Advice — Brooklynian



I own a condo in Brooklyn for 6 1/2 years now. We don't have a board and never received requirement book or anything like that. Yesterday our 90 year old project Manager wants keys to all of our units. He said it is in the requirements. Everyone now is so upset including us. We have a dog, we don't want anyone in our apartment without us being there. What rights do we have? Does anyone know? I am so upset about this.

Thank you in advance.


  • "He said it is in the requirements"

    What requirements? Is this something you signed? I would review everything you've signed, including the lease and any related documents. If there is nothing in there about the management needing to have a copy of the key, then tell the manager you need to see a copy of "the requirements" before you hand over anything.

    All that said, is this really a big deal? I don't think it's too unusual for management, landlord, or the super to have keys for most of individual units. It could be a big help in some situations. I don't think most owners traipse through tenant apartments without good reason (such as a toilet that needs to be fixed).

  • Something similar just got posted on the Prospect Heights board. If worse comes to worse, you can check with some of these people:

  • What's he able to do if you tell him to eat it? Never give your key out.

    A nice, old landlord had a key to my place. His crackhead son came to visit and whaddaya know, he takes the keys and is all up in my apartment, looking for money.

  • ...or give me a copy. I totally won't rape your houseplants. Pinky-swear.

  • How bazaar, no, make that bazzar, strange. I manage 2 coops (Soho, 5 mil+ per unit, swimming pools, movie stars), 2 commercial and one dumpy 40 unit condo on Garfield. Wouldn't dream of not knowing a designated tenant, management,board or me personally not having access to all the apartments/stores.

    Get a central station entry alarm, armed response and keep the code private. How much is the dog worth anyway?

  • If you're in a condo, it was in the offering plan and it was one of the 392 signatures required that day. No, this is not unusual, quite the opposite - it is very unusual for someone else to not have a key. Talk to your directly to your managing agent (the people that you write condo fee checks out to) to confirm that the request came from them and that the Super's not scheming. After that, tell your neighbors that you should get off of your collective asses and get a board together, then maybe you wouldn't all feel upset/frustrated/helpless.

  • Unless the condo is still managed by the sponsor (which would be unlikely if you've been there for over 6 years) there should have been some type of turn over from sponsor management to board management. I'm on the board of my condo and most lenders require copies of board minutes to do purchases or refinances. The board is the body which would establish rules, make amendments to the offering plan, set condo fees, etc. The managing agent is just responsible for building management, but shouldn't be responsible for decision making (why would you want someone who doesn't live in the building and has a financial stake in things making decisions for unit owners?). I agree, there should be a board.

  • Thank you all for your advise and thank you Turtle95. I think it is time for everyone in my Condo building to get together and see how we can make some changes here. We don't have a board. It seems that this building Manager is making all the rules as far as we can tell. Would you happen to know what would be the first thing we shall all do?

  • I would say that you should dig up a copy of the offering plan and by-laws (a building can't become a condo without having an offering plan) and then reviewing them with a qualified attorney. The money for the attorney review should come out of the operating shouldn't have to foot the bill for it individually. That is another thing I would do; try to get audited financials from the managing agent. Everyone is paying something every month. Where is the money going? Does income just match expenses? Are the expenses reasonable? What is in the reserve fund?

    I'd start with an attorney review of the way things are set up and a review of finances to make sure you're not getting ripped off. Just my opinion. Good luck.

  • We will see if we can dig up a copy of the offering plan. We don't have the by-laws. We never received this and I don't think anyone else has either.

    I don't want to start anything just yet. We have a terrible leak in our place that started 2 days ago. The water is also going into the Doctors office below us. They need to fix this problem and patch up our ceiling first, then we will start making waves. i want to find out all the information i can now.

    thanks much

  • usually the key requirement is phrased as access to the unit..and it means if there is an emergency pipe bursting ,fire whatever they need access to your unit.

    When you purchased the unit your lawyer had to request the offering plan, bylaws and usually board meeting minutes...I believe by law you have to meet once a need to talk to a lawyer...this is more than a matter of keys.

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