New NYC Local Law Addresses Elevator Safety With 1/1/20 Deadline

The latest update to the NYC Department of Buildings Elevator Code requires that all automatic elevators in the City have “door lock monitors” installed and operational by January 1, 2020. The purpose of the monitors is to prevent elevators from operating unless the all the doors are closed on every floor of the elevator shaft. It also prevents the exterior elevator doors from opening if the elevator cab is not at that floor. The new safety requirement is designed to prevent anyone from being caught in an elevator door while the car is moving, or from falling into an open elevator shaft.

Depending on the type and age of the elevators in your building, the cost of this upgrade may be minimal or substantial. Elevators installed since 2009 probably already have door lock monitors in place, which may or may not be activated. If they have not been activated, the adjustment may be a relatively simple software or hardware update. If your elevators were installed prior to 2009, the fix will be more complex and considerably more expensive. Generally, the cost to install door lock monitors can run between $10,000 and $30,000 per elevator, depending on the complexity of the installation.

We are working with all our client buildings to ensure that they meet this important safety requirement within the City’s timeframe. Installations must be done by a licensed elevator service company. Permits are required, and plans must be signed off by a licensed engineer and filed with the City. The Department of Buildings must also visit each building and test every elevator before it is considered in compliance with the new law. Failure to comply can result in fines and elevator shut-downs.

At Douglas Elliman Property Management, client safety and building compliance are of paramount importance. Your building manager is working to ensure that your property  meets all City regulations. If you have any questions about the new elevator requirements, don’t hesitate to contact your manager or our office at 212-370-9200.

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NYC regulations require that all automatic elevators be equipped with door lock monitors by January 1, 2020.

 

Douglas Elliman Property Management Ranked #1 in NYC

DEPM has been ranked #1 among Residential Property Managers in New York City. This year’s rating by The Real Deal Magazine is based on independently researched data provided by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Two years ago, Douglas Elliman won the Holy Grail of property management assignments: Co-op City. With 35 buildings and 15,000 units in the Bronx, the Mitchell-Lama project is the country’s largest cooperative housing complex,” reports The Real Deal, adding, “Douglas Elliman Property Management, which took the top spot with 28,022 units, is part of the residential brokerage giant (Douglas Elliman) with 113 offices across the country. In Manhattan, Elliman scored several new high-end condo developments, including 150 Charles Street, 215 Chrystie Street and 111 Murray Street.”

As we continue to add new properties to our portfolio, our ability to pass along valuable volume discounts to all of our client buildings brings more value than ever to our boards and residents. We are thrilled to be ranked #1 in NYC and we are dedicated to maintaining our reputation for offering the best property management in the industry. Since 1911, DEPM has been focused exclusively on the business of property management. Our managers have the experience and expertise to handle any issues that arise, from the most basic budget planning to the most complex property upgrades and maintenance issues. To read the full article at The Real Deal, click on this link: https://therealdeal.com/issues_articles/top-property-managers-nyc/Real Deal 2018

Financial Technology Benefits Our Boards and Owners

By Harris Bornstein, Chief Financial Officer, Douglas Elliman Property Management Harris Bornstein

It’s a very exciting time to be involved in Financial Technology here at Douglas Elliman Property Management. We deliver a variety of online services to our residents, Board Members and property vendors to make their financial transactions easier, faster and more secure than ever. These technology improvements have also reduced waste, by moving from paper to digital delivery.

We are well on our way to transitioning all of our 45,000 apartment residents from mailed invoices and check payments to online billing and e-payments. This digital system eliminates the processing, printing and mailing of monthly bills and also allows residents to pay their monthly fees instantly from anywhere, with no mailing fees, at any time of the day. As a result of these measures, we have reduced the waste stream by over 20,000 pieces of paper per building per year.

In addition, board members and owners can view financial statements and activity online anytime, anywhere, from their own computers. This offers the benefit of optimizing cash flow by being able to see income and expenses in real time. When it comes to approving and authorizing payments on building invoices, board members can do it all by using our online portal with redundant levels of authorizations and security. We maintain bank protocol systems to ensure that your property’s financial data will always remain secure.

Our suite of online financial systems offers an increased level of control and transparency to our residents and boards, while helping them save time, reduce waste and avoid costs. Instant digital information sharing allows board members to securely review financial information on their own schedule, while residents have more flexible options for payments and account maintenance.

DEPM’s Rental Property Management Division is Growing Fast

By Ryan O’Connor, Vice President and Managing Director, DEPM Rental Division 

As one of the most well-known and respected names in real estate, Douglas Elliman offers the best property management services in New York City. Our portfolio of over 375 properties throughout the Metro area includes buildings of all kinds, from pre- and post-war co-ops and condos to brand new rental properties with all the latest amenities and services. We are one of the oldest management firms in the business, and our reputation has been earned through our 100+ years of experience.

Over the past few years, our rental management division has experienced tremendous growth, with over 15 rental communities signing on with DEPM within the last year alone. Our portfolio of rental communities runs the gamut. We’ve taken on and/or launched various brand new luxury rental high-rises, working with developers and owners offering some of the most high-end amenities in this or any other market.

In addition, our rental communities include walkups in the East Village and Lower East Side, affordable units in Gowanus, and family-owned blocks of rentals in Midtown. In short, we work with property owners of all kinds to supply the best rental management available on the market today. When you enlist the services of Douglas Elliman’s rental division, you are enlisting elite customer service. Our managers are trained to cater to the needs of our residents and client’s alike, and our financial analysts are trained to create the detailed financial reporting our rental client’s require.

In the fiercely competitive NYC rental market, we know that operating efficiency is a chief priority for all owners. To that end, we take all the management tasks off of our client’s plate; from monthly reporting and collections, to energy purchasing, budget forecasting and renewals, we use our buying power to the benefit of our clients’ bottom line.

Most importantly, we understand that resident retention is of paramount importance. This is why, regardless of whether our renters live in a 100-year-old walk-up or a community with state-of-the-art amenities, when the Douglas Elliman plaque is outside their front door, they expect their management team tobe their ultimate amenity. We work every day to deliver on that expectation.

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NYC to Rate Your Building’s Energy Efficiency

Under the new Local Law 33 of 2018, New York City will begin to assign letter grades to buildings rating them on their energy usage, and by 2020 that information will become public.  Under the City’s expanded “Benchmarking” regulations—set out in Local Law 133 of 2016—owners of all buildings over 25,000 square feet must report water and energy consumption annually through the City’s online portal (https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/facility-owners-and-managers/existing-buildings/use-portfolio-manager). Failure to report can carry fines of up to $2,000 per year.

The City will use the reported information to create metrics to track and compare the energy efficiency of similar buildings, and ultimately will release a rating for each property, which will be available to the public. A better rating will have a positive impact on property values, giving owners an incentive to take action to cut back on water and energy consumption, as part of the City’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% between 2005 and by 2050.

We at DEPM care deeply about energy conservation and have instituted many improvements in our client buildings, including converting boilers from oil to gas, replacing incandescent lights with energy saving LED lights, installing new windows and more. Our managers are working with all their properties to implement conservation initiatives and to prepare for the energy grades. For more information on the City’s Benchmarking program, visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/business/benchmarking.page

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New York City will soon begin giving out letter grades to all buildings over 25,000 square feet, rating their energy efficiency. This “Benchmarking” info will become public in 2020, and could impact property values. Now’s the time to to implement energy-saving programs in your property.

Get Your Smoking Policy in Place By the August 28 Deadline

The deadline for compliance with NYC’s new “Smoking Policy Law” is August 28. As part of Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to curb smoking and tobacco use, Local Law 147 requires that all multi-unit residential properties must create and distribute a smoking policy. Designated smoking areas must not be in conflict with existing City regulations, which prohibit smoking in enclosed areas of public places. That includes the common areas of your building, from the lobby to the hallways, stairwells and elevators. Your policy can designate an outdoor smoking area, such as a rooftop, as long as the City allows it. According to the City, disclosing a building’s smoking policy will help tenants and purchasers make an informed decision about whether or not they want to live in a building.

When creating a smoking policy, the building needs to address where smoking is prohibited as well as where it is allowed. In order to ban smoking entirely, or prohibit smoking inside apartments, a vote by a supermajority of unit owners or shareholders is required and the bylaws or proprietary lease must be amended.

A copy of the policy must be distributed to all building residents and unit owners or posted in a place visible to all who live in the building. Failure to create and distribute the smoking policy by the August 28 deadline can lead to building penalties. Our managers have sample policies that boards can review, which can be modified to meet your building’s needs. Keeping the policy simple and straightforward, while addressing issues such as where smoking is allowed, rules for disposing of butts, and house rules about odors, will help minimize any confusion or pushback from residents.

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New City regulations require all multi-family dwellings to create, distribute and implement a building-wide smoking policy. The deadline is August 28 to avoid potential fines or penalties.

The Lower Cost of Green Initiatives: New City, State and Federal Incentives

If your building has been considering installing a solar energy system, now is the time to put that plan in to action. Newly expanded incentives, including City property tax abatements, Federal and State accelerated depreciation, Federal tax credits, and NYSERDA grants, can make these efforts truly affordable going in, and can significantly reduce your payback period.

At one of DEPM’s managed properties, the owners were interested in the environmental benefits of installing solar panels on the roof. They also wanted to know what financial incentives were available for such a project, and what the payback of the investment would be. Management contacted Solar1, a non-profit organization promoting conservation through solar energy, who provided a free feasibility study for installing solar panels. After reviewing the results of the report, the owners decided to solicit bids, choose a contractor, and move ahead with the project.

The decision was made to install panels on several buildings in the complex. The initial cost of the installation will be reduced by over 80% after all the incentives are received, including a four-year City property tax abatement, Federal and State accelerated depreciation, and a state-funded discount on the purchase price. The complex expects to achieve payback on the investment in just three to four years

Installing solar panels will provide the owners with an estimated net savings of $1.1 million over the system’s 25-year life. The solar panels installed on these eight buildings will provide approximately 40% of the development’s common area electricity, reducing operating expenses and increasing net operating income. In addition, the installation will eliminate an estimate 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions; according to the EPA, that’s the greenhouse gas equivalent to planting more than 59,000 trees!

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In addition to reducing operating expenses and providing tax benefits to the property and unit owners, this solar project will provide tremendous environmental benefit. Photo courtesy of Solar1

 

Come Visit Us at the Co-op & Condo Expo

If you want a full day of information on all aspects of co-op and condo ownership and management, come visit us at the Cooperator’s Co-op & Condo Expo on Thursday, April 26th. The Expo takes place at the New York Hilton on Avenue of the Americas and 53rd Street, and runs from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Attendance is free, and you can register online at coopexpo.com. More than 300 exhibitors will be there with information on everything from property management to energy-saving products to a full range of products and services for your property.

In addition, there is a full program of educational seminars, on topics ranging from air rights to underlying mortgages, “smart” homes to legal issues. All seminars are free, and you can view the schedule at coopexpo.com/Events.

We will be located on the main floor, right in front at Booth #200. We looking forward to seeing you there and discussing your management needs, questions and concerns.

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Cooling Tower Safety

Our January Managers Seminar focused on Cooling Tower Maintenance and Regulations, reminding all our property managers what City Regulations govern this important area of safety. After a deadly outbreak of “Legionnaire’s Disease” in the Bronx a few years ago, NYC implemented strict requirements for the annual inspection, cleaning and reporting for all the cooling towers in the City.

Cooling towers, which can be seen atop most buildings in the City, function as part of the heating, ventilation and/or air conditioning (HVAC) system, acting to “cool” the system. Because these towers hold water, they can potentially create an environment where bacteria can grow. While situations like the Legionella outbreaks are rare, they can be extremely dangerous, and thus must be prevented through vigilance and regular preventive treatment.

To meet these requirements, all properties must hire a qualified company to clean and inspect their cooling towers each year, and must file a Maintenance Program and Plan (MPP) annually with the City’s Department of Buildings. Failure to do so may result in considerable fines.

At DEPM, we keep our managers up to date continuously to ensure that all the properties we manage are maintained safely and meet all NYC housing requirements. Not only does this address the health of all residents, but it helps to avoid any fines and penalties for failure to comply with safety regulations.

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David and Mark Drozdov of Creative Environment Solutions spoke to DEPM managers about ensuring the safety of cooling towers at their properties.

 

Rate Your Building’s Energy Efficiency

Beginning in May, the City’s “Benchmarking” regulations will be expanded to include all
buildings over 25,000 square feet (under the earlier version of the law, buildings of less than 50,000 were not required to benchmark). As part of Local Law 133 of 2016, which expanded LL 84, owners must report water and energy consumption annually through the City’s online portal (https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/facility-owners-and-managers/existing-buildings/use-portfolio-manager). Failure to report can carry fines of up to $2000 per year. The City will use this information to create metrics to track and compare the energy efficiency of similar buildings, and ultimately will release a rating for each property, which will be available to the public.

A better rating will have a positive impact on property values, giving owners an incentive to take action to cut back on water and energy consumption, as part of the City’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% between 2005 and 2050. We at DEPM care deeply about energy conservation and have instituted many improvements in our client buildings, including converting boilers from oil to gas, replacing incandescent lights with energy saving LED lights, installing new windows and more. Our managers are working with all their properties to implement conservation initiatives in the coming year. For more information on the City’s Benchmarking program, visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/business/benchmarking.page

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New York City’s Benchmarking program is part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan to reduce carbon emissions.