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Old 01-29-2016, 01:29 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,708 times
Reputation: 13

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Hello all, let me try to be as concise as possible ...

... moved into my first apartment in Philadelphia on Oct 2. Within days, the dryer died on me, which I only mention to establish a pattern of neglected appliances here, because I came home to a freezing house the day the blizzard was going to hit (Jan 22) and discovered the furnace had died. I told my landlord, who asked if I have a Parts & Labor plan with PGW. Long story short, I do not. He said he'd "send someone out in the morning" and when I told him that would be impossible due to the storm and that I'd really like to at least try to get something done that night, he told me he "forgot about the blizzard." What?! Anyway ...

He didn't end up getting anyone out there; I did, via the furnace's maintenance company. The guy got it up and running but told me the inducer motor had gone and the exhaust was pretty clogged and it would not last through the night. When I relayed this info to my landlord, he said, "Catastrophe averted for the moment. Nothing else to be done for the moment." The motor died again less than an hour later, to which his response was, "Argh."

Over twenty hours later, during the thick of the storm on Saturday, he texted to say he was trying to arrange for someone to get me a space heater, but I was staying somewhere that did actually have heat and told him I wasn't home to accept it. On Sunday when I told him I was out shoveling and available to connect, it was 3 hours before the homeowner texted to tell me his brother was walking up the street from his (the brothers') house with the space heater. When I heard he lived just doors down the street I was a little miffed that didn't happen on Friday night!

Three hours after that my landlord told me he contacted some HVAC people and that "everyone wants this all better ASAP. Meantime, please remember to let the kitchen sink trickle / run to prevent pipes from freezing." I did that the second I found out the furnace died on Friday night! Anyway, I did sleep in the house on Sunday night. Finally, Monday evening, the maintenance people came out and fixed the heater. The homeowner was supposed to come to the house but didn't. I don't know why.

Tuesday my landlord texted to tell me he was "working on things" re: who was going to pay for what. Then, yesterday (Thursday) I got this email ...

"After getting through, gathering information and reviewing your lease after the weekend of 1-22-16 to 1-25-16, the outstanding heater expense with Summers, is the tenants responsibility. The cost of repair would have been covered if a PGW parts and labor plan had been in place soon after the lease went into effect. According to PGW, this plan was applied for on 1-25-16, three days after the failure and thus not in effect until after their standard 15 day lookback period. This application was nearly 4 months into lease.
If this PGW info is incorrect, please get me your dated PGW parts and labor receipt as everyone does want things to be correct.

It is certainly never enjoyable to be without heat on a cold weekend, not to mention the aggravation of handling the situation. I am grateful that you had a friend nearby, and that owners brother also lived nearby and could help out with a space heater. As a gesture for the bad timing of equipment failure that occurred, owners have asked me to grant a 3-day proration of $125.00 on February rent.

Summary:
- Summers initial Fri call: $ 125.00 (Paid by Tenant)

- Summers Bill: $ 608.++ (approximately) Tenant. Please pay.

- Prorated Feb. rent: $ 1,175.00 (after $ 125.00 deduction. $41.66 x 3)



Thank you."

I haven't responded because I'm furious. I had told him on Sunday that I called PGW and confirmed that I did not have a parts & labor plan but purchased one that did not go into effect until Feb 8. I do not like his condescending tone covering that again in this email, nor his attempt here to minimize the situation by mentioning that I luckily had a place to stay. I found him to be incredibly patronizing throughout this entire process, probably because he has considered himself my "friend" for the last 4 months (I have a rather cool job that he wants to take advantage of) but has been friends with the homeowners for years.

Thank you for reading all of that. Now, here's where my questions come ...

1) I could explain all the reasons why it slipped my mind to get the Parts & Labor plan, but I know those reasons don't matter; I needed to have one and I didn't, plain and simple. THAT BEING SAID ...
a) my landlord never went over the lease with me prior to signing, a friend did, and the parts & labor plan was not ever really explained to me. Also, now that I am reviewing my lease, it says that I was to supply proof that I had purchased it - my landlord asked for proof of my renter's insurance, which I provided, but never asked for this proof.
b) I called PGW to confirm whether or not the inducer motor replacement really would have been covered in full under the plan. The woman on the phone told me that it was not listed under the covered parts. The only motor that was listed was the "blower," and I have researched and found that is different than the inducer motor. Does that mean it wouldn't have been covered and someone would still owe $600+ anyway?

2) Does the PGW Tenant addendum override another section of my lease that says I am only responsible for repairs under $200?

I've rented 5 other places in Massachusetts, Washington state, Texas, and even own a home in Austin - I have NEVER encountered issues like this before, ever. I'm a responsible 30 year old woman who has forked over $14,000 for housing between this rent and my mortgage since I moved in four short months ago because I was not as lucky as these homeowners and did not find tenants who could move into my house right away. I simply don't have this money budgeted, and I find it ludicrous that I am actually expected to fix the owner's furnace for him. I've lived here 4 months. I find it very hard to believe that I am actually responsible for this but my current plan is to ask the homeowner to split the bill with me.

Thoughts?? Thanks again.

EDIT: Just wanted to add that there have been no previous tenants, the homeowners were living here until the day before I moved in, and I am wondering if some kind of inspection should have been done to make sure the house was even rentable, because it certainly doesn't seem like it.

Last edited by pamawatx; 01-29-2016 at 01:36 PM.. Reason: adding info, corrective typos
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Old 01-29-2016, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,726 posts, read 10,567,174 times
Reputation: 9768
Sounds like you'll be at the mercy of the landlord since you didn't fulfill the requirement to purchase the protection plan.
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Old 01-29-2016, 02:46 PM
 
234 posts, read 197,508 times
Reputation: 236
I agree with maf763. It isn't the landlords responsibility to review the lease with you. Lesson learned for you. An expensive one. Read every word of a proposed lease and ask questions if you don't understand. Ask for edits if you are not comfortable with something, and have all parties sign the edits. I've had great landlords, and not so great ones. Some owners don't want to take responsibility for home repairs and will do whatever they can to get you to pay for things that seem standard owner responsibility. I've been there and I'm truly sympathetic.

I'd also start looking for a new place. Or ask for a concession and tell them you will be moving out (assuming you can...how long is your lease?) otherwise. And read that lease...anything else in there you didn't know about? Can they withhold your security deposit if you don't pay this, or terminate the lease and require you to move (in the middle of winter)?
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Old 01-30-2016, 10:17 AM
 
2 posts, read 2,708 times
Reputation: 13
Thank you both! I figured as much and was just hoping against hope. I am angry with myself and appreciate your advice, Sicilee.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:17 PM
 
234 posts, read 197,508 times
Reputation: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by pamawatx View Post
Thank you both! I figured as much and was just hoping against hope. I am angry with myself and appreciate your advice, Sicilee.
Good luck to you.
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia (East Falls)
69 posts, read 89,287 times
Reputation: 69
If it was me I would fight it and at this point probably get an attorney with the hope it would scare landlord enough to not have to proceed further. Its his responsibility to provide heat, not yours. From https://business.phila.gov/media/par...od_housing.pdf


HEATING SYSTEM AND THE PROVISION OF ADEQUATE HEAT
�� The landlord must provide a central heating system or an approved separate
permanent heating system for each rental house or apartment. Heating
equipment must be safe, properly installed, and adequate to heat the dwelling
unit to 68 degrees at all times that the outside temperature is at or above 10
degrees.
�� In buildings with two or more apartments and rooming houses, the landlord
must supply heat at a temperature of 68 degrees for each apartment from
October 1 through April 30 and during May and September when the outside
temperature falls below 60 degrees.
�� The landlord does not have to supply heat if the dwelling unit is provided with
separate permanent heating equipment solely under the control of the tenant of
that apartment.
�� Approved portable kerosene heaters are only legal in
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Old 02-03-2016, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Dude...., I'm right here
1,505 posts, read 995,765 times
Reputation: 1272
I agree. I've never had of LL requiring tenant to take up appliance protection plan or renters insurance. This may be illegal even if the tenant agreed to it. Signing an illegal agreement does not make it legal.



Quote:
Originally Posted by MKE8244 View Post
If it was me I would fight it and at this point probably get an attorney with the hope it would scare landlord enough to not have to proceed further. Its his responsibility to provide heat, not yours. From https://business.phila.gov/media/par...od_housing.pdf


HEATING SYSTEM AND THE PROVISION OF ADEQUATE HEAT
�� The landlord must provide a central heating system or an approved separate
permanent heating system for each rental house or apartment. Heating
equipment must be safe, properly installed, and adequate to heat the dwelling
unit to 68 degrees at all times that the outside temperature is at or above 10
degrees.
�� In buildings with two or more apartments and rooming houses, the landlord
must supply heat at a temperature of 68 degrees for each apartment from
October 1 through April 30 and during May and September when the outside
temperature falls below 60 degrees.
�� The landlord does not have to supply heat if the dwelling unit is provided with
separate permanent heating equipment solely under the control of the tenant of
that apartment.
�� Approved portable kerosene heaters are only legal in
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Old 02-03-2016, 05:11 PM
 
711 posts, read 1,392,081 times
Reputation: 733
You owe nothing. Fight it !
Move immediately.
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
11,978 posts, read 11,250,377 times
Reputation: 8214
It may be possible to have some of the bills paid by the Liheap Crisis program. Worth a shot.

Home
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Old 06-15-2017, 02:18 PM
 
4,467 posts, read 1,674,489 times
Reputation: 3185
So I am looking for apartments in Philly, and the landlord for one of the listings is mandating that renters buy the GPW Parts and Labor plan which they say runs about $100 per year. I can't tell from above if this is a legal or illegal demand. Everywhere I have ever lived it was the landlord's responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations which included heat. Should I be suspect of this particular management company as a result of this request? Thanks.
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