Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lousy Landlord Chronicles: Legal Advice Wanted

For my first apartment out of college, I was looking for a few minor things--inexpensive rent, heat and hot water and good company. When I signed the lease in August, I thought I was getting all of those things, as the majority of them were written into the contract. And yet, I find myself getting hosed. No literally.

Have you ever taken a shower after six or seven people and experienced the
quick fading hot water, where the temperature stays hot for long enough for you to wet your hair, before you need to turn it up, then turn it up again? Well, that's what showering at my place is like every time, no matter if you shower at 6:45am or 2:38pm, first or last.

Obviously, we've mentioned it once or twice to our landlord. He said, "I'll turn it up." And it'd be hotter for an extra minute for the following few days. Finally, three of us asked him about it.

"What's the deal with the hot water?" one of us asked. "It doesn't even make it through a ten minute shower."

"Ten minutes," he replied, "the system is only designed for three minutes at best. I don't know anyone that takes ten minute showers."

There was a dumbstruck moment of silence before one of us said that was unreasonable.

Now, there was some back a forth after this point, the three of us all too aware there was no communicating with a man who thought three minute showers was normal, let alone acceptable. The conversation ended with him telling us if this was going to be a consistent problem that we could move out by the first of the month. How generous!

But my outrage isn't quite the point--Does anyone have any idea what the legal requirements are for hot water when it's included in a lease? I've read through the MA Tenants' Rights and can't seem to find anything that addresses this specific question. I would appreciate your thoughts.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Just got this link via IM:

From the section on hot water:

Hot Water Facilities
Facilities for the heating of water must be provided (i.e. supplied and paid for) and kept in good working order by the owner. The owner must supply hot water in sufficient quantity and pressure to satisfy the normal use of all plumbing fixtures which generally require hot water to function properly. The temperature of the hot water is not to exceed 130° Fahrenheit (54° Celsius) nor fall below 110° Fahrenheit (43° Celsius). Under certain leases, an occupant may be required to provide the fuel for the heating of the water. [410.190]

Perhaps I should take a poll to see if three minutes is normal.