Case Notes by

Lauren E. Lewis, Norris McLaughlin

First published: Oct 2023
How Many Times Do I Have to Ask?

TAKEAWAY Section 881 of New York’s Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law was enacted in 1968. It was designed to address the needs of building owners who needed access to a neighboring property so they could perform improvements or repairs to their own property. Building owners turn to RPL 881 when access can’t be agreed upon amicably, or in the case of the Columbus House, when an access request isn’t even acknowledged. RPL 881 provides a legal framework for obtaining court orders to gain access to a property. Co-op & condo boards should pay attention to FISP timetables, particularly if an access agreement is necessary. Note that Columbus House began requesting access in May 2022, and finally received a court decision granting it nearly 15 months later.

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First published: Jul 2023
Was It Unbilled or Under Billed

Just because they say it, doesn’t make it true. Although an agency’s interpretation of its own regulations is generally to be accorded deference, an agency is not freed from the obligation to read its regulations reasonably and rationally. When an agency makes an arbitrary and capricious determination which misapplies its own rules and regulations to its own conduct, the court can and will reverse such determinations.

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First published: Oct 2022
You say toMAHto. I say toMAYto. The bylaws say….

Voter participation matters. When it comes to board elections, an informal practice, no matter how long-standing, or widely accepted, is not controlling authority. At the end of the day, the express language of the governing documents will determine permissible board election procedure. In this case, the common interest among residential unit owners was over 70% and the sponsor’s interest was less than 30%. However, due to the residents’ reliance on past, informal voting procedures, and a lack of participation by all residential unit owners in the formal election, the sponsor’s votes, while not controlling, ultimately became determinative.

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