Cooperative & Condominium Law

Cooperative and Condominium Law

The attorneys of Smith, Buss & Jacobs believe that co-op and condominium representation is a relationship, not a transaction. We currently advise over 370 cooperative and condominium associations throughout the greater New York metro area, including the largest cooperative in New York City, Co-Op City, in the Bronx, the result of a first-of-kind $600 million refinancing through HUD and for which we endure as general counsel.

Our clients benefit from responsive access to senior advisors. We cut out rigmarole to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and incentivize collaboration within the firm to effectively counsel associations on the full spectrum of the management and operations of cooperative and condominium buildings.


General Counsel for Associations
Intelligence + Practicality

Our mandate is to help clients achieve the smooth and confident operation of their association – we believe your legal bills should go down over time. Our law firm philosophy brings the full weight of our collective experience to provide efficient, high value legal service.

Our co-op/condo client base has grown to more than 370 associations throughout the greater New York metro area, ranging from Co-op City – the largest cooperative housing corporation in the country – down to small, self-managed buildings seeking cost-effective support. We apply the same thoughtful, client-centric approach to every association whom we represent.

Because of our deep commercial real estate experience, we understand the practical operating needs of our co-op/condo clients, allowing us to develop creative solutions to their unique commercial requirements. For example, we created a new, hybrid class of documentation in collaboration with HUD and New York City to achieve a first-of-kind $600 million mortgage refinancing for Co-op City and a $200,000,000 refinancing for Penn South in Manhattan. We routinely apply that expertise in leasing, construction and financing transactions on behalf of our Association clients over the full life cycle of management and operations of their buildings.

On a day-to-day basis, we guide boards in every aspect of governance, including drafting and reviewing of governing documents, fiduciary obligations, election disputes, alterations and owner issues. Our general counsel services incorporate practical advice regarding common problems including protection against potential liability, dispute resolution, contract negotiations, labor law representation, and litigation services.

We maintain a full-service transfer department for sales and purchases, and a full-time default and landlord/tenant law department to streamline collection of arrears. We also represent new boards who may need to address issues with their Sponsor. Our clients benefit from responsive access to senior advisors to cut down rigmarole, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and incentivize collaboration between attorneys, management and Boards.

  • Facilitating the transition from Sponsor control to independent control of co-op and condo Boards
  • Assisting newly established Boards in developing governance policies
  • Preparing alteration agreements, sublet agreements, rules and regulations and other essential building policy documents
  • Negotiating (and litigating) with Sponsors to adhere to promises of the offering plan
  • Counseling established associations in every area of corporate governance
  • Providing general legal advice on day-to-day matters
  • Protecting the long-term interests of the association

Offering Plans
Foresight + Confidence

We understand the full dimensions of a developer’s current and potential requirements throughout every phase of the conversion process.

Our condominium lawyers have thirty-five years of experience preparing and filing hundreds of offering plans for condominiums and cooperatives. We have excellent relationships with the New York State Attorney General’s office and have access to key experts in all related fields. Combined with our transactional and association expertise, we understand the title and financing issues that arise during offerings and are able to create mechanisms to allow the developer to avoid problems with the Attorney General’s office and deal with the property rights and obligations of the sponsor post-conversion.

We also represent the interests of sponsors dealing with associations after a condominium or cooperative has started operations. We advise sponsors throughout the sensitive post-conversion negotiations with associations over Board control and construction defect claims. We routinely file offering plan amendments with the Attorney General’s office and assist Sponsors to stay in compliance with changing AG regulations.

  • Structuring and drafting offering plans
  • Ensuring that developers’ financing and sales needs are reflected in loan and construction documents
  • Negotiating terms of sale and purchase on behalf of Sponsors and tenant associations
  • Facilitating the transition from Sponsor control to independent control of co-op and condo Boards