In the midst of purchasing a brownstone, a buyer is wondering if work that is probably not code compliant will complicate any future renovations that they might want to undertake. There aren’t permits for renovation work and at least one project, the deck, is not to up to code. Are… Read More >The post From the Forum: Should a Buyer Be Concerned About a Deck Not Built to Code? appeared first on Brownstoner.
Brooklyn is lush with trees and one Brooklynite is wondering how to identify the specimen that is growing in front of their building. Forum members have recommended looking to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the New York Parks Department — what resources do you turn to when identifying the leafy… Read More >The post From the Forum: What Kind of Trees Are Growing in Brooklyn? appeared first on Brownstoner.
Contractors working for the city damaged a homeowner’s property and they are wondering how — or if — they can get their property repaired. In the process of sidewalk repair, pavers were damaged as well as concrete in the homeowner’s driveway. How should the damaged be documented and reported? Please chime… Read More >The post From the Forum: What Options Are There When City Contractors Damage Your Property? appeared first on Brownstoner.
Homeowners are looking to replace the existing aluminum windows in their townhouse but aren’t sure what type of windows to consider. While they would prefer wood, price is a concern so they are also considering vinyl and aluminum. What pros and cons of each material should they keep in mind… Read More >The post From the Forum: Choosing a Replacement Window appeared first on Brownstoner.
Surviving built-in bookshelves are a marvelous original feature when you can get them. One homeowner would like to get the best use out of their tall built-ins by adding a library ladder to access the upper shelves. They are thinking of going the DYI route and are finding the… Read More >The post From the Forum: Bringing a Ladder Back to the Library appeared first on Brownstoner.
Potential homeowners have discovered that the brownstone they are in contract on was misrepresented as a two family with a garden rental. Their architect dug up the certificate of occupancy and discovered that it lists the top floor as the rental unit. They are not comfortable that they were lied… Read More >The post From the Forum: When the Certificate of Occupancy Doesn’t Match the Sales Description appeared first on Brownstoner.
With plumbing issues happening every few months, a homeowner is determined to find out why the system continues to clog. The problem seems to originate in the pipes leading to the sewer line and plumbers have suggested the pipes under the basement floor might the problem. Is it time… Read More >The post From the Forum: Tracking the Source of a Chronic Plumbing Problem appeared first on Brownstoner.
Firemen showed up at a three-family property for an unexpected inspection and the homeowner isn’t familiar with the process. The tenants did not allow access to the property, so the firemen will return. What might have triggered the inspection? What egress and safety issues should the homeowner address before the… Read More >The post From the Forum: What Should a Homeowner Expect From a Random Fire Inspection? appeared first on Brownstoner.
A reader is sanding and staining their wood floors but isn’t sure how to deal with large gaps between the old boards. Some boards have a half inch space between them. Should the gaps be filled or left alone to allow for expansion and contraction of the wood? Please chime… Read More >The post From the Forum: Filling the Gaps Between Old Floorboards appeared first on Brownstoner.
A Brownstoner reader submitted a rather succinct question — will a dripping window air conditioning unit damage a brownstone facade? This simple inquiry raises the questions of how to divert the water and how to deal with the annoying sound of a neighbor’s dripping window unit. What methods have worked… Read More >The post From the Forum: Dealing With a Dripping Window Air Conditioning Unit appeared first on Brownstoner.
A new homeowner was surprised to discover that their two family home has three utility meters — one for each unit and a third for the hallway and basement. They were unaware that a third meter might be required under the Shared Meter Law to avoid having tenants pay for… Read More >The post From the Forum: Is an Additional Meter Required for Common Areas in a Two Family House? appeared first on Brownstoner.
Homeowners are putting in a mini split (or ductless) air conditioning system but are torn about the placement of the indoor units. They are not gutting the spaces completely and have original details that they would like to preserve. What solutions have other historic homeowners found? Are there other air… Read More >The post From the Forum: Installing a Mini Split Air Conditioning System in a Historic Interior appeared first on Brownstoner.
The marble mantle and cast iron insert of a reader’s 1870s brownstone are coated with layers of paint and they are looking for paint removal suggestions. They have tried two different cleaning agents and got most of the paint off the marble, but the cast iron is proving a bit… Read More >The post From the Forum: Removing Paint From a Marble Mantel and Cast Iron Summer Cover appeared first on Brownstoner.
A home buyer has just discovered that their new home, renovated by a developer, has multiple violations issued by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Before they closed on the property a search for violations was done and nothing turned up — it now appears the violations were issued just weeks… Read More >The post From the Forum: Clearing Landmarks Violations Accrued by a Previous Owner appeared first on Brownstoner.
A homeowner has a renovation job almost complete but the architect has vanished from the project, leaving the final sign-off in jeopardy. All that remains is to amend one incorrectly filed Schedule B — until it is fixed the plumbing job remains open. The architect’s fee has been paid in… Read More >The post From the Forum: What Should You Do When Your Architect Disappears Before DOB Sign-Off? appeared first on Brownstoner.
A homeowner has an automated water meter and is finding large spikes in their water use that don’t seem to make sense. A recent increase more than tripled the amount of their monthly bill — and they don’t have any plumbing issues that could be causing a problem. They have… Read More >The post From the Forum: Tracking Water Usage With DEP’s Automated Meter Reading appeared first on Brownstoner.
Buyers are just about to close on their new brownstone and the sellers are asking to remain for three months after closing. Timing wise this works out for the buyers, but they are wondering what rent and other requirements they should work into a post possession agreement. What combination of… Read More >The post From the Forum: Working Out a Post Possession Agreement With Sellers appeared first on Brownstoner.
Homeowners are thinking of sprucing up their unfinished basement and are looking for ideas. The space has a rough concrete floor that they would like to transform to make the space a bit more appealing and usable for storage or a play room. Before they start planning, what options should… Read More >The post From the Forum: Renovating an Unfinished Basement Into a Usable Space appeared first on Brownstoner.
A reader is planning a renovation project and is wondering when to start reaching out to contractors. They hope to begin the work in the next six months but are still figuring out what they want to accomplish. When is the right time to bring in a contractor to… Read More >The post From the Forum: When Should You Bring in a Contractor? appeared first on Brownstoner.
A homeowner would like to build a small guest house at the rear of their backyard but isn’t sure what the rules are regarding new construction on the same lot. They believe that they have enough available FAR (floor area ratio) to technically accommodate the building and would ideally… Read More >The post From the Forum: Are Backyard Guest Houses Legal? appeared first on Brownstoner.
A bathroom renovation is leading to a disagreement and a homeowner is looking for advice. The homeowner would like to install the toilet directly on the hardwood floor, but the plumber disagrees and is suggesting installing it on top of a marble slab or a plastic base plate. After seeing… Read More >The post From the Forum: Should a Toilet Be Installed Directly on a Wood Floor? appeared first on Brownstoner.
A neighbor’s downspout directs water right into a homeowner’s property and they are wondering about the legality of the situation. The water comes through pipes set into the neighboring wall, sending water cascading into their yard and causing problems with their own drainage. What options does the homeowner have?… Read More >The post From the Forum: Is it Legal for a Downspout to Direct Water into a Neighboring Property? appeared first on Brownstoner.
A homeowner has received a violation from the DOT for the damaged bluestone sidewalk in front of their home and is wondering how to proceed with repairs. The violation says that they have to replace the sidewalk within 45 days at their expense — but, if the damage was caused… Read More >The post From the Forum: Repairing a Sidewalk After a Violation Notice appeared first on Brownstoner.
Construction is starting next door and a homeowner is wondering whether to allow the developer to use a portion of their property during construction. What issues should the homeowner be prepared for and how much should they charge the developer? Since the construction next door will make their garden… Read More >The post From the Forum: Should You Give the Developer Next Door Access to Your Property? appeared first on Brownstoner.