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Thoughts on landlord/boiler situation

Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
edited September 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey,

Anyway about a month ago i moved into a new place, it was okay except no boiler yet. Whoops. The boiler got installed a week later, works fine but is loud as fuck even idling. Like it is louder than my three last boilers (gas, electric, electric) when its idling than they were during operation. Its a brand new boiler, so new the boiler guy couldn't fix it when it was installed and it didn't work. He didn't know how, the manufacturer had to send someone.

Anyway, its loud as fuck, but it has an on/off button. It warms up in say 5 minutes? So i just used that. Problem solved. Now today i learned that of the three apartments in this house, only mine has a boiler ie i'm supplying the entire building. This means it would have to be on all the time, so people can have the hot water they rightly deserve.

Now this apartment is small, two rooms and the boiler is three feet away from the only realistic place to put a bed. I cannot sleep with it on. (I guess i might be able to but at 550 clams a month fuck you I'm not putting up with this). I mention the rent because the lady that lived her before me (my across the street neighbor) payed (under a different landlord but still) 320 clams for the entire house that is now divided into three apartments.

I've written a firm but polite email asking if i'm right in thinking this is a big problem and how are we going to solve it. (i'd post it but its in dutch. I've had my parents read it over they say its well written, they're both lawyers so it should be okay)

I guess my questions are, am i being reasonable? Do you think i can expect a resolution other than having to move out? Should i ask for/sue for moving costs? I've already payed rent for September, if this turns ugly (I'm forced to keep the boiler on at all times or whatever ) should i ask for/sue for it back?

As a last note my landlord is a titanic asshole. At one point (when checking to see if the boiler was installed properly) yelling at me and violently cleaning my toilet, yes it is apparently possible to violently clean a toilet, because it was not 100% poo free. (i did flush it was just dirty)

Anyway, sorry for the wall of text thanks for reading through it.

Canada_jezus on

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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Anyone have any thoughts at all?

    Canada_jezus on
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    ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I vote for looking up your local tenant laws and then talking to your landlord about it. Possibly also look for different accommodations, if he isn't willing to change anything (less headache than fighting the whole thing)

    ihmmy on
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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Well law-wise, i'd be saying that having the boiler on makes it impossible to live peacefully. Which is one of the things a livable domicile is supposed to provide. He's obviously going to claim i'm overreacting. Mostly i don't mind finding another place. I just don't want him to get away with a 1000 bucks security deposit.

    I just, idk, is it realistic to expect a landlord to either change all the piping and put in two new boilers or maybe put a wooden cabinet with soundproofing material around the boiler. Or am i just going to get a firm "fuck off"?

    edit: but i mean the boiler is in my bathroom, could they force me to actually turn it on? (if i want to be a dick about it)

    Canada_jezus on
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    MidshipmanMidshipman Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    You might try getting a sound level meter and getting a measure of how loud the water heater actually is. It might help your case with the landlord (or judge if it comes to that).

    Something like this.

    Midshipman on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    My sense is that there is probably some level of noise which is considered "livable" and that the issue will revolve around that. So this will probably require you to either talk to a lawyer or local housing authority (if applicable.)

    Regardless probably the only remedy available to you is breaking your lease early and finding another place to live.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    My sense is that there is probably some level of noise which is considered "livable" and that the issue will revolve around that. So this will probably require you to either talk to a lawyer or local housing authority (if applicable.)

    Regardless probably the only remedy available to you is breaking your lease early and finding another place to live.

    Yeah depending on the answer to the email that i get, a visit to a lawyer is on the books this week. But like, morally, suing (if need be) so that i don't need to pay up 3 months rent just to get out of a place where i can't sleep. I mean, that's not frivolous right?

    Canada_jezus on
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    ascannerlightlyascannerlightly Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I mean, that's not frivolous right?
    your issue is totally reasonable and justified. have you had the other two people over to your apartment to hear the noise level for themselves? what did the guy from the manufacturer have to say about the noise level?

    ascannerlightly on
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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I mean, that's not frivolous right?
    your issue is totally reasonable and justified. have you had the other two people over to your apartment to hear the noise level for themselves? what did the guy from the manufacturer have to say about the noise level?

    I've had a friend stay over and ask to me to shut it off, (needed it for heat switched to an electric furnace). I had a girl over and she was like "How do you sleep?"

    My mom said: "Wow thats loud." The boiler has a great big pair of balls, as in i think it'll be more than powerful enough for three appartments. But just so loud. The guy from the manufacturers said everything was normal.:?

    I mean its just, i have anger issues and i was all "why in godsname does this house just have one boiler!" and i just needed someone to tell me i wasn't overreacting.

    Canada_jezus on
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    ascannerlightlyascannerlightly Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I mean its just, i have anger issues and i was all "why in godsname does this house just have one boiler!" and i just needed someone to tell me i wasn't overreacting.
    you're really not. sounds like the guy might have gotten too much boiler (us 'mericans call 'em water heaters). write down the model number and any other info you can find and see what you see on google. maybe the landlord knows a guy who knows a guy and got a deal on a boiler intended for use in a big apartment building.

    ascannerlightly on
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    MrMonroeMrMonroe passed out on the floor nowRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Where are you? Local tenant law may be applicable.

    I do wonder what kind of lease you have and how utilities are split up between you and the other apartments. Are you paying to heat all their hot water?

    MrMonroe on
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    Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    This is for the domestic hot water and not a radiant heat system, right? And is it gas- or electric-powered?

    Seattle Thread on
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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I know the landlord's right hand man started out in life as a boiler repair man, no idea why but he did tell me its the newest of the new available here now. Also I'm in Europe, Belgium.

    Also the utilities, are a flat 50 for me per month. Its not that uncommon to do, I've had apartments before where they did this. (where we each had out boiler). I'm assuming the other apartments pay something similar.

    I don't know what radiant heat is exactly, but the heat is just radiators on the wall. Its a gas powered boiler, its capacity is 31,6kW i cant' find any other specs online.

    Canada_jezus on
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    Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    "Radiant heat" in this case refers to a heating system using radiators. The domestic hot water is the stuff that comes out of your faucets. They are not the same--the water inside your boiler/radiator system is unfit for human consumption--hence why I asked.

    I'm guessing that you have a tanklesss water heater, which can run noisily and sporadically. But it would only be on when the water was being called for, i.e., when someone was taking a shower or doing the dishes.

    OR, you have one of these fancy new wall-hung boilers that look like rocketship engines when you take the cover off. It should also be idle unless the system is calling for water, i.e., when someone bumps their thermostat up, but it will run occasionally to keep its internal tank warm (therefore minimizing lag time between when you adjust your thermostat and when you feel the heat).

    Neither of these should be on a switch at all. These are basic household utilities that are required to be provided in most housing acts, and turning them off is depriving your neighbors of their right to comfort. It then goes back to the landlord, who then could potentially evict you under the grounds that you are tampering with his property/denying the neighbors/something else speculative.

    Asking him to replace the pipes is an unreasonable demand. Repiping a house to accomodate two new domestic hot water tanks will cost in the thousands of dollars--and repiping a radiant heating system can run in the ten- to twenty-thousand dollar range. Last time I checked, people generally don't shell out thousands of dollars to create a convoluted solution to a ridiculous problem--one boiler or water heater is plenty for any house. Hell, one boiler or water heater is plenty for many apartment complexes.

    In short, your options are limited to dealing or moving out.

    Seattle Thread on
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    Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I should clarify when I said "breaking your lease" that I meant that this noise, if it is a huge burden, should be grounds to break your lease without having to meet the normal conditions of breaking it.

    Maybe they could insulate around it or something? Or assuming it's in it's own little room, line the walls with some soundboard or something.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Neither of these should be on a switch at all. These are basic household utilities that are required to be provided in most housing acts, and turning them off is depriving your neighbors of their right to comfort. It then goes back to the landlord, who then could potentially evict you under the grounds that you are tampering with his property/denying the neighbors/something else speculative.

    Yeah i can agree with that everyone should have hot water obviously, but just the same i can't accept this amount of noise. Its moving out time i guess.
    -one boiler or water heater is plenty for any house. Hell, one boiler or water heater is plenty for many apartment complexes.

    Fair enough but why should one apartment have all the trouble of the noise that comes with it? There's a cellar he should have put it there, not three feet away from the bed. Funnily enough, the bed was there first actually.
    Asking him to replace the pipes is an unreasonable demand. Repiping a house to accomodate two new domestic hot water tanks will cost in the thousands of dollars
    I can see that its pretty out there to ask but, honestly i feel this situation falls on the landlord to fix. He really should have had the foresight to expect problems with this. But i'll say again, i agree it probably won't happen.

    In any case, the boiler constantly makes the same amount of noise, whether water is being used or not. Idk if that means its busted, but its too loud to live with anyway.
    I should clarify when I said "breaking your lease" that I meant that this noise, if it is a huge burden, should be grounds to break your lease without having to meet the normal conditions of breaking it.

    Yeah i'm hoping he'll go for this without it having to go to court. But i hope the threat of having to pay lawyers fees will be enough. Because, if i'm out 1500 to 2500 for moving out earlier, the risk of high lawyer costs might be worth it. Maybe i should just let it go, but i can't really stand the thought of getting stiffed like that.

    Canada_jezus on
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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Just to let everyone know, i consulted a lawyer. I can turn off the boiler if it makes too much noise and everyone else is shit out of luck. I should also send a letter to a specific kind of judge asking him/her to order the landlord to remove all "communal property" like the boiler out of my appartment, or fit the other two with a boiler so that i can turn mine off whenever i want.

    Canada_jezus on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Hahaha, wow. Not only can you put him over a fucking barrel, but all of the other tenants are going to be up his ass when you start controlling their hot water.
    Man, he is so fucked... what is your financial situation like? Would you live there if he gave you a great deal? Odds are he's rather have someone in there who won't force the issue rather than deal with someone proactive about it. If yo want to use it, you've got a big fucking bargaining chip.

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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    My parents are helping out until i find a job so i'd really appreciate more affordable housing. But i think the landlord will do anything he can to get me out of here when the lease is up. In any case its 10 more days until other tenants arrive, so i hope they won't have to suffer from all this.

    Tomorrow a meeting with the actual lawyer who'll be sending the documents etc, someone else from the law firm. The person i talked to today was apparently just out of college and will just be assisting. Oh well, we'll see how this goes.

    Canada_jezus on
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I hope the other tenants get pissed at the landlord and not you. Make sure to be polite to them, even demonstrate to them the horrible noise so that if they're ever screwed out of a hot shower, they don't come banging round your door at 4 am.

    Darkewolfe on
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    NebulousQNebulousQ Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Yeah, definately politely explain the problem to the tenants right away. Let them get the story and details from you first so the landlord can't spin the story and make you out to be the "bad guy".

    NebulousQ on
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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Yeah i'm feeling good/okay about the situation with the landlord now that I'm layered up, but this has the potential to have two apartment's worth of people hating my guts.

    Canada_jezus on
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    NebulousQNebulousQ Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Thats why you should talk to them first! Maybe even show them how loud it is in your sleeping area when the boiler is on.

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    Canada_jezusCanada_jezus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    You're totally right, its no guarantee that they'll agree or understand but its definitely the thing to do.

    Canada_jezus on
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