How a Madison Avenue Co-op Finally Got a Flip Tax Passed

By Carol Ott for Habitat Magazine

It’s a tricky dilemma for co-op and condo boards. A healthy reserve fund has always been a high priority, and in the wake of the Florida condominium collapse, lenders are scrutinizing those funds like never before. Yet a primary means for replenishing reserves — a flip tax on apartment sales — usually requires approval by a two-thirds super majority of shareholders or unit-owners, a dauntingly high bar.

Case in point: the board at a 118-unit co-op on Madison Avenue tried to pass a flip tax, also known as a transfer fee, four times without success. One of the main reasons the board continued to fail, says president Kathy Kahng, was the makeup of the building’s residents. More than half of the apartments were studios, and the average shareholder stayed about five years.

“If you know you’re only going to be here for a couple of years, what do you care about a transfer fee?” Kahng says. “Residents said, ‘Just charge me the assessment. I’m not voting for a transfer fee. I’m moving soon.’”

But in 2018, a confluence of events encouraged the board to try again. These included a mandatory building facade project growing in scope; more studio apartment owners buying neighboring apartments and combining them with their own, thus becoming more invested in the co-op’s long-term prospects; and the anticipation of an upcoming million-dollar elevator modernization project.

“We sent out letters, held meetings, knocked on doors and all that stuff,” Kahng recalls. But at the annual meeting the vote fell slightly short of the two-thirds of shares necessary for approval. With that result, the board changed its strategy. “We decided to focus on the 25 or 30 apartments that didn’t vote,” Kahng says

The board crafted a new message that carried a stick and a carrot. It told the shareholders that it was going to have to impose a hefty assessment to pay for the facade and elevator work, but if it could secure the votes of a few more apartments to approve the flip tax, the board would be able to reduce the assessment by 25%.

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CAMICB is a more than 25 year old independent professional certification body responsible for developing and delivering the Certified Manager of Community Associations® (CMCA) examination. CAMICB awards and maintains the CMCA credential, recognized worldwide as a benchmark of professionalism in the field of common interest community management. The CMCA examination tests the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform effectively as a professional community association manager. CMCA credential holders attest to full compliance with the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, committing to ethical and informed execution of the duties of a professional manager. The CMCA credentialing program carries dual accreditation. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the CMCA program for meeting its U.S.-based standards for credentialing bodies. The ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accredits the CMCA program for meeting the stringent requirements of the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard, the international standards for certification bodies. The program's dual accreditation represents compliance with rigorous standards for developing, delivering, and maintaining a professional credentialing program. It underscores the strength and integrity of the CMCA credential. Privacy Policy:

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