Photo of prestigious co-op building The Beresford by David Shankbone on Wikimedia
New legislation introduced by New York City lawmakers this month would require co-op boards to explain to prospective buyers why they are being rejected. The three-bill legislation package, put forth by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Council Member Pierina Sanchez, aims to reform policies that critics say contribute to housing discrimination.
Co-op boards typically dig deep into an applicant’s financial, work, and even personal history and require a commitment to living in the unit for an extended period of time. Under current law, co-op boards are not required to disclose the reason for turning down buyers.
A version of the legislation has been introduced several times over the years but has never gained enough political momentum to move forward. According to the Wall Street Journal, housing committee chair Sen. Brian Kavanagh in April 2021 sponsored a similar bill that called for a standardized co-op application process. The bill has been stuck in committee.
The legislation package wants to make the co-op board approval process more transparent. Intro 915 would require co-ops to provide potential buyers with a written statement detailing each reason why they’ve been denied, given to the buyers within five days after the co-op’s decision is made.
The second bill, Intro 914, would reform the application process for co-op apartments to guarantee that applicants receive approvals or denials on time. It would standardize the application process and its requirements, and require the co-op to acknowledge their obtainment of application materials within 10 days of receiving them. The co-op would then be mandated to respond to the application within 45 days.
Intro 917 would require that co-ops share their financial information with prospective buyers after their offer is accepted. This financial information could be requested by the potential buyer and must be provided within 14 days of the request.
“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,” Williams said. “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.”
According to Williams and Sanchez, the vague application process has made it easier for co-op boards to discriminate. The new, standardized application process would set in place a clear set of requirements for prospective buyers.
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Tags : co-ops, housing policy