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Apt has no hot water for +3 days, withhold rent?
Old 07-11-2007, 07:55 AM   #1
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Apt has no hot water for +3 days, withhold rent?

I live in a medium sized apartment complex (~150 units) in Texas. On Monday morning this week, I noticed with some dismay that there was no hot water in the shower. So later in the day, I called and reported it. That evening, I checked it again and still no hot water. They put a note on everyone's door that they were working on the problem but no idea when it would be fixed. No other details supplied. That's the last I've heard about it. So now we're at Wednesday morning and I still don't have hot water. I can put up with a lot if I have two things: a hot shower in the morning and a quiet place to sleep at night.

What are my options to get these losers moving? Do I need to start contacting the BBB or the state's AG office? Those seem like slow solutions. Do I have the legal right to withhold rent for the days that I had no hot water (I'm in Texas)? At least that way I could notify them in writing that they're not getting paid, that might incentivise them to get this fixed. My lease has 4 more months on it so I can't just move out.
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:20 AM   #2
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Googling about, I found this site on tenant rights in Texas:

Texas Tenants Advisor

I can't vouch for its accuracy.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:09 PM   #3
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Toughen up. Moscow (that's Russia, not Idaho) turns off the hot water to all 12 million residents (which I'm one) for 3 weeks every summer.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:13 PM   #4
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Toughen up. Moscow (that's Russia, not Idaho) turns off the hot water to all 12 million residents (which I'm one) for 3 weeks every summer.
You in Moscow How is it there....

BTW, if you were in a good place you would have your own hot water heater for those days... but I got to 'shower' from a bucket in the tub when I visited...
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:43 PM   #5
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You in Moscow How is it there....

BTW, if you were in a good place you would have your own hot water heater for those days... but I got to 'shower' from a bucket in the tub when I visited...
Da, ha Mockve. (yes in Moscow if anyone hasn't brushed up on their Russian lately). Moscow was hot (well, not Texas hot) today.

We've got boilers AND A/C - our joint is fancy I tell you. We'll see if the boilers work next week when my building's 3 week hot water hiatus starts. Took 3 weeks to fix the A/C after we turned it on the first time - happened to be the 3 weeks of the hottest May ever in Moscow...now that was Texas hot.
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Old 07-11-2007, 04:58 PM   #6
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They can't turn off the "hot" water in my place. If the sun beats on the pipes (which are outside the building) there will be some hot water in the early evening.

Seriously, I wouldn't complain yet as they are aware of it. Do you have a bathtub? You could heat water and add it the old-fashioned way. Remember the great line from "Sex In The City"? where Big says, "I shower at the gym." Anyone know about the current status of rent control in NYC? I've heard that they've all but lost it.

I'll try not to get really started on landlords, not even the one who ripped out my furnace in mid-December.
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Old 07-11-2007, 06:36 PM   #7
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Yep, come to the CA central valley where you can enjoy hot water out of BOTH taps in the summer!

Even in a big building, I cant imagine what in the world they could be doing that'd keep the hot water off for three days without at least a backup system being put in place.
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:04 PM   #8
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Heck yeah! Withhold the rent money! Landlords love that. You'll probably get into all the hot water you can stand. ;-)

Really though - doubt they are willfully witholding the hot water - they're probably dealing with plumbers who are dealing with parts houses who are dealing with national suppliers who have no idea where they're going to get a manifold valve for a Fosberry-Wiffledorn boiler unit, last made ten years ago in Monrovia. But you can bet they're going to try to fix the problem before they spring for a whole new system at mega-$. Oh - and that whole new system doesn't get installed Poof! like Harry Potter. Be brave - nothing like being without hot water, or water, to make you appreciate it.
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:07 PM   #9
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...Even in a big building, I cant imagine what in the world they could be doing that'd keep the hot water off for three days without at least a backup system being put in place.
Hot water backup system for 150 apartments? Got room to float in a WW2 Destroyer so they can tap into the boiler system?
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:13 PM   #10
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Bunch of big insulated storage tanks, high volume portable boiler. Fill the tanks overnight, enough HW for everyone to take a shower in the morning. Refill all day, enough for HW in the evenings.

Of course, thats doing things right by the customer, not doing it cheap and dragging it out at their expense.

I wonder how much higher the rate of departure in this building will be this year vs last due to stuff like this, and the costs of re-renting the apartments coupled with vacant months is all going to roll up to be.
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:43 PM   #11
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Bunch of big insulated storage tanks, high volume portable boiler. Fill the tanks overnight, enough HW for everyone to take a shower in the morning. Refill all day, enough for HW in the evenings.

Of course, thats doing things right by the customer, not doing it cheap and dragging it out at their expense.

I wonder how much higher the rate of departure in this building will be this year vs last due to stuff like this, and the costs of re-renting the apartments coupled with vacant months is all going to roll up to be.
Man, you know how to get things done. I'm gonna have to call my local Rent-a-Center and see what those insulated tanks and high volume portable boilers go for. Figure about a 7500 gallon tank size should do it? Wonder if they can deliver and hook 'em up this afternoon. Sometimes thowing money at a problem doesn't get it fixed any quicker. I have no idea if the management company is doing all in it's power to alleviate the problem but i do think people do their best to avoid catching flak - and I'm sure the management company is getting plenty of flak. I think they should spring for a pool party and an assortment of chill pills.
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:48 PM   #12
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Dang and there they are:
POWERHOUSE EQUIPMENT - Rental Boilers
You go Fuzz!
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:48 PM   #13
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You've apparently never seen any of my plumbing projects.

Anyhow, you can get a portable boiler on skids or on a trailer, complete with storage tanks and a hookup crew in under 24 hours...in most major cities.

Edit: whoops, ya beat me to it...
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:26 AM   #14
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At least you have WATER. I lived in a dive in Salt Lake City that had the water shut off three times in the 9 months I lived there.

The water bill was included in the rent payment, and was supposed to have been paid for the whole complex, but the apartment manager kept 'forgetting' to pay the water bill. Edited to add: Can we say 'skimming'? Good, all together now

Ever tried to survive in 100 degree 0% humidity weather w/o water or air conditioning?

I don't think you should withhold the rent. Its just hot water, and it sounds like they are working on it. It could be a lot worse.
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