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Old 02-05-2013, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Camberville
7,209 posts, read 8,981,126 times
Reputation: 8878

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A few weeks ago, one of the single pane windows in my boyfriend's bedroom developed a small crack. He sent an email to his landlord and the landlord never responded - very typical of this landlord who does all that he can to avoid fixing things around the house. Last night, my boyfriend and I were sitting on his bed watching TV when there was a loud crack. The entire bottom pane of this window had broken off, leaving the room exposed to the elements. It was probably 20 or under outside, and around 72 inside with the window located directly above the radiatior. This window is ancient - none of the windows in the house close well, they're all just a single pane of glass (no double paned, double glazed anything) in an old frame. It might have just been it's time. My boyfriend immediately called the landlord (who lives a block away and whose son lives upstairs and is supposed to be responsible for repairs) and the landlord said that the window couldn't have broken on its own and it's my boyfriend's responsibility to fix it.

We have some bubble wrap stuffed in the the space in the meantime, and my boyfriend pulled down the shade and taped it closed, plus put up a few blankets for insulation but it's still freezing in his room. The heat is cranked up, but he lives with two roommates who don't have open windows so it is making their rooms uncomfortably hot. His debit card was recently stolen and while he should have it all straightened out within a few weeks, he currently has absolutely no money to get someone to come fix it. Beyond that, I do not believe it is his responsibility to fix since this is a problem with the house, not a problem of his own creation. Right now in the New England weather, the room is barely habitable and with snow in the forecast, it could become a serious problem shortly.

What should he do? Has anyone heard of old glass windows cracking/breaking with the weather? The lease says the landlord is responsible for "reasonable" repairs - and I'd consider a broken window in the middle of winter a reasonable and necessary repair!
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:30 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
22,567 posts, read 27,275,301 times
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It CAN happen sometimes but is very rare. I don't think you'll get too far making a case for the LL to fix it, especially given your description of his reticence to deal with problems. I lived for many years in a very old house in NE where the windows were original and never had such a problem. Could well be that at some point something from either outside or inside created a tiny chip in the glass which finally weakened, quickly spread and gave way.

I'd suggest that your friend put the problem in writing to the LL, tell him that he's willing to go 50/50 on the glass replacement and installation, will arrange for it to be done, will deduct the 50% from the next rent cheque and will provide copies of all bills. That would seem to me to be a reasonable compromise. If you go that route, make sure to take before and after dated photographs in case there's any question later on when the return of the security deposit comes up.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Florida
11,505 posts, read 8,241,587 times
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Just to address your immediate comfort.....if the original glass was only old single pane(and even if it was new double pane) if you seal it well (no gaps or holes and preferably with thick or multiply folded thinner plastic,well taped edges) the temperature should not be affected at all.
Bubble wrap 'stuffed in the hole' may still be allowing spaces for cold air.
I've settled for this kind of repair before while waiting for a little warmer weather in which to take the time to replace the glass.
Complete and neat and overkill won't hurt......tape plastic over the entire window after 'patching' the broken pane.

Ordinarily I maintain that broken windows do not occur all by themselves and usually held that they are the tenants fault or the fault of something hitting them however, you are not the only one to have had fluxuating temperatures cause breakage.
Expansion and contraction of the wood and/or the glass can happen if there is no flexibilty
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:17 AM
 
2,091 posts, read 2,631,124 times
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Seriously people? Having working windows is 100% the landlords responsibility. Send him a certified letter, return receipt, to notify him of the need for repair. Read your landlord/tenant rights. In Florida its a statue violation. Windows cannot have cracks and holes. In this case, and I'm no lawyer, the failure of the landlord to correct this is a good case for having someone else repair it and taking it out of the rent. But you have to give him proper notice. Make all correspondence trackable, traceable and copied.

And yes the cold to heat variation can cause cracking, as can the house settling over time and warping the window frame. Both in combination can cause this to happen. Written notification is EVERYTHING.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:50 AM
 
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I've had 1920's windows in Chicago last uncracked until they got replaced with modern technology in the 2000's. Unless something might have hit the window cracking it...
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Camberville
7,209 posts, read 8,981,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STT Resident View Post
It CAN happen sometimes but is very rare. I don't think you'll get too far making a case for the LL to fix it, especially given your description of his reticence to deal with problems. I lived for many years in a very old house in NE where the windows were original and never had such a problem. Could well be that at some point something from either outside or inside created a tiny chip in the glass which finally weakened, quickly spread and gave way.

I'd suggest that your friend put the problem in writing to the LL, tell him that he's willing to go 50/50 on the glass replacement and installation, will arrange for it to be done, will deduct the 50% from the next rent cheque and will provide copies of all bills. That would seem to me to be a reasonable compromise. If you go that route, make sure to take before and after dated photographs in case there's any question later on when the return of the security deposit comes up.
I get that something could have happened at some point, but I'm confused at which point that becomes my boyfriends' problem when a ding from before he was a tenant (he has only lived in that room for a month - was in a different room of the house for 2 years before that) becomes something on his dime. It's a 2nd floor window (which is actually a lot higher because of a basement and foundation on a hill) with a screen protecting it, so nothing came from the outside, and it's a window that he does not use nor touch (like I said - it's above a radiator so access is more blocked than an average window) so he was not the cause of any damage. Given my unfortunate experience pitching a softball through a neighbor's window when I was a kid through a standard window, I'm going to guess that a replacement for his oddly sized window (about twice as large as a normal window) will be more than his share of the monthly rent. Additionally, as I mentioned, he currently has absolutely no money until the bank fixes his account, so he has no way to just "deduct" from the next rent check since it might take until the next rent is due for his account to be restored.

He'll be writing a certified letter. Based on Masssachusetts law, it the landlord is obligated to fix it based on habitability.

The house was built in 1874 and the window is likely original.

Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
Just to address your immediate comfort.....if the original glass was only old single pane(and even if it was new double pane) if you seal it well (no gaps or holes and preferably with thick or multiply folded thinner plastic,well taped edges) the temperature should not be affected at all.
Bubble wrap 'stuffed in the hole' may still be allowing spaces for cold air.
I've settled for this kind of repair before while waiting for a little warmer weather in which to take the time to replace the glass.
Complete and neat and overkill won't hurt......tape plastic over the entire window after 'patching' the broken pane.

Ordinarily I maintain that broken windows do not occur all by themselves and usually held that they are the tenants fault or the fault of something hitting them however, you are not the only one to have had fluxuating temperatures cause breakage.
Expansion and contraction of the wood and/or the glass can happen if there is no flexibilty
The issue is that this window gets the brunt of the wind because his house is on top of a hill and the window is just above the tree line. He now has bubble wrap up against the screen, covered by plastic wrap that's taped down, followed by a shade that's taped down, followed by a blanket. Because he's getting the full blast of the wind (including some snow today), it's letting a LOT of cold air in.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:13 AM
 
115 posts, read 143,847 times
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So for example if a bird flies in a window and breaks it - who's responsible?

Board the window from the outside and inside.tell your landlord you fixed it yourself since he wouldn't. Or take it out of rent and submit the bill with your rent
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:15 AM
 
8,315 posts, read 6,893,902 times
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Unless the landlord came over and hit the window with a stick, he is not the one who broke the window. Broken window glass is the responsibility of the tenant.

If it is a single pane window, repairs are quite inexpensive. I suggest that you get it repaired because that will be cheaper than the increase in your heating bill.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Florida
11,505 posts, read 8,241,587 times
Reputation: 9406
Ok...if the ding was pre-existing, it isn't your responsibilty.
In fact, extreme cold plus hot air from the radiator probably contributed to it happening.
But....unless that pre-existing ding was noted anywhere, like a preliminary move-in inspection and/or the LL acknowledged it, it will probably be held as your problem.
Go back and read how it needs to be temporarily fixed.
Blanket and shade material will not stop wind and cold air infiltration and bubble wrap against the screen certainly does not sound leak-proof.
Nothing porous and no gaps...even little ones.
Oh...the whole window doesn't need replacing.just the one pane.
Google how to do it, wait until it's a little warmer ( or a sunny non-windy day)and you might well be able to do it yourself for hardly anything.

Last edited by old_cold; 02-05-2013 at 12:16 PM..
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn New York
12,339 posts, read 12,131,936 times
Reputation: 14036
Since it was single pane, it might have cracked from the heat inside against the bitter cold outside. It happens.

I would have it fixed myself, and submit the bill to the LL with the rent check and the amount deducted off the rent. period and end of it.
the windows are the LL's responsibility.

I have double pane double hung, one time the spring snapped while i was sleeping, thus making the window fall and break, no ones fault, the Ll fixed it. no big deal, these things happen
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