A poster in the Forum writes:

New landlord of a two-family here. What do other landlords of small, owner-occupied buildings do when they’re out of town? What is the contingency plan if something urgent comes up? Is there such a thing as a temporary management company that can be on-call, or do you ask a friend be on-call, etc.?

The answer may be more complicated than you think. To see the advice or help out, click through to the post here.

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.

fedders-cooper-street-072315 - 1

A lot of virtual ink has been spilled on Brownstoner about Fedders buildings, those no-frills structures with the air conditioning units built in under the windows. The brand name of the a/c maker is highly visible, and often it’s “Fedders” — hence the term.

But this is the first time we can recall seeing this interesting question about Fedders on the Forum. A reader writes:

I’m the proud owner of a recently purchased “Fedders building,” and would like to do what I can to make the exterior less generic and unappealing. Along these lines, I’m wondering if anyone has had experience removing and replacing Fedders a/c cutouts, and if so, what they used to fill the resulting voids. The obvious route would be to just install brick, but I’d like to attempt something more creative, if it’s practical. Would windows look weird? Any other thoughts? Thanks!

Anyone have any cool ideas? Please help out our reader on the Forum.

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.

Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark



A reader writes:

I just bought a small brownstone in Brooklyn and there is definitely asbestos wrapped pipes in the cellar (on an old boiler). Can someone give me guidelines to the costs of removing asbestos? Ballpark will be fine – is it hundreds or thousands?

The answers may surprise you. Click through to see or to help out.

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.

Photo via proabatement.com


Reader chukat asks:

“Trying to decide if we should get air conditioning for our row house. Thinking about buying a mini split system, but we don’t know that much about how they work. Do we need a unit in every room? Where does the piping go? Can the compressor be on the roof or in the back yard? How much does a system cost vs. central a/c?”

Great question. What is a mini split air conditioner? How does a mini split air conditioner work? How is a mini split air conditioner installed?



A reader writes that he has moved out with less than 30 days notice but with the landlord’s approval. He was told he would get his security deposit back but has not received it. He said:

Three months later, after several reminders, the landlord is saying he will not be sending our deposits to us, as we did not give him 30 days notice and he has yet to rent the apartment. (Presumably because he is asking for a ludicrous amount.) My question is, if we never signed the new lease, would we still be held to the 30 days notice clause? And does his previously stated intention to pay help us at all?

Does the landlord owe this renter his security deposit?

Click through to the post to see more and help out.

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.

Photo via RelocationFocus.com


A Brownstoner reader is helping friends buy a home in Brooklyn. They found a place they like, but something seems off. She writes:

They want to put an offer in on a home near ours but something seems off to me. The property was listing in January for one price, three months later reduced by 150k then taken off the market, switched brokers and now listed for $200k less. To us the house looks like it’s in good condition and has been well maintained, no glaring issues. It’s one of the least expensive renovated (but with original details) homes in the area and it seems the owners are eager to move. What questions can they ask the brokers or what advice can any of your provide prior to them making an offer? I would love for them to get a great deal but this seems a little too good to be true.

Can you guess? Brownstoner readers know: Turns out the house may be an SRO and may also have a leaking oil tank that could require expensive cleanup. Click through to read more.

Photo via Structure Tech 1

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.


A commenter in the Forum needs your help. He just moved into a new apartment — and guess what? The Greenpoint building has no hot water, stove gas, or Internet.

The commenter says:

“National Grid told me to reach out to landlord, because the building had not been set up. Landlord tells me it could take up to five weeks until we have gas to cook. He also said it could be weeks until we have hot water.

Our Internet guy came out today, spent an hour in our apartment and said the building is restricted, and unable to set up Internet.

This is a brand new building, what sort of legal action can we take? Deny rent?”

Well, that’s one possibility. But it turns out there may be much more going on here than meets the eye. This building may not have a certificate of occupancy. What would you do?

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.


Here we go again. The eternal debate. Time Warner Cable or Verizon FiOS?

Start your engines. Go!

In the Brownstoner Forum, rd684 writes, “Verizon is getting ready to install FIOS on our block in Greenwood Heights. They’re currently contacting homeowners about running cable hookups to every bldg. I’m wondering what people’s experiences of FIOS quality for internet and TV are, especially in comparison to TWC, my current provider. I’m not ready to cut the cord.”

Just for the record, the Brownstoner office recently switched to FiOS.

Photo: Verizon FiOS spaghetti 

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.


Benjamin Moore paint color recommendations?

Anyone have paint colors they love in their homes? What are the names of them? Suffering from major decision fatigue…

Poster theoperadiva said: “We are also VERY happy that we went with White Dove for all the trim and cabinetry. It is the absolutely perfect white for our space.”

Commenter anotherposter said: “Paint colors are very personal and your space can help you decide — bright condo or dark rowhouse? Stained or painted woodwork?”

Colonel said: “November Rain has been our go-to since we first used it for any room that needs just a bit of color that will stand out from white trim.”

Click through to the post to see more answers and help out.

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.


A reader sent in an interesting dilemma for us to post to the forum: What do you do when your neighbor gets a new girlfriend, and the two of them start making so much, um, exuberant noise that your eight-year-old son starts asking you questions about it?

Brownstoner readers offer remedies that range from explaining the birds and bees to your kid, to an oblique hint to the neighbor that the walls are not as soundproof as he might have assumed. And then, somehow, the discussion evolves into a spirited round of literary puns.

What to do about noisy neighbor with new girlfriend

Whichever approach the reader decides to go with, we assume it will eventually end up as a New York Post story. But this is New York, where we expect loud noise. In the UK, a Birmingham woman was recently jailed for ignoring a court order to pipe down in the bedroom.

To see the replies or weigh in, click here.

Have answers? Need help with something? Visit the Brownstoner Forum.


Amendment to DOB approved plans necessary?

We are gut renovating a two-family townhouse. Renovation work is currently in progress and is being carried out in accordance with the DOB approved plans.

At the time our architect filed the plans, we were set on going with a split system A/C heating unit and keeping our current steam heat. Subsequent to the filing and approval by the DOB of the plans, we decided to go 1) with a central air system and 2) add a second hot water heater to supply hot water to the tenant’s unit with us using the coil in the existing boiler. (more…)


Homeowner’s rights with DOB?

I’m in pretty serious trouble and at risk of losing my life savings in a home I’m invested in. There are issues with the DOB and we’re unable to secure permits, despite having already received “approval” for our job.

I do not believe the professionals I’ve hired are working in my best interests, but the opacity of this process is insane. Does a homeowner have any rights at all? Can I attend a meeting with the borough manager or plan examiner? If not, could I attend along with a licensed professional? (more…)