In: 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.

(more…)

Property management, particularly in the New York City metro area, is a highly specialized field that handles tremendous, valuable assets. The barrier to entry into our field is pretty low, with a number of fly-by-night companies and inexperienced managers / companies in the field. They’re able to take on clients due to their cheaper pricing, which in many cases is the sole litmus test used by property owners and boards for their management hires. This begs to raise the question; should property managers and management companies be licensed in the State of New York or should it stay as it is; with no major restrictions or hurdles to jump over?

If you look to the state of Florida, real estate management companies are required to be Licensed Community Association Management firms and individual managers are required to possess the Community Association Manager license as well. Both of these licenses are obtained by passing background checks with the Federal Government, taking specialized courses, passing course tests, passing state level tests and then attending continuing education every two years. Once these tests are passed a license is issued through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and then the licensees and the firms are held accountable for their actions and also held liable for any violations of the state-level regulations. Rules are changing constantly and it is up to the licensee to ensure that they are following the law as it is written. No such laws or oversight exist in New York State.

In New York State, and a reason why so many real estate brokers turn to management in a downturn, a property management firm must be a Licensed Real Estate broker in order to collect rent (or maintenance / common charges) on behalf of the owner. Many companies do not know this law as it is not widely known and as a result do not maintain an active broker’s license for the firm. Other than that provision, there is no obligation by the management company to follow any statutes of law that relate specifically to the management of properties and the fiduciary responsibilities of a managing agent to the owner of the property. Of course all laws have to be followed with regards to the maintenance of a property and each property should be run efficiently in a law-abiding way, but there is no oversight at this time from the state to make sure that those who are running these properties themselves are both with a clean record and properly trained for the position.

Could the various buildings owners and boards in the area benefit from a systematic overhaul of the current system that would ensure that all of the employees managing their accounts be licensed and up-to-date with all current regulations and responsibilities? I think so. It would take a lot of work on both the state end and also with each individual property management company, but in the end it could benefit those who need it the most; the property owners who rely on us, as professionals, to maintain and properly manage their valuable assets.

– Mark Levine, RAM, CAM

Update on 1/15/15: On January 14, 2015, President Obama signed the bill that reauthorized TRIA for another six years, with a new expiration date of December 31, 2020. Although it was renewed, there are some revisions to the TRIA renewal program. These revisions include higher deductibles to insurers.

On December 26, 2007, the President signed into law the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-160, 121 Stat. 1839) [TRIPRA]. This signing extended the existing Program through December 31, 2014, a date that is fast approaching.

(more…)

New York City has some very specific snow removal rules for buildings within its boroughs. We’re concerned about snow removal from a few different standpoints; we want to sure ensure the safety of the residents, employees and passerby’s and we also want to limit the liability and potential exposure to lawsuit of our client buildings.

New York City’s Department of Sanitation requires that snow be removed no later than four (4) hours after the end of the snow fall or not later than 11:00AM, if the snow ended after 9:00PM the night before.

In addition, if the snow can’t be removed due to packed ice or other conditions, the building is allowed to place down cat litter, snow melt or a similar product for traction. Once the snow has melted or is readily able to be removed, we recommend that it is done so right away.

Snow is not permitted to be shoveled into the streets at any time. That practice is illegal. In addition, do not place snow on top of a fire hydrant. Those hydrants do need to be kept clear at all times.

Failure to abide by the rules can subject the building to a fine in the amount of $100 – $350 per infraction.

Keeping the sidewalks clear of snow and ice during and after a snowstorm will be of great benefit to the employees, residents and the general public.

Related Post: What are the Winter Heating Requirements?

New York State, as of December 3, 2014, is requiring that all current subleases acknowledge if there are or aren’t sprinklers in their respective units with a new Fire Sprinkler Acknowledgement Form (EBMG can provide you with a sample Acknowledgement, below). We are now going to include an Acknowledgement Form in all Cooperative sales and sublease applications (sublease only for Condos) for the new tenants to sign and will also be sending out an acknowledgement form to all residents that currently have a lease so that we have them on file.

This new code is for all leased premises, so it does apply to new leases, renewal leases and all Shareholders in a Cooperative with a Proprietary Lease.

Sample Acknowledgement Form (download)

Excel Bradshaw is pleased to announce that it will assume the management of 205 E. 10th St. Owners, Inc., a 30 unit Cooperative located in New York City. Effective October 1, 2014, this new addition will add to a growing portfolio in Manhattan. 205 E. 10th St. Owners, Inc. will be directly managed by Mark Levine, Vice President of Excel Bradshaw.

A simple task that is now available to update online at http://www.nyc.gov/hpd, this yearly property registration is required from residential buildings that are greater than three units or 1-2 unit residences where the owner does not reside on premises. The forms tell the City of New York who the owner, agent and responsible parties are for all residential buildings in the case of an emergency (or a violation). Registrations are required to be renewed by September 1st of each year, so if your building is outdated, now is the time to update it before it becomes a deeper issue.

In this newest video, Mark Levine of Excel Bradshaw Management Group walks you through the new 2014 New York City Administrative Code Section 27-2051.1, which deals with emergency preparedness and notifications for residential buildings.

Buildings are now required to post specific information about relevant weather events, utility outages that will last more than 24 hours, evacuation details, emergency contact numbers and building specific numbers and contact information in the event of an emergency. The information is to be posted in 11-point type or larger.

We would recommend emailing to all residents in addition to posting in the lobby and/or sliding under doors.

EBMG Template For Memo: http://ebmg.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/EMERGENCY-NOTIFICATION-TEMPLATE.docx

Schechter & Brucker Original Memo: http://ebmg.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/emergency_preparedness_memo.pdf

NYC Office of Emergency Management: http://www.nyc.gov/oem

Find Your Flood Zone: http://www.floodzonenyc.com/

In NYC Cooperative buildings (or in all locations, really) adding someone to a stock certificate may seem like something that should be easily approved, but it is often a lengthy process.

The Cooperative Board of Directors is charged with protecting the interests of all of the Shareholders in the buildings, so when someone is being attached to the shares of a particular apartment, it is their fiduciary responsibility to ensure that this person will be able to financially afford to pay for the monthly maintenance, along with all other debts in their lives.

Even if this person has been living with the Shareholder for a lengthy period of time, most Boards will consider this transaction similar to a new purchase of an apartment and will ask for detailed reports on the financial activity of the new person applying.

These processes can also be costly. There are costs for application processing, Board review and then ultimately, the closing of a new stock certificate and proprietary lease.

A lot of building owners and Boards have one thing in common; they’re often-times getting involved in the minutiae that they hire their property management professionals to handle. Whether it’s giving the staff direction on the day-to-day or getting directly involved in tenant affairs, there is potential for a large amount of confusion and misdirection for any and all building staff.

(more…)