Bill S2291-2013

Establishes a residential condominium owner's bill of rights

Enacts a bill of rights for owners of residential condominium units to provide fair and equitable treatment of all unit owners; directs the attorney general to promulgate a handbook summary of the rights of unit owners vis-a-vis condominium associations and the procedures and processes available to unit owners to enforce such rights.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO HOUSING, CONSTRUCTION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
  • Jan 15, 2013: REFERRED TO HOUSING, CONSTRUCTION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2291

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to enactment of a residential condominium owner's bill of rights

PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to clarify the rights and responsibilities unit owners and boards of managers of condominium associations.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill would amend the general business law to require a Condominium Board to:

* Process requests for action in an expeditious, manner according to uniform written procedures;

* Post election results in a prominent place accessible to all owners within one business day after they become available;

* Fill vacancies within sixty days if such vacancy occurs more than six months prior to the annual meeting of unit owners;

* Provide for the resignation of members of the board if the person is selling their condominium unit;

* Provide financial statements to all owners in a timely fashion, on at least an annual basis, such statement must include information on member's financial interest in any company providing goods or services to the association;

* Make various documents available to all owners for inspection;

* Post notice of meetings in a prominent place accessible to all unit owners; and

* Notify, and in some cases seek approval from, owners before imposing special assessments or entering into contracts for extraordinary expenses.

This bill would also require the Department of Law to issue a handbook describing rights of owners vis-a-vis their association and the procedures and processes available to unit owners to enforce such rights.

JUSTIFICATION: Boards of managers of condominium associations exercise broad authority over the rights and financial interests of individual property owners.

Under present law, there is little which regulates the discretionary authority these associations possess.

This bill would establish a number of important due process rights for individual property owners in dealing with their association. It would also create general standards for the conduct of business by these associations. While most associations perform admirably in managing their buildings' affairs, there have been reports of abuses by associations.

Complaints have been received from property owners who feel that they have been dealt with in an arbitrary and capricious manner by the association. The protection incorporated in this bill would help to ensure that property owners are dealt with fairly and have access to important information regarding the management of their building.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2008: S.4309 - Referred to the Standing Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None Noted.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act would take effect immediately, provided however that condominium associations existing and operating as such on the effective date of this act, shall take all necessary steps to amend the appropriate organizational and operating documents to implement the provisions of this act within one year of the effective date of this act.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2291 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 15, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. BALL -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to enactment of a residential condominium owner's bill of rights THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 352-eeeee to read as follows: S 352-EEEEE. RESIDENTIAL CONDOMINIUM OWNER'S BILL OF RIGHTS. THE ORGANIZATIONAL AND OPERATING DOCUMENTS OF EVERY RESIDENTIAL CONDOMINIUM ESTABLISHED OR OPERATING PURSUANT TO THE LAWS OF THE STATE SHALL GUARAN- TEE THE FOLLOWING TO EACH UNIT OWNER: 1. THAT (A) ALL APPLICATIONS BY UNIT OWNERS IN CONNECTION WITH MATTERS WHICH REQUIRE APPROVAL OF THE BOARD OF MANAGERS AND (B) ALL REQUESTS FOR DETERMINATIONS BY THE BOARD OF MANAGERS INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO REQUESTS FOR THE RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES BETWEEN OR AMONG UNIT OWNERS, DISPUTES BETWEEN UNIT OWNERS AND THE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION SUCH AS DISPUTES CONCERNING RESPONSIBILITY FOR REPAIRS SHALL BE PROCESSED IN A REASONABLY EXPEDITIOUS MANNER PURSUANT TO UNIFORM PROCEDURES AND TIMETA- BLES ADOPTED IN WRITING. THE BOARD'S DECISION SHALL BE IN WRITING AND SHALL SET FORTH THE REASONS THEREFOR, EXCEPT THAT NO REASON SHALL BE REQUIRED WHEN APPROVAL IS GRANTED. 2. THAT THE FINAL RESULTS OF ELECTIONS FOR THE BOARD OF MANAGERS INCLUDING A TALLY OF THE VOTES RECEIVED BY EACH CANDIDATE SHALL BE POST- ED WITHIN ONE BUSINESS DAY FOLLOWING THE AVAILABILITY OF SUCH INFORMA- TION IN A PROMINENT PLACE ACCESSIBLE TO ALL UNIT OWNERS IN EACH BUILDING COMPRISING THE CONDOMINIUM. 3. THAT THE BOARD OF MANAGERS SHALL CALL A MEETING TO FILL ANY VACAN- CIES WHICH OCCUR ON SUCH BOARD WITHIN SIXTY DAYS OF THE OCCURRENCE OF
SUCH VACANCY IF THE VACANCY OCCURS MORE THAN SIX MONTHS PRIOR TO THE ANNUAL MEETING OF UNIT OWNERS. 4. THAT ANY MEMBER OF A BOARD OF MANAGERS WHO IS ELECTED WHILE A UNIT OWNER IN THE CONDOMINIUM, WHO SELLS HIS OR HER APARTMENT, AND WHO, SUBSEQUENT TO SUCH SALE SHALL NO LONGER BE A UNIT OWNER IN SUCH CONDO- MINIUM, SHALL RESIGN FROM SUCH BOARD NO LATER THAN THE CLOSING DATE OF SUCH SALE. 5. THAT COMPLETE AND ACCURATE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND ANY OTHER STATEMENTS ORDINARILY PROVIDED TO UNIT OWNERS BE PROVIDED IN A TIMELY FASHION PURSUANT TO ESTABLISHED TIMETABLES AT LEAST ONCE ANNUALLY. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION "FINANCIAL STATEMENTS" SHALL INCLUDE THE BALANCE SHEETS AND STATEMENTS OF INCOME AND EXPENSE FOR EACH OF THE THREE MOST CURRENT FISCAL YEARS. ATTACHED TO SAID FINANCIAL STATEMENTS SHALL BE A STATEMENT WHICH DISCLOSES (A) ANY CONTROLLING INTEREST OR EMPLOYEE OR AGENCY RELATIONSHIP WHICH ANY BOARD MEMBER OR OFFICER OF THE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION OR THE SPOUSE OF SUCH PERSON HAS IN OR WITH ANY SUPPLIER OF SERVICES OR MATERIALS TO SAID CONDOMINIUM AND (B) ANY CONSIDERATION THE VALUE OF WHICH EXCEEDS ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS WHICH ANY SUCH BOARD MEMBER OR OFFICER OR THE SPOUSE OF SUCH PERSON RECEIVES FROM SUCH SUPPLIER. 6. THAT THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR INSPECTION OR COPYING BY UNIT OWNERS DURING REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS ON NO MORE THAN TEN DAYS WRITTEN NOTICE TO THE BOARD OF MANAGERS: (A) APPROVED MINUTES OF BOARD OF MANAGERS MEETINGS, PROVIDED THAT SUCH BOARD SHALL HAVE THIRTY DAYS FROM THE DATES OF THE MEETINGS AT WHICH THE MINUTES ARE APPROVED TO PREPARE SUCH MINUTES AND PROVIDED FURTHER THAT THE BOARD MAY EXCLUDE MATTERS WHICH IT DEEMS CONFIDENTIAL OR WHICH WERE DISCUSSED IN EXECUTIVE SESSION; (B) DETAILED, ACCURATE RECORDS, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, OF THE RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES ARISING FROM THE OPERATION OF THE PROPERTY; (C) BANK ACCOUNT AND FINANCIAL INVESTMENT STATEMENTS; (D) ALL PROPOSALS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR BIDS TO PROVIDE GOODS OR SERVICES TO THE CONDOMINIUM THE COST OF WHICH IS REASONABLY EXPECTED TO EXCEED FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS IN ANY ONE YEAR. SUCH DOCUMENTS SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE WITHIN TEN DAYS OF RECEIPT UNLESS THE BOARD CHOOSES TO CONDUCT CLOSED COMPETITIVE BIDDING IN WHICH CASE THE DOCUMENTS SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE WITHIN TEN DAYS OF THE SELECTION OF THE SUCCESSFUL BID; (E) REPORTS OF ACCOUNTANTS, CONSULTANTS AND EXPERTS RETAINED OR HIRED TO PERFORM SERVICES FOR OR ON BEHALF OF THE ASSOCIATION INCLUDING FINAN- CIAL STATEMENTS AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION FIVE OF THIS SECTION PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT SUCH REPORTS MAY BE WITHHELD WHEN A MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD HAS VOTED TO WITHHOLD SUCH INFORMATION. WHEN THE MATTER CONCERNS ALLEGED CONFLICT OF INTEREST OR MALFEASANCE INVOLVING BOARD MEMBERS THE REPORT MAY BE WITHHELD ONLY UPON A VOTE OF THE MAJORI- TY OF DISINTERESTED BOARD MEMBERS. IF ALL BOARD MEMBERS ARE INTERESTED PARTIES THE REPORT MAY NOT BE WITHHELD; (F) REPORTS BY MUNICIPAL AND/OR COUNTY INSPECTORS CONCERNING COMPLI- ANCE WITH HEALTH, BUILDING AND HOUSING CODES AND REGULATIONS; AND (G) THE RECORDS OF DECISIONS BY THE BOARD OF MANAGERS TO EXCLUDE OR WITHDRAW MATERIALS PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (A) OR (E) OF THIS SUBDIVISION. SUCH RECORDS SHALL BE PREPARED IN EVERY INSTANCE THAT MATERIALS ARE WITHHELD OR EXCLUDED. THE RECORD SHALL INCLUDE THE GENERAL NATURE OF THE MATERIALS AND THE REASON FOR WITHHOLDING OR EXCLUDING SAME. 7. THAT IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER NOTICE REQUIRED BY THE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION'S ORGANIZATIONAL OR OPERATING DOCUMENTS, NOTICE OF ALL BOARD
AND UNIT OWNER MEETINGS SHALL BE POSTED IN A PROMINENT PLACE ACCESSIBLE TO ALL UNIT OWNERS IN EACH BUILDING COMPRISING THE CONDOMINIUM. 8. (A) THAT THE BOARD OF MANAGERS SHALL NOT IMPOSE SPECIAL ASSESS- MENTS, OR ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR EXTRAORDINARY EXPENSES THE COST OF WHICH EXCEEDS LIMITS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION BEYOND CUSTOMARY OPERATING OR MAINTENANCE COSTS, WITHOUT APPROVAL BY A VOTE OF THE UNIT OWNERS. A VOTE OF THE UNIT OWNERS MAY BE WAIVED BY THE BOARD IN THE CASE OF (I) AN EMERGENCY EVIDENCED BY AN APPROVED RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD, OR (II) A REQUIRED REFINANCING OF AN EXISTING MORTGAGE. (B) UNLESS THE BYLAWS REQUIRE A UNIT OWNER VOTE TO ESTABLISH THE LIMITS REFERRED TO IN PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION, THE LIMITS SHALL BE ESTABLISHED BY THE BOARD OF MANAGERS AS FOLLOWS. NO LESS THAN ONCE IN EVERY FIVE YEARS THE BOARD SHALL PROPOSE LIMITS WHICH SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE NOTICE OF THE ANNUAL OR ANY OTHER MEETING OF THE UNIT OWNERS. AN OPPORTUNITY FOR UNIT OWNERS TO COMMENT ON SUCH PROPOSAL AND TO OFFER LOWER LIMITS SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE AGENDA FOR SUCH MEETING. AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE COMMENT PERIOD THE BOARD SHALL, BY AN OPEN VOTE, ADOPT LIMITS NOT TO EXCEED THOSE PROPOSED BY THE BOARD WHICH SHALL BE EFFECTIVE UNTIL CHANGED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS PARAGRAPH. 9. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO ENFORCE THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION AND MAY, UPON HIS OR HER OWN INITIATIVE, OR IN RESPONSE TO A COMPLAINT BY ONE OR MORE UNIT OWNERS, INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF ANY FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS HEREOF. S 2. Within 6 months of the effective date of this act the attorney general shall promulgate a handbook summarizing the rights of unit owners vis-a-vis condominium associations and the procedures and proc- esses available to unit owners to enforce such rights. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that as to residential condominium associations existing and operating as such on the effective date of this act the boards of managers of such associations shall within 1 year of the effective date of this act take all steps necessary to amend the appropriate organizational and operat- ing documents of such associations to implement the provisions of this act.

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