For landlords in New York City, the New Year triggers certain responsibilities—most notably, the annual notice requirement. Even for property owners outside the five boroughs, these simple tasks can provide proper protection and peace of mind in the months to come, freeing you to focus on more enjoyable New Year’s resolutions.
Distribute Annual Notices
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) requires landlords of multiple dwellings (3+ units) to send tenants an annual notice form. The form asks tenants to provide the ages of children who live in the building, part of an initiative to protect children from window falls and lead poisoning.
New forms go into effect on January 1, 2024. The annual notice for buildings constructed before 1978 includes information about lead paint and window guards, while the version for newer properties only addresses window guards.
- Annual Notice to Tenant or Occupant for Buildings Built Before 1978
- Annual Notice to Tenant or Occupant for Buildings Built After 1978
Landlords must send the annual notice to tenants no earlier than January 1 and no later than January 15. Acceptable forms of deliver include First Class mail, hand delivery, or enclosure with January rent bill. (This last method applies only if tenants receive the bill after December 16 and no later than January 16.)
Inspections. Tenants must complete and return the form by February 15. Otherwise, the landlord must physically inspect apartments to determine whether a child age 10 or younger lives in the unit. (If the landlord has not accessed the apartment by March 1, despite reasonable attempts to schedule an inspection, he or she needs to notify DOHMH.)
Corrective actions. If a child age 10 years or younger lives in the apartment, the landlord must adhere to city laws governing window guards and lead paint. Specifically, he or she will need to inspect the apartment and ensure that window guards have been installed and are in good repair. For properties built before 1978, the inspection should also look for lead paint hazards, which would require correction using safe work practices.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
Each year, building owners should review Loss of Rents coverage to ensure adequate protection. This coverage reimburses lost rental income if a covered peril requires tenants to move out while the space is repaired.
Reimbursement covers the repair period, up to one year. If the monthly rent is $2,000, for instance, the insurance company will pay up to $24,000.
Reviewing the rent roll annually ensures that Loss of Rents coverage stays current, in case monthly rents have increased.
The start of the year is also a good time to discuss any property upgrades that might qualify for premium discounts. Meet with your insurance partner to make sure you have the right protection at the best rates for your unique situation.
Check Fire Safety Equipment
Avoid a potential disaster by making sure the property’s fire safety equipment is ready when needed. If you have any smoke detectors with replaceable batteries, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends replacing batteries in smoke alarms once a year. This is also a good time to inspect fire extinguishers to ensure they’re fully charged and ready to use.
Contact our office at 877-576-5200 for questions about Loss of Rents coverage, to update your current rent rolls or to request a free insurance review.