LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Co-op Bill Advances to the Full Legislature

Philip Weiden | October 2018

On Monday, Oct. 29th the Westchester County Board of Legislators finally held a public hearing on the co-op disclosure bill. Realtor members of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors spoke in favor of the compromise bill.

The bill calls for a 15-day time period in which a board must notify an applicant they received the application. This was revised upward from the original 10-day time period. The bill further calls for a 60-day time period in which the board must accept or reject an applicant from the time the board notifies the applicant that the application was received. The Westchester County Human Rights Commission is empowered to take action if these deadlines are not met by the co-op boards.

The second component of the bill requires the Westchester County Human Rights Commission be notified of any rejection of an applicant. This was a compromise to the original proposal that called for the co-op board being mandated to provide a reason in writing stating why an applicant was denied.

HGAR will continue to press our legislators to have the reason for rejection in writing. This is a compromise. In legislative negotiations you typically don’t get all that you want. However, this proposed bill is far better than the status quo. The status quo means endless delays for buyers and sellers along with the potential for continued discrimination without any ability for redress.

Under the compromise bill, if the Westchester County Human Rights Commission sees a pattern of rejections by a board they can investigate and ascertain whether discrimination was a factor in the rejections. This could also provide the commission valuable data on what is happening in the co-op market.

HGAR thanks legislators Christopher Johnson and Catherine Borgia who are the main sponsors of the bill who have fought hard to get a bill with buy in from all involved parties. We could not have done this without support from them. Please thank them if you speak to them.

The final vote on the bill will likely be on November 19. Stay tuned for updates on this bill.

Philip Weiden
Legislative Affairs columnist Philip Weiden is the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.