Bill changing co-op approval process receives mixed criticism

Posted: Updated:
SCARSDALE -

A bill introduced by county lawmakers Monday that would change the co-op board approval process is drawing mixed criticism across Westchester.

Realtors and county officials are pushing for a new bill that would force co-op housing boards to tell people exactly why they were rejected from buying in a certain building.

County Legislator Chris Johnson says that while co-op boards can't discriminate by law, that doesn't mean they always play by the rules.

Ken Finger, chief counsel to the nonprofit Westchester Cooperative and Condominium Council, says the bill would pressure boards into making bad choices and dissuade shareholders from serving on boards because of the possible risk of lawsuits.

Realtor Barry Kramer disagrees, saying the bill would make co-op buildings more appealing in the Westchester market, where 20 percent of all sales last year were co-op units.

Realtors say that those sales are difficult to make because some co-op boards are challenging. They say there is one building on Garth Road in Scarsdale that rejects about every other buyer. Realtors say rejections do a lot to deter potential buyers from even considering co-op living.

If the bill is made into law, it would also require co-op boards to let potential buyers know within no more than 45 days whether their application has been accepted or rejected.

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