Condo, co-op boards face tough post-Sandy funding choices

October 18, 2013 03:17PM

Condominium and co-op boards faced an uphill struggle in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but now they are dealing with even dicier questions. The big question is whether to direct funds towards protecting against future storms or making aesthetic improvements that lift a building’s market value.

Boards are also going toe to toe with insurance companies, who in some cases balked at coughing up the cash for temporary fixes necessary to get buildings back online after Sandy. Such costs took a bite out of buildings’ overall budgets, scaling back funds for fixes like finishing lobbies or landscaping.

“We felt it was our fiduciary responsibility to hold off, go slower with the repairs and forgo a lot of the cosmetic stuff as long as we were addressing systems issues,” Cynthia Reich, condo board president at Coney Island’s Brightwater Towers, told Crain’s.

Equally touchy is the question of how to pass along expenses to residents that boards not eligible for FEMA grants incurred post-Sandy.

“We are going to have to assess, and some of our neighbors are upset,” Audrey Pheffer, Queens County clerk and president of her Rockaways condo board, told Crain’s. [Crain’s]Julie Strickland