Author Topic: Heat  (Read 6532 times)

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Chivewarrior

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Heat
« on: January 13, 2013, 11:05:20 PM »
So apparently it's rude to expect your landlords to keep the house at reasonable temperature now.

I'm staying in California on an internship, but while I'm south enough that there's no snow, it's north enough that it still gets fairly cold, particularly at night. I booked a furnished room in a sort of boardinghouse through AirBnB. One of the blanket rules AirBnB has is that hosts must provide bedding.

I've had a bit of a silent ongoing battle with regards to the thermostat more or less since I got here-- I turn it up a little, and someone else (based on the rest of the story I think it's the hosts) turns it all the way down. When it's all the way down, house temperature is in the low fifties according to the thermostat. It's colder in my room than the rest of the house, so I suspect it's actually high forties in my room when the heat is off. Sometimes I go to the thermostat and turning it up doesn't do anything-- the landlords have, rather than continually reset the thermostat, just shut the heat off entirely at the base. It's worth noting at this point that the bedding they provided is two thin blankets and a sheet, not enough to deal with this kind of temperature.

I have Reynaud Syndrome in my hands, so it doesn't matter how many layers I put on, if the outside temperature isn't a certain level my hands will turn purple and become hard to use, particularly if the cold temperature is ongoing.

Today was one of the heater-is-completely-off days, and it coincided with a cold snap. So after dealing with this all day, I finally got frustrated enough to send in a complaint. I sent one by email, then realized that probably wouldn't get dealt with quickly and did it by voicemail-- it's the landlady's two sons I'm contacting via this method. I pointed out in the voicemail that I've tried to live with the temperature but that my hands are going numb and that the thermostat says the house is in the low fifties which isn't a reasonable temperature to expect someone to live in. I did make a brief allusion to tenant laws, but it was just a one-sentence mention, no specifics. I'm aware I sounded upset, but apparently it's being read differently by someone, because...

Landlady comes upstairs after a while to turn on the heat, brusquely asks if I called her son, and then tells me that there was no need to be rude to him. I don't think it is rude to tell someone with whom you have a business relationship that the temperature isn't reasonable.

The thing that she did that I consider rude on her part, though, was that she proceeded to check to see if I was wearing slippers on my feet before turning the heat up, apparently on the theory that if I wasn't wearing them the heat didn't need to be on. My hands were going purple and numb and I was wearing a thick sweater; I don't think the slippers on my feet are the deciding factor in this case. And really I don't think it's her business whether I wear them or not. (She shoved them at me when I showed up without slippers because if you don't wear slippers in the house you'll get a cold/be cold. And was insistent about it even though I don't like slippers.)

Minmom3

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Re: Heat
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2013, 11:12:36 PM »
Do you NOT have something heavier to wear?  Are there more blankets they could put on your bed?

Not a snarky question!  I get cold all day (no whole house heating here) and I put on a wool sweater, and I'm OK.  I have a fleece blanket on my bed under a good heavy down comforter.  I can sleep with the windows cracked open and still be good over night.  There are mornings I wake up and it's in the low 40's in the room.  I'm freezing as soon as I'm out from under the covers of the bed.  Low 50's for daytime is too chilly unless you were warned and brought lots of clothing.  Even without Reynaud's, that's too cold.  If they resolve it, good.  If they don't, I'd make an official complaint to the agency you got the unit through, telling them that the owners refuse to heat the house/room to reasonable temperatures and that this isn't workable for you.

I hope you get toasty warm soon!
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

johelenc1

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Re: Heat
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2013, 11:18:09 PM »
I would personally love to have my bedroom in the 50's.  I've been sleeping with the window open every night.  However, 50's would only work if I had nice comfy blankets as well.  That said, I think keeping a house in the 50's is pretty ridiculous. 

I would start taking pictures of the thermostat to prove the temperature.  I would also consider getting one of those clocks with a temp gauge and put it in your room and take pictures of that as well.  I would then call the landlord every single time the temperature gets below whatever you consider comfortable.  Well, maybe 65.   If comfortable is 76 for you, that's probably not reasonable.

Also, I know they are supposed to provide blankets, but this would not be a hill to die on... or freeze...on for me.  Either ask for more blankets or go get your own.  In fact, I would suggest getting a snuggly electric blanket.  Or...even better...a little heater:-)

oceanus

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Re: Heat
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 11:31:10 PM »
Quote
Or...even better...a little heater:-)

There ya go.  (not crazy about them because of the potential hazard but it beats freezing)  You can get one for about $12 at the dollar stores.

doodlemor

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Re: Heat
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 11:48:49 PM »
I POD that you need a little heater.  An electric blanket would help, too.

These people are taking your money and trying to keep their utilities low at your expense.  So rude.

JamFly

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Re: Heat
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 12:27:55 AM »
Given the way Landlady acted when the OP spoke to her son, I wouldn't think she'd take it well if the OP bought a heated blanket or small heater for her room.

Frankly, if I were the OP (and if it's possible financially and time wise) I'd just find another room to rent.

Rohanna

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Re: Heat
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 12:36:05 AM »
If you're renting through airbnb, you can complain and have their ability to host revoked as it says under hosting that :

"Climate: Ensure your home is properly ventilated and that temperature control is clearly marked and functional. Ensure guests are clear about how to safely use the heater."

Room temperature is generally defined as lying between 65 and 72, and if they aren't willing to keep it to a reasonable warmth, the company needs to know this.

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johelenc1

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Re: Heat
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2013, 12:36:56 AM »
I can see how a heater could be objectionable, but an electric blanket shouldn't be a big deal.  I don't know how anyone would even know.

marcel

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Re: Heat
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2013, 12:59:47 AM »
There is one question i have after reading your story. Before the complaint, have you at any time, befoe sending the compalints, discussed the temperature with the landlady or her sons?

The whole putting it higher, putting it lower thing seems very PA to me, from both sides. I think you should have discussed the use of the heating with the landlady or her sons, after it had been urned down again two or three times, instead of having a silent thermostat war.

Thermostats are great in family homes, but can be a disaster in boarding houses and other places where several people live in their own rooms, and otherwise mostly independent from eachother. It is important that all people discuss the use of the thermostat in these situations, and find one setting to set and keep it on.
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Raintree

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Re: Heat
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2013, 01:41:12 AM »
Brrr. I feel your pain. I lived in a basement suite of a family home when I was a student, and it was SO cold!!! I don't know what the temperature was, but I know that it was warmer in their part of the house. I had thick sweaters, blankets, etc., and I tried studying while buried under a duvet and it didn't help. I wore a wool hat inside but I know I'm not warm enough when I find my nose is cold.

During the day, when they (landlords upstairs) were out at work, they turned the heat RIGHT down. I don't blame them as I do the same thing when I am out, but at exam time when there were no classes, I had to study in my suite during the day and it was pure awfulness.

I didn't actually speak to them about it because I didn't have a spine, and I didn't want to be the cause of increasing their heating bill, but in retrospect, if you're going to rent to someone, it has to be a comfortable temperature!!

I think while you had a valid complaint, it's possible that you did come across as a little rude without intending to be, as you admitted you were upset, and you said things like "It's not reasonable..." and mentioning laws, without ever having discussed this with them before. I don't blame you, but it might have come across better as, "I don't know if you're aware but my room is really, really cold. Is there any way we can turn up the heat? The temperature is in the low 50's and I also have Reynaud's Syndrome which affects me X, Y and Z ways..."

Then if they refused to turn the heat up you could increase it to, "It's not reasonable.....state laws stipulate that....the policy of airBnB is....."

Chivewarrior

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Re: Heat
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2013, 02:10:17 AM »
Looks like this is going to require a longer conversation with them, at any rate, as they turned it on for a couple of hours when I complained and then appear to have turned it back off again.

Raintree

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Re: Heat
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2013, 02:51:30 AM »
Looks like this is going to require a longer conversation with them, at any rate, as they turned it on for a couple of hours when I complained and then appear to have turned it back off again.

Oh, great. I know heating is expensive but if your tenants are that uncomfortable....!!

I think it's reasonable to expect that people will wear warm clothing, ie I don't think it's reasonable for a tenant to expect to be warm enough in a t-shirt and shorts in winter, just because that is what they feel like wearing. But you said that's not the case with you; you wear a thick sweater (I bundled to the max in clothing that's normally only worn outdoors, in my cold suite, and was still cold).

But I wanted to offer a comment on slippers. I hated slippers too, until I discovered these nice slip-on sheepskin-lined ones (found them in a mall kiosk). They are SO toasty. So much better than just thick socks. They make my whole body feel warmer somehow. I took them with me to a family member's house where I stayed over Christmas. Normally I am ALWAYS cold in that house; it's drafty and they don't seem to keep the heat on much. This year I brought my sheepskin slippers and was just fine. It just took me a while to find slippers I liked!! They make a HUGE difference.

Shopaholic

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Re: Heat
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2013, 03:04:41 AM »
Looks like this is going to require a longer conversation with them, at any rate, as they turned it on for a couple of hours when I complained and then appear to have turned it back off again.

Maybe it's time to look for another living arrangement... inconvenient as that may be, the landlords are clearly not very interested in your comfort. Another option is to renegotiate your rent so that you pay a little more to cover heating costs.

I think you may have annoyed her a bit by going directly to her sons in a formal manner and not asking her more casually. I might be a bit ticked off if a person staying at my house went tnad changed the thermostat for the entire house without letting me know or asking for permission.

How are your daily interactions with the landlady?

cicero

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Re: Heat
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2013, 03:52:00 AM »
I am curious also - before you sent the email/called - had you ever raised the issue?

because if you haven't *ever* said anything to them, then I can understand why your landlady might think that you were OK with the heat as it was. and then it looks like "out of the blue" you are sending emails and calling - which even you agree you were probably a little upset.

I think you should definitely talk to them. it's unreasonable for the thermostat to be so low - and you are cold. the Reynaud Syndrome isn't an issue here - because it's cold even for people who *don't* have that. it's *cold*. slippers aren't an issue either - I'm not saying that the temp should be warm enough that you are able to walk around barefoot in a sundress, but it should be comfortable enough with a sweater on. ( I don't like slippers either - i wear flip flops at home).


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CakeBeret

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Re: Heat
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2013, 11:07:54 AM »
I am curious also - before you sent the email/called - had you ever raised the issue?

because if you haven't *ever* said anything to them, then I can understand why your landlady might think that you were OK with the heat as it was. and then it looks like "out of the blue" you are sending emails and calling - which even you agree you were probably a little upset.

I think you should definitely talk to them. it's unreasonable for the thermostat to be so low - and you are cold. the Reynaud Syndrome isn't an issue here - because it's cold even for people who *don't* have that. it's *cold*. slippers aren't an issue either - I'm not saying that the temp should be warm enough that you are able to walk around barefoot in a sundress, but it should be comfortable enough with a sweater on. ( I don't like slippers either - i wear flip flops at home).



Yup. Your OP sounded really PA and I'm not surprised the landlady was upset. In her mind, she probably thought everything was hunky-dory until someone got a voicemail calling them unreasonable and bringing up landlord-tenant laws. Your first step should have been a polite in-person conversation the first day you were too cold.
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