Author Topic: Homeowners/handymen: water heater woes  (Read 3175 times)

galliver

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Homeowners/handymen: water heater woes
« on: April 17, 2015, 09:59:24 AM »
My bf and I rent a 1 BR condo from an individual (i.e. not a commercial multi unit enterprise). Our water heater went out last weekend. 3 visits from various tradesmen later, we still have no HW. It's getting frustrating.

First, an electrician checked the breaker, continuity, and the voltages and pinpointed the heating element(s) as the problem.  Then, two plumbers came in and replaced those. It never heated up. Called them back out, they didn't bring a multimeter or voltage tester, took a look at everything, shrugged, and suggested we replace it with a new one under warranty. Which would be fine, except we're getting the run-around on that  (supplier and manufacturer serving us to each other), not to mention this is a colossal game of broken telephone between myself, bf, landlord, and all the servicepeople.

Also the tank isn't leaking and flow is fine, so it has to be an electric problem, and the electronic parts are quite cheap...so replacing the whole thing seems wasteful. But I guess, not my decision.

Questions:
1) have you experienced similar and what was wrong? I don't want to touch it b/c of liability, but the engineer in me is itching to! And dying to know what's wrong.
2) any suggestions on most efficient way to proceed (eg to suggest to landlord)? Getting very tired of dealing with this. Almost willing to live without hot water, except washing greasy dishes sucks right now (no dishwasher). Also I'd want a rent discount.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Homeowners/handymen: water heater woes
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2015, 10:20:35 AM »
Why doesn't the landlord just get a plumber to replace the thing? Isn't that an advantage of being a renter?

Jack

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Re: Homeowners/handymen: water heater woes
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2015, 10:27:51 AM »
I think you're trying to ask the wrong question. As a renter, how the water heater gets fixed is really none of your business. What is your business is compelling the landlord to have it fixed in a timely fashion and/or compensate you for the fact that you're unable to get your agreed-upon use from the property.

I suggest that you start here and then figure out how to get the landlord to make the situation right.

James

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Re: Homeowners/handymen: water heater woes
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 10:38:07 AM »
As a homeowner I would say go ahead and play with it, make sure the power is off, and then see what you can figure out.

But as a renter I suggest not touching it. If you have a special relationship with your landlord and you knew it would be fine that is one thing, but at your point I would just back off and let the landlord know you need HW service, call every day and remind him how long it has been, and let him solve the problem with HIS hot water heater. It's not your problem, you pay for the service of not figuring it out and not taking on that issue of what to do.

I would agree that replacing all the electronics seems wasteful, but not uncommon.

Good luck!

RH

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Re: Homeowners/handymen: water heater woes
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2015, 11:16:26 AM »
I'm no sure what country you are in, but normally you have tenant rights which typically states that the landlord must fix the hot water within a certain amount of time. The only thing you need to do is to pick up your phone and call your landlord....that's one of the joys of renting!

Jack

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Re: Homeowners/handymen: water heater woes
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2015, 01:09:32 PM »
Another option -- in my jurisdiction; I'm not sure about yours, so read the link I posted earlier -- is a process called "repair and deduct:"

Quote
Georgia courts have held that when a landlord fails to respond to repair requests after a reasonable time, the tenant can have the required repair performed by a competent repair person at a reasonable cost and deduct the cost from future rent. In determining what is a reasonable time for the landlord to make the repair, consider the seriousness of the condition and the nature of the repair. It is a good idea to notify the landlord in writing that you plan to use the "repair and deduct" remedy before you arrange for the repair to be done.  Written notice is the best notice. The tenant should keep copies of all repair receipts and ask the repair person for a statement detailing the work performed and the problem corrected. Keep copies of this information. You may subtract these repair costs from your next month’s rent by sending copies of the repair receipts along with the remaining amount of rent due to your landlord. When using “repair and deduct” the tenant must be careful and spend only a reasonable amount on the repair. The tenant should not improve the property, only repair the defect. The tenant should use only qualified and licensed workers to make the repairs. If you do not feel that "repair and deduct" will address your issue, you should consider contacting an attorney.

galliver

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Re: Homeowners/handymen: water heater woes
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2015, 01:16:27 PM »
Just to clarify:
-We haven't actually touched it (beyond flipping the breaker and visually checking the wires were all connected). Everyone who came to look at it was called/hired by the landlord, whom we called as soon as we realized. But of course we're involved since we have to be home for it (which is pretty typical).
-We like our landlord. He is trying, and we sympathize with his concerns about cost (i.e. understanding that he didn't just go get us a new heater on Day 1 on his own dime). I wouldn't want to pursue legal action against him (unless he was completely ignoring us or something, but he's not).
-For all that it's his water heater, we're the ones dealing with the consequences (taking showers at the gym, heating water on the stove for dishes, being home to meet the plumbers, etc)

I got the sense that it wasn't really the right people who were coming out, and if I could make a suggestion to expedite the repair process, it would ultimately benefit me/us as the residents. :)  So that's why I asked.

galliver

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Re: Homeowners/handymen: water heater woes
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2015, 10:10:20 AM »
Update: took 2 more visits and an overheated tank (water and steam spewed out the safety valve!) to fix the broken thermostat for good (first one was stuck at "always-on" hence the overheating issue). We've now had hot water for a week and it's glorious. We also know all about electric water heaters and got a discount on rent "for the hassle" (he's a good guy, as I said, :) )