Read More »" /> Legal New You Can Use | National Cooperative Law Center - Part 2

Legal News You Can Use

1) Such a “probation” lacks teeth. If the member violates the rules again, you have to start from ground “zero” – a 30 day notice to quit has to be issued again, and the legal process reactivated. This can take months.

2) The evidence from the earlier violations become stale, and the impact on the judge or jury is lessened. This takes the edge off your case, unless the subsequent violation is severe.

        We have been using an alternative that has worked rather successfully for our clients. It calls for the offending member to enter into a consent judgment that defines what will constitute a violation in clear terms. An eviction action is filed, and the judgment is signed by the judge. If there is another violation, we move quickly to obtain the writ of restitution without having to wait the normal time periods of the summary proceeding process. The member, by signing our consent judgment, agrees to give up a trial – either by judge or jury – and does not contest the basis for the original violation. It has worked well and has been a swift tool to rid the co-op of trouble, with minimal expense. Examples include:

1) A member whose children were creating nuisances – she signed the consent judgment and when she failed to control them a second time, we simply asked the court to process the writ of restitution. There was no trial and she was gone in a matter of days.

2) Another member disputed the claim that she did not live there. The board said “Fine. Sign the consent judgment and if we get further information that proves otherwise, we will have the right to evict you.” She did sign it, and when we gathered more information, we applied for the writ and she was evicted.

3) One member was unable to keep her guest under control. She signed a consent judgment and when he became drunk and disorderly again, we swiftly moved in and got both the guest and member out of the cooperative.

Next time you encounter such problems, think about using this route to avoid lengthy court battles.

* If your cooperative is approaching the mortgage payoff, there are a number of steps the board should consider taking at this time. These include:

1) The Board needs to be fully informed of the pros and cons of each option available to the cooperative. Especially important is knowing the differences between the co-op form and a condo form. There are several ways of getting such information: MAHC and NAHC put on classes; there is also a “Future of Cooperative Housing” group, of which we are members, that are conducting in-depth forums. Please contact us if interested in information.

2) When the Board makes a decision on its recommendation to the membership, we strongly suggest that it adopt a formal resolution that recites the basis for its determination, including attachments of all materials amassed during the study period. The reason is to reduce board liability: if the Board relies upon expert advice, it can invoke the “business judgment” rule. Therefore, documentation becomes crucial to defend such lawsuits.

Pages: 1 2 3