My Blog

JaffaCares NYWarm Coat Drive Highlights

by Aaron Munk on February 27, 2019 , Comments Off on JaffaCares NYWarm Coat Drive Highlights

For many New Yorkers, winter means a struggle to stay warm with inadequate protection against the cold weather. But we really think everyone deserves to be warm, don’t you? It is with that mind that we launched our #NYWARM initiative as part of our JaffaCares Program with the hopes of bringing just a little bit of winter warmth to those New York residents in need.

Thank you to Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Councilmember Mark Gjonaj, Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr., The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of the Bronx, and The Catholic Charities of Brooklyn & Queens for joining us in this amazing endeavor. It was a truly inspiring event for our entire team.

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Local Law 69

by Ahuva Ruvel on February 21, 2019 , Comments Off on Local Law 69

No one likes to think about creepy-crawlies—especially ones that might land up in your bed! But if you’re a NYC landlord, it’s time to think bugs. February 28th, 2019 is the final day for filing your annual bedbug report.

Before you start bugging out from all this bedbug talk, let’s take a look at what NYC’s compliance code has to say about bedbugs and your responsibilities as a property owner.

What is Local Law 69?

 According to Local Law 69 of 2017, building owners must keep their properties free of all pests, including bedbugs. They are responsible to learn how to best treat a bedbug infestation, frequently check for the presence of pests, and to eliminate any conditions that can trigger an infestation.

Property owners of multiple-dwelling buildings must also file an annual bedbug report with the HPD.

What do I need to include in my bedbug filing report?

Before you get started on filing your report, you’ll need to try to obtain the bedbug infestation history of your unit from the current tenant or unit owner. This history must include all incidences of infestation as well as reports on whether steps were taken to get rid of those nasty bedbugs. Once you have this information in hand, you’ll have to complete your annual bedbug filing. You’ll generally have more than two months in which to do this; this year, the window for submitting your filing runs from December 17, 2018 to February 28, 2019. You can complete your bedbug filing here.

Please note that your report will be posted in a public forum on the HPD website. Also, only validly registered property owners and managing agents of multiple dwellings can share bedbug infestation history. If your building is not registered, you can take care of that step here.

Property owners must include the following information in their bedbug filing report:

  • The total number of dwelling units in the property.
  • The number of dwelling units in the property that have had a bedbug infestation during the previous year.
  • The number of dwelling units that have had a bedbug infestation in the previous year and have taken measures to eliminate the infestation. 
  • The number of dwelling units reported to have taken measures towards eliminating a bedbug infestation that still had an infestation after these measures were taken.

Aside from that information, you’ll also need to certify that you will fulfill ONE of the following requirements:

  • Distribute a copy of the electronic form of your filing to each tenant upon every lease renewal or when a new lease is issued.

Post a copy of the form in a highly prominent location in your building within 60 days of the filing while retaining a copy of the form for your own records.  

Once you’ve chosen your means for sharing the form with your tenants, you will also need to distribute or post this brochure which is full of information on how to prevent, detect, and eradicate bedbugs. In addition, when meeting with prospective new tenants, you’ll have to share the bedbug infestation history of your building with them through the official Bedbug Disclosure Form which you can download here.

What if I find bedbugs in one of my buildings?

No one wants to share their apartment with any kind of pest, but a bedbug is an especially unpleasant house-guest. When left untreated, a small number of bedbugs can multiply rapidly until there is a full-blown infestation. As a landlord, you need to be extra vigilant to make sure no bedbugs take up residence in any of your properties. Learn all you can about bedbug prevention and what to do in case of a sighting so you don’t wind up with a huge and expensive problem on your hands.

Your tenants have the right to file a bedbug complaint with the HPD by calling 311. The 311 operator will ask the tenant if they’d like to have an inspection performed by an HPD inspector or the HPD’s Canine Unit, which is comprised of beagles that have been trained to sit when they detect live bedbugs or viable eggs. If a visual inspection confirms the presence of bedbugs or eggs, a violation will be issued.

If you receive a Notice of Violation (NOV), you’ll have to address the issue as quickly as possible. Along with the NOV, you’ll receive a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Order of the Commissioner.

The Order will provide you with clear instructions for how to proceed:

  1. Inspect the unit cited for bedbugs.
  2. If a bedbug infestation is found in this unit, inspect all adjacent units, units directly above and below this unit, as well as all common areas in the building.
  3. In case of an infestation, hire a pest management professional who is certified and registered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to completely eradicate the infestation.

Be sure to keep a record of all the actions you’ve taken in order to comply with the Order.

To remove the violation and put your property back in the clear, you’ll have to present the City with an HPD NOV Certificate of Corrections. You can get your Certificate by making a sworn statement testifying that you’ve followed the corrective actions issued in the Order.

Still feeling buggy about bedbugs? You can check out the HPD’s bedbug portal here for more information on getting rid of those pesky critters. And if you have questions about compliance with Local Law 69 or any other NYC compliance issue, give Jack Jaffa a call at  718-855-6110. We’re always here to help you make sense of the NYC compliance code. 

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Local Law 160 of 2017

by Debbie Edelman on January 29, 2019 , Comments Off on Local Law 160 of 2017

Last year, the DOB signed Local Law 160 of 2017 into effect, making it difficult for NYC building owners owing heavy ECB fines to be granted building permits and revoking many existing permits as well. The DOB is cracking down hard on compliance with Local Law 160 and building owners are taking notice.

Stay one step ahead of the DOB by learning all you can about Local Law 160 and ensuring that you are always compliant with the law.

Read on for answers to all your questions on Local Law 160.

What is Local Law 160?

 Local Law 160 of 2017 states that the DOB will now revoke active permits for buildings whose owners owe $25,000 or more in covered arrears to the City.  The DOB will also deny new permits for building owners who fit this criterion.

Which circumstances are included in “covered Arrears?”

 The term “covered arrears” as referenced to in Local Law 160, includes the following:

  • Unpaid fines, civil penalties or judgments entered by a court or OATH pursuant to Title 28, Chapter 2 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York.
  • Unpaid fees or other charges assessed by the DOB.

 What kind of permits does Local Law 160 apply to?

 The following building permits are affected by Local Law 160:

  • Permits for new buildings
  • Demolition permits
  • Permits for a place of assembly
  • Permits to change the use, egress or occupancy for a property

How will building owners know if a permit has been revoked?

The DOB has pledged to notify building owners, permit holders and applicants via mail if they intend to revoke an existing permit. The letter will offer the recipient the opportunity to respond and include detailed instructions as to how to proceed.

A 15-day grace period will be allowed for recipients of these letters to submit one of the following to the DOB:

  • A clearance letter from the New York City Department of Finance (DOF).
  • Proof that one of the exceptions listed in AC Section 28-105.1.2 of the law as detailed here applies.

Are there any exceptions to Local Law 160?

There are several notable exceptions to the law, including the following:

  • The applicant submits a certification from the DOF that binding agreements requiring payment of all covered arrears owed by the property owners are in place and that the owners are in compliance with this agreement.
  • The requested permit is necessary to correct an outstanding code violation that the commissioner deems necessary for public health and safety.
  • The permit is requested for a portion of a property that is occupied by a tenant who is not responsible for the covered arrears with respect to the property.
  • The permit is requested for a dwelling unit within a property that is owned by a condominium or held by a shareholder of a cooperative corporation under a proprietary lease and the owners of the unit do not owe a collective $25,000 or more in covered arrears to the city.
  •  The permit is requested for a property that was the subject of an in-rem foreclosure judgment in favor of the city and was consequently transferred to a third party.
  • The permit is requested for a property that is the subject of a court order in a case brought by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
  • The permit is requested for a property that is the subject of a loan provided by or through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development or the New York City Housing Development Corporation for the purpose of rehabilitation.
  • The permit is necessary for participation in a program that involves rehabilitation of the property as deemed by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development or the New York City Housing Development Corporation.

Don’t get stuck in a noncompliance nightmare! Call, click, or stop by Jack Jaffa & Associates to find out how we can help you comply with Local Law 160.

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Local Law 55-The Asthma-Free Housing Act

by Nate Weinberg on January 15, 2019 , Comments Off on Local Law 55-The Asthma-Free Housing Act

New York City tenants can now breathe easy!

On January 19th, 2018, the New York City Council passed Local Law 55 of 2018, the “Asthma-Free Housing Act.” The bill was created to fight rising asthma rates and to improve the quality of life for the more than one million asthmatic New Yorkers.

Local Law 55 will take effect in just a few days, on January 19th, 2019.

Let’s take a look at some of the key components of Local Law 55 and review your responsibilities and obligations for compliance.

What is Local Law 55?

Local Law 55 requires all multiple-dwelling property owners in NYC to investigate and remove all indoor health hazards which trigger asthma, like mold, rodents, and cockroaches. Landlords must also apply safe and successful measures to ensure that their properties remain free of indoor health hazards.

What do I need to do now?

As a landlord, you have two primary calls to action for compliance with Local Law 55: investigate and remediate.

Let’s explore what each of these steps entails.

  1. You’ll need to initiate an investigation by a licensed professional for all indoor allergen hazards in occupied units and in common areas of your building(s), as well as conditions that are conducive to allergen hazards. Indoor allergen hazards include indoor infestations of cockroaches, mice or rats; or conditions that are vulnerable to infestations of these pests. It also includes mold that is growing on an indoor surface, building structure, ventilation system, or within wall cavities; and mold that is hidden behind interior obstructions and furniture.
  1. You must take responsible measures to keep your property free from indoor allergen hazards and pests, and from conditions that are conducive to indoor allergen hazards. You will also need to eradicate any existing indoor allergen hazards or conditions that are conducive to indoor allergen hazards.

How often do I need to investigate for indoor allergen hazards?

According to Local Law 55, you are required to initiate an investigation once a year. You must also perform an investigation whenever it is deemed necessary, such as when an occupant complains about a condition that may cause an indoor allergen hazard, when an occupant requests an inspection, or when the DOB issues a notice of violation or violation order.

Do I need to inform my tenants about the specifications of Local Law 55?

When the new law takes effect, you will need to include a notice about your obligations for compliance with Local Law 55 in all tenant leases. This notice must be approved by the DOB and must be available in multiple languages.

How can I protect my property from pests?

To comply with Local Law 55, your building(s) must be effectively sealed from pests, including rodents and cockroaches.

Here’s how to ensure your property stays pest-free:

  • Repair and seal any existing holes, gaps or cracks in walls, ceilings, floors, moldings, base boards, around pipes and conduits, or around and within cabinets. To effectively remove these possible points of entry for pests, use durable materials such as sealants, plaster, cement, wood or escutcheon plates.
  • Attach door sweeps to doors leading to a hallway, basement, or outside the building to reduce gaps to no more than one-quarter inch.

Violations for noncompliance

The DOB is cracking down hard on landlords who are not compliant with Local Law 55.

The presence of visible mold that is less than 10 square feet in a single room of a dwelling will constitute an indoor mold hazard violation. Mold that measures between 10 square feet and 30 square feet in a single room will constitute a hazardous violation.

Penalties for violations vary according to incidence and can be as steep as $10,000 per violation. As mentioned, any incidence of indoor allergen hazards must be corrected. Certification of Correction by licensed professionals must be obtained and promptly submitted to the DOB.

How can I correct a mold violation?

If your inspection reveals the existence of mold in your building, you’ll need to take immediate steps to correct it so that you’re not issued a violation. But you can’t just call down any mold specialist to zap that stuff off your walls; the HPD has very specific criteria for who can perform a remediation for mold.

According to Local Law 55, a mold hazard must be assessed and remediated by both a NYS licensed Mold Assessor and a NYS licensed Mold Remediator.

You will need to perform an investigation annually and you may need to remediate several times a year as well. It is therefore a good idea to have one or more of your maintenance staff receive certification as a Mold Assessor and a Mold Remediator. Certifications for both titles are available on NAETI.com.

How can I prevent mold from growing in my building?

Local Law 55 is especially challenging for landlords. After all, they’re expected to control the growth and spread of mold, an allergen hazard that often grows out of sight.

You can help prevent the growth of mold with these simple steps:

  • Educate your tenants about moisture intrusion and mold-related practices.
  • Use a Relative Humidity (RH) meter and thermal imaging to assess the levels of RH in your building. Keep the RH below 60% as that is the point at which mold is likely to grow and spread.
  • Repair any envelope leaks in your building promptly.

The latest amendment to the NYC compliance code means more obligations for you as a landlord, but don’t sweat it! Here at Jack Jaffa & Associates, we’ve got you covered. Call or stop by to learn how we can help you comply with Local Law 55.

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Jack Jaffa & Associates Accomplishments 2018

by Aaron Munk on January 8, 2019 , Comments Off on Jack Jaffa & Associates Accomplishments 2018

2018 was an amazing year for us at Jack Jaffa & Associates and we hope it was even more spectacular for our clients! Click on the video link above to get a glimpse into some of what we accomplished in 2018. We hope that 2019 will be just as great for us, all our clients, all New Yorkers and all of New York!

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Everything you need to know about your Annual Safety Mailing

by Ahuva Ruvel on December 19, 2018 , Comments Off on Everything you need to know about your Annual Safety Mailing

What is Annual Safety Mailing?

All property managers/landlords of a building with 3+ apartments must send yearly safety documentation and forms to tenants in order to ensure compliance with city agencies.

What are your requirements as a property manager/landlord?

You must:

  • Hand deliver, mail first-class or send with January’s rent bill all required forms & information,
  • Track and store responses and follow up on non-respondents,
  • Inspect properties for lead paint and oversee any required window guard installations,
  • Notify the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) if you can’t determine if a child lives in a unit, and
  • Keep records of sent mailings, follow-up efforts and tenant responses.

Pro-Tip: If you don’t receive responses from tenants, you need to inspect their apartments for proof of child(ren). If you can’t get into their apartments to do so, document and retain proof of your efforts for ten years to avoid criminal charges and liability.

What is included in the Annual Safety Documentation?

  1. Fire & Emergency Preparedness (FEP) Guides – NEW to 2018!
  2. Window Guard Notices
  3. Lead Paint Notices
  4. Forms inquiring about the ages of any children living in your tenants’ apartments, window guards and NEW to 2018, stove knob covers.

When must it be done?

  • Notices must be delivered between December 15th 2018, and January 16th, 2019.
  • Tenants must respond by February 15th.

What are the penalties if you don’t do it?

The DOHMH and FDNY levy fines ranging from $500 to $5000 per violation for landlords who do not comply with this law.

If an accident occurs in one of your dwellings and you did not comply with this law, you may be charged with a crime, which can mean increased insurance rates, and/or prison time. To make it even worse, you can be hit with a lawsuit for negligence from the affected tenant.

How can you expedite your Annual Safety Documentation?

The Jaffa team can take care of the entire process for you. From mailing the forms to following up on any work that needs to be done as a result of your responses.

All you’ll need to do is fill out some basic information on our website and Jaffa will take care of the rest. Plus, we provide 5 easy ways for your tenants to respond ensuring a higher response rate, enabling your compliance.

Additionally, Jaffa can help you  keep tabs on the process by tracking the entire process online and viewing a scanned copy of the responses whenever you need them.

View a clip about it here or Contact Jaffa today for more details.

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