• Insulated

    You gotta keep it insulated! A well-insulated building can cut down energy costs by as much as 40 percent. Sponsored by Heat Watch.

  • Halloween

    Make sure you keep your outside well lit this Halloween. Keep common areas clear, give fire safety reminders, and take extra precautions. Sponsored by Yardi

  • Termites

    Termites feed all year long, and their colonies can grow into the millions. The damage can be prevented with regular inspections. Sponsored Tip from Global Pest Control.

  • Contact Number

    Always have a contact number of your laundry room provider listed in the laundry room. If something happens with a machine, a tenant can call to have it fixed right away. It will save you time. Sponsored Tip by ACES Laundry

  • Doing some landscaping?

    You may want to avoid putting large trees near your building. On top of blocking sunlight that can be used to power solar panels, root systems can damage foundations and branches can break off during storms and damage roofs.

    Sponsored by Best Energy Power

  • Reduce Heat Loss

    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

  • Detergents & Enzymes

    To keep pests from returning to problem areas, make sure to use detergents and enzymes that ensure a long-lasting disintegration of organic material. Sponsored by: Global Pest Control

  • Natural light

    Owners must provide natural light to every habitable room. Sponsored Tip from YARDI

  • Dryers

    Dryers should be vented individually to the outside to help reduce dry exhaust, as this can cause a decrease in dryer efficiency. Sponsored by: ACES Laurndry

  • If It’s Time to Update Your Bathtubs Don’t Replace, Refinish!

    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

  • Cleaning Your Solar Panels

    Because solar systems have no moving parts, there's almost no required maintenance. All you need to do is inspect the panels a few times a year and clear them of any dirt or debris. Cleaning can be done with a garden hose.

    Sponsored by Best Energy Power

  • Spot an Experienced Contractor

    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?

    1. Communicates with owners and property managers regularly
    2. Cares about the protection of surrounding areas
    3. Stays on time and within budget
    4. Has daily supervision for projects
    5. Quickly identifies safety as part of the project no matter the size or scope

    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
  • Tenant Screening

    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

  • Angles Matter

    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.

    Sponsored by Best Energy Power

  • Local Law 1

    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.

  • Red Mulch

    Red mulch is not only good for your garden; it also good to keep away mosquitoes.

    Sponsored By Global Pest Control

  • Lighting in the front of your building

    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.

  • No Maintenance Required

    Solar-powered energy system requires no maintenance. Because your system does not include any moving parts, no maintenance is needed. Sponsored by Best Energy Power

  • Keep Prices Down

    One way to keep tenants doing laundry on your property is to keep prices down. Make your prices reasonable to increase resident’s usage.

    Sponsored by ACES Laundry

  • Bed Bug Preperation

    For bedbugs: Before the exterminator comes, have tenants remove and place in sealed bags all items and clothing from dressers, closets, nightstands, bookcases and entertainment units. Sponsored by Global Pest Control

  • ​Safety & Security

    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.

  • Exposed to Sunlight

    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

  • Laundry Room Signs

    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

    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.

  • Elevator Mirrors

    Install mirrors in every elevator. Failure to do so may result in fines.

  • Net Meter Options

    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.

  • Leveled Elevator

    Make sure your elevator is leveled with the ground. It may cause problems with your residents if it is not.

  • Unpleasant Odors

    Make sure waterlines are sized accordingly to the number of washers. If the wastewater is not properly drained, this can cause unpleasant odors from bleach and detergent. Sponsored by ACES Laundry.

  • Return Security Deposits in a Timely Manner

    Always return the balance of the security deposit after all the proper deductions have been made within a fixed time, typically 30 days after termination of tenancy.

    Sponsored by Securent

  • Replace Your Steam Traps

    If you have radiators, make sure to replace your steam traps every 3-5 years. It's an inexpensive way to ensure that they function properly. A broken one can cause your entire system to fail.

    Sponsored by Securent

  • Keep the Batteries in Your Detectors Charged

    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

  • Leave a Basket

    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.

  • Elevator Wait Time

    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

  • Construction Security

    Hiring some security guards can protect your construction site from vandals or thieves during the night. During the day, they can protect against on-the-job accidents by ensuring that safety procedures are followed.

    Sponsored by Securent

  • NYC Building Operator Training

    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!

    http://www.cunybpl.org/opstraining/

  • High-Reflectivity Films Cut Energy Costs

    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.

  • Evening Calls

    When considering hiring property managers, try calling your prospective hires outside of business hours. Those who don't pick up or get back to you quickly probably won't quickly help tenants with maintenance problems either.

    Sponsored by Securent.

  • Warm Up Your Elevators

    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.

  • The Mighty Snow Spear

    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.

  • Check Your Dates

    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.

  • Smart Outlets

    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.

  • Add a Laundry Room

    Converting an underutilized basement into a coin-operated laundry room is a great amenity. It will make your building more attractive to potential tenants and it will pay for itself, and then some, relatively quickly.

    Sponsored by Aces Laundry

  • Solar Isn't Just for Power

    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.

  • Avoid Installation Costs With Carpet Tiles

    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.

  • One Way to Find Distressed Properties Online

    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.

  • Rethink Your Foilage

    For landlords with extensive landscaping, water costs can get costly quickly. By switching to hardier plants, landlords can reduce the amount of water they use and reap the savings.

    Sponsored by Feeder.

  • Leasing to Millennials

    By some estimates, approximately one in five millennials has never written a check, and approximately one in four have set up automatic, recurring payments. If you rent to a lot of millennials, you may want to consider switching to an electronic payment system.

  • Always Get a "Before" Picture

    Always take photographs of a unit before a tenant moves in. They can be used as proof should a dispute over "normal wear and tear" arise when the tenant moves out.

    Sponsored by Securent

  • Always Check the Certificate of Occupancy

    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.

  • Renting Storage Space

    If you have a shed or even an underutilized basement, you could allow one or more of your tenants to use the space as storage for a nominal fee. Even a few dollars every month eventually adds up!

    Sponsored by Feeder

  • Window Film

    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 Early About Renewals

    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.

  • Reminder: 3 Notices Due January 15

    By January 15, all landlords must send the following three documents to all their tenants: a fire safety notice, a window guard notice, and a lead paint notice. See our post on the subject for more information and copies of the forms.

    Sponsored by Feeder

  • Prune Your Oaks in Winter

    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

  • Warn Your Tenants About Grease

    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.

  • Don't Skimp on Air Filters

    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

  • Don't Rush When Providing Measurements

    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 Check to See If a Contract Has Been Signed

    Always make certain that a contract has been signed by all parties involved in a transaction. Without a signature, the contract is meaningless.

  • Don't Just Update a Part of Your System

    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

  • Trust in the Cloud

    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.

  • Super Contact Info

    Make sure that all of your tenants have the contact information for the building's superintendent. Without it, they are unlikely either to know who to call for emergency repairs or to report minor issues that could eventually become major ones.

    Sponsored by The Padded Wagon

  • Keep Your HVAC System Clean.

    90% of HVAC system failures are caused by dirt and dust. A simple cleaning of the system will help you avoid such breakdowns.

    As the adage says: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Sponsored by Titan Facility Service.

  • Get tax rebates by switching to biodiesel

    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."

  • Exclusionary Clauses

    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

  • Keep Your Tools to Yourself

    Don't lend tools to contractors. Should a contractor get injured while using one of your tools, you could be held liable.

    Sponsored by Best Energy Powers

  • That Can-Do Attitude and Elevators Don't Mix

    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 Staff

    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 Your Units

    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.

  • No Pet Policies

    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.

  • Extra Bedrooms

    Renters will pay a premium for more bedrooms. If one of your units has a large living room, you may want to consider installing walls to turn part of it into a bedroom.

    Sponsored by The Padded Wagon.

  • Sidewalk Repairs

    You don't always have to pay for sidewalk repairs. If a sidewalk problem is caused by tree roots, the affected square may be eligible for repair by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) under their Tree and Sidewalks program.

  • Prune Your Trees

    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.

  • Calcium Chloride

    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.

  • Window Maintenance

    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.

  • Garbage Cans

    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.

  • Don't Feed the Cats

    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.

  • Clean Your Coils

    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.

  • Save With Low Flow Aerators

    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.

  • Adjusting Door Thresholds Can Save You a Bundle

    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 Floor Lights Are Not Always the Answer

    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.

  • Preventing Black Mold

    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.

  • Tax Assessors

    Always let tax assessors into your building. If you refuse to grant them access, an assessor may assume that you've made major improvements to the interior of your building that you are attempting to hide. This could result in a bigger tax bill.

    Sponsored by MGNY Consulting.

  • Save on Operating Expenses by Going Solar

    Solar-powered energy systems do not require maintenance because they do not have moving parts.

    Sponsored by Best Energy Power

  • You Can Charge an IAI for Painting Some Rent Controlled Apartments

    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.

  • Code Changes for Elevators

    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.

  • Tracking Your Vacancies

    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

  • Solar Incentives

    State agencies and municipal utilities offer rebate and incentive programs for homeowners and businesses to promote the installation of renewable energy equipment such as the ones offered by Best Energy Power.

  • Remember That Not Everything Can Be Moved

    Not everything can be moved. This includes all hazardous or flammable materials:

    • aerosols
    • chemicals such as ammonia, cleaning solvents, bleach, paint thinner, nail polish remover, etc
    • ammunition
    • batteries
    • lighter/matches
    • fireworks
    • gasoline/kerosene/propane
    • pesticides/poison/weed killer
    • charcoal

    Sponsored by Padded Wagon

  • Tax Tip

    Interest on credit cards for goods or services used in a rental activity are tax deductible.

    Today's tip is sponsored by, LandlordsNY preferred vendor MGNY Consulting.

  • Elevator Maintenance

    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.

  • Fire Insurance Claims

    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.

  • Ask For Before & After Photos

    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.

  • Solar and Roof Updates

    Sponsored Tip by Best Energy Power:

    When going solar, there are definite advantages to installing a new roof at the same time. Be sure to keep the existing roof MFR warranty in place. Please contact Best Energy Power, LNY's Solar Expert, to learn more.

  • Proper Grading Around Your Property

    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)

  • Wheelchair Lift Test Requirements

    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)

  • Be Prepared

    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, Security Deposits and the Law

    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.

  • How to Raise Rent Controlled Rent

    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.

  • Marketing Your Property

    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.

  • Ask Contractors For Recommendations

    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.

  • Prevent Mold

    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!

  • Selecting a Property Manager

    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.

  • In the event of a fire in your building, be sure to rope off areas of the sidewalk to protect against falling debris. Today's Code & Compliance tip was sponsored by @MaxonsRestoration.

  • 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

  • Dos and Don'ts of Moving

    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

  • Water conservation

    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).

  • Work Orders

    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.

  • Checklist For First Time Renters

    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.

  • Don't Be the Owner

    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.

  • Don't transfer real estate directly to your children!

    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

  • Commercial Certificates of Insurance

    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.

  • Do Your Due Diligence

    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.

  • Show Appreciation

    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.

  • Friends and Family

    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.

  • DIY Sidewalk/Staircase Fix

    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.

  • Read the Fine Print

    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.

  • Tenant Surveys

    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.

  • Fire Escape Greenery

    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.

  • Mailboxes and Keys

    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.

  • Closing out FDNY violations

    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.

  • Last month's rent and security deposit

    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!

  • Hiring the right property manager

    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.

  • Video move-in and move-out inspections

    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.

  • Report Problems Immediately

    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.

  • Building Staff Vacations

    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.

  • Be Wary of Fake W2s and Pay Stubs

    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.

  • Caulking

    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.

  • Washing Machines

    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.

  • Forewarned is Forearmed

    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.

  • Long-lasting Dishwashers

    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.

  • Make Your Refrigerators Last

    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 Brick Fireplaces

    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.

  • Stainless Steel Appliances

    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.

  • Uncommon Painting Tools

    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.

  • Notification of Noise

    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.

  • Window insulation

    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.

  • Sanding Made Easy

    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.

  • Vinegar for your paintbrushes

    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.

  • Maintain your HVAC systems

    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.

  • Toilet inspections

    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.

  • Renters Insurance

    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 Late Fees

    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!

  • It's not all about the exterminator...

    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.

  • Verifying Electrician's Or Plumber's License

    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".

  • Slip and Fall Cases & Security Cameras

    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.

  • Screening your tenant

    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.

  • Annual Apartment Registration

    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.

  • Stop Work Orders

    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.

  • Must Register with HPD

    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.

  • Photo evidence for emergency repairs

    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.

  • Stop Flushing Your Money Away

    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.

  • Everyone Gets One

    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.

  • Building a good relationship

    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.

  • Ordering Out

    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.

  • Almost Everyone Forgets the Switch Plate

    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.

  • Reglazing the Bathub

    Always reglaze the bathtub during a turnover. It's an inexpensive upgrade and makes a huge difference when showing the unit.

  • Bargain Shopping for Upgrades

    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.

  • Paint Sale

    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.

  • Demolish a Building

    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.

  • Title Insurance

    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.

  • When a Tenant Passes Away

    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.

  • Notice Prior to Entry

    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.

  • Overseeing Your Managers

    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.

  • Applying for Rent Hikes in a Timely Fashion

    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.

  • Debit Cards

    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.

  • Advanced Rent

    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.

  • Proving a Vocal Rent Demand

    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.

  • Engage Your Neighbors

    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.

  • Making Life Easier for New Tenants

    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.

  • Starting Out on a Positive Note

    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.

  • Deliverance of a Non-Renewal Notice

    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.

  • Choosing Your Words Carefully

    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.

  • Font Size on Lease

    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.

  • Who to Accept Rent Checks From

    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.

  • Alternative to Melting Snow

    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.

  • Winter has arrived!

    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.

  • Recognizing a Leak

    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.

  • Mobile Presence

    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

  • Local Businesses

    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.

  • Tax Deductions for Landlords

    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.

  • Documenting Interactions with Tenants

    Keep a detailed paper trail of interactions with tenants. Documentation plays a key role in settling and winning disputes with a non-compliant tenant.

  • Using a Rent Payment System

    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 the Roof

    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.

  • Repairing Leaks in Older Buildings

    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.

  • Scheduling Inspections

    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.

  • Snow accumulation

    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.

  • AC storage

    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.

  • Security Deposits

    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.

  • Noise Clause

    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.

  • Advertising vacant units

    Invest in professional photos and not your iPhone when marketing your units. That first impression is a lasting one!

  • Light Fixtures

    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.

  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    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.

  • Drafty Windows

    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.

  • Smoke and CO2 detectors

    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.

  • 60 Days Notice

    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.

  • Teamwork is the key

    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.

  • Upgrade your kitchens

    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.

  • Tipping Building Staff

    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.

  • Renters Insurance

    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!

  • Don't Flush Away $$$

    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.

  • MCI

    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

    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.

  • Originals vs. copies

    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.

  • Prevention is the best medicine

    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.

  • Open Houses

    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.

  • Contractor pay

    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.

  • How much are you currently paying in rent?

    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!

  • Don't Shop Until You Drop

    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?

  • Put it in writing

    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.

  • Respond but don't retaliate

    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.

  • Inspect sidewalks

    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.

  • Halloween

    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.

  • Stop-Work Orders

    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.

  • Tenant Surveys

    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.

  • Tenant Surveys

    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.

  • Bike Storage

    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.

  • Tenant Contact Info

    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.

  • Small Kitchen Rental Fix

    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.

  • Time is Money So Don't Waste It

    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.

  • Keep Your Contractors in the Loop

    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.

  • Don't Let Negativity Bring You Down

    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.

  • Welcome to the Neighborhood!

    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!

  • Keys

    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.

  • Faucets

    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.

  • Know Your Contractors

    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.

  • Small bathrooms

    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.

  • All For One, and One For All!

    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.

  • Deposit Rents Checks Right Away

    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.

  • Grout repair

    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!

  • Avoid premise liability claims

    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.

  • Windows

    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.

  • Water, water everywhere yet not a drop to spare!

    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.

  • Invest in Quality Rubber Pavers

    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.

  • Tree Request

    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.

  • Conduct Exit Interviews with tenants

    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.

  • Keep A Detailed Paper Trail

    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.

  • Avoiding Drive-By Management

    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.

  • Paint Job

    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.

  • Dumpster Permit Required

    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.

  • Review Past Rent Checks

    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.

  • Mold

    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.

  • Rent Demand

    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.

  • Avoiding Oscar the Grouch!

    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!

  • Gut Renovations and Preparing your Tenants

    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.

  • Security Deposit Outline

    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.

  • Rent Envelopes

    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.

  • Breaking the Lease

    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

  • Noise Pollution Solution

    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.

  • Google Yourself

    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.

  • ABC's of Housing

    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!

  • Caulking

    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.

  • Google's Not Just For...Googling

    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.

  • Apps for Landlords

    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.

  • Be "in the know"

    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!

  • When your building is hot, hot, hot!

    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.

  • The Early Bird Shouldn't be the Only One to Catch the Worm!

    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!

  • E-Cycle nyc Program

    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.

  • Kill Two Bugs with One Stone

    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.

  • Change the Code, Decrease Unwanted Access

    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.

  • AC Brackets

    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.

  • Interview Pets Too

    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.

  • Toilet Replacement Program

    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.

  • Key Fob Serial Numbers

    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.

  • Considerations when hiring a Property Manager

    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!

  • Follow-up after repairs

    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.

  • Thoroughly screen applicants

    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.

  • Securing Tenants

    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 Paint records

    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!

  • Know when to Hire out

    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.

  • Expired Rent Stabilization Laws

    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.

  • Expired Rent Laws

    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.

  • ​Install water-saving shower heads

    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.

  • Apartment Condition Checklist

    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.

  • Be Prepared

    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.

  • Save a little energy and money!

    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!

  • Get Help

    Reach out to other landlords for help. Whether it's a number for an electrician, help approaching an eviction, or just reassurance - landlords like to talk shop. The LandlordsNY private forum is an essential tool in your arsenal allowing you direct private access to a network of vetted owners and property managers.
  • Exterminate Monthly

    Even if you don't have a pest problem, as with anything - preventative measure is the best measure. Will it cost you money? Yes. Will it deter losing current and future tenants because of a critter problem? Yes also.
  • Call the Owner

    A good tip offered by a member at the Symposium - don't be the owner. No one likes to be the bad guy and say no all the time, instead be the "middle man", the one on the tenant's side. "I'm sorry but the owner is a real stickler about this policy, there's nothing I can do." This makes it easier to enforce the rules without the need to be confrontational.
  • Enforce Late Fees

    Particularly with new tenants be ready to enforce late penalties at the first offense. If you establish a precedence early that this is unacceptable, it will help to curb late payments in the future.
  • Don't Forget to Call the Landlord!

    When screening potential tenants don't forget to call their former landlord. Verify not only their payment history, but the actual address of the property. Doing so eliminates tenants providing "false landlords" and using their friend's addresses on an application.
  • Flood Watch

    When you have a flood or a threat of a potential flood, begin taking pictures immediately. You want to have a record of the property before, during (if possible), and after the storm for your records.
  • Going Paperless

    Hurricane season is back. Many landlords lost a lot of valuable information during Super storm Sandy. Landlords who were already paperless lost nothing. Learn from the past and go paperless. Online documenting makes you a more efficient landlord. It also makes the lives of your tenants much easier, not having to print, sign, scan, and fax lease forms, rent checks, and other legal documents back to you.
  • Name Them All

    When you have multiple tenants in one unit, be it a couple or friends always have all occupants named on the lease. If a couple breaks up and the only person on the lease moves out you now have a legal fight on your hands.
  • Give 'Em A Chance

    Give tenants the opportunity to fix items that may be deducted from the security deposit by doing a walk-through a few weeks before the lease is over.
  • Avoid Discrimination

    When writing a rental ad, be sure to only describe the unit or property. Describing the type of tenant you want is a definite way to be called out on discrimination charges.
  • Be Appreciative

    A study of almost 3,000 landlords and tenants found that 70% of tenants who receive an act of kindness from their landlord stay in their property for 24 months or more, compared to just 53% of those who don’t. So, don't be afraid to send a quick thank you to those tenants you appreciate. It will payoff in the long-run.
  • Solar Tax Abatement

    The Department of Finance offers a tax abatement on properties that use a Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS). You can earn up to $62,500 in benefits depending on your cost of installation.
  • Replacement Costs

    Include a replacement cost worksheet in all your leases. It lists the replacement cost of all the common items in the apartment that may be replaced after a tenant moves out. With this worksheet, the tenant knows how a deduction to their security deposit was calculated.
  • Do what you say and say what you do

    Have integrity and stand behind what you say to your tenants. If you say you'll fix it tomorrow, fix it tomorrow. You will gain respect from your tenants very quickly, not responding in a timely manner builds resentment in tenants and turns a little issue into a big one.
  • Give them a Liner

    Provide new tenants with a shower curtain liner, you would be surprised at how many people do not know how to use one or that one is even required. It's cheap insurance against unnecessary water leaks.
  • Minimum Requirements

    Always clarify your minimum requirements for tenancy in your listing ad, this will save you time and effort in answering calls that will lead no where.
  • Summer Insulation

    Insulating your windows and doors is not just a winter prepping activity. The same rules apply for blocking drafts in the summer. Caulking the gaps and hanging curtains to keep direct sunlight out are a couple of ways to do this.
  • Report them to Credit Agencies

    To enforce the policy of not using the security deposit for last month's rent, include in the lease language that you will report the tenant to the credit agencies for ending a lease with an open balance.
  • Be Aware of Your Online Presence

    Monitor any online review sites that tenants may post on. If you can respond to a bad review be sure to address it, and if you have tenants that you get along with encourage them to write a positive review of you.
  • Customers Not Tenants

    Think of your tenants as customers. With that mindset there is a better chance that you will not be the landlord that everybody loves to hate and your customers will come back year after year.
  • Simple Pet Fees

    When drafting a pet policy, keep the fees simple by having a flat fee across all animal types. Having different fees depending on breed,type and/or size makes it difficult and confusing for the tenant limiting your prospects.
  • Moving Too Much

    When screening a tenant, stay away from anyone who has three or more addresses within the last five years. It could be the sign of an unreliable tenant - not always the case, but can be a potential red flag.
  • Cost Segregation Can Be A Good Thing

    You can save yourself money by doing a cost segregation study on your property. It involves taking larger deductions by means of front-loading depreciation in the early years of a property's life. Talk to your CPA and see if it's the right thing for you.
  • Determining Your Property Value

    To determine Property Value, you first have to calculate cost of replacing property if it were to be completely destroyed (excluding the value of the land itself, as well as personal property within it). You have to take into account whether your property is made of brick or wood, total sf, number of floors, and number of rooms among other important items. Insurance companies will tell you what they believe to be your replacement cost. This info is generally what makes up your property's "Statement of Value" or SOV
  • Determining Your Property Value

    To determine Property Value, you first have to calculate cost of replacing property if it were to be completely destroyed (excluding the value of the land itself, as well as personal property within it). You have to take into account whether your property is made of brick or wood, total sf, number of floors, and number of rooms among other important items. Insurance companies will tell you what they believe to be your replacement cost. This info is generally what makes up your property's "Statement of Value" or SOV
  • Saving Energy in the Winter

    In many properties and buildings, tenants have a tendency to leave hallway windows open. Have your supers or building managers walk the hallways and common areas both in the morning and at night to make sure all windows are closed. Doing so can save you a lot of wasted energy costs.
  • Ordering Tenant to Restore Apartment

    If you take your tenant to Civil Court in order to evict them for making unauthorized alterations to their apartment, you can't also ask the Civil Court to order the tenant to restore the apartment to its original condition. Only the Supreme Court has the authority to rule on this matter of restoring the apartment. Also, you must wait for the Civil Court ruling on whether or not the tenant violated a substantial lease agreement before approaching the Supreme Court for restoration.
  • Roof Locks

    Make sure to always maintain all entrances to your property. If your tenants normally have access to the roof of your building, inspect the roof door lock every so often so as not to suffer from a reduction in rent. The DHCR doesn't find the failure to lock a roof door to be a minor condition.
  • Religious Observer

    Should a day of religious observance not allow you to personally provide a standard service to your property (IE: snow shoveling) - you must arrange for someone else to provide these services for you.
  • Can't Submit Leases on Appeal

    Keep full rent history records up to date. You are now allowed to submit new leases to the DRA once in the appeal stage.
  • Make Yourself Accessible

    There are many documented court cases where a tenant will take you to court simply because they had an issue in their unit and you were unreachable. It's worthwhile to take the time out of your busy day to respond. Tenants already have the upper hand in the court system, as we all know. Don't give the court another reason to rule in favor of your tenant.
  • Get Your Tenant's Consent

    Before improving/renovating your tenant's apartment in any way, make sure to get written consent from them agreeing to pay additional rent post completion of work. If you installed a new refrigerator, dishwasher, and kitchen sink in a tenant's apartment without their consent, the DRA will rule in favor of your tenant.
  • Tenant's Cousin Entitled to Apartment

    As long as a tenant's cousin lived with the prior tenant to an apartment for an extended period of time, that cousin is entitled to the apartment at the rent-stabilized rate. Don't get caught up in deregulating the apartment, as the cousin has full right to the apartment.
  • Responsibilities - Scaffolding

    If your tenant is complaining that the scaffolding surrounding your building is defective and the DRA concurs after inspecting the property, this is considered a decrease in building wide services, and will reduce the rent. However, if the scaffolding was put up by a private contractor for whatever reason, you are not held responsible. Make sure you can produce sufficient evidence that you in fact did not put up the scaffolding, so the DHCR will rule in your favor when it comes to matters such as this.
  • Example of Ordinary Maintenance

    Don't even bother applying for a rent increase if you recently changed the flooring in your tenants apartment. Replacing bathroom tile and kitchen floor are examples of ordinary repairs/maintenance that aren't considered apartment improvements worthy of a rent increase.
  • Picking Your Tenant

    Some food for thought. There are those that make the argument to have a minimum of a two year lease. The thought process is if a tenant isn't stable enough to commit to a two year lease, than they will not be a stable tenant.
  • Minor Conditions in Required Services

    As long as your property is clean and maintained properly, having your building super take off additional hours, which in turn would make him less available to tenants, does NOT constitute as a major condition that would warrant a rent cut. Even if your tenant is complaining of a reduction in required services, the DRA will always rule in your favor, as long as you maintain your property accordingly.
  • Lease Nonrenewal Notice

    Be sure to be specific on the facts in which your claim is based. It is not enough to simply quote language from different Rent Stabilization Codes. Each case is unique and the court system will keep this in mind when making their ruling.
  • Understanding PAR's

    If your tenants are complaining of a reduction of building wide services, for instance a reduction in hours of doorman service and are requesting rent cuts, their complaints will be denied by the DHCR. The only way a tenant's complaint will be upheld is if he/she files a PAR. Keep this in mind when dealing with tenant complaints.
  • Tenant Lease Agreements

    There is usually a good reason a prospective tenant wants to use his own lease agreement. Beware of seemingly harmless clauses that cost you big bucks down the road. It is only reasonable to assume a tenant made lease has more tenant protection than normal. Demand using your own lease - besides being common practice in NY for the Landlord to use his lease, it will save you a lot of heartache in the future.
  • Vacant Unit Maintenance

    You are not given any tax deductions for income you lose during the period of time one of your properties is vacant. However, you may deduct for expenses such as managing and maintaining those vacant properties as if they were non-vacant.
  • Loss from Unusual Event

    The IRS allows you to deduct losses resulting from unusual events such as: Theft, destruction, etc. The deduction is not included in the reimbursement you get from your insurance. You must report the losses in conjunction with the property you are renting out, separately from the losses reported in the part of the property you live in.
  • Vacancy Leases

    The rent you charge for a vacancy lease cannot exceed the last legal regulated rent. You must provide your new tenant with a rent Stabilization Lease Rider, which shows: how you computed the rent and declares any increases made comply with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code.
  • Painting is a Required Service Continued

    If your tenant decides that they want to paint their apartment themselves, they can do so. You as the Landlord should reimburse them to a price-point that you set. Be sure to have the tenant sign a waiver that states they are painting the apartment in lieu of the Landlord providing this service. This way your tenant can't legally ask for a paint job for another 3 years.
  • Landlord Access

    If your tenant's apartment requires repairs and the tenant denies you access to their apartment, this would be considered reasonable cause for eviction. Make sure to keep records of your attempts to gain access, so you have it as proof should legal action need to be taken.
  • Short term Leases

    If you are looking to lease a rent stabilized apartment for less than a year, which typically is not legal under rent stabilization Laws, make sure to include a rider allowing the tenant to break the lease prior to expiration without penalty.
  • Clean Air Tracking System Online Process

    The Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Clean Air Tracking System (CATS), a new online process for building owners submitting new applications or renewals for boilers, is now available through the DEP website. DEP requires registration of all boilers with at least 350,000 BTUs of power. Prior to the new online system, property owners were required to register boilers in-person or by mail. Certificates of Operation for boilers with greater than 2.8 million BTUs will be available through CATS online by late 2012. The CATS can be accessed by going to http://on.nyc.gov/MKQ4jJ and an index of all Air Code related forms can be found at the same web address.
  • Smoke and Monoxide Detectors

    Landlords of multiple dwellings must install approved smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in each apartment, within ten feet of each room used for sleeping. The smoke detectors should be clearly audible in each of those rooms. Tenants may be asked to reimburse the owner up to ten dollars for the cost of purchasing and installing each battery-operated detector. During the first year of use, landlords must repair or replace any broken detector if its malfunction is not the tenant’s fault.
  • Temporary Waiver of Two Percent Biodiesel

    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 kliang@dep.nyc.gov and krishr@dep.nyc.gov.

    • Address where the installation will occur
    • Boiler and burner make and model numbers
    • Boiler input / firing rate (BTU/hr.)
    • Fuel type (only #2 and / or natural gas allowed)
    • Name, … read more
  • Property Damage Post Sandy

    If your business or property was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, you can look into disaster assistance grant and loan programs through the New York City Business Solutions Center and the Federal Small Business Administration.
  • Sandy Tips

    Her are some safety tips for Sandy's aftermath: 1. Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates. 2. Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended. 3. If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan 4. If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe. 5. Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company. 6. Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering. 7. Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain … read more
  • Self-inspection of Gas Appliances

    Code 27-2036 Self-inspection of gas appliances states: "The owner shall cause an inspection to be made by a licensed plumber, utility company, or other qualified gas service person of each gas-fueled space heater and, in an old law tenement or in any rooming unit, of each gas appliance, at least once a year. The findings on inspection shall be recorded on forms approved by the department and shall be kept on file by the owner for a period of one year. Such inspection reports shall be submitted to the department upon request but shall not be subject to inspection by others or to subpoena, or used in or as the basis of prosecution for the existence of a defect on the date … read more
  • Window Guard Information

    The window Guard form to be given to a tenant says NOTICE TO TENANT OR OCCUPANT on top. A tenant must be given a window guard form within 30 days of when the tenant began renting, and every year after that, between January 1 and 16 ( or with the January rent bill ). In the lease, you must give your tenant a form that says WINDOW GUARDS REQUIRED on top.
  • Renewing a Lease of Non-regulated Apartments

    If you own property with non-regulated apartments your tenant may only renew the lease with your consent and may be subject to eviction at the end of the lease term. However, a lease may contain an automatic renewal clause. In such case, you must give the tenant advance notice of the existence of this clause between 15 and 30 days before the tenant is required to notify you of an intention not to renew the lease.
  • Pets and the Disabled

    As a landlord you can not collect an additional deposit or charge higher rent to the disabled person because he or she has an animal. Even if you charge an additional deposit for pets, you cannot charge that extra deposit in this situation. It's advised that you consult with a landlord-tenant attorney, you definitely do not want to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit for discrimination.
  • Asking for a Guarantor

    Until the tenant has signed the lease it is not executed and the landlord has the right to ask for a guarantor. If this is a rent stabilized renewal lease the landlord may not impose new terms, and thus the landlord has no right to insist on a guarantor.
  • Maintenance Hours

    Include the maintenance and repair hours of operation in your leases. This will prevent any confusion and/or disagreements between you and your tenants when repair requests are made.
  • Exit Strategy

    As a small landlord/investor always have multiple exit plans out of the investment and/or management of your assets. You never know what may happen in the future, failing to plan is planning to fail.
  • When You Say No

    Learn to smile when you say NO, no matter how hard a tenant tries to convince you they are right or how nice a person they are. When a no needs to be no, you have to stick to policy.
  • Isn't That Special

    As a Condo manager make sure special assessments are used just for that. They are not to be used in place of raising monthly dues so a regularly occurring expense can be paid. Special assessments are for special projects only, not for paying the plumber.
  • Don't Fake It

    You may be tempted to install fake security cameras in hopes of intimidating tenants into acting appropriately...Don't Do It! It raises expectations and provides a false sense of security for them and in the event of an actual need for video evidence it could cause serious legal troubles for the landlord.
  • Minimum Required Residency

    When researching succession rights of a tenant, remember that If a "family member" (as defined by the DHCR) of the tenant is enrolled as a full-time student, it does not interrupt the minimum periods of required residency related to succession rights.
  • Administrative Fees

    Landlords are entitled to annual administrative expenses equal to 1% of the tenants security deposit only, that does NOT include the interest.
  • Hardwood vs. Carpeting

    Consider using alternatives to carpet in your rentals, carpeting will always cost you money for cleaning and replacement. You can use hardwood flooring or tiles instead, it is more durable and easier to clean and will pay for itself in a very short time.
  • Keep Em Separated

    When managing your property under an LLC, never commingle funds. Always have a separate bank account, credit card etc.
  • Income vs. Credit Score

    Income will tell you the tenant’s ABILITY to pay rent. Credit score will tell you the tenant’s DESIRE to pay rent.
  • The Longer the Term the Better

    When screening Section 8 tenants take the length of time they have been in the program into account. The longer someone is in the program the better the odds are that they’ll stay in your property and abide by section 8 rules and guidelines.
  • Home Office

    If you are a small landlord operating out of your home you can claim a portion of your house expenses as a deduction against your rental revenues. Be sure to ask a tax professional for the exact details.
  • Play the Other Role

    When screening a property manager, pose as a prospective tenant. Call about a listing and see how they treat you. There is no better way to know how someone does their job than to see them in action.
  • Accounting Fraud

    Avoid accounting fraud in your business in two ways. 1- Do not have the same employee handle the books and open the mail. 2- Do not give the bookkeeper the authority to issue *and* sign checks. Avoiding these two pitfalls will save you both money and stress.
  • A/C Surcharge

    As of October 2014, The DHCR increased the air-conditioner rent surcharge for owners who pay for electricity. It sets the monthly surcharge at $36.63, up from $27.89 last year.
  • Gone But Not Forgotten

    When a tenant moves out stay in touch with them via email in order to use them as a referral source for future tenants.
  • Long Term Pet Owners

    If you want a long term tenant, look for a pet owner. Pet owners know how difficult it is to find pet-friendly rentals so they tend to stay longer as a tenant once they find a place.
  • Screening of Self Employed

    When screening a tenant who is self employed require a letter from their accountant stating last years gross/net income plus a projection of the anticipated year-end income for this year, it has to be on company letterhead and include their tax ID number.
  • Log Heat Outages

    When or if heat goes out in one of your properties, be sure to keep a log of the date and time the heat went out and when it was back on. This can be very useful in the event of a non-payment court case.
  • Cash for Keys

    Do you have a problem tenant you want to evict but don't want to go through the lengthy, expensive eviction process? Offer them a cash payment to leave the residence. In the right situation it benefits both the tenant and the landlord.
  • Messy Driver

    If your prospective tenant drives a car, take a quick look inside. Is it a mess or clean? This can be a good indicator of how they will treat your property.
  • Emergency Broadcast

    For times when you need to get an urgent message out to all your tenants and you don't have time to post a notice, employ an automated phone/email service. It allows you to broadcast a prerecorded message to all tenants at once, and provides you with a delivery report showing who was contacted.
  • Unwanted Guests

    Always include a Guest Policy clause in your lease detailing the maximum number of guests allowed, noise restrictions and that the tenant is liable for any damage caused by their guest.
  • Pin It

    Young people are Pinterest users and they are also renters. They like to share photos of attractive homes or apartments, which makes it a great venue to showoff your property. Stage an apartment to show how it would look when furnished or post photos of amenities in your building. Sharing can go a long way towards filling that vacancy.
  • Flip 'em Off

    When a new tenant moves in it is a good idea to show them where the electrical breakers are and how to flip them back on. It could save you a lot of unnecessary phone calls. It is also a good idea to show them the water and gas shut offs in case of emergency.
  • Paying It Off Is Not Always Best

    Thinking of paying off mortgage debt before the end of the term? Think again...paying off some types of debt early will actually end up costing you more money. Check with your accountant to make sure it is the best decision.
  • Additional Management Fees

    When hiring a property management company do not forget to take additional fees into consideration, such as Leasing, Administrative or Setup fees on top of the average 5%-10% fee of monthly rent.
  • Basement Rentals

    Wondering if you can rent out the basement in your building? You can, but only if it's a one-family. Otherwise, the additional unit would change the status of the building from one-family to multiple-dwelling and you would need to acquire a new Certificate of Occupancy.
  • Google Voice

    Google Voice is a great utility for landlords. It keeps a record of all text messages, voice messages, placed calls and received calls. If you ever have a court case with a tenant, you have all of your correspondence with that tenant ready to show to a judge to clearly prove your side of the case.
  • Noisy Nuisance

    Do you have a noisy tenant that other tenants are complaining about? You can find out if they have prior complaints against them by making a Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL) request to the NYC Police Department. This may be used as a screening technique also.
  • Call Me

    Are you tired of scheduling showings and taking time out of your day only to not have them show up? Require them to call you 1 hour before the appointment and let them know that if they do not call, you will not be there. It will decrease the number of no-shows guaranteed.
  • Emergency Notice Information

    As of May 18, 2014, owners of residential dwellings where at least one unit is not occupied by the owner are required to post a temporary notice with emergency information in the common area of the building.
  • Install Energy-Saving LED Light Bulbs

    It's one of the easiest ways to cut down on electricity consumption as they use up to 90 percent less power. The bulbs also last longer, so they don't have to be replaced so frequently. LEDs are increasingly common in street lights, parking garage lighting, walkway and other outdoor area lighting, refrigerated case lighting, modular lighting, and task lighting.
  • Control Your Energy Loss

    Drafts can cause heat loss of up to 20 percent. This can be prevented by filling gaps between floorboards and skirting boards and draft proofing doors and windows. Cavity wall and floor insulation is just as important. Ensure both are properly insulated to stop heat from escaping.
  • Replace Old Air Handling Units

    Over the years, energy performance ratings of packaged air handling units have varied dramatically as the Department of Energy (DOE) and industry associations wrestled over definitive efficiency standards. The bottom line is that energy improvements are frequent, with top-performing models today up to 15 percent more efficient than they were ten years ago.
  • Check Motors for Energy Savings

    Typically, an HVAC motor is installed and kept running, but seldom replaced. If a motor is more than 15 years old, a newer model with better design and improved materials will yield energy savings. An older induction motor for a small, constant-speed fan may consume 400 watts whereas one with modern components will pull only 60 to 80 watts. Tip sponsored by Wave Energy.
  • Do Not Grease Your Pipes

    Grease in pipes is a major reason for plumbing backups. Educate your residents on the proper disposal of household grease and oil
  • Contingency Plans

    Natural Disasters, fires and other major events do and will happen eventually. Have a plan as to how you will react to these situations. You need to act quickly and efficiently so that everything happens as smoothly as possible as to prevent any further damage or danger to your tenants.
  • Burnish your Blades

    If the garbage disposal in one of your units is old and not working so well - try this before replacing. Drop some ice cubes into it while it's running until they are ground up. This will refresh the blades and make them cut like new!
  • Whitewash it

    According to New York Administrative Code: All walls of shaft-ways and courts must be whitewashed or painted in a light color if not made of light color brick. You must also maintain them in a clean condition.
  • Additional Increases for Vacancy Lease

    When calculating a Vacancy Lease remember this: In addition to the one or two year increases allowed under the guidelines, you are also allowed to add 0.6% per year if the previous tenant was in the apartment for 8 or more years.
  • Sidewalk friendly ice melt

    Is the salt you're using to melt ice ruining your sidewalks? Try this as an alternative ice melter. Mix together one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and a half a gallon of hot water, and pour over steps and sidewalks to melt ice.
  • Prevent Mold

    To help prevent mold from forming in your building's showers, put a small squeegee in each bathroom. The tenant can quickly dry the shower giving both you and them a mold-free shower.
  • Film it

    Document all your move-ins and move-outs with a video camera. A tenant can not contest a deduction in the security deposit if you have it on film.
  • Peek-A-Boo

    Want to take a peek inside one of your tenants apartments but can't get in? Check their Facebook page, people often take pictures of themselves at home and post them.
  • Sexual Harassment

    You should always have a zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy instituted. Make sure all employees understand it and agree to it.
  • Cater to Fido

    People love their pets and spend a lot of money on them. Take advantage of that by partnering with a neighborhood pet store. They can market to your tenants and give them a discount on pricing.
  • Measure Twice. Show Once

    Bring a tape measure with you when you show an apartment. If the tenant is not sure if a piece of furniture will fit, you can take a couple quick measurements to confirm.
  • Set an Example

    Always show the rental when it is in prime condition. You want to set an example of what it should look like while the tenant lives there and when they move out.
  • Auto Setback Thermostat

    An automatic setback thermostat can save up to 15% of your annual fuel bill.
  • Turn it Down

    Set back thermostat ten degrees when not in use for the maximum savings.
  • Fair Housing Act

    Always remember the Federal Fair Housing Act when choosing a tenant. You can not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability.
  • Don't Forget the Deductions

    With tax season upon us, make sure you get all the deductions that are available to you. Auto and travel expenses may be deductible, for example.
  • Never Get Emotional

    Never send a tenant a nasty, inappropriate and unprofessional text or email it will make you look that much less credible before a judge. Remain calm and think twice before you say something you’ll regret.
  • Next of Kin

    Always get next of kin information from a tenant, it comes in handy for a single tenant if they leave without permission or pass away unexpectedly.
  • Screen Them Like a Tenant

    When hiring a property management company screen them just as well as you would a prospective tenant.
  • Automatic Exhaust Fan

    Install an exhaust fan in your units bathroom and wire it into the light switch. Whenever the light is turned on so is the fan helping to prevent mold and mildew from forming.
  • Communicate and Respond

    Millennials are the largest group of up-and-coming renters. They highly value great communication and quick response to service requests. Make these two items a priority and you will have happy tenants.
  • Extend Cabinet Lifespan

    To give your cabinets a longer lifespan, line the area under sinks with scrap vinyl flooring to prevent leaks from ruining the cabinets.
  • Renters Insurance

    Upon lease signing, make it clear to the tenant that your insurance policy does not cover their belongings. Having a clause in your lease clearly explaining this is highly recommended.
  • Agree to a Liaison

    Don't want to deal with the caseworker of a Section 8 tenant? Make an addendum to the lease that they are required to be the liaison with their caseworker.
  • Create Exclusivity

    As a landlord or property manager create two Facebook accounts. One for current tenants and one for prospective tenants. The tenants-only page gives your property exclusivity.
  • Compare Yourself to the Market

    When pricing market-rate rentals, a good rule of thumb is to have your rental unit at a price point that is in the top 10% of comparable units.
  • Secondary Income

    Use your new tenant welcome packet as an income stream by having local businesses advertise in it. Great for the tenants and local businesses.
  • Don't Be Teased

    Your building may receive what appears to be extremely low electricity or natural gas offers from 3rd party suppliers. Very often these are simply teaser rates that may significantly increase down the line. Be sure to CAREFULLY vet energy contracts prior to signing.
  • Buy in Bulk

    For owners with multiple properties, making group purchases when it comes to energy buying can result in lower rates and greater savings to your organization.
  • Plan for the Future

    Very often natural gas and electricity costs are thought of only after an event such as a cold winter or hot summer significantly increases your bills. The best way to avoid these issues and reduce their impact on your buildings bottom line is to develop an energy plan that takes into account current and future building changes, risk appetite, sustainability goals, and budgetary concerns.
  • Read the Fine Print

    If your building is planning to conduct major construction, renovations, or energy efficiency upgrades, be sure to review the stipulations of any 3rd party supplier contracts, as large deviations from energy usage can lead your firm to incur significant liquidation costs.
  • Negotiate Your Rates

    Many building owners/managers may have entered into long term electricity and natural gas contracts with suppliers. Now that energy prices have recently declined, it may be possible to restructure these deals, allowing your building to participate in lower priced energy markets and free up capital to use in other areas.
  • Make a plan and you will save

    Armed with a strategic energy plan, buildings can not only save money, but also increase the value of their property by understating sensible energy and sustainable practices.
  • Didnt I Just Replace That?

    For each apartment you own, keep a list of when kitchen appliances were purchased. If they have a warranty, note when the warranty expires. This will make your life so much easier when the appliances stop working.
  • Be Silent

    When interviewing a prospective tenant, ask the question then be silent. If they seem to struggle with their answer, it may be an indicator of something negative.
  • Be Alarmed

    Place battery-operated water leak alarms under the sinks in your units. Best money you can spend. As soon as it gets wet, you will be alarmed of a potential water leak.
  • Two Thumbs Up

    When a tenant moves out, ask them to write a review of their tenancy in your building. Once you have gathered a few, you can show them to prospective tenants to make their decision that much easier.
  • Don't Take Fire Escapes for Granted

    Inspect fire escapes on a regular schedule in order to identify small repairs. You don't want it to get to the point where you have to replace it in its entirety.
  • Repair Policy

    Make every tenant put a repair request in writing. This will cut down on a lot of unnecessary requests. To enforce the policy, be sure to include it in your lease.
  • Notify Your Insurance Company

    Anytime you upgrade a major system in a building, such as heating or electrical, be sure to notify your insurance company as it will most likely improve your insurance rating.
  • Quantify Before you Qualify

    Make sure you're able to quantify exactly what you're paying your energy consultant. Consultants often receive commissions YOU pay for, but may not realize, which can actually INCREASE your energy costs!
  • Don't Forget to Waiver

    Include a “Waiver of Subrogation” clause in your rental agreements to protect you if your tenant were to suffer a loss.
  • Before Any Work Starts

    Before any contractor starts work on your building, be certain to obtain written confirmation that he/she has named you as an additional insured on their general liability policy.
  • Quality Product = Quality Tenants

    Provide a better-than-average home/apartment to attract the best tenant, such as providing new kitchen appliances and modern bathrooms. That effort will land you a tenant that takes pride in the apartment and they will end up maintaining it and treating it as their own.
  • Tenant Numbers

    When 2 or more tenants are named on a rent regulated lease, the number of tenants and roommates cannot exceed the number of tenants named in the lease.
  • Electronics Disposal

    Starting January 1st, it is illegal to dispose of certain electronic equipment. Be sure that your tenants have been notified.
  • Be Social

    Make social media one element of your tenant screening process, you can learn quite a bit about their personality through what they post.
  • Map it Out

    Provide a local map of amenities to new tenants. It's very easy to do using the internet and starts you off on a positive note with the tenant.
  • Be Tough

    Be tough upfront! Be tough on your tenant until they prove themselves by paying rent on-time, taking care of the apartment, etc.
  • It's A Date

    Visiting a tenant for access and need to prove you were there on that date? Take a photo of that day's newspaper with date visible, in front of the tenants door.
  • Make a Paper Trail

    You will have a much easier time proving a tenant wrong in court with a paper trail. Keep all email, text or letter conversations you have had with the tenant.
  • Prove it with Photos

    Do you have a problem tenant with regard to repairs? After making the repair, take photos of the before and after and have them sign a document stating that the repair has been done.
  • Clean Up the Fire Escape

    Never allow tenants to store anything on the fire escape outside their window, this is very dangerous in the case of a fire or emergency.
  • The Golden Question

    When speaking to a previous landlord about a tenant prospect ask them a simple question, "Would you rent to this person again?" The answer will give you an enormous amount of information.
  • City Fire Code

    The City Fire Code states that owners and property managers are required to keep proof of distribution of the fire safety plans to their tenants for five years. You must also keep copies of the last three annual plans distributed.
  • Plunger Provider

    When a new tenant moves in, buy them a toilet plunger. You will not believe how that will cut down on the number of unnecessary phone calls you or your super will receive.
  • Cash Reserve

    One common mistake of a new landlord is not having enough capital reserves. Set aside 5%-10% of gross income each month to cover any unexpected repairs.
  • Interview the Pet

    If you are allowing the renter to have a pet in the apartment, meet the pet before you sign the lease. It can give you an idea of the behavior of the animal and whether or not it may be damaging to the apartment.
  • Can't Keep A Job

    Be cautious of any prospective tenant that has a history of changing jobs often, that type of financial instability can lead to many problems for you as a landlord.
  • Frozen Pipes

    Remember to shutoff any pipes feeding water to outside faucets when the temperature falls below freezing, or else the pipes will freeze solid.
  • Plumbing Stoppages

    Include a "plumbing stoppages" notice in your leases outlining what tenants should not be flushing down the toilet or pouring into sink drains. You would be amazed at how uninformed some tenants may be.
  • Maximum Returned Check Fee

    According to NYS law a landlord cannot charge more than a $20 fee for a returned check.
  • Reborn Appliances

    If you have a stove or refrigerator that is showing signs of age, such as small rust stains, a $5 can of “appliance paint” from the hardware store can make your appliances look as good as new.
  • Electric Door Locks

    Electric door locks that operate with key fobs are becoming more common, if you are going to use one be absolutely positive that there is a way to unlock the door in case of an electrical outage and notify all your tenants.
  • Inexpensive, Quality Appliances

    Rental centers are a great source for purchasing inexpensive, quality appliances. They repossess and sell items such as refrigerators and stoves for a huge discount.
  • Good Tenant Retention

    Be proactive with keeping good tenants. Find out what they’d want to stay and extend their lease. This is something to put in your calendar and think about a few months before a tenant’s lease is up.
  • An Ounce of Prevention

    Check and test all your water shutoff valves every 6 months. Without regular use they can seize up and be inoperable at the most inopportune time. You don’t want to find out it doesn't work when a pipe unexpectedly bursts.
  • No Dishes, No Problems

    It is best not to allow satellite dishes of any type on your building. They can lead to water leaks and cause damage to the building in high winds if they break loose from their anchors.
  • Keep In Touch

    Include a reminder letter with your rent invoices every couple months reminding your tenants to remove their air conditioner, report water leaks, etc. It maintains a good landlord/tenant relationship and can prevent those little repairs from becoming big ones.
  • SCRIE Guidelines

    A senior citizen (age 62 or older) may terminate his/her lease, without penalty, in order to move into a health care facility or senior citizen housing complex. If the senior citizen terminates the lease in order to move into a health care facility, the owner must receive at least 30 days notice, and 60 days notice to the owner is required if the tenant moves into a senior citizen housing complex.
  • Depreciation is your Friend

    Landlords can claim rental property depreciation as tax deductions. This is very important since depreciation will be one of your largest tax deductions, which means it will play a big part in reducing your rental property tax.
  • Shut Out Old Man Winter

    Do you have a window that is letting in cold air? Use window shrink film as a temporary fix to stop the draft and keep the apartment warm.
  • Public Notice

    As a landlord you are required to post a notice in a common area of the building, stating that you have to provide and install a smoke detector in each apartment of the building.
  • Installing Window Guards

    If a rent controlled or rent stabilized tenant requests to have window guards installed, the landlord may charge up to $10 per guard according to the Rent Guidelines Board.
  • Disabled Tenant Rights

    The only way you can evict a disabled tenant or the spouse of a disabled tenant from a rent stabilized apartment in NYC is if you provide an equivalent or superior apartment, at the same or lower stabilized rent in a location near the tenant's present apartment.
  • Get Your Tenant's Consent

    Before improving/renovating your tenant's apartment in any way, make sure to get written consent from them agreeing to pay additional rent post completion of work. If you installed a new refrigerator, dishwasher, and kitchen sink in a tenant's apartment without their consent, the DRA will rule in favor of your tenant.
  • Not a Popularity Contest

    Do not be concerned with wanting everyone to like you. It will hamper your ability to run a profitable property. Treat your properties like a business first and foremost.
  • Quality tenant

    In general, the quality of your tenant will depend largely on the quality of your apartment. So, provide the highest quality product and in return you will have tenants that will respect your building and will create the fewest problems.
  • References

    Contact past and current landlords, as well as employers for prospective tenants. They are a great resource when screening tenants.
  • Being Mindful of Potential Leaks

    Pay attention to the water feeder on your boiler. If you constantly have to manually feed it, you could have a leak somewhere that you are unaware of.
  • Reimbursement for Smoke Detectors

    You can charge your tenants for the cost of installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in their apartment. Landlords can be reimbursed a maximum of $25 for smoke detectors and $50 for a combination smoke detector/CO detector.
  • New Tenant

    Install some 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.
  • Criminal Background Check

    When screening a tenant use the County Clerk of Court website to search for any public criminal records. It’s free and easy!
  • Roof Cameras

    Having difficulty keeping tenants off the roof of the building? Install security cameras. You will have photographic proof of who is violating building rules
  • Let there be Light

    When doing building inspections during the day, still make an effort to test outdoor lighting. It is much easier to change a light bulb during the day than in the dark.
  • Survey Says!

    Interested in adding an amenity to your building, but are not sure if the tenants really wants it? Create a short survey and include it with their next rent invoice.
  • Photocopy Your Rent Checks

    Always make photocopies of rent checks, attach one to your bank deposit slip and one to your copy of the tenant’s rent invoice.
  • Prevent Scalding

    Check the temperature of the water at your faucets, it should be no more than 120 degrees. Any hotter and you run the risk of scalding a tenant.
  • Accepting Payment

    Only accept checks for payment form the person or entity named on the lease. Accepting payments form others could set you up for legal trouble in the future.
  • First Impressions

    Curb appeal applies to apartment buildings as well, invest your time and money into the entrance and lobby of your building. First impressions are everything.
  • Quick reference binder

    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.
  • More Efficient Radiators

    Improve the efficiency of your steam radiators by covering the wall behind the radiators with reflective foil, reflecting the heat into the room instead of it being absorbed by the wall.
  • Accepting Quality Tenants

    Having no tenant at all is better than a substandard tenant. Don’t be in a rush to fill that apartment. Only accept quality tenants.
  • Save On Your Water Bill

    By installing water saving shower heads and faucet aerators, you can save up to 30% on your water bill.
  • Pre-screening

    When pre-screening a prospective tenant remember to check these 4 criteria: 1. Employment 2. Credit history 3. Rental history 4. Criminal background check
  • Renters Insurance

    At the lease signing give your new tenant an insurance company contact in order to get renters insurance. This will get the point across that they need to have renters insurance as per the lease agreement.
  • Take Photos

    Always include photos when listing a rental, people love images and it allows the prospective tenant to visualize themselves in that spot. Also take a few minutes to clean up and organize the area being photographed, dirty laundry strewn about is not going to get that unit rented.
  • Offer Your Assistance

    Now is the time of year when tenants will be taking A/C units out of their windows. Offer to help with this task, as it can be a very dangerous situation to people walking on the sidewalk below.
  • Running a Credit Report

    If your tenant doesn't want to provide a social security number for you to to run a credit report, that is no longer a problem. The big 3 credit agencies can now run a credit check with just an email address and the tenants cooperation.
  • Heating Season Begins

    Today is the official start of heating season, remember these two rules: Between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM, if the outside temperature is below 55 degrees, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit; and, Between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM, if the temperature is below 40 degrees, the inside temperature must be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Month to Month

    Be aware, if a tenant’s lease expires and you accept a rent payment for the following month, you now effectively have a month-to-month tenant.
  • How-To Videos

    If you’re a small landlord that needs a simple plumbing repair and are not sure how to do it, search through youtube.com. There are a lot of good how-to videos there that could show you how to do it yourself and save you a lot of money.
  • Paint color

    Having trouble remembering what color you painted a unit? Include the paint color IN the lease, that way there is no confusion when you go to make touch-ups or repaint.
  • Cash for Tenants

    Provide a cash reward of $50 for a good tenant referral, paying a little upfront can save you a lot down the line.
  • Cleanliness Clause

    Include a cleanliness clause in your lease that outlines the requirement of keeping the unit clean and habitable.
  • Making Payment Easy

    Include a self-addressed envelope with the rent invoice to make it as easy as possible for your tenant to send in the rent payment.
  • Cigarette Smell Removal

    Did you have a cigarette smoking tenant who recently moved out? Use a solution of vinegar and water to get rid of stains and smells from the cigarette smoke.
  • Fees Vs. Deposits

    Be careful when using the words “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.
  • Scheduled Inspections

    Do scheduled inspections of your units every six months. Check the smoke detectors, radiators and windows. You can also take note of the cleanliness and condition of the premises for possible hoarding.
  • Washing Sidewalks

    Make sure your super and maintenance staff know that washing down the sidewalks is prohibited between November 1st and March 31st and also between the hours of 11am and 7pm year-round.
  • Online Rent Payment

    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.
  • Daily Late Fee

    Consider charging a daily late fee on the day after the initial late fee is due, for example $20/day or a fixed percentage. It’s a good way to get the chronically late tenant to pay. Please check with your attorney before instituting.
  • Buy Quality

    When doing a renovation, don’t always buy the lowest priced supplies. Get quality products that will last. Investing more upfront will save you in the long run.
  • Certified Mail

    Always mail lease-related documents that need a signature by certified, return receipt mail. Otherwise, the tenant can say that they never received the document and you have no way to prove them wrong.
  • Including Floor Plans

    Include a floorplan in your rental listing, it gives the prospective tenant a better idea of what the unit looks like before viewing. Which can save you a lot of time in wasted showings if the layout doesn’t fit their needs.
  • Pest Control

    Make it clear to your tenants that they should notify you immediately of any possible pest infestations, the sooner you can act the less chance of it spreading to another apartment.
  • Perceived Value

    Keep the perceived value of your property high, clean and maintain the lobby of your building daily. If it hasn’t been renovated in years, now is the time to invest some money and update it.
  • Heating Season Looms

    Heating Season starts in about one month. Now is the time to inspect, test and if need be, repair your boilers and radiators. Don’t wait until the last minute!
  • Clog Free Drains

    Provide drain screens to your tenants for the bathroom and kitchen sinks to lower the chances of clogs due to small objects and debris getting into the plumbing.
  • Furnishing Your Unit

    Consider furnishing your next rental. You can pass on the added expense of the furniture to the tenant and you may also be able to claim back part of the value of expensive furniture against your tax bill as a 5-year depreciable asset.
  • Don't Be Desperate

    Never fill a vacancy out of desperation. You are much better off keeping the unit vacant and getting the right tenant, than giving it to the first person that comes along.
  • Documentation

    Keep a detailed paper trail of interactions with tenants. Documentation plays a key role in settling and winning disputes with a non-compliant tenant.
  • Pictures Rent Apartments

    Use Instagram to market your apartments, show the amenities, public transit, and local businesses. You would be surprised how effective just photos can be.
  • Money Saver

    Put in low flow shower heads throughout the building, the combined savings will be measurable.
  • Collecting Rent

    Urge your tenants to pay in the form of money order and cashier checks, as you want to keep a good record of all payment received. There will always be circumstances that seem to be out of your control, but don't make a habit of collecting personal checks and cash from your tenants.
  • Preventative Maintenance

    “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining” – JFK… A great mantra for building owners and property owners. In other words, always think preventative maintenance. You don’t want to be fixing a leaking roof in the middle of a tropical storm.
  • Fire Extinguishers

    Install a fire extinguisher in the kitchen of your rental apartments, it’s a little bit of extra protection that could save you a lot of headaches in case of an emergency.
  • Updating Emergency Contact Info

    Make it a habit to update your tenants emergency contact information every six months. Send out a notice with their rent invoice or do an email blast asking them to make any necessary changes.
  • Electrical Outlets

    When visiting your tenants apartment, be aware of the electrical outlets. Make sure the tenant is not overloading them causing a fire hazard.
  • Get it in Writing

    If a tenant tells you they are not renewing their lease and will be moving out, always insist on getting it in writing. Make sure it includes the exact date they are moving out and will surrender the premises.
  • Tax Deductions

    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.
  • Tenant Packets

    Put together a “new tenant packet” for every new tenant you sign to your building. In it, include all the important contact phone numbers, management policies, approved contractors, etc. The clearer you are in what you expect of your tenants the less headaches you will have down the road.
  • Hiring a Management Company

    If you are considering hiring a property management company, be thorough in your background check. Get references, check with the Better Business Bureau, and clearly state the management companies duties in full to prevent any future problems.
  • Intention to Vacate

    When executing a new lease, attach an “Intention to Vacate” form on the back of the tenant's lease. Reminding the tenant to give proper notice and proper move-out procedure can make your life a lot easier when it's time to start looking for a new tenant.
  • Scope of Work

    When getting a bid from a contractor, always ask for a detailed, written scope of work. It makes it much easier to compare competing bids.
  • Vetting a Contractor

    When hiring your next contractor, don’t be afraid to look them up at the Better Business Bureau. Better safe than sorry.
  • Go Green and Save!

    Go green and save some money. Take advantage of the NYC Green Roof Tax Abatement where you are eligible for a one year tax abatement if at least 50% of your building’s roof is covered by vegetation.
  • Pet Policy

    When renting to tenants with a cat or dog, you may want to require that they be spayed or neutered. These pets tend to have a more calming personality, which will help in preventing damage to your rental.
  • Federal Seven

    Remember The Federal Seven – According to Federal Law you cannot choose your tenant based on these criteria: Race, Color, Religion, Sex, Familial status, including having children or being pregnant, National Origin, or a Mental or Physical Disability
  • Roof Drains

    Make it a habit to check for debris blocking the roof drains on your buildings. All it takes is a downpour and a blocked drain cover to cause a major leak.
  • Golden Rule

    Don’t treat your tenants like second-class citizens, they are paying your expenses. Treat them as you would want to be treated.
  • Bartering with Commercial Tenants

    If renting to a commercial tenant, a plumbing company for example, work a barter into your lease where the company supplies you with a predetermined dollar amount of services, which in turn would be deducted from the monthly rent.
  • One Way to Attract Tenants

    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.
  • Making Your Tenant Feel Welcome

    Introduce new tenants to their neighbors, it’s a great way of making them feel welcome and could lead to a more harmonious building environment.
  • Good tenant retention

    Do you have a "model tenant"? pays rent on time, takes care of their apartment, doesn't cause problems. After one year of consistent on-time rent payments, reward them with a gift certificate of some sort.
  • Pro-rating Your Rent

    Sometimes you need to pro-rate rent amounts, for fewer hassles put a clause in the lease outlining how you calculate it. This will save you a lot of time explaining and justifying it to the tenant.
  • Accepting Payment

    Be wary of anyone that wants to pay a security deposit or rent payments with cash, it's always best to have a paper trail when accepting payment.
  • Post Work Notices

    When performing work in your building that may be noisy, post notices the day before to alert tenants. You will likely get fewer complaints on the day of the work.
  • Self-locking Doors

    Remove self-locking door knobs to prevent lockouts, these types of locks will cause your tenant to be locked out.
  • Roommates Sharing Liability

    When renting a unit with roommates, include all of them on the lease so that they all share in the liability.
  • Always be Selling!

    Don’t stop advertising and showing your rental/sale until everything is signed and the money has cleared the bank.
  • Renting to Family

    Never rent to a friend or family member, it opens the door to numerous problems. You will either lose the friendship or lose money. Just Say NO.
  • Conserve Energy and Stay Cool

    Encourage your tenants to conserve energy during these hot summer months. If you want to leave your AC unit on while you’re out, most have an Energy Saver setting that will turn off the unit when the room hits a pre-determined temperature.
  • Virtual Video Walkthrough

    When listing your apartment, include a short video clip walking through the unit. It will help you weed out the lookers from the renters.
  • Rerouting A/C Condensation

    Keep your buildings sidewalks and entrance ways drip-free by attaching a hose to the window A/C units and routing it to a small container.
  • Superintendent Contact Info

    Be sure to post the superintendent’s contact information on the boiler room door, in case unscheduled access is required.
  • Post Your Sanitation Schedule

    Post the schedule for the recycling and disposal of large items in the public area of your building. There is nothing worse than having a tenant put out a refrigerator for pickup and receiving a ticket because it wasn’t supposed to be there.
  • Use of Premises

    Make it very clear in your lease as to the allowed usage of the rented premises. Residential should only be for living purposes and commercial for business purposes only. Include the consequences for breaking these terms in the lease as well.
  • Rent Invoices

    Make it very clear on your rent invoices who the check should be “payable to”. This can be a real time-saver when you own multiple properties with different entity names.
  • Relationship Building

    Send all your tenants a simple birthday card, it’s a great way to build strong relationships.
  • New Tenant Procedure

    When a new tenant moves in, provide them with a change of address packet for the USPS. It includes all the necessary forms for them to update their mailing address.
  • Starting a Relationship Off Right

    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.
  • A Good Practice for Security Deposits

    Never allow a tenant to use the security deposit to pay for the last month’s rent. A better idea would be to have them pay the last month up-front upon signing lease.
  • How to Handle Late Fees

    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.
  • Security Cameras

    Install security cameras in your common areas. The initial investment may be high, but it will pay for itself quickly in the event of slip, trip or fall by one of your tenants or building guests.
  • Key Lock Box

    Install a key lock box on the entrance door to your building. It’s a small box that is opened with a numeric code, you can keep an extra key in it for those times when a tenant loses their key. Make sure to reset the code after it has been opened to prevent unwanted visitors.
  • Pay upon Services Completed

    When using an outside vendor to do work in your building, never pay them the full amount of the work up front. Always pay the balance off after you have checked the work against what was contracted.
  • Keep it Down!

    Always include a “Noise” clause in your lease outlining when above average levels are acceptable, specify a time period such as 12pm-9pm. Also be sure to outline any penalties for breaking this rule.
  • Using P.O Box for Rent Payment

    If at all possible, use a P.O. box address for your rent payment address. This keeps tenants from making an unexpected visit to your company.
  • Changing the Locks

    Always change the locks to an apartment when turning it over to a new tenant. You can never be sure if the old tenant has made extra copies of the key, still allowing them access and leaving the potential for theft of the new tenant.
  • Detailing Move In/Out Dates

    Always detail the exact move in and move out times and days in the tenant lease, this will provide you with the quickest turnaround of that unit.
  • Final walk-through

    When handing over the keys to a new tenant, do a final walk-through with them and have them sign-off on the space. Make note of any final touch-ups or requests and have it signed by the tenant.
  • Certified Funds

    A basic tip for new Landlords. Accept only certified funds (certified check/money order) for security deposits, initial rent payments, and/or brokers fees.
  • AC Units

    With the summer season here, be sure to double-check all window mounted air conditioner units. Be sure they are securely mounted and not in danger of falling, especially if it had been installed by the tenant.
  • End of Season Maintenance

    Now that heating season is ending, it’s the perfect time to do a thorough inspection and cleaning of your boilers. Don’t wait until the start of the season and run the chance of encountering a major problem that will delay providing heat to your tenants.
  • Roof Exit Doors

    Do weekly checks of the roof exit doors of your building. The exit should be equipped with a door alarm and off limits to tenants, access is allowable only in case of emergency.
  • Liquor Licenses

    If you own a building that has a retail space requiring a liquor license, be proactive and keep a record of their license number and expiration date. Contact the Tenant 60 days before expiration, reminding them that it needs to be renewed. You can look up the license status here
  • Taking Pictures of Your Rental

    Prior to a new tenant moving in take pictures of all the rooms, floors, windows, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, etc. Keep these with the tenant file, they can prove very valuable upon move-out if there is any dispute over damages.
  • Facade Inspection Safety Program

    If you own a building 6 stories or more, you are required to have the exterior walls and appurtenances inspected once every 5 years and file a technical report with the Department of Buildings. This program is referred to as the Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP).
  • Stop Flushing Your Money Away

    Did you know that a leaky faucet can waste up to 170 gallons of water over a year? 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.
  • Insurance

    Make sure you have adequate insurance for your property, tenants can create unforeseen situations that you would never think of. Today, there is a growing trend of landlords requiring tenants to carry their own renters insurance – which protects you both.
  • Collecting Late Fees

    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.
  • Elevators: Inspection and Test Requirements

    The DOB recently updated requirements for elevator inspections and test requirements. You now have MORE time to make corrections and file the reports! Time periods are all round numbers, 30, 60, 120 days depending on whether you're filing or making a correction. Take a look here Building Codes
  • Flood Preperation

    On a day like today when heavy rains and flooding are in the forecast, be proactive and reach out to all of your supers and building managers to be prepared. They should make sure that any windows or openings near any mechanical equipment are closed and sealed.
  • Going to Court

    If you are a newer landlord and are thinking about representing yourself in court, it is recommended that you seek legal counsel for advice on how to proceed. Even if you are certain you can win an eviction case, you may be unaware of the various notice and service requirements which are needed to secure an eviction.
  • Radiator Covers

    As a landlord you are not required to provide radiator covers in the apartments you lease.
  • Collecting Rain Water

    Standing water on your property can draw not only mosquitoes, but also a violation. Do not leave any container or barrel out on your property that can collect rain water. No matter your reason, this will be considered a violation for first offenders and you will likely receive a fine.
  • Illegal Dumping Bounty Program

    Through the Illegal Dumping Tip Program, you have the ability to anonymously let the Dept. of Sanitation know of an illegal dumper and would be eligible for a reward of up to 50% of fines collected. The catch is the dumper needs to be caught in the act to collect a reward.
  • Accounting For Future Repairs

    If you're buying a new building and are trying to forecast expenses on running the building, on things such as new appliances, try to account for depreciation of the appliance and future repairs. Most appliances only have a one year warranty and can be costly to repair.
  • Sprinkler Code

    A landlord is not permitted to have gas meters and/or piping in public hallways, per 1968 building code. If you had them there prior to the code, any material change to them would require you to bring it up to code and remove them from public areas.
  • Cell Phone Number

    Avoid potential tenant harassment by creating a contact number for emergencies that get forwarded versus giving out your cell phone number.
  • Keeping Your Property Safe

    It is said that a poorly maintained building that is dark is an attractive space for crime. Take the effort to install lighting systems, gates and other security features. Make sure to remove all graffiti, especially gang graffiti, from the premises. Actions like this make your property less of a haven for criminal activity.
  • Post Storm Inspections

    It is important that on a morning after a day of heavy rains you call your supers and have them do an inspection of the building for leaks coming from your exterior walls or roof. Long lasting and heavy rains will many times expose those leaks that do not typically show up by lighter rains. Finding these will allow you to make repairs now before they become a bigger issue later.
  • Tenant Paints Apartment

    If your tenant complains of a reduction of services because their apartment needs painting, but has already painted the apartment without your permission, you are off the hook. Only if you fail to respond to initial requests would the DHCR rule in the tenant's favor.
  • Credit Reports

    It’s good (and common) practice to do your own due diligence and run a prospective tenant's credit report on your own, even if they bring their own report in. It is common for a Landlord to charge the fee for running the credit report to the prospect.
  • Relocating Your Tenant

    If you absolutely need to evict your rent-stabilized tenant to recover the apartment for your own use, it is good business to offer to relocate your tenant to another unit in the same building. If you don't have available units, try and help them as best you can. Even if circumstances are such where you need the apartment for your own use, going about it this way will keep your reputation in good standing.
  • Addendum to the Lease

    While most landlords use a "standard" lease for their state, it is advisable to create additional stipulations on the lease for each specific tenant. For example you may want to include: When rent is to be collected, where trash is to be stored, if pets are allowed, etc. It is very important that your tenant knows what is expected of him/her.
  • Avoiding False Identity With Tenants

    It is a good idea to take a photocopy of your tenant's drivers license after they sign a lease (before would be a fair housing issue) and keep it in their lease file. You always want to make sure you have a way of recognizing that you are dealing with your actual tenant.
  • Pre-rent Communication

    Have open communication with a potential tenant before renting to them to help gauge the type of person they are and their responsiveness to you. Be it on the phone, text, email, etc. Often times just a few interactions will tell you if you should be renting to this person or not. This is of course in addition to a mandatory credit check and rental history.
  • Stay In Touch

    Stay on top of your tenants, reach out just to check in. If you haven't heard from a tenant in a while, give them a call and set up a time to meet. This gives you a chance to check out the unit and ensure everything is in working order. Worst case scenario, the tenant may be thoroughly damaging your unit without you even knowing.
  • Maximizing Efficiency

    Even if you are extremely handy with construction tools, sometimes it makes sense to contract out the work as opposed to trying to save money by doing repairs yourself. You need to make sure you are maximizing your time and the repairs' efficiently across all your properties.
  • After A Fire

    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.
  • Repairing Defective Equipment

    If you have to repair/replace any kind of defective equipment in your property, be mindful of the fact that you need your tenant's voluntary written consent before increasing the rent. Making this repair while the unit is vacant does not require any consent from a potential tenant.
  • Sprinklers

    Before activating your sprinkler system for the first time this season it is recommended to have a professional come and test for any leaks and to ensure heads are working properly to avoid waste.
  • Painting

    Always keep a record of when each apartment was last painted - NY law only requires yo to paint your units once every 3 years.
  • Lease Renewal Requests

    If you have a tenant who pays on time and maintains your property adequately, you may want to consider your options upon lease renewals should they ask for a rebate or stay in their current rent. A quality tenant, in some cases, can be more valuable than a 2-4% increase in rent.
  • Maintaining Your Foyer

    The foyer/lobby area of your multifamily building will often times become a dumping ground for flyers, advertisements, and circulars. Since it is near impossible to stop this from happening, it is advisable to place a rack of some kind in the lobby area in order to have a set place for these advertisements, making the area tidier.
  • Carpet Cleaning

    Try and have a professional clean your carpet before completely replacing it. Very often, the pro's can make the dreariest of carpets look good as new and at a fraction of the cost of full replacement. It’s a judgment call, but worth having an Expert take a look!
  • Retaliation

    If your tenant has been involved in a tenant related organization or filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, you must NOT terminate or refuse to renew a lease with said tenant. The court system will more likely then not assume you are "retaliating.
  • Determining Your Property Value

    To determine Property Value, you first have to calculate cost of replacing property if it were to be completely destroyed (excluding the value of the land itself, as well as personal property within it). You have to take into account whether your property is made of brick or wood, total sf, number of floors, and number of rooms among other important items. Insurance companies will tell you what they believe to be your replacement cost. This info is generally what makes up your property's "Statement of Value" or SOV
  • Lease Renewals

    NY law requires you to offer your rent stabilized tenants a lease renewal. However there are exceptions such as learning that the unit is not their primary residence. For more info - http://bit.ly/QnOrmb
  • Heavy Winds

    On windy days, make certain to check your roof for any loose items, garbage, or anything that may blow over and cause harm to passersby. It’s your responsibility.
  • Collecting Rent Payment

    You are not allowed to require electronic payment as the ONLY method for payment of rent, regardless of it being the preferred method.
  • Renting Out Your Property

    If your property is or was your home, once you decide to start renting it out, it then becomes an investment. You NEED to keep your emotions out of it. Make sure you have all appropriate licenses and make sure to keep records of any tenant communication.
  • Showing Your Apartment

    When a unit in your building becomes vacant, it is suggested to freshen it up and make it as presentable as possible. This will pay dividends when you are showing your apartment or space to a prospective tenant who gets easily turned off from a unit that looks old and run down.
  • Esco

    Energy Service Companies (ESCO) are companies that offer a broad range of energy savings solutions. In today's real estate environment they are widely used as suppliers of gas and electric. But like any other servicer, make sure you do the proper research before choosing. Call references
  • Preparing for Wet Conditions

    On rainy and snowy days, it would be wise to put down some area rugs throughout the foyer and lobbies of your buildings. Wet conditions lead to slip and falls and why give your tenants a reason to sue you like a slippery floor?
  • Boiler Inspections

    In a building with multiple units that receives heat from a central boiler, it is imperative you have a service contract with a boiler company who does monthly inspections. There is so much that can go wrong and there is nothing more important than preventative maintenance. You don't want to be the landlord whose boiler broke down on the sub zero day!
  • Notice of Non-payment

    Don’t get into the habit of thinking that your tenant will get caught up in rent payments and that you won't need to start legal proceedings. It’s advisable to serve a 3 or 5 day notice of non-payment of rent as soon as your tenant owes one month. The notices can be self-made (although always a good idea to verify language is correct) and your only expense is paying a process server.
  • Frigid Temperatures Continued

    If there are pipes or areas within your building that typically freeze, make sure to keep those areas insulated by wrapping fiberglass around them. If you need to thaw a frozen area, do so with a space heater or heat lamp, never under any circumstance take an open flame to a frozen pipe.
  • Frigid Temperatures

    With temperatures so low, be very wary of your tenants using space heaters and warn them of the dangers of leaving them on without anyone in their apartment. Also, they should be mindful of leaving them on in rooms with young children or pets where they can easily tip over and cause a fire.
  • Prospective Tenants

    Be wary of prospective tenants who are ready to move in immediately. It's a good idea to check references with the tenants current landlord. It's an even better idea to check references with the previous landlord, as current landlord may give a positive reference in order to remove a problem tenant.
  • Snow!

    During a snow storm it is wise to call and be in constant contact with your supers and building managers. Make sure they realize the importance of shoveling and salting as soon as the snow stops to avoid any slip and falls and potential liability claims.
  • Customize Your Lease

    When putting together your lease, use as much detail as possible and include everything from late payment fees to maintenance responsibility to how you expect your tenant to behave. Stipulating everything from A to Z on the lease will reduce potential friction in the future between you and your tenant.
  • New Years Eve

    On a day like today when your business might be closed, but your residents are mostly home, make sure your supers know how to get a hold of you in case of an emergency.
  • Checking Drainpipes

    If you're having reported leaks due to rain - a prudent idea would be to make sure either you or a trusted representative is at the building and location of the reported leak at the time of the next rain/storm to investigate. Do not leave it up to the tenant's reporting alone.
  • Checking Oil Levels

    Many multi family properties in NY are still running off of oil. If you have a property like this make sure you are constantly checking your oil levels to make sure you have enough should the weather drop drastically and your consumption goes up.
  • Preemptive Gutter Cleaning

    If you are an owner of multi-family properties, before a storm hits you should always make sure the gutters are clear of debris to prevent flooding from improper draining. Some seemingly small preventative maintenance can really save you time and money in the long run.
  • Keeping Your Properties Crime Free

    If you suspect your tenant being involved in drug or gang related activity, you would need to receive proof from a law enforcement agency that this activity was taking place on your property, in order to terminate the tenancy.
  • Keeping the Perimeter Safe

    It is advisable to inspect the perimeter of your property/properties for trees or tree branches that can't survive a winter storm. If time and resources permit, remove any dead/dangerous trees that won't be able to withstand the weight of snow or strong winds. Though it may be expensive, it sure beats covering the expenses of a tree falling on your property, your neighbors property, and worse yet on a person!
  • Boiler Controls

    Did you know? There are Boilers controls which can reduce your energy consumption by 10%-30% annually. A minimum of 10% energy consumption reduction annually is actually guaranteed! Additionally, with today’s rebates available you should see your money back within 2 years, many times even with only one winter season!
  • Keep Your Tenants Warm and Your Energy Bill LOW

    If your tenant's energy bill is exorbitant because he/she complains the unit is never warm enough, consider installing plastic window film kits on non-storm windows. Also consider installing covers on windows and through-the-wall air conditioning units. This will keep them warmer/happier, while also combating the large energy bills.
  • Additional Signatures on Lease

    If your tenant sends back a renewal lease with additional signatures on the document, of which you did not agree to, these signatures hold no effect and you can simply cross these additional signatures off the renewal lease. However you should find out if your tenant was making a request to add additional people to the lease.
  • Exposed Pipes

    You are not required to repair exposed pipes in your tenant's bedroom, so long as the pipes are not defective. Rent stabilization law does not require you to do so and there is nothing illegal or dangerous about a pipe being exposed. Don't let your tenant make you think otherwise!
  • Exposed Wiring

    If one of your tenants is complaining of a reduction in services because the wiring of their intercom system is exposed, you need not worry. If the intercom system is working properly, exposed wiring doesn't warrant a rent reduction.
  • Snow Clearing Reminder

    It's snowing! Make sure you are familiar with the NYC sanitation laws regarding shoveling and salting.
  • Janitorial Service - Floor Waxing

    If a tenant complains you aren't waxing the floors of the common area in a building that you own, as long as you are mopping the floors, you stand clear of receiving a rent reduction for inadequate janitorial service. Lack of floor waxing is a minor condition that doesn't warrant a rent reduction.
  • Demand Response Program

    The Demand Response program is a great way to earn $$. If your building has a generator or the ability to shed some load when called upon, you can get monthly payments just for being standby. Starting payments per year are $140,000 per MWH. This works best for commercial and offices spaces, nursing homes etc.
  • Recovering an Apartment for Owner Occupancy

    If you co-own a building with another landlord and your partner decides to sue to evict a tenant in the building in order to recover the apartment for himself, that is permissible. However you can not do the same since Rent Stabilization Law permits only one individual landlord to recover an apartment for owner occupancy.
  • Space Heaters

    If your boiler stops working during holiday season, often times you won't be able to fix or replace it that day/weekend. A commonly used practice among landlords is to purchase space heaters for their tenants to let them know they are doing everything they can to keep their tenants happy. Some food for thought!
  • Mistakenly Underbilling

    If you entered the wrong rent amount on your tenants lease, this amount becomes the legal rent and you are not able to charge back rent However if you mistakenly billed tenant for less than the amount you had stated on the lease, you don't necessarily give up your right to collect the rent stated on the lease.
  • Capital Improvements

    Sometimes in order to make money you need to spend money. It would be wise to keep this in mind when deciding on putting money into your property in order to improve it. Capital improvements done right can significantly improve the value of your property
  • Amenities

    Make sure to keep all the amenities you provide up to date with your neighbors. You don't want to be considered a second-class landlord.
  • Saving Money on Utilities

    If you own an older building, have your buildings 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.
  • Energy Procurement

    For Large energy users (gas or electric), live auction is the way to go for energy procurement. You can see suppliers competing live, guaranteeing you to the most competitive price out there. Contact NECS Inc. for more details.
  • Additional Rent Increases

    Although you are subject to rent stabilization increase limits, at times you CAN charge more if you made certain improvements. Each eligible improvement would be subject to a 1/40th the cost rent increase.
  • Registering Your Building with the HPD

    If your building is a two-family house, you need not register your building with the HPD. However if your building has a third apartment, said building would be considered a multiple dwelling and would therefore need to be registered with the HPD.
  • Painting Done Improperly

    Failure to repaint a tenant’s apartment properly can result in a decrease in required services – take your time to do it right. Ex: if the color you are painting over can still be seen through upon completion, the DHCR rules this as a major condition.
  • Heat Interruptions

    Repeated or lengthy interruptions in heating service can violate the warranty of habitability. For instance, a Manhattan judge found that a lack of heat on 13 instances during a three-month period breached the warranty of habitability. Sometimes, short interruptions in the supply of heat to tenants are inevitable. You may need to shut down your heating system for a few hours in order to perform needed repairs or maintenance work. Service interruptions that are necessary to service or adjust a newly installed boiler, for instance, won’t violate the warranty.
  • MBR Program Continued

    You must file a Violation Certification in order to qualify for a Maximum Base Rent increase. This Form certifies that all rent impairing violations and 80% of all non-rent impairing violations on record as of January 1st, are corrected/cleared.
  • Roof Alarms

    Always keep your tenants safe by checking to see if your buildings roof alarm is working properly. A tenant is allowed to claim reduction of services and therefore receive reduced rent if the alarm is defective. Even if the roof alarm isn't technically a "required service", it is still your responsibility to maintain it, especially because it is a security device.
  • Deliverance of Nonrenewal Notice

    Since there is no law that states how a nonrenewal notice (for a lease) must be delivered, the court rules both personal delivery and regular mail are sufficient.
  • Counting Rooms

    DHCR Policy Statement 93-2 states that to qualify as a room, a windowless kitchen must contain at least 59 square feet. Keep this in mind when counting rooms and applying for MCI rent hikes.
  • Planning for Storm Season

    Plan ahead - If you need assistance heading into natural disaster season, you can look into grant and loan programs through the New York City Business Solutions Center and the Federal Small Business Administration.
  • Who has the Authorization to Collect Rent and Sign Applications?

    As long as you clearly state in your rental application an employee or management company that has the ability to collect rent and/or sign applications, the DRA will never rule in favor of a tenant's complaint. To be sure you don't run into any problems, it is recommended that you list this employee/management company on your DHCR rent registration records. You can also submit a written statement signed by yourself or the owner of your company authorizing this person/persons to file an application on your behalf.
  • Lease Options

    Per NYS rent stabilization laws, you are required to give your tenant the option of a one or two year lease.
  • Going Paperless

    Hurricane season is back. Many landlords lost a lot of valuable information during Super storm Sandy. Landlords who were already paperless lost nothing. Learn from the past and go paperless. Online documenting makes you a more efficient landlord. It also makes the lives of your tenants much easier, not having to print, sign, scan, and fax lease forms, rent checks, and other legal documents back to you.
  • Important Steps During Lease Signing

    "With respect to lease signing, make sure you take the following important steps: Make sure to sit down and read over the lease with the tenant, emphasizing the important parts. Also, have a signed & fully documented Property Condition Report before giving any keys to the tenants. Don't forget to staple a copy of the Tenant's Notice of Intention to Vacate Letter to the back of the tenant's copy of the lease."
  • Employ Your Neighbors

    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.
  • Early Compliance Benefit

    Take advantage! The city is offering an early compliance benefit to all property owners who complete their LL87 by 12/31/2013, allowing property owners to delay implementing the necessary changes for another 10 years.
  • Separate Accounts

    It is advisable to open at least one checking account specifically for your rental properties (some landlords open a separate account for every building they own). You should break down your deposits and checks carefully in order to make bookkeeping easier for you in the future.
  • The Right to Sublet

    By law a landlord cannot unreasonably withhold the right to sublet. However, the landlord can refuse to sublet if for instance, the proposed tenant has a poor credit history, is unemployed, etc.
  • Multi-Story Building Window Guards

    In a multi-story building any tenant with children living in them under the age of 10 must have Window Guards. It is the Landlords responsibility to put them in, but the tenant is required to pay for them. If tenants or occupants want window guards for any reason, even if there are no resident children 10 years of age or younger, the tenant can request the window guards in writing and the landlord must install them.
  • Tenant Nuisance

    Even though a tenant is rent stabilized, you don't always have to offer them a lease renewal. For example, if you can show the tenant is a nuisance, it is grounds for not renewing their lease. Keep good records of it though, you will need to back it up in case the tenant takes you to court.
  • Deregulation

    One way an apartment can be "Deregulated" is when a rent stabilized apartment which becomes vacant and could be offered at a legal regulated rent of twenty-five hundred dollars ($2,500) or more per month, is no longer subject to rent regulation.
  • Aluminum Siding

    If your tenants are complaining of leakages through the roof and exterior walls of your building, one idea that is popular among Landlords to deal with such issues is to install aluminum siding to the building exterior. Installation of aluminum siding qualifies as a major capital improvement and will allow you to apply for MCI rent hikes, while also taking care of the leakage issue.
  • Section 8 Paperwork

    When dealing with section 8, it is recommended that you physically bring your paperwork into the local office and getting it stamped, as oppossed to mailing. This will insure that section 8 can't claim they never got your paperwork.
  • Stop-Work Orders

    You can suffer serious financial losses for violating stop-work orders (SWO's). 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.
  • Checking for ERP Charges

    When your Real Estate (property) tax invoice comes in for payment, make sure you check the back to see if you were charged any "Emergency Repair Program" or ERP Charges. These charges occur when the city has determined you have failed to correct a "class C" violation in a timely matter and thus the city does the work for you.
  • A Letter from the DHCR

    A letter from the DHCR concluded that A Landlord is responsible for exterminating bedbugs if the bugs are found in multiple parts of the apartment. However if the bedbugs are found only in the tenant's bedding, responsibility to exterminate would fall upon the tenant.
  • File a PAR

    If a tenant is complaining about a rent overcharge and the DRA (District Rent Administrator) rules in favor of the tenant, make sure to immediately file a PAR (Petition for Administration Review) to appeal the DRA's decision. Without the PAR, you are not legally allowed to start the court case appealing the DRA's decision.
  • Manager Contact

    If your building has three or more units, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development requires you to provide a 24-hour telephone number within the New York City metropolitan area at which your "managing agent" can reasonably be expected to be reached in case of emergencies. A managing agent is someone over age 21 who's responsible for the maintenance and operation of the building, and who can authorize emergency repairs.
  • Maintaining your Property

    You have to treat your rentals/properties like your own home when it comes to keeping the property well maintained and up to code. Make sure your tenants have your personal phone number and email, or at the very least a manager's contact info. If for example an electrical repair is needed at 2:00AM, you or your manager have the ability to respond in a timely fashion. If health and safety violations aren't handled in a reasonable amount of time, a tenant can withhold the rent. Treating your tenants like neighbors/friends will go a long way to building healthy, long lasting relationships.
  • Security Doors

    Per the RGB, multiple dwellings which were built or converted to such use after January 1, 1968 must have automatic self-closing and self-locking doors at all entrances. These doors must be kept locked at all times, except when an attendant is on duty. If this type of building contains eight or more apartments it must also have a two-way voice intercom system from each apartment to the front door and tenants must be able to “buzz” open the entrance door for visitors.
  • Heating Season Begins

    "You must provide heat from Oct. 1, 2013 to May 31, 2014. Between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., whenever the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you must maintain a temperature in tenants’ apartments of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit."
  • Owner Occupancy

    Make sure to clearly stipulate the reason you are evicting your tenant to recover the apartment for your own use. It is not enough to state the conclusions determined and law/laws relied on.
  • Excessive Heat

    You will not be charged for trespassing or a breach of the warranty of habitability for providing "excessive heat" to your tenants apartment. Trespassing involves an interference with a person's right to possession of real property either by unlawful act or lawful act performed in an unlawful manner.
  • Don't Take Shortcuts During Tenant Selections

    Shortcut in the process of selecting a tenant may cost you more than money down the road. Do a thorough background check and get multiple references.
  • Replacing Hot Water Heater

    If you plan on replacing your hot water heater in order to raise the price of rent, make sure the water heater you plan to replace has lived past its useful life. The useful life of a hot water heater for MCI (Major Capital Improvement) purposes is ten years.
  • Infestation Affects Entire Building

    If you have a rodent infestation in one area of the building that can't be accessed by your tenants (building's basement), this is still considered a health hazard to the rest of the building. You need to take care of this problem immediately, since your tenant can complain of a reduction of building wide services.
  • Rent Demand Notice

    When evicting your tenant for nonpayment of rent, you have the ability to send your tenant a three or five day rent demand, whichever was agreed upon in the lease. You are not able to give a three day rent demand simply because you feel this is an eviction case and not a nonpayment case. Since the whole reason for the eviction is due to the tenant not paying back rent in a nonpayment case, the requirement in the lease is what officially applies here.
  • Print Size on Lease

    The print size on a lease you give to your tenant's 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.
  • Nonpayment for Garage Space

    If your rent-stabilized tenant isn't paying their garage rent, you must sue to evict this tenant for nonpayment. However you cannot simply remove the car from the premises, since the tenant in question is protected by rent-stabilization. In this case you require a court order in order to remove the car from the garage space.
  • Resurfacing

    If you plan on resurfacing your tenant's driveway, make sure to do so at least ten years since the last resurfacing. You can qualify for an MCI rent increase this way. Make sure to keep the cost of work on file, as well as proof of the last time the driveway was resurfaced.
  • Entering Tenant Premises

    In New York like all states, a landlord or manager may enter rented premises while the tenant is living there without advance notice in the case of emergency, such as a fire or serious water leak. And, of course, a landlord may enter when a tenant gives permission.
  • Tenant Complaint is Too Late

    If one of your tenant complains about a reduction in building wide services for an issue that occurred more than four years ago, that service is considered a minor condition and no rent reduction will be warranted for said tenant.
  • Defective Plumbing?

    If your tenant is complaining of a reduction in services because the area under their kitchen sink (cabinet/drawer) is damp, make sure this tenant properly establishes the cause of the moisture problem. To get a reduction in rent a tenant can't simply state that a problem occurs, but also must find the root of this problem. Keep this in mind when going through the court process.
  • Tenant Overcharging Subtenant

    You can evict a rent-stabilized tenant for overcharging a subtenant. As long as you can prove a large overcharge as well as a failure to refund the overcharge to the subtenant, you have grounds to evict.
  • Is Title Insurance Required?

    Though you are not legally required to have title insurance, without it you are leaving yourself open for a potentially devastating loss. In instances where you carry a mortgage, the lender involved generally requires you to protect their interest with a loan policy.
  • Rent Reduction loopholes

    A tenant complaint for rent reductions will only be upheld by the DHCR if the complaint is 100% accurate. For example, if a tenant complains that the water pressure in his/her apartment fluctuates between scalding and chilling and therefore would like a rent reduction, that is not the same as saying there is inadequate hot water in the apartment. What is seemingly a minor difference in complaint, can make the difference between your rent being reduced or not. Make sure to read complaints very carefully to see if there is a way you can get around the issue.
  • Renewing the Lease During Renovations

    You can't claim that you are unable to renew a tenant's lease because the building isn't empty yet, and you would like renovations done. However, Rent-Stabilization code permits a non-renewal of lease only if the DHCR has approved an application filed to rehabilitate the building. Without an application, non-renewal isn't an option for you in this case.
  • Evicting a Non-English Speaking Tenant

    When you sign a settlement agreement in court with a Non-English speaking tenant, MAKE SURE said tenant fully understands the terms of the settlement. It is sometimes worthwhile to hire a translator to ensure this. The courts have vacated settlement agreements after a Non-English speaking tenant claims they didn't understand the terms of the settlement
  • Additional Tax Advantages

    You can deduct many of the maintenance rental costs from the taxable income you collect from rent. You can also defer on some of your taxes by deducting depreciation, the cost of wear and tear on your rented property. In some cases you can even deduct the value of major improvements you made to the property.
  • Evicting a Violent Tenant

    You have the right to evict your tenant, if that tenant's child/children engage in violent acts around the buildings premises. If your tenant refuses to make the problem child move out of the unit, you have the right to evict this tenant since the behavior of the children endanger the other tenants.
  • Military Service - Right to renew

    If a tenant's child is enlisted in the Army/Navy and that child lists their place of residence as your tenant's rent-stabilized unit, that child has the right to renew the lease if your tenant passes away. Temporary absence for military service is an exception to the two-year co-occupancy requirement for pass-on-rights.
  • Lease Renewal Process Part V

    If the apartment your tenant wants to renew a lease for is not his/her's primary residence, it is under your discretion to renew the lease for said tenant or not. However, you must give your tenant a written notice of non-renewal during the lease offering time frame mentioned in the "Lease Renewal Process."
  • Lease Renewal Process Part IV

    If you are sending the Lease Renewal Form to a tenant in New York City only, you must attach a copy of the Rent Stabilization Rights Rider for Apartment House Tenants Residing in New York City. The Rider will explain how the proposed rent was computed and describe the rights and obligations of tenants and owners under the Rent Stabilization Law.
  • Lease Renewal Process Part III

    When your tenant signs the Renewal Lease Form and returns it to you, you must return the fully signed and dated copy to the tenant within 30 days. A renewal should go into effect on or after the date that it is signed and returned to your tenant, but no earlier than the expiration date of the current lease. In general, the lease and any rent increase may not begin retroactively.
  • Lease Renewal Process Continued

    After the renewal offer is made, your tenant has 60 days to choose a lease term, sign the lease, and return it to you. If your tenant does not accept the renewal lease offer within this 60-day period, you have the right to refuse to renew the lease and may also proceed in court after the expiration of the current lease, to have your tenant evicted.
  • Lease Renewal Process

    You must give written notice of renewal by mail or personal delivery not more than 150 days and not less than 90 days before the existing lease expires on a DHCR Renewal Lease Form
  • Availability

    If you are a landlord just starting out in the NY area, the key to being a successful landlord is to make yourself, or someone you designate to act on your behalf available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With all the complications in NY real estate, availability to your tenants is the most crucial.
  • Delivering Lease Nonrenewal Notice

    Although one might prefer to hand over a lease nonrenewal notice in person, regular and certified mail are also acceptable by law. Many Landlord's have a process server deliver the notice in person out of good faith. Avoid the courts dismissing the case based on improper delivery!
  • Bound by Prior Agreement

    If your tenant's children take over a rent stabilized apartment after your current tenant passes away, and the children claim they are entitled to a pass on rights agreed upon by their previous landlord, you as the new landlord are bound to this agreement. Keep this in mind before wasting money on taking your new tenants to court.
  • Computing MCR Increases

    When computing MCR (Maximum Collectible Rent) make sure you are doing so using the RN-26 Long Form. Many Landlords make the mistake of using the RN-26 Short Form creating calculation errors. The Long Form is used when there have been service adjustments.
  • Waste Management

    Store garbage in the garbage room of your property appropriately. If a foul odor is coming from the room it could potentially affect your tenants living conditions. The DRA does not see a foul odor as a minor condition and may reduce the rent for your tenants.
  • Tenant Intention to Vacate

    Always include an "Intention to Vacate" form to a lease. Reminding the tenant of the proper move-out procedure they must go through can make your search for a new tenant a lot easier.
  • Window Guards

    "Make sure that if you have a tenant living above the first floor, and that tenant has children under the age of 10, that every window has a window guard per code. If such a condition exists, it is a major violation."
    - Sponsored by CrossTown Security
  • Building Wide Flooring

    Though installation of tile flooring is normally not considered an MCI rent hike, when installed throughout an entire building, the DRA approves this as an MCI rent hike. Complete replacement of all flooring in all public areas in a building qualifies as an MCI.
  • Registering for Multiple Dwelling

    You are not allowed to obtain any back rent owed without proper documentation. You need either a Certificate of Occupancy or to register for a de facto multiple dwelling with HPD. Even if your tenant doesn't appear in court after you have sued them for back rent owed, the court will deny your request for a default judgement.
  • Maintaining Fire Protection Systems

    The penalty for not maintaining your fire protection system can be severe. Be sure to schedule required inspections frequently. The Fire Department will issue you a violation notice if you fail to comply with said inspections.
  • Submitting a Rent Ledger

    You must submit either a lease, a rent ledger, or proof of apartment vacancy on the base date if you want to prove you are correctly charging your tenant. The DRA often rules in favor of tenants who complain of rent overcharge in cases where a landlord fails to submit proper documentation.
  • Demanding Attorney Fees - Revised

    Supplementing yesterday's Tip of the Day, it IS possible to obtain Attorney's fees in eviction proceedings for non-pay, as long as your lease or contract provides for it. In that case, the prevailing party (Landlord or Tenant) would be awarded the legal fees which usually is awarded after the trial. As a general rule, legal fees are governed first and foremost by a contract.
  • Must Register with HPD

    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.
  • Proving Oral Rent Demand

    If you made an oral 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.
  • Advanced Rent

    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.
  • Debit Cards

    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.
  • Fences Don't Qualify

    Installation of a fence around your property, doesn't qualify for MCI increases. Even if the primary reason for installation was to keep your tenants safe, the DHCR finds this as an ordinary repair and isn't needed for the preservation and maintenance of the building.
  • Comparative Hardship

    The DHCR grants you an appropriate rent adjustment when you are unable to maintain the same average net income in a current three year period compared to another three year base period. Your average net income is subtracted from your average net income for that base period. The result gives you the annual gross rent adjustment.
  • Finding the Right Eviction Attorney

    If you are new to the eviction process, the following are questions you should ask when interviewing a potential eviction attorney:(Keep in mind, a "good" attorney will have answers to these questions immediately.) 1) Would you say that evictions are your specialty? 2) How long should the eviction process take from start to finish? 3) How quickly can I get said tenant into court?
  • Trust your Gut

    Do not lower your screening standards just because you feel stressed that you can't find a tenant to rent your apartment. More often than not, landlords who lower their standards end up regretting it. It is much better to have a vacant property, than to have a tenant who is always causing problems.
  • Title Insurance

    It is the responsibility of the Buyer of property in NY to purchase Title Insurance before closing on a property. While many buyers of real estate in NY 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.
  • Demolishing a Building

    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.
  • Backyard Access

    Many Landlords believe sectioning off a "minor" portion of a tenant's backyard isn't grounds for a reduction in building wide services. However this is not the case. Sectioning off even 1/8 of a tenant's backyard they previously had access to, is considered a major condition and is grounds for a reduction in building wide services. Don't make this mistake.
  • Performing a Cost Breakdown

    If you plan to make apartment improvements, always be sure to keep an accurate cost breakdown throughout the process. Without this, your tenant will have the upper hand in any future court case. Remember the DHCR and DRA always favor the tenant in court proceedings. It is up to you to regain the upper hand by keeping accurate tabs of all work done.
  • Annual Apartment Registration

    You must file your annual apartment registration 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.
  • Changing Ownership

    If you already filed your annual registrations for the year, and you need to change the ownership or managing agent information, you must notify the DHCR within 30 days by filing a report of Change of Identity of Owner/Agent [RA-44]
  • Looking for a Former Tenant?

    If you are trying to track down a former tenant who owes you back rent, here is one way you can pursue said tenant. Send a letter to the last known address for the tenant (even if it is the address of the unit you evicted him from). Write on the letter face "Address Service Requested." Add 50 cents on top of regular postage and the USPS will send you a postcard with the tenant's new address after searching their records.
  • Rental Application

    It is a good idea to ask your tenants if any information on their initial rental application has changed. Make this check one to two times a year. You have a continuing credit relationship with your tenants, it only makes sense to make sure the decisions you make are based on factual information. Many Landlords end up with bad debt because their decisions were based on outdated info.
  • Overseeing Your Managers

    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.
  • Screening Your Tenant

    If a prospective tenant provides you with his credit report, it is recommended to do your own credit and criminal background screenings. Try to also get two landlord references if possible. No landlord wants to deal with a problem tenant, so don't be lazy.
  • Notice Prior to Entry

    Always 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.
  • Nontraditional Family Member

    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 sue to evict just because the surviving roommate isn't a traditional family member.
  • Certificate of Occupancy

    Case law has shown you are allowed to rent out an apartment even though it is not shown under your Certificate of Occupancy (C of O). However it is advised to always update your C of O, as it will save you headaches at a later date when you are looking to sell or refinance an apartment.
  • Painting Your Property

    Make sure to relay to your tenants that if they choose to paint on their own, they should do so with light/neutral colors. All too often a tenant will pain in dark colors, leaving you with a massive painting bill once that tenant leaves, since it takes a number of coats to bring the color back to neutral.
  • Demolition

    If you're planning on doing construction and you need to empty your building of all tenants, make sure you first get approval from the DHCR by filing a Form RA-54 (an application for granting approval). In NYC, you must first serve the tenants with Form RC-50 (A report letting the tenant know your plans for demolition) prior to filing a Form RA-54.
  • Roof Door Alarms Cont.

    After a tenant complains of a reduction in building-wide services because the roof door alarms weren't working, make sure to any defective conditions in a timely fashion. Once a tenant notifies you of their claim prior to filing their complain to the DHCR, neither the tenant or the DHCR is required to send you any paperwork (the DHCR isn't required to send you a copy of the inspection report). Take your tenant's complaints seriously and do your best to correct any issues as soon as possible.
  • Roof Door Alarms

    If you have a roof door alarm and it is not working, be sure to fix it right away. A malfunction of this hardware could be considered a reduction in services and subject to a violation.
  • Applying for Rent Hikes in a Timely Fashion

    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.
  • Collecting Rent

    Urge your tenants to pay in the form of money order and cashier checks, as you want to keep a good record of all payment received. There will always be circumstances that seem to be out of your control, but don't make a habit of collecting personal checks and cash from your tenants.
  • Raising the Rent

    If you are renting out a vacant rent stabilized apartment and have made some improvements, you are entitled to raise the rent more than the % increase allowed by the DHCR. Just be sure to use a "Chip notes" form to calculate how much more you can charge.
  • Pass-On-Rights

    As long as a family member of the tenant proves that he/she has lived in the rent-controlled apartment as his primary residence for at least two years before the primary tenant vacates, that family member has rights to the apartment. Keep this in mind before going to court with a tenant's grandson who may have done their due diligence and put together the proof that they had been living there.
  • Evictions - Don't stall!

    It is recommended that after one month of missed rent you get the ball rolling on the eviction process, even if you believe the tenant will eventually pay. The eviction process in NY is lengthy and exhausting. The sooner you start the better, even if it means having to spend a few dollars to send a three day notice. The tenant will also see that you are serious about making sure rent is paid and on time.
  • Unit Inspection

    It is important to follow a specific process when a tenant first moves in to your property. It is just as important to have a process in place when a tenant vacates your property. When performing an inspection of the unit to calculate repairs, make sure the tenant is present to avoid any potential disputes. Note all calculations you make on the inspection sheet. Discuss with your tenant withholding their security deposit to pay for any repairs. To avoid any potential disputes, take photographs of the unit.
  • Finding A New Tenant - Advertising

    Be sure to understand what Fair Housing Laws requires of you. When advertising you may not discriminate against particular groups or express a preference for a particular group. Ads should focus on the property itself, describing features of the rental. If you advertise in a newsletter that serves one particular ethnic group, you should also advertise in other publications with more diverse circulation.
  • Addendum to the Lease Continued

    You may want to add a specific stipulation to the lease regarding late fees. You don't want to get stuck in a situation where a tenant is constantly taking advantage of you by sending in the rent late or worse sending in bad checks. Make an addendum to the lease, requiring your tenants pay their rent at a cutoff date each month. This might save you from potential issues in the future.
  • Addendum to the Lease

    While most landlords use a "standard" lease for their state, it is advisable to create additional stipulations on the lease for each specific tenant. For example you may want to include: When rent is to be collected, where trash is to be stored, if pets are allowed, etc. It is very important that your tenant knows what is expected of him/her.
  • Squatters

    If there are people living in the premises of one of your buildings who moved in without permission, these people are known as squatters. You can start a squatter holdover case to evict them. To do so, you must serve each squatter with a ten day Notice to Quit. If the squatters don't move out, you can then start a court case.
  • Recoverpossession conclusion

    Once you have won your case and a judge issues a warrant, if your tenant remains on the premises, you can contact your county's law enforcement officer. The officer will give 72 hours notice to the losing tenant before they will be physically removed from your property.
  • Recoverpossession continued

    If you win a Holdover Action case, you must draft and submit a judgement and warrant to your county's court, clarifying any money owed, as well as entitlement of the apartment.
  • Recover Possession

    There are two commonly used forms of eviction; A Non-Payment Proceeding, which is brought when your tenant stops paying their rent. A Holdover Action, which is initiated when your tenant remains in an apartment past the lease date and/or against your will.
  • Rent History

    A Landlord, In order to increase the rent for his/her apartment, must submit a complete rent history for that establishment to the Petition for Administrative Review (PAR.) Failure to do this will result in a court ruling in the tenant's favor.
  • MCI qualifications

    The following qualify as an MCI if you are installing something new into your building: - If the installation is for operation, preservation, and maintenance of the building. - If the installation directly or indirectly benefits all tenants. - If the installation meets the requirements of applicable rent regulations in the useful life schedule. Make sure to apply to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal for approval to raise rents.
  • Security Deposit

    If the unit's legal rent is increased during the term of the lease, you are allowed to collect additional funds from your tenant to bring the security deposit up to the new monthly rent. This holds true even for tenants who are exempt from paying lease increases, such as senior citizens or people with disability. These tenants must still pay the increased security deposit, so make sure to collect.
  • Going to Court

    If you are a newer landlord and are thinking about representing yourself in court, it is recommended that you seek legal counsel for advice on how to proceed. Even if you are certain you can win an eviction case, you may be unaware of the various notice and service requirements which are needed to secure an eviction.
  • Recycling

    You are responsible for providing a storage area for recyclables. You must also post signs indicating materials that need to be recycled. If possible, you must remove any non-recyclable material from recycling bins. If your tenants are not complying with your requests, contact the Department of Sanitation to avoid a fine.
  • Rent Hike Example

    If you install closed circuit security cameras in your building, you can apply for MCI rent hikes. Make sure to include the cost of every camera you install when compiling your invoice for the DRA.
  • MBR Program Continued

    You must also file a Operation and Maintenance and Essential Services Certification to qualify for a Maximum Base Rent increase. This Form confirms that you have paid or will pay 90% of the expense allowance for all "essential services" the building requires. Essential Services for MBR purposes, includes: heat during the time of year when is required by law, hot water, cold water, garbage collection, elevator service, gas, electric, and other utility services.
  • MBR Program

    If you own a rent controlled apartment, you qualify for an MBR (Maximum Base Rent) increase. The increase is calculated using: real estate taxes, water and sewer charges, operating and maintenance expenses, return on capital value, and vacancy and collection loss allowance. The program is used to ensure rent controlled apartments provide enough cash flow for maintenance and building improvement.
  • Filing a PAR

    If you feel you have been treated unfairly by a Rent Administrator's order you may file a Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) with the DHCR. Remember to file the PAR within 35 days after the Rent Administrator's order was issued, not the date you receive the order in the mail.
  • Lease Renewal Continued

    You may not want to renew a lease for a few reasons... If you need the apartment for personal use, if you want to demolish the property, or if you want to use it for other reasons permitted by law. You must give a notice of non-renewal if you do not renew the lease for one of the above reasons.
  • Lease Renewal

    The renewal lease offer must be made on a form created by the DHCR. You must give written notice of renewal by mail or personal delivery not more than 150 days and not less than 90 days before the existing lease expires on a DHCR Renewal Lease Form (RTP-8). It is recommended to send certified return receipt, this way you can prove the renewal was delivered timely in case you go to court.
  • Preferential Rent

    If you are having a tough time renting an apartment at the legal rent from the DHCR, try offering a Prefential Rent. But make sure you use a proper Preferential Rent rider with the lease so that when you are ready to start charging the legal rent again, you won't have an issue.
  • Senior Citizen Rights

    For rent stabilized and rent controlled apartments in NY state, an owner may not evict a tenant for the purpose of owner occupancy where any member of the tenant's household is 62 years of age or older.
  • Proving Fuel Cost

    Buildings that have not qualified for Maximum Base Rent increases may be eligible for fuel cost adjustments. Make sure to file a fuel cost report in a timely fashion, while also keeping a copy of proof of mailing to tenants with a U.S Post Office form. Fuel Pass Alongs are due April 1.
  • Increasing Rent for Tenant Apartment

    The DHCR (NYS Division of Housing & Community Renewal) does not count half rooms when calculating rent increases. If a tenant has 2.5 rooms in his/her apartment, the DHCR calculates this as 2 rooms. Make sure to keep this in mind when applying rent hikes.
  • Avoid False Identity with Tenants

    It is a good idea to take a photocopy of your tenant's drivers license after they sign a lease (before would be a fair housing issue) and keep it in their lease file. You always want to make sure you have a way of recognizing that you are dealing with your actual tenant.
  • Bathroom Leak

    If a tenant is complaining of a reduction of services because there is a leak in his/her bathroom ceiling, it is the Landlord's job to remedy this issue. Even if the problem doesn't occur from a broken pipe. If the issue is the upstairs tenant being clumsy and overflowing water constantly, it is the Landlord's job to approach the upstairs tenant and find a way to fix the issue. Make sure to have constant communication with your tenant's when a problem like this arises and do everything in your power to remedy the situation prior to a tenant taking you to court.