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renovations without board approvalSep 13, 2011

I purchased my co-op 1 year ago. I was going to have my bath renovated by the super including the plumbing and electricity. Fortunately I called the managing agent and discovered he was not licensed or insured to do this work and I would be liable for any damages. It was a shocking discovery because many people have used him and everyone in the building knows this is occurring without board approval. In fact it was a board member who told me that I did not need board approval if he did the work. Another board member told me that he could do plumbing, but not electric. The managing agent told me I could submit any claim to my insurance company if his renovation to my bathroom had complications. My insurance company does not agree and found it quite entertaining. The recently super gutted several rooms in one apartment with included a bath (a side job that took over 2 weeks) he did not do much of anything around the building during this time because he was to busy. I hope the lady on the first floor is happy, I know I am not, he will not even snake my drain and tells me use drain cleaner. The drain has been slow since my purchase and I have pored 3 bottles of the stuff down the drain with minimal improvement.
He does not have a snake although he claims he used to. Recently while in the basement I overheard an argument between him and a friend and it became apparent he is loaning the equipment out to friends who don't always return it. I guess that is where the snake went. In the bathroom he renovated 2 floors below me he ran into plumbing problems and I had my water shut for 3 days while he and his helper repaired the damage. Well this leakage went into the basement but if he encountered this problem in my apartment I would have flooded the 2 floors below me. What did I get myself into, this place is a disaster. He quoted me a price of 2500-3000 max for his labor alone. So the deal is people are getting these renovations dirt cheap and I feel that shareholders are subsidizing the work because like I said before he has no time for other things while involved in these renovations yet he still collects a paycheck. Also I discovered he is completely dishonest and changes his story real quick in order to avoid responsibility for his actions (like damaging my property). Recently we had a heated discussion about his work, he went into denial mode became extremely hostile calling me a "bitter old woman" and making comments about my mental health status. I also have a note he put under my door in which he refers to me as a "whiner".
Actually I have 2 notes he slipped under my door and they are rich. He even told me about his mother who he has not spoken to in 2 years because she pissed him off. I contacted the managing agent and told him I would like him to send the super a letter to seize and desist with these renovations. I also forwarded him the correspondence between the super and myself (I slipped one note under his door in response to his first note) my note addressed the issues and made no personal attacks. His not was full of personal attacks. The board members are now in possession of this material and the issue of renovations without board approval is on the agenda for the next meeting. The managing agent asked me if I would like to have him fired and I responded 'Yes". I am in the process of writing a letter to the board which more clearly defines my grievances and the trouble I have had with the super since my purchase of this place it will be several pages. I would like general and legal advice on this matter. Thanks
Sincerely
The mentally ill, bitter old whiner on the 3rd floor

Join the Conversation Comments (1)
Renovations no Board approval - VP Sep 14, 2011

In a business-like, professional manner -- continue sending Emails. Do not engage in personal sling-fest, but do include them in your Emails. Such as: "Mr ??? refered to me as a ___. This is not necesary, and could we keep this on a professional level."
The more business like you behave, and the longer your Email trail -- the more power you have. Boards, MangCo and Lawyers pay attenttion to the Email trail, because it will become your most powerful witness in court. (remember, THEY, like you, dont want to be drawn into a legal battle)
The MangCo and Board are use to un-professional Shareholders who make this a personal issue.. You are an owner and have rights... and in general, the owner who makes the most noise -- gets results.
A small group of us lead the fight to fire the Super. (yours sounds exackly the one we fired. We discovered the had concealed his criminal record does his name start with A?) Keep the Emails going about the Super, try to get other like-minded Shareholders involved. It wont take many of you to get results. The Mang and Board likes quiet Shareholders.... MOST of ALL -- dont let them push you around. You are an owner, and if you keep writing letters -- they will soon be on the defensive. ALSO -- you can call 311 -- and make an ANONYMOUS complaint about the NO PERMITS construction .. and this will definatly get thier attention. Others will advise against calling the DOB, but work without permists -- could create very dangrous situations and cause serious damage -- a small building near us fell down a few years ago -- due to, over the years, too many interiour walls being illegally removed .. Good luck,,, VP

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)
thanks for the reply - Mary Kenny Sep 16, 2011

I am not taking it to a personal level although it is easy to understand how others may when they have their back up against a wall in a situation such as this. But you have brought up a very important issue and one that I am deeply concerned with. I just sent another email that included a photo of a repair he had done in my apartment so it could be shared with the board. In this e-mail I questioned if a criminal background check had been preformed prior to hiring him and if so, does he has a violent background? Then I went to see if I had gotten a reply on this board and I got some much needed support from you, thanks. I have spoken with an attorney regarding this matter, but that is not the route I want to go. I like the people in the building and don't want to bring harm to them in anyway. I think they have suffered enough because of how poorly this place is being run and I know that many are disgusted with the situation. Some have complained about the management but seem to throw their hands up and accept the situation. While I believe that management could have done more, I understand that it is human nature not to want to rock the boat. The fact is if the people living here are not willing to assert their rights why should management force them to do so. And their are those who are happy with the work this super has done. In his bathroom renovations he removes the standing waste pipe (he refers to it as, Oh that thing, I get rid of them) and gives them a rubber stopper to control drainage. I would never be happy with this type of shoddy workmanship but to each his own (Yet I believe it devalues the apartment which has a ripple effect upon the whole building).I asked the management to send him a cease and desist letter in regard to renovations.I love your 311 suggestion and had been wondering what alternatives I might have if I did not get the appropriate response.THANK YOU. I want to be fair to all involved while protecting my interests. I have not lost faith in the management company (1 attorney and his secretary) and in fact do like them. Its just a question of putting a flame under there asses in order to remedy this situation. If I don't get satisfaction I certainly will call 311and I am sure that will put an end to it even if fines are involved it will be less costly in the long run. I have another question about a very inconsiderate neighbor but I will save it for another day.

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