After the Mortgage Payoff Options for the Cooperative

        Pragmatically, cooperatives are superior in how the law allows problems to be dealt with. We are allowed to use summary proceedings to evict problem members. We can screen applicants and keep out criminals. Our boards can promulgate rules and regulations to deal with evolving issues such as pets, parking, and people problems. Condos cannot deal effectively with any of these matters.

        Additionally, the experience with converting to condos in Michigan is very limited. A number of legal issues, ranging from property taxation and assessment, to fairness among the membership, can and probably will give rise to expensive litigation. Why rush into a situation that is nearly certain to place the cooperative in financial jeopardy as it undergoes months or years of lawsuits and appeals? Thus, if for no other reason, we have urged caution and deliberation to our clients. We think it best, even for those who want to convert to condos, to go slow and let others pave the legal trail through a morass of issues.

        One more point is important to bear in mind: HUD has stated adamantly that no cooperative funds are to be expended to undertake the condo conversion while the regulatory agreement is still in effect. This fact may be useful to slow down those who are promoting the condo conversion approach.

        Beyond the issues of condo versus cooperative or limited equity versus market rate, is the option to refinance. This move achieves several goals: eliminates the original mortgage and replaces it with an new mortgage that allows for cash infusion to get some improvements done; and it eliminates the burden of operating under HUD. We discuss refinancing in greater detail in another article. But there is a side effect that is important to note for this discussion: the new lender will not let the cooperative to convert to condo so long as the refinancing mortgage is in place.

For more details please feel free to contact an attorney familiar with cooperative housing law.

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