BY JOHN KIRITSIS, ESQ., CPA, MBA, MS, JD, LL.M
In New York City (NYC), a condominium’s governing documents, including the declaration (also known as the master deed), bylaws, and house rules, serve as the foundation for how the condominium association is governed and how unit owners’ rights and responsibilities are defined. An amendment to these documents involves making changes or updates to address evolving needs, legal requirements, or issues that arise over time. Here’s a general guide to the process of amending a condominium’s governing documents:
- Identify the Need for Amendment:
Identify the specific issue, situation, or need that requires an amendment to the governing documents. This could include changes in state or city laws, adjusting rules to better fit the needs of the condominium community, or addressing any ambiguities or inconsistencies.
- Consult Legal Professionals:
Work with legal professionals who specialize in NYC condominium law. They can guide you through the amendment process, ensuring that the changes align with legal requirements and that the documents remain coherent.
- Proposal and Drafting:
Draft the proposed amendment with the assistance of legal counsel. The amendment should be clear, specific, and aligned with the objectives you want to achieve.
- Board Approval:
Submit the proposed amendment to the condominium’s board of managers. The board will review the amendment and determine whether it should move forward. Some amendments might require a supermajority vote of the board.
- Owner Notification:
Notify all unit owners of the proposed amendment. Provide them with a copy of the amendment and information about the proposed changes.
- Unit Owner Input:
Allow unit owners to provide feedback or comments on the proposed amendment. This can help address concerns and ensure that unit owners have a voice in the process.
- Informational Meetings:
Hold informational meetings or discussions where unit owners can learn more about the proposed amendment, ask questions, and share their perspectives.
- Supermajority Vote:
Depending on the requirements outlined in the governing documents or bylaws, certain amendments may require a supermajority vote of unit owners (e.g., two-thirds or three-quarters majority).
- Document the Vote:
Document the results of the vote, including the number of unit owners who voted in favor, against, or abstained. This documentation is important for record-keeping and transparency.
- Legal Review and Filing:
After the amendment is approved, have legal professionals review the final language to ensure its accuracy and legal compliance. Then, file the amendment with the appropriate city or county authorities as required.
- Communicate Changes:
Notify all unit owners of the approved amendment and provide them with updated copies of the governing documents reflecting the changes.
Amending governing documents is a significant process that requires adherence to legal procedures and clear communication with unit owners. Consulting with legal experts who specialize in NYC condominium law ensures that the amendment process is conducted properly and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Citations, References and Potentially Useful Resources for Further Information:
New York State Constitution
Federal Securities Regulation
New York State Martin Act
New York Condominium Act
New York State Security Regulations
New York Business Corporation Law
New York Limited Liability Company Law
New York Uniform Partnership Act
Federal Internal Revenue Code
New York State Tax Laws, Rules & Regulations
New York City Tax Laws, Rules & Regulations
Winston Churchill Owners, Inc. v. Regents Real Estate Associates
Board of Managers of the Park Regis Condominium v. Park Regis Owners Corp.
Park Sutton Condominium v. 447 E. 57th St. LLC
28 E. 10th Street Corp. v. Veras
Riverside Syndicate, Inc. v. Munroe
Essex House Condominium v. Marks
The Parc Vendome Condominium v. Atkinson
54-56 Meserole Street Owners Corp. v. Rossi
The Beekman Regent Condominium v. Bottiglieri
Chelsea 19th LLC v. West 19th Street Realty LLC
New York Department of Finance
New York City Department of Buildings
New York City Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
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