White Plains, NY — On Monday night, the Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a bipartisan measure that will create new rules for the sale of co-op apartments in the county.  The new rules are designed to make the process faster for buyers and sellers, and to help combat discrimination.

Under the new legislation, the boards of cooperatives -- which approve the sale of individual units -- will have 15 days to tell buyers whether or not their applications for purchase are complete.  Once an application is deemed complete, boards will have 60 days to accept or reject the application.  If an application is rejected, the co-op board must send a notice of the rejection to the County's Human Rights Commission, which has the power to investigate instances of discrimination under the County's Fair Housing Law.

The measure, which follows months of committee-meeting discussions with buyers, sellers, realtors and representatives of co-op boards, passed by a vote of 13 to 4.  

Legislator Christopher A. Johnson (D - Yonkers), one of the bill's co-sponsors, said, "The process of buying and selling a co-op in Westchester County today isn't timely, it isn't transparent, and sometimes isn't fair. This new measure, when it’s signed into law, will give buyers and sellers of co-ops a time frame they can count on, so their lives aren't stalled waiting for and wondering when a board will act. It will also give the Human Rights Commission the information it needs to act when there's a pattern of discrimination."

Legislator Catherine Borgia, (D - Cortlandt, Croton on Hudson, Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, Peekskill), another of the bill's co-sponsors, said, "Although requiring co-ops to give buyers written reasons when they've been denied would have been great,  the measure we passed is an important first step in making the co-op sales process more timely and transparent.  We expect the process to be faster and smoother going forward, and we expect the Human Rights Commission to be diligent in looking at the rejection data to make sure all Westchester residents are treated equally when it comes to co-op housing."

Board Chair Ben Boykin (D – White Plains, Scarsdale, Harrison) said, “This legislation was developed over a long period of time with a lot of community input. I’m proud to say that working together, listening to the concerns of everyone involved -- co-op boards, co-op owners, co-op buyers, and realtors -- we've crafted a measure that improves the process and fights discrimination.”

The measure now goes to County Executive George Latimer for his signature.

For text of the bill, the committee report and the legislative history visit: https://bit.ly/2FsPbVf