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

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

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

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

The New Rent Laws May Change New York City Housing

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Jul 25, 2019 5:55:03 PM

New York State passed new rent laws that will change New York City housing. Before these laws were passed, a landlord could convert their property from a rental to a co-op or condominium as long as they sold 15% of the total units to primary home buyers. Now, landlords need to sell 51% of units. Hence, giving the tenants control of the landlord’s property. The reason for this is to protect tenants from landlord harassment to have them vacate their apartments. Some landlord were aggressive and not following the existing laws prohibiting tenant harassment in rent-regulated buildings. Lawmakers wanted more protections for these tenants by putting them in control of the process. Some people believe that this will have serious negative implications for the future of conversions.

In the past, landlords looked at conversions as a way to turn nonperforming assets into profitable ones. Since operating costs and taxes are rising, there might be economic hardships for the property owners even to the point of deferred maintenance. Deferred maintenance occurs when an owner holds off on repairing old or broken systems due to the high cost of such repairs. This deferred maintenance affects the physical appearance and stability of the property and will create a trickle-down effect to other industries like legal, accounting, construction, brokerage and advertising. If the property owner has a small portfolio, this can mean serious economic hardship in regards to their investments.  

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In NYC, there are a lot of older buildings that require major capital improvements and upgrades. When a landlord converts a building, he or she will improve the building while reducing its carbon footprint. Without these conversions, most upgrades might stop and it might cause the properties to fall into further disrepair. There can also be environmental concerns as well because these older buildings do not have efficient heating systems, new windows and new roofs. This might have a negative impact on the environment.

However, there may be exceptions to these new rent laws and the state attorney general will need to make guidelines to approve certain rental conversions. Perhaps there can be a financial litmus test regarding economic hardships on the landlords and if there is a financial hardship, then the landlord might be able to convert it.  We do not know what this new law will bring. It can bring many beneficial changes because the tenants might be more vested in their buildings knowing that they cannot be easily kicked out. Landlords and tenants should be able to bridge the gap and work together to do what is right for both sides.

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

Who Is Responsible For A Leak?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Jul 17, 2019 2:24:17 PM

Who is responsible when a leak occurs in your bathroom that a previous owner remodeled? Who would be responsible for mold, if there is any?

To figure out who would be responsible, you need to look at the source of the damage to the bathroom. Start by testing where the water is coming from. If it is coming from the part of the wall, which is attached to a common area, then the co-op board should pay for the investigation or allow the owner to test where the water is coming from at his or her expense. It depends on where the leak is and whose wall it seems to be coming from.

iStock-921346082Once the inspection occurs, if it is found that the ultimate source of the water is coming from a common area of the building, then the board should pay to fix the problem and should reimburse the shareholder for the testing and the damage including any mold. If the water leak is coming from the shareholder’s wall, then the owner should pay.

If you serve on a co-op board and need professional property management services, contact All Area Realty Services and find out why our over 30 years experience and loyal clients makes us experts.

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, Renovations

Considering A Property Management Company?

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Jun 27, 2019 2:40:14 PM

Are you looking to hire a property manager? What are a property manager’s responsibilities? Their responsibilities vary based on the type of property they are managing, the amount they are paid and the terms of the management contract.

A property manager’s has the responsibility to collect rent from tenants. They will set up a system for collecting rent, which includes the date rent, is due and collecting late fees if the tenants are late with payment. A property manager may determine the correct rent to be charging to get more tenants to your property and to increase your returns. They may also adjust the rent if they feel it is necessary.

Another responsibility is to manage the tenants. This includes finding and screening potential tenants, managing the day-to-day complaints, maintenance issues and tenant move outs. In order to find tenants, property managers will advertise by having an ad that will attract tenants. Once there is a tenant, the property manager should have a screening process that includes credit checks and background checks. A great property manager will have the experience and knowledge about finding and attracting the right tenants. They set the lease term and determine the amount of security deposit required. Once a tenant decides to move out, the property manager needs to inspect the unit to check for damages and to determine what portion of the security deposit to return.

The property manager is responsible for maintaining the property. This includes regular maintenance, emergency repairs and upkeep of the grounds. They hire contractors if they cannot handle the repairs themselves.

A property manager should be well versed in landlord tenant law. This is important when dealing iStock-841723220with screening a tenant, handling security deposits, terminating a lease, evicting a tenant and complying with property safety standards.

Property managers are responsible for managing the other employees at the building and making sure they are doing their jobs properly. A property manager may be hired to watch vacant properties to ensure there are no vandals and to perform routine maintenance.

The property manager is responsible for the budget of the building and must operate within the budget. They also keep the records for the property, which includes all income and expenses, inspections, signed leases, maintenance requests, records of repairs, costs of repairs, rent collection and insurance costs.

Lastly, a property manager needs to be able to assist the owner with understanding how to file the taxes and then the property manager may also file the taxes for the property.


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

What You Need To Ask When Hiring A Property Management Company

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Jun 12, 2019 4:54:17 PM

Do you own property and are looking for the right property management company? Here are some things to ask before hiring a property management company.

In New York, a property manager needs to be a New York State licensed real estate agent. Beware of property managers who do not have any sort of state license to practice real estate. Ask how many properties that the property manager is managing and what type of properties (duplex, small building, condos etc.) because the management of the property varies depending on what type.

Most management companies are paid based on the amount of rental income the property generates. However, there could be extra charges like tenant finder’s fees, maintenance markups, emergency on all services, maintenance reserves, evictions, court costs and other charges. Ask your potential property manager to clearly outline the fee structure in writing.

With income property, your financial data is really important to see what areas you can improve and how to make more money. A property manager needs to be able to explain everything on your reports in a clear and concise manner. Clarify when and how each report will be delivered to you.

A professional property manager will have a system for screening potential tenants. Make sure you understand what is done in the screening and who makes the final determination about the potential tenant renting the apartment.

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Every property will need maintenance at some point. Find out who does the required maintenance at your property. Your property manager needs to understand what needs to be done in regards to the type of work, the correct licenses and certified contractors for the work and if there needs to be permits. Keep accurate records of what has been done and by whom.

Ask about how the rent is collected. Most property management companies have a policy on rent collection. Each lease should outline exactly when rent is due, the amount and late fees. The lease should state when the tenant is in default and when the eviction process can begin for nonpayment. Property managers need to have sample documents like leases, property management agreements, move in/move out condition reports, property owner financial reports, rental applications and common correspondence. In regards to the property management agreement, understand the terms of the agreement, including length of the term, renewal of the agreement, and how to end the agreement if either party is not happy with the partnership. Have an attorney review the agreement before signing it.

Finally, ask about references. Speak to people who have worked with the property manager and ask them to tell you both good things and bad things (if there are any). Be careful of property managers who cannot provide references.

These factors will help you in finding the right property manager for your investment property to grow and thrive.

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

The Difference Between A Landlord & A Property Manager

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on Jun 5, 2019 1:19:42 PM

iStock-855667636Welcome to NYC real estate where the options are endless! Should you pay a broker’s fee? Should you live in a new building? Should you live in a landlord operated building or a building operated by management? There are many things to look for when deciding on moving into a building operated by a management company as opposed to one run by the landlord.

A landlord owned and run building is where the landlord does the day to day management of the building. A building operated by a property management company is one where the landlord hires the property management company to run the day to day operations and to maintain the building. Landlord operated buildings tend to be smaller. If you want to be able to bargain, consider renting directly from landlord only managed building.

Landlords and property managers are similar because both are responsible for maintaining and running a building. Other duties include vetting tenants, resolving maintenance requests, collecting rent, upkeep of the property, and tracking property expenses.

Some differences between landlords and property management companies are when dealing with a landlord, it is a more personal relationship. While this can be beneficial if the landlord is trustworthy and cares about his tenants and building. It is detrimental when the landlord is delinquent and does not maintain the building. When you have a property management company, you are one of many and therefore, there is not a personal relationship, but property management companies are more diligent in resolving any maintenance issues you might have.

Whatever you decide, be aware that both landlords and property management companies must obey the local laws. In NYC, there are laws on heating, hot and cold water and overall safety and habitability of buildings. For more information on the basic living conditions that must be provided, look at NYC’s warranty of habitability guidelines

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, Rentals, Co-Op Building, property manager

Vacant Lots Around New York City Are Getting A Make Over: Affordable Housing

Posted by All Area Realty Services Team on May 21, 2019 1:45:29 PM

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