Among the many positive aspects of apartment ownership (rather than renting) are long-term stability and long-term occupancy. Long a city of mostly renters, New York City has transitioned into more and more a city of owners over the past 40 years with the advent and success of the co-op and condominium boom, both in the conversion of existing properties and the construction of new ones. One of the results of this shifting model is the evolution of Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities – or NORCs, for short.
According to the website of Goddard-Riverside Community Center, located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, “The NORC model emerged in the mid-1980s to provide support to people aging in place along with their neighbors. NORCs tap into the combined power of public and private funding, housing partnerships, philanthropies, corporations, community stakeholders and residents to offer the services tenants need. Without this support, many older adults would have to move into assisted living or nursing home facilities before it’s necessary.”
As with everything and anything related to co-op and condo ownership, there are legal considerations for any board, association and/or cooperative corporation considering NORC designation. Deborah Koplovitz is a co-op and condominium attorney with Anderson Kill, a law firm located in Manhattan. According to her,
“The NORC designation and the types of government funding that may be available do involve meeting certain legal and factual criteria. A board needs to ensure that the co-op or condo’s governing documents allow the board to take the steps that are necessary to obtain NORC designation, for any expenditures involved, to be able to provide the services involved, and to be able to make modifications to the building’s common areas.”
Additionally, she cautions that “The board should check with its insurance broker to confirm that its current insurance will protect the board and building in the event of an accident or other claim relating to the services that are being provided on-site. Also, a board should expect that requests for ‘reasonable accommodations’, will increase as the resident population ages. That being said, from a practical standpoint, it seems that there are a lot of benefits to the residents themselves in a NORC, not just the older residents, but for the younger ones as well, who get the benefit of living in a diverse, vibrant community.”
To read the full article: NORCs on the Rise - A Look at Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities