How Do I Force a Developer to Finish Construction Work in My Building?

Logo The New York TimesThe New York Times
2023-06-10 09:00:18  • 3 mins

Legally, a developer doesnt need to finish the common areas in a building to start selling apartments. But there is pressure you can apply.

Q: Last year I bought a condo in a brand-new six-unit building in Brooklyn. The common areas were still under construction when I closed. Fourteen months later, this work is still not done. My neighbors and I continue to press the developer, and periodically hell send a few workers to do a half day of work, hardly sufficient to finish the job. The developer still controls the board, but another apartment is under contract and if the sale closes, the owners will control the board. How can we persuade him to finish the work?

A: Surprising as it may seem, a developer doesnt need to finish the common areas in a building to get a temporary certificate of occupancy and start selling apartments. The practice is so common that most offering plans have language compelling buyers to close on apartments in buildings that are still construction sites, according to Leni Morrison Cummins, chairwoman of the condo and co-op department at the Manhattan office of the law firm Cozen OConnor.

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