Looking through a car window on a rainy day, by Stephen Harmon.
The New York Times’ Ask Real Estate column had an amusing little item last weekend. Someone wrote in to ask if renters are bound by the same rules as co-op shareholders in the same building. Here were some of the rules the person discussed:
The rule book now bars residents from socializing with doormen, and hallways and outside sidewalks are designated “quiet areas.” The board is also demanding that I stop feeding birds outside.
Socializing with doormen? How dare you!
If you have any feeling about the rules, or would like to discuss your own co-op or condo’s rules, please do so in the comments. And if you want to send a copy of those rules, we’d love to see them at email@example.com.
And since it’s an open thread, feel free to bring up other UWS-related topics too.
We apologize profusely if the comments don’t “nest” correctly, allowing people to reply directly to other users. For now, please address other commenters by writing @commentername. We’re going to work on a long-term fix in the meantime.)
I bet the reason they don’t want people to socialize with the doormen because their conversation echoes across the hallways into the neighboring apartments that are not adequately sound insulated.
My co-op requires board approval to allow my cousin who lives across the street stay in my apartment for one week to feed and watch my dog while I go away. Why would these masochists set themselves up to be bothered so often? (By the way, the same board did not ask my approval when they recently embarked on a costly and lengthy renovation of the entire lobby to make it now look like an old office building)
Mine has a rule about professionals with house practices cannot let patients wait in the hall. I gather one of the previous owners of my apartment was a psychologist so this the rule was probably in response to her practice.
@M, that’s probably to prevent AirBnB. I can see how it’s annoying for you but I wouldn’t want random people staying in my neighbor’s apartments while they were away.
Lucien @ 1, I can imagine it also has to do with certain residents “monopolizing” the building staff’s time. In my building we have certain older, shall-we-say, lonely residents, who basically use the building staff for conversational companionship during the day. When I happen to be home during the day you can often find one or two of them basically sitting in the lobby chatting with the doorman, which can, at least in theory, keep him from realizing that he needs to actually get the (very heavy) front door for someone else who has their hands full.
I’ve never complained about it myself because I’m not an asshole, and I’m not going to begrudge my 90-year-old otherwise shut-in of a neighbor a few hours of conversation, but I could certainly see someone complaining about it. We’ve had certain newer owners in my building complain about our doorman who is famous on this very blog for handing out dog treats (that ban didn’t last very long).
It’s always the newer tenants, I guess you’re entitled to complain when you’ve been tricked into paying exorbitant prices.
My building doesn’t allow you to buy prepared foods at Fairway. Apparently they have gone way downhill.
Of course one could always bring in Fairway’s prepared foods in his/her own bag! Who’d know?
Don’t be so cold-hearted Upper West Siders. If a lonely or elderly (or both )person wants to chat with the doorman –so be it. Socializing in buildings is what creates a feeling of community in buildings. Doormen know how to multi-task. Chatting with tenants or homeowners comes with the territory
I agree with the quiet hallway rule. When children use the hallways as a private playground it can be quite annoying for their neighbors. Also, if you feed birds outside your building, will you also clean up the mess they leave? Keep in mind that bird food also attracts rodents. Doormen are people too and there is no reason not to chat with them. However, if you park yourself at the font desk and monopolize their time, that’s a no-no
Individuals with ‘house practices’ in a residential coop or condo should absolutely not be allowed to use the lobby or other Common Elements as their client(aka – their business)waiting room.
Feeding birds is against city regulations.
What makes someone think they can feed birds outside their building or anywhere for that matter. Don’t these fools realize they’re increasing the rat population in the city?
I agree with building rules. It’s a well known fact that there are tenants who stop to chat with the building working crew, disrupting the obligations and productivity of the doormen, porters, superintendents, etc., lots of time chatting about unrelated matters, and personal business, creating huge problems when our personal business turns into cheap gossip and goes viral, resulting in most cases, the workers losing their jobs, now, that’s SAD. Building working crew were hired with one sole purpose: to maintain the full operation and safety of buildings, and not for your personal chit chat entertainment purposes. Understand this, if you really want to maintain that level of relationship with your building workers, by all means exercise your rights, exchange phone numbers and when their shifts are over take them out for drinks or coffee and talk at leissure. remember, you are not the only one who lives in a building, you have tenants, like myself, who don’t think it’s KOOOOL or comfortable. we shall ever maintain the level of respect necessary to help the workers maintain a good level of respect and productivity. and further more, next time you are feeding those pigeons, don’t forget to bring an extra bowl of bread crumbs for the rats, remember they have to eat too. On that note, enjoy my comments. Have a perfect day!
in my co-op brownstone residents may not play a gramophone after 11pm. lol. I have successfully abided by that rule so far.
What right does the building have to tell tenants what food to buy at Fairway?? This seems completely nonsensical to me! I’ll shop where I want to shop for my food, and if that means a prepared meal from Fairway, so be it, and it’s none of the building’s god……business!
Jake, I am pretty sure Steven was joking…
Jake, I believe that was a joke, based on an earlier thread on Fairway. Jake didn’t get the joke.
We are not allowed to keep our velocipedes in the hallway.
My mother-in-law’s very white glove building had to put into its by-laws that prostitutes were not allowed in the building. Apparently some guy was ordering 2 at a time every day. No idea how the doorman and front desk staff were supposed to decide who is a prostitute and who isn’t. I think the guy moved out rather than fight it.
Ahhh…good to see the ol’ UWS sense of humor hasn’t left…
It’s not a bad idea, to a point, allowing people to sit in the lobby. It provides more security. Think of years ago, hanging out on the stoop of an old row house or the quintessential mama leaning out her window all day long, keeping an eye out for anyone who wanted to create mischief. Just saying….
We now have new larger mail boxes..
However some lazy ones still want mailed dropped on the floor in front of their door.
My building does not allow sarcasm around the elderly long-time residents as it can get them somewhat angry and upset and they start walking into walls while blathering self-righteously. Then the doormen have to chase them down, leaving the heavy doors closed for the younger residents schlepping their Trader Joe’s bags home since TJ’s home delivery schedule is so obtuse that the building bans it on principle.
Fairway deliveries are fine however. The building uses common charges to tip the delivery men, who are encouraged to socialize with the doormen after they’ve been snubbed by @FranciaChandler.
I have no doubt that the “no-fraternizing rule” was passed at the request of the doorman.
@ anon: “M’s” cousin isn’t a random stranger. I would understand had she been required to inform the board. But, to gain its approval? No.
Question about the bird feeding. I have 2 neighbors below me with terraces. One has several planters that have attracted a pair of blue jays and 15-20 pigeons that feed off the plants daily (summer all the way through November). The pigeons were still nesting out there even during the snow storm. At some point the 2nd neighbor put out a bird feeder and he was immediately asked to stop feeding them. So if the plants are technically feeding the birds/pigeons then is that also against regulations?
Nothing strange about this portion of my co-op’s rules, but it’s definitely my favorite:
“Occupants shall not make or permit any disturbing noise or do anything that will interfere with the rights, comfort or convenience of other residents. Occupants shall not play or operate any musical instrument, loudspeaker device or machine loud enough to disturb others.”
Ours is a fairly small co-op, and we generally operate like a big (functional) family — complaints are typically resolved between residents, everyone knows each other’s emails and phone numbers (above all, for security and safety reasons). But it’s nice to know that somewhere in writing, we all must abide basic civility re: noise. I thank my lucky stars every day for (by and large) quiet neighbors!
@UWSEd #25 everyone wanting to AirBnB their place will claim it’s a cousin. How could the board possibly dispute their claim when relatives come in all age ranges and races? And while the cousin isn’t a stranger to M (s)he is a stranger to the neighbors.
Tons of weird rules in old co-op proprietary leases (velocipede, etc.). Let’s turn this into a practical comment trail – anyone know of an available template for a ‘modern’ proprietary lease?
@Josh – my coop has that rule too. I feel bad, but I now routinely call the doorman to have him ask my upstairs neighbor to stop playing the saxophone. Its so loud you can’t have a conversation! I do feel bad about it, but also annoyed that I have to be the bad guy all the time.