Q: There is a new air conditioning rule in my cooperative: once we have devices installed in our windows, we are not allowed to remove them at the end of the season. Instead, we need to keep them installed all year round. Shareholders who do not adhere to them must expect sanctions. When I spoke to the chairman of the board, he said, "It's a New York City law, and if we get a fine from the city, we'll pay you a fine." I looked for applicable laws and found nothing but safety rules for window air conditioners. Can our cooperative make this a requirement and impose fines?
A: In the city there are no regulations on how many months of the year your air conditioner must be in the window or how often you can take your air conditioner in and out. However, there are rules for installation and builders are required to keep their buildings, including facades, in a safe condition. Anything attached to the outside, such as a window element, would be subject to this rule.
So your CEO may be referring to facade safety rules. A building authority inspector could pronounce a violation for improperly installed air conditioning. One of the most common offenses: leaning the unit on blocks of wood or bricks that could come loose and fall onto the road below.
If you install your window unit poorly and the cooperative receives a fine, they could pass that fine on to you, said Ingrid C. Manevitz, real estate attorney and partner in the New York office of law firm Seyfarth Shaw. The building may be concerned that as window units come and go every year, the likelihood of an incorrect installation is greater. A board of directors is empowered to enact rules designed to protect the safety of people on the street.
However, it is unusual for the board to require you to keep the units in the windows year round. Winters are cold and a draughty window is not good for energy efficiency. Many buildings offer more flexible solutions, e.g. B. the professional installation by the residents or the hiring of construction personnel.
Talk to the board of directors and the manager and ask your neighbors to do the same. Ask the board to consider alternative solutions to the one they propose. Try to find a compromise because having your windows back for the winter isn't unreasonable.
Sign up here to receive weekly email updates on residential property news. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.