Page 12 - The Suffolk Lawyer - May 2021 - Vol. 36, No. 3
P. 12


                        A Better Spring for Developers, Community Associations,

                                  and Purchasers in the Residential Arena Arrives

                                                                     By Donna-Marie Korth, Esq.

                   ovid has impacted every aspect of our     Applications with the Attorney General’s Of- be desired, keeping in mind that there are
                   economy  and  our  lives,  however  it    fice.  It is anticipated that certain of the At- generally high percentage vote requirements
            C seems  that  we  are  beginning  to            torney General’s Covid policies may continue    to amend the Declaration or By-Laws (often
            emerge from the shadows.                         (i.e., electronic payments are likely here to   66 2/3% or higher).
               One of the few bright spots in this pan-      stay),  and  its  processes  may  be  further      House Rules, however, on the other hand,
            demic is that many developers and contrac-       streamlined going forward.                      can be readily amended by Boards, and may
            tors have not experienced entirely dark times                                                    require  updates  or  revisions  based  upon
            as unfortunately so many other industries                                                        matters and issues that Board members en-
            have. Rather, developers and construction                                                        countered during Covid 19 (i.e., setting up
            contractors, after the initial Covid shut-down                                                   remote Board and/or homeowner meetings,
            restrictions  were  lifted,  reportedly  experi-                                                 if permitted). In addition, and importantly,
            enced strong demand – keeping their trades                                                       Community Associations which are incorpo-
            employed during a fair amount of this crisis.                                                    rated under the New York Not-for-Profit Cor-
            In fact, the New York City residential market,                                                   poration     Law      (mostly     Homeowner
            of which they are an integral part, has seen                                                     Associations) should carefully review their
            an increase since the re-opening of the econ-                                                    governing documents to insure compliance
            omy,  experiencing  strong  buyer  demand,                                                       with the Nonprofit Revitalization Act passed
            and sales have been remarkably steady, (un-                                                      back in 2014, which, among other things, re-
            like the rental market which took quite a hit,                                                   quires Board member vigilance, particularly
            with falling rentals related in large part to the                                                in the areas of conflict-of-interest policies
            significant job losses).                                                                         and fiduciary duties. Further, recent legisla-
               Although sales prices have reportedly de-                                                     tion concerning employment practices and
            clined somewhat, the average length of time                                                      labor laws, including e.g., Paid Family Leave
            on the market has decreased. Similarly, the                                                      policy, Family and Medical Leave Act, as well
            residential market on Long Island and sales                                                      as social media, drug and alcohol, and com-
            prices were, until very recently, reportedly at                                                  pany technology policies, should be carefully
            peak  levels.  The  same  holds  true  for  the                                                  reviewed by Community Associations which
            outer-boroughs of New York City, as well as                                                      employ personnel/staff to meet new legal re-
            upstate New York, which, in particular, expe-                                                    quirements.
            rienced an all-time high of sales in the resi-                                                      All in all, much has been learned about
            dential market, stimulated in large part by                                                      shifting and adapting during this most chal-
            individuals  desirous  of  purchasing  in  less                                                  lenging period.  Hopefully the world will soon
            dense communities. The continuing low-in-                                                        recover, and start to experience new eco-
            terest rates bolstered the sellers’ market.                                                      nomic  growth  by  the  latter  part  of  2021.
               The New York State Attorney General’s                                                         The not-to-distant future looks brighter with
            Office, which governs the regulation of sales                                                    vaccines now being distributed to many at a
            of cooperative interests in realty, has been                                                     brisk pace, and Developers and Community
            "open for business” during the pandemic.                                                         Associations alike should reflect on the past
            During this time, the Office adopted policies                                                    -- but confidently plan for the future.
            to enable the practice before it to continue
            during the “relief period,” recognizing that
            most  practitioners,  including  staff  counsel
            and other professionals employed by the At-
            torney General, are working remotely.              Cooperatives, Condominiums, and Home-
               Recently, Jackie Dischell, the Bureau Chief   owners’ Associations (sometimes collectively
            of the Real Estate Finance Bureau, indicated     (“Community Associations") have had to face
            that their normal review procedures and en-      their  own  unique  challenges  during  these
            forcement actions may resume in the near         trying times. Although it became practical for
            future. This is a positive indication that busi-  Boards of Managers and/or Directors to uti-            Donna-Marie Korth
            ness should incrementally be returning to        lize Covid waivers and release language, for,
                                                                                                                     Partner, Litigation and Coop/Condo
            “normal” or in actuality, a “new normal,” in     i.e., contracts with vendors, use of recre-              Practice Groups, Certilman, Balin,
            the relatively near future. As such, Develop-    ational  facilities,  and  gyms,  etc.,  it  now              Adler & Hyman, LLP
            ers are advised to review the current status     seems to be optimal for Boards to shift gears          Donna-Marie litigates all aspects of
            of their Offering Plan(s) in order to update     and perform a “wellness-check,” cognizant of        commercial and real estate law, including
                                                                                                                 banking and commercial foreclosure, and
            and extend same by Amendment(s) as may           all that has been learned during this past
                                                                                                                handles lending workouts. She also handles
            be required. In addition, Developers/Spon-       year.  Such a “check-up” should include a re-
                                                                                                                  the regulatory work for residential and
            sors of projects in the pipeline should be en-   view of all governing documents and consid-          commercial developments. She may be
            couraged  to  proceed  and  file  Plans  and     eration of updates or amendments as may              reached at

            12 THE SUFFOLK LAWYER • The Official Publication of the Suffolk County Bar Association •                     MAY 2021 EDITION
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