Langsam Property Services Corp. is a full-service organization that provides all property management related services. These include building maintenance, legal services, tenant account management, financial management and analysis, and insurance coverage.
Langsam's Director of Operations supervises a team of managing agents/building managers. Each managing agent manages a group of buildings and supervises their maintenance employees. Repairs that are not part of a superintendent's, handyman's or porter's normal responsibilities are assigned to a contractor by the managing agent. Each managing agent has a computer terminal at his desk and enters each work order on a computerized work order system. The agent reviews the open work orders for timeliness of completion.
All complaints of an emergency nature can be handled by the building manager at the site or a managing agent currently in the office when a complaint is called into the office. Handling of emergency complaints, as well as routine maintenance issues, is greatly facilitated by our two-way radio/telephone system network. Our contractors as well as our building managers are on this network.
Certain emergency complaints, such as those pertaining to lead paint, are channeled to designated individual staff. This staff then assigns the necessary work to managing agents and contractors in order that all repairs and required testing is completed in a timely manner and meets all governmental regulations.
Managing agents regularly review possible rehabilitation needs of a building and report them to the Director of Operations. All building issues and problems are reviewed at weekly meetings with the building managing agents.
Applicants for Langsam's buildings are interviewed at Langsam's office by a managing agent. In addition, the services of a few select brokers are utilized. An important part of the tenant screening process is a review of the applicant's credit report and housing court records. The applicant must be approved by a managing agent and the Director of Operations.
Unfortunately, even with the rigorous tenant screening process, some tenants fall behind in their rent payments. The legal system must be used by Langsam, not simply to try to evict problem tenants, but also as a means to maintain the company's high average collection rate. Nonpayment actions are begun soon after a tenant is behind in rent. Langsam's in-house paraprofessionals work with several law firms to shepherd the cases through the Housing Court system. Each part of the dispossess process and all stipulations are entered on the computer. The law firms also have access to our database so that they can immediately print out tenant payment records and utilize them in court. Our lawyers are also able to be in constant communication with our managing agents and our in-house paraprofessionals through our radio network.
Tenant Account Management
Rent collections are primarily handled through an automated bank "lock-box" system. Langsam has a lease renewal department to ensure that leases are renewed on-time and the proper rents are being charged. With the assistance of the services of the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), Langsam registers all rents annually with the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). Window guard and lead paint notices required by New York City are given annually to tenants by utilizing the services of RSA.
A large portion of Langsam's tenants could be characterized as low or moderate income. As a result, special tenant account management is required. For example, one Langsam employee on a full-time basis monitors and reviews the accounts of tenants receiving Section 8 assistance. This includes closely monitoring payments by the New York City Housing Authority, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and DHCR. This person also assigns to the managing agents repairs required after housing quality standard inspections and makes sure that they are completed timely so subsidy payments are not suspended.
A number of Langsam-managed buildings were rehabilitated through the Federal Low Income Tax Credit program. One full-time employee completes all necessary paperwork for new low-income tenants who will live in tax credit-designated apartments and conducts annual low income recertifications for existing tenants.
Financial Management and Analysis
All owners receive monthly financial statements, including tenant rent collection reports. All financial statements are first reviewed by Langsam's President, Mark Engel, who is also a Certified Public Accountant. Langsam has a Comptroller who supervises an Accounts Payable/Payroll Unit, and an Accounts Receivable Department.
Repair expenses for each building are first reviewed by the building's managing agent. They are then reviewed by the Director of Operations prior to their being given to the Accounts Payable Unit for payment. For each type of work, Langsam utilizes several contractors; by not relying on one contractor, costs are controlled. Bids are obtained for non-emergency items over $1,000. Also, because of Langsam's large size, its contractors and suppliers charge lowers costs than would be the case for smaller firms.
Part of good financial management is reviewing taxes charged by the City. Each building's real estate assessment and taxes are reviewed annually and challenged where necessary. Water and sewer taxes have begun to rival fuel costs as a significant portion of total building costs and water/sewer billing by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection has become increasingly complex. Through the use of in-house expertise, water and sewer bills over the past several years have been reduced by millions of dollars from the initial charges. Langsam has almost completed branch water metering of all commercial units so stores -- particularly laundromats, groceries and restaurants -- can be accurately billed and the building owner does not end up paying the commercial establishment's water/sewer bills.
Langsam also has the in-house capability of processing most New York City J-51 Program tax abatement applications and Major Capital Improvement rent increase applications. The costs charged to owners for such filings are significantly lower than those that would be charged by private expediting firms.
Langsam maintains a full line of insurance for the properties it manages. Because of the large number of buildings managed by the company, this insurance is obtained at substantial savings to the properties.
Community and Police Relations
Many of the properties managed by Langsam are in high crime areas and have special needs tenancies. It has been helpful in managing such buildings that Langsam has enjoyed a close working relationship with numerous community-based organizations and social service agencies. We have leases directly with these agencies for many apartments, into which they place their clients. To combat drug and other crime problems, Langsam has had numerous cooperative efforts with the Police Department and is able to obtain the Police Department's assistance when needed. Moreover, two Langsam managing agents are former police officers.