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Who is responsible for collateral damage inflicted by the super?

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Q. If the super damages something in your apartment while doing a side job, who is responsible for fixing it? Is it any different than if he was there on official business?

A.  According to our BrickTank experts, a super performing a job in a co-op or condo apartment outside his official duties is typically responsible for fixing any collateral damage.

If your super resists, it may be advisable to turn the other cheek, as antagonizing the super is generally not an advisable tactical move for vertical dwellers.

And making a fuss could have larger consequences for your super.

“If the building employee was performing side jobs without board authorization, it would be grounds for disciplinary action,” notes property manager Michael Wolfe.

As to whether the building could be responsible for collateral damage inflicted by the super, real estate attorney Jeffrey Reich says it’s no different than having an outside contractor in your apartment.

He notes that he encourages boards to amend their bylaws or proprietary leases “to provide that an apartment owner indemnifies the condominium/cooperative for any damage that may be done in an apartment by a building staff member…outside of the scope of the employee’s duties.”

BrickTank expert Joseph Shkreli, a resident manager of a rental building, says his workers have to fill out a Private Job Request Form before embarking on side jobs—and that the form states that neither the building or the management is responsible for damage.  

Nevertheless, he says, if a dispute percolates up to his attention, “I would want to do what is right to make that resident happy, but the freelance worker probably messed it up for everyone else in terms of private work.”

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