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09 Dec 2016
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THE HOLIDAY TIPPING POINT

It’s that time of year again.  As we enter the final stretch of the year, in addition to holiday gifts for loved ones and friends, apartment dwellers also have to consider holiday tips for their building staff.  Are you required to tip?  Usually not, but it’s an overwhelmingly observed custom and if you do not, in most buildings you will be in the minority.

How much do you tip?  As the idea is to reward service, holiday tipping does not correspond with the size of your apartment or the amount of your rent.  Quite a few buildings will let you know suggested tip amounts and some buildings pool tips together.   If you do not live in one of those buildings, there’s a fairly wide range of “common” tips depending on the type of building that you live in and the number of staff.  Tips for building superintendents typically are around $75 and up and can go as high as $500.  The range for a doorman/concierge is from $25-150 and can go as high as $1000.  For building porters and handymen, the range is from $20-$30 but can go as high as $75.  Finally, garage attendants range from $25-$75 but can go as high as $100. In most instances, the more staff your building has, the lower the average tip per staff member.

When do you tip?  The best time is between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but building staff receive tips from December through January.  When in doubt, ask your neighbors or the members of the building’s board.

02 Dec 2016
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Residential Buildings: Beware of Workplace Accidents

When a worker gets injured while on the job, common sense and the law both dictate that the employer will, more often than not, be at least partially liable. New York Labor Law however, also extends this liability to the owners and managing agents of buildings where workers are injured.

Pursuant to section 200 of the New York Labor Law, building owners and managers are obligated to provide a safe working environment for workers.  Section 241(6) requires that areas in which work is being performed “shall be so constructed…. equipped…operated and conducted as to provide reasonable and adequate protection and safety to the persons employed or frequenting such places.”  Finally, section 240(1) states that owners, contractors and managers are liable for gravity-related accidents that happen at the building.  Not preparing for workplace accidents and running afoul of these statutes could mean millions of dollars in liability.

What can your building do to protect itself?

Know who you are working with.  Be sure that all contractors you deal with are properly licensed, insured, and experienced in each specific area of work.  Be sure to ask for copies of their primary liability and umbrella insurance policies.  If your contractor uses subcontractors (an extremely common occurrence), have your contractor review their vetting process for subs and verify that each subcontractor is properly insured.  Additionally, do a little due diligence of your own and check to see if each contractor/subcontractor has a history with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) as well as a history of litigation.

Read the fine print.  As with anything, the building owner’s contract with each general contractor or subcontractor should be in writing.  The contract should include an indemnification clause – the contractor/subcontractor should agree to indemnify and hold harmless the building owners and managing agents from any liability and damages stemming from the contractors’ negligence – and an insurance procurement clause.  They should also confirm that any agreements they enter into ensure their responsibility for workplace safety.  To the extent possible, your contractor/subcontractor should also add the building owners and managing agents as additional insureds to their liability insurance policies, which should already be at least $1 million for a primary commercial general liability policy and $5 million for an umbrella policy.

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STAY INFORMED
Guzov sends quarterly emails that highlight industry trends and updates to our News & Press.
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