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Ask an Expert: Do I have to tell the board that my boyfriend moved out?

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By Teri Karush Rogers  |
May 1, 2012 - 2:23PM

Q. A few years ago I bought a two-bedroom co-op with my boyfriend at the time. About 5 months ago he decided to end the relationship and moved out. At first I was going to sell but over time decided to try to make it work on my own.

Do I need to tell my board/management that he no longer lives in the apartment?   I am also looking to refinance and want to try to lower my mortgage as well as remove his name. Do I have to inform the board of this?

A.  So long as your name is also on the proprietary lease, your co-op board has no right to know that your boyfriend moved out, say our experts.

Not so if you attempt to refinance or take his name off the proprietary lease, which you will need to do if you are applying for a mortgage by yourself.

"The bank would be very interested in who resides in the apartment--who is available to make payments, and are the borrowers maintaining the apartment as their primary residence," says real estate attorney Dean Roberts of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus.  

You'll need to tell the board--and the board may refuse to allow you to take his name off of the proprietary lease.

The board may have based its approval of your apartment purchase in part on your boyfriend's income or credit, explains real estate attorney Jeffrey Reich of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz.

"You're asking the board to allow one of the shareholders to escape any liability that he or she may have for the financial obligations associated with ownership," says Reich.

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Teri Karush Rogers

Founder & Publisher

Founder and publisher Teri Karush Rogers launched Brick Underground in 2009. As a freelance journalist, she had previously covered New York City real estate for The New York Times. Teri has been featured as an expert on New York City residential real estate by The New York Times, New York Daily News, amNew York, NBC Nightly News, The Real Deal, Business Insider, the Huffington Post, and NY1 News, among others. Teri earned a BA in journalism and a law degree from New York University.

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