I own a New York City Co-op but can’t find my stock and lease. Will I be able to sell my apartment?

As an owner of a cooperative apartment in New York City, you already know that your ownership interest consists of shares of stock in the cooperative corporation and a proprietary lease which entitles you to possession of  your apartment.  When you transfer ownership of the apartment, you will need to surrender the original stock certificate and  proprietary lease at the closing of your sale.

If you purchased your apartment with a loan from a bank, the original stock certificate and proprietary lease would have been taken by the bank’s attorney at the closing of your purchase and held by the bank until your loan is paid off.  When you are under contract to sell your apartment, your attorney will need to contact your bank well before the anticipated closing date to arrange to have your bank deliver the original documents to the closing.  Often banks take several weeks or more to locate and send these documents to their attorneys.  The bank’s attorneys will then send a representative to the closing to deliver the stock certificate and lease upon receipt of a check paying off your loan.

On the other hand, if you purchased your apartment without bank financing, you would have been given the original stock certificate and proprietary lease at your closing.  When you are selling your apartment and cannot locate the original documents, you or your attorney must contact the co-op’s management company or their attorney to see what their policy is concerning lost stock certificates and leases.  Some co-ops only require a “lost instrument affidavit and indemnification” which you will sign at the closing.  Of course you will be charged an additional fee for the preparation of these documents.  Other co-ops require that you purchase a lost instrument bond from a surety company, the cost of which depends upon the amount of the bond.

Needless to say, if you receive the original stock certificate and proprietary lease when you buy your cooperative apartment, keep them in a safe place such as a safe deposit box or you may be faced with additional costs and delays if you can’t locate them when you decide to sell. Even if you believe you have the original documents, it’s a good idea to let your attorney review them prior to closing to make sure you won’t have any problems.



About George H. Dippel, Attorney at Law

George H. Dippel has been practicing law for over 30 years. He is a graduate of Cornell Law School and a former partner at the law firm of Rivkin Radler in their real estate/banking department. Mr. Dippel opened his own law offices in 1993 in Bayside, Queens, New York. Mr. Dippel has assisted thousands of clients throughout Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester with their wills, probate, trusts, real estate and business matters. In addition to practicing law, Mr. Dippel has taught real estate courses in Long Island University’s paralegal program. He is also a licensed real estate instructor and has taught real estate licensing courses in the New York Metropolitan area. Mr. Dippel is admitted to practice in all New York State Courts and the Federal Eastern and Southern District Courts.
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