The Market

Yes, your condo board can swoop in and kill your sale

By Lucy Cohen Blatter  | November 18, 2014 - 12:59PM

Co-op boards tend to get a bad rap in this city for being snobby, holding up sales and rejecting buyers out of hand.  But what many people may not realize is that when it comes to sales, condo boards also have a so-called "right of first refusal," which means that they, too,  can stop your sale. While it's rare for a condo board to use this power, it has been known to happen. Here's what you need to know, according to Habitat Magazine.

The rules:

  • As long as the condo board meets the seller's asking price, they can buy the apartment themselves and reject your  buyer.
  • Most bylaws give a board 20 to 30 days after an application  is submitted to either exercise or waive its right to purchase the unit.
  • Sometimes the board needs a simple majority of condo owners to purchase the unit; other times they need permission from two-thirds.

When it could actually happen:

  • If the board thinks  your price is too low (which may affect the building's future property values), they may step in and buy the apartment, then resell it at a later date.
  • Similarly, if they don't like the buyer--say, a celebrity who will attract swarms of photographers to the building--they may refuse the sale.
  • In some cases, the board may want the condo for a live-in super or community room.


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