Lexington Square Cooperative is owned by its members. When a membership application is approved, the applicant becomes a member of the cooperative and holds one share in the corporation called Lexington Square Cooperative. Only members can occupy a unit in the cooperative.
This means that unlike other housing situations, members have there roles to play:
As a member of Lexington Square Cooperative one can influence the operating policy of this community.
As a part owner of Lexington Square Cooperative, there are a number of financial benefits.
The most important of these benefits are:
A) The monthly housing cost will not be affected by the desire of a landlord to earn a profit because the cooperative is a non-profit corporation; and
B) Eligibility for certain tax benefits.
As an occupant of Lexington Square Cooperative, there are financial responsibilities that are quite similar to those in a rental situation. Remember that the cooperative is not a social club. It is a financial enterprise. In order for this enterprise to be successful, each member must do their part. The monthly housing cost and the quality of the housing services that members receive are dependent upon how well the cooperative functions financially.
If the cooperative is well run-meaning that each member is promptly paying his share of the cooperative's costs-monthly housing costs will remain relatively low and the cooperative will be able to provide the services needed. In short, as a part owner one can enjoy many benefits while living in Lexington Square Cooperative.
However, if members do now fulfill their responsibilities as a member, they will lose those very advantages we have to offer.
Not necessarily. It is expected that carrying charges will increase periodically even if everyone in the cooperative is prompt in paying their share.
In order to better understand why the monthly carrying charge may increase, try to think of Lexington Square Cooperative as the owner of a large house.
A homeowner must make a monthly payment on the mortgage. But in addition, payments must also be made for taxes, utilities, insurance, and maintenance. In the event that a refrigerator or other appliance needs to be replaced, the homeowner must pay for that also.
Thus, there are some things which homeowners cannot control. We all know that taxes, utilities, insurance premiums and maintenance costs increase. In a cooperative, these increases in operating costs are shared by all of the members.
However, remember that there are some operating costs that can be partially controlled by the members. For example, if members fail to take good care of the appliances that have been provided, the cooperative will have to replace them much most frequently than planned. This cost is also passed onto the membership. Any costs for repairs and/or replacement of items provided by the cooperative are included in the overall budget and increases in those costs may require an increase in carrying charge payments.
In a rental situation, the monthly housing cost (rent) is affected by increase in operating costs and the desire of the landlord to make a profit.
In a cooperative, the monthly housing cost (carrying charges) will increase only when the operating costs increase.
No. Lexington Square Cooperative pays for gas (which includes heating, hot water, stove and a gas dryer if installed by the member), water and building and grounds maintenance. Members pay for electricity and telephone.
The cooperative will make and pay for all necessary repairs, maintenance and/or replace of cooperative property, provided it such repair or replacement is due to normal wear and tear.
If a piece of cooperative property is damaged as a result of a member’s negligence or abuse, repairs will be made at the member’s expense.
Members also pay for any redecoration of the unit.
Bear in mind that what is done with a unit may affect the operating cost for the entire cooperative. It is for this reason that the cooperative has established some rules as to what can and cannot be done in a unit.
In the event that members wish to decorate a unit (other than painting), or to make any structural changes (like installing a privacy fence or patio),they must get the written permission of the cooperative before they begin the work.
Likewise, if they wish to make any changes in the water, gas, or electrical lines or any fixture attached to these objects, they must get the written per-mission of the cooperative before they begin the work.
If members wish to remove any additions, improvements or fixtures from the unit, they must also get the written permission of the cooperative before they begin the work.
Only if they have the permission of the cooperative to do so. Permission is granted in limited circumstances, including because of an increase or decrease in family size.
The Board of Directors has the responsibility to do the following things:
- Review and approve (or reject) all applications for membership
- Formulate the operating budget for the cooperative (which must also be approved by HUD)
- Establish the monthly carrying charges for the cooperative (which must also be approved by HUD)
- Hire a HUD approved management company for the cooperative
- Terminate the membership of those who do not meet their obligations to the cooperative
- Make the rules and regulations concerning occupancy and the use of cooperative property
The powers of the Board may be expanded by the membership as long as the Board operates within the guidelines established by the By-Laws, Articles of Incorporation and the Regulatory Agreement of the cooperative.
The Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws are the documents that state the authority and methods of operation of the cooperative. The Regulatory Agreement is the agreement between the cooperative and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, through which the cooperative was developed.
Any member of the cooperative, is eligible for election to the Board of Directors. However, being a Board member does not entitle a member to anymore privileges than those enjoyed by a regular member. Board members are NOT paid to serve on the board.
Board members, like other members, must pay their monthly carrying charges on time. As a matter of fact, if a Board member is thirty (30) days late inmaking his/her payment, he/she is automatically removed from the board.
No. Each unit of the cooperative has only one vote. This means that no matter how many people occupy the unit, there is only one vote for that unit,not one vote for each person.
No. The cooperative does not permit subletting of units.
First of all, remember that members do not
buy the unit. An approved applicant will buy a membership in the cooperative and therefore the right to occupy a unit. Thus, the unit cannot be sold. However, members can and do sell their membership and occupancy rights on move-out. The cooperative has a set procedure for the sale of memberships which is outlined in Section 8 of the By-Laws and various other policy documents.
No. As a matter of fact, we have only touched the surface. By preparing this information, we hoped to make interested parties aware of the fact that there are many differences between living in a cooperative and renting from a landlord.