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Guide

NYC Heating Laws & Requirements

Outdoor temperatures are dropping, and NYC residents are doing everything possible to stay warm and healthy. NYC heating laws stipulate that landlords must ensure they keep all residential buildings warm during the heating season. The heating season spans from the 1st of October till the 31st of May. They must provide heat between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm if the outdoor temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. They must ensure the indoor temperature is at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

When Is Landlord Require to Turn Heat on in NYC?

Also, owners and landlords must provide heat between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 pm. The indoor temperature must be at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit. However, there are no outdoor temperature requirements. Additionally, the law requires that building owners provide hot water at 120 degrees Fahrenheit all year round.

The goal is to keep people safe from the biting cold in autumn and prepare them for freezing temperatures in winter. In this light, the HPD helps landlords and tenants understand the heat season’s requirements for heat or hot water problems.

What to Do if Your Apartment Does not have Heating or Hot Water in NYC

If your apartment doesn’t have hot water or heat during the heating season, let your landlord, managing agent, or superintendent know about it. Go through your lease to see the right way to report damages and the need for repairs. You may call or send an email depending on how urgent the situation is. Note that it is your legal right to seek your landlord’s assistance in case of heat or hot water issues. Keep copies of the emails and record all calls because you may need them as evidence in court.

However, if your landlord doesn’t react to remedy the situation, dial 311 to register an official complaint with the HPD. You can also file a complaint using the 311 mobile app or visit 311 online. If you have hearing difficulties, you can file a complaint using a Touchtone Device for the Deaf at (212) 504-4115. the HPD can sometimes get multiple complaints from the same building signifying the same problem.

What Happens When You Report a Landlord to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HDP)?

The HPD will try to get in touch with your building owner on the specific issue. After this, they will reach out to you to see if the landlord has solved the problem. You can check your complaint status on the HPD website or through text if you provided a phone number when registering the complaint.

The Department of Housing Preservation will send an inspector to your building within two days tops if your issue is still unresolved. The inspector will carefully assess the entire building to identify the problem. After which, the landlord will have to fix it within a certain period. If not, the HPD will carry out repairs to keep tenants healthy and safe during the heating season. The HPD then levies fees and penalties on uncooperative homeowners through a court order.

Summarily, it is your right as a tenant to have hot water all year round and a heated apartment during the heating season. If you don’t get any of these, you may be subject to hypothermia, dehydration, and other health problems that accompany freezing temperatures.

Categories
Buying

What Is NYC Flip Taxes? And How to Avoid Flip Tax

Flip taxes are a foolproof method to raise funds for a building without incurring additional costs. It is a transfer fee that a buyer or seller pays the cooperative after selling or transferring an apartment. Additionally, flip taxes provide funds for capital improvements. Cooperatives and co-ops have to treat all shareholders equally to ensure the courts approve of the flip tax. Averagely, transfer taxes in NYC range between 1% to 3% of the building’s final sales price. Flip taxes are part of the building’s closing costs.

What Are the NYC Flip Taxes?

There are multiple flip taxes from which to choose. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of each flip tax before making a decision.

The flat fee and per share amount types of flip transfer taxes are similar. Both require that the cooperative sets a fixed flip fee for all shareholders. Also, the flat fee flip tax requires cooperatives to set a flat fee amount for all shareholders. The per-share amount requires shareholders to pay a fixed dollar amount per share.  This policy is beneficial to shareholders to a larger property and those who bought buildings years ago at fair prices. It is a total disaster for shareholders who have smaller buildings and those who bought buildings a few years ago. Nonetheless, it helps maintain a certain degree of order when calculating flip taxes. It is important to know that the flip tax is different from the NYC mansion taxes.

Percentage

The percentage of the sales price is not so different. Here, the cooperative demands a percent of the total amount made from selling the building.

Another method is the percentage of net profit. It is the most stressful method for cooperatives because it is not easy to calculate only the gain from selling a property. After which, they request a certain percentage of the amount.

The combining method is a less popular method cooperatives use to collect flip taxes. It requires combining two or more flip tax methods. Although it works, it is quite tedious.

Who pays the Flip Tax?

Sellers typically cover the cost of flip taxes. Nevertheless, buyers will pay if the cooperative demands the payment of this tax. Therefore, buyers have to carefully read through their real estate contract to know if the seller will pay the NYC flip taxes.

The amount a seller or buyer pays as flip taxes depends on how much the cooperative requires. Since there is no specific amount that cuts across all cooperatives, they demand different amounts. Some cooperatives make a higher demand if the seller sells the property at a high price. The goal is to add funds to the cooperative’s reserve funds.

Cooperatives can change their flip taxes by voting. Every shareholder has to vote before the board makes a final decision. They can only change the flip taxes if the majority agrees to it.

In summary, flip taxes are a fee cooperatives request for maintaining buildings without incurring additional costs. Family members may not pay house flip taxes depending on the cooperative’s policy. Seek the assistance of a real estate agent if you need clarification on your real estate contract.

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Rentals

NYC Rental Laws [2021]

People’s rights and democratic freedoms are topics that are on the lips of almost everyone in the 21st century. They range from basic fundamental rights like the right to play to more advanced ones like tenant rights. New movements and protests spring up ever so often to ensure the preservation of individual rights. The goal is to live in a comfortable environment and grants you access to what you deserve. Nobody likes knowing another person has infringed their rights for any reason, tenants inclusive. Therefore, landlords have to make life pleasant for their tenants by ensuring they are safe and comfortable. In this article, we’ll discuss Manhattan tenant rights.

Pest Control

Pests and vermins are such a nuisance to tenants. They ruin clothing, destroy documents, worsen tenant’s health conditions, and spread diseases.

Manhattan tenants have a right to live in a vermin and pest-free environment. Landlords have to ensure they do not breach this right. Landlords ought to fix all leaks, cracks and have an excellent way of containing garbage.

They ought to work only with pest control professionals licensed by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. Their job is to inspect the property, identify where pests and vermins hide, and use pesticides that are not poisonous to humans to eradicate the pests. They also have to do regular follow up to see that the vermins have not returned to create new breeding grounds.

Safety

  • To keep children below six years safe, landlords have to hire professionals to reduce lead-based painting hazards. This rule applies to buildings constructed before 1960 and those that have lead paint.
  • Manhattan tenants have the right to request window guards in writing, after which landlords must install them.
  • Tenants have the right to remove double cylinder locks from apartment entrance doors since they are illegal and unsafe.
  • Tenants have the right to request stove knob holders.
  • Landlords must install smoke detectors in every apartment. Also, they have to install carbon monoxide detectors a few feet away from the main entrance of every bedroom. The carbon monoxide detector must have an alarm that signifies when it is almost out of use. Furthermore, they have to give tenants a manual to let them know how the carbon monoxide detector functions and maintenance.

Heating

  • Tenants have a right to constant hot water supply all year round. Hence, landlords have to make sure it is always available.
  • Landlords have to provide Manhattan tenants with heat from October to May regardless of what temperature it is outside. However, they are only obliged to do so from 10 pm to 6 am daily.

Additionally, tenants have the right to privacy, and landlords can only enter their apartments with their consent. They also have a right to join or form tenant organizations to protect and promote their rights. Disabled tenants have the right to request modifications that will ease their discomfort. However, this will be at their expense.

Call 311 to report right violations to the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

Categories
Buying Guide

NYC Transfer Tax Guide [2021]

The NYC Transfer Tax affects all transfers of cooperative shares or real estate property worth over $25,000 from one party to the next. Condos, single-family homes, and all other residential property are subject to this tax.

It is one of the most expensive parts of the closing costs of a transaction. It is also applicable to transfers of majority shares within corporations.

What is the NYC Transfer Tax Rate?

The NYC transfer tax depends on the sales price of the property or shares.

The NYC transfer tax is 1% if the sales price is below or equivalent to $499,999. For NYC, the transfer tax is 1.425% for properties with a sales price above $500,000.

Who Pays the Transfer Tax?

It depends on the deal between the buyer and seller. Generally, the seller is responsible for covering the NYC transfer tax. Some sellers put this forward to attract buyers and keep them glued. However, the buyer may end up paying the NYC transfer tax if tax authorities do not know the sellers’ whereabouts. For new development property, a buyer may pay this tax if the sponsor demands it. In this case, the buyer has to bring the cash at closing. Buyers cannot finance it through other methods.

What is the Reason for the Transfer Tax?

Generally, taxes play a role in increasing government revenue. No matter how small the figure may look initially, it all adds up. The NYC Transfer Tax helps fill government coffers. Tax payer’s money enables the government to achieve some of its goals and improve the city. New York City officials take the transfer seriously because the government has raised impressive amounts in previous years. Therefore, they do a thorough follow-up on the transfer tax and ensure the buyer or seller makes the complete payment. Failure to do so may attract dire consequences on either party.

How to Avoid Paying Transfer Tax?

Many people seek ways to either reduce the transfer tax payment or to avoid it. Here are some tips on how to achieve any of them.

  1. Assess Closing Cost

    Assess how much of the closing costs the developer of a new development building is willing to shoulder. You need this information because the buyer usually pays the NYC transfer tax for a new development building. However, a developer may pay the NYC transfer tax if they are desperate to get the property out of their hands.

  2. Seller Purchase of CEMA

    Sellers should purchase CEMA to minimize their transfer tax. Sellers can cut costs if they do not hire a real estate agent to put up their property for sale. They can put it up themselves on real estate platforms and still find buyers.

However, you can only avoid payment if you qualify for an exemption. You can be eligible for an exemption if you are using the property as collateral for a debt. Also, you are exempted if you are selling or buying the property for a non-profit organization. Government institutions may not pay the tax for various reasons. You are also eligible for an exemption if you sell or buy the property for some US affiliated international organizations.

To conclude, paying your tax is crucial. It would be best to learn more about all the taxes you need to pay to avoid getting in trouble with the authorities. Failure to pay taxes has severe consequences we all should avoid. Consult a real estate agent to get professional advice before buying or selling property in New York City.

Categories
Buying Guide

What is NYC 421-A Tax Abatement?

Are you planning to invest in real estate in New York City? We guarantee that you’ll love the NYC 421-A tax abatement program, especially if you, like most people, are not a fan of taxes. So long as you are a property developer in NYC, you can easily get the NYC 421-A tax abatement, but your goal must be to offer affordable housing for the city’s residents. The program reduces your property tax bill for a specific duration. In most cases, it lasts for ten years, but yours could be 15 or 25 years, depending on the code it is registered with. For instance, codes 5117 and 5110 provide a ten-year term, while code 5114 comes with a 25-year period.

If you’d love to know more about the NYC 421-A Tax Abatement, read on!

We’ll start with the program’s history.

The History of the NYC 421-A Tax Abatement

The NYC 421-A Tax Abatement began in 1971. Its objective was to encourage NYC property developers to make the most out of underutilized land in New York City by investing in affordable residential buildings for families. The program prompted the construction of thousands of condos in Manhattan and other NYC boroughs. Today, the NYC 421-A tax abatement is still incredibly popular. The buildings benefitting from this tax abatement are twice as many as those with other property tax programs.

Home buyers will be delighted to know that the buildings they plan to purchase come with a 421-A tax abatement. Research all the essential information about this program because it has six codes, each offering a different property tax reduction percentage. Some people have often wondered if buying a building with an NYC 421-A tax abatement is an excellent idea. The answer to this is; it depends solely on the buyer’s preference.

What to Expect When Investing In a Property with a 421-A Tax Abatement?

A property with tax abatement is undoubtedly better than one without, but things could get a little complicated. For starters, expect most home sellers to sell apartments with a 421-A tax abatement at a higher cost upfront. They already know that you will spend a lot less on property taxes. While this might not be a problem for real estate investors with a high and flexible budget, those with low, tight budgets may not see it that way. You should always evaluate the home seller’s asking price for a property with tax abatement and the cost of one without. When that’s done, ask yourself the question; Is it really worth it?

When buying a house with tax abatement, you should also anticipate dealing with certain risks. A home seller could choose to sell their co-op or condo because the 421-A tax abatement period is close to expiring. If you purchase the property blindly, you might not enjoy the tax reduction benefits you hoped for.

After reading through this article and understanding the NYC 421-A tax abatement, you could take advantage of it as a real estate investor. The main advantage of purchasing a property with this tax abatement is that your property’s tax bill will be considerably reduced. Ensure that the apartment or condo you are buying is worth it. Before paying for the residential property, ensure that there are a good number of years left in the tax abatement. 

Categories
Rentals

How to Get a No Credit Check Apartment [Post Covid]

If you are a New York City resident, you probably already know that excellent credit history is required when applying for most city apartments.  It maximizes your chances of getting the right apartment for you and your family.

What if you don’t have credit? This could be because of several reasons. You may never have possessed a credit card for personal reasons. You could also be a student, a recent graduate, or a foreigner. Fortunately, your lack of credit can’t stop you from landing your dream apartment in NYC.

Below are a few things you can do to get a no credit check apartment in NYC.

Finding a Guarantor for Your Apartment

This is one of the things you should do when you don’t have a credit check and still need one of NYC’s classy apartments. Getting a guarantor assures your landlord/landlady that they will get paid even if it’s not by you. Your rental guarantor could be a parent, relative, or close friend, and they must cosign the rental apartment agreement. They must also meet the qualifications set by your landlady/landlord. In most cases, they are required to earn at least eighty times your monthly rent.

If you are a foreigner, ensure that your guarantor is a New York City resident. NYC landlords/landladies don’t accept foreign-based guarantors.

References

To land a no credit check apartment in NYC, you could also ask your previous landlords to write reference letters for you; they should preferably be located within New York City. With them, the apartment owner might be willing to let you rent their property. Each reference letter should state that you always paid your rent in full and on time, even though you don’t have credit. It could also emphasize your other great traits, such as reliability.

Attach the reference letters to your cover letter. In the latter, you could explain your current credit situation. Additionally, state what you do and why you are confident that you can afford the apartment you are applying for.

Work With a Broker

A trusted real estate broker in NYC may also help you get a no check apartment situated in the city. They can advocate for you and tell the landlords they know that you deserve their vacant rental apartment despite your lack of credit. You should be comfortable with your broker. This allows you to explain your current situation with ease since they might be hesitant to vouch for you if they don’t know what you’re going through. It’s best to pick a broker who focuses on the NYC neighborhood you wish to live in. They know the landlords who accept clients without credit, and they’ll point you in their direction.

NYC is a great place to live. You can still get an apartment you like without credit, but you have to be smart when looking for it. The tips above should serve as a guide to those looking to rent their dream apartments without credit. However, it would be best if you carried out extra research to avoid embarrassment.

Categories
Buying

New York City Mansion Tax Guide [2021]

Are you a potential homebuyer looking to purchasing a home or apartment in New York City? You must have heard of the NYC mansion tax, a closing cost that many property buyers in the city have incurred. Supposing that the residential property you wish to buy is worth more than $1 million, prepare to pay this tax, which dates back to 1989, the year this tax was created by former Gov. Mario Cuomo. The NYC mansion tax was meant to enhance the New York State’s budget, like all other taxes.

If you’re a first-time property buyer, it may all be a little confusing, but you need not worry. This guide provides essential information about the famous NYC mansion tax. Read on.

Who Pays the NYC Mansion Tax? And how much is it?

As a homebuyer, it is prudent to know the mansion tax you have to pay before becoming a legal homeowner in New York City. It helps you to manage your budget correctly. The value of your home determines the tax rates.

If your property’s cost is $1-$1.999 million, the tax rate is 1%, meaning that the tax amount will be $10,000. The percentage soars as your home’s value increases. For instance, should you be buying a house worth $20-$24.999 million, the NYC mansion tax rate will be 3.75%.

Remember that this tax is payable during the closing on your new home, but you can also pay it within the first fifteen days of closing. If you don’t do it by then, the home seller will also be in trouble.

After calculating the NYC mansion tax amount, you are required to pay, begin the process of paying it.

How to Pay the NYC Mansion Tax?

Since the NYC mansion tax is considered a real estate transfer tax, the necessary tax documents must be submitted together with the Form TP-584. The title company can hand in the filing on your behalf, regardless of whether you buy a condo or townhouse. If you are purchasing a housing cooperative (co-op), work with your real-estate lawyer when submitting your tax fillings.

How to Avoid Paying NYC Mansion Taxes?

The NYC mansion tax can be insanely expensive, especially for home buyers who have just enough money to purchase their new one or two-bedroom home. Like many others, you must be wondering if there is a way you can avoid paying this tax. Unfortunately, there isn’t. The law requires you to pay the NYC mansion tax to be a legal homeowner in the United States’ most populous city.

Even so, there are exemptions when it comes to homebuyers paying the NYC mansion tax. When a government body purchases a residential property, the organization doesn’t have to pay the tax. The same case applies to closings that are as a result of federal bankruptcy.

This guide aims to shed more light on the NYC mansion tax for homeowners looking to invest in your dream residential property in New York City. Make sure you pay the tax during the closing, or at most 15 days later. Otherwise, you and the home seller will be held responsible. It is worth noting that houses with a value of less than $1,000,000 are exempted from this tax.

Categories
Rentals

The Most Expensive NYC Rental Neighborhoods [2021]

New York City is the US’ most populous city. It is famous for its state-of-the-art facilities, excellent infrastructure, diversity, and beautiful neighborhoods. Undoubtedly, this city is a fantastic place for renters. If you’re looking for a rental apartment in NYC, consider the best ones available in the city’s five boroughs.  Here we will discuss the highest rent neighborhood in NYC.

Renting in NYC’s most expensive neighborhoods is definitely an upgrade every affluent individual should consider. Of course, you have to determine the amenities and services you need. This helps you to narrow down the perfect apartments for you.

To make the right call, you should know the most costly NYC neighborhoods for luxury renters. Below are some that you could take into account.

Union Square, Manhattan

The median rent in Union Square is around $4,637, making it ideal for renters looking for houses in the most expensive NYC neighborhoods. There are several posh shopping locations in the area; you’ll have plenty of options whenever you are looking to buy gifts, clothes, foodstuff, or household items. Another alluring thing about Union Square is the year-round greenmarket that gives luxurious apartment renters the chance to sample local farmers’ produce.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Williamsburg’s median rent is about $3,500. If you crave a somewhat dense suburban feel, this neighborhood is for you. The public schools in the region are some of the top-rated ones in NYC. The fancy restaurants, bars, and coffee shops here are countless. There is also a long list of parks you can visit whenever you need to relax or hold picnics with family and friends. Easy accessibility is another thing that makes Williamsburg convenient for renters. Feel free to use the L train, the East River Ferry Service, Uber or Lyft, and personal cars or bikes for transport to different parts of Brooklyn or within the neighborhood.

Long Island City, Queens

This affluent neighborhood, whose median rent is approximately $3,270, welcomes luxuriant apartment renters all year round. It boasts an ever-developing art community and fascinating nightlife. The neighborhood is also home to magnificent waterfront parks and museums. Hence, you’ll never run out of exciting places to visit while living in your classy rental house.

Additionally, the transport system in Long Island City is pretty impressive. There are eight subway lines, countless bus routes, a few Citi Bike stations, and two NYC Ferry stops.

Riverdale, Bronx

Riverdale (Median rent – $2,295) ranks high with regards to the most expensive and beautiful NYC neighborhoods. It is ideal for renters looking to live a quiet life near NYC’s most urban regions. This attractive quasi-suburban enclave offers scenic jogging trails, elegant eateries, and picturesque parks. Safety is another thing that draws renters to Riverdale. Also, the neighborhood hosts top-notch educational facilities. When you secure an elegant rental apartment in this neighborhood, you’ll also get the chance to view some pretty famous mansions such as Greyston, Stonehurst, and Alderbrook.

As seen above, you have many options when looking for luxury apartments in NYC’s most expensive neighborhoods. Note that the four provided in this article are our top picks as there are numerous luxurious neighborhoods in New York City. It would be best if you took explored the other neighborhoods and widen the scope of your search. This will undoubtedly help you land a fantastic apartment that’s worth your money.

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Places to Eat

5 Chelsea Restaurants You MUST Add to Your “Gastro To-Do List”