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Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

Posted by whyyesiam (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 24, 07 at 23:25

Hi Everyone,

We are truly desperate and hope to get some help from this forum. This is our situation:

For more than four years the super of our apartment building in Harlem, New York, has been holding parties beneath our ground floor apartment that faces out the back of the building. The apartment below us is part of the basement and no one lives there. The super uses the space to have parties until three or four in the morning with extremely loud music that we can not only hear, but feel.

We have called the cops multiple times, stating each time that we've called multiple times and exhausted all other options, with them promising us that they'd come this time, they never do.

We have called our management office and they know it is the super holding the parties and they also told us that we aren't the only tenants complaining about the parties. They assure us each time that it won't happen again, but, especially today, on Christmas, of all days, it is happening once again.

They not only play loud music, but they grill right beneath our window. We have not talked to the super directly, wanting to avoid any awkward feelings.

We are desperate. Today, for the first time, we've taken to banging the broom against the floor.

What should we do? I am considering having a lawyer friend of mine writing a letter, writing to the police department/precinct, writing to my representative.

It is seriously affecting our quality of life here, and we are miserable about it. Any help is greatly appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

Get your lawyer to write a scary letter - it doesn't need to 'go' anywhere in terms of actual action (though of course should go to the super), but it may make them take you seriously.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

So I shouldn't be dealing with the realty office on this? You are suggesting directly with the super? I honestly believe that the realty office has talked to him but that he doesn't care. I doubt he would be scared by a letter, especially if he knew that the office didn't know about it.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

Maybe the letter should go to the owners... just because you spoke to them doesn't mean they followed through - after all he is their employee (or is he someone's bro.-in-law - and one would think if they really told him to cut out the noise he would.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

I'm sure the supers have heard you banging with the broom and aren't likely to stop, so I'd find out what the tenant/landlord laws are FIRST and take things from there. Is there a mediation service or legal aid for tenants where you live?

It seems that the supers might be violating some sort of building code by using the grill beneath your window. Not sure about the parties.

You could always call the fire dept the next time the gas fumes are coming in your window! Hope this helps.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

I'm not sure if there is a tenant/landlord law. I did get a hold of the number to the housing court of New York which I could try, and probably will after the holidays. Is this what you mean?

Calling the fire department is a great idea but I'm hesitant to do such a thing when there really isn't any imminent danger.

I have another question: As tenants of this building, do we have a right to find out who owns this building? The person we have been speaking to who has been assuring us that they would tell him and have told him is only an employee at the management office. I'd like to ask for a direct contact but am hesitant to put them off, they are already rude when we talk to them and hang up on us frequently.

Also, I am assuming we should sent a letter to the landlord before we take any legal action. How do I make sure that this letter reaches the landlord and not the management people who may prevent him from seeing it? Should I call to ask for his name? Should I send it registered mail? What should it say? Our history, how we;ve tried everything, and that we'd like someone to make it stop, non-threatening without mentioning legal action?

Thanks so much for all who responded.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

Here is a link to Atty General of NY Tenant's Rights Guide
They do distinguish between NYC (some separate regulations) and the rest of the State where applicable. And there are plenty of resources for contacts. You just need to read through it.

I see no reason why you are not entitled to know who the owner is, it's generally public information on Property Tax Records. The only issue you might run into is that the building is owned by a large corporation, or LLC, in which case the name on tax records might not lead you directly to an owner you can contact. But it might get you started, so here's another link to search for that info: NYC.gov Property Info

So it would seem the hierarchy in your building is Super>Management>Owner, and the super is the one causing the problems, which Mgmt is doing nothing about. I'm with Lucy, this guy is on the payroll, unless he's a relative or has some other quirky "in", one would think Mgmt would want to reign him in before he drives tenants out of the building altogether. So Mgmt is dropping the ball for some unknown reason. Since you do have to go over mgmt's head, I would definitely get as many tenants behind you as you can, if you find and go to the owners, it will only give you more clout.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

The 'owner' is possibly a large corporation (happens all the time) and may not even be identifiable except as a number on legal documents. Tracing such people/places is very difficult sometimes and getting a response even harder, plus there will be no 'one' who cares in the slightest about your problem, which is why going through a lawyer I think would be the most direct approach (and if the owner is a corporation, a lawyer would have the best chance of finding out who they are).


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

Thanks for all the tips and the links, I'll look at them in detail. We called the management office today, and, not surprisingly, they acted, as always, as if this will never happen again. Apparently he has been told that if this happens again he will loose his job. We are very worried that he will have another party on New Year's though, and thus asked for a phone number from someone in the office that we could call who could call the super in turn if he is having another party. Of course they said they couldn't so that. We have drafted a letter to the office addressed to the landlord of (address). We will send that out before New year's probably. I also have a lawyer contact now, and have yet to call the housing court. I will keep you all up to date on what is happening.

I am afraid of approaching other tenants in the building. Perhaps lots of the tenants go to these parties, and if I speak to the wrong person, I may get myself into something I might not get out of. The refreshing thing though is that when we called this morning they said that yesterday they already had many calls about the party. I am only worried that their "consoling" seems to be an emerging pattern.

Oh, I have also found another contact: The NYC Central Complaint Bureau. I'll look into all of this.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

You mean you would even begrudge a New Year's party? Why don't you invite yourselves down if he has one, and get into the spirit!


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

Believe me, it's not just the fact that they're having a party. It's that it's so extremely late and so extremely loud (even if I plug up my ears I can feel my bed vibrating with the bass) that it's unbearable.

If this was just a New Year's party I wouldn't mind, but knowing the fact that he knows that he could loose his job if he holds another party, I don't care if it's New Years or not, I don't think it's fair for him to ignore what we've been asking for for more than four years now.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

whyyesiam-"Calling the fire department is a great idea but I'm hesitant to do such a thing when there really isn't any imminent danger."

Carbon Monoxide poisoning qualifies as 'imminent danger'

Put a smoke/carbon monoxide detector near the window where the bar b q grill smoke wafts up. If it goes off, that is reason enough to call the fire department.

I hope your documenting each and every contact you have with the super/mgr/etc. I'd be taking pics as well. Keep these locked up when your not home in case the super looks for these while your at work.

If you need to break your lease, this will be helpful in court.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

No, calling the fire department is NOT a good idea. You may face charges and jail time for a false call.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

OK, I see both sides. Calling when the alarm goes off is a valid reason though, right? I still see though how this could be alleviated by yelling out the window "Your smoke is setting off my carbon monoxide alarm."

I realize I should have been keepin track of all the communications. I haven't, and i should start right now. Great idea dreamgarden.


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

See link below for more on CO and what to do if you feel symptoms or your alarm goes off.

Here is a link that might be useful: Consumer Product Safety Commision CO Q&A


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RE: Super holds parties in the basement beneath our apartment

OK, I see both sides. Calling when the alarm goes off is a valid reason though, right? I still see though how this could be alleviated by yelling out the window "Your smoke is setting off my carbon monoxide alarm."

I realize I should have been keepin track of all the communications. I haven't, and i should start right now. Great idea dreamgarden.


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