Imagine... a buyer signs a contract to purchase an apartment and submits a package to the coop board for review and approval.
- He is paying cash.
- He has excellent credit.
- He has strong post-closing liquidity.
- He is employed with a steady, predictable income.
- This will be his full-time residence.
- He has no pets and is not a smoker.
- He has no intention of renting out the property or to renovate.
- He is paying market value.
- He is not one to throw wild parties.
- He has never been written up on Page Six of the NY Post.
- He has no arrest record, is a member of no objectionable clubs or organizations, and has no noisy hobbies.
And despite all this, he is rejected by the coop board - with no rationale.
Oh, and by the way, he is gay. And Jewish. And black. And short. And fat.
Is this a case of bias and illegal discrimination?
Discrimination is difficult to discern in any transaction, but when a coop board is involved, things are even more murky. Coop owners have the freedom to develop and maintain their environment and select who gains entry as an owner in their building. Arguably, Boards want to approve applicants they believe will be "good neighbors". This seems to me to be a pretext for bias and discrimination. And must be changed.
Boards in NYC are not currently required to provide a reason for rejecting an applicant. They should be.
Legislation in Westchester, Rockland and a few other NY counties requires coop Boards to provide a reason for a turndown. Although coop transparency legislation has been proposed by the NYC Council and NYS Legislature on many occasions, it has failed to be enacted. The time has come.
There needs to be:
- uniform guidelines for the purchase of a coop apartment.
- a requirement that coop boards offer a concrete reason when they reject an applicant.
- transparency and safeguards against bias and discrimination.
- accountability and consequences for coop boards that violate the law.
Will this type of legislation be enacted in 2024? We can hope.