Blog

April 28, 2015 9:17AM

Navigating New York City Rent Laws with Yardi

Ah, New York. The world of skyscrapers, Broadway, fashion icons, and the world’s greatest bagels. If you are a property management company, you also know that New York City has more real estate rules and regulations than arguably any other major American city (Washington, DC, we’ll get to you next). While a cutting-edge real estate software system like Yardi is useful for nearly every property management firm, it is practically essential for NY-based companies.

Yardi can be configured in a host of ways to make sure you stay in compliance with New York’s unique laws and business rules. From rent control and stabilization, safety notifications, disabilities, succession, and—the most dreaded New York tenant of all—bedbugs, Yardi can be configured to keep you ahead of the eight ball and out of court.

Here are just a few ways Yardi can help you stay on top of these ever-changing property laws, and make sure you—and your revenue streams—never miss a New York beat:

 

Major Capital Improvements

In most cities, when a property manager makes a major capital improvement (MCI) in their property, the cost for that investment can be recouped by simply raising the rent. Not so in New York City. In all five boroughs, there are a host of rules property managers must take into account before they can recoup their MCIs legally and fairly.

Yardi can help you determine how much to add to your tenants’ rent bills, taking into account the total room count (and not just bedrooms) in each unit, relevant MCI history, and each tenant’s particular exemptions—such as senior or disabled citizens exemptions—for starters. What’s more, Yardi can also “retro bill” your MCI costs, retroactively billing from the time your MCI got approved back to the day your MCI was installed, all while ensuring your rent bills do not exceed the maximum 6% cap set by the city.

 

SCRIE/DRIE

In New York, some senior and/or disabled citizens fall under New York’s Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) programs, which were recently expanded in 2014. These programs significantly limit the rent increases for eligible tenants, and exempt them from most MCIs as well. In order to maintain the value of the apartment, the city entitles landlords to tax credits pertaining to units occupied by SCRIE- or DRIE-eligible tenants.

Yardi can help you keep up with changes to SCRIE/DRIE laws, as well as maintain an easy-to-read history of their past. It offers you a “split ledger view” that illustrates what the tenant owes, the amount that falls under SCRIE or DRIE, and calculates the appropriate tax adjustment.

 

Lease Renewals and Annual Apartment Registrations

When the NYC Rent Guidelines Board releases their annual decisions in October, Yardi can easily store that information and calculate your lease renewals accordingly. Come July, when it is time to submit your Annual Apartment Registrations, Yardi can easily itemize the information—taking into account MCIs, Individual Apartment Improvements (or IAIs), SCRIE/DRIEs and other particulars to each unit—to demonstrate the basis for any rent increases.

On a tangentially related note, Yardi can also store information relating to New York’s succession rules, which stipulate that a rent-controlled apartment can be “grandfathered” down to no more than two successive generations. So if your new tenant is the great-great-granddaughter of the original tenant, Yardi has this information stored, and knows when this unit has exceeded two successions, so that you know when rent control rules currently in effect may no longer apply.

 

Health and Safety Regulations

Yardi’s New York Add-In module makes it incredibly easy to ensure that you remain compliant with the host of New York health and safety regulations, which, as any veteran New York property owner is aware, are constantly changing. It stores critical information concerning lead paint, window guards, and fire safety tracking and notifications. For tenants who do require window guards, Yardi integrates these costs into its system and allows you to bill according to the tenant’s specifications.

Yardi can also help keep you compliant with NYC’s 2010 “Bed Bug Infestation History” regulation, which requires all new tenants to receive a one-year bed bug infestation history, of not just the unit in question, but the floor and building, too. New tenants will know if these nibbly creatures ever occupied your building and, if so, what eradication measures were taken to evict them.

 

Legal Module

A considerable amount of litigation can seem part-and-parcel of being in New York’s real estate management game. Even the most diligent firm is likely to face their share of legal actions and processes.

The Yardi Legal module is easily configured to reflect NYC’s ever-changing rent regulatory regime, and provides user-friendly information to help you manage all your legal workflows. If necessary, you can create multiple “cards” for a single tenant to keep track of the various legal processes underway—or in the past—with that resident, and produces easy-to-read reports reflecting the status and history of each legal action.

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Staying in compliance with local rent laws will not only give you peace of mind, help maximize your revenues legally and fairly, but it can also protect you from costly legal battles down the road.

If you’re interested in finding out how Yardi can help you stay in compliance with your city- or region-specific rent rules and regulations, contact us today.