Helpful articles to aid Management Companies, Board Members, and Housing Cooperative Professionals in handling complex legal issues.

Member access to a unit after a fire

When a member experiences a fire loss, whether it be a partial or total loss, the member may request that the cooperative grant him/her access to his/her dwelling unit to retrieve personal items, if any personal items can be safely retrieved. The concern here is that as a result of the fire, the unit is uninhabitable and structurally unsound and access should only be granted on a case by case basis. It is vital that in these unfortunate events the safety of the member is protected and the dwelling unit is preserved at all times until the unit can be repaired.


Membership Applications-Winter 2019

Faced with the increasing cost of housing, many people see housing cooperatives as an alternative to traditional home ownership, and as housing cooperatives see an increase in membership applications, they need to ensure that these applications follow state and federal guidelines. Having attorneys who specialize in housing cooperatives draft membership applications may help cooperatives avoid potential legal issues down the road. Although cooperatives may have some differences in their membership applications, they do share some commonalities.


The Rogue Board Member and the Confidentiality Agreement

The fundamental organizational structure of Cooperative living is founded on the tenets of self-communal governance. As the membership depends on its elected Board Members to effectively oversee the conduct and affairs of the Cooperative, it is unfathomable to think that a Board Member would do anything during the course of his/her duties as a Board Member that would jeopardize the Cooperative and its Members. However, it is unfortunately becoming more common to hear about a Board Member going “rogue.”


What to do if a Member has Lost, Misplaced, or Destroyed his/her Membership

Many of us have recently spent time cleaning and organizing our homes during the shelter in place/stay at home orders. This may have even included organizing your most vital documents. Members living in a cooperative have an extra vital document to keep in a safe place and that is his/her membership or stock certificate.


Installation of Awnings

With the warmer weather upon us, some cooperatives may consider permitting its members to install awnings on their back patios. Cooperative boards must be mindful that the installation of awnings does come with drawbacks that must be resolved prior any member installing an awning. If a board was desirous to permit its members to install awnings, then the board should contact its cooperative attorney to draft an awning installation policy as well as an installation/alteration form to help mitigate the drawbacks.


A Cooperative Board of Directors’ Updated Guide to Helping your Membership Stay Connected Through COVID-19

Last spring, we provided ideas to Board of Directors on how to keep engaged with your membership during the first wave of COVID-19 cases. As we are navigating through another COVID-19 surge, we would like to provide you with another fun guide of ideas to help your membership continue to stay connected. As a Board of Directors, it is important that you not only keep your membership abreast of cooperative issues, but also continue to keep the morale of the membership up.


Insurance and Indemnity Provisions in Management Agreements: Not Your Typical Boilerplate Language

The Management Agreement between a cooperative and a management agent outlines the contractual obligations and expectations between the cooperative and the management agent. These contractual obligations define the duties and responsibilities of the management agent for the management and operation of the cooperative. It also provides for the duties and responsibilities of the cooperative corporation, as effectuated through its Board of Directors Equally as important to the management duties and operational provisions in the Management Agreement, so too are the insurance and indemnification provisions.


Policy Bites: Why Cooperatives Should Adopt Ethics and Confidentiality Agreements for their Board of Directors

Many of us already know that housing cooperatives are made up of the entire membership. By this token, cooperatives are inherently diverse. Since a cooperative’s Board of Directors typically consists of a group of members elected by the entire membership, its Directors are usually equally diverse and important as the entire membership that makes up the cooperative. There are several important characteristics, traits, and duties that each director holds as a position of trust and fiduciary to the corporations they serve. It is important for Cooperatives to understand these duties and the extent upon which they bestow obligations to each director. A good approach to doing this is for a cooperative to adopt certain ethics, conduct and confidentiality policies, and for their Directors to execute agreements avowing their fiduciary duties and obligations to the cooperative. These policies and agreements should strengthen the sense of loyalty and ethical conduct of the Directors, and add a sense of transparency. In addition, they may also insulate the Cooperative from potential liability from legal claims and challenges to official Board actions.


NAHC Cooperative Housing Blog:

Working From Home and Residential Use Restrictions: How Effects from the Covid-19/Coronavirus and Resulting Changes in Industry May Require Housing Cooperatives to Re-Assess their “Residential Purposes Only” Use Restrictions.