Are There Condo House Rules in NYC?

Yes, condo house rules exist just like house rules exist for co-ops. The original offering plan or bylaws typically authorize the condo board to create a reasonable set of rules and regulations for the building, typically concerning usage of the common areas of the building.

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What Are Condo House Rules?

Condo house rules are a compilation of rules and regulations created by a condomimum’s board of directors regarding everyday life in the building.

Condo house rules usually encompass the use of common elements shared by all owners, such as the roof deck, hallways or basement storage. Some condo house rules will also outline procedures for renting or selling a condo unit.

House rules are typically written in a more casual manner, vs the more formal writing seen in the condo’s original offering plan or by-laws.

Infographic showing whether condo rules in NYC exist, and the difference vs co-op house rules.

Despite having the appearance of being a more casually written summary of the condo bylaws, condo house rules are as enforceable as any other legally binding document.

That’s because new purchases are typically required to sign an affidavit as part of the condo purchase application that they agree to be bound by the condominium’s house rules and regulations.

Does the original offering plan contain the bylaws or house rules?

Even though the original offering plan for a condo or co-op will include the building’s bylaws, it will typically not include any house rules which are typically the responsibility of the board to create.

Keep in mind that buildings may keep a separate set of by-laws which have been updated throughout the years. The same logic goes for condo house rules, except that the house rules were never included in the original offering plan or bylaws to begin with.

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How Are Condo Rules in NYC Different vs Co-ops?

Condo rules can be as harsh and lengthy as your typical co-op house rules; however, the length and severity of each building’s house rules depends entirely on the culture and make-up of the condo board.

If the condo board consists of power hungry individuals who either don’t realize that condos are not co-ops, then they could easily over-step their mandate and create onerous house rules that rival those of the harshest co-ops.

However, presuming there are fair elections, that might result in them being ousted at the next board election.

A condo board is supposed to represent the collective will of all the individual unit owners in the building, and as a result it should be in touch with the wishes and preferences of the owners.

As you can imagine, most condo owners did not pay up to buy a condo only to be treated like a co-op tenant shareholder (i.e. co-op apartment owners aren’t even technically owners of real property, but rather shareholders of a corporation that owns the building).

An onerous set of house rules is a red flag

It can be a major red flag to see a condo building with an extremely lengthy and onerous set of house rules. As a result, be prepared to investigate further and run if you come across this situation during the due diligence process.

A condo board that is prepared to imperiously direct the lives of its supposedly individual property owners and step beyond its bounds will likely be extremely difficult to deal with.

Furthermore, do you want to be subject to the whims and personal preferences of power hungry politicians in your own building?

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How Are Condo House Rules Enforced?

Condo boards are typically authorized to create and update a set of house rules per the condominium’s more official operating documents, such as the condominium’s by-laws or original offering plan.

Furthermore, remember that new purchasers are required to sign that they agree to all of the condominium’s official operating documents in addition to the condo houses rules.

Lastly, don’t forget that condo boards have the power to levy fines and penalties on individual unit owners for non-compliance and breaking of the house rules.

Remember that the managing agent enforces the condo house rules on behalf of the condominium’s board of directors.

Common charge liens are a last resort.

And if the individual unit owner decides to rebel and not pay the fines, or his or her common charges for that matter, the condo board can always levy a common charge lien on the unit.

This is usually a last resort, as it constitutes litigation and will be picked up by any savvy potential buyer’s attorney during due diligence which means everyone will have a tougher time selling their unit.

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Sample House Rules and Regulations in a Condominium

Attention all unit owners and residents: The following document outlines “house rules” approved by the board of the New York Garrett Condominium Association. This document was first approved by the board on June 1, 2008 and goes into effect July 1, 2008. Subsequent updates through May 1, 2019 are reflected in this document. Unit owners have responsibility for assuring their tenants comply with the House Rules.

The board is authorized in the Condominium By-Laws in Article II, Section 6, Subsection B, Paragraph VI “to make reasonable rules and regulations and amend the same from time to time, and such rules and regulations and amendments shall be binding upon the Unit Owners when the Board has approved them in writing. A copy of such rules and all amendments shall be delivered to each Unit Owner”.

Basement Bicycle Storage Facilities:

(Approved by the condominium association board on June 1, 2010)

– Bicycle storage outside of apartments is limited to the basement only.
– Do not leave bicycles in stair halls, laundry rooms, or locked to the building’s outdoor railings or tree guards.
– Do not lock bicycles to any basement plumbing / fire suppression equipment.
– Maximum two bicycles per household in the basement
– Report any bicycle-storage maintenance-related issues to building management
– Building management is authorized to remove any bicycles which do not comply with the above rules. Owners will be responsible for any costs incurred by building management in removing and/or storing removed bicycles.

Basement Laundry Rooms:

(Approved by the condominium association board on June 22, 2010)

– Laundry Machines, Card Readers, and Card Refilling Machine are maintained by Brooklyn Laundry, but please report any issues to building management
– Remove clothing from machines promptly after completing use.
– Clothing may be removed from a machine left unattended if no other machines are available (place removed items atop the grey folding tables or dryers).
– Remove lint from dryers after each use.
– Remove and recycle empty detergent and bleach bottles – any empty bottles or containers will be discarded.

Outdoor Ground Floor Areas:

(Approved by the condominium association board on June 22, 2019)

– Carefully sort garbage and recyclables according to New York City guidelines (these are posted in the entry vestibules). Failure to do so incurs fines for the building
– Break down cardboard boxes, fold and tie or tape as necessary to fit into the paper/cardboard recycling containers. Failure to do so incurs fines for the building
– For unusually large cardboard boxes (from furniture, appliances, etc…) that cannot fit inside the paper/cardboard recycling containers please break down and fold as compactly as possible. Leave these inside the railed-in area – not on the public sidewalk. Failure to do so incurs fines for the building
– Replace trash container lids as securely as possible after disposing of trash or recyclables (this is particularly important to minimize effects of odors and rodents)
– Never leave food for animals (feral cats, pigeons, etc..) on building grounds or its adjacent sidewalks
– Any Unit Owner or Resident who does not comply with the above rules will be subject to a $25 fine as well as the cost of any fines imposed by the city on the building.

Entrance Vestibules and Stair Halls:

(Approved by the condominium association board on June 1, 2019; updated October 15, 2019)

– Do not leave any personal belongings that may obstruct other resident’s passage through the stair hall (bicycles, strollers, boxes, etc…).
– Please report any maintenance –related issues (light bulbs out, doors not closing properly, etc…) to building management
– Do not leave any personal belongings that may obstruct other resident’s passage through the stair hall (bicycles, strollers, boxes, etc…). These can constitute a fire code violation and will be subject to a $50/month fine plus reimbursement for any violations assessed on the condominium association.

Common Roof Areas House Rules:

(Approved by the condominium association board on June 1, 2019; updated October 1, 2019)

– Never, under any circumstances, throw any objects off of the roof
– Never, under any circumstances, leave personal trash on the roof. After use, always remove waste and ensure areas used are as clean as you found them.
– Assure roof doors are closed when you enter and leave the roof
– Keep noise levels at a minimum after hours (11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.)
– Furniture in common areas is property of the condominium association and is available for everyone’s use on a first come first served basis.
– Building management is authorized by the board of managers to remove and discard any unattended personal belongings from common roof areas.
– Report any maintenance related issues to building management

Private Roof Area House Rules:

(Approved by the condominium association board on October 1, 2019)

– Fifth floor unit owners must keep all belongings within the defined private roof area limits.
– Fifth floor unit owners are responsible to assure furniture and accessories will not blow off the roof or move beyond the limits of their private roof areas.
– Gates not extending beyond the south edge of the stair bulkhead walls and not interfering with access to any building utility or plumbing systems are the only fixed structures that can be constructed within private roof areas.
– Installation of gates requires approval of the condominium management company. Gates must comply with all local building codes and in no way compromise the
integrity of the roof’s waterproofing systems.
– Gates must not interfere with property manager or utility company access to any building equipment or systems.
– Locked gates must be configured to not interfere with utilities used by other unit owners and keys must be provided to the management company for emergency repairs or maintenance. The management company reserves the right to break locks if keys are not provided and management or utility access is hindered in any way.

General Rules:

(Approved by the condominium association board on June 14, 2019)

– Keep noise levels at a minimum after hours (11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.)
– During a heavy rain, please refrain from flushing toilets until the rain has ceased as dirty water collects in the basement apartments, getting pushed up through the basement level tub and toilets.
– Report any maintenance related issues to building management
– Window air conditioning units are not permitted at the condominium. If you wish to have air conditioning, please use the built-in air conditioning sleeve. It is recommended that when installing an air conditioner in the sleeve that you insulate around it to prevent air leakage.
– In the interest of everyone’s safety:
· DO NOT place anything on the roof edge
· DO NOT throw anything off the roof
· DO NOT throw cigarettes off the roof; Please use sand-filled buckets provided as ashtrays
– Please do not put trash or appliances/large items out on the sidewalk except on trash pickup days:
· Trash Pick-Up Days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
· Recycling Pick-Up Days: Every Tuesday
· Organics Pick-Up Days: Every Tuesday
– Break down ALL cardboard boxes. Any boxes that do not fit in the recycling cans must be placed against the building in the tree pits.
– Leaving garbage, boxes, or objects labeled “free stuff” in front of the building results in fines for the building. For non-recyclable items larger than 4 feet by 3 feet, you
should schedule a pickup on the nyc.gov website. Please leave these items outside only on the day of your appointment.
– Owners or tenants found in frequent violation of these rules are subject to fines from the Condo Association per the following schedule:
1st time: warning (no fine)
2nd time: $25
3rd time: $100
4th time: $500

Leasing Policy:

(Approved by the condominium association board on January 1, 2016; updates approved March 6, 2018 and November 7, 2019)

I. All unit owners (see provision IX below for re-rental by same tenant) who wish to rent their apartments must follow these steps:
a) Owner requests Waiver of Right of First Refusal as to Lease from Board (via email to Managing Agent).
b) Leasing shorter than one year is not permitted (See Bylaws Article XI).
c) Owners submit a minimum* $150 processing fee PER TENANT (payable to Managing Agent) along with a consent form (available from Managing Agent) for background reporting. The Managing Agent will conduct a statewide criminal report for each state the prospect has lived in for at least the last five years. *Actual fee depends on which State reports required.
d) Owner submits to Managing Agent $500 move-in fee (payable to the condominium). This fee will be assessed along with monthly common charges. This fee is subject to the same late payment penalties as monthly common charges.
e) Management runs credit report. Based on credit report, if cost of criminal reporting will exceed $60, Management will inform owner of additional fees due.
f) Owner pays additional fees due.
g) Management runs criminal reports, and sex offender reports.
h) Management alerts Board that Owner wishes to rent. Management presents credit, criminal and sex offender reports to Board.
i) Board waives its right of first refusal, OR Board denies right to rent based on positive felony/sex offender report.
j) Management informs Owner of waiver or rejection. If rejection, $250 move-in fee returned to Owner.
k) If waiver, Owner sends lease to Management.
II. The board has a right to reject any tenant deemed unacceptable due to a finding of a felony conviction or a listing on a sexual offender registry.
III. Unit-owners must pay a one-time non-refundable move-in fee of $500 each time a new lease-holder occupies a unit. This fee is to cover possible move-in/ move-out
building damage by tenants as well as the costs incurred by the property manager to review and file applications and copies of leases. This fee will be assessed along
with monthly common charges. This fee is subject to the same late payment penalties as monthly common charges.
IV. Any move in / move-out damages by a tenant in excess of $250 of cost-to-repair (assuming owner paid $250 move-in deposit) is the sole responsibility of the unit
owner.
V. Unit owners are responsible for providing Managing Agent with a copy of the lease. This is as per “Rights and Obligations of Unit Owners” in the original Condominium Offering Plan. (Clauses X.a-X.d were approved by the board of managers on December 15, 2017)
a. Unit owners must use the lease approved by the Board of Managers (available from Managing Agent). The lease document must attach the Condominium Association’s “House Rules” and include a page signed by tenants acknowledging they shall abide by “House Rules.”
b. Unit owners who are leasing their apartments and who have not submitted signed copies of the approved lease agreement will be assessed a fine of $200 for each month of noncompliance.
VI. Unit owners are responsible for providing the Managing Agent with contact information for tenants including telephone and email address. This requirement for notice is as per Article 7 of By-Laws.
VII. Units cannot be sub-leased. Lessees must be in a direct agreement with a unit owner (this is a clarification of by-laws, as of March 19, 2018).
VIII. The Managing Agent is authorized to invoice the $500 move-in fee and demand compliance with all other requirements within 30 days of any unit owners non-compliance with this Leasing Policy. The Board and Managing Agent will employ all legal remedies in case of non-compliance with this Leasing Policy. Associated legal fees are the responsibility of unit owners.
IX. In case of re-rental by same tenant, Owners shall provide new proposed lease to Management and notify Management at least one month prior to new lease start, requesting Board Waive its Right of First Refusal. On Board Waiver, Owner shall provide Management with final, signed lease.
X. Effective January 1, 2019, owners who rent their apartments shall pay to the Condo a $50 (fifty dollar) per month rental fee.

Condo Sales Policy:

(Approved by the condominium association board on April 16, 2012)

1. Any transaction-related document-production is subject to a $200 fee payable to Managing Agent. This covers all requests for questionnaires and informational documents related to the Condo.
2. To satisfy insurance requests from lending institutions (for evidence of Condo insurance), send request to Managing Agent, along with bank-required language for insurance certificate.
3. In order to receive “closing letters” (First Refusal and Maintenance-Paid), seller must submit the following to Managing Agent:
a. Notification that Owner requests Waiver of First Refusal as to Sale
b. $150 minimum* processing fee PER PURCHASER along with a Credit Report consent form (*fee may increase depending on which background reports Board requires)
4. New owners are responsible for a one-time non-refundable move-in fee of $500.
5. Buyers must pay three months maintenance into Condo Reserve Fund.
6. Buyers’ lawyer must file Power Of Attorney form (from Offering Plan page E-1 to E-2) with County Clerk and copy to Managing Agent.
7. Buyers must deliver to management a page signed by tenants acknowledging they shall abide by the condominium’s House Rules.

Disclosure: Hauseit and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, financial and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The services marketed on Hauseit.com are provided by licensed real estate brokers and other third party professional service providers. Hauseit LLC is not a licensed real estate broker nor a member of any multiple listing service (MLS).

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