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Ask an expert: Can my co-op ban my daughter from the roof deck?

Posted on April 8, 2013

A reader’s daughter threw a party while she was out of down and caused damage. Experts weigh in on how much money the co-op can charge for damages to the building.

BY / BRICKUNDERGROUND.COM

ANTHONY LANZILOTE FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

What do you do if your apartment building charges you for damage caused by a party?

 Q. Our teenage daughter threw a party in our apartment (without our permission while we were away) and some of her friends apparently got out of hand.

Now the co-op board is saying we owe $6,500 in damages to some plantings on the building’s roof deck. That seems like a lot of money for some plants, and it wasn’t even my daughter who was involved–it was her friends.

Also, the board has banned my daughter from using the roof deck until she turns 18. What are our rights?

A. While your co-op is perfectly within its rights to bill you for the damage inflicted by your daughter’s friends, you are perfectly within yours to question the amount, say our experts.

Co-op owners have “a right to be provided with substantiation for the amount being charged, such as invoices from the building’s landscaper or with respect to the repair and replacement of any broken items,” says real estate attorney Jeffrey Reich of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz.

You could try recoup some of the cost from your own apartment insurance policy, which covers negligence of you and your immediate family members living with you.

“In this situation, your daughter may have been negligent in not supervising the party,” says apartment insurance broker Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc.

However, he cautions, “there may be factors here which will limit coverage. For example, liability coverage does not extend to intentional damage done by teenagers, and an argument can be made here that this was deliberate or readily foreseeable. Liability coverage also typically doesn’t cover breakage or damage to another person’s property under your care, custody or control.”

As for the rooftop ban, you could contest it and potentially get it removed–but it may be smarter not to make a stink, says Reich.

In a worst-case scenario, he says, the board may instead decide “to declare your daughter’s conduct objectionable, thereby putting your right to continued occupancy of your apartment in jeopardy.”

Teri Karush Rogers is the founder and editor of BrickUnderground.com, the online survival guide to finding a NYC apartment and living through the aftermath.