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Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Renting the Super’s Apartment



Has anyone rented out the super’s apartment because the super has an existing residence near the building and doesn’t want to occupy the super’s unit? If so, how did you work out the super’s compensation – since the apartment is a significant tax-exempt piece – value of rent, utilities, phone, cable, etc.?


Is he union? If so, does the contract address this issue? Does the union contract state that you are required to provide all the amenities such as cable? If he is a union super, is he supposed to be on call and available, as most are? That is why the apartments were provided in the building. You don’t want him in Pennsylvania at his other house every weekend while you have emergencies that he should be nearby to coordinate or help with. Seems like a lot of stuff – like what happens if he gets divorced and the wife gets the place, or it’s his girlfriend’s place and things go sour? Good to ask questions and to read the contract, or speak to a labor lawyer who is familiar and also not partial.


In our building, the super’s apartment is a perk ... and we have discussed eliminating this perk. As for the cable and phone – with cell phones and wireless internet connections – it’s no longer necessary. A few years ago, we also canceled the super’s $300 parking perk. Electricity may also be a perk. Bottom line is that we have shareholders who are living on a string, and we have had to cut back. As for not attracting a good super – we have a great super who loves our building.


You mentioned that the super “doesn’t want to occupy the unit in the building.” What are the terms of his employment, and did you discuss this with him in the past? I would be very cautious about this. I know of a luxury high-rise where the super moved on to take another position. The co-op gave the position to the handyman (live-out position) and rented the apartment. In the early A.M. hours, in winter, a riser burst (because of a frozen pipe). The super was called on his cell phone and had to make it in from Jersey. End result [was] major damage that could have be avoided by having a live-in super. The shareholders were up in arms; board members were trying to cover the decision they made. I recently heard that the building reverted back to a live-in super. Just be careful what you wish for.

Board Talk is an online discussion forum where board members can post questions to which other board members can respond. This week's conversation: Renting the Super’s Apartment.

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