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Old 12-07-2008, 03:58 PM
lz0 lz0 started this thread
 
Location: Chicago (Lakeview)
34 posts, read 105,861 times
Reputation: 36
Question No hot water - landlord not acting fast enough - what can I do?

A drain in my apartment building's basement flooded over the weekend, which broke the water heater for my apartment (and another apt. as well).

We alerted the landlord yesterday when our hot water went out. They sent a plumber over today. We were then informed that they are going to send out someone else tomorrow (Monday) morning to evaluate the damage to the heater.

There's no ETA for a fix.

Our water heater was actually replaced a year ago when it failed for a different reason, but the landlord dragged their feet and it took 5 days for them to replace it, during which time the tenants of my apartment had no hot water.

To my knowledge hot water is an "essential" service that landlords must provide to tenants per municipal codes.

What can I do? Is this legal? Is there a set time limit they have to restore this service? What if their failure to provide this service is jeopardizing the jobs or health of those of us living here? Does this happening during winter compound the problem? (Obviously it does for us having to take cold showers, but how about legally?)

Info appreciated!
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Old 12-07-2008, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
7,042 posts, read 8,652,798 times
Reputation: 2226
In NC, hot water has to be fixed within 24 hours by law.
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:16 PM
 
21,477 posts, read 35,351,953 times
Reputation: 10511
Tough situation. I don't understand why the plumber would not know how long it will take to restore hot water -- generally hot water heaters are the kind of things that landlords can and do replace pretty quickly.
Laws vary, but generally follow a "reasonable standard" and in most areas that means 24 hrs from when the landlord is made aware of the issue. Weather might seem like an issue to you, but for a legal standpoint it should not matter -- cold showers are not something that anyone really would pay rent for!
I don't think there are too many jurisdictions where a judge would side with a tenant whose claim against a landlord was based on them being fired for coming to work unshowered, but all an unlucky landlord needs is one cranky judge...

Don't get fired!

Has your landlord communicated to you why the water heater was not replaced? If they make no effort to contact you they are leaving themselves open to just about anything -- with the right evidence that could be substantial: the lack of repair definitely makes your apartment worth a lot less to you, one measure of the value might to compare the cost to a normal hotel room nearby. Its not like there are 'public baths' in too many places these days. Now I would NOT rush out and check into a hotel and then withhold that amount of rent, but that is ONE measure of what is at stake...
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:43 PM
lz0 lz0 started this thread
 
Location: Chicago (Lakeview)
34 posts, read 105,861 times
Reputation: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Has your landlord communicated to you why the water heater was not replaced? If they make no effort to contact you they are leaving themselves open to just about anything -- with the right evidence that could be substantial: the lack of repair definitely makes your apartment worth a lot less to you, one measure of the value might to compare the cost to a normal hotel room nearby. Its not like there are 'public baths' in too many places these days. Now I would NOT rush out and check into a hotel and then withhold that amount of rent, but that is ONE measure of what is at stake...
The landlord has been in communication with us, but only to tell us that the heating guy will be coming tomorrow to look at the heater. The landlord said they don't know if just some parts need to be replaced, or the entire unit. Makes no difference to us, obviously. As far as I know, many heating techs are on-call 24/7. This just makes no sense to me and considering the landlord's past behavior (taking 5 days to replace a water heater), it seems like they are simply dragging their feet again.

Your point about checking into a hotel is clever and I was considering it myself too. I'm just worried that I may shell out the money for a room, yet still have to pay full rent. Can't quite afford that. I also don't necessarily want to threaten the landlord with withholding rent, as I am not prepared to move out yet. But depending on how this situation progresses, it might be inevitable.

I'm considering signing up at a gym just to shower this week. Any ideas on places that offer a cheap day or week pass? Seems like Bally's wants a full month commitment. I'm female so Curves or something would work.
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
4,103 posts, read 4,558,094 times
Reputation: 6220
Xsport always seems to be having those free month deals or something.
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:52 PM
 
933 posts, read 1,298,012 times
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As a renter in the city, your rights and the landlords obligations are covered by two things.. the written lease you signed and the Chicago Landlord Tenants Act, which you also should have signed in copy form when you entered into the lease. I don't have a copy of either, but you should . Read through them. Heat is one thing, but I don't recall any ordinance obligations to provide hot water. The lease should have a clause referring to 'hot and cold' or 'cold' water .. The ordinance also governs under what conditions you can and cannot withhold rent .
When I rented a few years back ( but during the time the Ordinance has been in effect), my attorney once told me that, as a renter, I probably have fewer rights than I think I have .. Good luck
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Chicago
15,589 posts, read 12,643,941 times
Reputation: 1761
Quote:
Originally Posted by lz0 View Post
...I'm considering signing up at a gym just to shower this week. Any ideas on places that offer a cheap day or week pass? Seems like Bally's wants a full month commitment. I'm female so Curves or something would work.
The YMCA would be the cheapest. Many women go there. Try the one in Lake View.
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Chicago
15,589 posts, read 12,643,941 times
Reputation: 1761
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoylekim View Post
...Heat is one thing, but I don't recall any ordinance obligations to provide hot water. The lease should have a clause referring to 'hot and cold' or 'cold' water ...
The ability to have hot water is required by law. I would bet the house on it.
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Chicago
2,481 posts, read 8,653,199 times
Reputation: 786
You can review the ordinances here
Metropolitan Tenants Organization - Chicago, Illinois


"Failure to provide essential services. If there is material non-compliance by the landlord with the rental agreement or with Section 5-12-070, either of which constitutes an immediate danger to the health and safety of the tenant or if, contrary to the rental agreement or Section 5-12-070, the landlord fails to supply heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas or plumbing, the tenant may give written notice to the landlord specifying the material non-compliance or failure. If the landlord has, pursuant to this Ordinance or in the rental agreement, informed the tenant of an address at which notices to the landlord are to be received, the tenant shall mail or deliver the written notice required in this section to such an address. If the landlord has not informed the tenant of an address at which notices to the landlord are to be received, the written notice required in this section shall be shall be delivered by mail to the last known address of the landlord or by other reasonable means designed in good faith to provide written notice to the landlord. After such notice, the tenant may during the period of the landlord's non-compliance or failure:
procure reasonable amounts of heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas or plumbing service, as the case may be and upon presentation to the landlord of paid receipts deduct their cost from the rent; or
recover damages based on the reduction in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit; or
procure substitute housing , in which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord's noncompliance. The tenant may recover the cost of the reasonable value of the substitute housing up to an amount equal the monthly rent for each month or portion thereof of noncompliance as prorated.
In addition to the remedies set forth in Section 5-12-110f 1-3, the tenant may:

Withhold from the monthly rent an amount that reasonably reflects the reduced value of the premises due to the material non-compliance or failure if the landlord fails to correct the condition within 24 hours after being notified by the tenant; provided, however, that no rent shall be withheld if the failure is due to the inability of the utility provider to provide service; or
Terminate the rental agreement by written notice to the landlord if the material non-compliance or failure persists for more than 72 hours after the tenant has notified the landlord of the material non-compliance or failure; provided, however, that no termination shall be allowed if the failure is due to the inability of the utility to provide service. If the rental agreement is terminated, the landlord shall return all prepaid rent, security deposits and interest thereon in accordance with Section 5-12-080and tenant shall deliver possession of the dwelling unit to the landlord within 30 days after the expiration of the 72 hour time period specified in the notice. If possession shall not be so delivered, then the tenant's notice shall be deemed withdrawn and the lease shall remain in full force and effect.


If tenant proceeds under this subsection (f), he may not proceed under subsections (c) or (d). The tenant may not exercise his rights under this subsection if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of his family, or other person on the premises with his consent. Before correcting a condition the repair of which will affect more than his own dwelling unit, the tenant shall notify all other tenants affected and shall cause the work to be done so as to result in the least practical inconvenience to other tenants.
"
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Chicago
2,481 posts, read 8,653,199 times
Reputation: 786
You can also call

Tenants Rights Hotline


(773) 292-4988
Hotline Hours:
Monday - Friday 1 pm to 5 pm
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