Defining the ‘Super’

Q.  Is a property owner required to hire a superintendent for a New York City residential building, or can a maintenance company serve the same function? If a superintendent must be hired, how close to the building must the super live?

A.  David A. Kaminsky, a Manhattan real estate lawyer, said that under the city’s Housing and Maintenance Code, a property owner must have a “person,” not a company, perform janitorial service on a building of nine or more dwelling units. That person could be the owner, or an employee of a maintenance company specifically designated as the superintendent of the building.

“There is no specification that the super perform all duties in relation to the building,” Mr. Kaminsky said. “So a landlord could hire a maintenance company to perform specific functions, like boiler maintenance or pest control.”

The superintendent must reside in the building, or within one block or 200 feet of the building, whichever is greater.

The New York Times Q & A orignally published in The New York Times on January 11, 2013.

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