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Not Enough Hot Water by Anonymous on March 11, 2012 @00:09

Last Friday our tenants complained that they are not getting enough hot water. The following Monday I called my oil company. The next day the oil company sent out two technicians. The technicians asked one of the tenants if she was getting hot water in all the pipes and she said yes. She said she isn't getting enough hot water when she takes a bath. The technicians checked their furnace and said the furnace was in good working condition. They couldn't turn up the furnace any further. The technicians told her in front of me that nothing is wrong with the furnace and left.

Tonight I over heard her complaining about me to a relative that the water is now luke warm. She also complained about a clause in the lease about entering the apartment. We never step foot into their apartment. We stood at her front door and talked to her. Two family home. I live upstairs and tenants occupy the 1st floor.

I find it very odd that they have been in the apartment for the last 6 months and last Friday is the first time I have heard of the problem. When we got back the Apartment Condition Statement there was no mention of any water issues. You would have notice not enough hot water immediately. We rent to three people and I have a feeling that this particular tenant is trying to get out of the lease. A couple of months ago my lawyer sent the three of them a letter threatening to evict them for a lease violation.

I have several questions:

They have been paying their rent on time each month and never said anything about the hot water. Even though I was notified on Friday and the technicians came out on Tuesday and the furnace is in good working condition. Can they withhold April's rent? Can they report this to the City? Should I follow up with a written statement that the furnace was checked out and nothing is wrong with it?

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Re: Not Enough Hot Water by Micah on March 11, 2012 @00:16 [ Reply ]
Its probably the size of the hot water tank. In my house as a kid we had a big tub that could only get 1/2 full with hot water before the tank was empty. It's that or they are morons who have the dishwasher or laundry going at the same time. Check the actual water coming out of the taps too just to be safe. It could be a defective mixing valve in the tub. Chances are they are just PITAs though!
Re: Not Enough Hot Water by NY-LL on March 11, 2012 @00:37 [ Reply ]
If this is a two-family property in which the landlord also resides, the hot water (luke warm water) would be noticeable to everyone living at the premises.

So if the landlord has hot water (second floor) and the tenant has luke warm water (first floor), why would there be need for a professional heat inspection?
(Maybe I am misunderstanding)

But to address your question ...
Both landlords and tenants can choose to do whatever suits their purpose for the moment. Yes, tenants can file municipal complaints and withhold the rent. Yes, landlords can dispute tenant complaints (with evidence) and file for eviction.

My recommendation would be to send a copy of the professional heat inspection to the tenant with a bill statement confirming the cost of the unwarranted service call. Depending on your intent (not tenants' actions) advise tenants to either (i) pay for the service call as "added rent" in accord with lease agreement or (ii) advise that the service call should be "added rent" but landlord deferred the costs until move-out. Either way, just take the upper hand as was done with the service call.
Re: Not Enough Hot Water by Jake on March 11, 2012 @10:13 [ Reply ]
Get a statement in writing from the company that inspected your hot water heater. Have them say their inspection did not detect any defect in the operation of the heater and that it is set to the highest level of adjustment. Staple this to the bill they gave you for the inspection. This is all you need if your tenant makes any further complaint. If they with hold rent, immediately serve them with a pay or quit followed with an eviction notice. You are correct that tenants who want to break a lease will often come up with phantom maintenance problems.
Re: Not Enough Hot Water by OK-LL on March 11, 2012 @10:35 [ Reply ]
I'll just throw this out there, but I don't actually know how your water heating system works. All my units have gas or electric water heaters. Water heaters can have 2 heating elements and if one is not working, even if the heater is set on the highest setting, the water will not heat up fully and reheating a tank will take forever.

Have you inquired about the hot water with either of the other 2 tenants? I'd catch one of them alone or aside and ask if they're having any problems.

As far as suing you for it, you have proof that you called in an expert immediately and they determined no problem. It would be up to the tenants to prove a problem.
Re: Not Enough Hot Water by MrDan (Georgia) on March 11, 2012 @11:52 [ Reply ]
Your technician asking if the tenant is getting hot water from each faucet is a poor response. Did they do a flow test to ensure that hot water was indeed flowing through each faucet in the right quantity. Does your furnace also supply your hot water? Do you have a separate hot water supply system? Do you have a standby tank for peak demand? Is the dip stick inside the tank still good? Do you have any restrictions in the pipes? Do you have proper water pressure? How much hot water and at what temperature does your (furnace) produce? What is the recovery rate for your system? Is it under sized? Too many unanswered questions. You need to have this properly checked out before sending the tenant any written response. Get a second inspection by a qualified technician, a plumbing company or a Heating and air company. You have failed to eliminate any problem and instead have jumped to the conclusion about the tenants motive. Do you not think that something has not gone wrong since the move in inspection? This indeed might be a real complaint, and you need to know if it's real or not.
Re: Not Enough Hot Water by Micah on March 12, 2012 @08:37 [ Reply ]
They are all talk. They are not going to do anything to you. On the off chance that they do, just have all your documentation ready to show that it is working fine. Why didn't the repair guy actually check the water in the apartment? He should ahve done that before even looking at the furnace.

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