Real Estate Q & A

JUNE 21, 2012


A Day Care Business in the Co-op Above

Q: I live in a co-op building in Washington Heights. There is a day care center operating in the apartment above me. According to our co-op papers, this is not permitted in the building. Sometimes as many as 10 children are running around on wood floors above me from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and building management will do nothing about it. What can I do?

A:Lior Aldad, a Manhattan co-op and condominium lawyer, says that state law provides that municipalities and private landlords may not prohibit day care centers in private apartments as long as the facility is properly licensed by the state. “The co-op board is probably aware that the upstairs residents know that the law gives them the right to operate a day care facility in their apartment even if the proprietary lease or bylaws prohibit such a use,” Mr. Aldad said.

He noted, however, that many governing documents require shareholders to cover at least 80 percent of the floor with rugs or carpeting. If such a rule exists, the writer can demand that the board enforce it. And if the noise is so severe that it constitutes a nuisance, the writer can file a lawsuit in State Supreme Court against the upstairs tenants.