Full Circle Compliance – How Your NYC Properties Can Avoid Steep Fines

You know what you need to do to stay compliant in 2022 (and if you don’t, make sure to get your 2022 Compliance Checklist here) – but how do you actually ensure things happen and nothing falls through the cracks? Full circle compliance helps you take compliance information and spring into action, giving you the knowledge and oversight to avoid steep city fines. 

What Is Full Circle Compliance?

Full circle compliance is a new way of thinking about targeting compliance issues before they grow into massive headaches (and costly penalties). It’s not enough to just deal with new violations as they come along for the first time – being passive instead of proactive can result in dire consequences.

Ultimately, being full circle compliant involves creating a plan, executing on that plan, and improving it consistently. While agency compliance can be surprising in the worst of ways, having a plan can minimize surprises and make all the difference for your staff and your business.

Building a full circle compliance plan can be broken down into three critical parts: knowledge, action, and oversight. 

Knowledge: Understanding What’s Required, And What’s Changed

First things first – it’s important to know how to stay compliant – the specific things you’re required to do as a property owner or manager. That’s a challenge and a half, given impacts of the last few years on city processes. COVID has impacted several agency procedures, and this year will surely bring more changes.

Getting NYC and agency news from different outlets helps you cover your bases. From vendors to community organizations to media groups, the more mailing lists you’re on, the less likely you are to miss an important update. 

When it comes to a basic requirement roundup, the Checklist above is a good place to start. That said, don’t miss regular updates that may impact information shared earlier in the year (a good example is our December compliance roundup, here). Outside of city news, it’s also important to know your building specifically – regulations often vary by property type, makeup, age, location, and more. Understanding what applies to you, what doesn’t, and when helps make your plan more detailed.

Beyond the blog, it’s important to stay in regular contact with professional experts – the folks who maintain and test your equipment, represent you at hearings, or perform any other compliance-related work. They’re the ones who will be acting on many changes in regulations and requirements, so it’s important to be on the same page and ensure you’re carrying out the same compliance plan.

Action: Forming A Plan, And Executing On It

Now you know the things you have to do – how do you actually get them done? Start with the basics:

  • WHO: Who on your team will be responsible for resolving violations, submitting the correct paperwork, and overseeing the process? Is it the same person from start to finish? Is it a team of people? Do you work with external experts here? Identifying all the individuals responsible for compliance work can help you manage expectations and drive better outcomes (how long something should take, who controls the results, etc.)
  • WHEN: Ensuring your team’s processes operate within city guidelines is critical for managing risk. For example, when a heat complaint is issued and must be resolved within 24 hours, what’s the first thing that happens? Who is notified? Is a task automatically issued to your maintenance team? What happens on weekends? Writing out your 24 hour response plan is the first step to making it happen in real life.
  • HOW: How are you assigning work out to your team? If it’s via text, email, call, or post-it, how is it being tracked? Is there a better way so everyone involved can see the status of a project? Figuring out how you’re assigning, tracking, and documenting the work (especially with city audits being frequent) is just as important as getting the work done. 

Once your plan is laid out and documented, you can kick it into action and move onto the next step – making it even better.

Oversight: Checking Status, And Getting Results

The most important part of your compliance plan? Making sure it’s successful. Checking in at various points in the process helps to ensure work is done on time, issues are resolved, and strategy is improved for the next time around. Here are some things you’ll want to consider when evaluating how your team is handling compliance work:

  • QUICKLY IDENTIFY ROADBLOCKS: Is there an unnecessary step that’s holding up your team from clearing violations at a faster rate? Is your team consistently taking two days to tackle specific infractions instead of one? Identifying patterns (and any root causes) that hold up your processes is critical for getting the outcome you want – and removing any obstacles in your team’s way.
  • MAKE AGILE ADJUSTMENTS: Compliance is always changing, so your plans will have to change too. For example, let’s say you’re halfway through the process of annual unit inspections at all your buildings. What can you add or modify to those inspections based on recent compliance changes (checking the door for notices, for example)? You don’t have to wait for a project to be “done” to make improvements – and with costly compliance penalties, you shouldn’t. Adding one small step can be the difference between a compliant portfolio and a slew of violations.
  • GET THE DATA: Identifying issues and making changes becomes almost impossible without seeing clear metrics from your team’s work. Accessing data like violation completion rates and timeframes, most frequent and/or costly infractions, and hours spent on specific agency work is critical for improvements. The faster you can see it (without playing telephone with your team members), the faster you can make improvements.

Putting It Together

Building your full circle compliance plan shouldn’t be daunting. You can even boil it down to the most simple components (Know – Act – Improve – Repeat) for a successful strategy. Additionally, don’t ever be afraid to tap your resources – vendors, fellow professionals and colleagues, and industry experts – for their advice and suggestions on your compliance plan.

Several property management teams like yours are using InCheck to execute their compliance plans – we’re happy to walk you through action plans on Local 55, annual safety notice follow-ups, XRF testing, and more – just reach out!

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About the Author

Kristen Hariton

Kristen Hariton is the Vice President, Product Engagement at SiteCompli, focused on exploring new solutions and innovations in property operations tech. When she's not sharing the latest industry trends, changes, and updates, she's planning her next adventure to Walt Disney World.