Rent Coach Mike Akerly

Q. I am currently in the process of renting a condo.  I found it through my broker and I met with the owner of the apartment about a week and a half ago.  She loved us (the apartment is for me and my boyfriend, and our cat) and we signed the lease.  She said she had to submit the lease to the board for approval.  I gave her my security deposit, which was deposited into her account.

I heard from her last week and she said that the management company approved my application and that she was now just waiting for the board to approve. 

From what I can gather, the board in a condo can only exercise its right of first refusal?  So that would mean that unless they want to rent the condo under the same terms as my lease states, we should be approved?  Is there any other reason they can turn us down?

I am just so nervous about this process. I have to be out of my current apartment and just want the official ok.  Any info would be GREATLY appreciated.

A. Your understanding is correct.  Unlike a co-op board, a condo board only has a right of first refusal, not a right of approval.  It must either exercise that right (which is exceedingly rare for them to do) or issue a waiver of their right. 

The managing agent doesn’t have a right of approval either, but they do have the practical ability to hold up an application until it’s “complete” so they can pass it on to the board. 

At this point, you probably don’t have much to worry about. 

However, do keep in mind that (at least in Manhattan and Brooklyn) boards often take 15 – 45 days to handle this kind of business. You might be able to find out from the owner or your broker when the board intends to meet next (or more generally how often they typically meet to review applications).  Sometimes the condo by-laws require the board to issue their waiver in certain time frame and it is “deemed issued” after that time.  That’s probably not something for you to worry about now as there likely won’t be a problem.  


Mike Akerly is a New York City real estate attorney, landlord, and real estate broker. He is also the publisher of the Greenwich Village blog VillageConfidential.     

Note: The information provided here is for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and cannot substitute for the advice of a licensed professional applying their specialized knowledge to the particular circumstances of your case.

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Rent Coach Mike Akerly is a NYC real estate attorney, landlord, real estate broker, and the publisher of the Greenwich Village blog VillageConfidential.