Property management compliance is serious business

Jeannie Cambria
| 3 min. read
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Published on March 17, 2014

Operating residential real estate properties is a constant challenge. In New York City, the difficulty in keeping track of local law changes year after year and increasing fines and penalties are two realities residential property owners and managers contend with every day.

New York City has a particularly stringent and complicated compliance environment. We’ve seen increased enforcement among the dozen-plus city agencies that issue violations, as well as escalating fine amounts for compliance issues such as sanitation tickets, lapsed permit renewals, and elevator violations.

How can you get ahead of the curve when it comes to property management compliance? Because New York city is often at the forefront of issues like this, the changes that have transpired here over past five years may provide a look into what’s on the horizon for your city. Here are some of the most common compliance issues residential owners and managers face in New York City.

Fire Department Permits

The Fire Department of New York governs over 950 different types of building equipment, prevention measures, systems, and space regulations. Violations for fire safety offenses are serious: If not addressed and corrected, these violations can result in a criminal summons for the named respondent. Knowing which permits are on file helps property managers avoid unsafe conditions and steep penalties that cost time and money to correct.

Construction Jobs and Permits

Construction projects and building work are strictly regulated and require a high level of attention to detail—we’ve seen failure to secure permit fines as high as $13,000!  As your contractors and vendors are creating plans and submitting applications to secure the correct permits, it’s crucial to stay on top of jobs, permit applications, and variances to ensure compliance.

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Failure to keep sidewalks clean, disposing of trash and recyclables incorrectly, sidewalk obstructions, and more can all result in sanitation tickets piling up. In New York City, we advise our clients not to “grin and bear it”: Paying each fine instead of contesting the ticket can mean increased penalties for subsequent offenses. Knowing the facts about when and where these violations are occurring prevents repeat offenses and overpayment.


Elevators and other lifts in New York City buildings are required to undergo a battery of tests on a strict schedule. Elevator consultants and vendors need to be vigilant about law changes, inspections, paperwork submissions, and repairs – and keep property managers in the loop about everything. Coordination of information, due dates, and issue corrections among staff and vendors are key to operating devices safely and without compliance violations.

Get familiar with your city’s local laws, enforcement guidelines and procedures, most of which can be found online with the Department of Buildings, the City’s Housing and Development page, and the Fire Department. Staying on top of this information will save you money—and headaches—on your residential properties.

Read more on Maintenance & Improvements
Jeannie Cambria

Jeannie Cambria is with SiteCompli, an NYC-based company that provides the technology, expertise and resources needed to stay ahead of critical and costly real estate compliance issues.

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