Should you ask super to help renovate your place?

For a renovation, you'll want someone who knows what she or he is doing. That may or may not be your super. (Flickr photo by Sarah Ackerman)

If your super does a renovation for you, it likely won’t cost you as much as an outside contractor.  In addition, you won’t have to worry about the security of your apartment.  And you often can get away with some relatively minor changes or repairs without formally notifying the board.

Ron Gitter, a lawyer whose Web site is loaded with information about co-ops and condos in Manhattan, has all the answers.  He just clocked 100 Q&As, prompting him to list his five favorites.

One of them is this:  “I am buying a co-op that needs major renovations. The super has offered to do the work at a significant discount. Is that a good idea?” You’ll find Ron’s detailed response on his site, and here, in part, is his response:

When a renovation is more complicated, it is not always a good idea to have the super do the work. First of all, if things do not go well, you will have a dispute with someone who basically runs the building. Not a good way to get things started. Secondly, if Building Department filings are required, a super may not be in a position to take care those details and that can become a problem in the future when you go to sell your apartment.

You should bear in mind that co-ops and condos can be very sensitive about building employees doing work for individual unit owners because of liability issues and because the work distracts the employees from their primary obligations, Ron reminds readers.

You may take away something valuable from not only the other four questions but all 99.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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