BLOG | Co-op and Condo Corner: The Cooperative and Condominium Advisory Council (CCAC) Is Continuing Its Consistent Advocacy Efforts
Editor’s Note: The staff of IMPACT is happy with the return of Co-op and Condo Corner to our publication. The column was originally written by the late Herb Rose, a well-known Co-op and Condo Consultant throughout the New York metropolitan area. Former CCAC Chair Diana Virrill also wrote the column, which covers topics of interest to the Co-op and Condo Sector. Current CCAC Chair Jane Curtis will now author the report on a regular basis.
By Jane Curtis, CCAC Chair
(MOUNT VERNON) Co-ops have come under intense legislative scrutiny in recent years, resulting in a Westchester County law regulating the Co-op Admissions Process that requires any rejection of an applicant to be reported to the Westchester County Human Rights Commission (HRC), along with the reason for the denial.
While the HRC has not disclosed whether the number of fair housing complaints has increased as a consequence of these reports, another aspect of the law is clearly creating poor outcomes for Co-ops, applicants, and real estate brokers alike.
Beginning in August of 2021, Co-ops are now not only required to publish their existing financial criteria for prospective shareholders, but also to create a set of ‘preferred’ minimum standards specified by the Westchester County Board of Legislators.
The unfortunate, unintended effect of this provision is a forced binary decision making process and automatic rejection of marginal candidates, whom the Admissions Committees would previously have worked with toward acceptance.
Many of these rejected applicants are from the protected classes the law was intended to benefit.
This law, and many other proposed laws, reflect fundamental misunderstandings of Co-ops, which the Cooperative & Condominium Advisory Council (CCAC) seeks to address through our advocacy.
No fewer than 50 bills related to Co-ops and Condos, most of them detrimental, were recently introduced in the New York State Legislature, a number of which are similar to the Westchester County Admissions Law. Many others inadvertently sweep Co-ops into legislation intended for Landlords and Renters. Yet another, which was recently passed by the legislature, would change the method of property taxation for new Co-ops, creating a disincentive just at the time when the formation of new Co-ops is most needed as part of the answer to our region’s Affordable Housing Crisis. The legislation is now before Gov. Hochul and will become law if she signs it.
The CCAC’s Board of Directors, our staff, lobbyist, Government Affairs Director, and Political Action Committee (PAC) are working diligently to engage with legislators in discussions of the value and unique aspects of Co-ops as a form of Affordable Homeownership. Interested CCAC members actively participate in this advocacy in meetings with legislators, at public hearings and campaign fundraisers and in Online Campaigns targeting key legislation.
The CCAC has also advocated for the creation of new Co-ops, giving testimony during the recent state budget hearings in support of the Governor’s Limited Equity Co-op Community Controlled Housing Initiative, focusing on Mitchell-Lamas.
We frequently collaborate with our New York City counterparts to amplify our message to state and federal officials that as small, non-profit organizations, governed by elected volunteer shareholder owners, with breakeven budgets and revenue entirely dependent on the reliable Maintenance Payments of shareholders, Co-ops need their support. We ask our lawmakers to include Co-ops in helpful housing legislation that often overlooks us, to exclude us from misapplied Landlord/Tenant Laws, and to lift the heavy hand of regulation that threatens our financial stability and operational integrity.
We invite all Westchester County Co-ops to join the CCAC as members in this critical advocacy during the important 2022 election year. And, we remind Condos in our region that we are also advocating for them on a regular basis.
Co-ops and Condos which are not members of the CCAC can obtain further information about our organization by visiting buildersinstitute.org. Simply hit the About and Realty Council Links. Next, hit the CCAC link for a full summary on the Benefits of Membership in our association. Buildings can also contact Jeff Hanley, the BRI’s Associate Executive Director, at (914) 273-0730 for Membership Information on the CCAC.