How Can I Pressure My Co-op Board to Repair a Ceiling Leak?

Q: We purchased an house on the highest flooring of a co-op in Yorkville in April 2020. After residing there for some time, we moved out and now lease it out to a tenant. A few times a yr, the ceiling leaks throughout rainstorms. We at all times notify the tremendous and the administration firm, the tremendous “finds” an issue and “fixes” it, our ceiling is patched and we go on with our lives. Nevertheless it retains taking place. I’m nervous there could be mildew or structural harm, and apparently it leaked into the elevator shaft. What can I do to strain them to get a extra thorough analysis and everlasting repair?

A: Ceiling leaks can result in a lot greater issues in the event that they aren’t mounted, so that they should be addressed correctly for the nice of your unit and your constructing. You want an analysis by an expert who’s skilled find leaks, usually an engineer.

Reaching out to your managing agent was a superb first step. Doc the dates of contact, and the response you probably did or didn’t obtain. Managing brokers typically have many buildings of their portfolio, and shareholders’ issues aren’t at all times addressed promptly.

Rent a lawyer to draft a letter to the co-op’s board of administrators and to the managing agent. Inform them you’re conscious of the leak, clarify that it’s a recurring drawback, describe the harm it’s inflicting, and notice that your repeated efforts to deal with the problem have did not end in an expert analysis“In lots of situations, a lawyer’s letter will get the eye of the constructing,” stated Lawrence Chaifetz, an actual property lawyer with Chaifetz & Chaifetz LLC.

The co-op board of administrators has a fiduciary accountability to deal with the constructing, which is why they need to reply. “I feel an important factor is to impress upon the board their accountability in addressing it,” stated Lorraine Nadel, a lawyer with the agency Nadel & Ciarlo, who handles actual property disputes and litigation.

If the board doesn’t reply to the lawyer’s letter, you may name 311 to report the leaks. If a metropolis inspector visits, it might end in a constructing violation — or, if the inspector discover different issues, unrelated violations. Simply bear in mind that this might harm your relationship with the board.

Litigation is the following step, and isn’t unusual if the board is dysfunctional or if there isn’t any cash for repairs, Ms. Nadel stated.

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