Board Denies Cooperatively Yours Free Use of Community Room

You might need to bring your own chair to our next meeting on June 9.

After our recent open meeting on April 30, we were informed that any subsequent use of the community room by Cooperatively Yours would be subject to the same $325 fee required of anyone making a reservation.

Tommy Loeb, who had arranged the April 30 reservation, wrote the board on our behalf to request that the fee be waived in order to facilitate the free and open meeting of cooperators. This weekend we received the board’s reply: our request has been denied.

letter from boardThe board argues that Cooperatively Yours is not any sort of official shareholder committee, and that no private group should get special treatment. You can read their letter here.

We appreciate the board’s sense of fairness, and agree that Cooperatively Yours has no official designation here at East River. But we do still think there are grounds to expect free use of the community room. As Tommy Loeb cited in his request to the board for a waiver, NY Real Property Law Section 230 is clear about our rights:

Tenants’ groups, committees or other tenants’ organizations shall have the right to meet without being required to pay a fee in any location on the premises including a community or social room where use is normally subject to a fee which is devoted to the common use of all tenants in a peaceful manner, at reasonable hours and without obstructing access to the premises or facilities. No landlord shall deny such right.

The board replies, “shareholders of the cooperative are not tenants,” and therefore are not protected by this statute. But the legal protection of cooperators under New York’s landlord-tenant laws is one of the fundamental distinctions between a condo and a coop.

So we’ll find another way to meet. Please mark Monday, June 9 at 7:00 pm on your calendars — we’re inviting board members to address the questions raised at our last meeting, and hope to have another productive conversation. Location TBD!