I lived in NYC for 18 years, I have been living in Madrid for 12 but I have a condominium in NYC. NYC as far as I know is unique in the world on its system of property ownership, especially the Coop. Coops are one the most surreal form of property ownership that you can imagine (the other one being the London thing that your grandchildren lose your apartment to some noble person). Basically Coops are buildings in which you don´t really own your apartment but you own shares in a corporation that can exclude anyone for any reason. Coops are a way that certain New Yorkers found to increase the probability that their neighbors will be somebody they like and abide by all the weird rules that the shareholders may want to have (in one coop of mine my downstairs neighbor forced me to cover my beautiful wooden floors with wall to wall carpet because he said he could hear me walk). Among the unusual rules of Coops there´s the one that you cannot sell your apartment to anyone you like but it has to be sold to someone that the others like and they do not need to explain why they don´t like him/her. Also many coops don´t allow you to have guests stay at your apartment when you travel, or rent your apartment out. Lastly Coops are entitled to look at the finances of somebody who buys into the building as if they were the IRS. Condominiums on the other side are a system that is similar to the style of ownership that there is say in Paris or Madrid but in my case they still ask you about your finances to make sure you can afford the expenses. In my view all they should do is ask you that proof that you can pay the expenses and not about all your assets.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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