In January 2014, NYC enacted a new rule for those properties that had a retaining wall that is greater than 10-feet high and located on a public right of way. Local Law 37 of 2008 now dictates that all of those properties that fall into that category have their retaining walls inspected every five (5) years to determine if they are Safe, Safe with a Repair and Maintenance or Unsafe.
If you’re familiar with Local Law 11 for the facade, then you’ll be familiar with this as well. Depending on where your building is located, you will need to file in the year that is attributed to your borough.
2016: Staten Island
The DOB provides civil penalties of $1,000 per year for failure to file, plus $250 per month penalty until the property owner is in compliance. Failure to repair an unsafe condition carries a $1,000 per month fine until corrected.
We would recommend that all properties that are now required to inspect and file their properties talk to a local engineer that is qualified to perform the inspection and file on your behalf.
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)
If your building is concerned that Shareholders or Unit Owners will possibly default on their maintenance or common charges during the period of the sublease, there is a simple Rider that the building can attach to the existing sublease application to ensure that the building is made whole in the case of a delinquency in payment.
The Rider, which we have provided for in the link at the bottom of this article, states that in the case of a delinquency by the Shareholder or the Unit Owner, the subtenant, upon written notice from the Board will pay their rent directly to the Cooperative or Condominium until such time that the delinquency is taken care of.
This Rider, with a signature by the Shareholder and Subtenant will enable the Board to collect fees that are due more quickly and all parties are aware of their responsibility in the case of a default.
Sample Rider For Coops / Condos (Word Doc)
September 5, 2014
In NYC Cooperative buildings (and others throughout the country as well) Shareholders are often looking to refinance their apartment either through a new mortgage or for secondary financing such as a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or a second mortgage.
When a Board is looking over their options for approving or not approving this financing for the Shareholder, they should be looking at more than the overall amount of the financing. They should also take a hard look at what that loan will do to the Loan-To-Value (LTV) ratio of the apartment. If the Co-op, for instance, has a maximum of 80% financing, if the new LTV exceeds that amount, they may want to reconsider the approval. (more…)
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: https://ebmg.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/EMERGENCY-NOTIFICATION-TEMPLATE.docx
Schechter & Brucker Original Memo: https://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 Condominiums and Cooperatives, one of the factors that will play into whether your Unit Owners, Shareholders or the building as a whole can easily get financing is the percentage of investor-owned units. Investor-owned, in this case, is a unit that is sublet out. If a building has greater than 15% of their units sublet out by the respective owners / shareholders, the banks will take notice and may give an issue when trying to obtain financing.
There are some buildings that don’t allow subletting at all, but most will at least make it difficult or onerous to do so. A sublet fee based on a per share basis, a flat fee or a sliding scale for different years can be put into place to create soft income for the building. The theory is that the person who is subletting out their unit is making money on the transaction, so why not also create a fee within the building.
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.
Sometimes a Board of Directors in a Cooperative can overstep their bounds. Whether it’s from a lack of knowledge of what they can or can’t do or just a lax outlook on adhering to the building’s documents, Boards need to keep their limits in mind when making changes.
Recently, someone posed the question to the Habitat Magazine (http://www.habitatmag.com) forums asking if the Board can change the terms of the Proprietary Lease, to allow for Shareholders to now be responsible for the upkeep and replacement of windows. This was, according to the poster, done without the approval of the Shareholders at large.
The Proprietary Lease usually calls for a supermajority of Shareholders (either 66.6% or 75%, depending on the documents) to approve any changes to the Proprietary Lease or Bylaws. If there wasn’t a special meeting for this purpose or if it was not included on the agenda of the Annual Meeting, then the Board most likely made this change illegally.
We always advise our Boards to follow the law with regards to handling building documents to ensure that the rules and policies set forth are enforceable to the end.