In: Bronx Property Management

Between the years of 1992 and 2013 buildings that carried an assessed value of less than $40,000 were eligible to file for a J-51 for renovation work that qualified for the abatement. In 2013, the limits were tightened to an assessed value of $30,000 or less, leaving a large chunk of middle-income buildings in the lurch when it came to receiving abatements to offset the very expensive work that they were doing.

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In what can be a sign of things to come in the future of New York City’s continuing fight against Airbnb’s short-term rentals, the New York State Senate recently passed a bill that would make it illegal to advertise any short-term rentals (short-term is classified as anything less than 30 days) for entire homes on their website.

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The New York City Water Board has unanimously approved a 2.1 percent increase in the city’s water and sewer rates, effective July 1, 2016.

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In the past twenty years, the world of property management has changed but oftentimes, the way in which property management companies manage, has not. There are plenty of companies that are still run by the same executives and they continue to live off of the management style of the 1980’s. To put it bluntly, the use of modern day technology and apps is mostly non-existent and as a company, we’re changing that.

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Local Law 47 of 2015 was put into place in October 2015 for one specific purpose; to ensure that building owners and landlords were advising their tenants of any upcoming outages of hot water, electricity, gas or heat that will have a duration of more than two hours.

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Now that February 2015 has come and gone, New York City and the buildings within its boroughs are now in Cycle 8 for the Facade Inspection Safety Program, also known as Local Law 11. For buildings that are over six stories in height, a licensed architect or engineer is required to inspect the exterior walls, fire escapes, railings and anything that is attached to the building, to ensure that there are no unsafe conditions.
Each cycle for the Local Law 11 is five years long. Cycle 8 began in February of 2015 and will last until February of 2019. In order to spread out the filings throughout the city and to alleviate the stress within the city’s administrative staff, the filing period is broken down into three staggered filing periods. The way to tell the specific two-year period when your building is supposed to file will be based off of the last number in your “Block #”. Each staggered “sub-cycle” is comprised of the following block numbers and their respective filing dates:
Filing Window (Sub-Cycle) A: Last Digit of Block # 4, 5, 6 or 9 – February 21, 2015 – February 21, 2017
Filing Window (Sub-Cycle) B: Last Digit of Block # 0, 7 or 8 – February 21, 2016 – February 21, 2018
Filing Window (Sub-Cycle) C: Last Digit of Block # 1, 2 or 3 – February 21, 2017 – February 21, 2019
If your building is required to file a Local Law 11 report, you can talk to your engineer or architect of choice to begin the process of inspecting the exterior facade to ensure that all areas are “safe”. If there any “unsafe” conditions, it would behoove the building owner / management to act on it as quickly as possible to minimize any dangerous or hazardous conditions.
If you would like a recommendation of an architect or engineer to use, we would be happy to refer you to a qualified professional who can lead your building in the right direction. You can e-mail Mark Levine (by clicking here) for more information.

ConEdGreenTeam

Did you know that if you reside in a building in New York City that is between 5 and 75 residential units and a customer to either ConEd gas or electric service, you are qualified to obtain a FREE ConEd Green Team Survey by a Green Team energy professional? As part of a program to incentivize buildings, and residential occupants, to save energy by using more energy efficient products, the Green Team professionals will evaluate all of your lighting and heating equipment and will offer energy-saving recommendations throughout your property.

The survey will arrive to the building owner or manager and will provide all of the information that you need in order to make a decision, based on their recommendations. There is no requirement to abide by their recommendations at any time.

In addition to the free survey report and recommendations, a Green Team professional will also install free CFL’s, water saving devices and smart strips in residential units. There is also the possibility of building owners receiving rebates for eligible upgrades to common area equipment, including lighting fixtures, LED exit signs, HVAC and building management systems.

To sign up for the survey or to obtain information on the process, you can call ConEd directly at 877-634-9443

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New York City, in partnership with Electronic Recyclers International, Inc., is now providing an e-cycleNYC program to buildings in the New York City area. A state law, it is now illegal to discard of electronics in the normal trash and all buildings will need to abide by the guidelines that are set forth. If your building should sign up for the program and receive a Sanitation ticket for placing an electronic device out with the normal garbage (if a neighbor places a tv with your garbage, for instance), you will most likely have the ability to appeal the ticket and show good faith that you are in the program.

Accepted electronics for the e-cycleNYC program include televisions, dvd & dvr players, monitors, computers, peripherals (mouse, keyboard, etc.), tablets, printers, scanners, mobile phones, mp3 players and hard drives. Essentially, anything that is plugged in and has a storage function is acceptable. If an item is placed for collection with the e-cycleNYC program and it is cracked, such as a television with a broken screen, the city will request that tape be placed over the crack as to not endanger the staff when they are removing the items.

Items that are not acceptable for recycling in the program and that can be left out with the normal garbage collection are appliances such as vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washing machines, blenders and stoves. In addition, batteries are not eligible for the e-cycleNYC program, either. There are consumer take-back programs available for rechargeable batteries at many locations that sell them (such as Staples) and normal alkaline batteries can be thrown out with the regular garbage.

Depending on how large your building is will determine what type of access you have to a storage bin, provided for free by the city. If you are in a building that is smaller than 50 units, a storage room can be kept where these items can be deposited. A bin will not be given to your building, but when there are more than 20 pieces of electronics to be picked up, your building can call the city to schedule a removal of those items. This room should not be located either more than one staircase down if there is no elevator, or should be accessible by an elevator. If your building is either too small for a storage room or if you feel as though you’ll never hit the required 20 pieces of electronics to initiate the pick-up, you can always donate your electronics at Goodwill (or another organization) or recycle select electronics at vendors that will accept them. Best Buy, for instance, has a mobile phone recycling drop off at the entrance to their stores.

e-cycle-bin-222x300If your building is larger than 50 units in size, you will be eligible to have a locked storage bin delivered that will be placed in a dedicated room or area of the building that is accessible to the residents and/or building staff only. The bins come in two different sizes; a small (2′ deep x 4′ wide x 5′ high) and a larger (2′ deep x 5.5′ deep x 6′ high). A padlock will be delivered with the storage bin and when there is a pickup, the entire storage bin will be removed and a new one left in its place (with a new padlock as well). The city will request that the room where the bin will be located be accessible either by service elevator or if steps are required to be navigated, a building-supplied ramp should be used to allow for the bins to be rolled up and down. If there is no ramp and there are only stairs leading to the room the bin will not be able to be delivered. It goes without saying that any room that is holding these bins should be large enough for the bin and additional room for turning.

The program will be available to those buildings that sign a license agreement with the city. These agreements cannot be altered in any way from their original text (building attorneys will not be able to revise them in any way). In addition, individual Certificates of Insurance will not be given to your building, but each entity that is named within the licensing agreement will be covered by the city’s insurance. The agreement is where a building would place the building’s name, management company’s name and any other parties that wish to be covered.

adobe-pdf-logo For buildings that are larger than 250 units, the city is happy to organize outdoor events on your property, with an e-cycleNYC truck and storage bins for the day. There are a few conditions that the building must maintain in order to host this event. The event must be held in an available outdoor space, such as a parking lot, it can take place any day of the week or weekend (a maximum of four hours) and it must be scheduled with e-cycleNYC at least 60 days in advance. It would be best if the building owner / managing agent could also publicize the upcoming event to all residents, at multiple times during the lead up to the event so that the event will result in higher levels of recycling by those looking to offload their old electronic devices. A resident survey or sign-up sheet will be utilized for e-cycleNYC to gauge the level of staffing needed.

If your building has a bin and would like to have the items removed form the subject property, you can schedule the pickup by calling 212-437-4647 or e-mailing [email protected]. Within three (3) business days, e-cycleNYC will replace your bin with an empty bin.

The last part of this installation and compliance with the e-cycleNYC program is that a representative from either your management company or from the building must attend a seminar given on this subject, at the Department of Sanitation, to go over all of the above information and to have any questions answered. You can call or e-mail the e-cycleNYC program to schedule by using the information given in the paragraph just above. If you are a part of a management company that manages multiple buildings, such as ours, one seminar attendance can cover each of the properties in your portfolio, but a separate license agreement would be needed for each individual property in your portfolio.

Have you run into this scenario before; a Board member resigns during their term and the Board of Directors (or Managers), collectively, appoints a replacement to the position that was just vacated? It should be smooth sailing and without issue, but if this is a cooperative or condominium with an opinionated ownership base, they’ll want to know why the new Board member wasn’t appointed by the shareholders or owners, as a whole.
While it would seem that putting it out to all shareholders or unit owners would be a great idea, it’s not often done, for a variety of reasons. One reason is that it is difficult to get all shareholders and owners to another meeting that is not the Annual Meeting and it is much quicker to appoint someone who is interested in serving on the Board for the remainder of this term. In some cases, there may be a committee member who has been serving on the periphery of the Board and this is a great opportunity to increase their level of participation, if it has been shown that they have something to offer, beyond just filling an open seat.
The reason that the Board will have the final say of who to appoint, in most cases, is provided for in the Bylaws of the building. For instance, below is a partial section of the Bylaws from a NYC cooperative, as it pertains to Vacancies:

When any vacancy exists or occurs among the directors by death, resignation or otherwise, the same shall be filled for the remainder of the term by a majority of votes cast at a special meeting of the remaining directors duly called for the purpose or at any regular meeting of the directors, even though a quorum shall not be present at such special or regular meeting.

As you can see in the above paragraph, the Board has complete control over who they appoint to fill the remainder of the term that was vacated. This could be a period of only a few months or it could be a multi-year term that the new appointment will fulfill.
Just because an appointment was made to the Board does not mean that the shareholders or unit owners are completely without hope if they absolutely disagree with the new appointment. If for any reason they are completely unhappy with this appointment, or the Board in general, the could also look to their bylaws to remove either one or more persons from the Board. They would have to follow the passage in the Bylaws that pertains to removal. From the same NYC cooperative bylaws on Removal:

Any director may be removed from office at any time with or without cause and at the pleasure of the shareholders, upon affirmative vote of the shareholders of record taken at a shareholders’ meeting duly called for that purpose; provided, however, that the directors elected by the holders of Unsold Shares can be removed without cause by such holders of Unsold Shares who alone will have the right to designate a replacement.

There’s no way that each and every shareholder or unit owner will be appeased in each situation, and this is a great example of this. More often than not, the Board will have someone in mind to fill a space on the Board if one should become vacant for any reason during the term of service. It’s up to the shareholders or unit owners to take matters into their own hands if they feel their interests are not being properly represented by the existing Board members.
As I always say, if you’re unhappy with the Board you have, throw your name into the ring the next time around and get on the Board to make a change.
The New York City Department of Finance has recently changed its application process for the Co-op and Condo Property Tax Abatement (“CCA”) for unit owners. Unit owners can now apply for the CCA by completing the Homeowner Tax Benefit Application (click here to download). The revised application now includes CCA in addition to other benefits, such as STAR.

The following groups can now apply using this form:

– Unit Owners who purchased their unit / shares by January 5, 2015 are eligible to apply for the 2015 / 2016 tax year (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). The filing deadline for this tax period was March 16, 2015.

– Unit Owners who purchased their unit / shares after January 5, 2015 should apply for the 2016 / 2017 tax year when that application (the updated links in this post now point that new link).

Please note that to be eligible, you must must use the subject unit as a primary residence and you can not own more than three residential units in the co-op or condo development.

If the unit is owned by a business entity, such as an LLC or a sponsor, your unit is not eligible for the abatements from the city.

In order to apply for the Abatement, you can view and download the application at this link: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/finance/downloads/pdf/payment_operations/exemptions_appl.pdf or you can call 311 and have the application mailed to you.

In addition, as a new policy that is in effect for 2015, an application will be given out at each closing for a new Shareholder or Unit Owner so that they may have the information as soon as they purchase a unit.