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superintendent troubles

Posted by Kelly on November 17, 2000 at 16:08:36:

I live with a friend in Jersey City, in a 15-unit building. I've been here about two months, but my friend has been here nearly a year with a lease that allows only a small percentage rent-increase annually, and I have been hoping to sign the lease when my roommate moves out in January. However, I've had a run-in with the super that makes me worry about my future here. She is too large and elderly to properly get around and do the duties of a true superintendent; however, she has a tendency to let herself in to apartments (or at least this one) when there is something to be done. For example, she lets herself in with the exterminator when he comes. I don't have a gripe with that, because notes are posted the day before letting tenants know that the exterminator is coming. However, today she let herself in at 8 in the morning (my roommate and I work at night) with the plumber. She startled me badly, and I woke up saying "What the hell is going on?" She stood in the foyer talking to me while I was sitting up in my bed clutching the covers against me. Naturally this was a bizarre-seeming situation. Both our voices were escalating. Several times I loudly said, "Please step out while I put some clothes on", she did not budge but argued with me about not answering the door and my right to be here, and ultimately called me a "nasty bitch".

Once I had put a robe on, I did let the plumber in, he diagnosed a faulty shower-bottom that has been causing the downstairs neighbors' leak, and said, "She was wrong. She shouldn't have come in like that." I agree.

But is this totally legal? My roommate expressed concern that this argument with the super today will keep me from being allowed to have the lease. I did nothing wrong, though. Still I'm worried. I want to remain here.

This is not the first time by any means that the superintendent has scared someone by coming all the way in (sometimes right up to the bed) while we're sleeping. But my roommate always just accepted it as an annoyance. To me is seems at best invasive and disrespectful of our privacy, and at worst a potential threat to our safety. I just can't imagine her barging in similarly on a married couple, but perhaps she does.

Could anyone help me with input or advice? Will this argument keep me from getting the lease? I've never had such a situation and don't know what to do.


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