Argo Real Estate LLC

Ask Real Estate: When Doormen Refuse Deliveries

Flowers and Food Turned Away

I live in a rental building with a doorman. I chose a doorman building because I work long and unpredictable hours, live alone and wanted someone to accept packages for me. My building recently stopped accepting food or flowers on behalf of tenants. Since then, my boyfriend has paid multiple delivery fees on flowers that were undeliverable. And my parents have been turned away when they drive in from the suburbs to bring me home-cooked meals. This policy makes no sense. Can management do this?

- Upper West Side, Manhattan


Your boyfriend and your parents sound awesome, and I can certainly understand why you would be miffed to miss out on so many lovely gifts. Unfortunately, all those lost bouquets and forsaken home-cooked meals might be the latest casualties of the delivery wars. The success of companies like Amazon and Fresh Direct have turned concierge desks into de facto post offices, with residents receiving large, cumbersome (and frequently perishable) packages on a daily basis. Worried about liability for spoiled or stolen goods, building owners have tightened their rules. “Buildings are being forced to create more stringent policies,” said Daniel A. Dermer, the president of Dermer Management.


Unless your lease includes a special provision obligating the building to receive your package deliveries (which is unlikely), management is not required to hold them for you. Instead, it can change procedures and policies as it sees fit.


But try to persuade the managing agent to accommodate you anyway. Write management a letter requesting that the building set aside a pickup area for packages. Explain that you chose the building partly because of the services offered by a doorman, including deliveries. Cynthia Graffeo, the director of client relations at Argo Real Estate, suggests that you ask management to let you sign a form, releasing the company from liability should the food or flowers spoil before you collect them.


If the building will not budge, perhaps you could ask your boyfriend to send flowers to your office instead.