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HELP! Hot Stuff on the way Part II

Posted by Alex on May 13, 2000 at 10:58:00:

This is going to be a fairly long one, so get comfy—LOL. I did some research after I received all of the nice replies to my initial post (even Richard’s made sense to an extent). I have included the original post for those of you who aren’t familiar with it. Thank God the weather cooled down, LOL.

Here is the original post:
The background: I live in one of two buildings (West Side) which the landlord owns. They are registered as rooming houses because the majority of the units in each building are rooms with no bathroom or kitchen. There are a few "real" apartments and I live in one of them: a studio. All of the units INCLUDE utilities.

Seeing how we have had a preview of what's to come (weather wise), I have some questions.

(a) This one is not all that important with the weather getting hot, just mainly curious. I have noticed that lately when I get up in the mornings, I rarely have hot water that lasts long enough for me to take a shower. I know that a lot of people use the "communal" bathroom during the same time frame in which I get ready. What are my options to gain more hot water? Can I force the landlord to install a larger water heater? LOL, I know that this will never happen, but I am curious.

(b) Now the serious issue. Two summers ago I asked the landlord about how detailed it would be to hook me up with enough voltage for A/C. He told me that it would cost ME $150 for him to run the wiring for the circuit. Once that was installed, I would have to pay for the extra electricity. Last summer I roasted with 2 window fans and a floor-oscillating fan. I'm ready to pass out now as I type under those same fans. My main questions--is this legal or highway robbery for the landlord to charge me for wiring? And how can he be justified in charging me for additional electricity when all utilities are included? What grounds would he be able to "compute" this charge on? What are my options to handle this situation because there is no way I will be able to go through another summer with no A/C again? I know I need to MOVE but until that happens what can I do about these issues?

Your advice will be greatly appreciated. Please e-mail me, as I sometimes forget to check this board.

My findings:

I can file a “Failure to Provide Heat and/or Hot Water-Tenant Application for Rent Reduction” with DHCR to work on the hot water situation.

Straight from DHCR’s Rent Administration Fact Sheet #27: “For rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments where the rent includes the use of electricity, an owner may charge a tenant a surcharge for the use of electricity for each A/C that has been installed.” When I looked at my generic “lease, stabilization clauses, plain English format” which was badly photocopied on legal paper under Section 6 (Services) it tells me that I “must not use a dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, freezer, heater, ventilator, air cooling equipment or other appliance unless installed by the landlord or with landlord’s written consent. Tenant must not use more electric than the wiring or feeders to the building can safely carry.” The same paragraph starts off with “tenant must pay for all electric, gas, telephone and other utility services used in the apartment and arrange for them with the public utility company.”

If Fact Sheet #27 says he can charge me for installation of A/C how can he give me a lease that says that I can’t install A/C without his consent, as well as tell me that I have to arrange and pay for my own utilities if this is all inclusive? This all is very confusing and contradictory to me. Can anyone send me in the direction as to where I would find more information on rooming houses and how the rent laws govern them? My next step to take is to obtain a rental history for this place because I feel that I am being overcharged for reasons that I won’t go into at this time. Will that be a simple and speedy process?

In conclusion, I want to say that this is a great board to find help and incentive to find the information you need. Thanks again everyone for being so helpful!

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