10 Building Superintendent Responsibilities to the Landlord

Repainting and renovating an apartment room
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Many landlords decide to hire a building superintendent, or "super" for short, to help manage their rental property. The responsibilities of these supers will vary based on the duties agreed upon between him or her and the landlord. Learn ten tasks a super can be in charge of.

What Is a Building Super?

  • A building superintendent will occupy a unit in a landlord’s rental property (often a basement or ground floor unit) which they may live in for a reduced rent or rent-free in exchange for the services they will provide.
  • The super does not have to live at the rental property but must reside within a certain distance from the rental property; within the same county, for example.
  • Some towns will require rental properties with a certain number of rental units to have a building super.

The Responsibilities of a Building Superintendent

Here are the 10 potential responsibilities if a superintendent. Before placing a super in your rental property, you need to decide what duties you want the super to perform. The two main categories the super will deal with are property maintenance and tenant issues.

1. Taking Out the Garbage

Someone needs to take the garbage out of the rental property. This is a typical job of a building super. He or she must become familiar with your town’s garbage collection rules. This includes:

  • Knowing what days of the week the garbage is collected.
  • Taking the garbage cans back in after garbage is collected.
  • Knowing what time the garbage can be put out. Many towns will issue tickets if the garbage is put out too early.
  • Knowing which days of the month bulk items can go out, or know who to contact to arrange a bulk pick-up. 
  • Knowing the schedule and procedures for recyclables.

2. Keeping Property Clean

A super has the basic obligation of keeping all common areas of the property clean. This includes picking up garbage, broom sweeping halls, and stairways, mopping and keeping all walkways clear.

3. Snow Removal

In the winter, a super may have an additional obligation of shoveling snow. In certain parts of the country, supers will constantly be shoveling snow, while in others, this could occur once a year. The responsibility to remove snow includes.

  • Knowing how long after the end of snowfall the sidewalks and walkways have to be cleared.
  • Shoveling sidewalks, walkways and driveways.
  • Salting icy patches.
  • Salting so that melting snow does not refreeze.

4. Handling Tenant Complaints

A building super will serve as the middleman between you and your tenants. When a tenant has an issue with the property, they will first contact the super. 

Depending on the super’s qualifications and the severity of the issue, the super may be able to handle the issue himself or may contact you to determine how to proceed. This will often allow you to avoid dealing with trivial matters at the rental, such as changing a light bulb and will leave you to handle the important problems, such as a roof leak.

5. Apartment Turnover

You may decide to put your building’s super in charge of apartment turnover. When a tenant moves out of a rental unit, there will usually be some form of maintenance required before a new tenant can move in. This maintenance can include:

  • Sweeping, vacuuming and mopping floors.
  • Replacing cracked floor or wall tiles.
  • Changing any burned out light bulbs.
  • Cleaning grout.
  • Repainting the apartment.
  • Cleaning all appliances.
  • Cleaning bathrooms.
  • Making sure all plumbing fixtures are in working order.
  • Checking for any plumbing or roof leaks.
  • Making sure heat and air conditioning work.
  • Checking all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Checking all door and window locks.

6. Showing Rental Property

Another responsibility you may give your building super is showing the rental property to prospective tenants when you have a vacancy. The super will not be responsible for choosing the new tenant at the property. He or she will give the prospective tenant the tour of the unit and will collect a rental application if the tenant fills one out. 

You, the landlord will still be responsible for screening the tenants to make sure they qualify to rent the apartment. Having the super do the showings will save you the time of having to do them yourself and will allow you to use this time on other matters.

7. Small Maintenance Issues

Building supers usually have the responsibility of dealing with small maintenance issues. This could include changing a door lock, fixing a dripping faucet or spackling a small hole. 

8. More Advanced Maintenance Issues

You may decide that you want to hire a super with more advanced maintenance knowledge. This could include dealing with heating, cooling or plumbing issues. If this is the case, you will want to make sure the individual has credentials which show he or she is skilled and capable of doing this type of work. 

9. Extra Set of Keys

The superintendent will have an extra set of keys to each apartment. If the tenant locks themselves out of the apartment, the super will be able to let them in.

10. Your Eyes and Ears

Since the super will likely live at the property, he or she can give you the heads up if there is an issue. This could include a problem tenant, a tenant with an illegal pet or a health and safety issue at the property.