The main source of any condo or co-op’s revenue comes from monthly maintenance fees. That seems self-evident.
But sometimes a building or development may suddenly need to undergo emergency repairs or fund large capital improvement projects, and the board may be reluctant to once again raise maintenance fees, especially if the co-op or condo is a middle-income or low-income one. The building may then seek to come up with other, creative ways to increase their cash flow, build up their reserve fund and stay solvent.
One of the most visible ways to raise revenue for your HOA may be to rent out your rooftop to a cell phone company for cell phone antennas. This, indeed, could be a bonanza for residential buildings, whether they are co-op, condo or rental. Especially in the early 2000s, they seemed to be going up everywhere. Today, there may be fewer such opportunities because there are fewer cell phone companies but when they do exist they can be lucrative.
Both cell phone antennas and an older type of use of exterior space—advertising signs, in other words—are controversial, and it can be difficult to obtain membership’s approval if required by the governing documents, says attorney Hubert Cutolo of the Hubert Cutolo Law Firm in Manalapan. Aesthetic appearances are, of course, one of the reasons owners may object to having billboards or other signage attached to the exterior of HOA buildings.
On the other hand, says shareholder attorney David Byrne with the law firm of Stark & Stark in Lawrenceville, “If counsel is involved in the review, negotiation and execution of the relevant lease and/or agreement, the building’s rights can be sufficiently protected.”