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Attorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6715
Experience:  29 years of experience in Landlord Tenant Law.
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PA** we have one furnace for our and the thermostat is in

Customer Question

PA** we have one furnace for our triplex and the thermostat is in the first floor unit. we have a box around the thermostat, which we set to the state minimum of 68 degrees during winter months. we have found at times that the tenant on the first floor will turn up his/her stove as a supplemental heat source. not only is this dangerous, but it artificially raises the temperature in the same unit where the thermostat is placed, causing there to be insufficient heat to other units. a new tenant is moving into the first floor unit and we'd like to add something to the lease like "j) If Tenant lives in a multi-unit building whereby the landlord is paying for the heating and the thermostat is located in Tenant’s unit, Tenant may NOT use the stove as a supplementary heat source. This is hazardous and the artificial elevation of temperature in Tenant’s unit prevents proper heating of other units. Landlord shall fine Tenant $75 per occurrence of using the stove to supplement heating to Tenant’s unit. There may be thermostats in other units and if Landlord hears complaints of not enough heat from other tenants in the building, Tenant grants Landlord permission to access Tenant’s unit immediately to check for suspected use of the stove as supplemental heat source." Is there anything not legal in what we are proposing?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hello: This is Phillipsesq. Welcome to JustAnswer! I am reviewing your post, and I will post my response very shortly. Thank you for your patience.

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 8 months ago.

I see one problem with this provision. How are you going to tell if the Tenant is using the stove for cooking or heating the apartment? Remember, you cannot determine when the Tenant would use the stove for cooking. The Tenant can cook in his own apartment at the times convenient for him. So, the provision that you are proposing is not legally enforceable.

I am sorry that I do not have better news for you.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
well the 'trigger' would be complaint from other tenants of not enough heat. the thermostat is in the living room, which is down a 20 ft hallway from the kitchen. if the tenant uses the stove for cooking, then we would not expect the temperature in the unit to be affected much and if it does then it wouldn't be for long. the temperature in other units would not be affected. that's why we would need immediate access in order to determine if 1) the gas stove is being used improperly and hazardously and 2) the stove is being used as a heat source.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 8 months ago.

You would need an Expert to make that determination. I do not see how the provision would be enforceable in its current form. However, I will opt out to give another Attorney the opportunity to comment on your case.

Best wishes,

Expert:  Attorney2 replied 8 months ago.

I am a different attorney and it will be my pleasure to assist you as the attorney that was working with you opted out.

You need to have documentation that shows that there is over use by the tenant. You would contact a licensed contractor to put in writing that the tenants are using an excessive amount heat and adding an additional heat source through the stove. Once you have this in writing you have every right to inspect the unit and show that this tenant(s) in is violating the lease.

We want you to have proof so that any action you take can be backed up and will protect you from any actions that you take.

Please do not hesitate to ask me any additional questions that you may have with regard to this matter as it would be my pleasure to assist you.

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