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Access for co-op boards reaffirmed.

A recent court decision involving a Queens co-op has reaffirmed that co-op boards have the right to have access to individual units to make necessary repairs -- whether or not the particular shareholder consents -- according to attorney David A. Goldstein, who represented the co-op board.

Goldstein said: "Owning shares in a co-op obliges the shareholder to abide by the by-laws designed to protect and benefit the entire building. This decision reaffirms that individual shareholders cannot unilaterally take exception to rules that allow the co-op board and management to serve the entire corporation."

The case involved the attempts by a co-op to have an exterminator work in a particular apartment. The extermination process would require tearing up a floor in the apartment and placing chemicals at that location.

The shareholders argued that they would have to relocate for several days while this work was taking place. Therefore, they argued that they should be entitled to financial compensation in return for their cooperation.

In addition, they said that they were concerned about the possible effects on their family of the use of the exterminator's chemicals.

In his arguments, Goldstein pointed out that both city law and the co-op's by-laws required shareholders or tenants to provide access to the building management in order to make necessary repairs and perform functions like extermination. He also argued that the shareholders in this case were not entitled to the monetary compensation they had requested and the court agreed.

In its decision, the court ruled that the shareholders had "not provided to the court any legal authority requiring payment. On the issue of the use of potentially harmful chemicals, the court simply ordered the building to comply with all appropriate laws and regulations related to extermination, and allowed the building management access to the apartment continuing until the treatment is completed.

The case, Sunnyside Towers Owners Corp. vs. John A. O'Sullivan and Margaret O'Sullivan was decided in Queens Supreme Court by Justice John A. Milano.
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Title Annotation:court decision rules in favor of apartment cooperative boards having access to individual units for repairs
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 4, 1993
Previous Article:Small tenants get grand address at 30 Wall St.
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