I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

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Mark Mraz
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I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Mark Mraz » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:31 pm

Good day all my Lakewood-ians,


I have run into a recent problem and am looking for some advice. I recently moved into a 4-plex in Lakewood in June. Everything was kosher until last night I received a call from my landlord stating that because he is putting in a new furnace he is reducing my rent by $25 a month but "making me now responsible for paying my gas bill bill." When I signed my lease,which I have a copy of,he agreed to pay the the gas bill month after month leaving me just in charge of electric and cooking gas. I can't imagine my gas bill only being $25 a month even though I only have a one bedroom,hell my cooking gas is $30 and I barely use it,maybe twice a week.

He left me a voicemail and I plan on contacting him tomorrow. I talked to the guy across the hall and he said as soon as soon as he got his voicemail,he called hte landlord and said "NO WAY IN HELL." I see this as unfair since one of the major reason I moved in this place was that it was a tad neater and I didnt have to pay for gas in the winters." To me he is going against the contract. I read it over and it doesnt say anything about him having the oportunity to force us to pay gas. I mean what stops him from charging us for water next? Im extremly pissed about this and just asking for personal opinions. I will def. call him tomorrow I just don't want to get into a huge dispute over this since I am rather nonconfrontational. I don't feel I should be responsible for this repair.


Stan Austin
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Stan Austin » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:46 pm

Mark--- I'm not a lawyer but I would have to say that technically you shouldn't have to pay for the gas. That would be up for negotiation when your contract is up for renewal.
Having said that, I do applaud your landlord for presumably going for energy efficiency.
One unanswered question is whether it is one furnace, one meter for all four units. If so, it would be highly inequitable if one tenant likes 85 degrees and is "mooching" off the tenant who gets by at 60.
If you can't resolve this dispute mid contract I would suggest calling Lakewood Municipal Court and ask for their advice on how to proceed.
Stan


Mark Mraz
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Mark Mraz » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:53 pm

Stan Austin wrote:(Mark---- FYI, we are Lakewoodites, not idians)



Lakewoodites!!! :D


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Jim O'Bryan
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Jim O'Bryan » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:14 pm

Stan Austin wrote:(Mark---- FYI, we are Lakewoodites, not idians)


Stan

I thought the wash-a-shores were ites

and the natives were "idians"

I am sorry, that was terrible of me.

We are all ites.

Because "ites hang from the roof like icicles which are cool and
stalagmites that are normally cool too, around 52 degrees.

While "idians" come up from the ground....

Sorry.

Mark

Sit down talk with the guy, explain yourself, see what can be worked out.

His actions miight void the contract, and there are lots of great places in Lakewood
you could move to.

Lawyers generally make better drinking buddies than employees.

But maybe that is just how I hire them.

.


Jim O'Bryan
Lakewood Resident

"The very act of observing disturbs the system."
Werner Heisenberg

"If anything I've said seems useful to you, I'm glad.
If not, don't worry. Just forget about it."
His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Will Brown
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Will Brown » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:21 pm

You are not going to get an informed answer here. You need to have a professional (lawyer) look at your lease and give you an opinion. The question is whether that will cost you more than the change in your lease, and the aggravation of moving if the landlord is in compliance and you don't want to stay. Among other things, a lawyer will want to see if you have a long term lease, or a month-to-month lease.

I would definitely talk to the landlord about how your gas bill will be calculated. Is there a separate furnace for each unit? If it is a single unit for the entire building, there could certainly be some inequities if the tenants keep their thermostats at different levels.

And it is certainly possible that a new furnace could dramatically decrease gas usage. When I put a 90+ efficiency furnace in my house, quite a few years ago, my gas usage dropped by over 50% for the heating component (excess usage in heating season over the average for cooking and hot water).


Society in every state is a blessing, but the Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil...
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Jim O'Bryan
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Jim O'Bryan » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:40 pm

Will Brown wrote:I would definitely talk to the landlord about how your gas bill will be calculated.


I agree.

Talk it over with your landlord. We are not bad people.

I generally find lawyers to be better drinking buddies than employees.

But that might be my fault, because of how I hire them.


.


Jim O'Bryan
Lakewood Resident

"The very act of observing disturbs the system."
Werner Heisenberg

"If anything I've said seems useful to you, I'm glad.
If not, don't worry. Just forget about it."
His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Jerry Ritcey
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Jerry Ritcey » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:24 pm

If my landlord wants to alter my lease in a way that might cost me money, I'd get a lawyer to check it out first.

I would be sorely tempted to say no - hard to predict what the heating costs will be so basically you'd be agreeing to unknowns. I'd never agree to pay utilities without knowing what the might cost, that's asking for problems.


--
Jerry Ritcey
Kristine Pagsuyoin
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Kristine Pagsuyoin » Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:11 pm

Mark,

I think that when you come to the Deck that you can get a very informed answer. You landlord cannot make changes to your lease until it expires. So unless you are on a month-month there will be no changes.

In larger buildings when it is impossible to meter each unit separately, like water, then the landlord is going to be responsible for that bill. However, you may see your rent go up.

I don't think you need a lawyer. Try giving the organization below a call. You don't have to necessarily call on a Wednesday--leave a detailed message and they will call you back. When you go to the City of Lakewood website you can get a copy of your Renal Rights: [url]http://onelakewood.com/Search.aspx?q=renters+rights&cx=000070531371315435432%3ajela1nk7bpi&cof=FORID%3a11
[/url]

Law Department
Rental Rights
Are you concerned about security deposits, repairs, Eviction or leases?
Rental Rights Information

For landlords and tenants in Lakewood, Ohio 44107
Every Wednesday
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Lakewood Christian Service Center
14234 Madison Avenue

Individual Consultation

* Face-to-face
* Close to Home

For more information, call (216) 432-0609

Services to Lakewood Residents are provided by a grant from the City of Lakewood, Department of Planning and Development


Good Luck!

Kristine


Mark Mraz
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Mark Mraz » Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:12 pm

Thank you Kristine. It is just one discussion with him that I do not want to have! :wink:


Gary Rice
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Gary Rice » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:53 pm

Mark,

The advice that you've received here has really been on target, I do believe.

(and I hope that you can see what a great, caring community you've come into, fellow LAKEWOODITE!) :D

As a former member of the Community Development Block Grant Citizens' Advisory Committee, I can tell you that a portion of our municipal grant disbursements went to renter/landlord assistance programs such as Kristine is describing.

Plus, as Will has posted here, a new heating unit might well eventually be a serious win-win for all involved. In our own home, we've saved an absolutely unreal amount of cash, since putting in a new high-efficiency boiler.

I do wonder about your lack of an apartment thermostat, however. The city is supposed to regularly (annually, I think) inspect rental properties, so that would be a reasonable question to ask the landlord, in my mind.

All said, however, I do believe that, as difficult as it may seem, direct communications with your landlord will always be your best option. You need the good relations for a future reference and they need your money. With that in mind, hopefully, you will be able to work all of this out between yourselves. Sometimes however, time is the best healer. New furnaces cost a pile of money, and I'm sure that is weighing on the landlord's mind, right about now.

Above all, (and this is just an opinion here and not legal advice) read your lease agreement. I would imagine that would probably be the benchmark that any disputes would ever be governed by.

At the last, you can always check with your lawyer. I do believe however, that if you can work things out directly with the landlord, that would be a great thing to be able to do.

Back to the banjo...


Bryan Schwegler
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Bryan Schwegler » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:32 am

Will Brown wrote:And it is certainly possible that a new furnace could dramatically decrease gas usage. When I put a 90+ efficiency furnace in my house, quite a few years ago, my gas usage dropped by over 50% for the heating component (excess usage in heating season over the average for cooking and hot water).


However, given that wonderful Dominion now has a fixed $16.50 charge every month on every bill, it's highly unlikely for someone to spend less than $25.00 total on the gas bill in the winter regardless of how efficient your appliances are.


Mark Mraz
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Mark Mraz » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:19 pm

So its been a few days and I have not spoken to the landlord(s) yet. The main reason is that Im going to see if anythind could be resolved by aletter first and if nothing comes of that then a phone call from me will have to do. My neighbors have been in talks with one of the other owners who said he beleives the deal is fair. Not sure if I posted this but they stated they would take off $50 a month from our rent which still sucks because just to have the service is $33.50. The other tenant stated he will not pay this and the landlord stated that he would then "serve him a 30 day notice." So I am curious what will come of my letter. It states that I understood the proposition but I agreed in July that heat would be paid. My contract is now void since he is breaking the rules of the lease. I told him I would offer to stay through October and then ove out and expect my full security deposit back....I am not the one breaking the lease.


Stan Austin
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Re: I need advice from my fellow Lakewood-ians

Postby Stan Austin » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:20 pm

Mark--- Sadly, it seems that this situation is getting more complicated instead of less. I really believe that all parties have genuine claims to equity. However, it just doesn't seem to be working out that way.
You have to live your life, you are already a SUPER DUPER LAKEWOODITE !!!
You might want to look at the many wide range of housing opportunities out there in Lakewood!
Stan



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