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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog
 
  Questions For Supers - 1101 to 1150  
 
 
 
 

"The important thing is not to stop questioning." -Albert Einstein

 

questions page navigationgo to most recent question frequently asked questions  ask a question  questions by category

  last update on Saturday January 01, 2011 02:50 PM PT     January 2008

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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 we believe 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 do not practice law and do not dispense legal advice - only opinions based on experience.

 

 
 
  QUESTIONS POSTED

Post Your Question Here

 
  Question #1150: I'm living in a rental apartment; the toilet flush valve exploded about 7 months ago flooding the apartment. The landlord fixed it, but it happened again and this time the damage was very bad. The management office told me no problem, they will fix it again. I'm living with fear that it will happen again. Do I have any chance to break the lease? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Ask your question in the forum at tenant.net.

Answer/Comment: I am a super and I don't know about the lease, but I am interested in what you meant by 'exploded.'  We had an incident here last month [May '08] in which the cap came off a flushometer, but it was described as having 'exploded.' We are mystified as to how it could have occurred, so any info you may have would be of interest.
 
  Question #1149:  I am a union residential super and I would like to know if the porters are allowed to paint the property if needed? Can they paint the basements, exterior apartment doors, hallways, ceilings, etc.?  If they are allowed to ONLY do "touch up" painting, what exactly does that mean? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: No they are only allowed to cover up graffiti or misc., things. Like painting rooms and hallways are left up to contractors.

Answer/Comment: This is the one of the oldest questions asked. To be honest there is NO answer. I know a super who had to paint every hallway door in the building, over 200 doors. The union could not help him, and HE had to do it - not the staff. Many years ago rule of thumb was anything below the lobby, any area that was mechanical or utility was painted and maintained by staff. Touch up means for example doors that have scratches on them the scratches are painted but not the entire door. Be very careful. Times are tight and managing companies are becoming more pain in the butts about additional work to be performed. This question is better asked to and answered to your union delegate. I would be interested in hearing the answer so please, do drop me a line when you find out. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1148:  What would the approximate monthly payments be for liability insurance that a landlord would have to pay (monthly)? The place is in a small town in upstate New York and has five apartment units. Just a ballpark figure would be a great help. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Your question is too vague. Might I suggest calling an insurance broker in your town or county and ask them, as the answer depends on many factors, part of which are what work will be performed. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1147: I live in a New York City housing apartment, and when me and my family moved in neither the stove nor the refrigerator were replaced. Now the stove's oven is not working properly and every time my mother uses the oven the carbon monoxide alarm goes off (she doesn't use it anymore). I would like to know if the housing development has to replace the stove with a new one, and if we were entitled to get a new stove at the time we moved in? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: No they don't have to give you a new one, but they have to give you one that is working right and that means that the oven is dirty inside.  For oven on the top make sure you check it out!

Answer/Comment: The lease is the governing document. you need to read the lease and see what it say. NYC laws require a landlord to provide a working stove. Landlord does not have to buy you a new stove but can either repair the current stove or replace the stove with another stove that works, and within reason the same type and size as the old stove. As for were you entitled to a new stove before you moved in, the answer is no. A working stove, yes. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1146: My partners and I are renovating an old commercial building into a 100-unit Section 8 complex. We're gutting the building, so all the internal construction will be new. Each unit will have its own furnace and water heater. My question is: Will I need a full-time super immediately? If so, how much should I offer? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: New York State codes requires a super for 13 apartments or more. Limits the super to live in the building or within 200 feet. There is no mention of part time or full time. New York City codes requires a super for 9 apartments or more to live in the building or within 200 feet. The code further states that the owner must provide adequate janitorial services but does not state full time or part time. The code further states that no one janitor or super will perform janitorial service for more then 65 apartments. This means that the janitor/super in your case must have additional help.  But again it does not state full time or part time. But to be honest with you anything more then 60 apartments is a full time job. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1145: What is the New York state law on occupancy in a one room co-op apartment (it is only one person). Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  NYS housing maintenance Code, Chapter 3 Article 5: Every person occupying an apartment in a class A or Class B multiple dwelling or in a tenant occupied apartment in a one or two family dwelling shall have a livable area of not less then eighty (80) square feet. The maximum number of persons who may occupy any such apartment shall be determined by dividing the total livable floor area of the apartment by eighty square feet. Floor area of the kitchen may be included in the total square foot count but bathrooms, hallways and closets are not to be counted. For every two persons who may lawfully occupy an apartment one child under four years old may also reside therein. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1144:   I have someone who is interested in getting a boiler license for a building. They are a super for a building now in a New York City co-op. We are looking to see if you know where we can look up and find practice tests for the boiler license. Also the material that you need to study. Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  There is NO practical test for boilers in NYC unless you are applying for a high pressure license. If you are applying for a high pressure license (which 99% of NYC buildings do not require) they you need 4 years of class for high pressure boilers, and 3 out of 5 years working experience under a Stationary Engineer. Also prior to taking a test you need three written letters of references from three Stationary Engineers. Also you need to prove your work experience and class room work.
If you are not taking a high pressure boiler license there is no practical exam. You can go to the fire department in Brooklyn to obtain training material. However, you still need a reference letter, proof of class work and / or letter from employer stating you have a #6 boiler.
Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1143: Are radiators/heat required in living rooms and bedrooms in New York City residential buildings? Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  The only rule I know about is a minimum room temperature required based on the time of year and the outside temperature. On this site see: http://www.nysupersclub.org/heatrequirementsnyc.htm. There is no law stipulating how you get to this comfort level, but if you have a very cold room in an apartment, you probably have to add heat somehow. Joe Lambert

Answer/Comment:  Actually the NYC building code states that living rooms and bed rooms must have a means of producing heat. For the exact wording go to NYC building codes, Article 5 S27-740; the wording and tables are not too complicated. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1142: I would like to know what is the differences in job positions and duties for a superintendent in a co-op building, condominium building and rental building, and would the duties vary if the buildings are union or non-union? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: To be honest with you, this question is way too big and the answers you ask for are too many to list here. Perhaps you should come to our meeting and ask us in person. There are too many variables and conditions, etc. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1141: I currently just got a job on the lower east side working as superintendent. It is a 20 unit building, part-time position. The old super is still around but on disability, he is leaving in about two months. The whole 15 years that he has worked he has been under the union 32BJ. The management company has not mentioned anything about me joining the union. My question is, can the management take me on without joining the union, even though the building is still under contract until 2010? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: This question is best asked to and answered by your union. Ask around to find out who the shop steward is on your block and ask him / her. You can also call Local 32BJ and ask them. On a side note, management rarely will ask you to go join the union. After you have passed your trial / probation period, you should just go to the union and join and don't say a word to management. That's what most people do. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1140: I live in a 15 story co-op building and our apartment is right above the boiler room. In the past the pump for the boiler was making a short noise that sounds like an elevator working and stopped with a big bang that was shaking everything. At some point it was doing this every 2 minutes which drove us insane. After we complained to the management they switch on the other pump and the new problem is that the new pump is working 24/7 making that rumbling elevator like noise, a constant noise that we cannot take anymore. After we complained again they tried to fix the problem by installing a rubber pad (like a shoe sole size) underneath the pump which didn't do any good. They said there is nothing else they can do, the only other option they said is to switch back to the old pump, the one with the banging noise. Please help us with advice, what do you think? Is it normal for a boiler pump to run nonstop especially when it is so noisy? Is there anything we can do to change this? Can we take any legal steps if the management is not willing to change or fix the problem? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: It sounds like the condensate is very hot. The pump will CAVITATE when it runs. Cavitation happens when the centrifugal pump tries to pump water and the water flashes into vapor - it will sound like gravel is moving in the pump. This can happen in an open system such as a steam system when the water is near boiling point. If this is the problem you need to repair defective steam traps. Joe Shkreli

 
  Question #1139: I am a board member of a small - 18 unit - building in the East Village. Our very competent p/t super was recommended to us by our management company. His paycheck is issued through the board of directors. We understand that he should be insured, but not sure whether it should be the responsibility of the management company, the board or the super who is, ultimately, an independent contractor. Moreover, what insurance should he have to cover both his welfare as well as that of the physical plant. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: I don't pretend to be an attorney or tax consultant. You seem to consider the super as a sub contractor, but the IRS rules are quite clear and you may find yourselves in a bad situation with them. That said, contractors provide their own insurance, however, cost of said insurance is usually covered in the invoiced amount.  MAKE SURE YOUR SUPER INVOICES YOU EVERY MONTH if he is a contractor. That my friend was a strong tip to help aviod the you know who. I would talk to your insurance carrier to see what requirements they want or suggest. Then see if they will provide it for the contractor. As for health, management may have a group insurance plan that the super may join.  Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1138: I am a part time but live-in super in a 20 unit co-op building. I was on approved vacation (I arranged for coverage and the management company signed off on this) and when I returned I found out I had been terminated for budgeting reasons. I have an apartment in the building and nowhere to go. The management company is saying I can stay on for two months. I have one contract I signed three years ago when I started that says the terms are binding for one year. Question: do I have to leave the apartment within 2 months? What if I refuse to leave? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Yes you have too leave. Consider yourself lucky that you got 2 months and not 30 days.  If you fail to move out, the owner of the building has the right to charge you rent for the apartment at the going rate and start eviction proceedings against you. You are not going to win. See if they can give you severance pay or moving pay. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1137: What is the different between a Superintendent and a Resident Manager? What is there description between? Can I get a book with description of duty. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: The answer you are seeking would take too long to type here and have different considerations for different conditions. I suggest that you come to a meeting and ask us there, that way we have the time to go over it all. Job descriptions for a super or resident manager do not exist in general. Every building is different and therefore, no two job descriptions are the same. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1136: I have a downstairs neighbor whose seven year old child loves to jump around in that apartment and causes bad vibrations in my apartment. I have one 5x9 foot rug in one room and scatter rugs in the other rooms. I have been told wall-to-wall carpeting will not stop the vibrations. Any suggestions? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Yes that is true, wall to wall carpet won't make a difference. Common courtesy will, but not everyone has it. So the next thing you need to do is look at your house rules and make sure that they are enforced. Joe Shkreli

 
  Question #1135: How and with what should a strainer be cleaned with? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Soak strainer in kerosene for several minutes to loosen any built-up sludge. Carefully clean strainer with old, soft toothbrush. Joe Shkreli

 
  Question #1134: Is there any school or academy in the Bronx or Manhattan where the boiler/superintendent classes are free? Currently I'm not employed - my wife is only. Post your answer

Answer/Comment:

 

 
  Question #1133: I have 12 5-gallon buckets of old descaling chemicals (15+ years old). How do I go about disposing of these? 311 and Sanitation were no help at all. Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  I suggest you Google "Chemical Disposal" oogles and oogles of information shown. (http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&hl=en&q=chemical+disposal&btnG=Google+Search) William Aristovulos

 
  Question #1132: Can a large residential building (700 units) with a staff of 75 employees have an assistant superintendent as well as a superintendent? Are there any requirements due to the size of the complex, or is this unheard of? Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  Yes they most certainly can have an assistant super / resident manager. No, this is not unheard of and is common in most large buildings of 500 apartments and over.  Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1131: What courses should I consider when taking a superintendents position? There are 5 buildings and over 100 apartments. Can you recommend courses in the Manhattan area? Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  You should know basic plumbing, electrical, carpentry and of course you should know how boilers operate, but most importantly, people skills. Joe Shkreli

Answer/Comment:  You should also know about fire safety, pest management and lead paint laws. Peter Grech, GBOC
 
  Question #1130: Is there a website I can go to take a practice exam for the low pressure oil burner exam? Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  There is nowhere online you can go and take a practice exam. You can go to the NYFD and just take the exam. If you fail, then you can go back and retake the exam in a week. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1129: We used sulfuric acid for a slow drain, and now the odor is killing us. How can we get rid of the odor, fast. Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  You need to keep flushing the drain with cold water. However, if you used that acid on the drains expect the drains to leak shortly and will need to be replaced. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1128: What is best way to control heat if tenant opens window or puts washcloth etc. on thermostat. I currently have thermostat in basement but it is too cold and used to be in tenant apart and abused. Very rough area. Post your answer


Answer/Comment: Need more information on the system the way it is controlled now to recommend a change. Basically, if you can control the heat from the boiler in a central location, that would probably work best. But if this is a very small building, it may not work. What is your system like? Joe Lambert

Answer/Comment:  Talk to your heating company. There are products on the market that will operate the boiler using outside sensor along with return sensors. The type of sensors and location depends on the type of heating system you have. Let them do the survey and tell you the best course of action. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1127: My father worked for local 2, a maintenance and superintendents union for 10 years from 1963 to 1973 or 1974. He thinks he contributed to a pension plan during that time with the union, but does not know how to find out information. Do you have any ideas? I have tried to search the web without success. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Try calling the union, 212.388.3800. Curt Bergeest

Answer/Comment: Local 2 and Local 54 were assumed by other unions back in the mid to late '70s. Local 54 was assumed by local 32BJ. I do not know who assumed local 2. As Curt suggested, call Local 32BJ and maybe they will be able to help you. Otherwise, call the Realty Advisory Board on labor relations. They may be able to help you. 212 889 4100. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1126: I have been a superintendent for over seventeen years and never have I been in a building that requires a FSD certificate. I am currently looking for a new job and see a lot of jobs requiring a FSD certificate. How can I obtain this certificate, so I can apply for these jobs. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Are you in the union? If you are, give them a call and sign up for a class. If not take a look here. Ken Botte

Answer/Comment: MetroTech in Brooklyn. Curt Bergeest

 
  Question #1125: When are landlords required to install security bars on windows? One of the apartments in my building is clearly accessible from the roof of the neighboring building. Some people have told me bars need to be provided when there is demonstrable access to a space. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: To the best of my knowledge there is no code or law requiring a land lord to provide security bars for apartments. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1124:  I would like to know how I can go about going for training or schooling to be a porter. Where do I start? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: I found out that 32BJ offers a diploma class called "Lead Cleaner / Cleaning Foreperson", for those who are union members. You can also check out this site on nyc.gov  Ken Botte

Answer/Comment: You really don't need training to be a porter for most buildings, most supers will want to train you the way they like to have things done anyway, but as far as I know there is no formal training to become a New York City residential building porter.

Answer/Comment: I'm not sure if there are classes to become a porter, there might be, but you shouldn't let trying to find training to be a porter hold you back. Train yourself. Do you know what a porter does? A typical building porter's job is to clean. they know how to collect trash, sweep, mop, vacuum, clean the windows. If you can clean or practice cleaning your home, sidewalk and yard you can train yourself. Ken Botte

 
  Question #1123: Where can I get info on live-in super requirements for Westchester (NY) county? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: For Westchester, NYS Multiple Dwelling Laws will apply as well as any local Law issued by Westchester county or city. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1122: I would like to know, I am replacing the hallway lights in a 20 family residential walkup, can I put the lights on a motion-activated switch instead of having the lights on all night. They would activate the second any tenant opens their door. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Yes. The fact of the matter is a lot of buildings are doing the very same thing as a way to conserve energy. Roberto Cardona

 
  Question #1121: I have studied for and want to take the P99 Boiler exam, but right now am laid off. How can I take the exam and get license if I don't have a building? Can a friend who is a super write a letter for me stating that I work for him? Can my union write the letter stating that I'm fit even though I don't have a location? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: You can take the exam without having a location. You must provide the Fire Department with a letter of recommendation from a SCHOOL, as well as proof you took a class. The FD will let you take the exam with those two items and you will have one year to provide the FD with an address. IF you have a friend do as you suggest, that will be fraud and both of you will be prosecuted by law. NYFD has the best record system of all city agencies and there is no fooling them in the long run. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1120: I am working in a high rise apartment building as a handyman, 480 units. I have my New York City certificate for FSD, boiler, central smoke alarm, sprinkler. HVAC, and I am performing these duties also. I used my certificate at building department that I am the certified operator and maintenance for these premises and been doing
this for the past 20 years at this location. The company pays for renewal of my permits. The question is what my salary should be for these duties. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: If you are in a union then the union will set the minimum. If you are not in a union then you are on your own. In any event, your salary depends on how good you are at what you do and how well you can negotiate a pay increase.  Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1119: We have no doorman or super in our 6-unit Manhattan condo. Recently, we have had major problems with boiler flooding and radiators on the top and bottom floors leaking. My neighbor and I have spent the last 2 weeks meeting with plumbers, fuel delivery techs, boiler repairmen, etc. not to mention spending LOTS of time down in the boiler room. We have had sewerage and steam pipe leaks pointed out to us as well as boiler chimney pulling away from the wall. We proposed hiring a part-time super who might come in 1 or 2 times a month to walk-through our building, do maintenance and make any necessary repairs. Does this kind of employee exist? And if so, where do we find him or her? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Yes such supers do exist, in fact I do that now in my spare time. You can have someone come in maybe twice a week, inspect your systems and perform some other duties such as sweep the front of your building as well as mop and put out the garbage and recycling. If you are looking for a part time super place an ad on our website under jobs, someone will respond.  Roberto Cardona

Answer/Comment: Yes this kind of person exists. There are many supers who have 3, 4 and 5 or more small buildings like the one you describe in the same general area - some have them in different neighborhoods and travel by car or subway. Don't be afraid to pay a good one well, a good part-time super is hard to find and worth a lot. You're welcome to browse our resumes page and our situations-wanted page and put a free help-wanted ad on our jobs page to find such an employee.

 
  Question #1118: My five month old daughter has a delicate skin condition. She requires a washing machine for her clothes that does not use fragrance or dye. The people in charge of my building state that I'm not allowed to have a washing machine in my apartment in New York, but nowhere in my lease states that I can't have a washing machine, nor have I signed a paper that states that I agree with not having a washing machine. If I get a washing machine do they have any legal rights to stop me from doing so, even though it's not in my lease?  Post your answer

Answer/Comment: The lease agreement is the legal document spelling out yours and your landlord's rights and obligations to the other party. Read the fine print - on this page as well as in your lease.

 
  Question #1117: I am a contractor in Brooklyn. I need to know if there is a permit needed from the NYC DOB in order to install a ventless washer / dryer in a co-op building? My board says that I would need a permit. I say I do not and just need a licensed plumber and electrician with a vibration mat, pan, and shut-off sensor. Who's right? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Check out the Department of Buildings website, in particular the Applications and Permits page, then call the department by borough if you can't find your answer (DOB contact info page).

 
  Question #1116: The super of the co-op building where I live is retiring soon, now the building's board president is thinking to bring her nephew to replace him. He doesn't know anything about buildings maintenance but there is the handyman who has been working for more than six years in the building and wants the position, he has plenty of knowledge of buildings maintenance as well as licenses. Do you think it's fair for him not to get the position, and what can be done to make sure he gets it? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: As my personal opinion, I think your board president is a vulgar, power hungry ***. But unfortunately that is my personal opinion. Where is the rest of the board on this? I firmly believe your board president has a conflict of interest scenario forming here, which is something most honest and well run co-ops avoid like the plague! Many rental property owners often indulge in nepotism. One would only hope co-op boards were somewhat exempt from this. Does the nephew have all the required certificates and licenses? I think the rest of the board should veto your president, and truly give the job to the qualified person who has given his hard work to the building. I guess all is fair in co-ops and war! William Aristovulos

 
  Question #1115: What are the laws pertaining to decorating a fire escape? I live on the top floor of a four story building in Brooklyn. Can I put plants on it or hang window boxes? Can I use a carpet or put wood down on it? Also is it legal to sit on the fire escape? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: NOTHING is allowed on your fire escape. Please peruse this random violation I glossed off the web. (http://nyc.everyblock.com/building-violations-issued/by-date/2008/1/9/649476/) Sounds like the stuff you wish to place on your fire escape, word for word. As for being on the top floor, remember firs escapes have up and down escape routes. The life you save may be your own. William Aristovulos

 Answer/Comment: No, you are not allowed to place plants, carpets or anything that may act as an obstacle in the event of a fire emergency, and the fire escape has to be used as a means of escape. That applies to you as well as your neighbors - NYPD law. The same can be said about the hallways, no floor mats, shoes or umbrella stands are allowed.

 

 
  Question #1114: I'm a super of a 96 unit co-op apt building, free rent and pay no benefits. I'm not in a union. Of course in a co-op everyone is your boss. Lately there has been a lot of tension with the shareholders towards me, I feel there's no one to help me, even my manager brushes me off. I also feel that any day they could turn around and tell me that I'm no longer needed. I'd like to know what are my rights? I mentioned one time to one of the shareholders that I would like to join a union, right away he told me if that happens they will fire me. Any advice would be appreciated. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Well it sounds like you're in a pretty bad situation, based on what you said. You're not union, so you have no union contract to protect you and I assume you have no formal work contract between yourself and the building. My advice would be for you to start looking for a new job and a new place to live a.s.a.p. If what you said is true you have no protection and it sounds like you were a "hire at will" which also means they can fire you at will, with no explanation. Also remember no matter how much the shareholders love you, everyone is replaceable, and in no time you will be just a memory. Joe Shkreli

Answer/Comment: The sad fact is that you have very few rights without union backing. And yes, they CAN tell you at any time that you're no longer needed. If you have told them you'd like to join the union, then they cannot fire you - for that reason - but they can trump up some other charge to get rid of you and you'll still be out a job. My advice, get the jump on them and start looking for another job. A good super doesn't need to be working under such coercive conditions, and the great positive about this is that you can end up finding another job that is more than you ever could reasonably hope for, and certainly much more to your liking in all ways than what you have now. Yes it's a great upheaval in your life that you might not want or need, but it may be the best thing that ever happened to you - if you will it to be so and make it so.

Answer/Comment: My friend, the writing on the wall says start looking for a job because as I am responding to your post they are interviewing for your position.

 
  Question #1113: My super replaced my toilet bowl due to a crack in the porcelain. I noticed that this was an old bowl, not a new one. Are there any laws that state I should have gotten a brand new bowl? I was disgusted at having the clean someone's bowl! Post your answer

Answer/Comment: To the best of my knowledge, your super does NOT have to provide you with a new toilet. The only legal requirement is that it is a low flush model. William Aristovulos

Answer/Comment: Why is that disgusting, to clean "someone's bowl"? What do you think supers and handymen, or for that matter, maids or housekeepers, do every day of their lives?

 
  Question #1112: How can I become a member? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Simply click here http://www.nycsta.org/membersignup.htm or click "Member Enrollment" on the left side frame. Welcome Aboard! William Aristovulos

 
  Question #1111: We are a co-op building in Queens and would like to provide health insurance for our super. Is group insurance available through your organization, or do you have other suggestions for reasonably priced health insurance? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Currently we do not offer group life insurance. We are an educational association and feel our efforts are best served in that capacity. Encourage your super to join us! It is a small investment with perennial benefits of further learning in the multifamily industry. William Aristovulos

Answer/Comment: It is something we've looked at and may do in the future, so stay tuned.

 
  Question #1110:  A tenant asked for a spare key to the entrance door of the building to give to their out of town guests and to leave with a neighbor if they get locked out. There are two living in the apartment, both have a key. Do I have to provide them with a third spare key? Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  Security, security, security... you would be handing those spares over to strangers, think about it. I would tell them no. Ken Botte

Answer/Comment: No you don't have too. If two keys plus a mail box key is what is given to the apartment renters, then that is it. Your responsibility is only to the tenant in this case. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer/Comment: Don't think so, but why not do it as a matter of good will? It's such a small thing, you may think why should I do such a thing for them? But the tables could be turned on you with the same question - it's such a small thing, why not just do it?

 
  Question #1109:  One of my boilers failed to change from gas to oil during a Con Ed interruption due to a malfunction; BIG fine. Any options or recourse? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: If it failed to switch, then you should get your boiler mechanics over to find out why, and to solve this problem. Joe Shkreli

Answer/Comment: I have heard that you can get an automatic switch-over system installed so that Con Ed can do the change-over themselves. I would ask Con Ed if they can install such a device. I would also ask your boiler company as well. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1108:  The real estate management company for my building refuses to give me a spare set of keys.  Do I have any options?  (One of the keys is a "do not duplicate."). Post your answer

Answer/Comment: This would depend on what your lease states. If there is one person in the apartment, then most likely only one set is given out. If two people live in the apartment, then two sets will be given out. It is spelled out in the lease. If the lease has no rule of the key then you may demand a spare set and have to pay for them. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1107:  Are there any certificate of fitness classes in Queens? LaGuardia is no longer training because of lack of students. It's hard for me to get to Manhattan.  Post your answer

Answer/Comment: I am not sure which certificate of fitness you are referring to, there are many! However if you wish to take one of the several we offer, please click here http://www.nycsta.org/membersignup.htm. We are reasonably priced, especially if you join the association and we do offer night classes (in Manhattan). Yes I know it is hard for you to get into Manhattan, but is only once a week for two weeks. William Aristovulos

 
  Question #1106:  I live in a small co-op in Manhattan and our garbage system consists of the regular standard chute which then leads to a small dumpster in the basement. If this chute gets clogged the super is required to reach up into the chute and try and clear the clog. Isn't that a serious health issue removing raw garbage from a chute? Is this considered to be up to building code? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Unfortunately, cleaning a clogged refuse chute is the nature of the beast. If you work in a multi-family building, you have to clean a refuse chute once in a while. Now, some logic prevails here. Heavy industrial rubber gloves with long cuffs, and goggles should be worn. William Aristovulos

Answer/Comment: Garbage chutes do get stoppages. Building staff have to free up the stoppages. As far as I know, there is no building code as to how a chute is to be cleared of a stoppage. Is it a health issue? It could be. In my 32 years I have never heard of any staff member getting ill from the garbage. One of the biggest dangers of moving garbage by hand is used needles. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1105:  I have been living in my New York City apartment building for about 6 months. It is a walkup building with 8 apartments and 1 business. The lobby/common area is outdoors with the garbage, which is within the common space, under the stairwell (exposed). The 3 garbage cans themselves do not have lids, and it is only taken out 1 day per week, despite the 3 days of pick up on my street. Tenants often do not properly seal the garbage bags and they pile up quickly causing offensive odor. I have seen mice, however this morning I saw a rat, which was in the hallway leading to the exit. I have complained about this problem before and there has been no change. How often is a building super required to take out garbage? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: First of all, all garbage cans MUST have a tight lid that closes the can. This is CODE. Secondly, the city of New York requires the removal of household garbage as soon as possible. Third, City code also requires a sign by the garbage (actually many different types of signs) posting the hours the garbage is collected and removed. No sign can lead to a fine. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1104: What are the procedures needed to obtain a fire certificate for a commercial building? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: I have no clue what you mean by a fire certificate. There is no such certificate per se. You need to get me the specific certificate's name. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1103: Currently I am the owner of a two family house in which my tenant, without my permission changed the locks to their apartment.  He gave me a key that turned out to be a bogus copy. We showed him that the key does not work and they said they would get us a copy. I have repeatedly requested another functional copy of the key but have not gotten one. They currently have been served eviction papers to leave by Jan. 31st in a holdover eviction process.  The questions are: 1) What is the fire code or New York City law they are breaking in not providing me with a key to the apartment? I have scheduled to be installed a new front entrance door to the house. I understand I will have to give them a key, 2) Should I have the key marked  "Do Not Duplicate" (will this be of any bite for a locksmith to not duplicate, 3) Will it be better to postpone installation until after they are gone or they have received court orders? This looks like it is going to be a long haul of an eviction and we needed this door for winterizing. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: It would be wise for you to consult your attorney, assuming you have one. Joe Shkreli

 
 

Question #1102:  I live in a rental building on the upper west side and we are trying to figure out what, if any, the technical difference is - pay scale? title in the union? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Not sure if I understood your question but here goes anyway: The union pay scale is broken into three classes of buildings: types A, B, & C. The pay scale then is divided into three job categories: super, handyman and other (other being porter, doorman or anyone else other than super and handyman). The super's pay scale may be broken into other categories such as working, non-working and resident manager, depending on the contract. Peter Grech, GBOC

 
  Question #1101: I have taken a super job in a building of 170 units. There are 4 boilers with a total of 2,999,880 BTUs. That's not enough to get the black seal boilers license. The law requires 4,000,000 BTUs in order to obtain a license! Is it really necessary to have a license in order to be a super in a condominium with such small boilers. I am located in Edgewater NJ. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: To some it would appear to be obvious that if the law states a minimum of 4 million BTUs in order to require a license (I don't know NJ law, so I'm not saying that's the cutoff, merely reflecting what you stated) and you are under that minimum, then in that building it isn't necessary for you to be licensed. You seem to be answering your own question - unless, of course, I'm missing something - which is entirely possible.

 
 
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