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Tag Archives: New York

Owner to Owner Intimidation Must Be Responded To Immediately By a Board

Painting “Gay a*****e” on a person’s door is downright rude. But in a condominium community it’s significantly wrong. Publicly attacking a person in this manner stabs at the roots of trying to create an inclusive, functional, community.

It not only acts as an attempt to intimidate the owner, it’s a public statement that directly influences others owners to perform the same action, or become supportive of it. Seriously.

Setting aside all the work on advertising and the use of messaging, there’s a pretty famous test called the Milgram experiment which shows that people who see someone perform an action, even if they find that action harmful to another human being, would perform the same action (in Milgram’s case it was applying powerful electric shocks to another person) more often than a person who has no example of the action. In essence, people are way more willing to do things they are personally uncomfortable with (even harmful) if they have first had experience of the act.

So by publically painting the slogan on, in this case James Burns’ door, the painter not only attempts to intimidate James, but hopes to receive community support to repeat or increase the severity attack on James. Even implicit support (nobody objecting) creates the feedback needed by the painter.

Thankfully at least one other member of the condominium community objects to the vandalism. Mr. Burns received a poster that was hung on the door with statements including “We advocate zero-tolerance for hate crimes” and “heart, caring, helpful, kind.”

That’s freaking awesome. It’s the “backfire” that’s required to nip owner on owner persecution before it grows. With only 66 units in the “upscale” complex (Zillow shows unit prices at about 440k at the moment), the management and board should immediately follow up with letters to all the owners, postings in the building, and a letter to Mr. Burns that state any attack on an owner is fully condemned by the condominium corporation. The communication should not only include positive statements that people of all walks and cultures are welcome at the Copley Court condominiums, Braircliff Manor NY, but person or persons found responsible for the act will be sanctioned to the maximum allowance of the bylaws.

A home, is a home, is a home. And the corporation is always in the role to ensure that all people can enjoy and feel comfortable within their residence, and by extension the common property.

Sadly – at the time of this article neither the board nor property manager has contacted Mr. Burns about this.  Time for the board to step up to the plate ensure a positive community. The longer the board waits to respond, the more implicit support they give the evil doer.

Rats! You Dirty Stinking Rat!

Living in one of the few rat free places in the world, I never fully understand the devastation rats can have on a building or a lifestyle. These little beasties can chew through sheet metal and enjoy swimming through sewer lines and popping up through your toilet!

Now, I’m more concerned over those Norwegian rats (which the Norse must curse the name, as they did not actually originate from Norway), not those small mouse sized rats which have their own condominium developments.

In New York popular lore says there are 4 rats for every human inhabitant. This myth may become something more than true since the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene cut 57 of 84 full-time pest control positions in 2010.

Most condominium and HOA bylaws specifically forbid the ownership or breeding of rats. In this case, I’m fully behind this rule. I’m normally very open for owners to have pets of all types, but rats do pose a significant infestation risk in the case where they may escape. Sorry, I have a strong bias against rats. I highly suggest rat proofing.

I have the greatest sympathy for owners in developing nations. India and Bangladesh both have significant waste and garbage infrastructure deficits. A previous blog post highlighted a condominium corporation in India that initialized its own recycling program to cut down on local unlicensed dumping.

For Suhaila Majid of Titiwangsa Sentral Condominium in Jalan Cemur, Kuala Lumpur, their back lot parking has become a community dumping ground for garbage. This has led to excessive rats invading the grounds.

Singapore residents near a nature reserve have extra visitors every day for their first floor units. The infestation has been going on since 2003, and includes home invasions as the beast go for the food.

For North American condominiums and HOAs, I would think that any long term infestation should show up on an Estoppel, and all exceptional infestations should show up on board minutes.