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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog
  Questions For Supers - 1201 to 1250  

"The school of ignorance is the most expensive school but some will learn in no other." -William Shakespeare


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

  last update on Sunday March 15, 2009 10:44 PM PT     January 2008

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  Question #1250: I was hired in a 120 days probation period in Westchester county bldg with a Craig list ad stating a 3 bedroom apt. Now after 4 weeks in the job I found the master bedroom is a converted gas meter room with 30 meters in it. This apt is a 2 bedroom legally and an illegal 3rd bedroom. Furthermore I took a 800.00 per month pay cut, for a 3 bedroom apt. now I cannot move into apt because of the hazard of sleeping in a gas meter room. (the room was framed with wood and sheet rock no insulation and no heating radiator. Who can I complaint to, the union, the labor dept or retain a lawyer. Peter please advise. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: If it is a union position, I would sit down with the owner/s or board and try to work this out. If that fails, then file a complaint with the union first and they will give you the right advice on how to proceed. If this is NOT a union position, I would look for another job, as you are hired at will, and the owner/board may just terminate you. You could try to talk to the owners/board (if not union) but this just may give them a heads up to look for some one else. Labor dept would not help you in this case. The union may not even help, but may advise you. Here is the reality of your situation, Union or Not. If this bedroom is as you say, no heat, no insulation, those issues may NOT be in violation of your Townships Laws. If there is No window, then it is a violation of State law. My understanding is that all the walls around the gas room need to be made from Masonry, bricks or Block and not sheet rock. That you can find out from the Local Fire Dept and Local Town ship.  The issue of did they not tell the truth at time of hire; 3 bedrooms legally verses 2 bedrooms legally verse and 1 illegal did they break the law? They will just say they didn't know. Even if you sued and won, what would you win?  Seek the advise of an attorney AFTER you found another job and sue for damages for moving to and from that building and for other costs. Not sure if  Helped you. Peter Grech

Answer/Comment: If you are still on probation, just continue to do your work, until you pass your probation time, then signup with the union and then you could approach the management through your union. Sam V.

  Question #1249:  Water damage from a leaking gutter. After roofer worked on the gutter and Roto Rooter did their high speed water blast we still have water coming in. How do I find out where its coming from? Roof is flat. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Water leaks are one of the hardest things to find at times, as the water may come out in one area but the actual leak may be 10 to 15 feet away in another area of the roof. Inspect the roof carefully. Look for any obvious issues like holes, rips, loose seams, air pockets (bubbling) Make a note when the water penetrates with what kind of rain... i.e.; It leaks only when it rains hard or it rains with wind, and the direction of the wind, or it just leaks all the time. These are clues. Check around chimneys, and roof stack to make sure the seams are good. Most of the time if you look many times (not just once or twice) you will see it. Lastly do a water test in 5 foot by 5 foot area of the roof at a time. You can use sand bags to form the separations. Peter Grech

  Question #1248: What are the legal requirements to convert from an oil boiler to gas boiler in NYC? Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  Permits. You will need permits. The company that you hire to make the switch is the one that gets all the permits to do so. Call you gas company to find out what requirements are needed. See if your gas company offers credits or give backs for switching. A licensed Plumber will be needed for the gas work. Peter Grech

Answer/Comment:  Does the breeching on your boiler go underground? if so you can't have gas boiler unless you change the chimney flue. You also may need to have a larger gas meter installed to accommodate the new boiler feed. Curt

  Question #1247: What should you do if a resident complains about the facility? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Complaints about the facility is a very wide reaching question. One thing for sure, if one resident made a complaint, there is sure to be a few more others who are thinking the same thing but have not complained. Our jobs is to keep the facility running in good order within the set budget. Make a list of items that are in the complaint, from least expensive to the most expensive, then that list should also list what is health or safety issues. Correct the items which is with in your power / budget to correct, and get estimates for the rest and present it to your superior. Now, if the resident just complains for the sake of complaining (nagging) then talk to that resident. One resident can make your life and every one else's miserable. If I missed the point of your question, email me more details and I will respond. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #1246: How and where can I get the Handyman License? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: A far as I know, (and while I do know a lot, there is also a lot I do not know) there is no Handyman license for NYC. Unless you are planning to be a handyman / contractor. Then you many need some sort of license. But if you plan to work as a handyman in buildings, then no license is needed. It would be handy (no pun intended) to have your Sprinkler and Standpipe and you #6 oil burner Certificates of Fitness from the Fire Dept. Peter Grech

Answer/Comment: There is such a thing as a HIC license, Home Improvement Contractor, this is usually for Handymen that do Handyman skills for a living on private residences. Most Co-Ops will not accept this. I hope this helps. Curt

Answer/Comment: We offer courses for these certificates of fitness, please see this link

Answer/Comment: Although the first answer is correct there is no "Handyman License" 32-BJ's Thomas Shortman training fund offers a in depth course for "Handyman" and "Superintendent" Certification. Both courses covering Basic electrical, carpentry & plumbing, Blueprint Reading, OSHA Regulations for a "Handyman" Certificate and the above mentioned courses including more in depth courses in Facility Management, Boiler Operations, HVAC  and a few others for "Supers". Here is a link to the complete course catalog the Handyman Course is found on page 29, and the Super is found on page 31. Hope this helps! Anthony Sambuco

  Question #1245: In Westchester county when does the heating season begin and what are the recycling rules? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: ALL of NY STATE is under one code... New York State Code. Oct 1 is the beginning of heating season and May 30th is the End of heating season. Peter Grech

  Question #1244: Where do you check to see if a boiler license is valid, and not a phony? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: If you are referring to the FDNY certificate of fitness for the number six heavy oil burner, you can contact the Fire Dept, division of fire prevention in Brooklyn. Peter Grech

  Question #1243: In Westchester County New York, what is the code for how far a gas boiler has to be from the gas meter when installing? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Sorry, cant help you here. You need to contact either a plumber in your city who knows the codes, or an architect. You may also find out by calling the city. Peter Grech

  Question #1242: I am very interested in getting into the superintendent field, I just need to know what I need to be licensed in and what else I need? I know basic handy man skills, I'm a contractor, but what else is really needed? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Your question is not a simple one to answer. You should come to one of our meetings and network. You will get different answers from different people based on their experiences. The basics you need is at least a Certificate of Fitness for the number six oil heavy oil burners, Sprinkler and standpipe Certificate of Fitness, lead paint certifications, basic knowledge of the trades and how a building operates/functions and how to operate a building and all of its components. This question has been asked many times, so if you search back you may find more detailed answers. If you are a member, then you can sit down with us and we can give you career guidance, as it is free for members. Peter Grech

  Question #1241: I am in a stabilized New York City Section 8 apartment. I have two handicaps. I am bipolar and suffer from a bad foot that I cannot stand long on. I broke it in 3 places. Since then I cannot stand on it for too long. I am using a portable washing machine. Is there a law that forbids me having a washing machine due to my physical and mental handicap? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Your lease is the bible. If your lease states no washing machines, then 99% you can not use the washing machine, handicapped or not. I do not know of any variance given to this clause on a lease. I am sure if you ask three attorneys this question you will get three answers. You also can call the Rent stabilization board of NY who can answer this question better then I or any one else. Peter Grech

  Question #1240: I live in a multiple dwelling co-op apartment. I have a two year old child and cannot use my bathroom because of leaks over my toilet, above my tub and mold growing in my closet which is coming from the apartment above. I have notified my management company but was told that it is the home owners responsibility to fix tiles and bathtub leaks. For the past 5 months I cannot get either the apartment owner above or the management company to fix these problems. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  Your management company is mostly correct when it states that it is the owners responsibility to repair leaks and damage. However it is Managements responsibility to make sure that Owners are keeping good faith in doing repairs that cause damage to the building and other apartments. I would send management, the board and the owner above a registered letter stating your issues and a damage for cure in 15 days otherwise you will call the HPD and file violations. Furthermore you should get estimates to repair your damage and give it to the owner above separately and state that you expect the repairs to be done by them otherwise you will hire a contractor and file a small claims action. You should seek an attorneys advice at this point. You might, in your letter to the board and management, state that your maintenance might go into escrow until the leaks stop. Again, please seek attorneys advice. Peter Grech

  Question #1239: For those of us with hydronic heat (hot water heaters and boilers) should we flush out the old water currently in the boiler and heating pipes? I usually to get the following *conflicting* answers from plumbers and boiler guys:

1. Yes, you want to get rid of all the old residue and replace it with fresh clean water so that your boiler is clean and efficient and your radiators don't get clogged. OR,

2. No, you want to keep the old water in the system, since it is low in oxygen. New water is oxygen-rich, which will accelerate the process of rusting all of your heating pipes. So only flush out the system every *few* years - I guess that mean once every 3-6yrs.

So what's the right answer???
Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Note, you should blow down strainers and tanks regularly as this will flush out a lot of the sediment.
Answer 1 is nonesense.
Peter Grech

  Question #1238: I have a one bedroom apartment, we pay over 1300 in rent, on time. Since we've  been here there has been roaches and other small ones. Now we are getting bites as well. There are little bugs that look like mix between a roach and rollie pollie, but kind of small. We also have regular, medium size, and baby roaches as well. We clean all the time!  He sends someone once a month, and we go thru 1-2 cans Raid a week and Lysol as well along with every cleaner possible and we se traps .... at night its getting to point they crawl all over us and we see them everywhere, maybe 50-75 sometime up to like 200 we see them in daytime they climb all over everything, on walls, TV, floors etc. It is so gross, there all over, we have a 2yr old little girl and my husband and baby are having hard time breathing. What should we do? We have place we can move to on the 15th but we would lose half the month and well need our money to leave. Would it be wrong of us to talk to him and tell him we cant pay the 2 weeks because he has no deposit from us, since we did things to fix up the apartment instead! Post your answer

Answer/Comment: First of all, if you are getting bitten at night, then you most likely have BED BUGS. Only way to be sure is to have a professional or some one who knows bed bugs to take a look. If you do have them and MOVE OUT, you will take the bed bugs with you. You need to have the exterminator look at this. As for getting back your 15 days of rent, most likely you will not get it, unless you can say you had to move out due to bed bugs. Most likely you will need to take this matter to court as I don't think the land lord will just give you the 15 days of rent. Peter Grech

  Question #1237: I have been interested in becoming a super for some time now however I do not feel I have enough training I would like to know how I go about getting formal training to get the proper credentials and experience?  Post your answer



  Question #1236: Taitem Engineering, is looking for existing buildings using vertical floor mounted slide out water source heat pumps for the purpose of a research project. The research project will consist of a number of field tests. At the completion of testing, Taitem Engineering will provide a free report to the owner assessing the efficiency of the units. If you know of any buildings using these units please contact Jim Hauswirth, by phone at 917.232.7042 or send an email to  Post your answer



  Question #1235: I have a refrigeration compressor that starts, but will not run. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Seems either you lost a leg of power to it or the over load protection is kicking in which means either compressor is shot, short  of gas or obstruction in the line. Peter Grech

Answer/Comment: Well in a nut shell your compressor needs to be replaced. The electrical part as far as your compressor turning on through what would be termed as your electrical "start windings" are working, but the mechanical aspect as far as the suction, compression and discharge is concerned is shot. Roberto Cardona

  Question #1234: For a Habitat article, could I ask whether any supers are getting complaints about second-hand smoke seeping into hallways and apartments, and how do they deal with this issue? Do any supers have buildings with non-smoking policies (not just for common areas) -- for new purchasers, for example? Post your answer



  Question #1233: How do I find a job as a porter in a building in the city. I have a porter background with a building in White Plains in a luxury condo, but I am moving to the city and want to find work there. I am a hard worker and can pass the background and drug test. I also have front desk experience  Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Check newspapers for ads for jobs, go to buildings door to door and ask, come to some of our meetings and network, go to new constructed buildings as they will want to hire... with new construction, wait until they start putting in the windows. Peter Grech

  Question #1232: How can I obtain a copy of my New York boiler license? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: If you are referring to the Certificate of Fitness issued by the Fire Dept for number six boilers, you can go to 9 Metro Tech in Brooklyn and apply for a replacement one. Do not go after 2pm. Peter Grech

  Question #1231: First off all before I begin, I wanted to say what a wonderful job you're doing with the website. I hurt my self working in the building and I had to have surgery. I didn't go through workmen's comp and its been a year now. I now regret it and want to go ahead and take action. I am no longer employed by the building. Any suggestions? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: The super or managing agent at that time should have filed a report of your injury and reported to the insurance company. It was a major mistake not to have filed forms with the management at the time you were hurt. I do not know what you want to do? If all your medical expenses were paid for, then you have no bills. If you are seeking time lost due to the injury, it may be too late as YOU did not seek it. I think you need to call management and find out from them, or call the State Dept of Worker's Comp. and find out from them. Last resort would be to seek advice from an attorney. Peter Grech

  Question #1230: What is the repainting requirement for hallways in a multiple dwelling apartment building or coop? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: There really is no code for hallways stating that they should be painted or redone in a certain time  e.g.  every 4 years. There is however provisions in the codes that state the hallways and stair wells need to be maintained. So, if there is loose plaster or paint chips these would need to be repaired on an on going basis. Work must be done in a workman like manner and the paint needs to be in a light color. Note, the paint in the hallways where the repair was done does NOT have to match the rest of the hallway. It just has to be done neat, and in a light color. (white or off white). If there is water marks (damage) this too has to be primed and painted (repaired). Any mold would need to be dealt with also, all on an on going basis. Peter Grech

  Question #1229: Looking for a durable high shine clear finish product for commercial grade vinyl tile floor. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: That high shine look is only achieved with a HIGH SPEED machine. It's not so much the product that gives the shine but the machine that spins at a very high speed and builds up heat. This heat in turns softens the wax to a high shine. Try calling one of our sponsors and ask them about products. I have a low luster floor, so I don't use wax. Peter Grech

  Question #1228: One of the properties I am dealing with - there has been a major leak since the building was certified, resulting in large scale mold in the first floor of the property. This building has recently undergone full rehab. After mold abatement and removal crews have gutted the walls, treated, and retested will the building need to be re certified? If the mold is not toxic, and only present in one of several units, are the other demised premises considered still habitable? We are having Serv-Pro come for testing and abatement, however there are people renting the upper unit currently, and I would like to know how this will affect their lease terms (Mold/water damage disclosure needing to be added to the terms of a lease, herein? Endangerment?) They are aware of the condition, as we are trying to remedy it asap...thanks for any advice you may have to offer. Post your answer



  Question #1227: What are the fire codes regarding washer dryer hookups in a rental unit...I am working with an owner who has washer and dryer hookups in a wall to wall carpeted area, with no "real" dryer vent, just a tiny window up high to the right of the dryer/washer area. The hookup is for a gas dryer, with hookups coming from a interior bedroom dividing wall. It seems that this might be a potential fire hazard, but was previously unaware of any code violations, and I believe the unit has been recently certified by the city for occupancy. Also the hook ups do not have a dedicated ground fault interrupted branch circuit, as is customarily wired in walls that will have w/d hookups. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: First of all fire codes state if you have a gas dryer, you need to have a sprinkler system over the gas dryer. Code also states that the dryer must be vented to the fresh air. If you contact the fire dept they will tell you exactly what you need. Watch out they don't come to the property and give you violations though. An architect can best serve you here. You might have to pull permits. Also, new fire codes are coming so I do not know what is in the new fire codes. Peter Grech

  Question #1226:  I was wondering what the codes are for a basement apartments. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: The new building codes are here and i do not know enough as i have not had time to study them. Basically basement apartments are ok as long as there are windows for every room and that the zoning allows basement apartments. Need to watch out for where the heating system is in relation to the apartment. Again, new codes new game. Peter Grech

  Question #1225:  I live in a 16 story pre-war building in Manhattan. My upstairs neighbor has plants on the small (12 inch deep) balcony outside his windows. One of the set of plants is above my AC. When he waters, dirty water pours into my AC and splashes my windows. I have spoken to him about over watering, but he has not changed. Is there a law prohibiting putting flower pots on small balconies (that are on the street side, not back side) of our building? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: As long as the small balcony has a railing, there is not law against the plants. Not sure if you live in a coop or condo or rental, but you can call the owner or managing agent and see if they can do something. Otherwise if the problem still persists, take him to small claims court. Peter Grech

  Question #1224:  I have a fiberglass shower stall in our 5th wheel and a fiberglass tub and shower in our home, the problems is if we put anything down on this fiberglass or even hang any thing from the fiberglass walls, they turn yellow even after a few days. Why is this happening and is there something out there that will remove this yellow from our tub and showers? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Fiberglass absorbs, which is the problem. You can try cleaning it with mild bleach, but it most likely not work. RV centers may have a product that can do the trick. I know that when RV centers try to clean up trade in RVs they end up having to coat the fiberglass with an epoxy. Peter Grech

  Question #1223:  I live in a pre-war 20's/30's building in Queens, and have an "external overflow" or "standing waste" pipe outside the bathtub. My wife put the top-attached-to-a-tube back on top of the outer chrome tube, and that did something to the tub drain - it stopped it up, and we now have standing water after a shower. I have removed it and messed with it on, off, turned it, etc... to no avail. How do these work? The brass or copper tube inside the chrome tube is hollow, and does extend a foot and a half or so from the handle , but I cannot see how the mechanism works, or find examples on the internet, because these are obsolete. I wonder if ours is missing a part or is broken at the bottom of the whole deal? It goes below the floor tile, and tub-base level. We do not have a claw-foot tub. Is there supposed to be a linkage attached to it? Because there isn't, and it's just a brass inner cylinder attached to the handle and threaded round cap. I can't see inside the "master" chrome tube well enough to see if there is a catch there, a hole, or what. Since these are so old, I cant seem to find a good diagram of exactly how they are supposed to work inside, either. Any advice, so we can drain the water and leave this thing out for good again? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: I haven't seen them in a long time. they usually are Savoy standing bath waste. They still make them, although they don't make replacement parts for them. The newer ones are slimmer so sometimes the new ones fit the old ones, Some times the old ones are the wider type and you need to chop up the floor and replace the entire thing. The plunger, when in the extended (down) position holds the bath water in, and when it is raised, (retracted) allows the water to exit the tub. The difference between the two is about one inch. Unscrew the top apart, and take out the tube. That should do it, other wise look down the cylinder with a flash light, and see if a part broke off and try using a coat hanger to remove it. I do NOT recommend unscrewing the base (as it can completely unscrew off) because its so old, you most likely will break it. If all else fails you will need to call a plumber to install new complete set, which should cost about $400 installed or so. Peter Grech

  Question #1222:  My boiler is showing me a flame failure, what can I do to fix it? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Fail failure can mean 20 different things and depends if you have number 6, 4 or 2 oil. With out knowing which you have, I can not suggest what to do. Peter Grech

  Question #1221: We're wondering what would be a good price for renovating an apartment. It's a railroad apartment with 2 small rooms and a larger main room plus a kitchen and bathroom. The apartment has been gutted (down to the beams). The floor is going to be replaced and the electric upgraded. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: You are looking at $75,000 for basic no thrills renovation cost. That would include kitchen and bath but no fancy marble or granite. Would include new flooring. Would include a good plaster job and painting, would include basic electrical up grades. Peter Grech

  Question #1220: Can a super also have a position on a co-op board ?  Post your answer

Answer/Comment:  I agree with Peter Grech below, it would be a gross conflict of interest and besides if the super doesn't work out how do you fire him? Roberto Cardona

Answer/Comment: It all depends on what the governing documents say. Most board members must be owners. If there is no provisions saying employee cannot be on the board, and if the super owns an apartment, then YES he can be on the board if elected. If he doesn't own an apartment, but the documents do not exclude non owners/shareholders, then again YES he can be elected on the board.

I DO NOT RECOMMEND that the super be elected to the board even if he can. This would be an gross conflict of interest. Peter Grech

  Question #1219: Could you tell me how much Fire Safety Directors make in NYC?  Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Sorry, I have no clue how much fire safety directors make. The fire safety directors I know, are also the supers of the building and it goes with the job. Peter Grech

  Question #1218: I would greatly appreciate any advice, I having a problem with mold on my bathroom ceiling, master bedroom closet and leaks in my living room which seems to be coming from my neighbor above. I live a c-op in queens and have notified both my super and the management company about this. Both of them agreed that the leaks are coming from the above tenant, however the management company does not want to fix it because it is not their responsibility. How do I get the management to have the tenants above fix this situation. The mold in my bathroom and bedroom is so much that it smells, the walls are all greenish-back. I am very concern because my son just turn two years old and is exposed to this. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Management is correct, damages caused by other owners is not managements duty, however management should act as a beginning point. You stated that both super and management agree that the leaks are coming from above. Has it been established that the leaks from above, are NOT the buildings issue? Leaks in plumbing system that is common to two or more apartments are the buildings (coop, condo) responsibility. You need to get a letter from management stating that the leaks are coming from above. The leaks need to be cured, which management needs to make sure that the owner above will or has cured it, if its not a building leak. Send a registered letter to the owner stating your damages. Get two or three estimates. I would also at this point involve your insurance company. Peter Grech

  Question #1217: In a co-op building, who is responsible for replacing a broken mailbox lock, the Postal Service, the co-op, or the unit owner? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Depending on what type of mailbox you have, it can be a quick and easy fix.  I replaced mine a few months ago, when my husband and I managed to lose all our mailbox keys.  The lock itself was only $5 at the local hardware store.  All I needed was a pair of pliers to loosen the nut on the old lock and tighten the lock on the new one.  It took about five minutes, tops!

Answer/Comment: The owner of the apartment is responsible for the apartment mail box lock. Postal Service is NOT responsible for individual box locks. Peter Grech

Answer/Comment: It is the responsibility of the co-op. The handyperson can make the replacement. If it is the USPS lock, then it is not the co-op's. Curt Bergeest

Answer/Comment: If your mailbox lock is broken, the co-op would have it replaced, but in some cases they may charge you for replacement and installation. You can also find out what type of lock is necessary and buy one at the local hardware store and "tip" your handyman to have it installed. The post office is not obligated to repair your mailbox lock and be thankful for that because if they did they would charge you! One more thing,did you know that the post office is not obligated to leave mail in a mailbox with a broken mailbox lock? They would request you pick it up at the post office, rather than have someone possibly steal your mail for id theft purposes. Because the fact of the matter is; stealing mail is a federal offense. Roberto Cardona

  Question #1216: I'm the super of two 20-unit tenement buildings in downtown Manhattan. I have a tenant who is sick and his rent and utilities are paid for by a city agency. The problem is that he has turned his apartment into a dump and it stinks of animal waste, trash, etc. The apartment is a vector for mice and roaches, and in my opinion, a fire hazard. The landlord says that the tenant's apartment is supposed to be cleaned by some city agency. The tenant--who is certainly well enough physically to maintain his apartment--does not respond to requests to clean. Over the past two years other tenants have complained about the foul odors. I get complaints, I call the landlord, the landlord calls the case worker, nothing happens. Then I call the case worker directly and leave messages, and nothing happens. Is there anything I can do to rectify this situation or do we all just have to live with it? Would it help to file a complaint with Mental Health & Hygiene? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: If it is a section 8 or HUD housing call them directly. They will send someone out to inspect the apartment. If the tenant's is such a mess as you say, they give him a warning to clean and then come back to inspect, if it is still a mess he could lose their housing. Curt Bergeest

Answer/Comment: When you call the city Health dept what will happen is this... the building and not the renter will receive a violation from the city. The violation will order the building owner to clean up the apartment. With this order to clean up, should the tenant refuse, the owner can then seek court judgment to either evict the tenant or order by the court to get into the apartment to clean it up. Again the building will get the violation NOT the occupant. Peter Grech

  Question #1215: Have a serious issue with DEP and a violation for removing a water meter in our six family building. We have been harassed by DEP over and over again and they are taking advantage of us. I had described this in detail but I was over the 1000 characters and thought reset would have refreshed my email but it erased it. I had an advocate try to help me, but they were ignored as well and I need legal council. I have had no luck in finding one with experience suing DEP's water dept. in NYC. I need help, I am waiting for them to come in and turn off my water and then another issue will be unresolved. Please advise and I love this site, so much valuable info for both tenant and landlord. I belong to a landlord's organ. but they did not respond, everyone is afraid of DEP. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: DEP some times can be a bully but on the most part they are reasonable. I have read your entry but afraid I am a little confused. Can you restate your question on how we can try to help you? Peter Grech

  Question #1214: I have filed out a 30 page application to sub lease a co-op apartment in Larchmont. I also signed the sub lease and wrote a check for $300 to the co op & and a $250 check. The board is in said they will honor a 9/1 move in date and I am just waiting to hear about an interview. I am having second thoughts. The checks have not been cashed and the agent said she will inquire about the penalty to cancel. Do you know if it is possible to cancel and if so, what is the typical penalty to pull out of a co op sublease before the board has even processed it? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: I assume one check is for the application process and the other check is either a moving fee or a deposit against possible damages. The coop or condo will have different rules from another building. I would expect that you can kiss your application fee good bye if they actually processed your application. the moving fee or deposit should be refunded or returned to you since you will not be moving in. If they have not processed your application it depends on the management rules, either they will refund it in whole or part or not. Sorry I cant be more helpful. Peter Grech

  Question #1213: I own a coop in a building with more than 100 units. I need to replace my freestanding stove which currently rests against a wall. Instead of buying a new range, I would like to put a cook top and oven built in stove in an island in the kitchen. Is there any regulation or law that would prevent me from doing so? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: I do not think is any law against this, just make sure you have filed everything. You will have run a new electrical line to the new stove and oven, which is 220v.  If you live in a co-op or condo make sure you get the approval of the Board. Curt Bergeest

Answer/Comment: No. You would need to have a licensed plumber hook up the stove and oven, if its a gas type and if you have to do some pipe moving then you would need a permit. You may have to file an alteration agreement with the building management if that is what is required by the building/management. Peter Grech

Answer/Comment: Not to my knowledge, but don't quote me on that. But what i would advise you to do would be to ask a board member if you are allowed to change the stove at the way you are requesting. Spsome co-ops will not allow work done in the apts. without their permission. Roberto Cardona

  Question #1212: Where can I find a website such as this for information on other states such as NJ, N/S Carolina? I've tried Google, etc... but have had no success. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: As far as I know there is no other site like ours covering other states. Sorry.  But should you find one or more please drop me an email at so that we can refer others to it. Peter Grech

  Question #1211: I manage a complex that uses electric baseboard heat. The tenant is responsible for the electric bill. The same units are equipped with natural gas stoves. The residents shut the electric heat, turn on the stove full blast and heat their units. Is there a specialty stove that turns to oven operation off when the door is open; or a specialty valve that can be installed on the supply line to do the same? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: I presently am not familiar with one, but I will inform you what they are doing is very dangerous. To begin with when the stoves are lit to heat the room they are also burning up the oxygen in the room, the air is now dry air which is very unhealthy plus not to mention if per chance they should fall asleep with the stove on and the pilot light goes out they stand to inhale the gas fumes as they sleep not to mention a possible explosion. You should explain to them the out come of their actions before its too late especially where children and pets are involved. Roberto Cardona

  Question #1210: Where can I get a copy of an affidavit required by FDNY for the removal and recycling of refrigerant gasses from an abandoned central AC unit? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: What you can do is call 311 and inform them about the said unit and where it is located and they send someone to remove the refrigerant at no cost. Roberto Cardona

  Question #1209: Is there a code restricting the installation of carpeting in the emergency stairwell of a pre-war building located in NYC? The building has twenty floors and the coop would like to carpet the top two floor stairwells going onto the roof. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Yes there is, you see a stairwell must be used in case of an emergency such as fire, and the stairwell must be constructed to be 4 hour fire resistant at the very least. By you installing a carpet you would be reducing the time span of the fire resistant walls and stairs. Roberto Cardona

  Question #1208: I live in a coop. My superintendent has been very unprofessional and we have had several disagreement mostly about things he has refused to do. When I brought this up with the housing he turned around and said he was going to sue me for harassment. He continuously says to people he knows he is going to take all the money I have. He has proceeded by taking this to a court dispute center. How can I stop this abuse? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: You need to consult an attorney on this. I personally would ask management and the super to both sit down with you, to go over the issues that started this. Peter Grech

  Question #1207: I'd like to know if you can tell how many gallons of oil per hour my burner uses with my Hago 0.75 nozzle. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Try this link Curt Bergeest

Answer/Comment: Straight out of the box, the nozzle would be 3/4 gallon per hour @ 100PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch), if your operating pressure is greater, then the GPH would go up proportionately from the 3/4 gallon. William Aristovulos

  Question #1206: How can I get a boilers license for a superintendent of a residential building in NY city Post your answer

Answer/Comment: We teach those classes, if you are interested. Please call Peter Grech, his number is listed on our Web-site  Roberto Cardona

  Question #1205: A 25 family condo doesn't have a in live super, but they have a cleaning service provided, and they choose to have a emergency on call service. what are their responsible for emergency? and what is the salary per month for the on call service? should they also charge per emergency visit? and repairs? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: I am sorry but this question should be asked of the company providing the service. You should have defined what is an emergency as understood by the service company and the fee as well. Also just what the contract includes in the regular service and what is the fee should it be an emergency call. All this should be explained in the papers. Peter Grech

  Question #1204: Can anyone recommend elevator service companies we should definitely consider and ones we definitely should avoid for our 90 unit apartment building with two elevator cars?  Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Since I've been an Office Bldg. Supt. (3 1/2 years), we've used P.S. MARCADO with very good results.  I have zero hesitation reccomending them to others.  Prompt & reliable service - knowledgeable technicians. David L. Taylor

  Question #1203: I am sorry if this is redundant, but I want to clear up the issue of air conditioners and windows that open onto fire escapes.

I have two windows in my living room. Both open onto the fire escape. I have an air conditioner in one of the windows. The management recently posted a letter stating, in broad terms, that air conditioners were not allowed to block fire escapes and threatening a $500 removal fee.

The answer to question #668, on this site, backs up what I found out calling the FDNY. If an apartment has two windows opening onto a fire escape, an air conditioner is allowed in one window with two provisions: that the street facing side of the air conditioner does not extend out past the edge of the windowsill, and that the other window remains free. Is this correct? Is this in compliance with both fire and building code? Why does the answer to question #1155 seem to contradict this? Is there proof online or in print?  Post your answer



  Question #1202: I live in a 8 unit building 4 units on each end. We have an enclosed stairwell. I recently discovered I am heating and cooling the public area. This was not disclosed to me in the lease nor by owner/managers. I asked for duct to be plugged and they stuffed bare fiberglass insulation into the duct. I have bought my own HEPA HVAC filter due to the fact my 8yr old has Asthma and Allergies that have gotten worse since the fiberglass insulation. They are now avoiding me and refuse to replace my filter or return my calls. Is it legal for them to not disclose to me that I am paying for public heat and air, the fiberglass insulation, and the avoiding me to replace the filter. I am thinking I need a lawyer and advice will help. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: You should have been informed that you are providing heat to a public space and your rent should be calculated for this. Other then my opinion, I can not help you as your issues would involve what the law states. I would seek the advice of an attorney. I am sorry I can not help but please do let me know what the end result is so that we can guide others in the future, should a similar question come up. Peter Grech

  Question #1201: I live in a rented apt, uptown. The apt is very old and something always goes wrong here. Every time something happens I'll call my super to let him know, but never get a response back. Sometimes I will meet him on a street and will let him know of the problem, he will tell me that he is very busy, but he will come and will take a look. Then he never shows up. More then a month ago, he started doing renovations in my apt. I bought all the supplies and give him some money, so he will do a good job. (He asked me if I want a bad job or a good job). Since three weeks ago now, no one comes to my apt, to keep going with the renovation. When I called him and asked what is happening, he became very rude and started to scream at me. What can I do? This building needs a good super. I don't know how he is with other tenants, but with me he is horrible. Pease let me know. Post your answer

Answer/Comment: Sorry for being late with this issue. There are Great supers, there are good supers, and then there are Bums. Sorry to say it would seems yours is the latter. If reason doesn't work, and a bribe doesn't work then the only last resort is talking to the supers managing agent or the land lord. Peter Grech