We caught up with NIDC’s Housing Specialist, David Ramos, to break down building inspections.
What goes into a typical building inspection?
I take a roof to cellar approach to building inspections. Starting from the roof, I conduct a full walkthrough of the building floor by floor, checking individual apartments along the way. Overall, I’m looking for structural and mechanical issues. Specifically, on the roof, i’m checking for openings where water can seep into apartments below. In individual apartments, the focus is tile and water damage. In the basement, my attention shifts to boiler/water heater maintenance and ensuring a lack of clutter, debris, and excess trash, which can lead to pests. At the conclusion of the inspection, each building is given a grade ranging from poor to excellent.
If a tenant notices something wrong, what do you recommend they do?
Tenants should reach out to building management immediately. Complaints can get lost in the shuffle, so I do recommend they reach out twice. If a response is still not received, call 311. They will assign you a “complaint number”, which will track your claim from beginning to end. You can also give NIDC a call and we will investigate on your behalf.
Do you offer support for landlords?
After inspections, we frequently reach out to owners for progress updates and to see if they require any assistance facilitating repairs. We have helped landlords apply for much needed building loans and connected them with city agencies, such as the New York Department of Sanitation, which can assist with specific issues.
What is the most common problem you see during inspections?
I run into a lot of minor leaks. They are a quick and easy fix, but when left unchecked they can become huge problems. Tenants and landlords must be pro-active to catch these early.
How many apartments do you see in a week?
It varies greatly depending on the building. It can be as many as 15.