In the never ending battle between co-op boards and tenant-shareholders, co-op boards recently scored a big victory. In Goldstone v. Gracie Towers Apartment Corp., the Appellate Division, First Department, held that a board’s plan to restore an apartment damaged by a catastrophic leak and toxic mold was acceptable even though it involved reconfiguring the apartment and eliminating 50 square feet of living space from the 1400-square foot apartment. The unanimous four-judge panel found that the loss of space was de minimus.
The question left unanswered by the court is: if loss of approximately 4% of an apartment’s livable space is de minimus, where does one draw the line? 5%? 10%? As with many precedents, those questions will have to be answered by the next case.
The silver lining for the tenant-shareholder in this case is that the court left open the possibility that she will be entitled to a reduction in her monthly maintenance.