LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: Now is the Time for the State to Act on Co-Op Reform

Philip Weiden | July 6, 2021

This past HGAR scored a big victory on Co-op transparency legislation and fair housing. The Westchester County Board of Legislators passed, and County Executive George Latimer signed a bill mandating co-ops provide a reason in writing to buyers if they are rejected by a co-op board from the purchase of a co-op. They also must tell them why financially they do not meet the co-op’s requirements.

This is a big win for HGAR and for prospective co-op purchasers. We have to thank Legislator Catherine Borgia who was the main sponsor of the bill, and put her position on the line to do what is right. She spoke of how this fight started in 1990 in the Board of Legislators. The new law passed by a vote of 15 to 2 indicating its broad support. The measure also included Fair Housing training for co-op board members. This is a great step in the right direction.

The arguments against the bill were simply wrong. There are no cases of co-op increases in insurance costs associated with the Village of Hempstead law, or Suffolk County, or Nassau County laws. There have been no major lawsuits. This legislation does not take away the co-op board’s power.

Finally, now it is time for New York State to act. We always hear about fair housing from our legislators, yet they have not acted for decades on co-op reform. We know boards have major power in New York City, but that is not an excuse. We are always open to negotiation and change to improve the proposed bill, but fundamentally we must pass a reason requirement. We urge all Realtors and their clients to contact their state legislators and push for this.

Thank you to all who contributed to this great victory. Stay tuned for future updates.

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