Staying on top of all the federal, state, and city laws that govern property and associations can be a challenge. Things change constantly, and the courts can interpret laws differently from year to year and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
The best way to protect yourself, if you’re on the board of a condo association, is to stay educated and to work with professional Harlem property managers who understand the laws and follow the changes. With the right property management partner, you’ll have less liability. The risk of making an expensive legal mistake is significantly lower.
Here are some of the most important laws you need to pay attention to when you’re on the board of your building’s condo association.
Federal Property Laws: Fair Housing
Fair housing laws apply to condominiums, so you’ll have to make sure you’re not doing anything to discriminate against people based on the list of protected classes provided by the federal government.
Lately, the biggest issue for condo associations has been making necessary accommodations for homeowners with disabilities. While wheelchair ramps, elevators, and designated parking spaces are often easy enough to manage, there have been new court cases and fines around emotional support animals. These are different from service animals, but they are still protected by federal fair housing laws. If you have a homeowner who needs an emotional support animal for a disability, you may not be able to prohibit it, even if your building does not allow pets.
FISP Local Law 11 NYC
When it comes to building safety, the most important local law that all condo associations need to be familiar with is the NYC Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP), formerly known as Local Law 11, which requires NYC buildings taller than six stories to have their facades inspected and repaired every five years. If your building meets the requirements for this program, you’ll need to comply and get your inspection scheduled in time or face penalties.
Pedestrian safety is the main reason for this law. After your building has been inspected, you’ll need to file a technical report with the Department of Buildings. That report will indicate that the inspector classified your façade elements as either safe, safe with a repair and maintenance program, or unsafe. Unsafe façade elements must be addressed immediately and repaired within 30 days. Those that are safe with a repair and maintenance program (SWARMP) need to have the concerns addressed before the next inspection.
New York Property Tax Laws
Property tax laws for the state of New York, particularly New York Consolidated Laws, Real Property Tax Law – RPT § 1184 are also important to know. For help with this compliance, your board may need to hire a CPA, accounting professional, tax attorney, or a property manager who has the resources to understand the nuances of property tax law.
These do not begin to cover all the laws and regulations you need to keep in mind for your condo board and your community. For a more extensive discussion, please contact us at Harlem Property Management.
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.