Sales Market

The perils and pleasures of an on-site landlord

By Shari Gab  | April 15, 2010 - 7:15AM

When it comes to rentals, a live-in super is one thing (usually a very good thing, depending on the super) – but what about a live-in landlord?

The biggest advantage of sharing a roof with your landlord is that things have more of a tendency to get done...yesterday. Also, he or she may have an expansive sense of personal responsibility.

"Everything gets taken care of," one tenant told BrickUnderground about her in-house landlady.  "She clears the stairs in the winter, has trash cans all ready out on the curb for pick-up and fixes things quickly."

A pair of Manhattan renters say having a live-in landlord was "the best ten years of our lives."

On top of being swift to make repairs, their landlord also came to resemble a favorite uncle.

They had dinner together once a month, and he bought the couple’s son his first bike and often read to him.

The dark side of sharing a roof with its owner?

At best, it comes down to a certain lack of freedom and a feeling of being "watched."

Before moving into a landlord-occupied building, says one Brooklyn renter, "I didn't have to worry about how loud I was going up and down the stairs."

Another Brooklyn tenant also found herself creeping up the stairs when she arrived home even slightly late at night.

Overall, she said, the experience was like sharing a building with an overly involved parent who has not yet adjusted to having adult children.  

At its darkest, it can be like cohabitating with a psycho character in a B-movie.

"This goes beyond personality clashes,” complained one Brownstoner about her on-site landlord.

She cited “being yelled at for not taking in parcels when we are late to pick up our kid, being woken up regularly by noise at 3 a.m….entering our unit without notice including while we were sleeping.”

For their part, living next door to you is no picnic, say landlords. 

Although tenants tend to be on better behavior, they are also more apt to bother landlords with non-emergency requests at 10:30 p.m. on a Sunday…and more likely to try to push the limits of friendships that sometimes develop. 

Related posts:

Why banning renters from the roof deck is a dumb idea

The 8 worst neighbors

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.