Bylaws in Harlem Condos: What Unit Owners Need to Know - Article Banner

Before someone buys a condominium unit in Manhattan, it’s advisable that they read through the bylaws. However, not everyone combs through the fine print. This can lead to misunderstanding and conflict that need to be resolved amicably. To help prevent these minor issues from becoming big deals, the board of managers must provide the owners with the following answers to their questions:

What are condominium bylaws?

A condo property owner owns both their unit and an undivided interest in the common areas of the building. By buying the unit, the owner has also agreed to the bylaws of that condominium. The bylaws are a set of rights and responsibilities that govern the unit and the common areas of the building and are required by the state of New York. They state that the board of managers will manage the common areas and the finances of the building. The board is also responsible for ensuring that everyone in the building, including the owners, follow the bylaws.

NB: Bylaws and House Rules are two different things. To understand more about House Rules, please click here.

Can a condo in NYC charge a flip tax?

flip tax is a transfer fee that the property owner pays when they sell their unit in a co-op. These generate income for the board. However, condo boards don’t usually charge flip taxes because owners don’t buy into shares but actually own their units. Real estate rules, rather than personal property laws apply in this case.

This isn’t to say that condos never charge a flip tax. If the current bylaws allow it, then the board of managers can set a flip tax. If the board would like to charge a flip tax and it isn’t in the current bylaws, then an amendment must be made.

Can condominium bylaws change?

Unit owners and the board of managers can start the process of amending the bylaws—either piecemeal or as a whole. Whoever initiates the change must get enough shareholders to agree with their proposal. This can be done through information seminars hosted by the board or by grassroots changes. The board and interested owners can then meet and vote on changing (or not changing) the bylaws.

Do you need expert help?

The process of amending a condominium’s bylaws can be rigorous and time consuming. That’s why you should get professional help from Harlem Property Management. We can help you inform the unit owners of proposed changes and when meetings will take place. We can guide residents about the details of your bylaws and resolve small issues before they become big problems. We can even provide expert opinions on whether or not your condo should charge a flip tax.


Harlem Property Management is the authority on co-op and condo building management in Upper Manhattan and a member of the Real Estate Board of New York. We specialize in managing condos, co-ops, and multi-family buildings up to 99 units.

Call us today to get the professional property management that you need.