Q. I have been living as a rent controlled tenant in a 100-unit building on the Upper West Side that went condo in a non-eviction plan last year.  A gym and children's playroom were added.

There has been discussions that the rental tenants will not be given access to the gym. Note that the condo owners do NOT pay any additional fees for gym access.  

Is this legal?   

A.  Yes and maybe, say our experts.

The Rent Stabilization Code and the Rent and Eviction Regulations do not require your building to grant renters access to new amenity spaces, says co-op and condo attorney Robert Braverman of Braverman & Associates.

That said, if the owner of your apartment wants to get involved (and that's a potentially big if), they might be able to successfully argue in court that because their common charges are helping to pay for the gym, their tenants "should be permitted to use them, especially if there are no additional fees being paid by condo owners," says Braverman.

Real estate broker and asset manager Roberta Axelrod of Time Equities points out that although shutting renters out of a new gym may be perfectly legal, "It is not permissible to diminsh any service that rent-regulated tenants had prior to the conversion of the building to a condo."

In that case, the tenant would be entitled to a rent reduction for the diminished service.

As a practical matter, she says, "some condos do permit rental tenants access to the new services for an additional charge paid directly to the condo.  I find that there is less dissension and divisiveness in buildings where all residents have access to building services. Otherwise, it creates two classes of residents."


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