (5 x 4 x 2 1/2) if your building has over 100 apartments; if it has less than 90 apartments we’ll give you a rack with large bags. Residents won’t have to haul their clothing and other textiles to a collection site—or worse—dump them in the trash. Wearable collections accepts clean clothing (wearable or unwearable), shoes, pocketbooks, curtains, sheets, blankets, comforters, and towels. Carpeting is not accepted. By participating you can do some spring or fall cleaning, keep textiles out of our landfills and recycle in an easy, convenient way.

We also recycle textiles in churches, schools, and other organizations. We also recycle textiles in residential buildings if your members are interested. Pickups are in Manhattan, and Wearable Collections will go to the outer boroughs for large quantities. For further information contact:

Jeff Twine
Upper West Side Recycling
212-865-9595
jtwine@synerjy.com


CNYC & REBNY PUBLISH CO-OP BOARD ADMISSIONS GUIDE

CNYC and the Real Estate Board of New York have published a new guide designed to explain the anti-discrimination requirements that all Boards must follow. Included are recommendations on how a Board should conduct the application process.

Click to download the guide (PDF Format).

 


NEWSLETTER GALLERY NOW ONLINE!

Is your building's newsletter top-notch? Let the world know! CNYC.coop's Co-op & Condo Newsletter Gallery is now open!

The Gallery is a special section of this website dedicated to displaying newsletters provided by our member buildings, and to giving recognition for all the hard work that goes into creating them.

Click here to enter the Gallery >>

To submit your building's newsletter for the Gallery, please send a PDF version to info@cnyc.coop, or mail a hard copy of the newsletter to:

CNYC
250 West 57th Street, Suite 730
New York, NY 10107
Attn: Newsletter Gallery

If you have questions, please send an email to info@cnyc.coop.


 
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