When you rank the key players who keep your building functioning from day to day, the superintendent should probably be placed close to the top of the list. A building’s super has a tremendous amount of responsibility, including looking after the safety and security of residents, managing and interacting with other support staff, and maintaining the building’s physical systems and structure. It’s a tall order, to say the least.
“Boards are made up of volunteers who often have their own interests in mind,” says Joe Scholes, vice president of Cooper Square Management & Realty Services in Rockville Center. “The managing agent has a portfolio of buildings that he takes care of. In a typical co-op or condo, there’s only one person there on-site every day—and that’s the super. He or she is the only one doing this as a full-time occupation. He is the key guy, and boards are recognizing the value of these employees.”
Solid teamwork between the managing agent, the superintendent and the board is vital to any building of course, but a building’s day-to-day functioning—both mechanically and as a workplace for other staff members—is really only as smooth and professional as its superintendent. Hiring the right person for the job is therefore critical for a building’s success.
Finding the Right Fit
Because no two buildings are alike, there is no single model of what a “perfect” super should be or what characteristics they should have. He doesn’t need to just be someone who cleans the lobby and changes light bulbs—unless that’s all the building is looking for. Some building communities want a super who can hold down significant administrative duties, while others will search for someone who is a fix-it maven and is constantly hands-on with problems—and some want both.
“A super needs to match the building that he’s going for,” says David Khazzam, vice president of PRC Management Corporation in Manhattan. “There are luxury, high-end Park Avenue condos that require more of a suit-and-tie type who is in charge of the maintenance staff and caters to the owners of the building. Or it could be a co-op in Queens where they need a working super. It’s a mix-and-match situation.”