New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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Staff Performing Side Jobs Is a Building Boon — If Boards Take Precautions

Seth Sahr in Board Operations on November 29, 2012

New York City

Staff Side Jobs
Nov. 29, 2012

In one co-op, for example, a super took on a side job for a homeowner replacing a radiator. The super removed the radiator in June and ordered a new one for the shareholder. Probably believing the new radiator would arrive long before the heating season commenced, he did not cap the radiator pipe. The co-op shareholder — who was also doing a larger renovation and thus not residing in the unit — paid the super for the project. 

Staff should carry

their own insurance.

Unfortunately, the heating season arrived before the new radiator did, and so the apartment suffered severe steam damage from the uncapped pipe. The co-op board took the position that, since it was a private, side job, this was not the building's problem. But then the shareholder did not get enough money from his own insurance carrier and sued the board.

Legal Lesson

It is important that co-op and condo boards and management keep tight control over staff performing outside work, or else prohibit it. Staff members doing work on their off hours should be required to carry their own insurance, the same as any other vendor coming into the building. Shareholders and unit-owners should be put on notice that they will have to sign an indemnity-type agreement to the community in the event they use building staff. It must be made clear, and put in writing, who the staff member is working for, so that if things go wrong in situations like this, the building's exposure is limited or eliminated.


Seth Sahr is a partner at Novitt, Sahr & Snow.

Photo by Jennifer Wu

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