The 8 ways to drive your super crazy

By Marjorie Cohen  |
February 28, 2012 - 12:41PM

Just as everyone loves a good super, supers love good residents. Recently, we talked to a much-beloved super in an Upper West Side rental building. He appreciates the tenants' gratitude, sure, but would like them to show it by avoiding these eight things that drive him nuts....

  1. Flushing without thinking. Watch what you flush down the toilet. Please! I just spent hours fixing a toilet that one of the tenants used to get rid of her cat litter. That stuff becomes rock hard and clogs the whole system. And wet wipes and some kinds of toilet paper—especially the really soft kind—can do the same. 
  2. Mixing paper with garbage. If you're shredding paper and want to get rid of it do NOT put it in with the garbage that goes into the compactor. Building staff has to do the city equivalent of dumpster diving--we sort through the garbage and pick the paper out piece by piece to avoid a ticket from the Department of Environmental Protection.  Dump the shredded bits into a plastic bag and put it next to the recycle bins. We'll take care of it from there.
  3. Messing up the laundry room. Can you tell me why tenants throw dryer sheets on the floor when there’s a wastebasket right next to the dryers? And what’s the big deal about taking the lint out of the dryer when you empty it?  
  4. Putting stuff outside your door. Some of my tenants use the hall to store their shoes and boots, park their bikes, store shopping carts, mops and brooms. One even had a trampoline outside her door. There are not supposed to be any obstructions out in the hallway—the fire code says so—but the reason I don't like it is because it makes the building look so messy.  
  5. Ringing people in on the intercom without knowing who it is. Besides the obvious security risk of this, it often means you’re letting in someone who is going to put those annoying menus under everybody’s door. And then I get the complaint about the menus. 
  6. Trying to do my job. I just had to spend an hour doing something that should have taken five minutes because the tenant decided to replace a ceiling light fixture by himself. He couldn’t do it so he called me. I could see that it needed a spring that was missing. Apparently it had fallen and Mr. DIY had no idea that it was needed.  I finally found it on the floor and put the fixture up.
  7. Being impatient. Some tenants just don’t get the difference between a cosmetic repair and an emergency repair. A broken water pipe in someone else’s apartment is more important than a patch of peeling paint in yours.
  8. Talking trash about the landlord. Don't do this. I work for him, he's been a good boss and I'm not going to get involved in a back and forth on what you do or do not like about him.

Need some more tips for staying on your super's good side?  Here are some more pointers on how to be a charmin resident.


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Marjorie Cohen

Contributing writer

Marjorie Cohen is a New York City-based freelance journalist, editor and author of over seven non-fiction books. Her real estate reporting has appeared in amNewYork, Investopedia, and The West Side Rag. Since moving to New York five decades ago for graduate school at the Teachers College of Columbia University, Marjorie has lived on the Upper West Side, with a brief detour to West 15th Street when she got six months free rent in a new building.

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