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Can my co-op building dictate how many air conditioners I install?

By Alanna Schubach  | May 31, 2022 - 12:30PM

Turns out, co-ops can have rules about ACs too.


Can my co-op building restrict the number or placement of my window air conditioners?

Depending on the language of the co-op's proprietary lease, yes, there may be limitations on how many air conditioners you can have in your apartment, our experts say.

As a shareholder in a co-op, you are subject to the rules outlined in the proprietary lease, which could include restrictions related to AC use and placement. 

"Many proprietary leases provide that the apartment windows are maintained by the lessor—the apartment corporation," says Jeffrey Reich, a partner in the law firm of Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas. "If your lease so provides, then the board of directors would have the right to control how the windows are used, what appliances can be installed, and how they can be installed in the apartment windows." 

It's also possible, he adds, that the lease requires to you get the board's approval before you install any AC units. 

And note that the city also has rules for installation. Local Law 11 requires that in any building six stories or higher, window air conditioning units must be installed with brackets for support. It may be a good idea to get a professional to help you with this. 

Another factor to be mindful of when putting in an AC is pest control. 

"Be sure to block the space below so small birds can't nest, and you might want to put bird spikes on top when it's easy to do," says Gil Bloom, president of Standard Pest Management. "That way, you can avoid early morning bird wake-up tweets and possible bird mites." 

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Alanna Schubach

Contributing writer

Contributing editor Alanna Schubach has over a decade of experience as a New York City-based freelance journalist.

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