America’s largest residential ecosystem is also the most regulated.

Owning and operating an apartment in the country’s oldest and most regulated housing market comes with a host of maintenance challenges.

Landlords face problems related to heat and water, and also general repair requests from individual residents on a regular basis. Talking to them is of paramount importance in order to remain compliant with NYC regulations.

According to Michael Gareth Johnson, director of the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), New York City’s residential ecosystem, which includes more than 2 million rental homes, is incredibly complex.

“Things will break down,” Johnson said, because the 2023 survey found that about 54% of housing was built before 1947. The other 26% was built between 1947 and 1974.

Tenants have several options to report repairs and request service – including direct communication.

“The city has internal systems that generate violations and complaints,” Johnson said. “If it’s a dangerous situation, city inspectors will notify landlords as soon as possible. Otherwise, landlords often rely on service partners to receive alerts.

In most cases, tenants simply call 311 to file a complaint, said Alex Cohn, chief operating officer at J. Vassar & Co., Brooklyn.

“Managing 2,200 units in the city, I wake up with maintenance alerts almost every day,” he said.

Kohan said tenants can complain about anything, whether it’s a crack in the wall, a loose floor tile, or a sloping wood floor.

Homeowners have one week to make the repairs. HPD checks on the progress. If it’s not done in a week, a violation is issued. Violation fines are based on the violation and range from $50 to more than $1,000. Lead-based paint fines can be up to $10,000.

Once the landlord makes the repairs, HPD inspects them. If it’s done to the tenant’s satisfaction, HPD removes the violation. If it’s not, it becomes a much bigger deal, Kohn said, adding that there should never be situations where landlords are harassing their tenants, kicking them out by not doing the work.

“It’s unfortunate that the situation today got out of control and HPD overstepped its boundaries,” he said.

So, getting alerts is important, Kohn said. Using AppWork, he said, the software keeps track of everything going on in the process. For homeowners, there’s no data entry anymore. It’s all done automatically, including photos and layouts.

“Being able to use technology to address resident complaints or city-reported violations with immediate notification would be incredibly helpful,” Kohn said. “It helps keep you organized.”

This month, multifamily maintenance management software, Appworks, announced its partnership with BeCompliant, the leader in New York City violations and compliance software.

Using mobile and desktop-based tools, AppWork integrates violation data into maintenance workflows, so maintenance teams can respond immediately.

Johnson said many landlords have installed sensors in their units that alert them to problems such as water or heat issues. The sensors help them verify if there is indeed a problem and serve as a constant monitor for their properties.

This partnership empowers property managers with advanced tools and automation to help ensure that compliance and maintenance tasks are not only tracked, but also carefully documented.

Through this integration, violations noted by BCompliant can automatically generate work orders within the AppWork system, streamlining processes and ensuring a quick response to compliance issues.

“This partnership is an important step in our commitment to the New York City market,” said Sean Landsberg, CEO of AppWorks.

BeCompliant has been at the forefront of compliance software solutions in New York City, providing tools that help property managers stay ahead of regulations and avoid penalties. The collaboration with Appworks is expected to enhance the capabilities of both platforms.

Joe Leff, COO of BeCompliant, said this partnership makes compliance management as simple and integrated as possible.

For New York City property managers, this partnership eliminates time spent on manual entry, creates a more accurate and timely compliance management process and reduces the risk of non-compliance penalties.

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