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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog
  Questions For Supers - 600 to 649  



"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it."  -- Samuel Johnson


frequently asked questions  ask a question  questions by category

  last update on Thursday January 31, 2008 09:41 PM PT

Fair Use Disclaimer


The information given on these question and answer pages has been carefully checked and is believed to be accurate; however, no responsibility is assumed for inaccuracies. All answers sent in and published on these pages are the sole opinions of the authors and do not represent any legal, medical, or professional advice.

The Supers Technical Association reserves the right to make changes to any and all content without notice, and to edit all questions and answers received for accuracy or clarity, or for any other purpose.

Although the Supers Technical Association believes the content to be accurate, complete, and current, the Supers Technical Association makes no warranty as to its accuracy or completeness of the content. It is your responsibility to verify any information before relying on it. The content of this site may also include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. From time to time changes will be made, without prior notice, to the content herein.

Do not construe any answers we give as legally binding in any way. We don't practice law and do NOT dispense legal advice.



Question #649: Is it permissible to use Christmas lights in the lobby of a commercial building? Post your answer

Answer: Codes only require that buildings, residential as well as commercial use No combustible materials. No live (fresh) xmas trees, unless it is with roots in a pot. Lights are ok. Keep in mind, what is and what is not in good taste. Don't overdo it, otherwise is looks tacky. Finally you should get the management's ok on decorations. Happy Holidays to all. Peter Grech, GBOC



Question #648: Does anyone know for sure whether raising or lowering the steam set point during heating will conserve more fuel. For some reason I seem to use less fuel when raising the set point from 5psi to 6.5psi. However I don't know if my readings are that true. Post your answer

Answer: Steam pressure has very little to do with the cost of heating a building. It is the AMOUNT of steam that the building uses that effects the cost. That being said, it does take less BTU's to produce lower pressure steam than higher, so there is a small savings there. Now, get this, buildings HEAT FASTER and USE LESS STEAM at LOW PRESSURES. Even 5 psig seems high. With the proper piping and equipment, you can get more comfortable and better heating with 3 psig or below!! It is strange but true. Joe Lambert,


  Question #647: What are the requirements and permits needed for a building super? Post your answer

Answer: See the answers to the same question on the Frequently Asked Questions page and Supers and Management page. Glen Stoltz


  Question #646: Do landlords have to supply a working range stove (4 burners) and oven? My 4 burners are working, but my oven is not working. Post your answer

Answer: It should be in your lease what the landlord responsibilities are. If you have a rent stabilized lease, then yes, landlord is to provide working stove and oven. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #645: In the basement of our residential building, there is some work going on due to a renovation. There are two welders working on some metal ceiling frames for removable panels. Should they have any welding licenses to work? They work for a general contractor. Post your answer

Answer: If they are using electric welding, no license is needed. If they are using cutting torches then one of them needs a certificate of fitness from the Fire Dept. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #644: Could you give me some tips on how to interview a prospective maintenance man / woman? Specifically what questions I should ask to find the most qualified person? Post your answer

Answer: Tough question with out knowing exactly what position or job function that maintenance person will be doing. Feel free to call me and I will tell what questions based on what your needs are. Peter 212 370 1052.  Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #643: I am looking to move into an apartment with a very old kitchen and bathroom. I was wondering if the landlord is responsible to supply a new kitchen and bathroom before a new tenant moves into it. Post your answer

Answer: NO. Assuming your lease is a rent stabilized lease, landlords are only to provide a working kitchen and bathroom. They don't even need to paint it before you move in. Now, BEFORE you sign a lease, these are items you can NEGOTIATE. Don't be surprised if the landlord wants more money in rent if he does give you a new kitchen and bathroom. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #642: I am aware that landlords are required to maintain electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating systems and appliances landlords install, such as refrigerators and stoves. However I continuously asked my landlord to either repair or replace my kitchen stove/oven unit as well as my refrigerator because of multiple problems with its operation. I was told that for an increase of 2.2% per month in my rent, until the appliances are paid in full, they would replace my appliances with new ones. And if I was to move I am not entitled to keep the appliances I had paid for. I wanted to know is this legal? Who is entitled to keep the appliances. Don't I deserve a fully functional appliances at my current lease rate even if I don't keep them? Post your answer

Answer: Your answer lies within your lease. If it is a rent stabilized lease, the landlord is to provide appliances that work. Landlords do not have to give you new appliances, even if they are 50 years old. They must give you ones that work. If an appliance cannot be repaired, the landlord can give you a USED one - they do not have to give you new ones. If the tenant request a new one, then the tenant has to pay, 1/40th of the cost as a rent increase and does not own the appliance. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: Most leases spell out the landlord's obligation to provide a fully functioning refrigerator and stove - but not new ones. He provides them, he owns them. If he owns them he keeps them if you move, no matter whether or not your rent was increased by the allowable amount in exchange for providing new appliances. I believe the landlord is normally allowed to increase the rent to the amount allowed by law in perpetuity in exchange for providing you with new appliances. See New York City's Housing Maintenance Code and New York State's Multiple Dwelling Law for more detailed information. Glen Stoltz


  Question #641: Can you refer me to a copy of a typical contract between a building and super? Would use it to build one up for our building. Post your answer

Answer: It is rare that a employment contract exists between a building and a super. That does not mean one can't be made. In any event, whatever contract is made, the UNION contract, if the building is union, is superior to any contract made with the super or employees. A contract between super and a building is usually made with a super of superior skills and commands a superior salary, eg $95,000 and up. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: I don't know that there is a typical contract, and to be required to sign a contract is simply not very common. Glen Stoltz


  Question #640: Can somebody describe what is the job of a commercial or residential high-rise building engineer, and what licenses he/she must have to apply for that job? Or any schools, etc? Post your answer

Answer: The term engineer in a residential or commercial building applies to a technician who is proficient in HVAC. His/her main duties are to operate and maintain the HVAC system. The a/c system would usually be compressor type of 100 tons or more; so a A/C license would be required. IF the building has high pressure steam, then an additional High Pressure license would be required. On off-seasons or down time, the technician / engineer would have additional duties of a handyman in certain situations. In some buildings, both engineers and regular staff are employed. It is not uncommon to have the engineering staff headed by a chief engineer separate to the building super and his staff. Some times the super is the chief engineer, sometimes two different unions exist in the same building, one for the engineers, local 94 and one for the regular staff, local 32BJ Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #639: I live in a pre-war Queens Co-op, and I have two questions about the operation of the radiators. First, the radiators (which are inside the walls behind radiator covers) seem to be too large in terms of capacity for the rooms. When there is steam in them, they overheat the room. Is there anything I can do to limit the extent they fill with steam or in some other way dampen them without turning them off? Second, the windows over the valve end of the radiators collect moisture on them when the value hisses. Does this mean that the radiators are not operating properly? Post your answer

Answer: It sounds like you have a one-pipe steam system. If you do, it is that valve that is 'hissing' that actually controls the amount of steam in the radiator. These air vents let air out of the radiator and allow the steam to flow in. If you do not let the air out, the steam cannot flow in and you can't control the heat. They make automatic air vents that open and close based on the temperature of the room and they also make variable venting ones that you can control by hand. Since they do vent the air in the radiator, and there is steam and water there, too, it is normal that the air that comes out is moist. If it is pure hot steam coming out, time to get a new vent. Joe Lambert,


  Question #638: Our housing cooperative is interested in locating an interim General Manager while we conduct a permanent search, can you help us identify someone or some agency that provides such services? Post your answer

Answer: If you are located in Manhattan, email me at, I may be able to help you. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: Ask managers of buildings in your area if they are willing to moonlight your building. The "loaning" co-op should get some compensation for the deal. Dick Koral


  Question #637: How would I find info on whether or not knife switch disconnect boxes have to be locked? Post your answer

Answer: Knife switch boxes do not have to be locked. They only have to be locked / tagged out when electrical work is being performed and that switch has to be switched off. This is in the new electrical codes soon to be accepted in New York City and also in OSHA regulations. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #636: The fire inspector discovered a broken latch that holds the fire escape ladder, its has the whole but I need to locate the part. Where do I go to get one? Post your answer



  Question #635: Does anyone know of a good technical book on the operations of 'Icecap / Islandaire' through-the-wall a/c & heating units? Post your answer

Answer: Call Islandaire at 1-800-886-2759, speak to Richard Nuss at ext. 141. He can help you with I&O manuals. Jeff Eichenwald

Answer: Good luck with those two units. Their reputation is not a good one. But then, most through the wall units are not as good as the cheap simple window units. There is NO book on those units. There is however a operation pamphlet that should come with each unit showing operations and maintenance issues. Call the manufacturer or perhaps you can find them on line. Peter Grech, GBOC

The original questioner responds: I have Islandaire and Icecap thru-the-wall units in my building. These a/c units work in conjunction with the existing heating coils. Previously all the buildings I have worked in have had the heating coils above the unit so that when the fan is operated, air is blown through the coil and hot air heats the apartments. In my new building the set up is different. The heating coil is below, so when the fan is operated, air is supposedly sucked through the heated coil. However this does not appear to be efficient with very lukewarm air emitting from the top of the unit. Have these units been incorrectly installed?


  Question #634: My landlord recently replaced the radiators with a copper pipe (that has a copper pipe arm branching off it) that is supposed to heat the apartment with hot water. It is not working yet. I can't see how it will ever work. It looks so flimsy. The copper arms have plugs at the ends so I don't know how the hot water is supposed to fill them. Has anyone heard of this system? We are freezing. Post your answer

Answer: The system you speak of, if I understand you correctly, is called a hydronic system. The hydronic system works well as long as installation is done correctly. To have water enter into a coil or fin is common but there has to be a second pipe leaving the coil/fin to keep the water moving through the coil/fin. Water can not just enter and stay. Make sure that there is only one pipe, then report it to the landlord. Keep in mind, water is not the same as steam. With steam you need venting all the time - as opposed to water which only needs to be vented when air is trapped. Also, no heating system beats the old fashion cast iron radiators. They are simple and the best heat exchanger. Lastly, if your apartment is below 68 degrees F when it is below 55 degrees outside during the hours of 6 am to 10 pm call 311 - if the landlord won't do anything about the problem. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #633: I have a situation at my church that I need to rectify. We have many groups using the church and the boiler room is accessible to all that want to fool around in it. Am I allowed to have that door locked or is it a NYC code to have it locked? We have a boiler shutoff switch on the outside wall of the room and the door is self-closing, but does not lock. We have a gas fired system. I'm sure that in case of a fire, the firemen would not have a difficult time breaking into the room. Post your answer

Answer: You can lock the door. But you must provide access to Fire Department or City inspector, ergo a sign posted on the boiler room door saying "the key to the heating system area is located at _______ and with _______ and number where they can be reached is _________. Of course post the sign on the OUTSIDE of the boiler room door. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: There is no NYC requirement that boiler rooms be locked. Only that the door open out and be a self-closing fire-rated door. For security, you should have them put a lock on it. Jeff


  Question #632: Where can I obtain a list of building management companies in Manhattan, with information like address, fax number, telephone? Post your answer

Answer: I have such a list but I would only share it with members of STA. Sorry, but membership does have its privileges. If you are a member email me directly but state your full name so we can check your membership status. Otherwise, try the Yellow Pages. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #631: Would someone please help me with a list of schools in New York City where I can train for #6 boiler, standpipe and sprinkler and EPA emissions certification. Post your answer

Answer: See a very short list on our Continuing Education page.


Question #630: Does an operator with a refrigeration operators license have to stay within the chiller plant while chillers are in operation? Can they leave, if so for how long, and how far. I need something to clarify this. Post your answer

Answer: While the chillers are in operation, the operator can not leave the premises. You can verify this by calling the Department of Fire Prevention, since they offer the license. Note: it is foolish to only have one operator with the license in a building. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #629: How do I obtain the #6 boiler operator license? Post your answer

Answer: See the answer to Question #591 and peruse the Licenses, Exams and Certificates of Fitness page. Ultimately your answer will be somewhere on the FDNY website on their c of f page. Glen Stoltz


  Question #628: I am currently trying to track down a super for a building in the city but am having no luck. Toward this end, is there any help or direction you can provide me with? Post your answer

Answer: You can find information on almost anyone online nowadays. The more basic information you already have on a person - full name, former address, SS number, whatever you already have - the easier it will be. Be prepared to pay for some information if you're really serious about finding somebody. Beware of free info, you get what you pay for, in this as in anything else. We don't have a database of all the supers, if that's what you're asking. Even if we did we couldn't share it. Glen Stoltz


  Question #627: Is it OK to install electrical outlets into a 6" high stainless steel countertop backsplash. Post your answer

Answer: Yes it is. But make sure to use GFI outlets and make sure it is grounded well, due to the metal and the presence of water. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #626: I live in a 6 story co-op built in the early 1950's. We are planning an evening in our apartment for about 45 people. My wife is concerned the floor cannot hold that many people because the floors are very creaky and our downstairs neighbors hear us walking around. Should this be a concern? Are there laws regulating how many people can be in an apartment at one time? Post your answer

Answer: The minimum load rating for a residential building is 40 lb/sq. ft. If you are planning a party in your apartment for 45 people, I would assume you have at least 1,000 sq. ft and since 45 people would only weigh about 8,000 lbs, the 40,000 lb load rating in your apartment would be five times greater than the total weight of the bodies. Assuming you don't have a room full of grand pianos, the only danger would be everyone jumping up and down at the same time to disco music. Jeff Eichenwald

Answer: The one person that can answer that question would be the building engineer that the building has. Otherwise those numbers may be on the original blueprints. Floor loads vary from building to building and year to year. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #625:  NYC law does not allow an air conditioner to take the place of a window guard. Tenant wants an air conditioner in a room with one double-hung window and no fire escape. A 2 year old child lives in the apt. If I must install a window guard in this room, is it my problem that the tenant will not be able to use an air conditioner? If the tenant can have an air conditioner rather than a window guard, then how do I protect myself in the event that a future claim is made against me because no window guard is in that window? The tenant asks how to escape from a court yard air stack room that has only one double hung window and no fire escape if a window guard is permanently attached to the window frame. Post your answer

Answer: My opinion: have the a/c unit installed at the top of the window and the guards at the bottom. Best of both worlds. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #624: Where can I obtain Local Law 11 reading material. I would like to study it for my personal knowledge. Post your answer

Answer:  This Wednesday Nov. 16, the New York Association of Realty Managers (NYARM) is hosting a seminar on "Understanding Local Law 11. It begins at 8:30 am and runs until noon or so and is held at Tavern on the Green. For more info go to NYARM's website. Also, HPD has material on this subject. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #623: I'm looking to take an exam for AIR POLLUTION, which some buildings require when applying for a supers position, but I can't find it on the list at the FDNY website. Where can I take the exam?  Post your answer

Answer: You cannot take the exam without taking the course. Local 32 BJ has a course and exam for union members. New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn also has this course and exam. Those are the only two places I know of. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #622:  I live in a four unit building, built in 1898. Recently my landlord decided to replace the water pipes. He decided he didn't want to open up the walls and so has done an ugly (and in my opinion pathetic) job by running the new pipes along three walls of the bathroom. (somebody showed up that was supposedly a plumber, but licensed or not is questionable, and I'm quite certain there was no permit for this work). OK, so it's ugly, but is it against code to have the hot water pipes exposed, waiting for a burn accident to happen? And is the landlord responsible for making cosmetic repairs to the floor and bathroom tiles that he's left holes in?  Post your answer



  Question #621:  I had a pressure test on the gas pipes in a house I own. After the test I was told by the plumber that the pipes leaked and they should be all changed. I was told that gas is under less than 5 pounds of pressure, but that during the test it is pushed up to 100 psi. The house is not new, it was built around 1944. Is it possible that the test made the leaks happen, since I had no leaks before? I had to get the test because there was a fire on the second floor and Con Edison turned the gas off. To turn it back on they require this test to be done by a licensed plumber. Post your answer

Answer: The actual gas pressure in the pipes from Con Edison is typically less than 7 inches of water column. (about 1/4 psi of pressure.) You would not have 5 psi in the pipes coming into your house unless you had high pressure gas lines. (Usually only found in industrial areas.) While Con Ed does test the line from the street to the meter at 90 psi, the test required of the lines in your house would be about 15-20 inches of water column. Find a different plumber, as the work required to fix any leak would not require replacing all the pipes. Jeff Eichenwald

Answer: Con Ed requires the hold test before turning the gas back on. Whether or not the test made the leaks in the pipe is a question that will never be answered. In most cases the pipes leaked a small amount of gas but with the test, it just became more evident. I know of no case where a test made the pipes leak and the plumber was held responsible. John G.

Answer: Whether it leaked before the test or not, if it's found to leak, your gas piping MUST pass that test before they turn it back on. As you said, Con Ed requires it, so you don't have a choice but to comply with them if you want the gas turned back on, and if you cannot prove that it wasn't leaking before, you can't hold the test, or the testing plumber, responsible for the leaks.


  Question #620: I once saw a great one-page monthly boiler maintenance calendar on the internet.  There were daily entries to fill in (on each day's square), and there was a way to track weekly and monthly checks and jobs too.  I've never been able to find it again (I think it was created by a Board of Ed somewhere).  Does anyone have a good one for the super to check off (or fill-in info) on each month? Post your answer

Answer: Any good super can usually make his own check list. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: I found the manual, and it does have a cool calendar with room to check off daily, weekly and monthly tasks. You can find it at I don't know if the specific tasks are correct for the standard city boilers.



Question #619: Are there fire safety rules governing trash compactors that regulate whether the door that allows trash to descend into the hopper from the chute in a trash compactor should be open or closed when it is not in use? Post your answer

Answer: The Housing Maintenance Code requires that all compactor chute doors be self-closing. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #618: I live in a multiple dwelling apartment building (66 units) in Nassau County. 1) Does New York state law require a superintendent to live on the premises? 2) Does state law require the superintendent of the building to work only in that building? 3) My apartment building has a "sister" building consisting of 66 units. Does New York state law require a super for each building or can 1 super maintain both  buildings (132 units combined)? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, New York State Multiple Dwelling Law Article 3 Title 3, #83 states that "either the owner, manager or person responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the building live in the building or within 200 feet thereof; when said building has more than 13 families (apartments)." New York State does not state how many apartments is the maximum limit per one man. If the sister building is "connected" or "adjoining" then it is legal under this law to have one man. No, the super does not have to be full time or require him only to work for that building. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #617: Recently I was poo-poo'd for suggesting we take some conservation measures to conserve fuel. There are many articles that list measures a building can take that have paybacks of 1 year, 2 years, etc. in terms of cost/money saving ratios. What is a very scientific / official / impressive article I could bring to our management and Board that discusses the best bang-for-the-buck conservation measures?  I'd also like something that scientifically might show that having the building fix apartment leaks can make a big difference. Post your answer

Answer: You might consider a free energy audit from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research Authority). If you contact them they will tell you if you qualify for a free audit by an approved but independent engineer. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #616: I need to know of a way to measure and compare oil and gas consumption so I can determine which would be cheaper to burn in my building. I was told there is a way to convert the gas therms so they can be compared with gallons. Any ideas? Post your answer

Answer: This page may be at least a starting point for you.

Answer: Go here:

Answer: To determine the most cost-effective fuel at any given time, do the following:
1 - Check a natural gas bill to determine the cost per therm of natural gas.
2 - Multiply the above figure by 10. Example .75 therm x 10 = $7.50. This is the cost of a dekatherm of gas.
3 - If #2 oil is used, multiply today's price $1.1530 x 7.067 = $8.15. This is the equivalent cost of a dekatherm of gas.
4 - If #6 oil is used, multiply today's price .9819 x 6.689 = $6.57. This is the equivalent cost of a dekatherm of gas.
5 - Another way of calculating this would be:
This is approximately 40% more BTU's in a gallon of #2 oil than in a therm of natural gas. Take price per therm and multiply by 1.4 to get equivalent cost of a gallon of #2 oil. (In example above, .75 therm x 1.4 = $1.05 gal.
6 - There is approximately 46% more BTU's in a gallon of #6 oil than in a therm of natural gas. Take therm price and multiply by 1.46 to get equivalent cost of a gallon of #6 oil. (In example above .75 per therm x $1.46 = $1.10 gal.
Note that you may use either system 2, 3, and 4, or 5 and 6. You don't have to use both. For the above examples, a Dual Fuel System using natural gas or #2 oil would save by using natural gas. However, a Dual Fuel System using natural gas or #6 oil would save by using #6 oil. Prices should probably be checked weekly to determine the best price.


  Question #615: Could you tell me if plumbing a multi-burner stove directly to the copper cylinder is safe? My water boils and cooks the cylinder and has caused flooding and excessive wear on seals. All temperature controls go out the window when the stove is on and warming house in winter, and it makes awful noises throughout system when it reaches boiling point, which can't be helped by regulating stove air intake - its too late then. Is this type of connection against building regulations? Post your answer




Question #614: Is there a formula whereby one can determine how much ventilation is needed in a boiler room? We have one high and one low opening now. Post your answer

Answer: I am not an expert on the fire side of the boiler, but rather the steam side. However I have done some projects with air intake fans for  boiler rooms. There is a size determined by the boiler horsepower and type of boiler. Of course with fans (forced air intake) the opening is MUCH smaller.  A good place to start is this article on the National Board's Web site: Joe Lambert,



Question #613: Two adjacent five story buildings, eight units each, one commercial space in each building, two gas boilers in each building. These twin buildings share one chimney. Depending on who I've spoken to, I’ve been given the following different scenarios: (1) This arrangement is illegal and MUST be altered. (2) This arrangement may have been at some point given the City's blessing and there may be info on this at the Department of Buildings. (3) 2 systems sharing same chimney may be good for each individual system so don't fight it, even though double emissions will increase corrosion of the chimney. The question is this: Should the building that owns the chimney insist on separation or leave as is and ask the other owner for some kind of "usage rent"? Post your answer



Question #612: I have a 3-family unit. There is a forced air heating and cooling system in the lower level apartment (where I will live). The system is from the 1970s. I want the tenants to control & pay for their own heating/cooling. I need to upgrade the old 1970 system. Do I have to buy 3 separate systems in order for the tenants to be separate? Or, can all three units feed off one system & have separate meters? The alternative - is it to use baseboard heating in the tenants' apartments? I am looking to do what is best in the long run financially. Post your answer

Answer: The only way to be able to fairly bill tenants for heat usage is to have three separate units installed. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #611: I have a new two story home. The hot water heater is on the first floor. The hot water migrates through the entire house. I plumbed in a heat loop on the hot water outlet of the water heater. The hot water still migrates out of the hot water heater. My next thought is to install a check valve on the hot water supply. Do you have any suggestions. Post your answer

Answer: Not sure what is meant by "migrates out of the hot water heater." Putting a check valve in may solve this problem but create another one. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #610: I want to go get my HVAC/refrigerant license in New York City, and was looking into schools. I could only find Turner Trade School. Is this a good school or are there better ones that I can attend. Post your answer

Answer: Another visitor to this website may be able to give that trade school a review; in the meantime, check out this website's Continuing Education page for more options. Some of those on the list have been attended by members of this Association. Glen Stoltz


  Question #609: I am planning to brick face my wall on the side of the driveway which I share with my neighbor. The brickwork may extend from my wall into my side of the driveway by approximately three inches.  Is there a minimum width requirement for shared driveways in Brooklyn, New York? Post your answer


  Question #608: I live in a 10 unit self-managed co-op building where all members are expected to help maintain the building. Unfortunately, only 3 units actually participate. I am considering offering my services as a paid "resident manager." The position will consist primarily of coordinating required repair work, maintaining stock of supplies, and supervising cleaning staff. What monthly fee would be appropriate? Post your answer

Answer: I would say in the neighborhood of $3-500 monthly, but it's hard to be very specific without knowing more details about your building. You might do well to hire a consulting firm, such as Grech Building Operations Consulting, which would do a study of your building and help you agree on a figure that is acceptable to all. Glen Stoltz


  Question #607: I'm going to take the F-98 certificate of fitness for standpipe/sprinkler/gravity tanks, and I'm new in this industry. To be able to take this test I must sketch a plan of the system I am applying for, which is the system in my building. I need a sample from someone who's done this before. Can anyone help me? Post your answer

Answer: All that is required is that you can make a simple line drawing showing the standpipe and/or sprinkler systems and water source, their relation to each floor, where the pump and valves are located, and what type of connection is available. The best way to get this right is to walk your building and observe, then sit down and draw up a quick sketch. It does NOT need to have an extreme amount of detail. If you have a plumber who has done a lot of work in your building, you might ask him to take a little of his time to help you. That's what I did in a previous building, and it was fine. Glen Stoltz


  Question #606: My husband has an interview scheduled for a super's job. Someone told me that because he was convicted of burglary (back in 1988) he can't be a super since the job requires possession of tenants keys and entry into their apartments. Is there a law to this effect or can it be up to management's discretion? Is it true that supers have to be bonded? Post your answer

Answer: It is generally up to the discretion of the individual company, as there is no State or City law governing this that I'm aware of. However, any management company which cares about its reputation will very carefully screen applicants in an effort to not only get a person who can do the required work well, but also a man or woman who is a good representative of their company, and who will treat their residents with the respect and attention to detail they expect and deserve. Also, most supers are not bonded. Glen Stoltz


  Question #605: I live in PA in a 2 bedroom apartment with my roommate. We have always had air conditioning but this summer the unit was only cooling the living room area, leaving the rest of the house hot. The maintenance people have come in numerous times and said it does work, but I have consistently insisted that it does but only in that living room area. I have even spoken to the regional manager and he has advised me that as long as the maintenance people check the temperature and it reads 60 degrees they will not replace it. I do not want to move but I need a new a/c unit. I have lived at in this apartment for 3 years and never had a problem with the AC. What should I do? Post your answer

Answer: If you're sure it doesn't cool your space as it did previously, and as it should, you could try taking temperature readings for several days or weeks, then present your findings to management with your demand to replace or adequately repair the unit.


  Question #604: Does anyone have experience and/or comments about replacing an intercom system in a building built in the late 1950's with a system that utilizes existing phone lines to individual apartments. Are there any drawbacks to such a system (i.e., problems if DSL internet connection lines are being used)? Post your answer

Answer: We have the intercom on our phone line system. It does not interfere with the DSL lines. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #603: My building has just been sold. I live in an unregulated apartment and my lease is up for renewal. So far I have not received a renewal notice. How far in advance must the landlord notify me about intent of renewal or non-renewal of the lease? Post your answer

Answer: If your lease was a rent stabilized lease, by law the landlord must send out lease renewal forms 120 days before the lease end date. In a deregulated apartment there is NO such provision or law. My opinion: you are put on a month to month lease, most probably the new owners will condo the building. So, if you don't buy in, they can terminate the lease. That's my opinion. PGrech, Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #602: Who is responsible for installing a legal fire gate at fire escape windows - tenant or landlord? Post your answer

Answer: Unless it is specified in the lease who is to pay for the installation, it is assumed that the tenant will pay. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #601: I have central air. The unit is running, but no cold air is coming out, I checked outside. Ice has formed on the pipes attached to the unit. What is causing this? Post your answer

Answer: Your air conditioning unit either has a restriction in the capillary tube or it is low on refrigerant. If it is low on refrigerant this might indicate that you have a leak in the unit. Peter Grech, GBOC


  Question #600:  A tenant allowed his sink to overflow. This caused damage to his apartment and to the ceiling below. He contends that he isn't responsible because the run-off safety drain wasn't functioning and the floor in the water closet isn't all water proof. Please advise. Post your answer

Answer: First of all congratulations on being our 600th question. I wish I had a box of steak knives or other gift to give you. The following is only opinion based on past experience: the answer to your question depends on type of ownership - co-op, condo or rental. In most cases, if the sink is defective then the owner of the sink is responsible for damages. If the sink is not defective, then the person who created the overflow is responsible.  In any event, this is a legal question and should be asked of an attorney.  Peter Grech, GBOC