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Thread: Heat's not on

  1. #1
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Angry Heat's not on

    PA Landlord Tenant law says this:

    Landlord must provide heat between October 1st and May 15th at a minimum of 65 between 6:30 AM and 10:30 PM; 60 during the night and when the temperature is below 0 unless otherwise provided by lease.
    My heat is included in my rent and is controlled by the building manager, individual apartments don't even have thermostats. Yesterday was the first significantly chilly day and the heat wasn't turned on. I was considering writing my landlord and asking when they were planning on complying with the law and turning on the heat, but when I got home tonight there was a note on the front door of the building. It said that they were in the middle of replacing the heating system because the old one was too far gone to repair, and due to "finishing part delays" (what does that even mean???) they did not expect to be done for two more weeks. The temperature at night for the next two weeks is going to be in the 40's most nights, and they're saying we won't have any heat?!?

    My question, I guess, is do I have any legal standing to ask for a partial rent credit for them not complying with the housing code?
  2. #2
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    No one has any idea at all?
  3. #3
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    Send your LL a letter certified and inc a copy of the note and a printed copy of the law you found and ask them what plans they have for the time the buildings heat is not working to provide temporary heat? Do you pay your own light bill ? if so ask if they will grant you a credit of say 75.00 against your rent next month if you use electric heaters for the time the central heat is off, and enclose a letter they can sign that is something to the effect of a reciept for 75.00 for november rent. This is only suggestion other wise mention that you might have to contact your city housing inspections dept if they are not able to do anything of the sort and Inc a SASE so they have no excuse to not answer you the same day. ( to tell you they cannot complete the install untill a part comes in 2 weeks later is bovine excrement, I have ordered heating system parts in the past and it only took 2 days for the parts to be sent to a rural area )
  4. #4
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    As long as the LL takes "reasonable effort" to fix said problem, there is nothing you can do. Since they are actively taking care of the problem, you will need to provide your own temporary heating.
  5. #5
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerJ View Post
    ( to tell you they cannot complete the install untill a part comes in 2 weeks later is bovine excrement, I have ordered heating system parts in the past and it only took 2 days for the parts to be sent to a rural area )
    Thanks for the advice. I will give them that I live in a building which is both HUGE and OLD, over 200 years old, a converted mansion. It's got tons of charm but minimal modernization, and they are replacing the entire heating system which they say is costing $60k. I don't doubt that it's a complicated and time consuming job. What ticks me off is that they claim they discovered this LAST MONTH when they were having the heater serviced for the winter, that's the part that's bovine excrement IMO. I am willing to bet that the maintenence guys have been telling them at least for the past 2-3 years that the system was on its last legs, and they wait till less then a month before heating season begins to even have it looked at? Yeah, right.

    I will skip the threats and ask for $100 to compensate for the cost of the space heater I'm going to have to buy and the increased electricity costs (I do pay the electric just not the gas).
  6. #6
    lealea1005 is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Ecmst12....not to throw a wrench in the works but are they going to give you a hard time about having a space heater because of the building's age? I mean, would it be considered an increased fire risk? Hope not for your sake because it looks like it's going to be quite chilly. Good luck. Keep warm!
  7. #7
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    It's not forbidden in my lease so they can give me a hard time all they want, they have no standing. I have renters insurance, in the miniscule chance that my space heater DOES cause a fire I'm covered.
  8. #8
    moburkes is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    It's not forbidden in my lease so they can give me a hard time all they want, they have no standing. I have renters insurance, in the miniscule chance that my space heater DOES cause a fire I'm covered.
    Just make sure that it has a LOT of liability coverage! Make that agent rich!
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  9. #9
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    It's not forbidden in my lease so they can give me a hard time all they want, they have no standing. I have renters insurance, in the miniscule chance that my space heater DOES cause a fire I'm covered.
    Your renters insurance would cover YOUR personal items, but it would NOT cover the cost of burning down the building, which the LL could sue YOU for... Be rpepared to buy a new building if a fire starts...
  10. #10
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    I would be demanding more that $100 bucks if it takes two weeks , because you would be without a necessity .
  11. #11
    LSCAP is offline Member
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    Heat

    In our rentals, when that happens, and sometimes it does take weeks to get some parts, we usually supply small electric heaters.

    Since they are supposed to supply the heat, they should loan you the heaters. And if it's theirs, can they sue, if you burn the building down?

    I have also found, in some cases, like sitting at a desk, a 100 - 150 watt heat lamp pointed in your direction, works great.
    Last edited by LSCAP; 10-17-2006 at 03:46 AM.
  12. #12
    moburkes is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Who's Liable? View Post
    Your renters insurance would cover YOUR personal items, but it would NOT cover the cost of burning down the building, which the LL could sue YOU for... Be rpepared to buy a new building if a fire starts...
    Why would you say that? Renter's insurance (from any reputable company) includes personal property coverage AND liability coverage. You should have no less than $100k in liability coverage, but I used to only write them for $300k, for not much more money.

    "fire only" policies are written by very few companies, nowadays, and cost the same as a "real" policy, which includes liability, from a reputable company. I've seen fire oly policies for $20-$50/month, when a person can get a regular renter's policy for cheaper than that. And, ecmst12's insurance policy surely has liability. Her insurance company doesn't sell them any other way, I'm sure.
    My new signature:
    Originally Posted by arazi
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  13. #13
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Yes, my renters insurance covers liability. That's the main reason to get it! My stuff is worth a lot, but not as much as the building I live in, if I were to cause damage to it.
  14. #14
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blonde Lebinese View Post
    I would be demanding more that $100 bucks if it takes two weeks, because you would be without a necessity .
    I was originally thinking about asking for 50% credit for every day I don't have heat, but then thought that might be excessive. What do you think?
  15. #15
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    I was originally thinking about asking for 50% credit for every day I don't have heat, but then thought that might be excessive. What do you think?
    2. Give the landlord a "reasonable" time to correct the problem. What is reasonable depends on the situation. The more serious the problem, the sooner it should be fixed. Emergencies such as lack of heat in winter should be fixed very promptly.

    The habitability such as heat should be maintained at all time .

    I think FarmerJ advised as well .

    Lack of Heat is an Emergency . You should not be charged rent at all in this case , but don't withhold it without the advise of an Attorney .

    I wouldn't live in the cold for 2 weeks , I know that .

    I would consult a Landlord Tenant Attorney , or try finding a Lawyer referral service in the phone book through the Bar Association .

    I'd also call in the Code inspector , and obtain their report . The code inspector may give the LL a Push ....

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