The Lord of the Residence

Being in NYC, we know finding great housing can be a challenge to say the least. When you finally do find that perfect apartment (in Brooklyn, naturally), you don’t want to ever let it go! You might feel like the king of the (Boerum) hill, but the real lord of this land is the person you pay rent to, and if they are your best bud, you could be home sweet home forever. Here are some tips for fostering a flourishing landlord-tenant relationship.

 

8-Tips-to-Help-You-Get-Along-With-Your-Landlord-Say-HiNice Advice
This should go without saying, but pile the smile! Be friendly, be honest and be reasonable. Wave hi or stop for a quick chat when you see your landlord. Come holiday time, send your landlord a small gift. Report any problems as soon as possible, because small problems can turn into catastrophic ones if ignored. For minor stuff, DIY! Replace the light bulb or batteries in the smoke detector yourself. Be clean and respectful – be the kind of neighbor you would want to live next to, and the kind of tenant you would want to rent to.

 

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How do you behave in the workplace? Are you courteous, efficient, a good communicator? Your relationship with your landlord is an investment, and you should consider your interactions in a professional context. Respect the rules set out in your lease and treat your landlord’s property with care. As with important business interactions, get everything in writing. Try to correspond via email when possible – this will protect both of you and reduce the risk of miscommunication. In the event that something goes wrong, be aware of your rights. There is legislation in place nationwide to protect tenants from discrimination, negligence and other issues that may arise.

 

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Rent Well Spent
A day late really is a dollar short if you get in the habit of paying rent late. Just as a homeowner needs to pay a monthly mortgage, many landlords depend on rental income to fund their mortgages. Late rent is not only disrespectful but can result in late fees, or even eviction. Of course there are legitimate reasons for late rent, and having a positive relationship may mean your landlord is open to negotiation. It is essential to discuss any concerns regarding rent with your landlord ASAP. Always strive to pay your rent on time, if not early!

 

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The Company You Keep
If you have a bad track record with landlords, it might be time to consider a building with a management company. Generally these companies have a good reputation and they require good reviews and positive ratings to stay afloat. Although this means living in a larger complex or building with more tenants, management companies usually have more organized and professional systems in place for maintaining and fixing your apartment. Oftentimes they’ll even give you a checklist when you move-in to make sure everything is satisfactory.

 

 

 

Gardening Tips that won’t Leaf you Hanging

For many of our clients living in their new and huge homes (with yards!) in areas such as Marine Park, Gravesend and Madison; falling leaves can quickly turn from color to bother. Here are our tips on what to do in the fall to set yourself up for a beautiful, lush, safe garden.

Need gardening and hardware supplies? We recommend Brooklyn favorites dig and Indoor/Outdoor Gardener.

Practice rakes perfect

151103 - rakeAs we layer up, leaves fall down – all season long. Minimize the pain by being vigilant to your vision of a neat, fertile and safe yard. Clear the way before the first batch of snow crystallizes your yard into a slippery space, stripping your grass from the nutrients and water it needs to be alive and thrive by the time spring rolls around.

It’s an exercise of family fun – whether it’s an arm workout for you or nature’s bouncing house for the kids.

Care to compost

The golden rule of composting is the balance between carbon and nitrogen materials. A healthy compost pile should have about two-thirds carbon (brown) materials and one-third nitrogen (green) materials. The carbon-rich materials provide aeration to speed up the composting process, eliminate foul odors and help produce a light, fluffy finished compost.
Most families’ nitrogen needs are fulfilled thanks to kitchen scraps, fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, grass clippings and other fresh materials. Carbon-based materials are harder to come by and this includes leaves, vines, shrub prunings, straw and dried garden waste.

Less is more when it comes to moisture as your compost pile should be covered with a tarp to shed excess rain. Ideally, enclosed composters should be used as they retain the moisture from the materials the materials being composted and deter pests (such as racoons and mice) and speed up the composting process.

Fertilize

151103 - fertilizerBring the day spa to your garden and replace the massage and facial for a good fertilizer. A slow-release fertilizer during this time of year enables your grass to absorb the nutrients over time. Is a dull garden a grass half full or empty? If you fertilize now, you’ll be filled with garden warm fuzzies once the sun shines bright in the spring to a healthy lawn.

Weed out the evil

This one may be for the kids! Weeding during the fall is the smart start your garden needs so when the sunny season kicks in, your garden blooms on a clean slate.

Mulch

151103 - mulchTake the grass catcher off your mower and mow over the leaves on your lawn. Get the clutter to dime-sized pieces and until only about an inch of the grass can be seen through the mulched lead layer. The microbes and worms get to work recycling the leaves and the process helps grass grow brighter and greener. With several passes of your mower, you can mulch up to 18 inches of leaf clutter.

Our insider tip? Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® can help break down your mulched leaves faster.

Brooklyn Parks: Our Fall Favorites

You’re in for a tree-t! Each year we hear that as the leaves drop, so do rental prices. To celebrate the great news for budding Brooklyn renters, we’ve put together a list of the parks that have left a mark on our borough memories.

Prospect Park
150929 - Prospect ParkThe biggest framers market in Brooklyn. The longest, uninterrupted lawn in the United States. World class free fitness and music events. A historic century-old carousel. Need we say more? Some feel it’s a no-brainer why Prospect Park is the greatest park in the entire city.

As the weather changes, explore the Ravine, Brooklyn’s only forest.

Owl’s head

150929 - Owls HeadAs New Yorkers, we want all of our things to be the best, first or greatest. While you skate back in time at Brooklyn’s first skate park, bask in the historical knowledge that one of the founding fathers of the Dutch Village of Breuckelen lived on the land as well; as did Senator Henry Cruise Murphy who drafted the Brooklyn Bridge construction bill and was a proud founder of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle – which predates the New York Times by ten years. Just saying…

Civic Brooklynite and wealthy manufacturer, Eliphalet Bliss, bought the estate and on his deathbed and turned the land from private property to public land by offering it to the City of New York (at a discount) with the stipulation that it be used as parkland.

Nowadays locals benefit from a dog run, grassy hills and a no-filter postcard view of New York Harbor.

Yelp users call it “another lesser known gem in Brooklyn” and the huge trees and wide pathways make it “perfect for almost anything … to enjoy a picnic, watch the sunset, sit on a bench enjoy your coffee and the waterfront view, or just people watch.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park

150929 - BK BridgeWithin the last decade or so, the 1.3 miles of luscious parkland along the East River has come to be known as Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s somewhat of a sports central, offering visitors kayaking, floating pathways, fishing piers, waterside handball and basketball courts

Yelp users recommend Grimaldi’s for a packed picnic to-go and the nearby Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.
Marine Park

150929 - Marine ParkIt’s a great place to nestle amongst nature. Marine Park has 530 acres of wide salt marsh, meadows and sand dunes filled with shrubs, vines and beach plants. Park Rangers are on hand to point out the 325 different kinds of birds, 50 species of butterfly and the occasional rabbit or hawk.

The Wall Street Journal has called Madison “as old school as it gets” when it comes to New York City neighborhoods. In a recent archaeological dig, excavators discovered food preparation pits in Marine Park dating back to the 9th century! Being worlds and perhaps years away from the kitsch Manhattan spectacle makes Marine Park quite the escape.
We recommend Joe’s of Avenue U for a lean mean Italian Marine hero.