How to handle a difficult doorman

Q: My co-op building has a new doorman who isn’t on duty. He never opens the door. He leaves packages unattended and all night in the ...


Q: My co-op building has a new doorman who isn’t on duty. He never opens the door. He leaves packages unattended and all night in the lobby. He is loud and indiscreet, converses on the phone, is often away from the office, and can be hostile and defiant towards shareholders and guests. What recourse do shareholders have? Can we withhold the part of the interview that goes towards his salary if his performance does not improve?

A: You cannot suspend maintenance because a building employee does not perform their duties according to your expectations.

Your grievances may be justified, but if all of a co-op’s shareholders withheld maintenance because they were dissatisfied with some aspect of the service, the building wouldn’t be able to function properly.

What bothers one person may not bother another. “One of my doormen is on the phone all the time. It drives me crazy, and I’m on the board,” said Steven D. Sladkus, a real estate attorney and founding partner of the Manhattan law firm Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas, from his building. “I’m not doing anything because he’s one of the best goalkeepers. It does the job.

In your case, it looks like the job isn’t being done, or at least not to your standards. To make a change, you will need to contact management – ​​either the Board of Directors or the Managing Agent, depending on who oversees staffing matters. Before doing this, talk to your neighbors. Find out if others share some of your frustrations, especially regarding behavior that you find provocative and disrespectful. If you can rally other people behind you, your complaint will carry more weight. “If more and more people are feeling that, that’s more of an incentive for the council to do something about it,” Sladkus said.

Then write a letter to management outlining your concerns. Be specific. Cite examples where the behavior was problematic. The employee may need additional training or supervision to do their job better. Ultimately, any change will have to come from the employee’s supervisor.

If you find that you are alone in your assessment of the situation, you may want to find another way to smooth your relationship with the doorman without reporting him to his boss and potentially jeopardizing his job.

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