AB34 Summary:

BILL NO    A00034 

SAME AS    SAME AS S03152

SPONSOR    Farrell

COSPNSR    Rosenthal, Cymbrowitz, Perry

MLTSPNSR   

Add Art 49-C SS996 - 996-i, Exec L; add S186-g, Tax L; add S81, St Fin L

Creates the office of the cooperative and condominium ombudsman; authorizes the
residential unit tax and establishes the office of the cooperative and
condominium ombudsman fund.
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AB34 Actions:

BILL NO    A00034 

01/09/2013 referred to housing
01/08/2014 referred to housing
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AB34 Memo:

BILL NUMBER:A34

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the executive law, in relation to creating the office
of the cooperative and
condominium ombudsman; to amend the tax law, in relation to
authorizing the residential unit
fee; and to
amend the state finance law, in relation to establishing
the office of the cooperative
and condominium ombudsman fund

PURPOSE:
The bill creates the Office of the Cooperative and Condominium
Ombudsman within the Department of Law to serve as a neutral,
informative, and accessible resource available to cooperative and
condominium residents, prospective shareholders and unit owners,
boards of directors and managers, and other affected parties.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill would add a new article 49-C to the Executive
Law to create the Office of the Cooperative and Condominium Ombudsman
within the Department of Law. The Office would be headed by an
Ombudsman who is appointed for a fixed term by the Attorney General.
The Attorney General would be responsible for the oversight of the
Office. The Ombudsman may be removed by the Attorney General for
cause, after being given an opportunity to be heard. The Office would
work to educate shareholders of cooperatives and owners of
condominiums, their boards of directors and boards of managers,
professionals working with and for such boards, property managers,
and other interested parties about their legal rights and
responsibilities under federal, state and local laws and regulations.
Other responsibilities of the office would include: to prepare
educational and reference materials, to organize and conduct meetings
end public hearings, to provide mediation and other forms of
alternative dispute resolution, to offer monitors and vote counting
services to assure fair elections for board membership, and to
provide advice to the Governor and Legislature regarding new and
existing legislation which affects cooperative shareholders or
condominium
owners. The Ombudsman would have the power to subpoena and
enforce the attendance of witnesses, administer oaths or affirmations
and examine witnesses under oath, and require the production of any
books and papers deemed relevant to any dispute rending before the
office. The Secretary to the Governor is to ensure that all state
agencies provide the Ombudsman with assistance in advancing the
purposes of the Office, and to assure that the activities of the
Office are fully coordinated with the activities of state agencies
providing related services.

Section 2 of the bill would add new section 186-g to the Tax Law to
create a new residential unit fee. Each cooperative corporation and
condominium owners association would be required to pay an annual fee
of
six dollars per year for each residential unit located in a building


or buildings owned or operated by such corporation or association.
The fee would be paid to the Department of Taxation and Finance. All
revenue collected by the Department of Taxation and Finance would be
paid to the State comptroller to be deposited into the Office of the
Cooperative and Condominium ombudsman Fund.

Section 3 of the bill would add a new section 81 to the State Finance
Law to establish a new Fund in the custody of the State comptroller
to be known as the "Office of the cooperative and Condominium
Ombudsman Fund. All monies in this fund would be kept separate and
apart from other monies in the custody of the State comptroller. The
Fund would be allocated and spent by the Department of Law solely for
the staffing and administration of the Office of the cooperative and
Condominium Ombudsman.

Section 4 of the bill provides for the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:
The rights of condominium owners and cooperative shareholders are
derived from a complex series of laws, regulations, and individual
building by-laws and other corporate documents. Offerings of
condominiums and cooperatives are regulated by the Attorney General
under the General Business Law, a statute designed to protect
potential buyers from fraud through detailed disclosure requirements.
Once cooperative and condominium plans are declared effective,
condominiums fall under the New York State Condominium Act and
cooperatives fall under the state's Business Corporation Law - the
same statute which regulates all the state's corporations. Although
both of these statutes grant owners and shareholders some rights,
their primary objective is to require that cooperatives and
condominiums simply address certain issues in their operating
documents: for cooperatives, the proprietary lease, house rules,
certificate of incorporation and by-laws for condominiums; the unit
deed or declaration, house rules and by-laws of the condominium
association.

These multiple laws and regulations governing the rights of
cooperative and condominium residents, shareholders, unit owners,
association members, and boards of directors are frequently difficult
to navigate and comprehend. This is particularly true in the case of
cooperative buildings since they are governed by New York State
Business Corporation Law which was not designed to regulate
residential real estate. Cooperative shareholders are often unaware
that they do not own real property, and are considered tenants of the
corporation that owns the building where they live.

The boards of directors in cooperatives, and boards of managers in
condominiums, have a great deal of discretion over most issues
involved in the daily management and operation of their buildings.
While many cooperative and condominium boards act in the best
interest of their buildings, are financially prudent, and responsive
to the needs of shareholders and unit owners, significant problems
arise for residents when this is not the case. Many difficulties also
emerge when boards of directors and managers are unable or unwilling
to remedy disputes between residents which often leads to the
diminution of quality of life in the building and significant tension
between neighbors. Disputes


regarding transparency, finances, board elections, management
decisions, rules and regulations, construction, and other issues
between individual residents, as well as between residents and their
boards, are all too common.

Because there is no government agency or other entity which oversees
the operation of cooperatives and condominiums, shareholders and unit
owners are left with only two options when serious problems develop:
to organize other residents to change the board of directors or
managers, or to
initiate legal action against the board or another shareholder or unit
owner.

Understandably, neither of these options is easy or appealing for most
residents. Changing the membership of the boards of directors or
managers often takes an extended period of time, and is difficult or
even impossible in buildings where the original building sponsor or
other party controls the majority of votes. As a result, problems in
cooperative and condominium buildings all too frequently result in
lengthy, expensive, and acrimonious litigation which harms all
parties involved. Such litigation diverts resources which could be
better utilized to provide well maintained buildings and grounds for
the common good of the residents. Litigation between neighbors
frequently detracts from the quality of life in buildings, harms the
sense of community, and ultimately results in greater expenses for
everyone since boards have to pass the costs of legal fees along to
all residents. In cases where shareholders and unit owners do not
have the economic resources needed to pursue litigation, problems
frequently remain unresolved for years.

Several other states, such as Florida, Nevada, Texas, and New Jersey
have created condominium Ombudsman Offices to address similar
challenges in their states. New York is unique among the states in
having both cooperative and condominium housing. In 2008, the Florida
Condominium Ombudsman's Office logged 16,000 phone calls regarding
condominium owner disputes and questions. The Nevada Ombudsman Office
also received a large number of requests for assistance. The
Ombudsman Offices in these states provide general education to
condominium owners, monitor board elections, and offer alternative
dispute resolution processes that provide a fair and inexpensive
means for unit owners to resolve disputes between one another or with
their condominium associations. Responses to the Condominium
Ombudsmen Offices in these states have been overwhelmingly positive
and has led both Florida and New Jersey to recently expand the powers
of their Offices. Additional states are in the process of considering
legislation to create their own condominium Ombudsman Offices.

New York State has one of the largest, if not the largest, number of
cooperatives and condominiums in the nation. In parts of the state,
cooperative shareholders and condominium owners substantially
outnumber owners of single and two-family homes. These residents
would see significant benefits from the creation of a New York state
cooperative and Condominium Ombudsman Office.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2010: A11452 2012: A6941


FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None. The Office of the Ombudsman will be fully funded by the creation
of the six dollar residential unit fee.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it
becomes law.
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AB34 Text:

                           S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
       ________________________________________________________________________

                                          34

                              2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                                 I N  A S S E M B L Y

                                      (PREFILED)

                                    January 9, 2013
                                      ___________

       Introduced  by M. of A. FARRELL -- read once and referred to the Commit-
         tee on Housing

       AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to creating the office of
         the cooperative and condominium ombudsman; to amend the  tax  law,  in
         relation  to  authorizing  the  residential unit fee; and to amend the
         state finance law, in relation to establishing the office of the coop-
         erative and condominium ombudsman fund

         THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
       BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

    1    Section  1.  The executive law is amended by adding a new article 49-C
    2  to read as follows:
    3                                ARTICLE 49-C
    4             OFFICE OF THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN
    5  SECTION 996.   SHORT TITLE.
    6          996-A.  LEGISLATIVE DECLARATION.
    7          996-B. DEFINITIONS.
    8          996-C. OFFICE OF THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN.
    9          996-D. FUNCTIONS, POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE OFFICE.
   10          996-E. PRINCIPAL OFFICE AND SATELLITE OFFICES.
   11          996-F. ASSISTANCE OF OTHER STATE AGENCIES.
   12          996-G. REPORTS TO THE GOVERNOR, ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE  LEGIS-
   13                   LATURE.
   14          996-H. CONTRACT AUTHORITY.
   15          996-I. SEPARABILITY.
   16    S  996.  SHORT  TITLE. THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE KNOWN AND MAY BE CITED AS
   17  THE "COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN ACT".
   18    S 996-A. LEGISLATIVE DECLARATION. THE LEGISLATURE FINDS AND DETERMINES
   19  AS FOLLOWS:
   20    COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM HOUSING CONSTITUTES A SIGNIFICANT  PORTION
   21  OF  NEW  YORK  STATE'S RESIDENTIAL HOUSING STOCK. IT IS AND HAS BEEN THE

        EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                             [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                  LBD03131-01-3
       A. 34                               2

    1  PUBLIC POLICY OF THIS STATE TO ENCOURAGE SUCH FORMS OF HOME OWNERSHIP. A
    2  WIDE VARIETY OF LAWS HAVE  BEEN  ENACTED  TO  PROVIDE  FAIRNESS  IN  THE
    3  CONVERSION OF RENTAL PROPERTIES TO COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OWNERSHIP
    4  AND  IN  THE  REGULATION  AND TAXATION OF COOPERATIVES AND CONDOMINIUMS.
    5  STATE AND LOCAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS ARE ALSO DESIGNED  TO  INSURE  THAT
    6  THE  RESIDENTS  OF  SUCH  HOUSING  ARE  PROVIDED WITH SAFE AND HABITABLE
    7  ACCOMMODATIONS.
    8    INEVITABLY, DISPUTES HAVE ARISEN  AMONG  COOPERATIVE  AND  CONDOMINIUM
    9  SPONSORS  AND  DEVELOPERS, COOPERATIVE SHAREHOLDERS AND CONDOMINIUM UNIT
   10  OWNERS, PROSPECTIVE SHAREHOLDERS AND UNIT OWNERS,  BOARDS  OF  DIRECTORS
   11  AND BOARDS OF MANAGERS. SUCH DISPUTES OFTEN RESULT IN LENGTHY AND COSTLY
   12  LITIGATION  AND  UNCERTAINTY AS TO THE RIGHTS OF THE PARTIES PENDING THE
   13  OUTCOME OF LITIGATION. SUCH LITIGATION DIVERTS RESOURCES THAT  COULD  BE
   14  BETTER  UTILIZED TO PROVIDE AFFORDABLE AND WELL-MAINTAINED BUILDINGS AND
   15  GROUNDS FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE OWNERS.
   16    THIS ARTICLE IS NECESSARY TO PROVIDE A NEUTRAL, INFORMATIVE AND ACCES-
   17  SIBLE RESOURCE AVAILABLE TO ALL PARTIES INVOLVED IN RESIDENTIAL  COOPER-
   18  ATIVE  AND CONDOMINIUM OWNERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE. THE OMBUDSMAN APPOINTED
   19  PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE WILL CONDUCT OUTREACH PROGRAMS TO EDUCATE  UNIT
   20  OWNERS  AND BOARD MEMBERS AS TO THEIR LEGAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
   21  THE  OMBUDSMAN  WILL  ENCOURAGE  ALTERNATIVE  DISPUTE  RESOLUTION   WHEN
   22  DISPUTES  DO  ARISE.  THE OMBUDSMAN WILL BE AVAILABLE TO PROVIDE DISPUTE
   23  RESOLUTION SERVICES ON CONSENT OF THE PARTIES. THE OMBUDSMAN  WILL  ALSO
   24  PROVIDE  MONITORING  AND  SUPERVISION  OF  COOPERATIVE  AND  CONDOMINIUM
   25  ELECTIONS.
   26    S 996-B. DEFINITIONS. 1. "COOPERATIVE" MEANS A  CORPORATION  ORGANIZED
   27  AND  OPERATING  PURSUANT  TO THE GENERAL BUSINESS LAW OR THE COOPERATIVE
   28  CORPORATIONS LAW FOR THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF PROVIDING RESIDENTIAL  HOUS-
   29  ING TO ITS SHAREHOLDERS.
   30    2.  "CONDOMINIUM"  MEANS  A  HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION OR ANY ASSOCIATION
   31  ORGANIZED AND OPERATING PURSUANT TO ARTICLE NINE-B OF THE REAL  PROPERTY
   32  LAW FOR THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF PROVIDING RESIDENTIAL HOUSING TO ITS UNIT
   33  OWNERS.
   34    3.  "OFFICE"  MEANS  THE  OFFICE  OF  THE  COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM
   35  OMBUDSMAN CREATED BY THIS ARTICLE.
   36    4. "OMBUDSMAN" MEANS THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF THE OFFICE OF
   37  THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN.
   38    5. "STATE AGENCY" MEANS ANY  DEPARTMENT,  BOARD,  BUREAU,  COMMISSION,
   39  DIVISION,  OFFICE,  COUNCIL  OR AGENCY OF THE STATE, OR A PUBLIC BENEFIT
   40  CORPORATION OR AUTHORITY AUTHORIZED BY THE LAWS OF THE STATE.
   41    6. "LOCAL AGENCY" MEANS ANY  DEPARTMENT,  BOARD,  BUREAU,  COMMISSION,
   42  DIVISION, OFFICE, COUNCIL, OFFICER OR AGENCY OF A CITY, TOWN OR VILLAGE.
   43    S  996-C.  OFFICE OF THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN. 1. THE
   44  OFFICE OF THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN  IS  HEREBY  CREATED
   45  WITHIN  THE DEPARTMENT OF LAW TO HAVE AND EXERCISE THE FUNCTIONS, POWERS
   46  AND DUTIES PROVIDED BY THE PROVISIONS OF  THIS  ARTICLE  AND  ANY  OTHER
   47  PROVISION  OF  LAW.  THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OVER-
   48  SIGHT OF THE OFFICE.
   49    2. THE HEAD OF THE OFFICE SHALL BE  THE  COOPERATIVE  AND  CONDOMINIUM
   50  OMBUDSMAN  WHO SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. THE OMBUDSMAN
   51  SHALL HOLD OFFICE UNTIL THE END OF THE TERM OF THE ATTORNEY  GENERAL  BY
   52  WHOM HE OR SHE WAS APPOINTED AND UNTIL HIS OR HER SUCCESSOR IS APPOINTED
   53  AND  HAS QUALIFIED. THE OMBUDSMAN MAY BE REMOVED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
   54  FOR CAUSE, AFTER BEING GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD. A VACANCY SHALL
   55  BE FILLED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT.
       A. 34                               3

    1    3. THE OMBUDSMAN SHALL RECEIVE AN ANNUAL SALARY TO  BE  FIXED  BY  THE
    2  ATTORNEY  GENERAL WITHIN THE AMOUNT MADE AVAILABLE THEREFOR BY AN APPRO-
    3  PRIATION AND SHALL BE ALLOWED HIS OR HER ACTUAL AND  NECESSARY  EXPENSES
    4  IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OR HER DUTIES. THE OMBUDSMAN'S SALARY SHALL BE
    5  NO  LESS  THAN  THE SALARIES OF CERTAIN STATE OFFICERS HOLDING THE POSI-
    6  TIONS INDICATED IN PARAGRAPH (A)  OF  SUBDIVISION  ONE  OF  SECTION  ONE
    7  HUNDRED SIXTY-NINE OF THIS CHAPTER.
    8    4.  THE  OMBUDSMAN  SHALL  BE AN ATTORNEY WITH EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN
    9  REAL ESTATE, COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM LAW AND IN CONFLICT AND  ALTER-
   10  NATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION.
   11    5.  THE OMBUDSMAN SHALL DIRECT THE WORK OF THE OFFICE AND SHALL BE THE
   12  CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE OFFICE. THE OMBUDSMAN  MAY  APPOINT  SUCH
   13  OFFICERS  AND EMPLOYEES AS HE OR SHE MAY DEEM NECESSARY, PRESCRIBE THEIR
   14  POWERS AND DUTIES, FIX THEIR COMPENSATION AND PROVIDE FOR THE REIMBURSE-
   15  MENT OF THEIR EXPENSES, ALL WITHIN AMOUNTS MADE  AVAILABLE  THEREFOR  BY
   16  APPROPRIATION.  SUCH  OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES SHALL INCLUDE ATTORNEYS AND
   17  OTHER PROFESSIONALS WITH EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN  REAL  ESTATE,  COOPER-
   18  ATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM LAW AND IN CONFLICT AND ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOL-
   19  UTION.
   20    6. THE OMBUDSMAN AND OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE SHALL ADHERE
   21  TO  A  CODE OF ETHICS IN ORDER TO INSPIRE PUBLIC CONFIDENCE AND TRUST IN
   22  THE FAIRNESS  AND  IMPARTIALITY  OF  THE  OFFICE.  THE  OMBUDSMAN  SHALL
   23  PRESCRIBE  SUCH CODE OF ETHICS. SUCH CODE SHALL REQUIRE THAT THE OMBUDS-
   24  MAN AND OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE RESPECT AND COMPLY WITH THE
   25  LAW; THAT THEY NOT USE OR ATTEMPT TO USE THEIR POSITIONS TO SECURE PRIV-
   26  ILEGES OR EXEMPTIONS FOR THEMSELVES OR OTHERS; THAT  THEY  NOT  SOLICIT,
   27  ACCEPT OR AGREE TO ACCEPT ANY GIFTS OR GRATUITIES FROM PERSONS HAVING OR
   28  LIKELY  TO  HAVE ANY OFFICIAL TRANSACTION WITH THE OFFICE; THAT THEY NOT
   29  REQUEST OR ACCEPT ANY PAYMENT IN ADDITION TO THEIR REGULAR  COMPENSATION
   30  FOR  ASSISTANCE  GIVEN  AS  PART OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES; AND THAT THEY
   31  SHALL NOT PERFORM ANY FUNCTION IN A MANNER THAT  IMPROPERLY  FAVORS  ANY
   32  PERSON OR PARTY.
   33    7.  THE  OMBUDSMAN  AND OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE SHALL NOT
   34  SERVE AS OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF A POLITICAL PARTY OR A CLUB OR  ORGAN-
   35  IZATION  RELATED  TO  A POLITICAL PARTY, RECEIVE REMUNERATION FOR ACTIV-
   36  ITIES ON BEHALF OF ANY CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC OFFICE OR PARTY POSITION  OR
   37  ENGAGE  IN SOLICITING VOTES OR OTHER ACTIVITIES ON BEHALF OF A CANDIDATE
   38  FOR PUBLIC OFFICE OR PARTY POSITION.
   39    8. THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR SHALL ASSURE THAT ALL STATE  AGENCIES
   40  PROVIDE  THE  OMBUDSMAN WITH ASSISTANCE IN ADVANCING THE PURPOSES OF THE
   41  OFFICE AND TO ASSURE THAT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE OFFICE ARE FULLY COORDI-
   42  NATED WITH THE ACTIVITIES OF STATE AGENCIES PROVIDING RELATED SERVICES.
   43    S 996-D. FUNCTIONS, POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE OFFICE. THE OFFICE  SHALL
   44  HAVE THE FOLLOWING FUNCTIONS, POWERS AND DUTIES:
   45    1.  TO EDUCATE AND INFORM SHAREHOLDERS OF COOPERATIVES AND UNIT OWNERS
   46  OF CONDOMINIUMS, THEIR BOARDS OF DIRECTORS AND BOARDS OF MANAGERS, PROP-
   47  ERTY MANAGERS, PROFESSIONALS WORKING WITH AND FOR SUCH BOARDS AND  OTHER
   48  INTERESTED  PARTIES OF THEIR LEGAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE
   49  FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO  COOPERATIVE
   50  AND  CONDOMINIUM  HOUSING IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK AND UNDER THE COOPER-
   51  ATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM DOCUMENTS GOVERNING THE RESPECTIVE PROPERTIES.
   52    2. TO COORDINATE AND ASSIST IN  THE  PREPARATION  AND  PUBLICATION  OF
   53  EDUCATIONAL  AND  REFERENCE MATERIALS ABOUT RESIDENTIAL COOPERATIVES AND
   54  CONDOMINIUMS, TO MAKE SUCH RESOURCES KNOWN AND AVAILABLE TO  THE  WIDEST
   55  POSSIBLE AUDIENCE.
       A. 34                               4

    1    3.  TO  ORGANIZE  AND CONDUCT MEETINGS, WORKSHOPS, CONFERENCES, PUBLIC
    2  HEARINGS AND FORUMS AND TO UTILIZE ALL FORMS OF COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA  TO
    3  DISSEMINATE  ACCURATE  AND  TIMELY  INFORMATION  OF  INTEREST TO PERSONS
    4  RESIDING IN, OWNING AND MANAGING COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM HOUSING.
    5    4.  TO  PROVIDE  MEETINGS,  MEDIATION,  ARBITRATION AND OTHER FORMS OF
    6  ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION SERVICES TO COOPERATIVE  AND  CONDOMINIUM
    7  SPONSORS  AND  DEVELOPERS, COOPERATIVE SHAREHOLDERS, CONDOMINIUM OWNERS,
    8  THEIR BOARDS OF DIRECTORS AND  MANAGERS,  PROSPECTIVE  SHAREHOLDERS  AND
    9  UNIT  OWNERS  AND  OTHER PARTIES SO AS TO AVOID COSTLY AND LENGTHY LITI-
   10  GATION AND REDUCE EXPENSES FOR THOSE INVOLVED IN DISPUTES.
   11    5. TO SUBPOENA AND ENFORCE THE  ATTENDANCE  OF  WITNESSES,  ADMINISTER
   12  OATHS  OR  AFFIRMATIONS AND EXAMINE WITNESSES UNDER OATH AND REQUIRE THE
   13  PRODUCTION OF ANY BOOKS AND PAPERS DEEMED RELEVANT OR  MATERIAL  TO  THE
   14  RESOLUTION OF ANY DISPUTE PENDING BEFORE THE OFFICE.
   15    6.  TO  ENGAGE  WITH THE HOUSING COURTS, OTHER TRIAL COURTS, STATE AND
   16  LOCAL AGENCIES AND WITH ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE  RESOLUTION  PROGRAMS  MAIN-
   17  TAINED  BY  THE  OFFICE  OF  COURT  ADMINISTRATION  IN  ORDER TO PROVIDE
   18  SPECIALIZED EXPERTISE IN THE RESOLUTION OF COOPERATIVE  AND  CONDOMINIUM
   19  DISPUTES AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO LITIGATION.
   20    7.  TO OFFER PROCEDURES, MONITORS AND VOTE COUNTING SERVICES TO ASSURE
   21  FAIR ELECTIONS FOR MEMBERS OF COOPERATIVE BOARDS OF DIRECTORS AND CONDO-
   22  MINIUM BOARDS OF MANAGERS.  FIFTEEN PERCENT OF THE TOTAL  VOTING  INTER-
   23  ESTS  IN  A  COOPERATIVE OR CONDOMINIUM OR SHAREHOLDERS OR OWNERS OF SIX
   24  RESIDENTIAL UNITS, WHICHEVER IS GREATER,  MAY  PETITION  THE  OFFICE  TO
   25  ATTEND AND CONDUCT AN ELECTION OF DIRECTORS OR MANAGERS. ALL COSTS ASSO-
   26  CIATED WITH THE ELECTION MONITORING PROCESS SHALL BE PAID BY THE COOPER-
   27  ATIVE OR CONDOMINIUM.
   28    8.  TO REFER ANY COMPLAINT RECEIVED TO THE APPROPRIATE LAW ENFORCEMENT
   29  AGENCY FOR PROSECUTION, IF DEEMED APPROPRIATE BY THE OFFICE.
   30    9. TO PERFORM ANY OTHER FUNCTIONS THAT ARE NECESSARY OR APPROPRIATE TO
   31  FULFILL THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE OFFICE.
   32    S 996-E. PRINCIPAL OFFICE AND  SATELLITE  OFFICES.  THE  OFFICE  SHALL
   33  MAINTAIN  ITS  PRINCIPAL  OFFICE  IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK AND SHALL HAVE
   34  SATELLITE OFFICES IN OTHER LOCATIONS WITHIN THE STATE OF NEW YORK  WHERE
   35  THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT CONCENTRATIONS OF COOPERATIVE OR CONDOMINIUM HOUS-
   36  ING.
   37    S  996-F.  ASSISTANCE  OF  OTHER  STATE  AGENCIES.  TO  EFFECTUATE THE
   38  PURPOSES OF THIS ARTICLE, THE OMBUDSMAN MAY REQUEST AND SHALL  BE  ENTI-
   39  TLED  TO  RECEIVE  FROM ANY STATE AGENCY, AND THE SAME ARE AUTHORIZED TO
   40  PROVIDE, SUCH ASSISTANCE, SERVICES, FACILITIES, AND DATA AS WILL  ENABLE
   41  THE  OFFICE  TO  CARRY  OUT  ITS  FUNCTIONS, POWERS AND DUTIES, AND SUCH
   42  TEMPORARILY OR PERMANENTLY ASSIGNED PERSONNEL AS  THE  DIRECTOR  OF  THE
   43  BUDGET MAY APPROVE.
   44    S  996-G.  REPORTS  TO THE GOVERNOR, ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE LEGISLA-
   45  TURE. THE OFFICE SHALL MAKE AN ANNUAL  REPORT,  TO  BE  RECEIVED  ON  OR
   46  BEFORE JANUARY FIRST, TO THE GOVERNOR, ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE LEGISLA-
   47  TURE CONCERNING THE ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN BY THE OFFICE, RECOMMENDATIONS
   48  FOR  LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS, DATA CONCERNING PROGRAM ACTIVITIES AND OTHER
   49  PERTINENT INFORMATION AS MAY BE REQUIRED.
   50    S 996-H. CONTRACT AUTHORITY. THE OFFICE IS HEREBY EMPOWERED  TO  ENTER
   51  INTO  ANY AGREEMENT OR CONTRACT WITH ANY STATE OR LOCAL AGENCY NECESSARY
   52  OR CONVENIENT TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE.
   53    S 996-I. SEPARABILITY. IF ANY CLAUSE, SENTENCE, PARAGRAPH, SECTION  OR
   54  PART  OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE ADJUDGED BY ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURIS-
   55  DICTION TO BE INVALID, SUCH JUDGMENT SHALL NOT AFFECT, IMPAIR OR INVALI-
   56  DATE THE REMAINDER THEREOF, BUT SHALL BE CONFINED IN  ITS  OPERATION  TO
       A. 34                               5

    1  THE  CLAUSE,  SENTENCE,  PARAGRAPH,  SECTION  OR  PART  THEREOF DIRECTLY
    2  INVOLVED IN THE CONTROVERSY IN  WHICH  SUCH  JUDGMENT  SHALL  HAVE  BEEN
    3  RENDERED.
    4    S  2.  The tax law is amended by adding a new section 186-g to read as
    5  follows:
    6    S 186-G. RESIDENTIAL UNIT FEE. A COOPERATIVE HOUSING CORPORATION OR  A
    7  HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, AS SUCH TERMS ARE DEFINED IN SECTION TWO HUNDRED
    8  TEN OF THIS CHAPTER, SHALL PAY AN ANNUAL FEE OF SIX DOLLARS PER YEAR FOR
    9  EACH  RESIDENTIAL UNIT LOCATED IN A BUILDING OR BUILDINGS OWNED OR OPER-
   10  ATED BY SUCH CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION. SUCH FEE SHALL  BE  PAYABLE  TO
   11  THE  DEPARTMENT.  ALL  REVENUE  FROM  THE  FEE  IMPOSED PURSUANT TO THIS
   12  SECTION SHALL BE PAID BY THE DEPARTMENT TO THE STATE COMPTROLLER  TO  BE
   13  DEPOSITED TO AND CREDITED TO THE OFFICE OF THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMIN-
   14  IUM  OMBUDSMAN  FUND,  ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SECTION EIGHTY-ONE OF THE
   15  STATE FINANCE LAW.
   16    S 3. The state finance law is amended by adding a new  section  81  to
   17  read as follows:
   18    S  81.  OFFICE  OF  THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN FUND. 1.
   19  THERE IS HEREBY ESTABLISHED IN THE CUSTODY OF THE  STATE  COMPTROLLER  A
   20  SPECIAL FUND TO BE KNOWN AS THE "OFFICE OF THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMIN-
   21  IUM OMBUDSMAN FUND".
   22    2.  THE OFFICE OF THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN FUND SHALL
   23  CONSIST OF MONIES APPROPRIATED THERETO, FUNDS TRANSFERRED FROM ANY OTHER
   24  FUND OR SOURCES, AND MONIES DEPOSITED THEREIN PURSUANT  TO  SECTION  ONE
   25  HUNDRED EIGHTY-SIX-G OF THE TAX LAW.
   26    3. THE MONIES IN THE OFFICE OF THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OMBUDS-
   27  MAN  FUND  SHALL  BE KEPT SEPARATE FROM AND SHALL NOT BE COMMINGLED WITH
   28  ANY OTHER MONIES IN THE CUSTODY OF THE STATE  COMPTROLLER.  SUCH  MONIES
   29  SHALL  BE  ALLOCATED TO AND EXPENDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LAW SOLELY FOR
   30  THE STAFFING AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE OFFICE  OF  THE  COOPERATIVE  AND
   31  CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN OF SUCH DEPARTMENT.
   32    S 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
   33  it shall have become a law.
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