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My super keeps tabs on who comes to my apartment. What can I do?

By Alanna Schubach | January 10, 2022 - 9:30AM 

A co-op shareholder is unnerved by super's phone calls to see who is visiting their apartment. Our experts suggest appealing to the co-op board to relax some of this surveillance.

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Question:

I just moved into a co-op. Verizon came to my apartment at 8:30 a.m. and the super immediately called to say he needs to know who is entering the building, and that work is only permitted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (I checked and house rules permit work starting at 8 a.m.) A month later, I had someone come measure for blinds at 8 a.m. As soon as they left, I got a call about it. I'm uncomfortable being monitored like this. What can I do?

Answer:

It's understandable that you find this a bit intrusive, but your super's behavior is probably not out of bounds, our experts say—and in fact, your co-op board likely appreciates his monitoring of building activity. 

"The super is not doing anything wrong in following up with regard to work being performed in the building," says Jeffrey Reich, a partner in the law firm of Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas. "In fact, the cooperative board would likely be pleased to hear that the super is paying such close attention to possible violations of the work rules." 

As to the super's claim that contractors are only permitted in the building after 9:00 am, it's possible that the work rules were amended by the board. 

"Maddeningly, in my experience, sometimes a change in the rules takes place and it only ends up in meeting minutes, or often it doesn’t end up in any written document," says Deanna Kory, a broker with Corcoran. "That said, the resident manager is supposed to enforce the rules so I would mostly rely on what he or she says." 

Reach out to your resident manager to confirm the timing and procedures for allowing workers into the building. Kory notes that many buildings require any contractors to show a certificate of insurance naming the building as insured, so before you complain, make sure you are abiding by the co-op's policies. And if you think the super isn't following the rules correctly himself, or is overstepping his role, consider appealing to the board. 

"You could raise the issue with the board or at a shareholder’s meeting to see of there is support for relaxing the rules, or the enforcement of the rules," Reich says. 


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