Supported by

WHEN rental property becomes cooperative or condominium property and tenants become owners, maintenance becomes a big problem.
''The typical building taken over in a conversion has literally been milked for years by owners who defer maintenance because they didn't have the money to put back into the buildings or they anticipated selling the building,'' said Richard L. Koral, secretary-treasurer of the Apartment House Institute. Many boards of directors and building managers have been slow to deal with maintenance problems, he added, because they or their managers lacked technical expertise or wanted to keep expenses down.
In any event, the first step in restoring a building to top condition is to hire a professional engineer to do a complete survey of the building's structure and mechanical equipment. Mary Ann Rothman, administrator of the New York Council on Cooperatives, an educational group, said new co-ops should probably not rely on the engineer who examined the building during the conversion process.
''Those reports are really just playing a role in the conversion game,'' she said. ''The sponsor's engineer is supposed to say the building needs minimal repairs and the tenants' engineer is supposed to say that the building is falling apart at the seams. Boards really need a third opinion.''
(To find an engineer, check with local professional organizations for engineers or call the Apartment House Institute at 239-1661).
An engineer will recommend repairs that require immediate attention and then set up a schedule for preventive maintenance. This is essentially a routine for periodically inspecting every corner of a building, servicing and cleaning equipment and maintaining records. Some engineers will personally oversee the program on a contractual basis.
We are having trouble retrieving the article content.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.
Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.
Thank you for your patience while we verify access.
Already a subscriber? Log in.
Want all of The Times? Subscribe.