Lawyer in Turkey: The Kapıcı - Caretaker - Part I

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Kapıcı - Caretaker - Part I

Every Apartment owner will be familiar with the phenomenon kapıcı (congierge/caretaker/janitor). A Kapıcı is a person who is operating in paid employment and is responsable for the daily (cleaning) activities of one or more buildings.

Kapıcı is an honourable profession that earns well, and social rights are adequately protected by legalisation. The minimum salary of a janitor is even official revised every six months by the government, while this is not obvious for a civil servant.

An Owners Association is not obliged to employ a janitor unless it concerns a complex with more than 30 apartments that makes use of a central heating system that works with solid fuel (like charcoal). In complexes with more than 60 apartments, even two caretakers need to be hired.

It is also required to hire a caretaker in a complex with more than 50 apartments with a central heating system that works on liquid fuel (like natural gas or diesel). The number of janitors needs to be doubled when it concerns a building with more than 125 apartments. The idea about this is that the centrally managed system of a complex, like the heating system, needs to be maintained by the same person that is also the central contact person for everyone in the building. The Concierge law therefore requires that the association, in all these cases, provides housing at the complex for the janitor, but also to (make) follow the proper training for the operation and maintenance of the central installations of the complex.

Although in some situations it is obliged to employ a janitor, this doesn’t mean that the director of an association can hire or fire a caretaker to his own judgement. Namely, a concierge can only be hired or dismissed based on the decision of the Owner Association. The decision should be made by majority of votes. A director is an executive body of the association, and not the deciding body.

If it is decided to hire a janitor, the director also needs to take care for the signing of a well-designed employment contract. This written agreement should include the general, as well as the special conditions. For example, the duration of the contract, the task description, distribution of hours, holidays, salary and social conditions like housing on the complex and weather he can make use of the public utilities of the complex freely.

According the Concierge Law, cleaning the public areas like the stairs hallway, the basement, the garage or the swimming pool, as well as delivering services to home owners at fixed hours, are part of the fixed responsibilities of the janitor. But also picking up the trash and taking care of the general pool and gardens belong to the general duties of a concierge.

A person, or persons, that provide only parts of the services to the complex cannot hold the title of caretaker. You can think of a gardener, or cleaner who are responsible for specific tasks. If these people are operating in paid employment or not, depends on the circumstances of each individual.

The article above is limited only to the general rules concerning the janitor employed by an Owners Association. The next article will focus more on the housing of a concierge and the criteria this property must meet. Until next month…..

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