Dos & Don'ts

Think Twice Before Upgrading to Biometric Entry System

February 21, 2020    

If you have rent-stabilized tenants in your building and you’re considering switching from a key- or fob-based entry system to a biometric fingerprint system, you may want to reconsider.

Correct Outstanding Heat & Hot Water Violations If Tenant Files Complaint

December 18, 2014    

Each year, tenants file heat and hot water complaints with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR)—most of them at this time of year. City codes require owners to keep their buildings reasonably heated—68 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night—from Oct. 1...

Don't Delay Issuing Refunds if Rent Overcharges Are Found

December 18, 2014    

If you discover that there are rent overcharges to your tenants, promptly refund the overages so that you can avoid having to pay DHCR-ordered triple damages. In recent decisions, the DHCR denied or revoked triple damages tenants sought for rent overcharges because owners gave tenants rent...

Keep Detailed Invoices of Individual Apartment Improvements

May 20, 2013    

When you make improvements, such as installing a new refrigerator or replacing flooring, to your rent-regulated apartments, you’re allowed an “Individual Apartment Improvement Rent Increase.” This increase is in addition to vacancy increases allowed by law or the regular annual...

Don't Place Garbage Out Too Early

May 20, 2013    

According to New York City Sanitation Rules and Regulations, residential units may place receptacles out for collection on the sidewalk, right by the curb, no earlier than 5 p.m. the day before their scheduled collection, and no earlier than 4 p.m. from Oct. 1 to April 1. Residential units...

Object to Unauthorized Pet Within Three Months

May 20, 2013    

A lease clause that prohibits a tenant from keeping a dog, cat, or other pet in an apartment without the owner’s permission imposes a substantial obligation on the tenancy. And a tenant who harbors a pet in violation of a “no-pets” clause in the lease can be terminated.

Follow Proper Procedures for "No-Access" Inspection

August 31, 2012    

Be sure to follow the correct procedures to trigger a “no-access inspection.” By law, you're required to send two letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least eight days in advance of a proposed access date, before seeking a no-access inspection.

Don't Block Access to Water Meters

August 31, 2012    

The Environmental Control Board (ECB) recently ruled that an owner could be fined for failing to maintain a water meter in a readily accessible area. Furthermore, the rules don't require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to give an owner prior notice that a water meter will be...

Don't Place Locking Devices on Fire Passageways

March 25, 2012    

The Department of Buildings (DOB) takes tenant safety seriously. And any types of obstructions or locks on fire exits and passageways are grounds for a Class 1 immediately hazardous violation. In one recent case, the DOB issued such a violation after inspectors found that a fire passageway...

Maintain Building Systems at Appropriate Noise Levels

March 25, 2012    

Periodically check that any noise-producing building systems, such as air circulation devices, don't exceed unreasonable noise levels. N.Y.C. Administrative Code Section 27-218 provides that no person shall cause or permit “unreasonable noise,” which is defined in the Building...

Don't Neglect Maintaining Master Antenna Services

June 1, 2010    

If your building has a master antenna, you should make sure it works even if few tenants use the master antenna to receive television broadcasting and even if it was never a registered required service for your building.

Keep Meticulous Work Repair Records

June 1, 2010    

When you make a repair to a tenant's apartment, always keep a record of what was done, no matter how minor the work. Keep bills and canceled checks for any materials or parts that...