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  1. #1
    seewali is offline Junior Member
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    Lock boxes on thermostats

    Would you be able to help me with a problem I am having with the owners of the apt I live in? The owners decided to put lock boxes on all the tenants thermostats to prevent tenants from abusing gas heating during wintertime. I removed this box and the president of the real estate company (who is a lawyer) sent me a letter stating that I must pay a $200 fine or else they will cancel my lease. Included were bulleted sentences: "A sumons to answer a request for a writ of possession has been filed in the County Court." "Lieu of all fees, fines and legal action costs." "Forfeiture of any deposit you have." "All the above and a possible lease acceleration fee will be turned over to our Credit Collection Service." There is nothing in my lease that says they can put a lock box on my thermostat. Nor does it say that I will be fined $200 for removing that box. In addition I believe this apartment's president has violated a few laws as well. What government dept. could I contact when a Real Estate company allows too many people to live in a certain sized apartment? What can I do about their neglectful maintenance and upkeep of the buildings? Can someone help me with a return letter to this organization that might protect me from their threats?
    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
  2. #2
    queenofsand is offline Member
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    Your state, please.

    Some generic advice...usually no changes to a lease can be enforced unless it's mutually agreed upon. A lease can not force you to give up your rights according to your state law.

    Is heating included in your rent? Any codes pertaining to minimum temps the landlord must provide? The legal mumbo jumbo sounds like an intimidation tactic.
  3. #3
    Hot Topic is offline Senior Member
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    By what clause in the lease were you allowed to remove the thermostat?

    Where I live in California, the thermostat that regulates the boiler that heats the building must have a protected casing so that tenants can't change the temperature whenever they think their apartment is too warm or too cold. You have to check state laws and see how much heat the landlord is required to provide per day.
  4. #4
    treese is offline Senior Member
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    What is the name of your state?

    The owners decided to put lock boxes on all the tenants thermostats to prevent tenants from abusing gas heating during wintertime. I removed this box
    So you tampered with the lock box and removed it.

    The LL must follow the requirements set forth in your state (or local) laws for heat requirements. If the thermostat was set at the minimum temperature required by law, you had no right to tamper with the lock box.
  5. #5
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    Since you didnt bother to say what state you live in I can tell you for sure that many states in snow areas have rules that might state the lowest temp a LL must maintain during heating season BUT just because a utility is inc doesnt mean that a LL has to allow a tenant to over use . In my state the lowest setting a LL can use is 68 when heat is included during heating season so the LL has every right to regulate INCLUDING removing that old thermostat and installing a conservation model that will not exceed 72 in heating season. unless your lease gave you the right to make repairs or alterations then you have broken the lease and your LL has every right to go after you. JUST so you know expect in the future more and more rentals with submeters to determine how much a a utility a unit uses and a monly billing to make the tenant pay for it. heating is the number one expense in any multi unit with a central heating system and LLs have every right to control the cost INC going after tenants who also think nothing of opening a window in the winter a little because they want fresh air, ITS waste.
  6. #6
    seewali is offline Junior Member
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    Lock Boxes on Thermostats

    I am in Georgia.
    The heat is included in our rent. We were hand delivered letters from the president stating that these lock boxes would be put on, but not locked. They would only be locked if they found that we were abusing the amount of heat used. For example, some of the tenants will leave their windows open while the heat is on and leave for work. Bad, I know. I don't do this nor do I keep it above 67 most of the time. However, I don't like the idea that they CAN come into my home and lock the thermostat while it set at a temperature that might be too low one night and I have no way of adjusting it. Or if it gets too warm for me I think I should be able to lower it. I'd like to be able to do this without their permission. It can get quite cold here sometimes and each apartment can have different temps depending on its location.
    Last edited by seewali; 10-10-2006 at 12:39 PM.
  7. #7
    seewali is offline Junior Member
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    Lock boxes on Thermostats

    Quote Originally Posted by queenofsand View Post
    Your state, please.

    Some generic advice...usually no changes to a lease can be enforced unless it's mutually agreed upon. A lease can not force you to give up your rights according to your state law.

    Is heating included in your rent? Any codes pertaining to minimum temps the landlord must provide? The legal mumbo jumbo sounds like an intimidation tactic.
    Thanks for your reply. I am in Georgia. Obviously, not a snow state.
    The heat is included in our rent. We were hand delivered letters from the president stating that these lock boxes would be put on, but not locked. They would only be locked if they found that we were abusing the amount of heat used. For example, some of the tenants will leave their windows open while the heat is on and leave for work. Bad, I know. I don't do this nor do I keep it above 67 most of the time. However, I don't like the idea that they CAN come into my home and lock the thermostat while it set at a temperature that might be too low one night and I have no way of adjusting it. Or if it gets too warm for me I think I should be able to lower it. I'd like to be able to do this without their permission. It can get quite cold here sometimes and each apartment can have different temps depending on its location.
  8. #8
    seewali is offline Junior Member
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    Lock boxes on Thermostats

    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerJ View Post
    Since you didnt bother to say what state you live in I can tell you for sure that many states in snow areas have rules that might state the lowest temp a LL must maintain during heating season BUT just because a utility is inc doesnt mean that a LL has to allow a tenant to over use . In my state the lowest setting a LL can use is 68 when heat is included during heating season so the LL has every right to regulate INCLUDING removing that old thermostat and installing a conservation model that will not exceed 72 in heating season. unless your lease gave you the right to make repairs or alterations then you have broken the lease and your LL has every right to go after you. JUST so you know expect in the future more and more rentals with submeters to determine how much a a utility a unit uses and a monly billing to make the tenant pay for it. heating is the number one expense in any multi unit with a central heating system and LLs have every right to control the cost INC going after tenants who also think nothing of opening a window in the winter a little because they want fresh air, ITS waste.
    Thanks for your reply. I am in Georgia. Obviously, not a snow state.
    The heat is included in our rent. We were hand delivered letters from the president stating that these lock boxes would be put on, but not locked. They would only be locked if they found that we were abusing the amount of heat used. For example, some of the tenants will leave their windows open while the heat is on and leave for work. Bad, I know. I don't do this nor do I keep it above 67 most of the time. However, I don't like the idea that they CAN come into my home and lock the thermostat while it set at a temperature that might be too low one night and I have no way of adjusting it. Or if it gets too warm for me I think I should be able to lower it. I'd like to be able to do this without their permission. It can get quite cold here sometimes and each apartment can have different temps depending on its location.
  9. #9
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    So now is the time for you to search your state govt web page and look for any statutes that address heating temperature settings when heat is included. After that then check with your city or county to learn if there is a local ordinance addressing the issue. AS far as any other maint issues send the LL repair request in writting certified mail. It proves the complaints were made. Phone calls are too hard to prove.
    Last edited by FarmerJ; 10-10-2006 at 06:04 PM.
  10. #10
    seewali is offline Junior Member
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    Lock boxes on thermostats

    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerJ View Post
    So now is the time for you to search your state govt web page and look for any statutes that address heating temperature settings when heat is included. After that then check with your city or county to learn if there is a local ordinance addressing the issue. AS far as any other maint issues send the LL repair request in writting certified mail. It proves the complaints were made. Phone calls are too hard to prove.
    Thank you for your advice. I appreciate your help. May I ask, who would I contact regarding this apartment owner's lack of abiding by the law on the number of people allowed to live in a certain sized apt.?
  11. #11
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by seewali View Post
    It can get quite cold here sometimes and each apartment can have different temps depending on its location.
    Gee, I'm in WI, it's in the 20s today and we STILL have not turned our heat on (and there was light snow south of us today). Usually not until November.
  12. #12
    BelizeBreeze is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by seewali View Post
    Would you be able to help me with a problem I am having with the owners of the apt I live in? The owners decided to put lock boxes on all the tenants thermostats to prevent tenants from abusing gas heating during wintertime. I removed this box and the president of the real estate company (who is a lawyer) sent me a letter stating that I must pay a $200 fine or else they will cancel my lease. Included were bulleted sentences: "A sumons to answer a request for a writ of possession has been filed in the County Court." "Lieu of all fees, fines and legal action costs." "Forfeiture of any deposit you have." "All the above and a possible lease acceleration fee will be turned over to our Credit Collection Service." There is nothing in my lease that says they can put a lock box on my thermostat. Nor does it say that I will be fined $200 for removing that box. In addition I believe this apartment's president has violated a few laws as well. What government dept. could I contact when a Real Estate company allows too many people to live in a certain sized apartment? What can I do about their neglectful maintenance and upkeep of the buildings? Can someone help me with a return letter to this organization that might protect me from their threats?
    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
    ABSOLUTELY!!!

    Dear Mr. Attorney;

    I sincerely apologize for defacing and destroying personal property. Please find enclosed my check for $200 and my promise to never again run afoul of the law.

    Sincerely,

    Dumb Tenant.
  13. #13
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You can fool the thermostat by putting a wet paper towel over the box if you get too cold But don't do it too often or they're going to get wise!
  14. #14
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    E thats nice , you just told a tenant how to risk moisture dripping into Tstat and damage the whole thing, thus increasing what they will have to pay out to a already unhappy landord. The tenant here needs to either pay up or restore the lock box as long as LL will allow it. if this tenant wants to stay and not move they need to know that most likely the LL will now be watching for further signs of attempts to bypass /block / go around LL being in control of heating settings. Been there did the whole thing and the tenant at the time didnt like my course of action. Any tenant who wants to moniter the accuracy of a Tstat can simply use a suction cup style hook and hang a gauge next to the Tstat to compare room temp readings, or even a good grade Tstat that is never connected, just to moniter, There may be a degree or 2 diff in the readings but it will give a good idea as to what the temp is. BTW NW You said the evil S word (shaking finger at moniter with a smile) its way too early for this stuff to last and atleast this weekend temps are to return to more normal ones here near the Saint Croix valley region. It stinks I had to shut down the water to the barn early.
    Last edited by FarmerJ; 10-13-2006 at 07:01 AM.
  15. #15
    seewali is offline Junior Member
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    Lock boxes on thermostats

    Quote Originally Posted by BelizeBreeze View Post
    ABSOLUTELY!!!

    Dear Mr. Attorney;

    I sincerely apologize for defacing and destroying personal property. Please find enclosed my check for $200 and my promise to never again run afoul of the law.

    Sincerely,

    Dumb Tenant.
    How nice of you. Did you READ what I posted? There is NOTHING in my lease that says they can do any of this. Nor were we given anything in writing that says they are within Georgia Law to put a lock box on the thing or fine us for removing it. Nothing was posted on the box either. AND I did not destroy or deface anything. Are you the said attorney, by any chance?

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