Utilization of Surplus Space Requires a Comprehensive Approach

Written By: Michelle P. Quinn


Your cooperative corporation or condominium association has some unused land or space which the Board would like to put to good use. How does the Board go about deciding what the area should be used for, and then how does it go about implementing that purpose? The size and location of the space will certainly dictate the possibilities, but other considerations such as insurance, zoning, and homeowner interests also must be taken into account. For example, a dog run or children’s playground may be quite appealing for some, but others may be steadfastly opposed, with concerns for noise, odor, increased liability and insurance premiums, and safety. In many buildings, amenities like storage space, additional parking, or a bike rack may top the wish list, but such additions require determinations of cost, priority of allocation (e.g. lottery, first-come-first-served, etc.), and possibly city or county zoning issues. When considering the potential use of available space, Boards should first take a global view of the proposed improvement and assess homeowner response before announcing or implementing any change.

about the authors

Michelle P. Quinn


Michelle P. Quinn represents cooperative and condominium boards, businesses, and individuals regarding issues with shareholders and owners in commercial and residential landlord-tenant litigation, including summary proceedings, administrative agency hearings, and Supreme Court actions and appeals.  She has substantial experience with Mitchell-Lama cooperatives, redevelopment companies, and tenancies protected by New York State Rent Regulation.

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