If you purchased a co-op unit, you should review your buildings “house rules” or call your building's management company and ask for a copy of a generic Alteration Agreement. These documents outline what renovations don't need prior board approval and which ones do. The agreement should also outline what will be needed in order to gain board approval for your renovation project. It's not as easy as submitting an application, though. The Co-op board's primary responsibility in reviewing your plans is to ensure the building will be protected from any liabilities and to detail the terms in the Alteration Agreement so everyone is on the same page before the project moves forward.
Things to know:
- Your building may have their own architect review and approve your plans, and you should be prepared to pay for this service as part of the approval process.
- Your building may have the management company check in on the project from time to time to ensure you are adhering to the terms of the Alteration Agreement.
- In older buildings, Alteration Agreements sometimes require the kitchen and bath units to stay within the original footprint, so check in on the house rules if this is part of your renovation plan.
- Giving your neighbors and building staff a heads up about your project (and perhaps even bringing them cookies!) goes a longway, especially when the work gets noisy or if your building doesn't have a service elevator.
- If a contractor and architect have done projects in your building before, it can be very helpful to ensure a smooth process.