New York based property management firm, All Area Realty Services blog. Find tips for Co-Op Boards & Residential Building Management.

Thinking of hiring a property manager?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Dec 5, 2019 4:50:55 PM

What is a property manager and do you need to hire one to manage your property? Most times, a landlord will hire a property manager to manage the day to day operations at the property. A property manager’s responsibilities vary but there are a few tasks that are common management responsibilities.

Property managers are responsible for everything related to the rent. They set the rent for new tenants. This helps to attract the perfect tenants. Once there are tenants, the property managers need to collect the rent. Property managers may also adjust the rent. At times, they may decrease the rent but most times, they increase the rent by certain percentages according to local laws.

If there are vacancies, then the property manager needs to find new tenants who are a good fit for the building. Part of finding new tenants is advertising the space properly and meeting the potential tenants.

Once a property manager finds a new tenant, then they need to run background checks, credit checks and getting references and proof of employment.

iStock-465260653Now that you have tenants living on your property, there will be repairs and keeping the building safe. This is where your property manager comes in. The property manager is responsible for keeping the property safe and habitable.  Your property manager will either perform routine maintenance like landscaping, trash removal, pest control or they will hire someone to perform these tasks. When it comes to repairs, the property manager must be able to do the repairs themselves or hire someone. 

When a tenant stops paying rent, the property manager needs to know the laws in order to know when to evict a tenant. Property managers also need to have knowledge of the laws in order to screen tenants, keeping security deposits, terminating leases, eviction, and compliance.

Since property managers are responsible for the day to day activities, they need to do the building’s budget and to keep meticulous records. In the budget, there will be funds for improvements, repairs and an emergency fund. Property managers may be asked to do the taxes for the building as well. The records show how well the property functions and these records should include all income, expenses and track complaints, repairs, leases and insurance costs.

Effective property managers help keep your property running smooth and will increase your profits. Contact us today to see if All Area can improve the running of your buildings. 

All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to run buildings smoothly and efficiently while keeping both tenants and owners happy.  With over 30 years of experience, and many clients with All Area Realty Services for decades, All Area can be trusted with taking care of your building and tenants. 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management, Condo Board Association, property manager

Are You Aware Of The Most Recent Laws When It Comes To Roofs?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Nov 26, 2019 3:55:38 PM

In New York City, there are new buildings going up every day. Two new local laws have been passed that require all newly constructed buildings and buildings replacing their roof to have a sustainable roofing zone that covers the entire roof surface. This roofing zone is defined as a green roof system that has a solar photovoltaic electricity-generating system. If a building is just replacing a part of the roof, it will be exempt from the laws. If there is a concrete roof deck, the building most likely will not have to replace it and therefore the laws do not apply.

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There have been mixed thoughts on these new laws. However, over the course of time, these new roofs will improve the quality of life for everyone in NYC. The green roof must meet certain requirements such as the type of growth medium, depth, required drainage and types of plants that are acceptable. However, there are many green roofs and the details are a little unclear.

There are price levels for each type of green roof. The cheapest system is an extensive green roof, which has shallow layers of growing medium and small plants that do not irrigation. Most green roofs should have irrigation systems in order to fully establish plant growth. The most expensive option is called an intensive green roof. It has the deepest growing medium and the widest variety of plants. Keep in mind that there are many kinds of roofs between extensive and intensive and which roof you decide is best is determined by what the building wants for its roof. Do they want to insulate the building and conserve energy? Do they want to reduce storm-water runoff? Do they want to create a habitat for birds and butterflies? There are a ton of options and your building can decide what works best for it.

Right now, the laws are a little murky but the Department of Buildings says that clarification is coming. DOB said more details will come and that it will take enforcement actions by issuing violations if there are complaints about maintenance issues.

With over thirty years of experience, All Area Realty Services is well versed in the laws and regulations that can effect co-op boards and condo associations.  With our guidance and advice, our client's can trust that we work with them in safeguarding them at all times. 

Topics: Co-Op Board

Following The Rules Of Your Co-op

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Nov 12, 2019 4:42:01 PM

New York City has many co-op buildings. Each co-op has different rules, which are determined by the proprietary lease, the bylaws and local, state and federal laws. The laws protect from illegal leases or by-laws. These three areas balance each other out and create a fair living experience for the people in the building.  

A proprietary lease establishes the terms in which you abide by in your building, including maintenance fees and other terms. Bylaws outline the relationship between the board and the unit owners. It defines the board’s powers and responsibilities, including who can serve on the board, how members are elected and how owners request information.  The local laws rule and if the lease or the bylaws violate a state or federal law, it is not legally binding. 

Who is responsible for all building and unit maintenance? The co-op is responsible for everything out of your apartment but you are responsible for the interior of your apartment. The building is responsible for maintaining the pipes within the walls, ceilings or floors. 

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There are heating laws in NYC and the co-op is obligated to abide by them. A warranty of habitability guarantees the right to a livable, safe and sanitary apartment, which includes communal areas.  

A co-op owner can be evicted if they are disruptive, unable to abide by the building’s rules or are violating federal laws.  First, make sure that there is a reason for the eviction. Document any wrongdoing so you have the proper paperwork when you go to evict the owner. Lastly, make sure that the board conducts its business properly that way the board does not have to answer if the unruly shareholder calls them out.  

 Each co-op can set the rules in regards to pets. If the co-op is pet friendly, be prepared for strict guidelines. Check your renters insurance about pets and dog bites. Most buildings allow cats but if you have a smaller pet, ask your board if it is allowed. 

 NYC has the Roommate Law, which allows one additional occupant in addition to immediate family, as long as you are currently living in the unit at the same time. If you are charging the roommate rent, it could be a sublet and that is not typically allowed in co-ops. Ask your board, its rules regarding sublets. 

If you decide that you want to renovate your unit, you need approval by the co-op board. Most likely, you will need to sign an alteration agreement and to provide details to the board. 

Remember, that just because you live in a co-op does not mean that you lose all of your tenant rights. Knowledge is power and knowing your rights is an important step in ensuring your rights will not be violated. 

All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to run buildings smoothly and efficiently while keeping both tenants and owners happy.  With over 30 years of experience, and many clients with us for decades, you can trust All Area Realty Services with taking care of your building and tenants. 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management, condo

Always Follow The Rules of a Condo and Co-Op

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Oct 22, 2019 3:31:04 PM

iStock-139694969Every community has rules. In order for people to coexist in the same space, rules are essential. Co-ops and condos’ rules are called bylaws and house rules. Bylaws discuss the requirements for operation and governance of the co-op or condo association, including stipulations and parameters for election and meetings and who has the authority to act on behalf of the board and shareholders. House rules discuss quality of life issues. Most buildings have communal space. House rules dictates what is and what is not acceptable use of those spaces. 

Rules begin when the sponsor first builds the building and sets the house rules in the offering plan. Most times, the first draft is boilerplate and makes little sense. Under the bylaws, the board has the ability to change the house rules. It takes a majority of the board and then notice is given to the shareholders for a vote. House rules change with the building’s needs. Bylaws are easier to enforce than house rules because they are part of the offering plan of the co-op/condo and have remedies for violations of the bylaws. 

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At the end of the day, it is up to the shareholders to abide by the house rules in order to have harmony within the building. The best way to create house rules is to ensure that everyone living in the building believes them to be feasible.

All Area Realty Services knows what it takes to run buildings smoothly and efficiently while keeping both tenants and owners happy.  With over 30 years of experience, and many clients with us for decades, you can trust All Area Realty Services with taking care of your building and tenants. 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Property Management, condo

What Is A Self Managed Building?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Oct 16, 2019 4:44:13 PM

When a building is self-managed, the owners take responsibility for running the day to day operations of the building. These buildings normally have lower maintenance fees because the building saves money by not paying a managing agent. 

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The pros to living in a self-managed building are lower maintenance fees and the owners are responsible for making the monetary decisions and making sure that the money is not wasted on unnecessary services.  

The cons are you will need to dedicate time to the building and you might lose one of your key players if the person decides to resign as treasurer because who will step in? Also, there are many layers to navigate through when dealing with NYC’s numerous ordinances and other tax requirements. 

Make sure to review the financials of the building before buying because there is potential for incomplete, un-audited or fraudulent financials. It is important to do your due diligence before signing a contract for an apartment in a self-managed building. Request an inspection to make sure the building is current on routine maintenance and capital improvement projects. Your real estate attorney should review the building’s financials, budget, offering plan and board meeting minutes. 

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service professional property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

Topics: Buying a Co-Op, Selling a Co-Op

A Buyer's Market In NYC

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Oct 3, 2019 3:59:27 PM

These days, we are in a buyer’s market in much of New York City and therefore, co-ops and condos need to entice buyers with amenities. Most new buildings have many amenities but older buildings are lacking amenities like gyms, dog runs and roof decks. Learn what most prospective buyers are looking for in amenities.  

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Roof decks are a huge draw for buyers, especially if there is a furnished common space. Buyers want a place where they can meet people and hang out. People want to have a sense of community and having a roof deck provides an opportunity for people to meet their neighbors. When a building has a community room, it can function as a meeting place and a recreation spot for the residents. 

Buyers want a gym in their building. Older co-ops and condos do not need much space to create a well stocked gym. If there is unused storage space, it can easily be converted into a gym. 

Storage is important to potential buyers as well. Buyers want package rooms as well. They are also interested in buildings that are energy efficient and have less of a carbon footprint.

If you own an apartment in an older building, these co-ops and condos need to consider how they can make themselves more attractive to potential buyers. Ask what is in the budget and if there is space. If the building can accommodate the amenity and the residents want it, then add it to the building.   

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service professional property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

Topics: Buying a Co-Op, Selling a Co-Op

The Best Ways to Avoid Co-Op Board Rejection

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Sep 19, 2019 3:50:25 PM

The first step to finding your dream co-op is becoming aware of the possible ways your application could be rejected. That incites will enable you to zero in on the right buildings as well as adjust your application to avoid rejection. It is also imperative that you hire a broker who knows the criteria and delicate nature of the co-op boards you want to apply to. And also has the ability to create a fail-safe board package that can be your golden ticket into the co-op of your dreams. To help you get into the co-op you desire listed below are the top dozen ways to avoid application rejection. 

  1. Financials 

It is crucial that a prospective buyer has sufficient assets following a closing. A board is looking for:

  • An adequate amount of liquid assets. 
  • Potentially two to four times the value of the purchased apartment after closing
  • Two to three years of maintenance and mortgage payments in your bank account after all closing costs have been paid. 

An experienced broker will be aware of each building’s requirements and also keep on top of those changing variables, as new boards are elected every year and the criteria for new buyers changes. 

Tip: A standard rule is that co-op boards usually want a buyer to be able to allot 25 percent of their earnings to the payment of mortgage and maintenance. 

  1. Job History

Most co-op boards will also request your job history along with your annual earnings. A board wants a buyer to demonstrate job stability, it isn’t uncommon for an application to be rejected because a prospective buyer changed jobs too frequently even though they had sufficient funds. 

  1. Bad Credit

Even if you have a good income and plentiful assets your application could still be rejected if you have a poor credit score. This is especially true if you have a negative track record of paying your current maintenance fees or rent. 

Tip: Another reason to hire a good broker is because they will review a client’s financial history to make sure there are no red flags that could warrant rejection by a board. 

  1. Pied-a-Terre

The acceptance of pied-a-terres depends on the board. Some boards are entirely receptive to pied-a-terres while others make decisions on a case-by-case basis and some don’t allow them at all. Make sure to discuss with your broker if you’re looking for a pied-a-terre so they can gain a clear understanding of the rules in the building of interest. 

Keep in mind even if a building will consider the sale of an apartment as a pied-a-terre, the board can still reject part-time tenants who they feel will be spending too little time in the apartment. 

  1. Guarantor

If you require a guarantor make your broker aware. This will allow them to make sure that all prospective buildings are guarantor friendly. Most buildings change their rules and bylaws annually, so your broker must be up-to-date on those changes to prevent rejection. 

Tip: Even if a building permits guarantors you should qualify your guarantor because boards will require a couple years of tax returns and a verification of income and assets. 

  1. Lifestyle

The acceptance of shareholders with high public profiles varies from board to board. Some boards would rather not have any undue attention on their buildings. And of course, most buildings don’t want those who will upset the peace, quiet, and security of its shareholders. 

  1. Home Work

As long as your occupation doesn’t involve a revolving door of clients in and out of the building most boards will be accepting of tenants working in their homes. For example, a writer and freelance editor is acceptable but a psychiatrist will most likely be rejected. 

  1. Failure to Fulfill Additional Requirements 

Once you have sent a comprehensive package to the board with all requested information they may still require additional documentation for clarification or a precondition escrow deposit before granting an interview. If you do not consent to the supplementary demands it is likely that the board will reject your application. 

A common request is for one to three years of maintenance in escrow. If a board reviews your application and feels that you don’t have strong enough financials they may still approve the purchase if you agree to put maintenance into an escrow account. After you have a history of meeting financial responsibilities the escrow will be dissolved and the funds returned. If you do not agree to the maintenance escrow you will be rejected. 

  1. Low Purchase Prices

If a shareholder is selling their co-op apartment at a below-market price in order to entice a rapidly executed deal, the board will reject the buyer. This is because these deals reduce the value of all the apartments in the building. 

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  1. Pets

This also falls under the necessary due diligence of your broker. It is up to them to learn which buildings are pet-friendly. Even though some buildings allow dogs, it is still up to your broker to learn the potential limitations on the number or breed of dogs allowed. 

Tip: Most boards only allow two dogs per apartment and won’t allow Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, or Rottweilers. Some won’t even permit dogs that weigh more than 50 pounds. 

  1. Noise

You can be rejected if your profession or hobby entails making noise that will disrupt the other shareholders. For example, a drummer or tap dancer may be rejected. Some boards may still approve your application on the contingent upon sound-proofing your apartment, prior to taking possession of the apartment. 

  1. A Poor Interview

An astute broker will prepare you for the inevitable board interview. To avoid a poor interview you should: 

  • Be on time.
  • Appropriately dressed. 
  • You shouldn’t ask questions that can trigger concerns or suspicions in even just one board member. 
  • You should answer all questions politely and as concisely as possible.

Once you have been accepted by the board, have closed on your apartment and moved in, you can make any suggestions and ask as many questions of the board as you wish. 

If you keep in mind these 12 ways to avoid rejection by a co-op board and hire an experienced and detail orientated broker you should be closed and moved into the co-op you desire in no time. 

All Area is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

Co-Op Boards & Condo Boards

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Sep 5, 2019 4:59:07 PM

A board whether it is a condo or co-op board is a group of elected volunteers. It is a boards duty to overlook complaints, hire a property manager, create and enforce the rules of the building. Co-op boards and condo boards have a lot of similarities in their functions, but there are some key difference you should be aware of when choosing between a co-op or a condo.

Co-Op Boards

The elected officials of a co-op board generally hire a property management company to supervise the care and maintenance of the building. The only exception is found amongst smaller buildings that may choose to self-manage with the intent to save money.

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In addition to hiring a property manger the board is responsible for creating and enforcing the rules of the co-op. Some common board rules are:

  • Whether you can speak on your cell phone in the lobby.
  • If (and what kind of) dogs will be allowed in the building.
  • When and what kind of renovations can take place inside your unit.
  • What activities are allowed to transpire on the roof deck.

A co-op board also holds the right to evict overly disruptive shareholders and force them to sell their unit.

Condo Boards

The directors of a condo board hold many of the same responsibilities and functions of a co-op board. However, most condo boards tend to have a more laissez-fair approach to rule making.

This more hands-off approach is mostly due to the fact that condos wield less legal power to enforce their rules. A board can’t evict an owner from an apartment like a co-op board can. This is because condo owners actually own their unit versus owning shares as in a co-op. A condo board can, however,  get a court ordered junction to stop any rule infraction from occurring again.

An important fact to keep in mind is that in both a co-op and a condo, your voting power has a direct relationship with the size of your apartment. Thus the bigger the apartment the greater the voting power you will posses. Both condos and co-ops have their pros and cons. The question you need to ask yourself is, would you prefer a more hands on or hands off approach to governing in your building?

All Area is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

 

Topics: Co-Op Board, Buying a Co-Op, Co-Op Building

Owning A Home: The American Dream

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Aug 29, 2019 3:26:48 PM

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The American dream is to own a home. However, these days more than a quarter of Americans live in a community association- a housing cooperative, condominium or homeowners association. In Florida, there are 48,250 associations, which is the most in the country. California has the next highest with 48,150, followed by Texas (20,050), Illinois (18,700), North Carolina (14,000) and New York (13,875). The home value of these communities is around $6.28 trillion with about $96 billion in assessments collect annually from the homeowners to fund essential maintenance.

There are numerous reasons for the growth of these community associations. First, there is value to having collective management consisting of democratically elected volunteer homeowners to serve their communities. In the US, there are 2.5 million community association board and committee members.

Also, many local municipalities face fiscal challenges and therefore, communities develop with the stipulation that the association will assume many responsibilities that traditionally belong to local and state government, like road maintenance, snow and trash removal and stormwater management. Most communities have reserve funds for repair, replacement and enhancement of common property, including elevators, swimming pools and streets.

These communities expand affordable housing and increase the percentage of homeowners in the U.S. Since the 1960s, condominiums tend to serve as an affordable option to buy housing, especially for first-time buyers. Condominiums account for about 40% of the total of community associations. In New York City, most buyers tend to buy condominiums because condos are real property and they do not have to submit a comprehensive packet to the co-op board, only to be denied ownership. 

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service professional property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

Topics: Buying a Co-Op, Selling a Co-Op

Do You Know Who Is Responsible For What In Your Building?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Aug 8, 2019 4:22:25 PM

In a building, there are property managers and the building board, and in order for the building to function best, they both need to collaborate to implement policy, carry out administrative duties and make efficient decisions about how to run the building. Management contracts will detail the duties of the manager but at times, there will be confusion about who is responsible, board or property manager, for different duties. Smooth relations occur when each party knows their role and obligations.

When a building has a hands-on board, it may seem that the role of the board and property manager overlaps. It might seem helpful but in the long run, it does not help the running of the building. The board makes the policy for running the building, after speaking to the property manager and the financial decisions of the building. The board must remember that the property manager works for them.  The property manager provides information to the board so they can make informed decisions.

iStock-127544823Board members develop the direction, policy and procedures for the building and the property manager implements them. The board’s responsibility is to make sure that the management company performs the day-to-day operations of the property. However, at times, a board member might become too closely involved with the oversight of contractors even though that is the property manager’s responsibility. There may be a clause in the management contract, which limits the spending power of the property manager. Most times, any significant cash outlay must be ok’d by the board first. When an emergency happens, the property manager has a duty to protect the property and its residents.

There might be times when the board pressures the property manager into doing work that is not part of the manager’s job. An example is pushing tasks on the manager that the board does not want to deal with. When a board member acts like a property manager, he or she may find themselves in over their heads.

The relationship between the board and property manager is a partnership but a partnership that is clearly defined. Managing agents should not make decisions about the building and should never sign contracts on behalf of the board. In order to avoid confusion about responsibilities, make sure the terms of the relationship are clear and well defined. Also, a managing agent should never get involved with the politics of the board. Remember, the board signs the property manager’s paychecks and therefore, the board is the customer, who is always right.

All Area Realty Services is New York City’s leading real estate management company specializing in full-service property management for cooperative and condominium boards in the Manhattan area.

Topics: Co-Op Board