Tenant Heat Complaint

    by

    I have a new tenant who moved in this month. She kept complaining that the apartment is not warm enough, so I increased the temperature to 73 degree from 6 am to 10 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to 6 am the thermostat is set to 65 degrees. She leave on the 1 floor lower ceiling the apartment–this apartment got warm pretty fast . I had 3 previous tenants and never had any complain about the heat.
    I got her a small heater 2 days ago and she call me today to complain again. I don’t know what to do any more. I told if she is not happy she can break the lease.

    39 Replies

    1. The saga continue, now she call me about breaking the lease saying it was to cold in the apartment with 72 74 at night she has to fill up the tub in order to get warm last night around 3h30 Am , she lost her voice ( this her conversation we had on the phone) bla bla and she can’t work regarding a condition .
      She ask about the to break the lease she leave like that any more bla bla I say no problem we can do it when she want to do it the end of this month the 15 or the 31 of january.
      I was in the basement doing some cleaning and I hear her talking on the phone for 5 to 10 minutes, to her friend about her holiday plan and her she got her voice back 20 minutes after our conversation ,I don’t understand that girl she got some problem.

    2. benoit- did you use a standard Blumberg lease form? It sounds like a standardized form. Your tenant seems to want to be problem and just make sure you document the temperatures in her apartment. I have never rented a place where the landlord paid for cooking gas. If it is on a separate meter, the tenant pays. Show her the explanation for National Grid. But bear this in mind, if you let her walk all over you, it won’t stop with the heat. Be nice, but be firm the be thorough in showing her you are providing the proper amount of heat.

      I’m a little suspicious about the “I’m extremely ill and living elsewhere because of the draft” comment. She sounds like a Sarah Heartburn. Good luck, and let us know how it works out for you.

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    4. There is no hole in the window there was a little space,i just seal it, the window is on a wall bt bathroom and the annex of the house..
      But i talk to the tenant i will supply her with 71 degree at night i can deal with it any more to much stress on my side.

    5. It sounds like there is a misunderstanding. Her letter makes it sound as if there is a hole in the window, or the window does not close correctly. She says she can “fit half her hand” through the window even when the window is closed. It sounds like you need to repair the window.

      As for the stove gas, it sounds as if the lease says the landlord will pay for it. This incorrect language should have been removed from the lease before you both signed it.

    6. I did supply her with more heat yesterday 74 75 degrees from 6 am to 10 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to 6 am 68 69 degrees now she want to talk to this evening.
      Also in her lease it say heat,hot water,and gas included does it mean the I have to supply her cooking gas I have a separate meter in the basement and I never before paid for the cooking gas for my tenant.

    7. Duh, ignore my question – I should be sleeping rather than reading marketing copy…the ones marketed for cooking would work for air temperature as well.

    8. herkimermaid – we have the same issue with a tenant and I was looking into wireless thermometers like this (http://www.accumall.com/Weather-Instruments/Thermometers/Indoor-Outdoor-Thermometers/LaCrosse-Wireless-Thermometer.html) but wanted something that would give more than just the high/low of the day. I hadn’t seen anything like the instant read thermometers you mention (other than ones for cooking meat) – would those work, or could you share the product you use?

      Thanks!

    9. OP, I can’t figure out your prior post but I’ll assume the tenant’s gas meter is for cooking only. I’m also going to assume that this is a legal apartment with its own meter.

      Before you do anything you have to know for a fact that her apartment is at the minimum temp required by law. You can figure that out by acquiring (buying or borrowing) an instant-read thermometer.

      If this was a situation I had to deal with, I’d take the apt temp in a few different rooms and on several different occasions/times of day WITH THE TENANT PRESENT. If it registers over the minimum temp then tell her you’re within the legal limits of NYC heating laws and that, aside from offering her the space heater to use on her dime, you feel that, reasonably and legally, you’ve done everything you can. What happens after that point is obviously impossible to say… Hopefully she doesn’t continue to hassle you. The most important thing is to document everything and remain reasonable and calm. Keep us posted on what happens.

    10. Now there is a section on the lease who say the fallowing utilities are include in the rent .heat,hot water and gas.
      I call National grid about it and they say that gas is for hot water and heat.
      Not for the cooking.
      The lease do not stipulate cooking , my tenant alway pay they cooking gas they have a separate meter only for the cooking.
      Let me know what is my right.
      Thanks

    11. you better tell her that the heat you provide is at the minimum required by law. Tell her the law and talk with your insurance company about when to notice them. You are about to be sued for her “illness”.

      Unfortunately your offer to break the lease may be viewed as an admission that the apartment was not habitable. Use the chance to clarify. Tell her that the apartment when you checked it was at x temp and that you are sure the apartment has always been heated to the required levels. Ask her if she has kept a temperature log.

      Again the law is that the apartment has to be 68 from 6am to 10 pm if the temperature is less than 55 outside and 55 from 10pm to 6 am.

    12. In slight defense of this girl, I have to say that I am also constantly cold, and would probably go insane if the heat were set to 68. Like other posters have mentioned, I own instead of rent – and I took it a step further by buying a place with central heat/AC. Some people are just always cold (OK, mostly women). However, she doesn’t seem like she’s willing to lay out her own dime for her comfort, which sounds suspicious. Also, her email was very melodramatic (“I will have access to e-mail while I recuperate, but am unable to talk.”). I say let her break the lease and move on!

    13. The window is in the bathroom and it is seal and there is a door . the window is located bt the annex and the bathroom, i was in the apartment and the temperature was 76 now at midnight with a outside temperature of 46..
      This is the kind of tenant that no one want to have.
      She have been here for 2 weeks and this is what is going on ever since.
      The radiator are drain since i place new valve 3 week ago.

    14. the window is in the bathroom,and it is seal . i was in the apartment today and the temperature in the apartment is above 73 degree.

    15. i did check the temperature in her apartment it is warmer than the 2 floor where the thermostat is located, when is 68 on the 2 floor it is 73 in her apartment, the second floor had foot 14 foot ceiling her apartment had low ceiling.
      the radiator have been drain.
      She have been complaining since she move in.
      this is the email she send me have a look.
      I want to give you notification that you can enter my apartment anytime during the day after first knocking with your spare keys, as I was only give one set. I have come down extremely sick as I was discussing with you, and am staying somewhere where I will not be affected by the draft. If it is 69 degrees on the 3rd floor, heat rises. You can imagine how cold it is on the first floor where there is a “window” which I can fit half of my hand through closed! It is just as tedious for me to contact you as it is for you to listen to the complaints. I was using the heater that you provided, but I, of course, the bill for it will come in my name and heating the outside through those drafts will get expensive very quickly. You have my permission to enter as you would like this week, please notify me via e-mail of when you will be available to do this.

      I would also like written clarification about my lease which reads: “B. The following utilities are included in the rent heat, hot water and gas”. If I am correct, the heat is provided by home heating oil and possible the gas as well? Please provide me with this information as soon as possible. I will have access to e-mail while I recuperate, but am unable to talk.

      What did you mean when you said that you do not care if I break the lease? I look forward to hearing from you soon about sealing the first floor and the details of my lease.

    16. “Not be able to control my heat during winter is one of the top 5 reasons why I bought, and opted out of renting”.

      Me too CCB. I set my heat at 65 day, 55 night. I hate overheated houses (plus, I’m CHEAP). No tenants to complain 🙂

    17. Check the vents to be sure they are not clogged with debris. When the system is sending steam, these vents should vent cool air until the radiator fills with steam. if they are not hissing when the system begins to push steam and are not shutting off when the steam hits them, they are defective or dirty.

      steve
      http://www.thetinkerswagon.com

    18. THL, assuming the minimum heating requirement is being met then a space heater is a good solution (the kind that doesn’t incinerate the house) for all. The LL doesn’t have to waste money/resources by bumping up the thermostat to heat just one room, and the tenant can decide for him/herself just how much to add to the cost of the electric bill.

    19. Maybe check the vent sizes in the radiators, assuming you have steam heat. The vents have several sizes; number 4 being the smallest and D being the largest. By putting a larger vent in her radiators, cool air will vent from the system faster allowing hot steam in sooner. You can also put a smaller vent on the radiator where the thermostat is located, slowing the steam to that area thereby leaving the system on a little longer.

      steve
      http://www.thetinkerswagon.com

    20. Not be able to control my heat during winter is one of the top 5 reasons why I bought, and opted out of renting.

    21. It doesn’t matter what we think is comfortable. Vulcan’s like 90 degrees. NY law sets the require temp in the apartment. Its 68 during the hours specified about and 55 at night. If the apartment is at that temp its lawful. if the tenant wants more its their dime. If the apartment is less, you need to get it up to code. Water in the pipes are causes for it not working properly but so far no one knows whether its ok (in the sense of being at the lawful temp) or not.

    22. I can’t see how a landlord isn’t obligated to provide heat throughout the apartment- Bathrooms need heat in the winter. Expecting a tenant to put up with a freezing cold bathroom is unreasonable. I don’t expect the landlord to put in radiant heat flooring at least try to address the problem, not blame the tenant for it.

      But as rob says- in this case- the tenant should rediscover blankets (and sweaters.)The OP is providing heat (and 73 degrees will be very expensive). Maybe its just a simple matter of checking for drafts.

    23. Peopl are very different in terms of what they consider warm or cold. To me, indoors 68 is chilly. In summer however the tables are reversed of course.

    24. 65 is more than comfortable at night. there’s this litle invention invented in china a gazillion years ago called BLANKETS!

      *rob*

    25. 73 is too hot in the day time, 65 is too low in the night…..try a different spread and don’t go lower than 67 at night if you want to collect a good rent from any tenant….

    26. “what I’d consider equitable”

      sorry, no, if LL provides heat according to specs and tenant wants more, she should pay for it. It’s like the cold bath situation from yesterday. I don’t think LL is obligated to put heat in the bath.

    27. She should check to make sure the tops of her windows aren’t open. Sometimes they fall down and it’s not very noticeable except for the arctic wind blowing across your face in the middle of the night.

    28. Not to nitpick but giving someone a heater when they pay for their own electric isn’t exactly what I’d consider equitable. The heat should be included in the cost of the rent.

    29. I don’t know what kind of heating you have but maybe the raditors need to be drained. Our usually warm apt was freezing a few weeks ago. We told the LL and he came up with a little cup, turned a knob, collected some water in the cup and ten minutes later it was toasty again.

    30. As a renter I’ve had my share of cold apartments. I’ve been able to tape a piece of paper to a window frame and watch it flutter like crazy from the drafts comming in.

      But to be honest you sound like you’ve done what you can to appease her needs. Giving her the heater was more than most LL’s would do. I think the thermometer is a good idea because i for one think thermostat temperatures are from outer-space. But if shes looking for 90 degrees indoors in the winter shes just shit outta luck.

    31. There’s that bitter renter bxgrl again, sounding eminently reasonable.

      A similar post a few days ago.
      http://bstoner.wpengine.com/forum/archives/2009/12/lanlord_at_wits.php

      My advice to landlords who rent out an apartment or 2 in their house (not big apartment buildings where the tenants have to open the windows to moderate the stifling heat):
      Only rent to people who moved to NYC from northern New England, Canada, places like that. They probably know how to put on a sweater in the winter. Don’t rent to people who moved from Florida and won’t feel comfortable if the inside temp ever drops below the mid seventies.

    32. Are the windows drafty? Or is she leaving one of them open and just not telling you? Then again, some people are very sensitive to cold but if you’re doing everything you should be, she’ll have to learn how to cope.

    33. you were very smart to tell her she could break the lease. Who needs it? She will always,always be cold in the apartment no matter what the temperature.

    34. landlords listen up… NEVER EVER rent to out of town transplant white females under the age of 27. they complain about eveeeeeerything. original poster, does she fit that criteria? i bet you anything she does.

      *rob*

    35. NY law requires you to keep the apt at 68 degrees from 6 am to 10 pm and 55 degrees thereafter when the temperature is less than 55 outside. Get a thermometer and put in in her apartment. If this is what it says at least she has no legitimate complaint. If she wants it warmer its on her dime(electric heaters that she pays for)….

    36. measure the temp in her apt. Not what thermostat is set too.
      Perhaps a radiator isn’t working in her apt or maybe she is whiney princess.