3
   

Can a landlord charge you if they find nothing wrong?

 
 
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2021 08:07 am
My wife and I live in a rental house and have been for a number of years. Not sure of what the building codes are but this is an older house and none of the exterior walls are insulated and most if not all of the windows are not sealed properly. A few weeks ago I noticed that in the middle of the day the temp inside the house was 80 degrees and we had been running our AC pretty much all day. I put in a maintenance request and they sent someone out to our house one day we weren't home. Actually they sent someone at like 11 AM on a Sunday morning while my wife and I were at church. Luckily my wife's son was there at the time so he let them in. They checked and found nothing wrong so they left. Today I received an email from the rental office saying we owed more than $120 for having a technician come out to our house when nothing was wrong. The made comments that our furniture was covering the vents which is totally not true. Yes, we have furniture in every room but you can see every vent and there's plenty of room for air to come into the house. I've never known of a rental agency to charge you if they find nothing wrong. Anyone with some legal experience help me out here. What are our rights?

And the funny thing is this. My wife is saying she's not going to help pay the cost of the fine since she wasn't the one who contacted them in the first place. My wife tends to be one of those who feels that if she didn't do it them she shouldn't be responsible for it. She'll notice a problem but would want me to contact the rental office about it which puts the responsibility on me to follow through with it. In this case, I noticed the house was hot and since I made the initial contact I should pay the fee.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 585 • Replies: 19
No top replies

 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2021 08:22 am
If you could afford it I think you ought to hire a reputable A/C company to check the system again. Coils can become so dirty not enough air passes through, or freon could be low. The A/C may be so old it can't fully perform anymore.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2021 08:32 am
@Pwebster,
Their comment is incorrect, there is something wrong. If the AC system cannot maintain temperature, there is a problem. As to whether they can charge you, you need to check your lease. They were the ones who called someone out, you just put in a complaint, but your lease will cover how that is handled.
Pwebster
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2021 09:38 am
@engineer,
I just checked our lease and although it clearly spells out repairs and things like that, nowhere does it say anything about the tenant being charged if they send out a tech and they find nothing wrong. I'm with you, 80 degrees in the middle of the day and the AC had been running all day long, there's a problem somewhere. Again, none of the exterior walls are insulated and I'm not sure of what the building codes are. This is an older house so back when it was built you probably didn't need to insulate the exterior walls. The house is not sealed properly which could add to the air escaping but how is that our fault or responsibility to foot the bill because we did what we were supposed to do. Noticed a problem. Put in a maintenance request, as we should have. Then to say that because the tech found nothing wrong we have to cover the cost of them coming out. Yes, we have furniture on the walls but it's not like we taped over the vent. The sofa sits in front of the vent but you can clearly see it if you look behind the sofa. It's not covered. None of them are. I guess they assume we'll sit all our furniture out in the middle of the floor or a foot or two from the walls. Ridiculous. Here's the thing. We've been in our home a number of years and the rent was set at a certain amount. The owner of the home felt the house was undervalued so they decided to go up on our rent by several hundred dollars. At that point we decided to stay and pay the increase but now we are staying on top of them for maintenance things that we've let slide. If you're going to increase the rent by $200+ then we expect things to be fixed and taken care of. There's no ventilation in the bathroom other than one poorly sealed window so the walls stay damp and moist from showers and things. There's always mold and mildew on the walls. We have been spraying them down over the years to combat it but with the rent increase we're looking for better results. The molding around the doors of the fridge and freezer have become hard and mangled over the number of years we've been here so it was hard to keep things cool and the freezer kept a collection of ice in it because it wasn't sealed properly. They did bring us a new (well used) fridge the other day but this just goes to show that a number of issues are present that we now want fixed. The knobs on the stove are not calibrated properly. To preheat the oven to 400 degrees you have to set the knob to 350 degrees. It's off by about 50 degrees. Just things like that we have learned to live with we feel we should no longer have to deal with. Again, no where in the lease does it state that if they send a tech out and there's no problem found that we have to cover the cost of the tech.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2021 12:28 pm
A Sunday 11am service call sounds like an emergency response call.

Pwebster
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2021 02:16 pm
@PUNKEY,
But I didn't put the request in on a Sunday. I put it in on a Wed or Thurs the week prior. We're not responsible for when they send the tech. When I put in the maintenance request they asked me to select 5 time slots they had available on Sat. I selected the 5 slots and that was that. The guy decided to come Sunday morning when we had left the house. We didn't even know he was there until my wife's son text her to say there was a man there to check the AC unit. If the rental office made it an emergency then that's on them.
0 Replies
 
Pwebster
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2021 02:36 pm
UPDATE:

I just got off the phone with the leasing office and discussed this issue with her and according to the notes the tech left, again, they are saying that our furniture was covering the vents and the filter was a little dirty. They also said that the unit was working fine. However, the leasing office is stating that had we changed the filters more often we wouldn't have needed to have a tech come out. AND, she mentioned that in the lease it states that the tenant is responsible for any damage and/or repairs they cause to any walls, appliances, etc. The AC unit falls under the etc clause. My argument to the leasing office was to show me either the damages and or the repair that was done. Again, because the tech who came out stated there was no damage and the unit was working fine. So if the unit is working fine then there was no damage possibly caused by a dirty filter and given that since there was no damage then there was no repair performed. However, they are still saying we are responsible for the cost of the tech coming out to our house.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2021 02:52 pm
@Pwebster,
You did not tell them the AC unit had a problem, you said it was hot. Has that been resolved? You could have a leak in the duct work, an insulation issue, etc.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2021 03:06 pm
@Pwebster,
Pwebster wrote:

UPDATE:
... However, the leasing office is stating that had we changed the filters more often we wouldn't have needed to have a tech come out. AND, she mentioned that in the lease it states that the tenant is responsible for any damage and/or repairs they cause to any walls, appliances, etc. The AC unit falls under the etc clause.


Question - are you expected to change the filter in the AC? I would not think so as it is the leasing company's property. Same as you should not need to do any sort of maintenance to say to any other appliance that comes within your unit.

Yes basic cleaning - but not replacing things. You should not be responsible for normal wear and tear for example like replacing a filter or replacing old pipes in your sink, however, you would be responsible for say throwing the AC unit in a fit of rage or breaking the sink handle when you dropped a sledge hammer on it.

Did the "tech" replace the filter that needed replacing? Then he isn't doing his job.
Pwebster
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2021 03:29 pm
@engineer,
From what I gather they only checked the unit outside, cam in and checked the filter inside, and looked at the vents to say the furniture was covering them. They didn't go under the house at all.
Pwebster
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2021 03:31 pm
@Linkat,
There's a filter inside the house that they are referring to. They're saying that had we changed the filter the house would have been cool. However they didn't say that was the main reason. That was just their recommendation. And I did mention to the lady at the leasing office that the exterior walls have no insulation and she said, "yeah, with no insulation in the outside walls it's gonna be hard to keep the place cool.

And no, the tech left the dirty filter in the unit.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2021 03:32 pm
@Pwebster,
Is the house still warm?
Pwebster
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2021 03:37 pm
@engineer,
Thermostat still says 80 degrees.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2021 04:06 pm
@Pwebster,
Pwebster wrote:

Thermostat still says 80 degrees.


Do you pay electricity or is it included in your rent? Hopefully included if so the dummys are probably paying more for electricity due to the inefficient system than if they just fixed it.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2021 04:12 pm
One other thought - you probably can find some free legal help out there to determine what your landlord needs to cover vs you. For instance in Mass we have a housing Mass legal help website that gives you some legal info - there is a whole chapter about getting your landlord to make repairs.

Do a search for your state for renters legal advice - laws vary by state on how you are protected.

Maybe coming forth with something directly from such a website might be a fire under them to do what they should.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2021 05:57 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:

Pwebster wrote:

Thermostat still says 80 degrees.


Do you pay electricity or is it included in your rent? Hopefully included if so the dummys are probably paying more for electricity due to the inefficient system than if they just fixed it.

One way to gauge if the technician was wrong about the A/C is to answer one question: Did it stay 80 every summer there or is this recent. Recent means the technician didn't do his job.
Pwebster
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Aug, 2021 02:31 pm
@edgarblythe,
Yes, we pay our own electric. Nothing is included with the house other than the house. Last year everything worked fine with the unit. It just seems like this year the house stays a constant 80 degrees in the middle of the day. And of course the lease says the resident is responsible for any damages or repairs but when the tech came out the only thing they stated was that the filter was dirty. That caused no damage nor were any repairs needed. I honestly think that's a crafty loophole they are trying to use to justify us having to pay for the tech coming out to our house.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Aug, 2021 02:52 pm
@Pwebster,
Pwebster wrote:

Yes, we pay our own electric. Nothing is included with the house other than the house. Last year everything worked fine with the unit. It just seems like this year the house stays a constant 80 degrees in the middle of the day. And of course the lease says the resident is responsible for any damages or repairs but when the tech came out the only thing they stated was that the filter was dirty. That caused no damage nor were any repairs needed. I honestly think that's a crafty loophole they are trying to use to justify us having to pay for the tech coming out to our house.


I would suggest seeing if there is some sort of state housing organization that you can find - they may be able to help you out. Renters do have rights and even if something is written in a lease agreement, depending on your state, it may not be legal. Something smells fishy here - I would reach out and see - all it will cost you is a little time.
Pwebster
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Aug, 2021 03:04 pm
@Linkat,
Trust me I'm already looking into a program our city has that settles disputes between landlords and tenants. In speaking with them yesterday the woman said she'd have to speak the the owner of the house but we both know where that's going to go. . . . nowhere. That's when she gave me the addendum and section number from the lease that says the tenant must pay for repairs that they caused. The dirty filter didn't cause any damage nor were there any repairs needed or done. And no, the tech left the dirty filter in the floor of the house. They didn't even do that but they said the filter was dirty. He said the unit was working fine, so again, why are we being charged for the service call?
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Aug, 2021 03:25 pm
@Pwebster,
Hopefully this will be resolved - wish you luck.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » Can a landlord charge you if they find nothing wrong?
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 09/26/2021 at 03:22:47