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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog
  Questions For Supers - 750 to 799  




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


go to most recent question frequently asked questions  ask a question  questions by category

  last update on Friday January 25, 2008 09:24 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 #799: We would like to obtain the #6 boiler certification (Black seal) in N.J. to work as custodians. Where can we go, and how long is the course? Post your answer

Answer: Before asking a question, you should check whether or not it has been asked and answered before. To do that, you can use Google or other search engine, and, putting in the words to search on (in this case, for instance: Black Seal AND New Jersey) you then search (while on the STA site) on the Current Site. This will return to you every page containing those terms. In this case, this question was asked in Question #489 and elsewhere. Check it out. Glen Stoltz

  Question #798: The boiler in our small co-op is a Weil McLain 169-75 BL 586 (oil burner Carlin 701, 185). The boiler was installed in 1976 the burner in 1997. A recent hole in the jacket and small leaks that may be coming from the coils and / or gaskets inside may mean the boiler is nearing the end of its useful life. I'm told that it could last through another heating season or two, but we want to prepare to make an informed choice about replacing it. Can you give me some advice about how to do that? Is there a source of information that would be useful to lay people like our co-op members? Post your answer

Answer: The Boiler Site, Master Plumber, Weil-McLain, or call a local heating consultant. Glen Stoltz

  Question #797: What is the maximum occupancy allowed in a one bedroom apartment? I have a child on the way and may have to break the lease agreement due to limited space. Will I be penalized for breaking the terms of the lease? Post your answer

Answer: To the best of my knowledge, there is no occupancy maximum in New York City. Check your lease, however, because the least may indeed limit the maximum occupants in an apartment. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #796: I own my co-op apartment and have been having some electrical problems. However, our super has informed me that everything from the circuit breaker box, to the wiring in my apartment, to the outlets are my responsibility to repair and maintain. Is this correct. If so, what is the co-op responsibility? Post your answer

Answer: The answer to your question is in your proprietary lease. It is common for all the electrical wiring, from the meter in the basement on up, is the shareholder's responsibility regardless of it's being inside or out of the walls - but check your lease.

Answer: If you wanted to change from a fuse box to a circuit breaker you would be responsible (you would have to pay the electrician) but if you have faulty wiring in your walls meaning that the wires were worn and frayed, since they are inside the wall, the responsibility of replacing the wiring would be the co-op's and the same can be said about the plumbing. Roberto Cardona

  Question #795: What is meant by a wet over dry area as pertaining to washing machine hook ups in residential apartment buildings? Are there any laws or codes regarding this? Post your answer

Answer: Wet over dry: this is a term to describe when a bathroom is installed in one apartment and the apartment directly underneath that area has no bathroom. In most cases, bathrooms are built one over the other. In this case the bathroom (or laundry room) is not over another bathroom below. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #794: I believe my husband is superintendent material. We don't live in the city yet, still in Iowa. I wanted to know where or who he could talk to about specifically the technical aspects. He is welder, pipe fitter, etc. plus has a business degree, so would appreciate to know where we could go. Post your answer

Answer: He could start by becoming a member of a technical association in New York City for supers and other building support workers. I have an idea: why not join STA? Upon membership, he can post his resume online (several members report getting jobs in this way) and he can also post a Situation Wanted ad at any time. He is also welcome to call any of us on the Board and discuss specifics - just pick a friendly face and call. Many of our membership are happy to support other members in whatever way presents itself. Beyond that, he should be perusing the help-wanted ads in the local papers to see what's out there, and possibly calling some of them to see what are their specific requirements.

Question #793: We love to have plants and decorate the lobby. What does the law say about this in a four story building with 12 families. Post your answer

Answer: There is no law against plants in lobbies or public areas. As long as the plants are LIVE plants. If you are going to use fake plants, then those types must have a fire rating and be fireproof. The Fire Department has issues with Christmas trees only, due to the trees having been cut and as they dry out, become a fire hazard. So, Plant away! Please send me a picture, I love gardening. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #792: My 70+ apartment co-op building hired an incompetent ex-handy man a few years ago to be the live-in superintendent. I and my wife are fed up with him and want to have him replaced and we will do so at the next shareholder meeting. We know others will agree and may welcome our broaching the subject. What are the guidelines, if any, for the removal procedure?  Who besides the answers that may be provided here can we contact for additional advice? Post your answer

Answer: If non-union, your best course of action is to speak with the board about actively pursuing a pool of candidates to choose from. Also, try to see what the current superintendent's skills are and see where he is lacking. An educated and detailed interview process of potential replacements is the best course at this juncture. 
Tom Sweeney

Answer: Sorry to hear that the super didn't work out. This happens. Are you sure that you have exhausted all your talents collectively to see if the super can be saved? The question of termination is not an easy one to answer. First of all is the super union? If not, then termination is somewhat simple. Keep in mind he may be undesirable but is still a human with a family and he would need some time to relocate. If union, then the procedure is more time consuming. Your managing agent should know what to do. If the management company does not, then perhaps management needs to go as well as the super. Who can you talk too? Us, that's what we are here for. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #791: hello i live in bklyn and i wanted to say my super has absolutely no communication skill's,and is unprofessional i caught him calling me a derogatory word over a walky talky,but he deny's it and i took it up
with the management and they said they'll talk to him.but i want to know how do most supers get fired,or who can i file a complaint with against him if he becomes violent???
Post your answer

Answer: It's ironic, to say the least (and to be very kind), that you complain about your super's communication skills and you do it using such bad spelling and grammar. Is good grammar and correctly spelling words not also part of communication skills? (It's a rhetorical question). Having said that, helping supers and other building support workers improve their communications skills in any way they need help is a large part of what STA is about. Come join us (we're open to all kinds of people - not just building support workers - and your positive input could collectively help us find ways to improve the skills in which we all need improvement. Glen Stoltz

Question #790: My fiancé and are looking for an apartment. We found one through a realtor that we liked, and set the process in motion. Because the building is all or part co-op, we have to be approved by the co-op board before we can sign a lease. There is a $50 application fee - which we are fine with paying. However, when the real estate agent went to pick up the application papers from the superintendent, he demanded a $500 referral fee. Apparently, he is the one who let the agent know that the apartment was up for rent. We are getting together with the real estate agent tonight to discuss this, but I have really big reservations about paying this $500 for the apartment, especially if it doesn't even guarantee we will get it. Is this fee even legal? Post your answer

Answer: This sounds a bit odd. It sounds to me, since you need to have board approval, that you are renting a unit that has been previously sold to an individual shareholder. If that is the case, then you would not be leasing, but sub-leasing. If you were renting from the sponsor of the co-op, then you usually do not need board approval. While there are certainly variations, oftentimes shareholders in a co-op can only sublease their apartment for two years. Read the lease / sub-lease carefully before signing it.

Answer: Referral fees are really not legal in this case. The super represents the landlord, and NO landlord representative is permitted to collect a fee. To collect a fee, the super would have to have a real-estate broker's or sales associate's license. If the super told the agent, then the agent would need to work it out with the super - NOT YOU, since the agent is making the commission. The agent should pay it by check, then make formal complaints about it. (In the old days it was called "key money"). Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #789: How much time can a landlord give a super to move out of apartment, once super has given up the position? This is a non-union job.  Is one month or two, too short of time to look for a apartment elsewhere. What is the normal time frame allowed to move out? Post your answer

Answer: I don't know of any set time for a move out once the super has given up or lost his position. 30 days would be the "standard". After a super gives up or loses his job, the super becomes an illegal tenant or a month to month tenant and is subject to the landlord-tenant laws. The landlord would have to file for eviction and they will win it. Note also that the landlord would be entitled to reasonable rent from the ex-super. Work it out as best as you can. These things should have been settled on at the time of hire, not at the time of exit. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #788: I'd like to know if there is any law that requires certain buildings to have live-in supers, as opposed to live out? Post your answer

Answer: The Codes state that a super should either reside in the building or with in 200 feet of it. The code states a minimum size building not how big.  Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: This question, and questions much like it, have been asked and answered many times. Do a site search for the answer or read the Frequently Asked Questions. Glen Stoltz

Answer: Click on the links on the homepage for the NYS Multiple Dwelling Law and the NYC Housing Maintenance. Code. You will find the answers there, in those laws and codes.

Question #787: I'm the owner of a 3 family house in Richmond Hill, Queens. The building is neither rent controlled nor stabilized. I occupy the second and third floors and rent out the first. The first floor tenants have been renting their apartment for 5 years, without any kind of lease. When they moved in I provided them with a stove, which they will leave when they finally vacate. My questions: Am I responsible for the repairs of this stove? What if the repairs become too costly, or the stove breaks down completely? Am I required to replace the stove? Post your answer

Answer: Whoever owns the existing stove is probably responsible for repair or replacement of that stove; check your lease for the details. If it isn't specified you may want to try to come to an oral agreement with your tenant.

Question #786: I live in a two-floor condo, on the first floor. Every time my upstairs neighbor shuts his kitchen faucet off, I get a loud water hammer bang above my kitchen in the pipes. After doing research on Google, I think the solution is an air arrester or valve. Is this right?  Also, can I install it myself?  Last, will it solve the water hammer from upstairs if install it down here where I have access to the main line (under my sink) or does it have to be installed in the upstairs apartment? I would rather not have to touch their plumbing or bother them.  Post your answer

Answer: You will need to get a plumber involved to give you the best advice, but it looks like you may be on the right track.

Question #785: I live in a co-op that approved a washing machine to be installed 2 years ago. Now they are saying that they did not approve it. I have gone through the motions, and they say that if the city inspector approves it, I can keep it. One of the board members says that a washing machine needs a drain under it. Is this true? I have seen many a washer in this city, and have never seen a drain under it. Also, I had an inspector in over a year ago, and nothing was said. He did not see the washer, but saw that there was going to be one there. Post your answer

Answer: If you have nothing in writing, you probably have no leg to stand on, as far as permission to install a washer. I'm almost positive you do NOT need a drain under a washer in ANY apartment situation. In my two year old building, we have washers installed in all apartments from the beginning - none of which have drains under them. But each washing machine is sitting inside a 2 inch high metal pan, which would take care of catching most leaks, at least for awhile, should they occur. Glen Stoltz

Question #784: How much time is a super given to move after being fired? Post your answer

Answer: One month is probably "normal" - but give more time if at all possible, it's tough to find housing and a job in New York City in short order. Glen Stoltz

  Question #783: Do I need brackets on a air conditioner that is on a fire escape, and it does not stick out beyond building? Post your answer

Answer: NO. Keep in mind that you must have access to the fire escape and the ac unit cannot block in any part the fire escape. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: See the answer to Question #756, you may find your answer there.

Question #782: I had a contractor, recommended by Home Depot, install a boiler 5/18/06, in the Bronx in a two family house, that had only one boiler to heat the whole house. I have 2 tenants. One apartment is a duplex, where the boiler is connected. The smaller apartment's heating usage was being included in the duplex apartment ConEd bill. I decided to install a boiler for the smaller apartment, that way each tenant is responsible for their own bill. I was informed that once the installation is completed, the contractor / plumber has to obtain a blue card with the Buildings Department. I was also told by ConEd, that they must inspect the installation before they install a gas meter. I am having a hard time getting the contractor to complete the paper work. The boiler was installed, but with no meter. The contractor said that I was responsible to get a plumber. I told him if that is the case, I would have gone to Home Depot myself, got the boiler, and then hired a plumber. I was charged $4,700.00 for this job. I want to complete the job before the cold weather sets in. What can I do? I called Home Depot and they contacted the company and he keeps telling them that he would help me get a plumber. I am wondering whether the installation was done by an unlicensed plumber. I don't know what is going on. I need guidance. Post your answer

Answer: Let me suggest that you contact GBOC for assistance. -Glen Stoltz

Question #781: I have a duplex apartment. The bedroom closet on the second floor that is adjacent to the bathroom, develops some form of mold / mildew on the walls. I am wondering if the problem is from improper ventilation from the bathroom. there is no window in the bathroom. It has been suggested that possibly the vent is circulating through the wall as opposed to having a vent connected outside. I have stopped using the vent in the bathroom, to see if the problem stops. I do have a dehumidifier that helps somewhat, but running it can be costly. When the closet door is closed, a foul odor sets in.  Do you have any suggestion that might be permanent. Post your answer

Answer: Without someone looking at your space in person it is impossible to give an accurate answer. I suggest you hire Grech Building Operations Consulting or someone similar to help you. -Glen Stoltz

Question #780: I own a co-op in a four story Queens building and my neighbors, who refuse to use their air conditioner, constantly prop open their self-closing apartment door and place a child gate in the opening. Housing Maintenance Code states: no tenant, or any other person, shall: a. remove or render inoperative any self-closing device on any door which is required by any provision of law to be self-closing, or cause or permit such door to be held open by any device; Do I have any legal grounds to demand that my neighbors keep their apartment door closed? This issue is not addressed in our House Rules.  I called HPD but was unable to get a clear answer. Post your answer

Answer: Sounds like they are in violation of the fire code. You should let the managing agent know this. As a last resort you could call the Fire Department.

Question #779: Is there any information I can get on the aptitude test for elevators union so I can study? Post your answer

Answer: Start your search here. And learn to GOOGLE, my friend.

Question #778: What is the starting salary for a 145 unit apartment building with 2 porters and l handyman, for the supervisory superintendent? Post your answer

Answer: There is no such thing as a start up salary to speak of. Newly hired supers, if they are union, are not paid less then what the previous super was paid. Of course this does not mean the new hired super cant be paid more. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: The answer to this question varies as much as New York City residential buildings do - there just is no easy, set, formulaic answer. The question you will want to answer first is: How much did the previous super make? The answer to your question is probably (at least in part) dependent on an honest answer to THAT question. Glen Stoltz

Question #777: Do you need a permit if you are tearing out old radiators to begin work on renovations? Post your answer

Answer: No permit is needed; however be advised if you building was built before 1980 then the contractor MUST follow the Lead Laws, when it comes to safe practice. Most likely the paint is lead paint. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #776: Can suds coming up into our tub be caused because we live on top of a laundry room. The super is requesting an inspection of the apartment on the second floor, says there is a washing machine. Isn't this a drain / plumbing problem? Post your answer

Answer: If you see suds in your tub, then some one most likely above you has a washing machine. In old buildings, drains are not designed for washing machines. Thus the excessive water when dumped at one time into a drain has to go somewhere. Now, if there is a specific laundry room near you, then the drains should be snaked on a regular basis. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #775: What are the proper steps in cleaning a Kewnee dual fuel boiler? Post your answer

Answer: Using Google ( or other popular search engine, search on the words "Kewanee dual fuel boiler" (with or without the quotations marks); when you get to some relevant websites that come up, try a site search using the word cleaning or "boiler cleaning" or something similar. You'll be surprised what you will find that will be helpful to you. Glen Stoltz

Question #774: The super has instructed doormen in my co-op building to permit process servers to go to residents' apartments unannounced. A Deputy Sheriff serving legal papers was permitted to come to my door unannounced. I believe this violates my co-op tenancy rights. Everyone should be announced. What do you think, and what are the rules in most co-ops? Post your answer

Answer: This issue/question is best asked and answered by your co-op / condo board. In my building as in all my previous buildings, we permit any officer of the court to go up unannounced if so requested by the court officer. Buildings have different rules, ergo my suggestion in asking the board of your building. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: Your co-op may have a rule against this - most do - but if the (State or City) law states that you cannot impede an officer of the court in his execution of the law (it does), then of course that supersedes your house rules. Don't fight it, and don't insist that your doorman or super break the law for your selfish aims. Of course, as with all questions of the law on this website, this is just opinion, not even an interpretation of the law. Ask a lawyer for the real scoop. -Glen Stoltz

Question #773:  Every Summer I experience this problem. I have a very bad odor is coming out from the radiator in my apartment. Please help me with some information and what can I do to resolve the problem. Post your answer

Answer: If you have a one pipe system, there should be an air valve on the upper end on the radiator. Simply turn this air vent upside down and you will have no more odor. If you have a two pipe system then you will have NO air vent, but then a two pipe system is completely contained and no order should come out of it. If you have a two pipe radiator (one pipe going in at one end and one pipe coming out of the other end) then your problem is not with the radiator! or perhaps would need a good cleaning and there maybe a hole behind it. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #772: I'm a co-op apartment owner, 1 of 8 apartments, in a 4-floor brown stone in Brooklyn. Where can I look up for the subjects regarding to: (1) conflict of interest rules/laws, and (2) Any work for building that may or may not require competitive biddings. Post your answer

Answer: These are very good questions, and could be brought up at our Small Building Support Group which will meet on August 8th (if enough people sign up). Conflicts of interest are complex issues; we devote whole seminars to this. When serving on the board, every individual must put private interests aside and act in the best interest of the cooperative. Board members should disclose to their colleagues any relationship they may have with any vendors, etc. that the building uses and should recluse themselves from discussions where they might have (or appear to have) a personal interest.

As for decisions regarding competitive bidding, each cooperative can set its own policy regarding the level at which to require competitive bids, using common sense as a guide.

Mary Ann Rothman
CNYC Executive Director
212 496-7400
250 West 57 Street, Suite 730
New York, NY 10107-0700
Question #771: We've been quoted a contract price of $2.73 per gal for No. 2 fuel oil.  Does anyone know if there is a better price in the market? This price includes maintenance of burners and cleaning of the boilers. Post your answer


Question #770: Where can I get training in the NYC area for a Black Seal Boiler license? Post your answer

Answer: This issue was addressed in Question #489.

Question #769: I own a 4 family house in Yonkers. I have a tenant who lived in a studio for 4 years, and over the years her family has grown. She now has 2 adults, 3 children, 4 cats and 4 dogs. I'm thinking of evicting based on too many people and pets for a studio. She has no lease. Since she has no place to go, I will be forced to get a Marshall eviction. Am I justified? How long will it take? How many extensions will a judge give? Post your answer

Answer: As you will know if you've visited the website to any extent, we are geared toward New York City supers and resident managers. The laws in Westchester County and in your town may differ from ours. In Westchester County I think you won't be subject to the Housing Maintenance Code of New York City, but no doubt will be subject to the NYS Multiple Dwelling Law. At any rate, we do NOT dispense legal advice, you really should consult a lawyer in your area for details. Glen Stoltz

Question #768: I have a tenant that was trying to connect the gas stove without contacting the gas company. The tenant's boyfriend was trying to start the stove with another three persons around, all of them got burned seriously. Do I need to worry about a law suit? Should I contact my lawyer? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, and contact your insurance company as well. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #767: Where can I find a black rectangular fuse box that holds the larger tube fuses to put into an electrical box in back of an older apartment building? Post your answer

Answer: You need to speak to an electrician, or call an electrical supply house. Glen Stoltz

Question #766: How do I get keys for a new tenant's mailbox. The previous tenant was evicted & didn't leave them.  Post your answer

Answer: If there are no keys left, you will have to get the lock changed. In most buildings this is something the super will take care of, start by asking him who can do it and will you be charged for it (again, in some buildings there will be a charge, in others, no). Glen Stoltz

Question #765: I live in a 15 unit building in Manhattan.  We have a “part-time” super who lives in a different borough.  He doesn't come around often, doesn't clean the hallways, and when doing work, doesn’t follow any codes (leaves chipped paint on the floor, stores old boards with rusty nails in the stairwell, and so on).  There are dozens of serious violations (including a broken fire escape that is tied up with rope).  There are many great supers around the city that would be appalled, and I'm hoping some can provide real advice on how to address this situation.  How can a tenant handle such a situation when the landlord doesn't care and the city departments push complaints through an endless maze of bureaucracy? Post your answer

Answer: If you can't get the attention of the landlord, and in the absence of a management company, you can complain to the City. Call 311 for the appropriate agency.

Question #764: Is it considered a fire hazard and illegal to have a pilot lit gas cooking stove in an apartment in New York City? Post your answer

Answer:  No, it is not illegal, and they still make them. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #763: Can a tenant connect an antenna to a roof vent stacks, chimneys, or parapet walls? Post your answer

Answer: Most leases will say that the tenant cannot attach anything to the outside of the building or parts thereof, like TV antennas, radio antennas, or satellite dishes. So check your lease. If there is no prohibition written into the lease, then you might want to ask permission first before installing. I know in my building, the above are forbidden. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #762: What is considered a just cause to remove a super from the property, if the super is a menace to shareholders and if he is antagonistic towards the board and shareholders?  He has also threatened an employee.  The union facilitated 2 hearings and will be going to arbitration before any decision is being made. Post your answer

Answer: It is not impossible to remove a union super. The Realty Advisory Board, who represents the owners in dealings with the union is better equipped to answer this question. However, let me give you my thoughts on this subject based on my 30 yrs experience. 1. The union's main function is to see fair treatment of the employees. 2. The arbitrator will want to see at arbitration that the employee was treated fairly and that the employee was given every opportunity to improve or cure the situation. 3. Management and the board usually screw up the paper trail, screw up the handling of building up a case for dismissal. 4. Usually there is a failure to communicate with the employee and give him the help he needs to cure or overcome the shortcomings or issues. 5. Everyone involved being human, ego sets in as well, as a fog that clouds the real issues. Many times arrogance becomes apparent from both sides. If your case is weak, cancel the arbitration and regroup to have a better case. Again, it's all about fair treatment. While you may think you treated the super fairly, the Arbitrator may indeed see it otherwise. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #761: What is the standard salary for a super in a building of 130 to 160 units. I am currently a live in super at a 35 unit condo in lower NYC and make just under 50k with utilities (including cell phone) and parking. Post your answer

Answer: There is no pay structure based on how many apartments. I know of a super with 27 apartments who earns $70,000 per year and then a super who has 700 apartments who earns $80,000 per year. Super's pay is usually based on historic pay in the past to supers as well as how well a super can negotiate pay raises. Perhaps the super has a special talent that is needed for a particular building, such as experience in project management or the need for a refrigeration license etc. Furthermore, pay is also based on how long the super has been at the building. It doesn't seem to be fair, but it is what it is. There is a union base or minimum salary. But in most cases supers make more than that. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #760: Building inspectors declared my apartment illegal, how much time do I have to find a place to stay? Also should I be still paying rent to landlord who now states he is selling the house. Post your answer

Answer: I can not answer these questions since they mainly pertain to the law and not codes. My advice is to ask a lawyer. It would seem reasonable that you have at least 30 days to vacate. Moreover, since the apartment was illegal, why pay the rent. Again, a lawyer would answer these questions and perhaps you may have claims to refund of your prior rent to the owner since he was running an illegal operation. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #759: Our board would like to invite our super to some meetings. How frequently should we do this? What should we ask him, specifically, to be prepared to speak on? How do we do so to get him more involved? Post your answer

Answer: I am glad you are going to include your super in board meetings. The way my board has me set up (and works well) is after the approval of the minutes, I give my report. This report is a brief description of what went on in the building that is note worthy, such as leaks, resident issues and special items. The board then asks me questions on my report. The board at times will give me assignments to carry out or ask questions about the building that was not on my report. I am at every board meeting. I remain for the managing agents report, then I am excused. There is no need for any super to sit through the entire board meeting. That punishment belongs to the board members. In all it should not take more then 30 minutes or so, even though sometimes my report takes about an hour plus, due to questions from the board. Note: We just went through major construction of the lobby and renovation of all the hallways. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #758: I have heard about NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development fining buildings for not having a certified super.  What is a certified super and how does a super get certified? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, you are correct. This has been on the books since the 60s but HPD (Department of Housing Preservation & Development) never enforced it. Guess the city needs money. The code reads, in brief, that every super needs to be certified by either the owner or board of directors that the super is competent in his duties as a super, or the super must have a minimum of 15 hours of courses pertaining to building operations. HPD at this moment is currently not giving out violations if your super is not certified, however they will be in time. HPD is insisting on about 80 hrs of courses to meet the requirement.  STA is hoping to work out classes for STA members, as well as working together STA and HPD to bring workshops and seminars as we did for the lead courses which 180 members took through STA with HPD. We have another meeting with HPD next week, in which time I will have more info. This is another example of STA leading the field by being proactive. STA is also in final negations with ABO (Association of Builders and Owners) for RAM certification which is Accepted all over the US. Just email me if you or any one else is interested in Certifying your super. Once I have the information I will forward it to you. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #757: Are there any software packages that can be used to track NYC violations? Post your answer

Answer: HPD does this already. You don't need to. But if you want to, any good database program can do it. When I say that HPD does this already, I mean you can go online and find out what violations your building has, or for any other building. Go to HPD website. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #756: I thought I remember reading somewhere that window air conditioner installations now require a support bracket along the top of the unit so that the window is still operable. I have searched the NYC websites, but could not find verification. Can anyone confirm this? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, there is a law which is tacked onto Local Law 11. It is under Appurtenances only. You will not find it under Air Conditioning. Basically it states that an appurtenance, such as an Air Conditioning unit, that extends 10 inches or more past the window glass, must be supported by a bracket that is secured to the ac unit on one end and rests against the side of the building at the other end. If the unit is less the 10 inches past the glass, it may be installed by using a metal bar across the width of the window and secured to the window frame, but not the window itself. As always, check with your buildings architect about this. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #755: How can I apply to become a super? Post your answer

Answer: The best way to look for superintendent jobs in New York City is in the Sunday New York Times/job market. Also check the listings in this website in the job section and post your resume online*. The other way is to ask around and send resumes to property managers / companies etc. James Zammit

* WEBMASTERS NOTE: In order to post your resume on this site, you must be a current member of STA

Answer: The best way to find a new job is through word of mouth. Ask around, talk it up and keep going back to those who are in a position to know of jobs coming to light (such as other supers). Networking is a part of that. Let other supers and building support workers know that you're in the market, and stay in touch with them as much as possible. Come to STA meetings and let everyone know that you're looking, and pass out resumes. Many of us will be happy to be on the lookout for fellow members.


Question #754: Is there a website that gives information about new building openings in Manhattan? Such as management company chosen, building systems installed etc. Post your answer

Answer: As far as I know, there are no websites that collectively keep such data. If you know the builder's website or the owner's website, some details may be contained therein. But your question brings up an interesting idea for our website as an addition. I will look into it. If you are interested in helping on this, let me know, as it would be a lot of work. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #753: We are about to replace a retiring union super. Our question is, our outgoing super was earning more than union wage. Must we pay our new super the same or can we pay him union wage. Post your answer

Answer: You may pay the new super less then the retiring super, but not less then what the union average is. As long as you can prove the retiring super was getting the pay he got due to being there a long time or for special skills that he had, that are no longer required. Going forward, those buildings that want to pay their supers a higher salary then the average supers pay, should give the difference as a second check and call that second check, "merit pay". This will prevent this situation from happening. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #752: How many female supers are there in Manhattan? in NYC? I am in first grade and doing a research project on community workers-I chose supers.  I need the information by June 12, 2006. Thank you. Post your answer

Answer: I have tried to find out the answer to your question and didn't have much luck. Yes, there are Female superintendents. How many and where they are is the question. I believe that there are about 10-20 female superintendents full-time in NYC. There probably are a higher number part-time. Part-time would be where their husbands work all day long at a job other then at the building, and the wife takes care of the building in his absence. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #751: My husband was hired as a live-in super for a 54 unit building. He was told that it was a union position. How can I find out which local he is supposed to belong to and if the landlord is paying the dues?  When he brings it up with the landlord, they evade the question. He has not received anything yet, and he has been on the job three months. Post your answer

Answer: Superintendents and resident managers have a six month trial period on new jobs. The owner/board are not obligated to pay anything into the union on behalf of the super until that time. However, this rule may be different from one type of union to the next. Since I don't know what borough you live in, I suggest asking other supers in buildings near you what union they belong to. Peter Grech, GBOC


Question #750: We have child safety bars installed in our apartment windows and when we requested that they be removed to accommodate an air conditioner we were told they cannot be removed once they are in. We don't have children and we weren't told when we moved in that they couldn't be removed. Is this true? Are there any other options to have them removed? Post your answer

Answer: Yes Peter is correct, they can be removed, child window guards are installed with one way screws, to avoid removal by the tenant. There are a couple of ways to remove the screws. They sell special one way screw drivers for such screws, or you can use a cold chisel to remove the heads of the screws, remove the child guard and then use vise grip pliers to remove the rest of the screw. Good luck Roberto Cardona

Answer: Whoever said they cannot be removed once they have been installed, is mistaken. The purpose of child guards are to protect young children. If you no longer have young children, then the guards can be removed. There is no such rule / code / law saying that once they are installed, they stay installed, even though there are no children living in the apartment. Peter Grech, GBOC