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Owners must tackle new legislation.

While 1993 has brought only modest improvement to condo and co-op property values, it has brought more than its share of new regulations for owners to confront.

The first such regulation, as many probably know. is the Federal-law making it illegal to release the refrigerant chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) into the atmosphere. In fact, according to a recent Wail Street Journal article, 80 other countries are part of a similar pact that applies to both central and individual air-conditioning systems.

In the 50's, developers made widespread use of central airconditioning systems that contain CFCs. Forty years of wear and tear later, it's time to replace or refurbish many of them. Therefore, boards now are facing the difficult decision of whether to replace the air-conditioning refrigerant -- and likely the equipment as well -- or to contain the CFCs until they must be completely phased out in 1995.

Another option available is to replace the CFC with HCFC which contain a hydrogen atom, making it less harmful and legal until 2030. Eventually, however, all systems will have to contain HFC, which does not pose a threat to the ozone layer.

Another regulation that has become prominent this year is not new, but is being newly applied. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, which were formerly enforced at commercial and industrial buildings only, are now affecting co-op and condo properties as well. For example, danger signs must be posted for the use of such mundane products as glass and porcelain cleaners, and antidotes must be spelled out for those who swallow such substances. Users must employ goggles, rubber gloves and masks under certain circumstances. Workers in co-op and condo buildings must go through an approved education program, and the violations for not complying are stiff. For example, a second violation can cost a building up to $70,000.

Finally, a law recently passed in Albany requires security guards hired after Jan. 1, 1994, to meet new registration requirements. Some of these will include thorough background checks, a training course, registration fee and sets of fingerprints on file with the state government and the FBI.

Obviously, to deal with such a variety of ever changing laws and regulations, a management team has to bring a wide range of expertise to its assignment. Experience is key.

At American Landmark, many of our managers have been in the industry for well over a decade. We also find the educational background of our team has broadened. Our in-house staff includes people with degrees in architecture and business administration, membership in the New York and New Jersey bar associations, and certified public accountants. We also have an expert in electronic-data systems.

Certainly, the primary focus for the remainder of 1993 in property management will be the preservation of the property's value. Staying on top of the countless new laws is part of that aim.
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Title Annotation:Mid-Year Review & Forecast, Section II; apartment cooperative and condominium owners face new regulations in 1993
Author:Brecher, Oskar
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Column
Date:Jun 23, 1993
Previous Article:Maintaining a co-op/condo's financial integrity.
Next Article:New nation of sellers and money sources.

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