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Questions - Supers, Management

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•frequently asked questions  •ask a question  •questions by category •questions 900-949  •questions 850-899  •questions 800-849  •questions 750-799  •questions 700-749  •questions 650-699  •questions 600-649  •questions 550-599  •questions 500-549  •questions 450-499  •questions 400-449  •questions 350-399  •questions 300-349  •questions 250-299  •questions 200-249  •questions 150-199  •questions 100-149  •questions 50-99  •questions 1-49

 
Question #849: Do I need a GED or high school diploma to start a superintendent training course? Post your answer

Answer: Depends where you attend the courses. A GED will help you and would be of great advantage for you not just for a super's course, but for your life. Some places require it, some dont. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #848: I presently have a job as a resident manager in a Local 32BJ building, and have been offered a better job in another Local 32BJ building. I will have a probationary period of six months, which I have no problem with. My question is about my medical and dental benefits during this period. Do I lose coverage during this trial period? Post your answer

Answer: Yes. All you need to do is to make it part of the deal that the new company takes over your medical, pension, etc., benefits. However, usually you do this in the negotiation part - after they offer you the job and before you accept it. It is up to them to say yes or no. I know, because I make that part of the deal in every new job I go too. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #846: What can be done about companies like PC Richards and Sleepy's dumping the customers' old fridges, mattresses etc., on the property? I call 311 and usually get some employee who can't be bothered to do or suggest anything. It's really annoying when you find old items left by these companies in the hallways and basement. Post your answer

Answer: In my building we have a policy (in writing, which we hand to all movers, contractors and deliverers who come into the building) that all the above are prohibited from leaving anything behind, including packing material, furniture and all other disposable items. This will take care of most, but not all, of those kinds of dumping and disposal problems - invariably some get away with murder. But if you have time to keep an eye on their activities they can usually be caught and forced to do the right thing.

Question #831: Re: self-managed or in-house-managed co-ops: I am a super, in a 73-family class 'A' Brooklyn co-op. The Board is willing to consider my proposal that I set up a company and do in-house management, but they want to first speak with the boards of other comparable buildings, which have similar set-ups. I have taken the self-management course at CNYC, and I have done IREM's ARM course. Can anyone refer me to such a building or list of buildings? Also any pro or con ideas, or specific instructions? I have started talking to a payroll company which has a bookkeeper recommendation, for possible back-office services, and I am considering a Bank Lock Box System. Post your answer

Answer: I don't recall any specific buildings that I could give you a phone number which are self-managed. Your best bet would be to contact Mary Anne Rothman at CNYC and ask her that question. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #830: I am a union 32BJ superintendent on East 86th Street. Am I responsible for scraping, plastering, sanding, priming, and painting of six large hallways (6 floors) in the condo I work in? Post your answer

Answer: My opinion is no, you are not required to paint - paint touch-ups maybe. Your best bet is to contact your union delegate, as you should in all union matters. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: I wish to expand on my answer above: New York City laws require that any contractor or super, etc., who is going to paint and plaster in a building built prior to 1968 needs to have certifications to deal with the lead paint issues. This becomes even more important if there are children living in the apartment or building where the lead paint will be disturbed. So, unless you have these requirements and certifications, and assuming your building is built prior to 1968, you CANNOT do the painting and plastering - regardless of what the union and management says. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #826: What are union scale wages for a New York City super?  Is it reasonable to assume that this wage is just a base salary for a super. Post your answer

Answer: There is NO set base salary for a unionized or non-unionized super. While there are hourly rates for doormen, porters and handymen, no set hourly wage exist for supers or resident managers. Too many factors are involved in calculating a super's salary, among them: size of building, staff size, location, job description. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #825: When a person within your field of industry goes on an interview, let's say for a Superintendent / Resident Manager position, and is asked the typical question: Tell me about yourself. What do you feel are key points the individual should bring to the table? Post your answer

Answer: Obviously this question will have different answers because of different people. The main thing to bring to the table is: your talents, your contribution to the building, your experience and your successes in the past - to name a few. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #813: I am looking to take a training course to become a super, but am having trouble finding a school, please help. Post your answer

Answer: Start your search here.

Question #804: What can a super do about tenants who dump trash and abandon furniture in the hallway? Posting signs prohibiting these actions are often torn down, perhaps by those same people. I read a lot about tenant's rights, but when tenants break city regulations the complaint procedures are not so clear. Post your answer

Answer: I can not say what I would do. But if you ever go to one of our meetings, ask me in person and I will give you a few options. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: This is the kind of thing that never gets easy for most of us who work in building support. We can do our level best day after day and year after year, and a resident - who should have a vested interest in helping the building staff keep their building clean and NOT making it difficult - dumps all over your clean hallways with a total lack of care for your hard work or respect for your efforts and the wishes of other residents. I don't have any advice (except to keep on respectfully requesting or demanding that they do NOT do these things) because it IS your job to keep the building clean no matter what happens. But we all understand your frustration. Most of us have at one time or another experienced this kind of callous behavior from some of our residents. And it really only takes one to sour the experience and make us feel that all our hard work is thankless and demeaning. How to deal with this is the kind of thing we talk about at monthly meetings, often one-on-one and sometimes as part of the monthly focus of the meeting. You would do well to come and introduce yourself around and find others who share your goals to keep on doing your job the best way you know how - no matter what. This is a large part of why STA exists - to encourage ourselves and others to do our jobs better and always be a professional. Glen Stoltz

Question #802: I'm one of those rare female supers and one of my tenants litters 4 to 5 times a day on the street and sidewalk to feed the birds. I'm all about sanitation and hygiene. My windows are all street level and it's pretty gross what I have to deal with. He's also admitted to being a sexist and is aggressive. How should I handle him? Post your answer

Answer: First and foremost we at the STA offer the highest level of respect to all female supers, and to answer your question, I would bring it up to the board and management and specify the reasons you mentioned above, hopefully they will send said resident a letter requesting him to stop. Roberto Cardona

Question #801: I'm a live-in super for a co-op building and I would like to know if the board can tell me how to run my job every day? It is hard to do my job when a board member is in my face. How do I deal with this problem? Post your answer

Answer: YES they can tell you how when where what etc. Usually this happens when a board lacks faith in the super. I suggest you talk to them and ask them if they are lacking the faith. If they answer no, then talk about how they are micro-managing you. Communication is the number one thing that you and the board must have. Keep in mind there is a right and wrong way in how and what you communicate to them. Do it in a professional manner. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #800: I was let go yesterday 09/05/2006 after 27 years on the job, his reason was he had heard by tenants and contractors that I was under the influence of something. He also stated it has been going on for years. I have never been issued a letter in all the years I have been there. I believe this was done by the Operations Manager. What recourse do I have in this matter? Post your answer

Answer: If you are a union member, then you have union recourse. If you are not union, then I would ask for specific proof of the allegations. If it means much to you I would retain a lawyer. Otherwise, ask for time to find another job, ask for moving expenses and a letter of reference and just move on. If the manager is after you and he has such influence over the board or owners, then you are out of luck and if it isn't for this, then it will be for another reason. Peter Grech, GBOC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question #747: What are the keys to ensuring an internally promoted super is made to feel wanted, respected, and supported in order to solidify the possibility of his long term success, stability, retention, and obviously, his performance. Post your answer

Answer: I assume you are not the super but either a board member or other. The keys as you put it, vary from super to super. As Bill has already stated, communications, respect and trust are very important and probably are the core keys. But being individuals, that we all are, different keys effect different people. "different strokes for different folks" I believe it was once said. You need to find exactly what the new super holds close to him as his goals or needs. Find those out and help him/her achieve them, is the best motivator. Pats on the backs work ok for the short term. Another core key would be involvement. Making the super part of the team seeking out his opinion and helping him to develop into a better super. Get him a membership in this organization is a good start. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: In my opinion the major "keys" would have to be respect, trust, and communication. Unfortunately, most owners, co-op boards, and to a lesser degree, managers, do not have the foggiest idea what these "keys" are.  Or they might be aware of their existence, but knowingly deploy them with extreme stinginess. Most co-op boards, owners and managers still consider most superintendents as over glorified porters!  However, in this unbalanced equation, you (the Superintendent) must do your best to rise above it. Please read the eloquent advice, given by our STA president Mr. Peter Grech here, I think he sums it up very well! Bill Aristovulos

Question #745: The superintendent of my building has done sloppy repairs in my apartment. I've complained about him several times. I would like someone else to do the remaining repairs, but the landlord refuses to send anyone else but him. Is there anything I can do about this? Post your answer

Answer: No. the super works for the landlord. You should ask other tenants how they find the super's work. If others are ok with it, perhaps then it is something personal between you and the super. If they all say yes, he is sloppy, then it's the super. This is only a suggestion and I don't know if you have tried this already or not, but, perhaps. 1. Talking in a personal and candid manner with the super and find out if there is something going on. You never know. 2. Perhaps a tip would work well. I don't want to go into the issue of tipping, as it would be a long topic. I know you pay your rent and deserve service, but never the less, a good tip works wonders. (not sure if you tried that) Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #742: I have been the super for a 61-unit building in the Bronx for 3 years. I am the only person employed here. It is a co-op, but the sponsor still owns about half of the units. For a year now the board has complained that the backyard has not been maintained. I have done my best, despite not having a leaf blower. I have a lot to do, and leaves in a yard that is not used, is at the bottom of my list. I work on it on my slow days. We also have a landscaper who only cleans the front yard. They suspended me for 3 days for not getting it done quick enough. I have had no problems for 3 years, the tenants love my work and how much things have improved since I took over from the old super. I have been told I am in Local 187. No one can seem to get me in touch with them. What can I do to protect myself? Post your answer

Answer: If you are in the union, do whatever you have to do to get in touch with them and ask for their support.

Question #740: Should a co-op provide the tools necessary for a new superintendent, or should he be equipped with his own tools? Post your answer

Answer: If the building is a union building, the answer is yes. If it's a non-union building, then the building should supply tools. Most supers over the years have obtained their own tools anyway, but should they break, then the building should replace the super's tools at no charge. Supplying tools is a motivational tool in itself. Just make sure all building-supplied tools are marked with the building address, and an inventory of building tools is kept. Furthermore, if the super has his own tools, he should have an inventory of his tools kept on file. This removes any questions of whose tool is whose. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #738: I am on the Board of Directors for a 29-unit co-op in a pre-war building in Manhattan.  We have a live-in super, with who has been with us for 10 years - and would like to find the proper compensation / raise for him.  Is there a resource where I can find comparable salaries? Post your answer

Answer: There is no resource that I know of that tracks how much supers earn. Buildings vary in size and demand / work load, so its hard to establish a range or flat rate. My suggestion is to ask the management company AS WELL as see what other supers in similar buildings around you are making. Note, IF he is a good - great super, then his/her salary should also reflect it. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #737: What are the advantages and disadvantages of employing our part-time super / porter for a 21 unit building on a salary vs. an hourly rate? Although he currently has a job description and is paid a fixed salary, there is continual confusion / disagreement about what he should be doing and how much he should be working. Post your answer

Answer: The hourly rate is totally to your advantage and not to the super. However, finding a good super paid by the hour is hard, as not that many would do it. You see, paid by the hour ends up being unfair to the super in many ways. One of which is that things happen. If, lets say, he is paid for 3 hours per day, and he was interrupted due to a building issue, how would he deal with it? Would he claim extra time, or just not complete the work set for that time? Believe me, a super's job is not hour by hour. Lots of issues come up and are not included in that hour to hour rate. Unless, of course, you pay him, say $25 to $30 an hour, then it may be worth it to the super. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #729: I asked my super to do a little better job around the house and he went ballistic on me and threatened me. In the past we had a good relationship, should I give him a second chance or fire him right away. I like his wife and they do an okay job. I live in 16 unit building. Post your answer

Answer: I am sorry but in a way I have to disagree in part with the previous replies to this question. No matter what, a superintendent should NEVER lose his cool with anyone who lives in the building. Doesn't matter that we do not know the whole story or both sides of the story. Doesn't matter whose fault it was. While firing the super is overkill in this situation, there is a need for a disciplinary action. If this goes unchecked, it may lead to more incidents. A written warning should be issued to him. Now, EVERY employee, whether it's a super or a VP of Citibank, should have a written job description detailing to a degree what is demanded of the position. Furthermore, periodic evaluations should be given so that the employee knows if they are on track or not. I won't go on-I think you all get my point. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: By not previously mentioning whether you or you tenants were dissatisfied with his work, you led your super to believe that his work to this point was perfect. So after you gave him a false belief, you are now asking him to step it up a little bit more. In is his mind he has been giving you 110% (an OK Job). Remember that the above happened only because you failed to point out or address from the very beginning what you and your tenants expected from him and if you were not satisfied with his work, it should have not been ignored. Sit down with your super and informed him that his actions are cause for dismissal but that you will be giving him a final written warning about his behavior and threats. ( This is only if this was his first time and indeed you previously had a good relationship with him). Then point out exactly the improvements that you are expecting of him. You said that in the past you had a good relationship with him. If this was his first outburst probably there were other things on his mind that eventually, at the time of your approach, made him explode. We all know that we must leave our personal problem at home, but not everyone is capable of doing so. This is just an observation according to the information written in your question.

Answer: You should not only NOT fire him, you should apologize and give him a raise and make it clear to him that in the future you will try harder to be sensitive to his needs. Clueless landlords and tenants often demand more, on an ongoing basis, of a lone super, without giving him the tools to meet those demands, than he or she is able to give. There are many ways to make demands - verbally being the easiest to take. How can you successfully dispute an unspoken, yet quite obvious, demand? Talk to him more, maybe set up a monthly meeting with him, let him know that he should verbalize to you what he needs in order to do a good job for you. Most people are more than willing to do what is asked of them, if given the tools and made to feel needed, appreciated and wanted. Yes, even supers.

Question #724: How can I get information on a building managing company? I am interviewing for a position with Hoffman Management and would like to know a little more about the company and some of their buildings and cannot find any information by searching the web. Does anyone have any info? Post your answer

Answer: Hoffman is a small to midsize management company. They have been around for over 25 years. I have heard NO bad news about them, therefore I think they are a good company. I met Mr. Hoffman about 18 yrs ago, and from what I remember he was a good manager. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #717: It is my opinion as an active board member for 6 years that management companies are not as professional or competent as they claim to be. Would you agree with that assessment? In my opinion, they are hired to manage all aspects of a property including the physical (building maintenance / operation), the financial (maintenance collection, arrearages, financial reporting), the personal (resident issue resolution, transfers, moves, renovations, and administrative functions. This is what they are paid for. However, it is my experience that the management companies of our property have NEVER done all these things well.  In fact sometimes they did not do these things at all. What is the issue in this industry? Post your answer

Answer: Not ALL management companies are as incompetent as yours. Ask other buildings about their experiences with specific companies. Eventually, you will find a good one. Dick Koral

Answer: It has been my observation for a co-op to function successfully, a trilogy must be formed. This said trilogy should be comprised of three separate and equally important segments or divisions.  The first should be the Co-Op board, and with this I mean the ENTIRE Co-Op board, not just the president or some strong arming single member. The second should be the Management company. And last, but not least, the Superintendent. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE, THAT ALL THREE SEGMENTS HAVE SHOULD HAVE EQUAL INVOLVEMENT. All too often, this three-way balance is not maintained, and Co-Ops fall apart. In short, think of a Co-Op as a ship. The board indicates the port they wish to go to, the management lays out the itinerary, and the super steers the ship to the port of call. All to often the "board" involves itself as to what should be on the menu in the dinning hall (Management's job) or will loom over the "Superintendent" and ask "are you SURE you are steering this "ship" in the right way". Yes, the managing company or the superintendent have their flaws also. But it must be said, that of the three, clearly the management company and the superintendent have the most experience in running buildings. This is fair, since most voluntary Co-Op board members may have great experience in other fields, but tend to have little experience in the running of a building. Yet many Co-Op boards micro-manage or even meddle in the day to day building operations, clearly a Management company and Superintendent areas of the trilogy.

My question to you is, honestly, did your Co-Op board give your various management companies the ability to function, or did your Co-Op board micro-mange or downright meddle in the day to day running of the building, thereby crippling the management company's ability to function properly. Bill Aristovulos

Answer: The above answers are from experience. I have worked with good and bad management companies, as I have with good and bad boards. Whenever I hear a critique from a resident, I always recommend that they become a board member and make changes. Barry

Question #716: Is a landlord allowed to control if we have our windows open or not? It's very hot in our apartment, well above 90 degrees. The reason is because the heating system does not work properly. Heats when it's warm out - does not heat when it's cold. The landlord is very aware of this problem and that is why he's trying to prevent us from opening our windows. He's even gone as far as coming over when we're sleeping, to tell us to shut our windows. The thermostat obviously does not work, so if it's cold or hot the radiator will still be running. The landlord does not seem in any hurry to fix it because he is trying to sell the apartment building. From what other tenants have told me this happened last year too. Post your answer

Answer:  The landlord is obviously guilty of harassment, which is illegal. Complain to NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and if you do not get action, go to your neighborhood councilperson or community organization. Dick Koral

Question #707: Can somebody provide some names of schools or courses for property management. I'm currently a superintendent but looking forward to work as a property manager. Post your answer

Answer: NYU has courses. Also two real estate management associations have classes, as well as certifications for property managers: IREM and NYARM. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #704:  Our super is not fully qualified to maintain our heating plant, although he has the required licenses.  Are companies usually employed to maintain the entire heating plant including boiler, burner, oil tank, pumps etc. Would this be one company or many different companies? Post your answer

Answer: First of all, lets get it straight: supers are not usually required to repair boilers, pumps etc. A super's job is to operate and perform preventive maintenance. He/she can troubleshoot simple things such as blown fuses, breakers, loose wiring etc. Honestly, most supers don't have access to boiler/burner parts. Furthermore, it may be a breech of your insurance policy. I don't think there is any super in NYC who can rewire a pump motor or any electric motor. So, perhaps he is performing his/her duties in a limited way due to many factors, one being it isn't his responsibility to repair, but rather see that it gets repaired. Example, to repair an oil tank, that would require professional contractor, as the EPA and other city agencies that are involved. No super can repair an oil tank. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: Although some companies say they can maintain the entire system, it often takes two to three specialty companies to do the job right. The boiler guy is very good with oil tanks, oil pumps, and burners. The steam specialist would then take over controlling the heat in the building, and do piping and steam fitting jobs. A third company may be involved with water pumps and plumbing items. Joe Lambert, http://www.leonardpowers.com

Answer: You're not giving enough information to allow a really informed answer. How do you know he doesn't know what he's doing if, as you say, he has the required licenses? If he needs to learn more to do a better job, there are good short courses to take that will help a super brush up on many skills. Usually it is in the super's job description to keep an eye on the heating system for day-to-day operations, and normally there is a maintenance company/boiler mechanic company on contract to take care of long term maintenance and upkeep. Glen Stoltz

Question #701: I am a member of the Board of Directors for a 315 unit Co-op in Queens. Our super is given an apartment with expenses paid but is NOT residing in the apartment.  He spends evenings and weekends at the home he owns. On occasion, we have had "maintenance emergencies" which required us to page him or call his cell phone but did not receive a response back. Shareholders are starting to complain to the Board about this. Is the super required to be on call for emergencies if he is given an apartment to live in, and is the Co-op in compliance with the Multiple Dwelling Law if the super is not technically living in the apartment provided on the premises? Post your answer

Answer: First of all, both city and state codes state that a building of your size must have the super living at the building or within 200 feet. Secondly, supers are on call 24/7 for emergencies only. Keep in mind that the free apartment is a trade off for what would be a much higher salary and for your building to meet the codes. Not sure if you are a union building or not. Without knowing more facts, I cannot recommend any disciplinary action. I would however suggest a meeting between the board, managing agent and super to work out the rules. Email me if you have any questions. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: Of course your super is supposed to be able to respond to emergencies 24/7. Frankly, I think it is naive boards like yours that are part of the problem. Dick Koral

Answer: You do not mention if the superintendent gets a salary, you only mention an apartment and expenses.  If those are the only things he is receiving, then I am sorry to say, he is only a part time super, and does not have to be there in the evenings. Bill Aristovulos

Question #698: Why is it so hard for a superintendent to get help when the management is in the wrong? I have been fired for being Hispanic and for caring about my job. Please help me, there are days I feel like ending it all. We need a fair break. Post your answer

Answer: Do yourself a tremendous favor and come to our February meeting, where you will find other supers who will understand you 100%. There's no charge. Get there by 5:30 and join us for pizzas, cookies, sodas and socializing until 6, when we will hear a great talk from one of our fine supers, on security cameras. Dick Koral 718-552-1161

Answer: Without knowing all the facts, it is difficult to decide, BUT, being a superintendent often means to be responsible for almost everything that happens in your building, much like a captain of a ship. I am sure there are a lot of people that would disagree with me on this. Non the less, a super is responsible for his building. This means, when something goes wrong, it is the supers fault. Sorry to say, those that don't like or understand this, can always take up another vocation. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #695: I am interested in training to be a super and would like to know what are the requirements to become a super. Please furnish me informational brochures if possible and schools to get certified. Post your answer

Answer: Look at our short list of schools here to get you started in your search. We don't have access to brochures for you but if you contact each school you're interested in they will be happy to furnish information to you about their programs.

Question #693: Will we use less oil to operate our boiler if residents close off radiators that are not needed? Post your answer

Answer: Anytime you use less heat in a building you will use less fuel. Be careful, however - IF you have a one pipe steam system you sometimes get water hammer (banging) if you shut a radiator off.  Joe Lambert, http://www.leonardpowers.com

Question #688: What information do employers want when they say "salary history" on their job postings, or "send salary requirements"? Post your answer

Answer: Salary History: The employer wants to know what your salary/wages have been for most, if not all jobs that you list on your resume. This is a way for the employer to see if you had salary/wage growth and to see if what salary they had in mind matches your salary history. Salary Requirements: is when an employer is asking you what is the salary you are seeking. Beware of how you answer this one because you may scare them off if you ask too much or too little. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #682: A new company has recently started remodeling my building and there has been talk behind my back of a new owner coming to take over in 15 days. Since I am a non-union superintendent, what are my rights if they decide to get a new super without talking to me first or offering the job to me first? Do I have 30 days to leave? Post your answer

Answer: First of all, it's all talk. Second, if a new owner buys the building, he does not have to offer you the job. If you are non-union, your employment is at will, which means there is no contract. If there was a union, the contract was with the old owner and not the new one and therefore the new owner would have to agree to the union. Many non-union supers are in your position. In most cases you would have 30 days to vacate the apartment. I don't know what else to say. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #680: I live in a three-family house. I have five children and I'm having problems with my hot water. The super shuts off the hot water when they go out, they turn the hot water on whenever they need to use it. I told the landlord one month ago and they still haven't done anything about it. I feel like they won't fix the problem or do anything about it because the super and the landlord are family. What should I do? Post your answer

Answer: If you have a lease, check the lease under what the landlords responsibilities are. The landlord could be in violation of the lease agreement under the Warranty of habitability. But again the lease is the answer, and ask an attorney also. We can only offer opinions. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: Unfortunately a 3 family house is not covered by New York City or New York State maintenance codes or dwelling laws. I suggest talking to an attorney as no city or state agency will have any authority over this issue. If you have a lease, check with in the lease under what the landlords responsibilities are. The landlord could be in violation of the lease agreement under Warranty of habitability. But again the lease is the answer, and an attorney also. We can only offer opinions. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #673: Will having been convicted of a felony stop your chances of becoming a superintendent? Post your answer

Answer:  It's up to the management company more than anything else. See the answer to Question 606: Glen Stoltz

Question #671: What skills and abilities must all supers possess?  I will be interviewing people for a super's job in a 90 unit building.  I have some ideas but would like some advice on specific questions I must get the answers to. Post your answer

Answer: Possibly the only skills consistently required by ALL supers in all buildings are good people & communication skills (effectively the same thing), and light repair / handyman skills and experience. The rest, in my opinion, depend almost entirely on the needs of the individual building in question, and what the management and/or board wants or expects from the super to be hired. Anyone you’re interested in hiring must of course be intelligent enough to pick up building-specific skills as needed, such as certificates of fitness, etc. If you’re about to interview prospects, it would be quite a worthwhile exercise for all involved to put down on paper as complete a list as possible of what you intend to expect from your next super. Glen Stoltz

Answer: The skills for a superintendent are many. More important is the bank of knowledge that he or she possesses. it won't do the building much good if a super knows everything about carpentry, electricity and plumbing, and little about supervision and no people skills: if the super is never going to do plumbing and electricity, yet he or she will be mainly supervising and dealing with people. It is up to the board and management to decide what the super's duties are going to be and seek out a person with those qualifications. The superintendent has evolved with the growth of co-ops and condos. Therefore a super's number-one skill has become "dealing with people" and technical skills secondary. This is a switch from 25 yrs ago. Should you have specific questions you would like answers to in interviewing a super click here >> Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #660: My building recently lost our super who had been with the building for over 50 years.  The new super we have is a horror in comparison. He has not once washed the floors of the building since he started 3 months ago. The biggest problem as of late is that he only gets rid of the garbage once a week. Our garbage is in a gated area outside and this last week it was piled so high it filled the entire gated area and was being placed outside of the gate on the sidewalk! This is obviously a major fire hazard.  What are the requirements for a super?  Are they supposed to remove garbage say every 72 hours or so? We have already spoken with our management company but they don't seem to be doing anything about it. Post your answer

Answer: The management should respond as soon as possible as leftover garbage breeds bacteria and will attract rodents and roaches. Call management and insist on job description for your super ASAP. Roberto Cardona

Answer: The issue is not whether it's a fire hazard or a health hazard but an issue of what are the specific duties for your super. Your super should have been given a job description and a schedule. Perhaps he made a deal with the management company about taking out the garbage once a week and cleaning the building once a month. Without a job description and schedule, you can only assume he knows what to do and when. Common sense has nothing to do with scheduling. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer: First of all your management company should take care of your problem promptly. The garbage should go out for pick up 3 times a week and when its stored it should not block any exits or any doors. The collection from one week to another in basements is considered a fire hazard, and action should be taken to clear it up. I can't specify my answer if I don't know what type of building you live in and what type of agreement you have with your management company and super. James Zammit

Question #658: I live in a luxury low rise building, with a live-in super.  I got locked out, and the super told me the only way he would open my door was if I gave him $50. I said ok, but it would make me feel better if I could write a check out to the management. He then told me no, and said if I did not give the money to him, he would never open my door again. Is this a common practice for supers, and should I bring this issue to management? Post your answer

Answer: The super was supposed to make the very best effort to assist you with the lockout especially if he lives in the building he is there to respond to the needs of the tenants. Roberto Cardona

Answer: Sounds like extortion to me, but only you and he would know for sure. No it is not a common practice, nor should it be. Yes you should complain to management, in my opinion, if it happened as you say it did. Glen Stoltz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Answer: I found the manual, and it does have a cool calendar with room to check off daily, weekly and monthly tasks. You can find it at http://tinyurl.com/79dok. I don't know if the specific tasks are correct for the standard city boilers.

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

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

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

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

Answer: Go here: http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls.

Answer: To determine the most cost-effective fuel at any given time, do the following:
1 - Check a natural gas bill to determine the cost per therm of natural gas.
 
2 - Multiply the above figure by 10. Example .75 therm x 10 = $7.50. This is the cost of a dekatherm of gas.
 
3 - If #2 oil is used, multiply today's price $1.1530 x 7.067 = $8.15. This is the equivalent cost of a dekatherm of gas.
 
4 - If #6 oil is used, multiply today's price .9819 x 6.689 = $6.57. This is the equivalent cost of a dekatherm of gas.
 
5 - Another way of calculating this would be:
This is approximately 40% more BTU's in a gallon of #2 oil than in a therm of natural gas. Take price per therm and multiply by 1.4 to get equivalent cost of a gallon of #2 oil. (In example above, .75 therm x 1.4 = $1.05 gal.
 
6 - There is approximately 46% more BTU's in a gallon of #6 oil than in a therm of natural gas. Take therm price and multiply by 1.46 to get equivalent cost of a gallon of #6 oil. (In example above .75 per therm x $1.46 = $1.10 gal.
Note that you may use either system 2, 3, and 4, or 5 and 6. You don't have to use both. For the above examples, a Dual Fuel System using natural gas or #2 oil would save by using natural gas. However, a Dual Fuel System using natural gas or #6 oil would save by using #6 oil. Prices should probably be checked weekly to determine the best price.
Question #608: I live in a 10 unit self-managed co-op building where all members are expected to help maintain the building. Unfortunately, only 3 units actually participate. I am considering offering my services as a paid "resident manager." The position will consist primarily of coordinating required repair work, maintaining stock of supplies, and supervising cleaning staff. What monthly fee would be appropriate? Post your answer

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

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

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

Question #598: I was wondering when the school for superintendents starts, because I would like to enroll myself there, and what do I need to qualify? Post your answer

Answer: It depends on which school you're thinking of enrolling in. Go to our Continuing Education page for a short list of schools featuring classes in building superintendency skills. We also, as a technical association, offer many workshops, sometimes as an extra meeting of the month, or as we're doing this month with our building violations workshop, as the main attraction of our regular meetings. Members always get a certificate for their attendance at these workshops, and when you add them all up, will take you a long way toward your goal of becoming a knowledgeable and skilled superintendent.

Answer: There is a union school for superintendents only for Local 32BJ members and their affiliates. Also, see the Real Estate Education Center for superintendent and facilities management classes. PGrech, gboc.net

Question #596: Re: Question #577 - Why hasn't anyone answered the question. The super and the assistant super are provided apartments. Do we have to provide one to the porter? Post your answer

Answer: I'm a super in Great Neck and am not aware of any regulations requiring a live-in porter. Each village has their own specific rules regarding live in supers and/or others and if information regarding these situations is needed, I'm sure a phone call to the building department would provide an answer. However, it's possible that a building has a policy requiring a live-in porter and if that's the case, the building has to abide by that and give the new porter an apartment.

Answer: New York State codes require someone to live on the premises or within 200 feet of the premises - usually it is the superintendent. You do not have to provide housing for an assistant superintendent or porter. In some cases where the premises are very large, the assistant super is provided with an apartment, but only in very large buildings. PGrech, gboc.net

Question #595: What phone number do I call to find out about my pension fund benefits in New York City? Post your answer

Answer: If you're a member of Local 32BJ, see their website.

Question #592:  I live in Brooklyn in a 43 apartment building. Some of us are rent controlled. We were told the super works 8A.M. - 4P.M. and no Saturdays or Sundays. The super doesn't answer his phone. Is there anything we can do? Post your answer

Answer: Supers are human too. Unless its a bona fide emergency, you will have to wait until Monday. Try giving a better xmas gratuity, that usually motivates some supers to go above the call of duty. John G.

Question #589: We are dissatisfied with the current managing agent for our building, but delighted with the "super super" he brought with him when he began managing our building. Is there any way (aside from personal persuasion) that the managing agent could force the super to leave if we replace the managing agent? Basically, at this point we are tolerating the managing agent because we love our super so much. Post your answer

Answer: The Super and the Management Agency are separate entities. There are limited super jobs and the "Super Super" will let you know if he/she will stay if there is a change in management agencies. Remember, communication is the key, Those who do not ask may not receive. Richard Feuerstein

Answer: Manager and Super aren't married to each other, they can and often do go separate ways, and the only ways I can think of for the former manager to persuade the current super to leave his building is if he made him a better job offer (an offer too good to refuse), or if he has a means of coercion, like some dirt on him of an ethical nature, etc., (an offer he can't refuse). Glen Stoltz

Answer: It's the board who decides who is terminated or not. That includes the management company as well as super and staff. If the management company is terminated, they will need the super, not to mention they do not want to make waves at first bat. My experience has been, its easier to change management companies than supers. Managers come and go, but good supers stay. When you are ready let me know, I can recommend two great management companies as well as help you interview them and others. I keep a list of good and bad companies. PGrech, gboc.net

Question #580: I want to become a super and have no experience. Where do I start and what qualifications do I need? Post your answer

Answer: See the answer to Question #464 and all the other pertinent answers to questions on the categorized questions Supers & Management page.

Question #573: I've been a super for a very short time and I don't know much about the rules of the job. In the building where I work, tenants and other people hang out and play music in front. My landlord wants me to make them stop, he wants me to confront them. I spoke to them many times but it seems to not work. I want to know what should I do? Post your answer

Answer: Superintendents are not cops! If a confrontation turns ugly you have no special protection under the law. Ask the landlord to post a permanent sign stating his policy of NO LOITERING. NO RADIO PLAYING. ETC. You can call the local Police Precinct to report noise or unruly behavior. I suggest you do so anonymously. Also, visit your local precinct and ask to speak with a community concerns officer for advice.


Question #570: Does workers comp cover an employee working after hours for a resident of the condo association? Post your answer

Answer: NO. Workers comp only covers workers for work done at or on the job. If worker went to the hardware store for building issues and got injured /she is covered but working in apartments after or before work hours or on his/her day off is NOT covered by workers comp and so a lawsuit may have merits. Note: if the apartment owner has workers comp insurance for work done in the apartment, then the worker would be covered under that insurance. PGrech, gboc.net

Answer: If the owner has a homeowners insurance policy in New York it will include workers comp.


Question #561: Our super was suspended for over 6 weeks. What can we do? Post your answer

Answer: A six week suspension is very uncommon in this field. Usually a one or two week suspension is more than enough. There is probably more to it than it appears to be. What can you do? Find out the facts. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #557: I see that it's been stated here that there is no required license for supers, but there must be some skills or programs they must pass right? I live in a poorly maintained building, and people wonder why we don't have a porter or a handyman, what the responsibilities of the super are, and although you have told others that they should contact the building management for such questions, what do we do when the building management chooses to ignore us and our questions, who do we turn to then? Post your answer

Answer: There are plenty of good courses available to take, but there are absolutely none required to have been taken and passed before hiring someone for a super's position. As for who to complain to about your poorly maintained building, you can try calling the City's 311 line, or call HPD and ask them for advice. It's a tough situation when the property management company doesn't respond in a timely fashion to complaints, but sometimes they can be forced to do so with some outside pressure.


Question #556: I work in a high class 47 unit building as the super. Would like to know what labor unions will benefit me and my porter? Post your answer

Answer: Local 32BJ is the only one I know of for New York City.


Question #550: I'm a superintendent in a newly constructed building in Manhattan. The building has 120 units. Tenants are asking me to install their air conditioners for them. Is this my responsibility? There is enough work around the building to keep me busy other than this kind of work. Can I call on a law or similar? Post your answer

Answer: I don't think there's a law on this, but if you're in the union you can ask if there is a union rule on it. If not a union member, it depends on whether or not it's in your written job description, if you have one. If you don't have a written job description then it's no doubt completely up for negotiation. Without knowing more details, it sounds like it would be beyond your daily responsibilities, and one that either the tenants themselves or your management company should pay you extra for.

Answer: Is the air conditioner a window unit; I would not let one of my staff members install an air conditioner in the apartment window. If that unit ever fell out of the window and hurt someone, or worse killed them, the building would be responsible. If it's a sleeve unit, all that's required is the old one be pulled out and the new one pushed in. Mike Mac

Answer: Installing AC units IS NOT normally the job of the superintendent. If you do install them because you are told it is, or because you want to make money doing it, you must follow LL.11/98. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #544: I was recently directed to a very good apartment through the building's super. How much money should I give him for his help? Post your answer

Answer: I am glad you are thinking of rewarding the person who gave you the tip on the apartment. I can not make any recommendations on what to give him for ethical reasons. One way to do it: see how much you are saving, then figure out a small percentage to give him.  PGrech, gboc.net


Question #534: Are uniforms provided standard with a super's job. Post your answer

Answer: Uniforms are supplied by the employer if the job is union. If it is not union, then the super and staff have to negotiate for uniforms. Remember, if you must buy uniforms for work because they are required by the job, then you can deduct that expense on your taxes, but as always, consult your tax preparer first. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #529: I have been the resident manager of a 35-unit property located in Westwood California. While just 35 units it is home to 200 college students. I have spent an average of 40-50 hours per week trying to keep up with all that is expected. What would be a fair salary for this position? Post your answer

Answer: Your salary is a matter of negotiation, and the salary standards in your area. Obviously, you are entitled to the salary of a 24/7 super. Sounds, also, that you need the assistance of a porter. Ask your fellow supers/resident managers in the neighborhood. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #526: Can anyone advise of a school offering an EPA Air Pollution course, along with phone number and/or email address? Post your answer

Answer: The two places that I know of are: if you are a member of Local 32BJ, you can take their course, call 212-388-3500 for member benefits, and NYC College of Technology, call 718-552-1190 for more info. Tell them the Supers Technical Association referred you. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #522: I need a list of all the tools and equipment a super will need to operate a newly constructed 22 unit building. Post your answer

Answer: The answer can range from $200 to over $2000. You need to ask yourself what do you expect from your superintendent? The standard startup tools: two good flashlights, a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, a pair of channellocks, a linesman's pliers, a 4-step and a 7-step ladder, electrical tester, two plungers, a hand snake. These would be a good place to start. Don't buy cheap tools, spend the money once and have good tools. All building purchased tools should be inventoried and have the building address engraved on each tool. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #520: I am 32 years of age and have been working in construction and remodeling for the past 10-12 years. Where can I get formal training in New York City to be certified as a Superintendent, and is it costly? Post your answer

Answer: There is no formal certification for supers in New York City - yet. However, if you follow the links on our Continuing Education page, you will find several choices, along with tuition information, that will help you get a good education in the multifamily building services field.

Answer: If you are serious about becoming a super, then become a member of our association! Apart from great workshops that earn certificates, you will be able to circulate amongst supers, board members and managing agents, to name a few. This networking is a valuable asset that the club provides. These are only a few of the benefits membership has to offer. Come. Join! Be all you can be. Pgrech, President STA

Answer: The first, best and smartest thing you can do for yourself if you want to get into the life of a super is to network with other supers. Come to our meetings. You'll meet other supers of whom you can ask questions, and they are the ones who know first of new job openings in their neighborhood - even before they're on this website.


Question #512: Our resident manager is leaving our co-op to go into business for himself and is taking all the tools in his workshop with him. Will the next super, that our management company hired, be expected to have his own tools or should we provide them? Post your answer

Answer: Most Superintendents / Resident Managers have their own tools, but it's not a union requirement. It usually is a good idea for the building to have the basic tools for the staff. These tools should be engraved with the building address and inventoried. Upon hiring your new resident manager, make sure he supplies a list of tools that he owns, and keep the list current by adding to that list when he purchase new tools for himself with his own money. This list should be kept with the Property agent so should the new super leave, the building would know which tools belong to whom. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #503: I am a facilities manager trying to compile research to develop an operating manual for the doormen in several luxury apartment buildings in New York City. What are some sources I could use that articulate the various responsibilities to be expected of doormen, and perhaps contain some sample operating manuals? Post your answer

Answer: In all my (many) years, I have never encountered a manual for doorpersons, but it's a good idea. Suggest you develop a questionnaire and send it to the leading management companies and publish it as a joint venture? If you would like STA's help, let me know.  Dick Koral


Question #501: If a tenant does not comply with the garbage recycling procedure, which results in the landlord being fined, could the tenant be liable for the fine, and if this was an ongoing issue, could this be basis for the tenant’s eviction from apartment? Post your answer

Answer: If you are around when the sanitation inspectors come and watch them go through the garbage for violations, you can point out to them the tenant that did not comply. If would help if they found the name and address of the non-complying tenant in the garbage. At that point the inspector can issue the tenant a summons. If it's just bottles and cans you're out of luck. Your managing agent would need to speak with the building's attorney. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #500: What are the basic responsibilities of a live-in building super in New York City? Post your answer

Answer: Please read the applicable FAQs on this website.


Question #498: Do I need a license to work as a handyman for very small jobs, like light plumbing and electrical? Post your answer

Answer: For small jobs? According to the Department of Consumer Affairs, if you don't charge more than $200 you don't need a license. Plumbing and electrical is a different story. You'll have to check on plumbing, but according to the Code Section §27-3017, ALL electrical work needs to be done by, or under, a licensed master electrician. The exception is low voltage work.

Answer: If you are going to do normal repairs that involve repairing and replacing existing fixtures and switches etc., then no license is required, as long as you DO NOT go into or interfere with the trap in plumbing or the fuses in electrical. If you are doing it as a business or for money then you should check with the city if you need a contractors license. Furthermore you would need insurance. Maintenance repairs are excluded from the Codes as long as they are maintenance only and not NEW. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #495: What do I need to be a certified, well paid super?  What courses or classes would I need to take? Post your answer

Answer: Come to our meetings and these kinds of questions will be answered.

Question #494: I live in a prewar building that does not allow dishwashers. I know people in other buildings that have installed dishwashers without permission and have had no problems. What is the building management concerned about and how likely is a dishwasher to cause a problem? Post your answer

Answer: If your building doesn't have a general history of drainage problems, and your specific apartment has no glaring plumbing problems, you SHOULD be fine. That is, as long as you don't get caught doing something your lease agreement may specifically prohibit. Management is probably most concerned with the extra load that lots of washers - dish and otherwise - would bring to a building.

Answer: There are two areas that concern management when it comes to dishwashers and clothes washers. First is the drains. Keep in mind that the drains use gravity to remove water from your apartment. When it comes to washers, the water is pumped out, sending out a higher volume of water. At times, depending on how the drain system is configured, this water may go into your neighbor's sink or tub. Keep in mind the drains, when installed, were not calculated on having machine-moved water being dumped into the drainage system. Secondly, dishwashers usually use HOT WATER. The hot water generation system, when constructed, was not engineered and installed with calculations that included machine washer use. This creates extra demand on the hot water generation system. Now, one or two washers may not affect the system overall, but in time as more machines are installed you will see the problems occurring. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #492: I'm a super now for over a year here in Harlem. It's a non-union job with a low salary. I'm trying to move up to a better building and I've come across TCI's Building Maintenance Program. City Tech has a similar program as well. Will these certificate programs help me out in advancing my career and if not, what else should I consider? Post your answer

Answer: Put it this way: taking courses like the ones you mentioned can't hurt, and you should take what makes sense to you and what you can afford. Networking, however, is the best way to advance in this type of job - it's just as much (if not more) WHO you know as it is WHAT you know. So you need to network with other supers, who are often the first to know of a job opening up, either in their neighborhood or in their management company. The way to do that is to attend our monthly meetings, introduce yourself to the other supers in attendance as a super in the market for a step up, and listen and learn. Countless jobs have been gotten through this way of networking at our meetings. Not to mention that you will learn most of what you need to know to improve your skills as a super, from hands-on plumbing to communication skills, at our meetings - both in the regular monthly meetings and in our regularly scheduled workshops. Check out the jobs available, both on this site and in the local papers, and apply to those that are suitable to you. As a member of our association, you can also post your resume on our site - several members have obtained great jobs this way.


Question #484: Our current porter would like to be considered as the building's next superintendent. Are there ways that he can prepare / increase his knowledge so that he may be a more viable candidate. Are there classes the union (32BJ) or this organization offers that we can refer him to? Post your answer

Answer: Your porter - if he is a union member - can go to the union school. Even if he had no intentions of becoming a super, he should go to the school as it is free to him and you never know, one day he may buy a house and put what he learned to good use. He can learn from our organization too, we are a not-for-profit and NON union organization interested in education for multifamily workers. Education is a continuing affair. PGrech, gboc.net

Answer: We have plenty of upcoming classes (see our calendar) and so does the Union, as do some local institutions (see our Continuing Ed Page for links). But if your current porter has at least average intelligence and a cut above average communication skills, plus a willingness to learn all about managing a building and staff, he may be a better bet than many supers experienced in other buildings with years of experience, since he already has intimate knowledge of your building, the residents and the staff. Read what another super has to say about "super skills" on this page.


Question #481: We live in a 47-unit self-managed co-op in Brooklyn. Our upstairs neighbor regularly engages in noise-making at night. This has been going on for years. We have been told that there is very little that can be done without conclusive evidence that the noise is coming from her apartment. Lately, she has taken to banging on a decorative balcony which is outside her master bedroom. Since the balcony is on the exterior of the building is this behavior subject to a different set of laws than the noise making in the interior of her apartment? I would imagine it should be illegal to bang on the exterior of a building since this could potentially lead to a hazardous condition. Post your answer

Answer: Noise and odor complaints are common in multi-family buildings. Just what can be done is a gray area. New York City has code that deals with noise pollution and quality of life issues. 311 is the number for complaints. The co-op or condo Offering Plan should also spell out quality of life and rights to quiet and enjoyment of your home. At times City agencies have their hands tied due to the noise level not exceeding the code. It's up to the board to begin proceedings against the owner or shareholder of the apartment. You may end up in civil court if their efforts are not sincere or useless. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #477: Sometimes my doorman (X) will need a day or two off and he will ask the other doorman if he can work for him on those specific days. I of course will have them write a note stating the exchange or the "I owe you" for those day. When I do the payroll the (X) doormen will appear that he worked those days. Is this legal to do? Post your answer

Answer: If you're the super, and your doormen are doing something they shouldn't be doing or that you don't like, why not just put a stop to it? Or at the least find out how and why they're doing what they're doing? If you are their supervisor then you do have a certain amount of control over the type of thing you allude to. Look, if a doorman is putting in for time that he really didn't work, although there may not be a specific law against it, at the very least it's unethical and dishonest, and he can be fired for cheating the company he works for. But there is more than one way for one doorman to fill in for another. One way is for X to take Y's shift, and get paid cash for that shift by the doorman he's filling in for. That happens in many buildings all the time and there's nothing wrong with it as long as everyone understands what's going on and it's okayed by their supervisor.


Question #473: I have been a super for 13 years in New York and the landlord wants me out of a basement apartment which I paid $500.00 a moth for. What are my rights? Post your answer

Answer: Assuming you don't have a union contract to protect you, you are then hired "at will". This means that you can be terminated at will also. Unless the landlord is discriminating against you, you don't have much of a leg to stand on. See a lawyer. Also, note that if you are paying rent and have a lease, then you have protection on eviction. No lease, then you have to vacate the apartment. Also note that if you are paying money for the lease, you possibly have a tax write-off because you are required by law to live there so the rent is a cost of employment. Ask your accountant about that. In addition, when it's a union contract there must be due cause to be terminated, thus due process to be followed. When you are employed at will, no such due process or due cause is required unless the landlord breaks the laws of the Fair Employment Act. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #470: Can a super (who lives in our building during the week) legally be allowed to reside in another borough during the weekend. What does the law state requiring a super to be on premises. This is a co-op building with a weekend door staff and porter. Post your answer

Answer: People cannot go 24/7 with out some sort of break. The law states that the super must live in the building or within 200 feet or so. It does not state he must be at the property at all times or on a 24/7 schedule. Most supers go to a house that they may own or visit friends on weekends or on their days off. Unless your co-op is prepared to pay the super for the two days overtime to stay in the building, either find a substitute for his days off or just bear it. Most buildings don't have an issue with this. What would you do if your boss told you to work your days off without pay? Note: staying in the building on the days off even though are not spent working still constitutes overtime. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #464: We are a 90 unit building and we will soon be in need of a superintendent. How do we ensure that we find the best super we can. What skills and abilities must we insist that this super have. Where is the best place to recruit this kind of "super" super? Post your answer

Answer: Best place to find a good super is from word of mouth. Second best is New York Times, and third is from our website. As for the interviewing process and making sure you get the best candidate, I have had good success in helping boards with this, from going over the resumes of candidates to being at the interviews with the board and/or manager. It's something I do well. PGrech, gboc.net

Answer: For the larger multi-family buildings like yours, communications is the most important of skills the super needs to have in order for things to work smoothly. Without the ability to communicate quite well with your manager, your staff, your residents, your suppliers & the various mechanics and artisans who perform work in the building (plumbers, painters etc.) the super can quickly lose control of his/her staff and building, not to mention the respect of residents. The presupposition is that your super will also have at least average intelligence. Experience in the field isn't nearly as important as is the ability to communicate well - no matter the other previous work experience. If your candidate has these two attributes - at least average intelligence and the ability to communicate well - then half the battle is won already. A willingness to update skills on a regular basis is also quite important. Your candidate should also have the ability to follow directions or orders from superiors well, and the willingness to do so. Good organizational skills help also. Computer skills, or the willingness to learn, also factor in more and more (and can help much with organization if learned and put to use correctly). Last, and maybe least, are the skills and experience in working with your hands: light plumbing, light electrical, etc., but are not nearly as necessary if your candidate already has a staff in place (handyman, porters etc.) who can take care of the day to day repairs that come up. Where do you find such a candidate? I may be prejudiced since I'm a member of this Association, but our members are all people who have the above traits, and by their association with our group show that they recognize the need to update their knowledge about their chosen field of endeavor on a regular basis. You could do much worse than to look at our Resumes page and interview and consider each of them. We only allow members to post their resumes. Glen Stoltz


Question #455: I live in a 47-unit co-op building in Brooklyn. Our building is self-managed. A few years ago our super moved out and now lives in Nassau County. Our Board told us this was acceptable under the NYC law governing supers as long as a fill-in super resides within 200 feet of the building frontage. One of our elevator operators is in fact also the super of a nearby building, where he resides. Is this an acceptable arrangement under NYC law? Post your answer

Answer: The law is specific in that the person who is responsible for janitorial works needs to live within 200 feet or one block - which ever is greater - according to both State and City codes. This arrangement works for when the super is on vacation etc. However as an ongoing procedure, it is stretching the spirit in which it was written. Code also states that the name, address and phone number of the super be posted in the lobby. Now how do you get around that? Your building is stretching it thin. I would try having the building attorney put it in writing that it is legal and hold him responsible if something goes wrong. PGrech, gboc.net


Question #448: I am a property manager. How do I determine a fair price to pay for a live-in superintendent that would have to operate a #6 oil boiler, in a 54 unit, six story building? Would it be a good idea to be competitive with similar buildings in the neighborhood? Post your answer

Answer: While matching or being competitive in the neighborhood on salary is good, is it not better to pay 15 percent more and get a good super rather than an average super? Salary always depends on what is required of the super and how much experience is had. One thing for sure, good supers are hard to find. Good supers save money and are a very valuable asset to any building. Pgrech, Gboc.net


Question #442: I’m a working super in central New Jersey. The new management company orders me to rent vacant apartments from the date of moving out. Each last day of the month I have 2-3 move outs. I must rent all apartments from first day of the month. It means I have absolutely no time for preparations. Painting is my responsibility. Management is pushing me to find prospective tenants who are able to sign the lease from the first day of the month & move in 5-10-15 days later when apartment will be rented & inspected by the township. The Super from the next door property which is under the same management was fired for losing about 3 weeks of rent for a period of six months in a 75 unit building. Maybe some of you know how to save the job and not break the law? Post your answer

Answer: From what you write, it looks like management is expecting the impossible or almost-impossible from you, and to agree to do this may be just setting yourself up for failure. Have a talk with your immediate superior and explain the situation to him. Ask him whether you can hire some help at the owner's expense, or can management provide some help to you.


Question #441: This is my first supers job (51 family co-op) and during the interview I was told my hours will be Mon-Fri 9-5. I was also told there will be a little garbage to go out on Sundays. I have never had a LITTLE garbage on Sundays. The building generates more garbage over the weekends and it is my recycle day. I do not have a porter and I have no backup coverage at all on Saturday or Sunday. I have asked the management if they could supply someone to work the weekend, but they have not complied. I see the recycle area grow all weekend long and the compactor chute is always filled past the lobby level where I have my apartment and one other 1-bedroom apartment. Is there anything I can do? Post your answer

Answer: Just one idea possibly worth a try: maybe your management company would be open to the suggestion of doing the recyclables work on Sundays in exchange for the same amount of time off on another day, especially if you give them the choice of which weekday for which to give you the time in exchange.

Answer: This may be a good time to remind all supers - and everyone else who is applying for a job for that matter - to "read the fine print" before taking a job. Ask lots of questions and get as much as possible in writing. It is much easier sometimes to negotiate that raise or benefit BEFORE taking the job than it is after the deal is done. If you are desperate for a job, any job (which is understandable and does happen sometimes, and who hasn't been there at least once in life) and really just need the job no questions asked, then don't be surprised when you are pressured to do more than you thought was expected of you. You will then have to take it like a man or learn the delicate art of negotiation after the fact. Changes can sometimes be made, but it's often tougher.


Question #426: I am looking for software to track / tickle maintenance in a high rise. Any suggestions? Post your answer

Answer: If you're good with Windows software, any spreadsheet ( Excel, Alpha 5, etc.) will allow you to set up a system fairly easily where you can track the activities you want to move along.

Answer: Cool-Ware is one found online, but I don't know if it's a good application, either for your particular situation or in general.


Question #422: I would like to know what is the average salary for a Super working in an office building for a private firm, with or without certifications? More specifically, what can one expect to make as a part-time super who is not a member of a union? Post your answer

Answer: There is no "average" salary for a super, not even when you break it down to a part-time non-union super. The variables are just too many (size of the building, previous super's salary, etc.), to state a categorical average that would be helpful. For further information read the categorized questions under Supers and Management, as well as the other Categorized FAQs.


Question #409: Can I get some suggestions on a good key coding system for supers? Post your answer

Answer: First you will need a key cabinet. Next, you will buy key envelopes that lock tight and cannot be opened unless envelope is ripped open. Write a number on the envelope. Next, have a notebook and log in number on envelope with the apartment number the key corresponds to. The only people allowed to look in log book is the super or the handyman. Look up number and have tenant sign out the key, if key is not returned the tenant should be informed in the event of an emergency. If you wish to see the type of envelope to store the key please e-mail me I would be glad to help if you have any questions. Roberto Cardona


Question #385: Can a super's wife be a part of the building's staff, handling the clerical work? Is this uncommon and unorthodox? Who usually takes care of logging in work orders and keep track of supplies and such matters? Are there any software programs that allow you to do such work on computer that contains templates? My husband is soon to get a position as a super in Manhattan and I wanted to be prepared, help and support him. I've been a receptionist for years and would love the opportunity to be as close to home as I can be and work with him.  Post your answer

Answer: Yes a superintendent's wife can help her husband in that area. She may or may not be paid, that would have to be worked out with the building management. I know several supers whose wife works and gets paid. It is not unorthodox nor unethical. The administrative element of a super's job sucks, as the things you mentioned are usually performed by the superintendent himself. Nothing is stopping your helping him to organize his files and logs etc. Good luck. Pgrech, Gboc.net


Question #383: I am not a member but was at this week's meeting. Can you make a one day workshop on heating? Can you make workshops on electrical and plumbing or on general building repairs, etc? I want to learn as much as I can but I don't want to be a member as I can't afford the $45.00 per year. Jeff seemed so knowledgeable about the subject. The club president, Peter I think was so knowledgeable also. Post your answer

Answer:  Let me get this straight: you can't invest $45 for an annual membership that will help in furthering your knowledge, your supering skills and education, which will help you do your job better? Yet you're willing to pay, as a non-member, for each workshop we give? Are you kidding yourself? Because, although our workshops (those that are given outside of the monthly meetings) are usually free to members, we do charge non-members a fee to participate. We are a Technical Society, workshops are what we do continually, but participants pay at least a nominal fee for day long workshops with us, as they would anywhere else. Either it comes as part of the membership fee or you will pay individually for the workshops at a higher price. Meaning that if you take two or more workshops per year, you'll be paying more out-of-pocket that if you just paid the membership fee. Your choice. My suggestion: be smart about it, pay the membership fee and be a part of a growing brotherhood of supers and other building maintenance workers who care about themselves and each other and are willing to grow together and help each other realize our dreams. Glen Stoltz


Question #378: When does a super's inspections of alterations turn into harassment? He seems to be just wasting my contractor's time with idiotic questions. Post your answer

Answer: Your super SHOULD know what goes on in his building, including any work going on in your apartment - it is, in general, part of his job to be on top of that type of information. If you didn't supply him and management with a set of drawings and specs for the work being done, along with insurance paperwork, you've made a big mistake and should rectify it immediately. He has a right to ask whatever questions he needs to ask in order to understand the scope of work, and whether or not you and your contractor are sticking to it. As the super of the building, he is a part of management, being in a sense the eyes and ears of management and is there to inform them of what they need to know. (As for when his questions turn into harassment, who knows? I thought that's what lawyers get paid to determine). If you think he is overstepping his bounds and you have complaints about his behavior, however, you have a right to complain to management and try to sort it all out. Glen Stoltz


Question #375: We are an 80 unit co-op that will need a superintendent after our current one retires in a year. What is the best way to attract and retain a good super that can serve our building for many years to come. Post your answer

Answer: Salary is one way to attract the kind of super you are seeking. Bonus, an apartment that meets his/her family needs as well as respect and dignity for his/her position. I recommend that you make up a job description of what you require of your new super as well as the traits you're looking for. If you need more info or any help email me at Pgrech4214@aol.com. Pgrech

Answer: Be VERY careful to check his background. Our cooperative hired a super who had been fired by his previous building but was given a good recommendation as part of an arbitration settlement. He also lied about having a no. 6 license on his resume. Check very carefully.


Question #374: I am a super of a non-union multi-dwelling building. I got hurt on the job and got surgery 2 and a half months ago. A workers compensation case has been established. Can the management take me out of the apartment for not being able to return to work in a time frame? If the answer is yes please advise on the procedures. Post your answer

Answer:


Question #371: We live in a 90-unit cooperative in Manhattan. Recently the Board hired the Superintendent to renovate a "bike room" for about $4,200. This entailed removing three walls, removing a bathroom and the appliances in it and installing new electrical and switch. There were no permits obtained and the Super does not have an electric or contractor's license. He also hired some people, who clearly were not licensed, to help out. This all seems like a bad idea. Can you advise? Post your answer

Answer:  Bad idea? Not really. As along as no one who is working for the super gets hurt, as long as no building inspectors came by, as long as there is no electrical fire, as long as no resident gets hurt - to name a few - it should work out ok. There comes a time when Boards have to weigh the up-front cost versus the possible hidden cost when things go wrong. A better idea would have been to not have the super be the contractor but an employee of the building, and have him and a temp helper build the room. This way everything would have been covered properly by building insurance. The electrical, as long as NO NEW installation was being done and only Old fixtures were being replaced ,sounds like it's within the electrical code. It's good to give the super and staff extra money for extra work; you just have to consider is he acting as worker or contractor. Pgrech

Answer:  You answered your own question. If the Buildings Department gets wind of this, you are all in trouble. If a fire breaks out or other thing you think you are insured for, the insurance company will find out what you did and refuse to pay. Dick Koral


Question #370: I live in an upscale co-op building on Park Avenue. Since we have installed automated elevators we have a full time doorman who just sits at a pulpit and does absolutely nothing. What is the doorman responsible for? Does he have to stand and greet the guests and open the door. Is the building required to give him a seat? Does he have to help carry packages? Post your answer

Answer:  To have any staff member, union or not, without a written job description is like having to go through a jungle without a compass. Basically a doorman's duties are whatever the board wants - without his duties going into another classification. Furthermore, it seems you need to have the super and managing agent learn how to supervise and motivate staff. This condition is the fault of either super or management. Proper training and motivation are key aspects for good employee performance. Pgrech

Answer: Your co-op board or property manager is responsible for defining what he does while on the job, and the super is responsible for seeing that it gets done. If he doesn't have a written job description, then your Board probably isn't doing its job. If his written job description isn't being enforced, then your super or property manager probably isn't doing his/her job.


Question #368: In reference to Question #336: Part of your answer was: "The code also states that one super can only serve up to 65 apartments." My question is, Where can I find this code exactly, and will it apply to a co-op as well as a rental building? I have endured 2 buildings with 109 co-op units for 3 years, and the board keeps asking for more of me. I do not want to be fired because of my wife and 2 small children, 11 months, and 4 year old, but I'm burning out, injuring my back often and with no hope in sight. Although I am in NJ, any answer even if related to New York State will give me a running start towards the solution. Post your answer

Answer: Although we try to assist building service employees everywhere, the Codes referred to above are strictly New York City and New York State Codes. If you do just a little research before asking your questions, you will find that these Codes referred to often are NOT referring to any place other than New York City/State. The Multiple Dwelling Law only covers New York State. The Housing Maintenance Code is a New York City code or set of laws. Also check here for further research.


Question #367: I am the super of a non-union 72 family building. Is it true that by law I should have at the least a part time helper to help around the building. Post your answer

Answer: What does "by law" mean? Depends where you building is located. Assistance all depends on your work load. I am sure you would agree that all buildings with 70 to 75 apartments are not the same. The work load may differ. I suggest you keep a accurate log and just see what do you do over the course of a month, noting hours you work and all the things you do, no matter how minor. Then you can approach the owner or management with this information and discuss a solution. Pgrech

Answer:  What you must ask yourself is did the previous super have a helper. I worked in a non-union building and knew what I was getting into. On your next job its important to interview the owner or managing agent, the same as you are being interviewed. My guess is you will never receive help. Note: the building that I worked at 4 years ago has gone through 3 supers. Chris


Question #366: What does a Super do when his wife wants a divorce but she won't leave the apartment? What legal rights does he have to get her out? After all, this is his job and if he leaves he loses his job too. Post your answer

Answer: Tough question. Ask a lawyer is my first thought. I know of one super years ago who was in a similar situation and he was told by the court to leave. His wife ended up being the super and the building lived happily ever after. Pgrech


Question #362: Is there a major difference in job description and pay (benefits) for a Resident Manager as compared to a Super, or are they both the same jobs but with different titles? Post your answer

Answer: Essentially it's the same job. Titles are interchangeable. The substance of the job depends more on the class of building and responsibilities involved than on the title.

Answer: The titles are interchangeable at a low level. Those of us resident managers who make over $90K per year would take issue with someone saying the title is completely interchangeable as well as the job descriptions being the same. A true resident manager would not be in uniform. Suit & tie would be the dress code. Secondly staff size would also be a major difference, as is the size of the building and number of apartments. The higher the salary a resident manager makes the more a part of management he becomes, not to mention the more stress that goes with it. I can tell you stories the would blow your mind. At times I say to myself, I wish I was a simple handyman with a nine to five job and go home when the day is done. Pgrech


Question #359: I am currently working for New York city as a firefighter, and am also interested in a career as a part time building superintendent. I have spoken to a couple supers about my interests and they told me that I should get a low-pressure #6 certificate. I am currently enrolled. Are there any other avenues to pursue? Post your answer

Answer: It is probable that a small building (say, 15 family co-op) would be interested in a firefighter who wants to be a part-time super. But you should learn supers skills beside the certificate that you are seeking, which may be useless because so many of the small building use gas, not oil. Check out Continuing Studies at New York City College of Technology. Dick Koral


Question #358: To become a member of local union of superintendent / maintenance would I have to be a super already and what does the dues cover, does the union help with live in supers, etc. Post your answer

Answer: You do not have to be anything to get a job in a union building. Of course, the employer will look for technical skills and character references. After you are in the job for six months, you must join the union and start paying dues. Dick Koral

Answer: Your dues cover only the working expenses of the union. Your dues DO NOT cover any medical, legal, dental etc. The owner pays into the funds for those items. In most cases the union will NOT help you in finding a job. It's not their function. The function of a union is to make sure all its members are being treated fairly and within the terms of the contract, to name one function. Finding employment is not a real union function - although at times they may. Pgrech


Question #356: My husband is a super in an 80 unit building for the last several years. This is a private building and the owner does not require any certificates but we thinking about the future and a better position. My husband would like to take some courses to obtain certificates for boilers, sprinklers and standpipes. Where can he do that? Post your answer

Answer: Call 718-552-1170 and ask for the Continuing Studies bulletin of New York City College of Technology, in downtown Brooklyn. In it, all the courses you need. Dick Koral


Question #353: What is the description of a handyman, and what jobs is he legally able to perform without a professional license? Post your answer

Answer: A handyman description depends on the handyman history in your building and on how the job has been defined and redefined down through the years by management, a board if any, and the super.


Question #352: If your base salary is 28,000 per year and you get free rent -which is considered a taxable benefit - can the employer add the market value of $1,000 per month of rent to your salary? Post your answer

Answer: About 20 years ago building owners did put the cost of the apartment as additional income on the super's W2 forms. Then there came a ruling that disallowed this but gave the owner another choice, which is that the cost of the apartment could go under general expenses. Pgrech


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 if 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


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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #294: What is the appropriate annual tip for a live-in super in a non-luxury building? Post your answer

Answer: Read the answers to similar questions on the Frequently Asked Questions Page and elsewhere on this website.


Question #291: If you get fired for no reason or you get dismissed without warning, because the company hired somebody that will work for less, what can you do? Post your answer

Answer: You may have recourse by calling the Labor Department. They enforce existing labor laws where there is no union contract. But be warned it may take two years to be heard - if they agree to hear your case. You were hired at will and the owner has the right to hire who he/she wants to hire. Unfair as it seems, that's the system. If you become a member you can place you resume on our website. Pgrech

Answer: There is nothing you can do about it, unless you're a member of the union. Look for another job and move on. Your company may have inadvertently done you a huge favor. Look at the glass as half full and take the opportunity to find a job and employer you really like.


Question #289: I am 23 years old and I've been a super for 5 years. How can I get a union job without connections? Post your answer

Answer: Are you a member of the Supers Technical Association? If not, start coming to the monthly meetings and introduce yourself to other people like you in the business. You can network very well at the monthly meetings -- let people know what you're looking for and what your needs are. You don't need to be a member to attend the meetings, but there are certain benefits to being a member that you won't have without becoming a member, which will help to give you the connections you're looking for.

And know that becoming a member of an Association like this one (no matter what your age) will help managers realize that you mean business -- that you're serious about being a super, and a good one at that -- and you're willing to learn what you have to learn in order to do so. About learning: We have workshops periodically, where you can get a certificate at the end to show to prospective employers that you have learned a skill and are open to learning more.

Members can also post their resumθs on our Resumes Pages. That gets some prospective supers and other building maintenance workers lots of interviews. You can also, after you become a member, add to your resumθ that you're a member of the Superintendents Technical Association. That lends credibility to you, and helps people who will interview you to understand that you're doing what you can do to stay up to date with new technologies and ways of doing things, that you're not stagnant but always ready and open to learning new things.

Take a look at the Jobs Pages, they are updated as the jobs come in, nearly every day. Apply for those that interest you, even if you think you don't have a shot at the job. Learn to ask questions during interviews, not just answer them. Ask what they're looking for, and if they can't hire you for the job you'd like to have, can they hire you for a lesser position and when you prove yourself, could they promote you.

Getting a 32BJ job is not what we do, the jobs advertised on our site are union and nonunion, and we don't discriminate.


Question #279: I can't seem to find info on plumbing technical schools in New York City. Can anyone help? Post your answer

Answer: Two places for plumbing: First is the Mechanical Institute in Manhattan. Second, try New York City College of Technology. Pgrech


Question #276:  My question is pretty common: money. I am a super in Englewood, NJ in two mid-rise apartment buildings; 98 units total. Rent controlled, 80 years old. I am on call 24/7/365 for emergencies, light pluming, light electrical, landscaping (lawn, bushes, etc), prepping vacated apartments (no painting), renting apartments, cleaning (2 vestibules, 2 white marble staircases, 2 elevators, 8 hallways combination of carpet/vinyl, basements, laundry rooms). In April '04, I got part-time porter to help me with cleaning, etc. I have 20 vacates per year. I have my own tools, cleaning equipment, landscaping equipment, pick-up truck; I have low pressure black seal license. My compensation: Health Ins/One bedroom apt/$20,000. Post your answer

Answer: Actually I don't see a question there. If you are asking are you under compensated, I would have to agree that you are. But remember 24/7 comes with the supers job. It really is up to you to legally make more money. I would first try to negotiate for a raise. If you are a member, ask us, we can help you on this issue. Pgrech

Answer: Sounds like you're under compensated, but this kind of question really can't be answered with any degree of accuracy without much more information.


Question #274: My father is a Super of 2 buildings in New York City. One of them has more than 30 units and the other one has 20. He lives in the building with 30 units for a rent rate of $1500 per month, but the owner is only paying him $1350 per month. The owner also has my father doing extra work such as painting, dry wall and plumbing without any extra pay for this work beyond the tasks for which he was originally hired. The owner also does not list my father in the books as an employee. My father is not a union member, so I would like to know what are his rights and options as a superintendent in this situation. Post your answer
 

Answer: I'd be careful about whether or not he could be paid on a 1099. The IRS is pretty strict about this and offers the following guide lines: http://www.irs.gov/govt/fslg/article/0,,id=110344,00.html

Answer: The landlord is getting a great deal, and your father has few if any rights, and very few options besides looking for and landing another job. He's subject to the agreement made with the landlord. At the very least, for a total of 50 units he should be getting a free apartment in exchange for being on call for emergencies and for taking care of keeping the building clean and taking out the garbage. He should be paid extra for all other work. But again, it doesn't matter what SHOULD be, it matters what agreement they have between them - whether it's in writing or merely an oral agreement. And the landlord can pay him on a 1099, so he's not an employee. His options are to either talk to the landlord and see if he can improve the terms of the agreement, or find another job. With the experience he's picked up, finding another job shouldn't be a problem. Tell him to become a member of this association, whereupon he can post his resume onsite. He WILL get calls from interested parties if he does. If he comes to the monthly meetings, he'll gain useful information and be able to network with other building support personnel, including supers and resident managers, thus finding out about even more jobs besides the ones on this site.


Question #269: I would like to know where do I go in the Bronx to take boiler classes? Someone told me that Hostos Community College offered a course, and I wanted to know if you know of any other place? Post your answer

Answer:  We hold a boiler maintenance workshop in the Bronx. Two of our own members, Peter Grech and Jeff Eichenwald, teach great workshops in November. If you are interested, contact me at cardona1009@aol.com for more information. Roberto Cardona


Question #268: Can a Super's common-law report him from not having a smoke detector in the apartment? Post your answer

Answer: Of course it COULD be done. Why anyone, who is not a vindictive idiot, would WANT to do that to his/her "common-law" may be the real question. I would ask that person, why not just go ahead and install a smoke detector yourself? They're inexpensive and anyone can drive a few screws, no?


Question #265: Is a person required to be bonded to be an apartment manager? Post your answer

Answer: As far as I know there is NO law that requires a managing agent to be bonded. The Building owners however may require it. Pgrech


Question #259: What is the salary range for Resident Manager in a 600 unit Luxury Rental in the New York City Financial district area. Post your answer

Answer: There are too many variables to be specific without much further information. Browse the answers on our Supers & Management page.


Question #258: I am currently a handyman for a public school in Brooklyn and am interested in working as a super for 32BJ. I have many certifications which can help me qualify. Where do I start? I want to try and get at least one foot in the door. Does anyone know where I can send my resume? Post your answer

Answer:  When you become a member of this Association, you will be able to post your resume, where many employers will see it. When you become a member we can help you with a list of real-estate companies. I would recommend that you also go through the phone listings in a phone book and contact management companies. Or perhaps call the union. You can also find out about jobs by coming to our monthly meetings and networking with others in the business. Pgrech


Question #255: What would be a minimum salary for a luxury hi-rise rental with 300-plus apartments for an experienced resident manager? Post your answer

Answer: There are no "set" minimum wages for superintendents, and you didn't state if it was in Manhattan or the other boroughs, or if it was union or nonunion. For Manhattan, the average minimum salary for a resident manager for about 300 apartments is around $60,000/year. Pgrech


Question #254: I would like to be a property manager. I have a B.A. in Management and twenty years experience in construction, and a Certificate of Fitness license. Most schools that offer property management certificates want you to be in the real estate field for five years. Post your answer

Answer: New York University, Baruch, New York Real Estate Institute and New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development all offer certificates of Property Management, but none requires any experience.

While you do need experience to get IREM's ARM or CPM certificates, or National Association of Home Builders RAM certificate, both do some testing and certification without experience.


Question #253: I have no experience and I just received my #6 and #1 fuel permit, and low pressure steam license. How can I get my high pressure permit? Where is there a school that will give me a license for New York City. Post your answer

Answer: The high pressure license requires 5 years experience in high pressure plants/boilermaking. That is probably the hardest part of qualifying. The NYC Building Code has the details for stationery engineer. There is also a refrigeration machine operator's license from the NYFD - this has a one year experience requirement or equivalent schooling. Good luck. Anthony Treglia


Question #252:  I want to become a superintendent. Where can I attend boiler certification classes for free? Post your answer

Answer: Free classes for heating are offered by Local 32B&J for union members; HPD (NYC Housing Preservation & Development) has free classes also. Pgrech


Question #250: I am a painting contractor. What do co-ops require for me to do work? Post your answer

Answer: Requirements for painters will vary from building to building depending on the particular set of co-op/condo rules in place. You will have to contact the super or the manager overseeing the building for the particulars. At a minimum, however, they will require insurance paperwork from you. Many buildings don't ask for much more than that from painting contractors.


Question #248: Where is the best place to look for a superintendent job, besides the New York Times? Post your answer

Answer: Check these pages at least once a week, especially here and here, and also read the job sections in the New York Post and the New York Daily News. Also (and this is probably the best way to find a job), ask people who are on the job, we often find out "through the grapevine" about upcoming available jobs. And, if you don't do so already, it would be good for you to come to the monthly meetings, acquaint yourself with other supers and building maintenance personnel, and "network" with them - exchange phone numbers and email addresses and stay in touch. Lots of information of this type is exchanged through relationships made at meetings among members, their guests and visitors. Further information on this subject is also available on the FAQs page.


Question #247: I am going to an interview later today for the position as a super, I would like to know what the wages are, also the benefits. Post your answer
 

Answer: The wages are not set. Many factors go into what the wages will be, such as what work you will be doing, how many on staff, location of building, union or non-union. Health care varies also, from major medical only to including dental and eye care. This also depends if the building is union or not, so if you can give more specifics it will help.

Peter Grech

Answer: Wages and benefits vary a lot, except when it's a union building. Then it's a bit more uniform, but there are still variations for supers. Without knowing more about the building and management company in question, it's impossible to give you even a good ballpark figure. To get a better idea of it all, read the questions and answers on the Supers & Management page.


Question #243: What is the best way to find and hire a new super? Post your answer

Answer: There are many "best" ways, depending on your personal style. Many people like to use only word of mouth, depending on those they know to steer qualified people their way, then making a selection from among those. There are those who would never use a personal relationship in this way, always using newspaper advertisements to qualify new hires. Still others use some of both, to varying extents, and make it work for their purposes. All avenues can result in successfully hiring the best candidate for the job in question. I think it largely depends on your optimum individual mode of operation.


Question #242: I am a 32BJ superintendent for a 12 floor building, the building will change hands in June this year. The company I work for owns many buildings in the city. Is my job secure with the company? Post your answer

Answer: Who can predict the future and say what will happen when a building changes ownership or management. We all know that we work at the pleasure of the landlords, managements or boards for which we spend our time daily, and no job is guaranteed. Instead of "Is my job secure?", the question you may want to ask yourself is "Are my skills up to date?" Most supers have at least decent repair skills, and if that's ALL they have, they're a dime a dozen. A super with good computer skills, and even more importantly, good communication skills, along with at least adequate repair and cleaning skills, is highly sought after everywhere. Moving on to a new job is not such a bad thing, and you should always be preparing yourself for that eventuality. You should think seriously about becoming a member of this Association, taking our workshops and networking with other building maintenance workers at our monthly meetings, learning all you can from others in the business - and writing your resume - and you will have a leg up on the competition.


Question #236: I live in an apartment building with 18 units. Are we required by law to have a super? We have a porter who comes and clean and take out the garbage. But none that we know of that stays on the premises. Where should this notice be kept on how to locate the super. What should we do if it is after hours and management offices are closed, and the porter is no longer on the premises. And to whom and how to file a complaint if you suspect that we don't have adequate help maintaining our residence. Post your answer

Answer: The NYC and 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. A notice in the vestibule of the building must be posted with the persons name, address and phone number. The other option is to have 24 hour janitorial service. All complaints should be made with the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation & Development (HPD). Pgrech


Question #229: Where can I find a sample of a contract for a working building superintendent. Post your answer

Answer: Unless you are a union member there is no such thing as a preprinted general superintendents contract. Even the Union contract is vague in nature and does NOT set out a job description. Superintendents are on their own when it comes to these things. That is one of the reasons this Association was formed: to help union and non union members who work in multifamily buildings. If you are not a member then you ARE missing out, as we constantly talk about this subject. Pgrech


Question #227: I am an electrician who has been in the Union for 6 years, I am looking to become a Super. I would like to know are there any requirements to become a Super?  Are there classes that have to be taken, or dues to be paid. How much if any experience is needed. Post your answer

Answer: The answers to your questions depend totally on the job to which you are applying, or more accurately, for which you get hired. Some building superintendent jobs are union jobs, so you would have to pay Union dues.  Some jobs have requirements of 10 or more years experience, some 2, or 3 - 5, some management firms like to train their personnel, and have no requirements as to length of experience -all depending largely on the building in question, and on the management in question. It would be very good for you to start coming to our monthly meetings and sign up for our free newsletter, start networking with other members, learn the lingo and find out what you need to learn. Networking at meetings is how you will hear about most available jobs: from other supers, handymen, porters, and others in the field, and by checking this website at least weekly on the jobs pages, then applying to those you think you could handle. Supers should always be willing to take more classes to improve themselves and their skills, and we also hold many workshops where you could improve on the skills that supers need and that most supers use everyday, and that will look good on a resume (members can list their resume on our website, and those who do, get many calls from interested parties).


Question #223: I'm a Super and I would like to know where can I subscribe to a magazine about Building Maintenance fields. Post your answer

Answer: Try these: The Cooperator, Habitat Magazine, the Family Handyman magazine, Handyman magazine, Super!, (our newsletter), to which you can get a free email subscription. Pgrech

Answer: Depending on what specifically you're looking for in building maintenance, put into Google search a keyword like either 'building maintenance magazine' or 'handyman' or something else close to that, and you'll come up with lots of links and ideas.


Question #221: I am a shareholder and Board President of a 157 unit apartment complex (co-op). We have an on-site super who is living rent free and also is paid a salary of approx. $40,000 a year. This to me is an exorbitant amount, especially since he also gets full medical benefits. The super does not feel he should do anything other than supervise his staff, which at times it is apparently not done since work orders are not filled, and when asked to do something he complains about various medical problems (at the age of just recently reaching 40) that do not seem to have been documented. What are our options? He has been spoken to by the management agent but it appears he thinks he is untouchable. This is a non-union job. Please help! Post your answer

Answer: Your building is not alone in this matter. In most cases it is one of management's function to supervise and discipline a superintendent. However, some management companies either don't have the experience in this matter or just don't have time. Your problem is not as difficult to cure as it may seem, keeping termination as a last resort. I have consulted a few buildings with this and other operation problems. Feel free to email me if you are interested. Peter Grech

Answer: $40,000 per year plus benefits is nowhere near an exorbitant amount to pay a super in a 157 unit co-op. And with the amount of personnel it takes to tend to a building of this size, it's understandable if he does little more than supervise the staff. Having said that, if the board is dissatisfied with his work, and with his failure to adequately supervise his staff, he is NOT untouchable - even IF he were in the union. But since he is not, it should be even easier, unless your co-op board rules concerning disciplining or firing employees are difficult. Also, it appears that your management may be at fault as much as anyone: it is usually the job of management to supervise the super, inform the super about what is expected of him, and then hold him or her responsible to the board's expectations.


Question #217: What do we do about a super who does private work during the hours the co-op is paying him? Post your answer

Answer: This can develop into a big problem if unchecked and unsupervised. For example, if the Super does any plumbing or electrical for which he is not licensed, you could be liable in a big way for damages (for instance, fire). Better spell out to him in writing exactly what sort of private jobs he is allowed to do, and also notify the residents of same (and how they also could be liable). Best not to let him do it during working hours, because it could become a priority for him. Keep a paper trail of any violations and you can fire him fairly easily. Also you should ask tenants to contact the managing agent before the Super does any private jobs so that there is a specific record. Tell them it is in their own best interest - and also that of the building - to do things this way.

Answer: It really depends greatly on the contract - or mutual understanding in lieu of a written contract - between management and the super in question. If the contract allows for no private work during regular work hours (some do - some don't), then he's breaking the contract and you can take all disciplinary measures available to you. Possibly a written warning(s) first, followed by progressively stronger measures and ending in firing if his behavior isn't altered to the board's satisfaction. It is NOT impossible to fire a super, even one who is a union member, although it can be costly on several levels, and difficult.


Question #216:  I checked the Fire Department website for certificates of fitness. There are many kinds of exams and I have no idea which one is for maintaining a boiler in a building. I would like to know what kind of boiler license is required for a super to maintain a building. Post your answer

Answer: There is homework involved in finding your answer, homework that you -and only you - can do. We don't have access to your building; you do. YOU need to check on the type of boiler you have and on the type of fuel it burns, then go to the FDNY website and READ it, study it, and figure out, first, whether or not you need a Certificate of Fitness. When you determine the answer to that question, you will also know what type of fuel your heating system burns. It'll be a short step from there to determining which Certificate you'll need. ALL THE INFORMATION you need (after knowing what type of fuel your boiler burns) is on the FDNY website. If you still have questions after carefully doing all of the above, call the Department directly; the phone number is also on the website. Also, see the answer to Question #177, and read ALL the questions and answers on the Certificates of Fitness & Exams questions page on this website.


Question #209: I would like to know how does a person go about getting their license for superintendent in New York. Post your answer

Answer: Please see the answer to this question on the Frequently Asked Questions Page, and the answer to Question # 194.


Question #208: Is there a list of property management companies and their agents that I may obtain for the purpose of seeking employment? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, we have such a list, and when you become a member of our Association we will share it with you. It's a members-only item. Non-members may try the phone book under property management. Pgrech


Question #207: When going on an interview, and the base salary question comes up, what should I be asking for a 200 unit luxury co-op pre-war building? Post your answer

Answer: The unknown variables (number of staff, expectations of management, and on and on) are too many to give you even a good ballpark figure. If you could give the specifics of the job, we could arrive at a negotiable base salary range with you.


Question #205: In the NY Times one of the preferred requirements for a superintendent was to have RSA experience. What does RSA stand for, and involve? Post your answer

Answer:


Question #202: Is it legal for a super of a 180 unit rental building to be moved from his own apartment (within the building) to a professional apartment (certificate of occupancy proven) within the same building? Post your answer

Answer: Yes. Keep in mind that the owners of the building dictate where you will live as compensation. As long as the apartment meets code standards and Building Department regulations, you can be moved. One exception would be if you had an agreement (on the type and location of the apartment) prior to being hired . Pgrech


Question #201: What obligations does a Super have to the landlord, especially regarding maintenance and repairs? Post your answer

Answer: The super's obligations to the landlord regarding maintenance and repairs, whether in a union or nonunion job, vary as much as buildings do. It is YOUR obligation to find out as much as possible what is expected of you before you take the job, since the possible job description of each one varies so much. Lacking that, it may be possible and helpful, depending on the kind of person your landlord is, to ask for a sit down with him or her and try come to an understanding and agreement on what you must do and what can be done by other employees - or contracted out: a job description. It may be a good time to put your agreement in writing, so there are no misunderstandings or negatively unmet expectations on either side in the future. Also, take some time to read the Frequently Asked Questions page.


Question #200: I currently work as the lead Building Superintendent / Buildings Manager for a large firm in Manhattan, and would like to further my education and maybe add a title to my name such as (C.P.M.) or (C.F.M.) I am having trouble locating schools or training in my area. Could you please help point me in the right direction? I am looking for correspondence courses - night classes, things of that nature. Post your answer

Answer: NYU also conducts certification courses on becoming a certified property manager and or a certified facility manager. Give them a call, or visit them, they are located at 11 West 42 St.

Answer: Check out Environmental Control Tech Department of NYC