WILLIAMS, SANCHEZ TO INTRODUCE CO-OP TRANSPARENCY AND REFORM LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE
Feb. 2, 2023
Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams and Council Member Pierina Sanchez will put forward a package of legislation today aimed at providing long-overdue transparency and reform to the co-op sales and management process. The lawmakers will introduce three bills at today’s Stated Meeting of the City Council, where Council Member Sanchez chairs the Committee on Housing and Buildings, a role formerly held by the Public Advocate.
The Public Advocate, who has long worked on the issue of co-op sales, approvals, and denials will re-introduce two bills as part of the package, now with the Chair as co-prime sponsor. The first, Int. 915, would require co-ops to provide prospective purchasers with a written statement of each reason for denying a sale within five days after the decision is made.
The second, Int. 914, would regulate the application process for cooperative apartments in order to ensure that applicants receive timely approvals or denials. It would require a standardized application and list of requirements for prospective purchasers, and mandate that within ten days of receiving those materials, the co-op would be required to acknowledge receipt to the applicant. They would then have to reply to the application within 45 days.
Chair Sanchez and the Public Advocate will also introduce Int. 917, which would require a co-op to disclose its finances to a prospective purchaser after their offer is accepted. The financial information would have to be provided within 14 days of a request by the prospective purchaser.
Together, these bills would combat a history of discrimination among some co-op board processes, while enabling boards acting in good faith to continue unimpeded. The length and depth of the co-op application, review, and approval process has made such discrimination both more easy to perpetrate and more difficult to identify and prevent. By providing uniform guidelines and a ‘reason requirement’ for rejected applications, the process with be clarified and the standards codified.
“For too long, a complicated, nebulous, and opaque co-op process has left open the possibility for discrimination and denial of housing to qualified applicants,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “These bills will go a long way toward reining in that process and providing transparency, and I’m proud to partner with Chair Sanchez to get them passed.”
“A long history of discriminatory practices, both overt and more insidious, have longed served as barriers to homeownership for people of color in the United States,” said Council Member Pierina Sanchez, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings. With this legislation, we take strides toward increasing transparency to the byzantine process of purchasing cooperative units in New York City. Boards and shareholders acting in good faith will have nothing to fear, while boards with secretive practices that serve to perpetuate discrimination will need to revisit their practices. I am proud to partner with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams to pass these bills.”
“Co-op disclosure is a long overdue addition to the City Human Rights Law," said Craig Gurian, veteran civil rights lawyer. "The values of civil rights and transparency must trump the secrecy, privilege, and unaccountability that the co-op industry has relied on for so long.”