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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog
 
 

Questions For Supers - 300 to 349

 
   

Last update on Thursday January 31, 2008 09:46 PM PT

 

 
 

frequently asked questions  ask a question  questions by category

 
 
  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.

 
     
  QUESTIONS POSTED  
  Question #349: I have been a superintendent at a large co-op for 16 years. In the past, we would do extra work, such as replacing hard-wired smoke alarms and emergency battery back up light fixtures in our public hallways, and get paid extra. Management is now telling us that it is part of our job and will not pay us extra. I asked an electrician about this, he told me that by law you must licensed to do this. He said "in fact, you must be licensed to install a light switch and outlet" which I find hard to believe. Is it legal for us to do this type of work? I am a member of Local 32B-J but wanted to ask on this site before calling my union. Post your answer

Answer: Your electrician is correct. You need to be licensed, or working under a licensed electrician, even to change a switch or outlet. However, the powers that be overlook this simple maintenance task as it can get too costly for building owners. Keep in mind, replacing a switch or outlet is not the same as installing a new outlet or switch, in which case the law is enforced. Furthermore a permit may have to be obtained. Back to the smoke detectors: Code says that only an licensed electrician or a certified person in smoke detectors can install and maintain a hard wired smoke detector, same will be for the Carbon Monoxide detectors which came into law recently (battery ones anyone can install). As for ANY light fixture, if it is a new installation - not replacing something existing - then it requires a licensed electrician or one who works under a licensed electrician. Permits may have to be obtained also. Pgrech


 
  Question #348: We have a new Superintendent who is of Eastern European origin. He is a member of the Union. We have noticed that all new employees hired are of the same national origin. We understand this is common throughout New York. It is discrimination. What can we do about it?  Post your answer

Answer: I say that those are the only people trying for the positions and are the ones who are holding the proper certifications.

Answer: This may be true in your building, but I personally know of no situation where the Super is of a certain national origin and all the new hires since he started are of the same origin. So I don't think it's as common as you might be assuming. Even more of a stretch is your assumption that it is definitely discrimination, as you state. It may be true, it may be untrue - but at any rate it will be very hard if not impossible to prove. At the very least you would need access to ALL the applicants for those jobs, something that might prove impossible in itself, to make a definitive determination on discrimination, then decide what (if anything) could then be done about it.

Answer: I have heard and seen many buildings where a super hires his own national origin. It does happen. How to stop it? Simple, see what the hiring practice is of the super. Someone should be overseeing what is going on. You have to be blind not to notice this pattern. I can't believe that no one other then his own country men were qualified. Note: all resumes and applications for jobs need to be kept on file for at least 6 months, this is a Federal law. Remember, never write on the resume. Also write notes on paper and clip the paper to the resume. Need help call me. Pgrech

Answer:  This is very common throughout New York and has been especially true in the last few years. I can name you many buildings and I am sure the Union can too. What can be done about it other than speaking in an open manner?

Answer: There is some truth to that. My super is Irish and ALL doormen and handymen (20 of them) are Hispanic. You can't get more statistical significance than that.

Answer: It's very common today in buildings that the Superintendent prefer to build his own staff. There are buildings in Manhattan that I have visited and the complete staff is related. Does it work for the building? Are residents happy? YES. Is it fair? Is it fair that the Board of Directors interview their tentative new shareholders? YES. Is it discrimination? We will never know. Just a vision of truth.


 
  Question #347: If a super is asked to leave his apartment due to the fact that he lost his job, how long does he have to move out of the apartment? Post your answer

Answer: That would depend on whether the super was union or non-union. In most cases - union and not, a super would have 30 days to vacate, unless there was a contract that stated differently. At the end of the 30 days if the super refuses to move out, the management has to treat the super as any other tenant and sue for eviction in landlord / tenant court. The judge will not hear the case if it is a union super and the case has not been decided at arbitration. After  arbitration agrees with the termination, then the judge at landlord/tenant court will hear the case and the case will move on. This could take months. Pgrech

Answer: A superintendent usually does not have a lease, so he is a month to month tenancy. In New York the law states a month to month tenancy must receive a 30 day notice to vacate.


 
  Question #346: I live in a multiple dwelling with 20 apartments. In the lease, washing machines in the apartments are a violation. Is the landlord responsible for supplying a laundry facility on the premises and if not, shouldn't we be able to have washers in our apartments? Post your answer

Answer: No, I don't believe the owner must either install a laundry facility in your building OR allow machines in apartments. The alternatives are to use a dry cleaners or a laundromat type facility.


 
  Question #345: How would you describe a job description for an elevator man/handyman in an upscale Manhattan apartment building. Post your answer

Answer: First of all I guess he has his ups n downs. (Sorry couldn't resist). The answer depends on the building and what is needed as well as required. Job descriptions cannot be generated without a visit to your building only because no two building are alike. So without knowing your building better, it would be hard to generate a job description that works for him in your building. Your managing agent should help you here, or if you like email me at Pgrech4214@aol.com. I do consulting for buildings and job description generation is one of my specialties. Pgrech


 
  Question #344: To enter a job as a Superintendent in a company represented by a Union it seems that I must already be a Union Member to get in. The problem is in order to be a Union Member I must be employed. Can anyone advise how to break this "Catch-22 cycle". Post your answer

Answer: In almost 30 yrs of superintending, I have never heard of "you must be a union member to get a union super position". Who ever told you this is not correct, and IF you have formed this opinion then you have formed the wrong one. A person can not become a union member without first getting a union position whether it be super, doorman or other. Pgrech


 
  Question #343: Where is the easy way to find the live in super position in Manhattan? Post your answer

Answer: There is no easy way. Like most of us you have to earn it. Belonging to an organization like this one will help. Networking among other supers and property managers helps also. Pgrech

Answer: The "easiest" way  to find most any job (there really is no easy way to find a job, unless you know something I don't), including multi-family building support jobs, is to network with those who already have jobs in the business. Take a membership in this organization and come to meetings, where you can meet other supers and other building support workers. (Monthly meetings are not only about learning new things, but also designed for networking - we have pizza and soda at the beginning where everyone can mingle and get to know each other. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself and get to know other supers, and ask a lot of questions.) You'll find out about upcoming available jobs both at meetings and through this website on the jobs pages. As a member, you can also post your resume on our site - if you do you will no doubt get calls if you can show at least some pertinent experience.


 
  Question #342: The live-in super of our 36 unit co-op building has asked the board to paint his apartment. The board approved to give him the supplies to paint it himself. He refuses and states that we are obligated to hire someone to paint it for him. What is a board's obligation when it comes to the painting of a superintendent's apartment? Post your answer

Answer: If the super has the responsibility of painting some if not all of the non-shareholder units then he would be responsible for his apartment; but in any event if he is instructed to paint the unit. For example if a unit becomes vacant, and prior to resale it gets painted and its his job to paint it (not someone hired from outside), then yes it is his job to paint his own apartment.

Is it possible that he feels he's been taken advantage of too often in the past, and this is where he's drawing the line? Sometimes a Board has a way of expecting more and more of their staff, yet feel they don't need to compensate for the added duties. Not saying this is the case - just a suggestion that a review of history MAY be in order.


 
  Question #341: I live in a co-op located in Yonkers (Bronxville Post Office). My building has about 80 units, was built in 1935 and went co-op about 1985. I would like to know if the Multiple Dwelling Law Section 79 relating to heating requirements applies to co-ops. Post your answer

Answer: It is not covered under the Multiple Dwelling Law, which covers New York State, but it is covered under the Housing Maintenance Code which is a New York City code or law, Sub. 2 - Article 8. Pgrech


 
  Question #340: Are plastic garbage cans acceptable for the storage of garbage in a multiple dwelling, or must they be metal? Are plastic garbage cans acceptable for the handling of recyclables? Post your answer

Answer: Yes they are. Make sure the plastic cans have tight fitting lids. Pgrech


 
  Question #339: Is there any requirement for the hopper doors on a residential incinerator to automatically lock when the incinerator is in operation? Post your answer

Answer: Yes it is a New York City Fire Department violation. Hopper doors must have a hydraulic attachment that closes the hopper door after it has been opened. The hopper door when left opened allows smoke and ashes into the compactor room and hallways, residents may see the smoke in the hallways and mistake it for a fire. Hopper doors left open on the lower floors can hurt someone with poor eyesight if the flames are too high and the hopper door is open. Roberto Cardona

Answer: I didn't think there were any more incinerators in operation in New York City. As for the doors being "locked while the incinerator is in operation", I have not heard of that requirement. I recommend you call the Fire Department at 718-999-2000 (Fire Prevention) to get a definitive answer. To expand on Roberto's response, the hopper doors must also have a rubber inner flap that covers the hopper opening while the door is open.  Pgrech


 
  Question #338:  Please advise, what is the Local Union for New York. Post your answer

Answer: In New York City, for most building support employees, which includes supers, doormen, porters and handymen, and others, it's Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 32BJ.


 
  Question #337: Would someone please be so kind as to share with a New York "newcomer" just how to break into the "Super" industry? Currently I live in the Bronx, will relocate to New York City if required. Post your answer

Answer: See the response to Question #227, and browse other responses to similar questions on the Supers & Management Page.

Answer: Networking helps. Come to our meetings, meet our members and join our association. Pgrech


 
  Question #336: In New York State does a condominium of 4 buildings and 124 units have to have an on-premise super? Post your answer

Answer: Technically NO, because the New York City and New York State codes require either a superintendent, a janitor or an owner of the building to live in the building or within two hundred feet of the building, and if it is indeed a condo, then at least one of the owner(s) are probably living in the building. Nevertheless, for cleanliness and safety it's still very wise to have onsite building support and very dumb to overlook it. Complaints about your particular arrangement can be made with the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation & Development (HPD). See similar questions and answers on our Supers & Management Page.

Answer: To amplify the response above, the code also states that one super can only serve up to 65 apartments. You would either need to have a second super or hire part time help to help the super. Pgrech


 
  Question #335: My building has a fire plan in the lobby that states the building is "combustible". What exactly does this mean in terms of the building's ability to withstand a fire. Also, are most pre-war buildings "combustible"? Post your answer

Answer: All building materials used, in pre- OR post-war construction, are combustible at the right temperature. More recently-constructed buildings in New York City must be built to current New York City code which is much more stringent than that which was in place when pre-war buildings were constructed, and which calls for the use of certain measures that will greatly slow down the speed at which a fire will spread within a building, such as drywall of a certain thickness, metal studs, metal-sheathed solid-core doors, etc. Combustible simply means that it was built under older Fire Code that did not mandate some of these fire-retardant measures. It's not that wholly different materials are in use, but mostly that the way buildings are constructed is somewhat different due to what we have learned about how a fire spreads.


 
  Question #334: Is an annual inspection and valve pressure test required for freight elevators in NYC. Post your answer

Answer: Yes an annual inspection is required. IF the elevator (freight or otherwise) is a hydraulic elevator then the valve needs to be inspected and tested yearly as well. Pgrech


 
  Question #333: What are a list of responsibilities for a resident caretaker? Post your answer

Answer: You can start by reading the FAQs Page, where the question of "what are the duties and job description of a superintendent" is answered; a resident caretaker and a superintendent will not be totally dissimilar, but share many duties.


 
  Question #332: We are having trouble with clothes washing liquid soap being spilled on hallway carpets. We manage senior buildings where the occupants use pull carts to carry laundry. They don't get the top on tight, and then when the cart is tipped back it dribbles over the carpet. Any advice on how to get it out? Post your answer

Answer: Use a good heavy duty extractor or wet and dry vac. Pgrech


 
  Question #331:  I live in a duplex that has separate gas lines but shares one water heater. the only access to the water heater is through the neighbor's apartment. This means one of us is paying to heat the water for both apartments. We were unaware of this. The landlord is out of town as is the new neighbor and I have no hot water and cannot get into the apartment to let the gas company in. Are there laws that deal with the use of one water heater for two apartments - and access to it? is there a way to determine which apartment actually pays for that? Post your answer

Answer: Whatever the situation, the law says the landlord MUST provide you with hot water. Call HPD or go to www.nyc.gov, go to Agencies, click on housing, and send your complaint.


 
  Question #330: I live in a family shelter. Where and to whom can I report building violations? Post your answer

Answer: Department of Buildings (DOB) or Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD); you can report violations online. Better yet call 311 and they will transfer you to HPD. Terrence Bishop


 
  Question #329: I am confused by sections 27-382 of the building code. The building in question is a 15 story J-2 MD built in the late 80's. Am I correct in assuming that ALL post-1984 buildings regardless of occupancy group with more than 4 exit lights in stairs and corridors require an emergency power source or battery power equipment? With regard to existing buildings, are only those pre-1984 existing buildings in the occupancy groups listed in Section 27-382(b) affected? Simply put, would an J-2 MD built in 1987 require emergency back-up power? Would a J-2 MD built in 1980 require emergency back-up power. Post your answer

Answer: Check out the Department of Buildings (DOB) website.


 
  Question #328: We are in a prewar 14 story Manhattan building. We do not currently have any residential space in the basement (although there may have been such a space something like 65 years ago). The basement faces the street on one side - officially below street level and is under the street level in other places. There is a co-op staff apartment on the first floor and we are wondering about expanding to the space beneath it. I am unable to reach the building department or other resource to find out if it can be done - can it? Post your answer

Answer: No doubt about it - you will have to contact the proper authorities to get a definitive answer to your question - this is NOT it. A good place to start would be the city's website at www.nyc.gov, follow the appropriate links to the Building Department and the applicable Codes and make some phone calls.


 
  Question #327: Is it legal to have a gas stove that requires the oven to be lit manually when there is a 6 year old living in the apartment? Post your answer

Answer: It is not illegal to have one with infants or children in the house, and the landlord has no obligation to give you a new stove - but a working stove. But you can always talk to management about getting a new stove. It would be added to your rent as an "MCI" (Major Capital Improvements) increase, which means your rent would go up by 1/40 of the cost of the stove per month, so at a cost of $400 for a new stove, the rent increase would be $10 per month. Pgrech


 
  Question #326: How can I stop the condensation from the toilet? Post your answer

Answer: Condensation can not come from water that is around room temperature. Therefore, for a toilet tank to gather condensation, the water must be well below room temperature. 99% of the time water that is cold enough to cause condensation is caused by running water. Therefore, there is a small leak in your tank. Put food dye in the tank and wait and watch to see if the dye leaks out into the bowl, making sure you don't flush during that time - it may take a good 30 minutes. Then just replace the leaking part. Members of our club know these things because they are discussed at meetings. Lets see you at one soon. Peter


 
  Question #325: What can I do about a smell that I believe to be coming from the ceiling of my apartment? I think it is a dead mouse. Post your answer

Answer: It is likely a dead mouse, decaying. The odor will diminish in time. If you can't wait, call an exterminator who know how to deal with these problems.


 
  Question #324: My company is a new company that provides water treatment for boilers and cooling towers, and we've tried to find prices for all sorts of boiler and cooling tower maintenance. Can anyone tell me any common problems you might have had, and if possible the prices of maintenance or repair. So far all repair companies have been very vague and not helpful at all. Post your answer

Answer: On the Web page of the Association for Housing and Neighborhood Development (www.anhd.org) this appears: "Vendor Directory (Free) Provides a listing of vendors and professionals who have been recommended by one or more of our member organizations. For a PDF version, click here." It may be in there.


 
  Question #323: Can a super switch unions; if so, how does one go about doing so? Post your answer

Answer: Yes a super or the building staff can switch unions. However, the process is neither simple nor short. I recommend talking to the union that the super is considering switching to. They will provide all the guidance necessary. Pgrech


 
  Question #322: When electing a board of directors, should the members be trained or have knowledge of running a building? Post your answer

Answer: Like all things in life, the more you know the better it is. However just how much does one need to know about any one subject that is not their career? Time is a thief that affects every one. That is why at times consultants are brought in, to give objective opinions on the state of their building operations. Want to know more, become a member and attend our workshops. Need a good consultant, let me know. Pgrech

Answer: Given the fact that board members determine what is important to take care of and how resources are to be used, I think they should have some knowledge about the operation and maintenance of a building and should avail themselves of the information presented at the Association's meetings, in newsletters, at workshops and tours and be willing to attend trade shows. The basic knowledge attained through this exposure will better prepare them to make meaningful decisions about their building. Eugene Marabello

Answer: The more you know about a subject the easier it is to make a good decision - when a decision has to be made. Where your home is concerned, I think you will want to have people on the board (and "on board"), who are, if not experienced, at least quite knowledgeable and who can make good decisions based on the facts and on the best information available as much as possible. There is plenty of free - or almost free - training to be picked up if you know where to find it. This site and the links provided to other related sites can help you gain most of the knowledge you need.


 
  Question #321: We live in a large 92 unit pre-war building on the East Side. We burn number 6 oil and there is a separate room in the basement that holds the oil storage tank. Someone has been storing a number of flammable objects in the same room as the storage tank (wood, etc) . Is that legal and who is the agency that monitors such? Also, this oil tank smells strongly when it is filled up. Could it be leaking and who checks for that? Post your answer

Answer: Yes it is a fire hazard, no flammable or combustible materials may be stored in the boiler room - period. A fire inspector can fine you. Roberto Cardona

Answer: Roberto's answer is correct, but to expand on the answer, there is NO storage allowed in the fuel oil storage room. Also explosion-proof fixtures are the only fixtures that can be placed in the room. NYFD, Dept. of Fire Prevention is the agency to contact (718-999-2000) for more information. The smell you are smelling during tank filling is the air escaping from the tank's vent line. This is normal. Peter Grech


 
  Question #320: I use a simple Palm PDA, and I am ready to advance to a better one. Can anyone make suggestions on good PDAs? Its confusing, and when I ask at the store, it seems they're intent on selling me the discontinued models that they want to unload. Post your answer

Answer: There are two things to look at and make decisions on: the PDA itself - there are lots of brands to choose from, and the OS (operating system) - of which there are only two choices. Start with the OS: if you're already familiar with the Palm OS, you may want to stay with a new PDA that utilizes the operating system you know, it's a proprietary system but they've tried hard to make synchronization with your PC easier as well as user software plentiful; the other alternative is any PDA that uses a downsized version of the Windows OS called PocketPC. Very generally speaking, those handhelds that use PocketPC are easier than the Palm OS to synchronize with Outlook, Word, and the other popular software that most people use (as it's already Microsoft software) - and you have lots of choices out there because everyone is writing software for the PocketPC; the Palm software that is available has maybe a bit less of a learning curve but the selection is thinner (fewer programmers write for Palm) and synchronization requires more steps so it's sometimes tougher. To help in your selection there is plenty of information online where you can learn more and bone up on the latest stuff available and do side-by-side feature and price comparisons of PDAs. At PDA Information Guide and PDA Buyers Guide find reviews of Pocket PCs and a whole lot more, at PocketPC Mag you can find the same plus lots of links to other sites and free downloads, and at PalmBlvd and PalmGear find information, comparisons and downloads for the Palm OS. Also check out the many online computer magazines (like PC Magazine) and other resources for product guides and reviews. There are many more sites. Do a Google search for more.


 
  Question #319: In NYS are apartment complexes required to have carbon monoxide detectors? What about Radon? Post your answer

Answer: NO at this moment carbon monoxide detectors are not required for apartments in New York City. Radon has no affect on the first floor and up; radon is mostly a problem in basements in rural and suburban areas. Pgrech

Answer: Mayor Bloomberg just amended the Local Law #7 to read: To amend the administrative code of the city of N.Y., in relation to requiring the installation of carbon monoxide detecting devices in buildings classified in occupancy groups G, H-2, J-1, J-2 and J-3. Please check your buildings and see what it is classified as. Mike MacGowan


 
  Question #318: With the new lead law that went into effect on August 2, 2004, evidently Superintendents and other building workers not trained in lead paint removal, cannot work in the public spaces of a building where lead paint exists (or may exist) doing plastering, painting, or any other work that might disturb the paint. Additionally, they cannot work to access plumbing & electric where lead paint might be disturbed. Where can these staff members get trained in lead paint removal in NYC and how long is the training process? Post your answer

Answer: There are many courses pertaining to lead and lead removal. However, be careful, and only a few of these courses meet the Local 1 2004 Lead Law paint. Call the Real Estate Board of New York at 212-532-3100. They will answer all your lead law paint questions and tell you when the next class is available. Keep in mind the Supers Technical Association is holding a workshop on lead paint given by HPD at our next meeting in September. Pgrech


 
  Question #317: I am interested in cleaning my radiator before I repaint it. Do you recommend any solvents? Post your answer

Answer: If you are just cleaning your radiator, first vacuum as best you can the dust and lint etc., from the radiator. Fantastik is a good product that would clean the radiator. Pgrech


 
  Question #316: A recent electrical inspection on my apartment revealed that all of my major appliances are running off of one electric line. This has been an ongoing problem since I've lived in the apartment almost 5 years. Is my building responsible to fix this problem? Post your answer

Answer: Your situation is not uncommon. Many old buildings have only 4 circuits. These buildings were built in the days when electrical appliances were not in common use - or even invented yet. The answer is NO, the building is NOT responsible to upgrade your electric due to you having more appliances then what the system was designed for. If you had an electrical problem such as a short circuit, etc, then yes the repair of the short is a building responsibility. One solution: see how much total amperage is available in your apartment. If the answer is at lest 80 to 100 amps then you can discuss with the manager how much would it cost to add two more lines, usually - 15 or 20 amps each. In most cases a building will upgrade the circuits at the request of the tenant and pass along the cost. Pgrech

Answer: You have a common problem that most people solve, providing there is enough amperage, by breaking up outlets into separate circuits. Of course, electrical work could be costly depending on the extent of the work. Eugene Marabello


 
  Question #315: Is anyone familiar with or has a smart card entry or washing machine and dryer system in their building. I would like to know who I can contact to give me a proposal for converting key and coin operated systems in my building. Post your answer

Answer:  Two companies come to my mind: CoinMach, which we use (800-327-9274) or Hercules (800-526-5760 ext. 242). If you need more names and numbers email me privately and I'll send them to you. Pgrech

Answer: There are a number of companies that do this. Check resources listings at www.cooperator.com and www.habitatmag.com. That said, when our building converted to "smart cards" it was terrible, we never had so many troubles with machines. Cards would be come demagnetized and loose value, the machines would refuse to read them and they did not have the flexibility of coins. Example: with coins, after adding the first 50 cents to a dryer you could add more in 25 cent increments - not with the smart cards. When I spoke with the service man for the company he said that the coin machines were more reliable. The slide coin seems to be better than the coin drop.


 
  Question #314: We are a Co-op (62 units) with one super and one porter, both union members. We asked our super to cover (taking out garbage, cleaning the hall) for the porter while he is on vacation. But he refuses to do so stating that his job is different from the porters job. If we force him to do the job he would complain with the union. He is not stating that he does not have the time. In the past the super did cover for the porter and the super is taking out the trash the two days the porter is off duty. The management agent says he is right. Any advice? Post your answer

Answer: If your building is a union building, I recommend talking to the RAB. If historically the super has covered for the porter, then the super should keep on doing so now. Of course, additional work should be compensated additionally. Discuss with the super what would be a fair compensation for his temporary additional duties. Pgrech

Answer: The managing agent could be correct. You could start by reading over the union contract and/or contacting a union representative to find out the particulars.


 
  Question #313: Is there a requirement that a two family dwelling in New York City have access to the roof? Post your answer

Answer: The answer is no.


 
  Question #312: I have been told that using PVC pipe to run a condensate drain line (from an A/C system air handler) inside an interior wall is a code violation in New York City, and it must be copper. Is this fact or fiction? The building is a 5-story 10,000 sq. ft. rental property. Post your answer

Answer: Sorry to say, its a fact. NYC plumbing codes do not allow PVC for multiple dwellings, inside or outside the walls. Pgrech


 
  Question #311: An apartment we are looking to move into has separate meters and water heaters for each apartment. Is the owner still required by law to provide heat and hot water? She said no. Our realtor says yes. Post your answer

Answer: Heat and hot water must be maintained by the owner. HOWEVER, the heat and hot water are paid for by the renter which is usually included in the price of the rent. In your situation you are paying for it directly, which should reflect in a lower rent of sorts. Keep in mind that the owner must pay for repairs and maintenance to the equipment even if you are paying for the fuel or electricity to run it. 
 


 
  Question #310: A Gas Tight Joint, such as a welded joint... To what engineering/ASTM/ASME criteria would you refer to as far as the type test to perform and accept/reject criteria? Weld is on a vessel that is designed to operate at atmospheric pressure or slight vacuum at 500 degrees F. Can't have cooler air entering or hot hazardous gases exiting. Petroleum refinery industry. Post your answer

Answer: The answer to this question is very long and can't fit into the allotted space. The joint you are referring to is a CPJ groove weld which is considered Full Strength Weld. Weld strengths are specified by AWS and ASIC. Pgrech


 
  Question #309: We are making some changes in our maintenance/custodial positions in our school district buildings and are looking for a source for interview questions for applicants to these positions. They will be responsible for similar basic maintenance & custodial services to school buildings as a building super would provide...can you help? Post your answer

Answer: Your question demands more space than is allowed. If you would like, please email me or call me and I will be happy to supply you with questions. Question remains, do you or some one on your board know the right answers? Pgrech Pgrech4214@aol.com


 
  Question #308: I am currently a full time live in super in the Bronx (60 units). I also have a full time position in the city (doorman 4-12 shift for the past 20 years). I might have an opportunity to take over a superintendent position in Manhattan. I was wondering when and if I get interviewed for the up-coming opportunity, should I mention that I have a second job? I have been able to juggle super job and doorman for all these years because when I go to the doorman job, my wife usually fills in my shoes while I am at the doorman position. It's had its ups and downs throughout the years but these days you can't really afford to just live on a superintendent salary and expect to send the kids to private colleges. Post your answer

Answer: Not mentioning that you work a second job is up to you whether or not to include it in the resume. It is not dishonest to leave it out of a resume, as a resume should have only relevant job information in it. Since you are applying for a supers position it is irrelevant that you work as a doorman as well. There are no union rules forbidding a super from having two full time jobs or an outside business. If you have both jobs during the same time of day (double dipping), that would be illegal. If you do include it on your resume, the explanation you gave is acceptable. Many supers of small to mid size buildings have a second job for the reasons you listed. Pgrech


 
  Question #307: Where in New York City can I take the refrigeration license exam? Post your answer

Answer: Read the answer to a similar previously asked question here.


 
  Question #306: We are a co-op and have a live-in superintendent. What are the customary expenses that we need to cover for our superintendent? Currently he receives the following: 1. Salary, 2. Overtime, 3. Cell phone, 4. Home phone, 5. DSL Internet access, 6. Cable for 2 TVs including Basic, Standard and DVR service for 2 TVs. Post your answer

Answer: Expenses to be covered for a super are usually basic services. Cable usually is provided free for a superintendent by the cable company. If the super uses the cell phone for building work then it should be covered, if the home phone number is also used for building use, then it should be covered. However I do find it strange that you pay both for cell and home phone. Home phone is usually for small buildings where the super doesn't have a business phone number. The internet access, again cable company provides that free as Road Runner, but if that is not available and the super uses it as ways of emailing to and from tenants, then its a business expense. Many supers also get a free parking space as well as electric and gas. Once again it all depends on the terms of employment made between the super and the owner/s on being hired. Pgrech


 
  Question #305: I have lived in my building for almost two years and have suddenly been having problems with my Super. He has bold-faced lied to me on several occasions and I no longer feel comfortable in dealing with him. Can somebody please tell me what my rights are and whether I can deny him and ONLY HIM (not the other building workers) access to my apartment? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, you can deny access to the super and not the other workers. What is required is that, at a minimum, you allow someone on staff into your apartment in case of emergency. It is not required to be the super, but any designated representative of management. You should probably send a letter to management stating that the super is NOT allowed into your apartment from now on, and telling them who IS allowed when/if it becomes necessary.

Answer: Ditto to the above. However, what is disturbing is that the super has "bold faced" lied to you and that you have lost confidence in him. I would like to see you try to resolve this, as it is not a healthy situation. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding. Seeking a solution to this is permanent, circumnavigating it by not allowing the super into your apartment when other staff are allowed could serve to escalate your situation. Pgrech


 
  Question #304: I am trying to renovate my bathroom, which is probably in original condition. The prewar co-op is from 1920s but not sure about this bathroom - has cast iron bathtub, small tiles glued in floor, pedestal sink and flushometer toilet. Can I get away with just reglazing the bathtub? I will do the plumbing work for the sink and toilet to replace with tank and vanity sink (and also redo floors), but not sure if I can afford even more plumbing associated with bathtub. What are my risks? I am on the near to top floor. Some people have warned me that my renovations could be ruined by not fixing the tub, but what things could happen? I'm planning on living there for 5 years max so do I have to invest in it? Post your answer

Answer: If only we had a crystal ball to look into the future. Glazing only the tub works. Keep in mind that while replacing plumbing and the tub is the ultimate solution, just glazing the tube is cosmetic. Reglazing will cost under $350.00 as long as your tub is in reasonable condition, and it was not reglazed before. If so add about another $100.00 or so. $350.00 is not a bad investment to clean up your bathroom, and should you have a leak (and who knows if you will or not), it was only $350.00 invested. Not a great loss for enjoying the clean tub for that time. Pgrech


 
  Question #303: How long does a building have after a doorman is hired to review his performance and dismiss him without penalty if he does not measure up? I know it's three months before the employee can join the union, but is it three months or a year before the doorman gets tenure? Post your answer

Answer: There is a 60 day trail period in which an employer can determine if the new hire is what they want in a full time employee. After the trial period you still may terminate the employment of a worker, but you need to set up a paper trail to ensure that you can show that the employee is being terminated for just cause. Make sure that management has made every effort to help the new hire to cure the problem. After all, its all about being treated FAIRLY at work. Pgrech


 
  Question #302: What are the responsibilities of the super to protect the tenants from robberies? What to do if the tenant was robbed twice already? Post your answer

Answer: Building security is a TEAM effort with management, owners, residents as well as staff. The building should have a security company give you a security audit. This audit will show where the weak links are, as well as solutions to correct them. Putting the blame solely on the staff is unfair, and in most cases is a mistake. Pgrech

Answer: The super and staff will likely only enforce the measures which management already has in place to protect residents. Find out from the super or the manager what has been done to address these types of situations, and if it's insufficient (it may be if there have been robberies) or implementation of those responsibilities has been lax by the super and his staff, speak to management about making some changes. To the second question: without more information it's impossible to tell what to do if robberies have already occurred - it really depends on the particulars of both situations. Again, speak to management and together come up with better ways of dealing with the issue of safety and protection of the building's residents.


 
  Question #301: I live in a building with terraces. Many terraces have propane grills which violates FDNY regulations. What is the best way to enforce these regulations? Post your answer

Answer: If your building is a co-op or condo then the rules should state that no open flame is allowed. If it is a rental it is stated in the lease. The managing agent must enforce the rules and/or leases. Make a list and notify the managing agent, who in turn should write letters to those residents reminding them of the rules, and asking them not to use open flames on terraces. Pgrech


 
 

Question #300: Can you please explain why the water in my bathtub turns to a lime green as I fill it up with cold water? Post your answer

Answer: Assuming this didn't happen on St. Patrick's Day then more information is needed about your building to formulate an answer. How old is the building? Does the building have galvanized piping? Where are you located? How high is the building? Has your riser line recently had any repairs done to it? Does any one else in the building have this problem? If all or parts of the piping is galvanized, the lime green could be settlement and rust in the line - usually brown but could be light green. If new plumbing work was done recently, then the lime green is the flux used to solder the pipes and they over-used the flux. Township water could be contaminated. Also if you have a roof tank, then its time to have it cleaned. Pgrech