To the editor:
(re: “This new co-op law couldn’t hurt,” Jan. 9)
From his recent letter, it appears Zachary Berman does not really understand co-operative housing.
That is not surprising. Many people — including co-op members — do not understand co-ops.
He says, “co-op shareholders are essentially tenants with equity and mortgage bills.” A better description would be tenants who own the buildings they live in. They are tenant-owners. The idea that there is a conflict of interest between the co-op and its shareholders is like saying there is a conflict of interest between the cells of a body and the body as a whole. It does not make sense.
The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act was written to protect renters from unscrupulous landlords. The relationship of a co-operative and its members is very different.
The vast majority of co-op members do the right thing. They pay their bills on time and don’t bother their neighbors. It is only a small percent that create problems for the co-operative. Whether it is application fees or late fees, legal bills or certified mail, any increase in a co-op’s cost is a cost for all the people who live there.
The new law protects the few difficult people, and places a burden on the people who do the right thing. Government should not be doing that. The distinctions are clear.