In: House Rules
February 2, 2016
Buildings suffer through a lot of wear and tear during move-ins and move-outs. For each move, there are always two sets of people who are coming and going and elevators, common spaces and the building staff are all taxed during this time. In addition, residents are sometimes disturbed as their elevators are either taken out completely or are under limited use while the movers reserve and utilize them during this time period. It’s for this reason that many buildings charge something in order to offset the costs that they are absorbing. These charges can be by way of a deposit, fee or both. Depending on your building, it may be prudent to charge both to protect the asset under your care.
From time to time a Unit Owner or a Shareholder will place an illegal sublet into their unit without the prior written authorization of the Board of Managers or the Board of Directors in that particular building. One Board Member had inquired if they could take it upon themselves to remove the sublet directly or if they needed to go to bat with the Shareholder in question, first.
We see this all the time in property management; a resident refusing to give a copy of their apartment key to their landlord or to the building staff in the case of an emergency. In New York, it’s part of the law that the tenant should give a copy of their key to the landlord and in Proprietary Leases for Cooperatives, it notes that the Lessee (shareholder) shall give a copy of their key to the Lessor (Coop Board or representative).
In Property Management there are always residents that are looking to do work inside their apartments; whether that work is invasive and structural or purely cosmetic in nature.
Excel Bradshaw Management Group, LLC has two distinct forms for buildings to consider when residents are performing work. We have a decoration application, which deals with mostly cosmetic repairs and we have an alteration application, which goes into more detail and usually involves all plumbing, electrical and structural work on the interior.
Both applications will require that the company performing the work supply any and all licenses and insurance as may be required. All permits for the work that need to be filed and received from the City also need to be displayed. The resident doing the work will also have to show proof of homeowners or renters insurance to assure the building of coverage in the case of an accident, etc.
If the work is structural in nature, the resident must provide their architects sealed renderings and the building will utilize those to have the building’s architect review, at resident’s expense.
We’re all about locking down the information and providing as much protection to the building as possible. Collecting all of the important and relevant information from the contractors and from the residents prior to the work being approved will go a long way in protecting the building and all residents from unauthorized, or illegal work.
This is a quick tip to lock down your House Rules to make them more enforceable.
Many buildings have House Rules that are outdated, or even original to the conversion. If the House Rules are outdated and are not providing for infractions and penalties for those breaches, are they really enforceable?
The Board has the authority to amend the House Rules and we recommend that when the House Rules are redrafted, place the specific infractions, penalties and fines that will come with each infraction. By laying this out, each resident will have notice of what the graduated steps will be for any breach of the Rules.
Once they are redrafted, we recommend mailing them out or handing out to each resident. When they do receive these new rules, each resident should sign an acknowledgment form that they both received the rules and after they had time to digest the new changes they should acknowledge that they have read and understand the House Rules as they are now drafted.
In addition to current residents, we also include both the House Rules and the Acknowledgement in all resale, sublet, refinance and transfer packages for each building so that all future residents will have read and understood the House Rules (and we have it in writing).
By following this simple advice, all buildings should be able to clamp down on breaches of the House Rules and can collect on the penalties that will no longer be seen as arbitrary.