Brooklyn Bar Association’s Foundation Law Committee Helps Co-op Dwellers Know Their Rights

Brooklyn Bar Association’s Foundation Law Committee Helps Co-op Dwellers Know Their Rights

By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The Brooklyn Bar Association's Foundation Law Committee hosts a seminar titled "Co-op Living: Know Your Rights as a Shareholder and as a Renter." Pictured from left: Fern Finkel, Jimmy Lathrop, Roseann Hiebert and Salaria Robinson. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
The Brooklyn Bar Association’s Foundation Law Committee hosts a seminar titled “Co-op Living: Know Your Rights as a Shareholder and as a Renter.” Pictured from left: Fern Finkel, Jimmy Lathrop, Roseann Hiebert and Salaria Robinson. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese

The Brooklyn Bar Association’s Foundation Law Committee hosted a public seminar on Monday for co-op dwellers titled “Co-op Living: Know Your Rights as a Shareholder and as a Renter,” during which an attorney explained the common problems that arise and how to handle them.

The Foundation Law Committee, which is chaired by Fern Finkel, is the public and philanthropic arm of the Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) and regularly hosts public forums to inform the community of their legal rights.

“All of these programs are free to the public,” Finkel said. “I see a few attorneys and judges here tonight, but this is really meant for all of your neighbors, your friends and your community.

It’s really hard to get legal advice from practitioners in a field, but here is a great and unique opportunity.”

BBA trustee Jimmy Lathrop was the lecturer. He spoke for an hour and a half on the rights of cooperative shareholders and renters under the Martin Act and NYS Constitution. Afterward he stayed and spoke one-on-one with some of the more than 80 attendees.

“Jimmy Lathrop worked for a while for the BBA and has done extensive pro bono work,” Finkel said. “His credentials go on and on, but what he is really known for is his expertise and ability to handle complex matters in the housing court, landlord tenant court, co-ops and condos and a number of other fields. He has a wonderful office and a real ability to listen.”

In explaining the intricacies of dealing with co-ops, Lathrop started by explaining exactly how owning or renting in a cooperative building is different from typical buildings.

“Cooperatives are very unique ownership regimes where different property interests are created,” Lathrop said. “A cooperative corporation buys a building and the cooperative is actually the owner and then shareholders purchase the cooperative shares which are then personal property and the corporation enters into long-term leases called proprietary leases entitling each shareholder to occupy a particular unit.

“Cooperatives are bound by their rules, much like a Rubik’s cube there are only so many things you can do with a cooperative unless it’s included in the offering plan, the articles of incorporation and the bylaws,” he explained.

Lathrop said that the varying motivations behind cooperative owners often lead to conflicts of interest between dwellers and even between the owner of a cooperative and the co-op board.

“As with all corporations, cooperative corporations owe their shareholders fiduciary duties and these responsibilities sometimes conflict with duties the corporation acting as landlord owes to a proprietary lessee,” he said. “That means that sometimes the cooperative has to choose the needs of the many over the needs of the few.”

The event was sponsored by the BBA’s Lawyer Referral Service (LRS), which it broadcasted over the internet using Facebook Live. LRS plans to sponsor similar topics in the future and will broadcast them live as well.

“The Lawyer Referral Service is a one of a kind nonprofit legal organization,” Lathrop said. “It screens attorneys for experience and expertise; they’re all interviewed by the LRS. It’s among the most successful legal organizations for referral services. Roseann Hiebert has been given numerous accommodations for her work with serving a very large community of litigants here in Kings County.”

Upcoming events that will be hosted by the Foundation Law Committee include one coming up on March 26 that will cover consumer debt and bankruptcy. That lecture will be conducted by Richard Klass. Then on April 30, it will host a “Know Your Rights” seminar on criminal law in conjunction with the Brooklyn Defender Services. All events are held at the Brooklyn Bar Association.

Rated By Super Lawyers

Attorney Name, ESQ.

Title

Tagline/Motto

Elder Law aetsent pellentesque odio sit amet iaculis consequat. Duis auctor vulputate ultrices. Pellentesque tincidunt erat leo, a pulvinar est dapibus sit amet. Aenean placerat efficitur ante, a ultrices est ultrices eget. Ut aliquam euismod enim, ac imperdiet odio molestie sit amet. Integer et sapien a mauris posuere fringilla nec vel dolor. Integer volutpat ex at lobortis malesuada. In sed maximus felis, pulvinar sollicitudin sem. Donec at ornare diam. Sed pretium nulla non ligula placerat, sit amet dignissim nunc sollicitudin. Curabitur nec est condimentum, vulputate urna sed, congue felis. Donec sed mauris vitae ex ullamcorper molestie. Praesent vel velit ac neque dapibus imperdiet non vel orci. Praesent sodales egestas posuere. Suspendisse in sapien vel enim tincidunt molestie et quis arcu. Sed tincidunt nulla nec urna mattis bibendum.

Ut sem ipsum, imperdiet in imperdiet et, ultricies ac velit. In vitae porttitor neque. Morbi egestas porttitor pharetra. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Nam ut justo ut ante porttitor placerat. Nunc nec rutrum lacus. Phasellus vitae sapien eu quam facilisis accumsan. Maecenas consectetur vitae est suscipit dictum. Nulla sollicitudin libero volutpat, dictum libero a, auctor purus.

Maecenas suscipit leo efficitur libero scelerisque, et consequat libero scelerisque. Ut ultrices commodo ligula vitae iaculis. Proin sollicitudin bibendum nisl vel accumsan. Morbi interdum risus at eros euismod pulvinar. Donec ut nibh at enim dignissim finibus tristique a justo. Mauris convallis, urna nec fermentum interdum, est risus sodales urna, vel blandit mauris libero eu erat. Phasellus sollicitudin, orci in ornare vehicula, est sem gravida turpis, quis porttitor metus tortor id lorem. Maecenas vitae massa nec ipsum tincidunt venenatis eget ac urna. Proin euismod purus euismod mi mollis posuere. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Curabitur auctor posuere nunc, quis tincidunt arcu.

Maecenas consectetur vel augue vitae consectetur. Suspendisse vitae vehicula dolor, quis suscipit leo. Etiam risus felis, consequat et consequat rhoncus, volutpat in metus. Praesent vel ornare orci, et sagittis mauris. Sed ut porta tellus, nec tempor nibh. Vestibulum tristique nunc at arcu iaculis, sed pellentesque urna lacinia. Maecenas suscipit diam eu tincidunt accumsan. Maecenas eget ullamcorper est, vitae tristique est. Donec sed aliquam nunc, a ornare felis. Nullam semper, velit semper iaculis scelerisque, risus dui mollis nulla, vitae auctor velit orci a elit. Etiam eleifend diam et tempor congue. Integer efficitur tellus a dolor sagittis rutrum.

Testimonials

Here is what our clients are saying

“She had full knowledge of my selected legal case and completed the work and case to my satisfaction. Highly Recommend!”
Jane Smith
New York, NY
“She had full knowledge of my selected legal case and completed the work and case to my satisfaction. Highly Recommend!”
John Doe
John Doe, Westchester NY
“She had full knowledge of my selected legal case and completed the work and case to my satisfaction. Highly Recommend!”
Maria Feliby,
Merrick, NY