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LL blaming upstairs tenant for lack of heat in building

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LL blaming upstairs tenant for lack of heat in building

Postby RosalitaNYC » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:42 pm

There has never been adequate heat in my building. Every time there is no heat the landlord blames the tenant on the top floor, allegedly because she is using an electric heater that is near a sensor that records a high temp and keeps the boiler from turning on. The tenant in question denies this and says she is cold all the time. She says the sensor is in the living room and she only uses the heater in her bedroom, whenever it is really cold. (It is cold a lot in this building. I use a heater too sometimes)
The landlord showed me a receipt from a plumber on which it is handwritten the above conditions, stating that the boiler is functioning at 100% capacity and that the tenant was told to stop using an electric heater. The tenant says a plumber never came to her house .Who do you think is lying? and how do we get heat?
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Postby TenantNet » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:41 pm

Put it on record and take no excuses. Notify the LL in writing certified. Report it to 311. Start a tenants association. Have everyone document the temperature in their units. Consider a HP action or rent strike. That's better if you have a tenants association. Now, if you aren't rent regulated, I'd caution about being over-militant. Document and report.
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Postby RosalitaNYC » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:51 pm

We have been calling 311. The first time the inspector came the landlord must have known about it because she got here an hour before and turned on the heat. The second time the inspector came they just left a card bec they could not find anyone home. Both complaints were closed.
How do we get an inspector here at a time the tenants know to be here, but not the landlord?
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Postby concord » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:49 am

The ‘portable heater near the sensor’ response is nonsense. Surely there is a spot in the room at which the portable heater can be placed rather than being right next to the sensor.

However if the sensor really is responsible for causing the boiler to become activated and if this sensor is really affected by the heat from the portable heater then, this sensor can also be activated by something cold such as a block of ice.

Older systems can be tricked in this manner. Have the neighbor, who resides in the apt containing the sensor, place a loaded ice tray on top of the sensor. Don’t allow the melting ice water to trickle into the sensor though.

If the sensor picks up the coldness it shall be tricked into ‘thinking’ that it is very cold in the environment and it shall trigger the boiler into providing heat. If this maneuver is successful then you should all chip in and buy one or two ice-packs, from a sporting goods store, which would be left in the freezer all day and then placed on top of the sensor all evening or even all night.

There is nothing to feel guilty about here. You have an abusive LL and you are doing what you must do in order to receive adequate heating.

I certainly agree with Tenantnet in that you should be persistent with 311 and if you are able to, you should unite with the other tenants to put pressure upon your LL.

Your LL may be being tipped-off about upcoming inspections but if you are persistent enough eventually somebody at HPD will resolve the issue. I’ve been through it. My LL was being tipped-off but HPD finally got tired of hearing from me (or the system registered a high number of complaints?) and somebody had to seriously address my complaints. I got the problems resolved.

Remember that if you are not rent-stabilized that the LL can evict you upon the expiration of your lease.

:twisted:
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Postby RosalitaNYC » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:28 pm

Thank you, thank you. I know she is lying because she has said crazy stuff about me to other tenants which has gotten back to me. The tenant with the sensor in her apt has told me she does not even use an electric heater in the living room, where the sensor is located, nor does she even turn on the oven, which the landlady has accused her of doing.
I am telling everyone to call 311. That is it, case closed.
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Postby Landlord's Boy » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:17 pm

I have the same problem as this landlord. However, I use the REBNY-standard lease and this issue is covered by Clause 11 or 12:

OBJECTIONABLE CONDUCT
As a tenant in the Building, You will not engage in objectionable conduct. Objectionable conduct means behavior which makes or will make the Apartment or the Building less fit to live in for You or other occupants. It also means anything which interferes with the right of others to properly and peacefully enjoy their Apartments, or causes conditions that are dangerous, hazardous, unsanitary and detrimental to other tenants in the Building. Objectionable conduct by You gives Owner the right to end this Lease.


Every tenant in the building has this clause in the lease. They know they may not run electric heaters if these interfere with the sensors, nor may they damage the sensors themselves. Doing so is cause for eviction.

Almost always it's another tenant that sets the offending tenant straight.
Always Report Leaks Immediately!
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:16 pm

Not really, at least not in this instance. Objectionable conduct is in the eye of the beholder. That doesn't mean the tenant doesn't have rights.

In many cases I've seen a LL removes the central heat (often steam heat) and puts in space heaters, either electric or gas. That is what the HMC doesn't permit absent a waiver.

However, LLBoy, I think you're speaking of when a tenant uses a portable heater to augment an otherwise cold apartment. If Hell freezes over, it would certainly be within the tenant's right to take steps not to freeze. If that interferes with a sensor, then in my view, it does not matter even if there is such a lease clause. And given the situation, I would even say the tenant could charge the LL for the extra electricity if it's cold enough. Of course the tenant must document the lack of heat and a court will ultimately decide.
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Postby RosalitaNYC » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:51 pm

Update--the day after Thanksgiving plumbers came to the upstairs tenants apt. to look at the sensor and said it was either defective or the wrong kind, and put in a new sensor. The past three nights there has been no heat so I called the landlord and she told me the same story about the tenant ruining everything for the whole building because she uses an electric heater.(I am using one now too) We have been freezing like this for the past two winters, and the other tenant has a baby who is always getting sick from the cold. It is terrible that we are living like this. I am so mad. Last month I sent a letter of complaint certified mail with the rent check and I have not yet paid the Dec rent bec I am so mad. I have been looking for another place to live and have been making heat complaints every day but so far the inspector has not come back.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:38 pm

Hi All
You may also want to try the news and see if any of the stations will take your story.
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Postby ronin » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:00 pm

Have actually reported this to 311? The mention of the child should bring some action.

And certainly you should call every type of media show about this if the kid is getting sick.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:21 pm

Hi All
Just to add a thought, my friend said their bld has some kind of new boiler system installed that enables their LL to controll the heat direct from their blackberry :shock: Has any boiler work been done and may be the LL is playing games between tenants?
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