An owner of a building with nine or more apartments must either:
1) Live in the building and perform janitorial services himself,
2) Hire a resident superintendent; or
3) Employ a person or agency to perform janitorial services on a 24- hour-a-day basis.
If you hire a superintendent, they must have a telephone where he or she can reasonably be expected to be reached.
Fire Department rules require owners to flameproof drapes or other types of combustible decorations in common areas inside the building. Rather than purchasing expensive products, landlords can make their own fire retardants by mixing 1 pound of alum with one pint of hot water. All you have to do is soak the cloth in the mixture and let it dry.
You are not required to sample air for mold spores. Air sampling methods are prone to false negative results and you cannot make a decision based on mere visual inspection. However, air monitoring may be necessary if:
1) A tenant is diagnosed with a disease that may be associated with mold exposure;
2) Mold has gotten into the building's ventilation system and you as the owner need to determine how much the building has been affected; or
3) You suspect mold due to musky odor
Paint apartments every 3 years,
Paint exterior window frames and sashes every 5 years,
Paint fire escape with two coats of paint of contrasting colors,
Keep halls in lobbies painted,
Whitewash or paint air shafts and interior courtyards,
Galvanize or paint metal chimneys,
Clean or paint water tanks without contaminating water, and
Keep a record of when they have been painted.
If your tenants do not want their apartments painted, ask them to submit a letter saying so.
As landlord, you are required to submit a Tenant Protection Plan to the Department of Buildings 72 hours before beginning work in a building. The elements of the Tenant Protection Plan may vary depending on the nature and scope of the work but at a minimum shall make detailed and specific provisions for:
If you keep the door to your boiler locked, you must post a sign naming the person entrusted with the key and specify his location. The sign must read: "Key to heating system area lock is located with (insert name of the person with the key) at (the person's location)." NYCHA buildings are exempt from the requirement. Sponsored by Heat Watch
Some larger elevator buildings lose as much as $20,000 each year as heat escapes through the vents at the tops of elevator shafts and stairwells. Installing louvers that better regulate ventilation can significantly reduce those loses and save landlords thousands of dollars annually.
Sponsored by Best Energy Power.
If no unsolicited advertising is wanted in your building, this sign must be at least five inches by seven inches in size and should contain lettering at least one inch in size. "Do Not Place Unsolicited Advertising Materials on This Property." In multiple dwellings, the sign can alternatively state the number of unsolicited advertisements that may be placed. Sponsored RCN
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development has authorized the use of energy efficient "compact fluorescent" bulbs to meet the lighting requirements. These bulbs require less wattage to produce the same level of illumination as incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Generally, a compact fluorescent bulb requires approximately one-fourth the wattage of an incandescent bulb to produce the same light. That means you can reduce the amount you spend on energy for lighting by 75%!
Sponsored by Best Energy Power.
Prevent boiler emergencies before they happen! Avoid scalding hot water, overrunning boilers, short cycling, return line leaks and lack of service complaints from tenants by monitoring and controlling your heat system. Heat Watch is not only the leader in boiler monitoring, they also have 100% safety record. Sponsored By Heat Watch
Tenants can install satellite dishes or antennas anywhere on the property that is their "exclusive use" as long as they are less than one meter (3'3.7") in diameter and securely mounted. This includes patios and balconies or in yards or gardens under the tenants' exclusive use. As the technology for interior installation develops, tenants may soon more commonly install satellite dishes inside their apartments. Sponsored Tip by: RCN
If you're in the market for a new roof, you may want to also consider having a solar system installed simultaneously. On top of providing your building with free power, solar systems add an additional layer of protection from the elements to your roof and can extend its lifespan.
Sponsored by Best Energy Power
When using Wifi, you have the option to use file sharing. File sharing is very handy, especially for groups of people. Whether you’re using iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive, file sharing allows a large team to work on a single project at once, or families to browse digital photo albums, or data specialists to organize large batches of information. This is very convenient, as long as you’re on your own secure network. In your building, you want to make sure that the file sharing setting is turned off, to make sure everyone receives privacy while surfing the web. Sponsored by RCN.
A Federal Communication Commissions (FCC) rule gives all tenants the right to install, maintain, and use either satellite dishes that are one-meter or less in diameter or television antennae of any size in any area under tenants' exclusive control. Sponsored Tip By: RCN
Where the router is placed is very important. Some people put it in an upstairs office or, even worse, the basement or attic. These areas make it hard for the wireless signal to reach devices. Try putting it in the center of your home in an elevated location preferably on the 1st floor, preferably in a room where the internet is frequently accessed.
Owners have three months from discovery or deemed discovery of a pet kept in violation of a "no pet" clause to commence a legal proceeding to enforce it. If you don't act on your "no pet" policy, it's the same as not having one at all.
To achieve 1 gig speed the following minimums are necessary:
Processor Intel i5X
2.5 GHZ Intel i5x
Hard Drive SSD
NIC 1000 Base T
One way to eliminate drafts is to insulate your electrical outlets. Place a hand in front of an outlet on a cold day. If you feel cold air, carefully remove the cover with a screwdriver, use caulking to fill gaps around the outside of the box, and insert a foam gasket specially made for insulating outlets. They are available at any home improvement store.
It’s a dirty job, but putting it off can result in water damage, clogs and a bigger mess come spring. Check downspouts for cracks or split seams and be sure they drain away from the foundation. Use extensions or splash backs to prevent water from seeping into the crawlspace or basement .
While working with a contractor from outside of your area may sometimes seem like a less expensive alternative, some of these contractors may not know of all the various rules and regulations by which they need to abide. This can lead to problems down the road once inspectors come to see if the work they performed is up to code. Local contractors, conversely, are far more familiar with these codes, especially in the city. This is why it's always better to trust a local.
Sponsored by Best Energy Power
This Thanksgiving make sure theres no pile of crumbs on your counter or floor is like a treasure chest to ants and other insects. Let them find treasure elsewhere - outside and far away from your home - by making sure you offer no treasure to be found in your own kitchen. Wipe your counters, sweep your floors, put food away immediately, and take out the trash regularly.
Harsh New York winters can wreak havoc on the outdoor metal and steel features of your building.
Industrial painting can help protect rooftop water towers, perimeter rooftops, balcony railings, rooftop steel dunnage and even machine rooms. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
Sponsored Tip by Finishing Solutions Network
There are many ways to reduce heating costs. The paramount rule: an efficient boiler is one that is turned off. Installing controls that automatically turn off your boiler when it doesn’t need to be running is also key to reducing your heating costs. Furthermore, being able to view the performance of the control system remotely is critical to sustaining your heat cost savings. Sponsored by Heat Watch
Tenants value an updated bathroom but that doesn’t mean you have to rip out and replace existing tubs and tiles. Bathtub refinishing gives a new life to your existing tubs. Refinishing also saves you the hassle and costs associated with tearing out an old tub and potentially damage tile and plumbing.
LandlordsNY vetted vendor Finishing Solutions Network is your one stop shop for your refinishing needs. The trained experts at FSN will have your bathtubs looking like new in a matter of hours!
Sponsored Tip by Finishing Solutions Network
Knowing how to recognize a good contractor can make or break your next project. So, what are the Top 5 indicators of an experienced and competent contractor?
FSN has a network of vetted finishing trades contractors who specialize in painting, taping, wallcovering, metal polishing, arch metal and glass. Don’t take any chances with your next project, let FSN connect you with an experienced contractor to get the job done right.… read more
Make sure you screen your tenants well. Running a background and credit check on your potential tenant is necessary to see if they were honest about past employment, credit history, or living arrangements. If they lie about these things on the application, they will lie to you about why the rent is late or how the damage occurred. Sponsored Tip by Yardi
For new construction: when discussing the pitch of your roof with your architect, let them know that you want to go solar. It will make a big difference in the design. Solar energy systems that are mounted onto roofs perform best when at an angle that is equal to the latitude of the location where it is installed.
Local Law 1 of 2004 requires owners of buildings built before Jan 1, 1960, with three or more apartments, to correct all lead- based paint hazards- that is, lead based paint hazards cited in a lead based paint violation from HPD or those discovered in a vacant apartment.
Owners of multiple dwellings must maintain at least one light at the building's front entrance. These lights must be kept burning from sunset to sunrise each day.
Safety and security are very important to tenants. By situating a laundry room in well-lit and highly visible location, you can ensure they always feel safe and sound on the property.
All individual solar cells on a module must receive full sunlight for the module to properly produce. In the past, if any portion of the module is shaded, the entire module power output, even those sections exposed to sunlight, is lowered as well as the other panels in the string. With today’s technology this had changed tremendously.
Sponsored by Best Energy Power
Make sure your laundry room has a sign that is easy to read and that states the rules and regulations to help keep it running.
Convert your coin machines to machines that use credit cards, as they will help track which tenants are using the laundry room, as well as anyone who is not a tenant and using the laundry room.
Install mirrors in every elevator. Failure to do so may result in fines.
Check with your local utility company and see what net meter options you have. In some locations, a company may issue you a power meter free and pay full price for electricity you generate.
Make sure your elevator is leveled with the ground. It may cause problems with your residents if it is not.
Declare your energy independence by using solar panels.
Replace the batteries on smoke detectors/CO2 detectors whenever a tenant vacates an apartment. This takes the responsibility of keeping a charged battery in the detector off the shoulders of your tenant, who may not be as proactive as they should be when it comes to keeping the devices in working order.
Sponsored by Best Energy Power
You should leave a basket or two in your laundry room, provided you have one. This way, if one tenant accidentally leaves his or her clothing in one of the machines, another tenant can remove it without being disrespectful. By fostering good tenant relations, you will save yourself from innumerable headaches.
Sponsored by ACES Laundry.
Monitoring wait times for elevators is an easy way to discern systems performance. Passengers should not have to wait more than 35 seconds for an elevator. If wait times of this length are common, your elevators may need repair or you may need to think about expanding capacity.
Sponsored by Consolidated Elevators
The NYC Building Operator Training program is a free service offered by the city that can improve the skills of operations and maintenance staff working in small to mid-sized residential buildings throughout the five boroughs. The program provides an overview of critical building systems with an emphasis on preventative maintenance and energy efficiency. A more efficient building is a more cost effective one!
Putting high-reflectivity films on your windows can reduce the amount of summer heat gain in your units. This translates into less energy needing to be used to cool these units and more savings for you.
If you have a hydraulic elevator that has not been used in a while or your building has experienced a drop in temperature, run the car to the top floor a few times before the building's occupants start using the elevator. This will warm up the oil in the system, thereby ensuring a smoother (and safer) ride.
Sponsored by Consolidated Elevator Services Corp.
If snow on the sidewalk or your walkway has turned to ice, you may want to use a snow spear to break it up. Unlike salt or calcium chloride, it's an immediate fix.
Believe it or not, some cleaning supplies can expire. Make sure to check the expiration dates of all your supplies at least once a year and to dispose of products that have gone bad.
New smart outlets can be controlled via WiFi by using a smartphone. They can monitor energy usage, track which appliances are being used at any time, and even turn on and off the lights, which may fool a potential burglar and make him think an empty home is occupied.
Sponsored by Securent.
While it is well known that solar panels can cut down on operating expenses for energy, its counterpart, solar thermal, can cut down on the amount of energy used to heat water. Using the energy and heat of the sun to heat your water means using less of the energy from your solar power system.
Sponsored by Best Energy Power.
Though carpet tiles are usually more expensive than broadloom carpeting, you don't need a professional to install them. This may end up saving you in the long haul.
Distressed properties can oftentimes be purchased at below-market values, but they're difficult to find. One of the signs of a distressed property is delinquent taxes. Properties with delinquent taxes are not difficult to find. One just needs to pull the most recent certificate of tax lien sale, a public record. The document will contain a list of thousands of properties with delinquent taxes. These properties may not necessarily be distressed, but there is a relatively good chance that they could be.
Sponsored by Feeder.
Before purchasing a property, make sure to pull the Certificate of Occupancy. If it doesn't match the way the building is being used, it could cause you a lot of legal headaches down the road.
Though one usually thinks of cars when thinking about window tints, tints or films can also be used to trap heat in apartments, which can cut down on energy expenses.
Film is a particularly good idea if you have units with skylights.
Ask your tenants if they are think they are going to remain in their apartments a few months before their lease is up. This will give you a chance to prepare should they not want to renew.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation suggests pruning your oak trees during the winter in order to prevent the spread of oak wilt, a disease that can devastate local oak populations.
Sponsored by Securent
Post notices that let your tenants know that dumping grease and spent cooking oil down the sink can lead to blockages. On top of costing landlords who need to hire plumbers to fix the clogs, the problem also costs the city, since 60% of the blockages in New York's sewer system are caused by discarded cooking oil.
Like inexpensive light bulbs, cheap throw-away air filters need to be replaced far more often than high-efficiency ones. Ultimately, this will cost you. More than just lasting longer than mediocre air filters, high-end filters extend the life of your HVAC system by keeping your system cleaner.
Sponsored by Consolidated Elevator Industries
Though it may seem like common sense, take some time to make sure everything is correct when you set out to get quotes and estimates. The more accurate your measurements and numbers are, the more accurate a quote or estimate will be. Furthermore, it will decrease the likelihood of a contractor or painter deviating from their initial number.
Always make certain that a contract has been signed by all parties involved in a transaction. Without a signature, the contract is meaningless.
Steam heating systems need to be thought of comprehensively. If you only make improvements to part of the system, other inefficiencies may persist. In other words, just putting in new windows won't make the temperature in the building more unified.
Sponsored by Best Energy Power
Invest in software that utilizes cloud computing. By switching over to the cloud you can significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for costly hardware systems.
Biodiesel reduces the amount of sulfur in your fuel and, consequently, cuts down on the amount of soot released when you burn it. As an effort to cut emissions, the state and the city of New York are both generous to landlords who switch from conventional fuel to biofuel.
According to the website energy.gov, "The value of the tax credit is $0.01/gallon for each percent of biodiesel blended with conventional home heating oil, up to a maximum of $0.20/ gallon. In other words, the purchaser of a mixture of 10% biodiesel and 90% conventional heating oil is entitled to a tax credit of $0.10/gallon."
Make sure to read your contractor's insurance policy. Just knowing that a contractor has a certificate of insurances does not always mean they are covered in all circumstances. Some insurance policies include exclusion clauses that can significantly increase what you are liable for should the worst take place. Some exclusions can even include "employees," which means the policy does not cover anyone performing work.
Sponsored by MGNY
A lot of landlords may have a DIY attitude when it comes to making repairs in a building. This is because maintenance performed by professionals can be expensive.
Don't try to do elevator maintenance yourself! To avoid serious injury and costly litigation, proper maintenance must be performed by trained professionals.
Sponsored by Consolidated Elevator Industries
Screen your maintenance staff just as thoroughly as you do your tenants. You need to know that your workers can be trusted in your building.
Check in on your tenants at least once a quarter to see if they need any basic repairs. Catching a small problem early on is a lot than letting it turn into a major one.
If you have a no pet policy, and either your super or you discover that a tenant has a pet, make sure to immediately inform them that the pet has to go. If you know about the pet for 90 days, and fail to take action to remove it, you nullify the no pet clause in the lease.
Make sure to prune any tree limbs that might be hanging over your roof before winter comes. They may break off and cause property damage if they are weighed down with ice or snow.
If you want to prevent slip and falls during the most extreme days of winter, use calcium chloride as a deicer. It is effective even at -20F, whereas rock salt ceases to work below 12F.
Between tenants, make sure you have someone perform maintenance on windows to prolong their lives.
Dig out the wood that has been damaged by moisture; clean the frame with a mixture of water and bleach; fill the holes with wood epoxy and wood protector; and finish the whole project with a little sanding, priming, and painting.
The Dept of Sanitation can fine you for not having a garbage can with a lid that is "tight fitting" enough under §27-2021. To avoid potential fines, get lids that securely snap into place.
Discourage your tenants from feeding stray cats. Though they may be cute, the food scraps may attract larger, unwanted and dangerous animals like skunks, raccoons, and coyotes.
Cleaning the coils on your A/C units and refrigerators will keep them running efficiently and smoothly. A $5 brush and a yearly cleaning will prolong the life of these expensive appliances.
Low flow aerators are efficient and save money. They're also inexpensive and easy to install. It's recommended that you use a 0.5 gpm aerator for bathroom sinks and a 1.0 gpm aerator for kitchen sinks.
Warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer can escape your building if your door threshold is not properly in place. If you can see daylight under your front door, then you're losing money. Turn the screws on the door's threshold counterclockwise. This will lift the threshold.Just make sure you don't raise it too high, otherwise the threshold will interfere with the opening and closing of the door. It may also cause damage to the door's weatherstripping.
Outdoor flood lights may not be the best means of preventing criminal activity, especially if they are not installed in a good location. A burglar who is forced to use a flashlight, or whose movement triggers a security light controlled by an infrared motion sensor, is much more likely to be spotted than one whose presence is masked by the blinding glare of poorly placed flood lighting.
Remain attentive to the area surrounding your building. Piles of leaves, trees, shrubs, and other landscaping around its perimeter can harbor black mold. Checking these areas on a regular basis is a simple way to ensure the integrity of your building and the health of your tenants.
Sponsored by Titan Facility Services, Inc.
If you can prove that painting was not considered an essential service in your building, you can charge an IAI (Individual Apartment Improvement) for painting a rent controlled apartment.
Sponsored by REZI.
All elevators in New York City will have to be inspected to ensure compliance with Code "K3" by January 1, 2020. The code states that all elevators need to have devices installed that will prevent the automatic operation of elevators with damaged door contact circuits. There is no grandfathering or getting around this code.
Sponsored by Consolidated Elevator Services Corp.
When preparing for an appeal of an assessed value, you must have detailed records of your monthly revenue. Be certain to track vacancies throughout the year, as any circumstances that result in a loss of revenue to the taxpayer must be documented and explained at the hearing.
Sponsored by MGNY Consulting
Not everything can be moved. This includes all hazardous or flammable materials:
Sponsored by Padded Wagon
Always be sure to keep elevator motor rooms cool and well ventilated. Heat is one of the main reasons for an elevator shutdown. To help prevent unnecessary shutdowns, make sure your elevator motor rooms are well ventilated and temperature controlled. It is stated by every OEM elevator control company that elevator motor rooms should not exceed below referenced levels. This will cause solid state controllers to fail and damage the integrity of the solid state processors. Take into consideration the following: ambient temperature--32F to 104F degrees; humidity--non-condensing up to 95%.
Today's tip is sponsored by our Elevator Expert, @Consolidated Elevator.
Today's Tip is sponsored by Maxons Restorations, LNY Certified Vendor:
For insurance claims in the event of a fire, do NOT disturb the fire scene in ANY way until AFTER the cause and origin investigation by your insurance company has been completed. Be sure to keep the area cordoned off so tenants and passersby do not enter and disturb the area and evidence within.
When considering hiring a contractor, ask for proof of completed work. This should be readily available to them through their smartphones or other electronic devices they may carry such as a tablet. Make this part of your requests to your property management company as well, should you use one. Reliable contractors will be able to describe in detail the work done, before and after.
Many property owners and landlords are unaware of how grade (sloping) can adversely affect their property. Make sure the grade of the property pitches away from the building's foundation so that water does not pool or enter around the foundation. (Sponsored byMaxons Restoration)
To comply with Department of Buildings' policy, all wheelchair lifts in residential and/or commercial properties are required to perform Annual Category 1 Inspection/Test. Also, whenever applicable a Category 5 Inspection/Test. (Sponsored by Consolidated Elevator Services)
Building staff, including doormen and porters, as well as tenants, should be aware of a secure spot where extra flashlights are handy in case of an emergency.
Landlords are required by law to keep security deposit funds separate from personal funds (N.Y. GOL §§ 7-103(1)). If the rental property contains 6 or more family dwellings, the landlord is required to keep the deposit in a separate interest bearing bank account (N.Y. GOL §§ 7-103(2-a)). Sponsored by Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti LLP.
Become familiar with DHCR literature regarding Rent Control. NYC Rent and Eviction Regulations Section 2202.4 allows the DHCR to grant a 1/40th rent increase for first-time painting. Landlords may be able to apply for a rent increase based on painting a rent-controlled tenant’s apartment if painting wasn’t a service included in the tenant’s rent. Be prepared to submit copies of contracts and cancelled checks showing the cost of the paint job.
Before a tenant is set to vacate, your property manager--not just the broker, if you use one-- should already be thinking of how to market your property. The PM should know market rents in the area and be familiar with the unit as well as respond to prospective renter queries promptly.
If you're down to a few potential candidates, ask them for recommendations. You'll want to speak to other landlords/developers that they've done work for. If they're hesitant or delay, that's a red flag.
Have your superintendent schedule regular cleaning and maintenance of roof gutters to help prevent mold. Property managers and landlords be sure to check this is being done. Thanks to @Maxons Renovation for the tip!
Before hiring a property manager, ask some basic landlord-tenant law questions. You want a property manager that'll be able to navigate the legal process in setting rent increases and familiar with the eviction process. A manager that is unfamiliar with the process may not post 3-day notices quickly enough and/or one unaware of tenants' rights could cause you headache in the long run.
If there is a substantial drop in voltage, elevators may operate erratically by skipping floors or having door issues. The drop in voltage could also cause shutdown and/or entrapment. Prepare building staff prior to outages and have a contingency plan to keep residents in the loop.
Sponsored by: LNY Elevator Expert: Consolidated Elevator
When you have tenants moving in or out, give them a courteous reminder that not everything can be moved in a moving truck. Make other arrangements for perishable goods including plants, hazardous or flammable materials (paints, aerosols), valuables and sentimental items.
Sponsored by @ThePaddedWagon
With the onslaught of first-time renters this August and September, why not educate them on more than just the neighborhood? In their welcome packets, include information on environmental statistics as they relate to water usage. Environmental issues strike a chord with the younger generation and it could subsequently help lower your water bill(s).
Many landlords get inundated by tenant phone calls with requests for repairs, inspections, leaks, and other various items. It can become an ordeal and tough to keep track. To help, create work orders for yourself for every request. Even if it's small, it will keep you organized and prevent you from letting things fall through the cracks.
Many landlords and property managers will come across first-time renters this month and next as college students settle into their new digs. To help them along with their first renting experience, provide a checklist including items such as utility information (ConEd, cable, internet, etc.) and reiterate what is and is not included in their lease agreement; procedures and deadlines for rent; maintenance guidelines (they must change their own light bulbs, smoke detector batteries, etc.); recycling schedules and procedures; and a neighborhood guide. This will set your relationship off on the right foot and help prevent miscommunication over expectations.
As a landlord, especially one who is easygoing and a peacemaker, you'll come across tough situations all the time. You will always be in the line of fire and will always be the one to blame. The landlord should consider perhaps setting up an LLC with their lawyer and you are simply the "property manager". When confronted with tough questions/requests from tenants, simply say, "I'll relay this to the landlord and get back to you." This will give you time to consider a decision and also deflects any animosity tenants may have.
An outright gift of the property has many downsides:
(1) you will completely lose control of the property(2) your children may lose the property to their own creditors or to a spouse that seeks a divorce;(3) your children may lose the tax benefits of step up in basis,(4) your children may have to pay income taxes that are higher than yours.
There are various ways of structuring the transfer in a way that reduces or eliminates these downsides.
Sponsored by the Law Offices of Katya Sverdlov
Be sure to set annual reminders to obtain commercial tenants' renewals of certificates of insurance and listing you, the landlord or property management company, as additional insured. It is of no cost to the tenant and protects you from incurring additional costs and liability.
Instead of just settling for a standard credit and background check when screening applicants, take the extra step of contacting employers to confirm pay stubs and former landlords. This will ensure you're covering all your bases.
When tenants accept lease renewal agreements (especially if it's a significant increase and/or they didn't hound you with negotiating), a nice gesture would be to follow up with a thank you note. A little goes a long way when showing them you appreciate their business.
Referrals can go a long way. Give your tenants motivation by offering small discounts to their friends and family members if they rent from you or offer them a finder's fee/gift.
It is very important to have your sidewalks and staircases free of fissures and damage for obvious safety and liability reasons. If you have minor cracks which may not call for hiring a mason, try mortar cement. It helps repair the cracked pieces but doesn't chip away from the base material.
When signing with a property management company, make sure you're both on the same page as to what is and is not included in the fee. You'll want to know upfront if they charge extra for mailings, court appearances, certain inspections, etc.
Consider taking tenant surveys every six months to a year. These can be distributed as written surveys in the rent statements or by telephone call. It is an effective way of showing not only your care and concern but keeping tabs on your properties besides what the super is relaying to you.
Who doesn't love the sight of fresh flowers and plants on fire escapes? Alas, it is illegal to block fire escapes with plants or any other obstruction. Be sure to conduct routine inspections to make sure tenants are complying or face fines from the NYFD.
Tenants losing front door and apartment keys happens all the time however mailbox keys are different. If tenants lose their mailbox key or when there's a new tenant, switch the cylinder when the mail carrier is there to open the box. You do not want to be liable for tenants' mail if you hold mailbox keys.
FDNY Notices of Violation (NOVs) will not be closed merely by attending a hearing and/or paying a fine. You are also required to provide the FDNY proof of compliance through a Certificate of Correction.
Tenants will often try to use their security deposit as last month's rent. Be sure to include language in your leases and lease renewals that this will not be accepted. When a tenant gives you notice of non-renewal, remind them you will be collecting last month's rent and if they attempt to use their security deposit instead, you will assess late fees and send them to a collection agency. No tenant wants to be on the tenant blacklist!
Just like tenants, property managers must be vetted, screened and interviewed. They hold the keys, literally and figuratively, to your investments so be sure you do your due diligence and research into management companies. In the event your assigned property manager switches companies, you may be tempted to retain them but still research the new company as well.
Take video footage on move-in and move-out dates so there's no discrepancy between you and the tenants on what needs repair, what is missing, damaged, etc. Be sure to upload and save the footage until the former tenant has received and cashed their security deposit check.
Tenants are to report issues to management immediately. Situations arise where the superintendent drops the ball and an outstanding issue may go unresolved. Tenants could take this as a sign to take matters into their own hands and hire their own contractor or vendor. Make it very clear that you will not compensate tenants for costs incurred for hiring their own help.
Summer isn't officially here but who actually goes by that scientific solstice date anyway? People are already planning their vacations and that includes your building staff. Let tenants know ahead of time when your superintendent and handyman will be on vacation so tenants can make arrangements with them regarding any pending or ongoing repairs and apartment issues.
You can purchase just about anything online...including fake documents. When a prospective tenant applies for an apartment, it behooves you to verify with their employer that they are in fact employed there and earn the steady income indicated in their paperwork.
When you have a turnover, don't forget to re-caulk the bathtub. Prospective tenants could get turned off when they see an old looking bathtub and this can be prevented with minimal cost and effort.
Yet another forewarned is forearmed tip: when doing your routine inspections, check the back of washing machines. If the hose is bulging as indicated in the photo below, you have a problem. That hose will burst and gush not leak water. In a matter of minutes, you could incur a great deal of damage especially in individual units.
Let your tenants know ahead of time that if they violate sanitation violations, they will be charged a fee. This includes not properly wrapping discarded mattresses or mixing recyclables with garbage. You should use clear language in your lease and lease renewal forms.
When a new tenant moves in it's a good idea to provide them with a welcome guide to the neighborhood, handy telephone numbers and other maintenance tips. You could ask local restaurants to include coupons for menus. One example of a tip: Periodically run the dishwasher empty but pour a cup of white vinegar to keep it sparkling and fresh.
When doors don't seal properly, refrigerators break down by overworking motors to keep cool. Place a dollar bill in your door seal. If the bill slips when the door's closed, you have a problem. Be sure to replace or re-magnetize the magnetic strips in the gaskets regularly.
Painting a red brick fireplace can completely transform the look and vibe of a unit but be prepared: bricks are porous and absorb a great deal of paint so stock up on twice as much as you think you'll need.
When a unit goes through turnovers, normal wear and tear is to be expected. Paint jobs can take care of the walls but what about stainless steel appliances? They can be buffed by massaging with vegetable oil and stains can be removed with baking soda and dish soap.
Besides the obvious tools (paintbrushes, rags, pans) when painting, here's one you may not carry with you: cotton swabs (Q-tips). They come in handy when you need to quickly, precisely and neatly touch up a mistake without dirtying an entire paintbrush.
Notify tenants with phone call/text/email AND with prominently displayed memos in common areas of any upcoming construction and noise well before it begins so they can prepare. Tenants might have young children that nap, might work from home or be elderly so err on the side of caution.
In preparation for summer, especially with apartments on the top floor, up to 85% of cool air loss can be attributed to a poorly sealed sash. try nylon pile weatherstripping to significantly decrease loss.
Sandpaper is more effective if you slightly dampen the paper backing before wrapping it onto wood. After you sand the wood, place your hand in a nylon stocking and lightly rub the wood. Any remaining rough spots will be easily located.
Instead of spending money on replacing dry, brittle paintbrushes, boil them in vinegar. Use an old, deep saucepan and pour enough white vinegar to submerge the paintbrush bristles. Boil for a few minutes. Once the vinegar cools and the brushes are washed, the paint chips will fall off.
The most important way of keeping your HVAC system running smoothly is to schedule regular, routine maintenance. You should have your HVAC systems checked at least once a year and change your filters.
You'd be surprised how much water loss you can incur through leaking toilets...and those water bills do add up! Include toilets in your regularly scheduled apartment inspections. Remove the toilet tank lid and add food coloring to the the tank water (we prefer LNY orange!). After 10-15 minutes, check the bowl; if there's color, the flapper's leaking. Another indicator of a flapper leak is if you hear the toilet filling when it's not being used.
At lease signing, encourage your tenants to purchase renters insurance which can run for as low as $300 year and cover up to $50,000 in property protection. It protects you against damages and the tenants as well.
Enforcing and collecting tenant late fees can be difficult. If you are going to charge late fees, be sure to make it very clear at the lease signing that there are fees incurred for late payment, the late payment date, and the amount whether it's a fixed fee or percentage. And above all else, enforce it!
Pest control cannot always be in the hands of your exterminator. Be sure to seal holes and gaps in your units' walls. Even small cracks can easily allow pests access and create infestations.
Hiring unlicensed electricians and plumbers and having them work without permits are misdemeanors which could land you in jail or fined. To avoid this, call 212 566 4100 to verify your electrician's or plumber's license. For online access,go here, click "Buildings Information System", click on "enter Buildings Information System", Item B, "Skilled Trades Licensees/General Contractor Search". Enter the contractor's name and "Pick a License Type".
The New York State statute of limitations on slip and fall claims is 3 years. However, most surveillance systems are only capable of storing 30- 60 days on a local hard drive. To refute unwarranted claims, choose a security company that can provide unlimited off-site storage of your videos.
Even if a prospective tenant provides you with a credit report and criminal background screening, always conduct your own. Landlord references may not always be accurate and reports can always be doctored.
You must file this application by July 31 for every rent-stabilized apartment you own. Keep in mind you will be unable to collect or apply for rent increases until this application is filed.
You can suffer serious financial losses for violating stop-work orders (SWOs). If an SWO is in effect, something as minor as decorative repairs can result in fines upside of $5000. Also, no MCI rent hikes will go into effect during an SWO.
If you own a multiple dwelling building, by law you must register this building with the HPD. Failure to do so will prevent you from being able to collect nonpayment of rent from your tenant.
If a fire caused significant damage to your property, be sure to take pictures of EVERYTHING before you make any emergency repairs. This way you have proof of the emergency condition to show the insurance company why you couldn't wait for their adjuster.
Did you know that a leaky faucet can waste more than 90 gallons of water over a day? Add that up over a portfolio of properties and the number can be enormous. Do routine inspections of faucets and toilets and stop any leaks you find immediately.
If you credit a late fee to a tenant, only do it once and make sure they understand this is a one-time courtesy. Otherwise, they will be continually late and expect a credit each time.
When a new tenant moves in, provide them with some basic bathroom supplies for that first day. It will go a long way in building a good landlord/tenant relationship.
To start your tenant/landlord relationship on the right foot, offer them a gift certificate to a local takeout place on their move-in date. They will have spent all day moving in and most likely not ready to cook so this gesture will be greatly appreciated.
An often overlooked yet nonetheless important item to inspect during a turnover is the condition of switch plates throughout the apartment. Cracked or stained switch plates will leave a dingy and bad first impression on a prospective tenant.
Always reglaze the bathtub during a turnover. It's an inexpensive upgrade and makes a huge difference when showing the unit.
For an inexpensive upgrade to your apartments, buy bargain appliances like stainless steel. Find appliances in good condition on Craigslist or consider returned or slightly scuffed/scratched appliances from a supplier for deeper discounts.
Buy paint on sale...even if you don't need it at the moment. When a property turns over, the quickest and cheapest upgrade is a fresh paint job and you'll be ready.
If you are looking to demolish the rent-stabilized building you own, make sure you know what is acceptable. The DHCR has made it clear that a landlord doesn't necessarily have to completely level a building for it to be considered demolished. If you were to gut the interior while leaving the outside walls standing, this would constitute as demolition.
It is the responsibility of the buyer of property in New York to purchase title insurance before closing on a property. While many buyers of real estate in New York rely on their attorneys to arrange title insurance, it is important to note that ultimately the agency you choose to buy title insurance through is yours directly (the buyer) and not his/her attorney.
In unique circumstances a nontraditional family member can gain access to a tenant's apartment after the tenant passes away. So long as the tenant and roommate have shown that they have created a long-term, emotionally committed family relationship. Don't assume you can win an eviction case just because the surviving roommate isn't a traditional family member.
Always give notice to your tenants prior to entering their rental unit. Even if you feel you are friends with your current tenant, something can happen in the future making the friendship sour. All of a sudden this tenant has grounds to sue you for not giving proper notice.
You should be screening your managers the same way you screen a prospective tenant. Do a thorough background check and clearly state the manager's duties in full to prevent any future problems.
Remember to file an application for MCI rent hikes within two years of completing the work requiring a rent increase. Failure to do this will result in the DRA not recognizing the work you completed, which in turn will not entitle you to rent increases for said tenant.
The DHCR forbids you to demand your tenants pay monthly rent with a debit card (even if you agree to pay any bank charges). However, a tenant is allowed to pay you with a debit card voluntarily.
You are not allowed to demand advanced payment of rent from your tenants, according to Rent Stabilization Code Section 2525.4. However if your tenant voluntarily offers advanced payment of rent, the DHCR sees this as no problem.
If you made an vocal demand for rent, the only way to prove this in court is to attain sworn statements by individuals with first-hand knowledge of the timeline of events. These individuals' statements must include the time and manner in which you communicated the oral rent demand.
The immediate neighbors of your rental unit play a very important role in your operation. Since you lack the ability to be around your unit 24/7, go out of your way to establish a relationship with them. Exchange phone numbers with them. Keep them aware of the happenings on your end and make sure they keep you aware of what's happening on their end. If a neighbor has a serious issue with one of your tenants, they will contact YOU, not the police.
Create a reference binder with everything a new tenant needs to know about the property. This will make it easier for them to acclimate and save you from having to take multiple phone calls from a confused tenant.
Install inexpensive window blinds for new tenants. It provides them with some privacy until they can purchase blinds or curtains that fit their style and starts the landlord/tenant relationship out on a positive note.
Since there is no law that states how a non-renewal notice (for a lease) must be delivered, the court rules both personal delivery and regular mail are sufficient.
Be careful when using the word “fee” and “deposit” in a lease. Fees are non-refundable while a deposit is refundable. There is a very important distinction between the two that can cause disagreements.
The font size on a lease you give to your tenants by law has to be at least eight points in depth. Anything less is considered invalid and can not be used in court as proof.
It is advisable to only accept checks for payment from the person or entity named on the lease. Accepting payments form others could set you up for legal trouble in the future.
Although salt is a more cost efficient snow melt to use it is not recommended on smaller areas, especially those that you wish to keep well maintained and aesthetically pleasing. Salt has a tendency to "eat up" the pavement. It is generally used on very large scale stretches of pavement like streets, runways, and parking lots. On smaller areas Calcium Chloride, although more expensive, is recommended since it does not damage walkways.
The weather forecast for this weekend calls for single digit temperatures. If your buildings use dual fuel, you must switch over to oil this weekend. Make sure your system is functioning properly otherwise you may face major fines from your gas provider.
A good way to spot a leak in any of your pipes before it's a problem is to check the water level on your boilers. Most of these have a glass cylinder with a line where your water level should be. If you’re constantly adding water to bring it to level - you probably have a leak somewhere.
It is advisable for your properties to have a strong web and mobile presence that is both appealing and contains all the information a prospective tenant could need. The renters you are trying to attract are on their cell phones and lap tops. Without a strong presence your properties will become invisible to them
Partner with a local business in your community, such as a coffee shop. Tenants will appreciate a discount and the coffee shop will appreciate the extra revenue.
There are many tax deductions available to landlords, from interest to depreciation to repairs. Confirm your accountant is aware of the deductions available to your particular properties, it’s money back in your pocket.
Keep a detailed paper trail of interactions with tenants. Documentation plays a key role in settling and winning disputes with a non-compliant tenant.
Strongly consider using an online rent payment system, they are becoming more commonplace today. They provide increased efficiency and tracking for the landlord and some provide positive feedback to credit agencies for the tenants. A win-win for both parties.
Melting snow on flat rooftops can penetrate the roof and cause leaks. If possible, go to any accessible roof and push that snow off (safely) before it fully melts.
If you own an older building, have your building's super go to all the apartments in the building to check for leaks and repair them if possible. This will end up saving you 20-30% on your utility bill.
Do scheduled inspections of your units every 6 months, check the smoke detectors, radiators and windows. While there you can also take note of the cleanliness and condition of the premises for possible hoarding.
When there's a snowstorm, the first thing we're concerned about is removing it from the sidewalks. However, don't forget your roofs! If the weight of snow that collects on roofs becomes too heavy, it can cause leaks and compromise your building's structural integrity. Be sure to remove snow from your roofs as you would from the sidewalks.
Significant drafts can come through the windows if an air conditioner is still in place. This leads to heat complaints from tenants and headaches and higher fuel costs for you. If you have ample space in your basement, offer winter storage of ACs in a secure, locked area for tenants.
Landlords cannot commingle a tenant's security deposit with their own money so a tenant's security deposit should always be allocated to a separate bank account. Also, be sure to notify the tenants in writing of the name and address (must be in New York State) of the bank and the deposit amount.
Always include a “Noise” clause in your lease outlining when noise is unacceptable. Specify a time period such as 9pm-11am. Also be sure to outline any penalties for breaking this rule.
Invest in professional photos and not your iPhone when marketing your units. That first impression is a lasting one!
Instead of ordinary light fixtures, invest in a more stylish make. When marketing vacant units, it'll instantly give the space a fresher look and appeal without a hefty price tag.
With more cold weather approaching, make sure you're in constant contact with your superintendent and that your boiler is running without any issues. If your boiler runs on oil, have your levels checked so you don't run low when your tenants will need it the most.
Do you have a window that is drafty and letting cold air in? Use window shrink film as a temporary fix to stop the draft and keep the apartment warm.
During the winter, air circulation in units will be minimal with windows tightly shut. Remind tenants to check that their detectors are in working order and have fresh batteries.
Require your tenants to give you 60 days notice of non-renewal of their lease or risk forfeiting their security deposit if you do not get the unit rented on time.
When interviewing prospective management companies, check if they have different departments such as accounting/bookkeeping, repairs/construction, maintenance, tenant relations, etc. If one person is in charge of everything, you're putting all your eggs in one basket and if that manager is out or leaves, those eggs could get cracked.
To fetch higher rents, consider updating your kitchens. Stainless steel appliances and nice countertops leave a lasting impression and a more high-end feel to any unit. If you can't afford upgrading entire units, having an upgraded kitchen gives you leeway to leave the rest of the unit less "fancy" and upgraded.
For the holidays, residents often like to show their gratitude to the building staff. Send a memo to the tenants listing all staff (superintendent, doormen, porters, etc.) with full names and positions so the residents know whom to make those cards out to.
Upon lease signing, encourage your tenants to purchase renters insurance. At $15-$20 a month, it's affordable. They shouldn't wait until they need to make a claim for them to purchase it. It'll save you and them a lot of headaches and money!
When doing apartment inspections and/or turnovers, it's important to check the toilet for any leaks. A leaking toilet runs continuously unlike a leaking faucet which will only cause minimal water loss. The resulting water bill for a toilet leakage can be exponentially higher than what you normally pay.
When applying for an MCI, be sure to include:
*certifications from your contractor(s) of the total costs of work
*start to finish dates of the replacement/work
*proof of payment
*approvals/permits from relevant agencies for the work
*removal of building code violations
On top of this, always maintain required tenant services to avoid jeopardizing the MCI collection.
Sidewalk sheds are meant to be temporary not an indefinite fix. They are meant to protect people from falling debris while repairs are being made and NOT to be used in lieu of repairs. Keep in mind sidewalk sheds can lead to extremely annoyed tenants, complaints as well as crime. Be sure to stay on schedule and comply with all DOB requirements and permits.
When you're doing a tenant application, do not accept copied paperwork from the tenant but rather originals which you can then copy at your office. Copied paperwork can be altered and fraudulent.
Sometimes tenants don't report problems in a timely fashion or at all. Make sure your managers or you are routinely inspecting your units and properties. Always document with photos for your records and to hold the tenant accountable where applicable.
We always say time is money so when marketing vacant units, host open houses. This will help prevent your wasting time with no-shows and having to be on call any time of day or night.
We've all experienced a contractor who says the work will be completed by this date and when that date rolls around, the work is still incomplete. Pay your contractor in installments based upon deadlines and completion of work so they're more motivated to have their crew do it right and fast. To avoid bookkeeping headaches and inflated invoices, offer to pay the supplier directly for any materials needed.
This is a very important question to ask prospective tenants to save time and weed out those that won't make the cut. If an applicant says they're currently paying $1200 but your unit is listed at $2000, you may hear "My boyfriend might be moving in with me", "I wanted to take a look", etc. We all know time is money so let's save some of both!
The autumn skies have been sunny and clear but keep in mind NYC's harsh winter is right around the corner. When there is predicted snowfall, stores often run out on supplies such as shovels and salt. Why not stock up now so you're prepared and don't find yourself or your super scrambling all over store to store?
This seems obvious but there are plenty of times landlords and property managers will do favors for tenants in good faith or that tenants renege on agreements. With the TPU's McCarthyistic tactics and the new policy of having landlords being fined for even approaching a tenant with a buyout offer, it is imperative you protect yourself. If a tenant approaches you, get it in writing and document everything.
If a tenant complains about unsafe conditions or even threatens you, do not resort to tactics like drastically raising the rent or evicting them. This is ILLEGAL in New York. Keep a paper trail with all documents, track the incidences, completed repairs and any other relevant information. This will help you in case the tenant decides to take you to court and you want to fight false retaliation claims.
Now's the time to inspect and repair any sidewalk cracks before the winter snow and ice hit. Ice will quickly break up your sidewalk and cause damage that could become very costly to repair in addition to opening you up to tripping hazard liability. Seal cracks that are more than 1/8 of an inch.
Have sign-up sheets prominently displayed in the lobby or other main common area for trick-or-treaters. Those tenants that would like the youngsters to knock on their doors can write in their apartment numbers. This also helps prevent disturbing those tenants that may not be in the Halloween spirit.
You can suffer serious financial losses for violating stop-work orders (SWOs). If an SWO is in effect, something as minor as aesthetic repairs can result in fines upwards of $5000. Also, no MCI rent hikes will go into effect during an SWO.
Send out Tenant Satisfaction Surveys before your tenants' renewals come up to get a sense of how they're feeling. When a tenant gets an increase, they're likely to complain about certain issues they may not have mentioned before. By getting their feedback, you can prevent turnover and lock in your desired renewal rate.
Send out Tenant Satisfaction Surveys before your tenants' renewals come up to get a sense of how they're feeling. When a tenant gets an increase, they're likely to complain about certain issues they may not have mentioned before. By getting their feedback, you can prevent turnover and lock in your desired renewal rate.
More and more people are relying on bicycles to get around. Bikers will always ask for bike racks before signing a lease. To not deter potential tenants and being that storing a bike in the hallways is a fire hazard, consider creating a bike rack or other storage space to entice tenants.
Unless it's that one tenant that always blows up your telephone, it is unlikely that you'll have every tenant's contact information at your fingertips. However, you must have it easily accessible and complete...and that means stored in a separate file NOT merely in their lease files. Upon lease signing, have your tenants fill out a locator rider with their full names, home, cellular and work numbers and e-mail addresses. They should include at least one emergency contact as well. Have your superintendent keep a copy handy at all times.
If you have small kitchens and want to make them more appealing spacewise to tenants, use the space above the cabinets. You can add extra shelving, baskets or even wine racks.
When showing your properties to prospective renters pre-screen them first. Just because THEY are interested in your unit does not mean YOU will be interested in having them as tenants. Have them submit to a credit check before you schedule to meet. Make sure that what they're seeking is in line with what you're offering. This will help prevent you wasting your time on those who will ultimately not qualify and leave room in your busy schedule for more qualified tenants.
Winter will be here before we know it and with that, a lull in work for contractors. However, you should keep your trusted contractors in the loop regarding upcoming projects you may have. They will more likely make room for you in their schedules and be able to submit earlier bids.
As a Property Manager and Landlord, you may often find yourself on the receiving line of negative reviews. However, that doesn't mean you can't bounce back. If you have a good rapport with certain tenants, ask them to write a positive review to counter the negative. Always respond in a calm and diplomatic manner. You will have the upper hand and will come across as professional. Finally, respond in a timely manner.
Compile a welcome to your new home neighborhood handbook/guide for your new tenants. In it you can list helpful numbers such as cable providers, ConEdison, nearest police station, etc. Include the closest subway and bus stops. And of course everyone wants to know where the nearest pizzeria and Starbucks are!
Each of your units is your property and as such, you should have keys to every unit. In the event of an emergency, you and/or your superintendent must have access to all units. Make sure to include this clause in your lease. Your superintendents and property managers should maintain their records and follow up with any tenants that may have changed their locks as well.
If your units' bathrooms are on the small side, install fixtures that have single handles rather than two hot and cold taps. These gearshift faucets will save space and money by not having to drill holes in the countertops for separate taps.
It is crucial to develop relationships with your contractors. They are the ones providing important services which do not come cheaply. Review at least three bids before making a choice, follow up yourself and with your property manager to confirm all the work was done as promised, in a timely fashion and in compliance with code. A good idea is to get feedback from the superintendent and tenants as well for they are the eyes and ears of the building and can see things which you and your property manager may not.
When designing or renovating a bathroom for rentals, avoid textures which can easily become collection spots for mold, mildew and toothpaste. Textures include carved vessel sinks and floor tiles with indentations.
Do not divide a security deposit among roommates. The more roommates in the unit, the higher the chances at least one will vacate early (school, work, moving in with significant other, etc.) One tenancy = one lease = one deposit. If you were to refund a vacating roommate's portion of the security deposit, it could complicate things when you collect against the others for any damage sustained in the unit while the former roommate was a tenant.
Most tenants monitor their bank statements/withdrawals online or via text alert. By enforcing a "pay by the 1st" policy yet failing to deposit until later in the month, you send a mixed signal to them and causes your back office to receive dozens of calls from worried tenants.
Hydrogen peroxide can help brighten floors but it won't do anything for grout in need of a spruce-up. A quick and easy fix can be applied with grout paint, a toothbrush and rags/paper towels. Squeeze a dollop of paint on the grout and scrub it in with the toothbrush. Wipe off the excess with your paper towels. In no time, you'll have a fresh looking floor!
Regular inspections are a no-brainer but using the tenants to your advantage is another strategy. Establish a lease policy that encourages tenants to report any problems they may see such as leaks, pooling water, spilled garbage, etc. Take tenant complaints seriously and respond to telephone calls as some may be loath to fill out a cumbersome form.
It is very important to maintain your building's windows with proper insulation for a number of reasons. NYC is always noisy but there's a spike in noise complaints during the warmer months when people tend to hang out outside, especially on stoops. Insulation can help keep some of this noise out. On the flip side, as we prepare for the colder weather, insulated windows will save you a lot of money in the long run with heating costs.
Landlords are faced with increasing costs everywhere and one of them is water. Install dual-flush toilets to reduce the amount of water waste. It may seem like common sense but remind tenants not to flush or put through the drain food, garbage and feminine products.
If you're planning on developing a rooftop amenity for your building, be sure to invest in good rubber pavers/tiles. This will prevent damage to your roof with all the foot traffic (think women's high heels!) and potential leak issues.
Trees and greenery are not only good for the environment, they also add a lot of appeal to your building. The Parks Dept. requires you to fill out a simple application for a tree request. It may take months or even a year as demand has been high. Although it's lovely, avoid ivy as it causes significant damage to the mortar and stucco.
September is a busy month for property managers especially with a high number of tenants moving in. As the previous tenants in August are vacating, ask for feedback on what management could have done better, what they liked, suggestions, etc. It will help you foresee and tackle any issues that might arise with the new tenants.
If a tenant complains about an unsafe living condition, whether it is valid or not, do not retaliate by trying to evict them or drastically increasing their rent come renewal time. NY courts are overwhelmingly pro-tenant so be sure to keep a detailed paper trail and document with photos as well.
To avoid "drive-by management", have your property manager, on a regularly scheduled basis, provide you with a detailed report containing the following: arrears, lease renewal statuses (who is or is not renewing, which units are coming up vacant and suggested renewal rates), vacancies, construction updates if applicable, building and tenant issues. This provides you with a thorough look at your property and is conducive to solving problems and follow up with your management team and tenants.
If you are the landlord of a multiple dwelling building, you are required by N.Y. ADC. LAW § 27-2013 : NY Code - Section 27-2013 to paint a tenant's walls every three years. To keep track, be sure to save all painting invoices from the superintendent in the tenant's file. This will easily answer any questions about when a tenant is due for a paint job.
When doing a gut renovation and/or demolition, be sure to order your dumpster ahead of time because a permit is required. They tend to come very early in the morning too so have your superintendent ready by 7 am.
When reviewing applicants, request copies of the past three cleared rent checks, front and back. This will indicate to whom they're being made out; what day the checks are clearing; and if the amount matches what they've told you is their current rent.
Regularly conduct visual inspections for water damage and mold growth. Ceiling tiles, sheetrock and ventilation systems are places to look for in particular. The latter should be inspected for damp filters and overall cleanliness.
Ensure that EACH tenant named in the lease is served with a rent demand notice. You are not required to give roommates not named in the lease the notice.
ECB has been issuing a higher number of sanitation violations than usual. You shouldn't have to fall prey to this especially when they are arbitrarily issued, i.e. at 4 am. Take photos of your garbage collection area as evidence that you have proper and organized disposal. This area should have receptacles properly labeled and a notice informing tenants of the hours/days of waste collection. Don't forget, electronic equipment and rechargeable batteries must be recycled separately!
If you're doing a gut renovation or other major construction work in one of your units, send a memo to your tenants notifying them. The ensuing dust and noise is bound to be a nuisance to them but if you give fair warning, tenants may be more receptive and less likely to disturb the work.
In your lease riders, include an itemized list indicating what will be charged towards the tenant's security deposit upon vacating. For example, painted walls not restored to original color, damaged light fixtures, etc. It is important to have set pricing so as to avoid potential conflict with the tenant after the fact.
In buildings with part-time superintendents, landlords tend to mail the rent statements. Have your superintendent distribute rent envelopes. It'll save you time and money in postage fees and is not too much to ask of a superintendent, even a part-timer.
Members ask us all the time can a tenant break their lease? What if I don't rent it out on time? Though tenants are legally bound to their lease, we can make exceptions if we do not harm ourselves in the process. If a tenant gives you notice they're relocating for work for example or looking to move in with their significant other, you could offer to release them from their lease if it's during a busy renting season. August is busy because school starts and many students are looking for homes. Renting out a vacant unit in February is much more difficult.Along these same lines, if you do get a tenant to rent during a slow month, offer a 14-18 month lease so you can market the apartment … read more
When renting out a vacant unit near a noisy commercial space such as a bar, you should include a clause in the lease or discuss with the tenant beforehand. After a few weeks of sleepless nights, many tenants will look for a way to terminate the lease because of the noise. Installing carpeting or other noise insulation is a good idea too.
Just like you google and research prospective tenants, you can be certain they are looking you up! Know your social footprint. If there are negative comments out there, manage them. Explain what you did to remedy the situation and show that you're a good landlord who listens and cares for your tenants.
Local Law 45 requires posting a notice titled "ABCs of Housing" containing information on how to obtain housing information for tenants and owners. The notice should be posted in the mail area or other conspicuous area. It is ONE sheet of paper but failure to post results in a Class A violation and a $250 fine!
Periodically check the caulking around sinks, bathtubs and toilets. If not sealed properly, water damage can occur and lead to bigger problems. If you have caulking around windows, it's important to maintain that as well as it protect against wind and cold air seeping in. Tilework can get pricey so if your caulking is for decorative purposes, yet another reason to maintain it.
Self-managing landlords of small buildings usually field the calls from their tenants. These can be calls at all hours of the night and not necessarily emergencies. Set up a Google voice number which provides a number forwarded to your cell phone. Give your tenants this number instead of your personal cell number so YOU set your schedule and control when your telephone rings much like an office line.
Management companies use paid software and technology often, but as a self-managing landlord you too can have technology, literally, at your fingertips. Some handy apps: Appfolio organizes tenant information easily; allows you to post vacancy ads; Square; allows tenants to connect for online payments.Houzz: If you offer furnished rentals, this site is chockful of creative and aesthetically pleasing ideas and suggestions on maximizing your space.Rent Tracker: iDevice app that makes organizing and managing your properties more streamlinedPayByGroup: Great for units with many roommates, this tracks who's paying what and saves contact information.
NYC management companies have it harder than most. With constantly changing legislation and regulations, property managers need to stay on top of current events. Have your management staff attend seminars, sign up for events and newsletters. Being "in the know" is part of the job!
If your building uses central air for its units, be sure to schedule routine filter cleanings with your HVAC vendor. It will save you money by preventing multiple service calls for "Band-Aid" repair.
When charging and collecting late fees from your tenants, it's good to set an early precedent that late payment is unacceptable. However, there's always exceptions - especially the first time. Offering this as a courtesy will build a good rapport between you and your tenant and you never know when you might need a favor from them!
Since April 1, the city has been doling out fines to landlords if electronics are disposed of on the curb. Although manufacturers are now required to provide free "take-back" programs for items such as TVs, laptops, keyboards, DVD players, etc., tenants may not be aware or take the steps to contact the manufacturer. Be sure to place signs in the common area and garbage/recycling area reminding tenants they may not dispose of electronics. Register with e-cycleNYC for free and convenient electronic recycling service to prevent paying violation fees. Have the tenants contact the superintendent or porter to collect electronics on a given day.
Many landlords and buildings provide free monthly extermination services to their residential tenants. Why not include your commercial tenants as well? This way, you are guaranteeing they are servicing their space and thus preventing any potential pest problems which could affect the rest of the building.
If your building uses a lockbox, be sure to change the code frequently. Buildings with part-time superintendents often use them because the superintendents are not always available to let contractors, brokers, etc. in. By changing the code often, you decrease unauthorized access to the building.
Although it is the renter's responsibility, offer tenants air conditioner brackets with installation. These can be purchased cheaply and your superintendent can install. This will help eliminate faulty bracket installation, leading to potentially severe accidents.
If your building allows pets, be sure to "interview" the pet, especially dogs, when leasing to a potential tenant. Much as you'd like to interview and meet a potential tenant in person, you should do the same with the pet. Often, landlords and managing agents are told Fluffy is sweet and lovable and submit photos indicating same. When Fluffy is introduced to a stranger though, the result could be snarling and baring of teeth or excessive barking and yelping. We love our animals but we also want to ensure safe and pleasant living conditions in our buildings. Always have pet riders signed and a pet deposit (usually $500) submitted as well.
Apply for the Toilet Replacement Program offered by DEP. The program allows eligible landlords to apply for vouchers used to purchase 1.28 gallon per flush EPA WaterSense-certified high-efficiency toilets.
If you have a key fob system in your building, be sure to photocopy the serial number given to each tenant. If they lose their key, you can deactivate the old one before issuing a new one. This way, you can maintain the security in your building and also avoid issues with tenants that may not actually be "losing" their keys but rather giving them to illegal subletters, Airbnb guests, friends, etc.
When hiring a property manager, identify the needs of your company. How large is your portfolio? Consider the locations of your other properties so you could have one agent oversee a cluster in the same proximity. What are the attributes of your top performers and how might they compare with those that a candidate presents during an interview? Also, never underestimate the importance of company culture. Attitude is everything!
Your tenants are your eyes and ears to spotting minor issues before they become major ones. Follow-up with tenants 24-48 hours after a repair to ensure it was done properly.
Before hiring a building manager or super be sure to thoroughly screen the applicant. Credit check, background check, criminal history, call former employers and references, google them, check their social media accounts - the goal is to avoid headaches down the road. If a manager commits a crime, you could be liable.
Never accept a credit report a prospective tenant has printed out and provided himself. Do your own credit and criminal background screenings. Ask for a minimum of two landlord references.
Keep a record of what paint was used and the date of the last paint job. Using the same brand and color paint on all units, makes blending touch-ups that much easier!
If you are handy you may be tempted to do all the repairs yourself. While this might be a good idea – it also may not. In order to be a successful landlord – you need to balance cost savings with enjoyment. If you hate fixing things – don’t fix things. Hire it out.
As of midnight on June 15th, the State Rent Stabilization laws officially expired. As an owner of rent-stabilized apartments, you are required to continue to comply with all of your lease obligations, as well as with all additional requirements of State and local law - or face serious legal and financial consequences.
As of midnight on June 15th, the State Rent Stabilization laws officially expired. All leases continue in full force and effect, and the rights of tenants under those leases continue as well. Let's show the State and City the best side of the industry that provides the majority of quality, affordable housing in the five boroughs.
Installing water-saving shower heads not only reduces water bills due to less consumption, but your water heating bills will also decrease due to less demand.
Have your tenant sign a checklist upon move in regarding the condition of the property. Every room, every detail - this way you avoid arguments about a "hole in the wall that was there before" or other complaints. Tenants who sign a checklist tend to take better care of your property.
Establish a relationship with at least 2 contractors. Don't wait until a pipe bursts or the boiler malfunctions. As with most anything - prior planning prevents poor performance during a maintenance emergency.
Check the caulking around your windows, both inside and out. You don't want any holes in the caulk or gaps between window frame. Remove and replace old caulk where appropriate. Conserve energy and save a little money!
Department of Environmental Protection Announces Temporary Waiver of Two Percent Biodiesel Requirement for Heating Oil and New Streamlined Emergency Boiler Work Permit Guidelines to Aid Building Owners Recovering from Hurricane Sandy. New Emergency Guidelines Will Cut Application Permit Process By As Much as Two Weeks To receive a temporary emergency work boiler work permit, fax or email the following information to 718 595 3846 or email it to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.