Finding Good Help The Need for Live-in Janitors in a Co-op or Condo

It is a fairly common situation: The managing agent of a 30-unit condo calls the building’s legal counsel and asks whether the building is required to hire or retain a resident superintendent. Sometimes the building wants to rent or sell the superintendent’s apartment to offset expenses—or perhaps the board believes that there is not enough work to justify hiring and paying a full-time, live-in superintendent.

A recent decision of the Appellate Term, First Department in Hatcher v. 420 W23rd Condominium answered that question.

The Case

In New York City, Administrative Code §27-2053 provides that in a multiple dwelling of nine or more units, the owner shall either: (1) perform the janitorial services himself or herself, if he or she is a resident owner; or (2) provide a janitor.

According to Administrative Code §27-2052, “Janitorial services” are defined as “Cleaning and maintenance, including the making of minor repairs, the furnishing of heat and hot water…the removal of garbage, refuse, ashes and wastes from the premises, and the removal of snow, ice, dirt and other matter from the sidewalk and gutter.”

In the Hatcher case, petitioner Dr. Virgil Hatcher—a commercial unit owner in the predominantly residential 420 West 23rd Street Condominium—commenced a Housing Part (HP) proceeding in the New York City Civil Court against the condominium, alleging that the 45-unit building was in violation of the New York City Administrative Code and the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law because it did not employ a resident janitor.


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  • Are condo buildings in Manhattan that have greater than 65 units required to have a live-in super or one that lives within 200 feet of the building and a helper who are both capable of providing "adequate janitorial services"? Alternatively could both of these individuals live a few miles away from the building again provided both are capable of providing "adequate janitorial services"?