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LL wants access for 'appraiser'

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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LL wants access for 'appraiser'

Postby sr77 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:22 am

Rec'd notification that landlord wants access to all units next week for "the appraiser."

Is that legit? Never ran into it before.
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Re: LL wants access for 'appraiser'

Postby TenantNet » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:33 am

It might be. Read the section on access laws in the Reference section of the forum. http://tenant.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4837

I always view a request or demand for access as a negotiation. You can specify day, time, who will enter, what they will look at, no photos (that part is VERY important, especially for an appraiser if that is what it really is). Anything they take photos of can be used against you in a court proceeding.

If they are looking at all units, then you should specify an exact time (give or take 15 minutes) so you won't be sitting around all day. I give my LL a window; if they don't show, they don't get in, even if they are 5 minutes beyond the window. If they know they will be late, they can call you. They are like Pavlov's dogs. You have to train them to respect you.
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Re: LL wants access for 'appraiser'

Postby sr77 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:56 pm

Thanks, it appears to be a building-wide notification.

I won't get a response to an inquiry about those specifications, or if I did it would just be an assertion that the visit is required or something like that. And since the super has a key, my being there or not won't really matter.

I'll try to get clarification about the time frame, though.

And assuming I'm home, if I see that a camera was brought I hope my request not to take photos will be sufficient.

I don't recall ever being asked for access of this kind before. What's an 'appraisal' normally for?… Determining property taxes?… Related to impending sale of building?… etc.
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Re: LL wants access for 'appraiser'

Postby TenantNet » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:45 pm

Those building-wide notifications are BS. They have to give you a specific notification for your unit with a specific time and date. They can't say "sometime this week." Nor would I suggest you give the super your keys (as LLs often demand). I would change your locks, seriously.

My LL often does the same thing, but then doesn't show up. (maybe you have my LL?) They claim the inspection is "required by the city," to which I ask them to show me the law. They don't because they can't. While there are a few specific instances where the city requires some degree of annual or general inspection, i.e., window guards if you have a child and haven't responded to the questionnaire. But otherwise, there are no such general requirements. Of course DOB and HPD can inspect when there are complaints or when there are possible fire or structural issues.

You think asking them not to take photos will be sufficient? Are you smoking something?

An appraiser comprises a value of the worth of the property, for taxes, or for a sale. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/appraiser.asp
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Re: LL wants access for 'appraiser'

Postby sr77 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:14 am

Thanks. I rechecked the notification and it does include the scheduled date & time for the appraiser visit.

The key issue: I'd gladly change my locks, but aren't rent-stabilized tenants required to provide the landlord with a key -- at least if one is requested by the landlord, which of course is what would happen if I changed the locks - ?

Also, even if one manages to not provide the key and isn't bothered by the landlord, isn't there the issue of emergency access?

While I'd rather not be bothered, if the landlord needs the appraisal for a legitimate reason (harking back to my original question) I don't see what the point of refusing to provide it and getting into a tussle with him over it would be.

I'm assuming an appraiser's visit is just a matter of someone taking a quick look at the walls, ceiling, doors, floor, etc., and then leaving. I'd feel differently if the notification appeared to have been sent only to me (i.e., and not the other tenants). That would raise questions.

Not sure what you meant by "You think asking them not to take photos will be sufficient? Are you smoking something?"

I'm not going to know whether they'll want to take photos until they show up. I also don't know whether appraisers normally do that or not. I would think not, since they're presumably just gathering data relating to the valuation of the building -- something that wouldn't seem to require taking any photos.
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Re: LL wants access for 'appraiser'

Postby TenantNet » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:25 am

So you have a scheduled date and time? Well, that's good. Now only hope they keep it. I usually set a window, so if they don't make it (or call to let you know they're running late), then the appointment is off.If they set the time for 9 AM and they don't show until noon, then in my view, they don't get in and must reschedule. If you had to take time off from work, that's worse, and I would make the window even shorter.

Remember, they can't demand a date/time. They make the request and you can counter-offer. It's a negotiation.

As for the locks (and I don't think it's just RS tenants). You can add your own as a second lock. You don't have to volunteer the key. Only give it to them if they demand it (and how would they know if they weren't trying to use the key they have improperly?). There was a device called a key-keeper in which you could tell if they broke it open to use the key. It's not unheard of that LLs or Supers will have sticky fingers if they have free access to people's apartments. Understand the downside is if there is a legit emergency, the LL might have to force his way in, and then charge you for it. See http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/15/reale ... html?_r=1&

If you're handy, you can buy a lock cylinder in a hardware store for a lot less than using a locksmith. Prices have gone up, but I once bought a cylinder for around $7. I just looked at Walmart and saw a bunch for around $20. Of course price depends on quality. Specialty brands (like Medeco) obviously will cost more. I would not pay any locksmith $200 for changing locks. That's BS.

The only thing I would really suggest is that you - or a trusted person - is there when they come in. I would put them off until you can be there. You can indeed tell the LL to reschedule the appointment.

You don't know what the appraiser wants to do, so don't make assumptions. And the appraiser could also come in with the LLs agent or super, who will want to take photos, and which are admissible in a future court case. So please, get smart and protect yourself.
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Re: LL wants access for 'appraiser'

Postby sr77 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:32 pm

Thanks. I can be home for the scheduled time, so I think I'll just play it by ear, ask for no photos to be taken if they show up with a camera, and ask them to leave if they refuse to comply. The latter, if it occurs, should enamor me to the LL even more than I already am.

Did you mean something specific by "protect yourself" (other than not allowing photos to be taken)?

I have a Segal lock. Do you know whether replacing the cylinder in that is easy? I'm not handy. Not inept, but no woman looking for a handy husband would give me a second look. If cylinder replacement is quite simple and straightforward I can probably handle it.

TenantNet wrote:"Only give it to them if they demand it (and how would they know if they weren't trying to use the key they have improperly?).

There might be other ways a new lock could become known to the LL, leading to a demand for the key. If your apartment is located near another where work is being done, an unexpected situation might occur while workmen are doing something in the other apartment. They come to your apartment to ask or advise you about something, you're not home, they call the super, he comes & enters your apartment to check on the issue. I've had things like this occur when I've been home. I don't know the law on this -- would the super have broken the law by entering your apartment without your express permission, since it wasn't an 'emergency'?

TenantNet wrote:"Understand the downside is if there is a legit emergency, the LL might have to force his way in, and then charge you for it. "

That's why I mentioned it in my last reply. That obviously could end up being costly for the tenant. Since you apparently haven't given the LL a key, what's your view on that -- just take your chances that an emergency requiring access won't happen & pay the piper if it does?
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Re: LL wants access for 'appraiser'

Postby TenantNet » Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:40 pm

Google is your friend; Youtube is your friend. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfJjyP-rt-k

If you already have the deadbolt in place, then replacing the cylinder is easy.

Don't worry if they find out. Seriously, don't lose sleep over it.

A real emergency is a fire, or a broken steampipe, or something like that. Just because the workmen happen to be in the building that day ... that is not an emergency.
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Re: LL wants access for 'appraiser'

Postby sr77 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:29 pm

TenantNet wrote:A real emergency is a fire, or a broken steampipe, or something like that. Just because the workmen happen to be in the building tht day ... that is not an emergency.

Thanks. You misunderstood my point about the workmen. It was meant as an example of why the super might enter a tenant's apartment in a non-emergency without the ill intent you suggested would be the only reason.

I recall an incident where a leak to the downstairs apartment was thought to be coming from inside the wall of my apartment (it was). I was home when workmen came to check. If I hadn't been I suppose they would have asked the super for access to confirm the source of the leak. I don't know how asserting that access was required in that situation or not would be viewed legally speaking. It wasn't strictly an emergency, but gaining access to investigate a leak, assuming it was legitimate (not an excuse for foul play) might be considered reasonable.
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