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View Full Version : Can I reasonably expect my apartment management to cover my vet bill?


gallows fodder
08-29-2016, 07:01 PM
I live in Pennsylvania, in an apartment building owned by a management company which owns several properties.

Bottom line: my apartment's A/C broke on Saturday, I was promised several times it would be fixed "first thing tomorrow" and after two "tomorrows" it has not been. It has been 90 degrees in my apartment for the past 2 days, and my cats have stopped eating or drinking. I took them tonight to be boarded at the vet's office until the A/C is fixed so that they won't die of heat exhaustion. Do I have cause to believe it's reasonable for my apartment building management to cover the boarding expense?

Long story:

On Saturday afternoon, the central air conditioning in my apartment stopped working. This had happened before back in March, the problem had required that the compressor be replaced, and it took the HVAC company subcontracted by my building's management (BM from now on) over a month to even come out to this property to check out the problem.

So on Saturday, the same thing happened again. The A/C's fan still blows, but the air that comes out is just recycled air, and the A/C's switch in my circuit breaker is flipped off and won't let me flip it back. I called the emergency maintenance line around 5 pm, left a message that said basically, "My A/C's broken, it's 85 degrees in here, last time this happened it was the compressor, I have two cats and don't want them to suffer, please fix ASAP."

I got a call back from the guy who works as our everyday maintenance man later that evening, saying he had called the HVAC repair service contracted by BM and asked them to come first thing tomorrow (Sunday) morning, and to let him know if it hadn't been fixed by the afternoon.

Sunday I waited until noon, no one had showed up, so I left to run errands all afternoon. Got back at 4:30, not only had the A/C not been fixed, but the temperature in my apartment was at least 88 degrees (picture of my thermostat (http://imgur.com/fW3QCX5)). My cats had barely touched their food or water, one was hiding under the bed, the other was prostrate on the kitchen floor. I called the emergency maintenance line again, said, "I was told the A/C would be fixed this morning, it has not been, last time it was the compressor's fault, it's around 90 degrees in here, I and my cats are suffering, please fix today or tomorrow, thanks, bye."

I also wrote an email to BM, with a picture of my thermostat, explaining the situation and saying, "Last time this happened, it took that HVAC service over a month to fix it, and I'm not waiting that long this time because I have pets who are suffering. If it's not fixed tomorrow, what are my options? I'm thinking I could hire my own repair service and have the amount I spend on the bill taken out of September's rent -- would that work?"

An hour later, I got a call back from our everyday maintenance man, who said he had been in touch with the HVAC people, who claimed not to have gotten his message requesting service. They assured him they'd be here tomorrow (today, Monday) first thing in the morning.

This morning, I ran into the everyday maintenance man in the hall on my way to work, and he assured me that the HVAC people said they were coming, and if they didn't, he'd have to have a Come to Jesus talk with them." I said, "Great, thank you!" and left for work. Later that morning, I got a terse email reply from BM saying, 'They will be there first thing in the AM."

So I come home from work today, and as I thought, nothing had been done. It's 90 degrees in here (only 88 now!), my cats have not eaten or drunk anything and are lethargic, and I'm pissed. I call BM and talk to the woman who had emailed me this morning. She says, "Yeah, the HVAC people say it's the compressor that needs to be replaced and they're looking for a spare one. They can't do anything until they find one. In the meantime, just open your windows and it will cool down."

And I'm a stupid dumbass who's been conditioned to be polite and nice at all times, so I'm just super nice and say, "Well, okay, I guess! I understand you can't do anything and we just have to wait for the compressor (which is what I told you 3 times was the problem). But, uh, you know, I do have the windows open, and my ceiling fan and my oscillating fan and the nice everyday repairman left me a box fan that are going, and it's still 90 degrees in here, and I'm really worried about my cats, so..."

Her response was essentially, "Welp, whatareyougonna do?" and hung up.

So after a few minutes of trying and failing to get my cats to drink something, I decided, to hell with this, I have to get them out of here, so I called my aunt and uncle to help me wrestle them into their carriers, and we took them to be boarded at the vet's office until the A/C is fixed. (I made sure to tell the staff to check them for dehydration, too.) Boarding costs $30/day, plus they needed their rabies shots and I'll get billed for the health check.)

My aunt and uncle were shocked and pissed that BM didn't offer to give me a window A/C unit, let me stay in a vacant apartment (if there are any), or offer to pay for a stay in a hotel. I said, well, they seem to be doing all they can and they can't do anything until the compressor can be found, so it's not like I'm being ignored or shrugged off. They told me to check my lease to see if anything like this is mentioned.

I checked my lease and saw the clause that says, "Landlord is not responsible for any inconvenience or loss caused by an interruption of utilities services." But isn't asking a tenant to stay in a 90-degree apartment a violation of some kind of health code? I don't mind for myself miraculously for PA summers, it's not humid(!!!)], and I'm okay with sitting in front of a fan and sipping ice water. But my poor cats! :(

Would I have a leg to stand on if I asked management to cover my vet bill?

Peremensoe
08-29-2016, 07:13 PM
I am pretty sure there is no enshrined right to air conditioning, in Pennsylvania.

Bijou Drains
08-29-2016, 07:20 PM
most places require a rental unit to have heat, but I've never heard of requiring AC.

kunilou
08-29-2016, 07:21 PM
But isn't asking a tenant to stay in a 90-degree apartment a violation of some kind of health code?

That's beside the point, as you never complained that you couldn't tolerate the heat.

even sven
08-29-2016, 07:24 PM
You'll want to contact your local tenants rights group, but in most areas AC is not considered a necessity in the way that heat is. And while landlords are required to maintain conditions fig for human habitation, anything above that would probably have to be spelled out in the lease.

But the tenants rights group will know your local regulations, and there is a good chance your landlord would decide it wasn't worth fighting.

Alley Dweller
08-29-2016, 07:28 PM
If a unit is advertised as having A/C and you rely on that representation, do you not have the right to expect working A/C? If you pass up a cheaper building because you've been lead to believe this one had A/C, can the landlord take it away after you've signed the lease and say "SUCKER!"?

Gary T
08-29-2016, 07:44 PM
...you've been lead to believe...[Trying to fix this common mistake, one post at a time]

Not "lead" to believe, it's LED to believe.

[Yes, I'm certainly trying]

Atamasama
08-29-2016, 07:48 PM
[Trying to fix this common mistake, one post at a time]

Not "lead" to believe, it's LED to believe.

[Yes, I'm certainly trying]

That is one of my biggest pet peeves on the interwebs so bless you Gary, you're fighting the good fight.

Alley Dweller
08-29-2016, 07:50 PM
[Trying to fix this common mistake, one post at a time]

Not "lead" to believe, it's LED to believe.

[Yes, I'm certainly trying] Ooops!
Thanks.

Dr. Strangelove
08-29-2016, 08:00 PM
Are you sure there's anything wrong with your cats? As far as I know, most housecats are perfectly comfortable at 90 F, and simply get lazier than usual as the temperature goes up. They're eating and drinking less because they're moving less. Laying prostate on the kitchen floor is not exactly "suffering" for a cat. Maybe if they were elderly or had some other health problem it could be an issue.

Wikipedia says (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat):
For instance, cats are able to tolerate quite high temperatures: Humans generally start to feel uncomfortable when their skin temperature passes about 38 C (100 F), but cats show no discomfort until their skin reaches around 52 C (126 F),[53]:46 and can tolerate temperatures of up to 56 C (133 F) if they have access to water.[63]

Dewey Finn
08-29-2016, 08:14 PM
I would think this is the sort of thing for which you have renter's insurance.

watchwolf49
08-29-2016, 08:56 PM
That is one of my biggest pet peeves on the interwebs so bless you Gary, you're fighting the good fight.

[giggle] ... just how many peeves do you keep as pets?

=≠=≠=≠=

First off, if Pennsylvania State Law requires A/C in each and every rental, then you'd have something to stand on. If not (and I'm pretty sure it ain't), then you have nothing under the law.

Let's go ahead and assume A/C is explicitly included in your written rental agreement. Normally, and your States Laws may differ, the management has a certain amount of time to initiate a repair, say 24 hours. Then the management has to make a "good faith" effort to complete the repairs as soon as reasonably possible. Yes, waiting for a part to ship in is a very good reason.

More bad news, your rental agreement specifically states the management's "limit of liability". These things happen and from your long story version I'm not seeing any wanton abuse or negligence, seems these folks are right on the job.

Finally, house cats are very tolerant of high air temperatures, much more than humans. It's said that for a cat, temperatures feels like about 20F lower than for humans. My cats hate winter, and suffer terribly. They don't get comfortable until the hottest days of summer. They are domesticated from the Libyan Wildcat, from the Libyan Desert, where temperatures routinely reach 120F or more.

I think you've over-reacted ... you may be able to bully the management to paying but you'll create animosity between you and them ... from your long version it seems they're doing the best they can, you shouldn't expect anymore ... and your cats did not need vet care over this alone, not saying there might not be other problems with your cats, but just 90F in-of-itself is not harmful.

If you were my tenant and you brought this up ... I'd give you the address and driving directions to the court house where you could sue me if you wanted to ...

I have a black cat, Scottish Fold, who lays in the window in the sun. Her coat gets so hot I can't touch her without feel pain, like I'm getting burned. She just lies there loving it. I'd guess her fur is about 130F, just the way she likes it.

Channing Idaho Banks
08-29-2016, 09:27 PM
Funny story.

Dr. Strangelove
08-29-2016, 11:32 PM
I have a black cat, Scottish Fold, who lays in the window in the sun. Her coat gets so hot I can't touch her without feel pain, like I'm getting burned. She just lies there loving it. I'd guess her fur is about 130F, just the way she likes it.

Basically every cat I've ever had. It's like petting a hot, furry mug of coffee. They only get irritated when the sunbeam moves and they're now in shadow.

Pantastic
08-29-2016, 11:40 PM
I don't think any state requires an apartment complex to pay for you to board your cats if the AC isn't working in a unit.

Snnipe 70E
08-30-2016, 12:29 AM
If you are leasing there because the units have AC and the AC is not working then you may be able to bill the MC for a stay in a hotel with AC.

The HVAC company that the MC is using is questionable. A compressor properly installed should last much longer than a year. And a month to replace the compressor. The exact brand compressor may take time to get delivered. But a month? If the HVAC company can not get the exact replacement compressor the go with another brand of the same tonnage, that would be an off the shelf item.

SeaDragonTattoo
08-30-2016, 06:12 AM
It's hard to catch cats drinking water most of the time anyway, and getting them to drink on command is like, well, leading the proverbial horse to water. I run my window a/c for my own comfort and bump the units up to 88 when I leave the house, which means it's close to 90 in here when I'm not home.

In the veterinary community I work in, we call it the "speed bump position" when cats spread themselves out on a cool floor and just lay there so you can trip over them. It's indeed a hot weather thing, and mine certainly eat/drink less when they're doing pretty much nothing but speed bumping. I make sure there are fans blowing air at floor level and feed canned food with water added to it (about a tablespoon per 3 ounces). Unless you're using dinky dishes you can really see water consumption from, it can be hard to tell whether cats are drinking unless you measure it.

Evidence of cats self-cooling includes seeking cooler surfaces, like tile or vinyl flooring, even the bathtub sometimes. You may also see them licking themselves enough to make sizeable patches of fur wet - this is equivalent to you or me spritzing water from a spray bottle, to feel cooler as it evaporates. You can facilitate this further with a damp washcloth, just wetting their fur down a bit can help them cool off.

As with any change in weather, adjusting from being cool to hot can take a few days. You'll see slightly more exaggerated cooling behavior in the first 48-72 hours during acclimation to new heat. Now if they are truly not drinking anything as per measurements, and are truly not eating anything at all, rather than simply a lot less due to inactivity, then yes, having them checked out at the vet is certainly a good idea. If you had to tell the vet to check for dehydration, then either you think the vet is an idiot, or the initial exam found totally healthy normal cats which were checked in that regard during the first 5 minutes and you just didn't know the vet pinching the back of their necks and looking in their mouths was, indeed, that check.

All in all, unless they have some drastic underlying health condition, 90 degrees with floor fans blowing is not a dangerous condition for cats. Them having to acclimate to it takes a few days. But perhaps consider this in the future, you can save a heck of a lot on energy bills/consumption by bumping the a/c up when you're not home, and the cats won't have so much acclimation adjustment during times it goes out entirely.

Thudlow Boink
08-30-2016, 08:27 AM
But isn't asking a tenant to stay in a 90-degree apartment a violation of some kind of health code?That depends: Fahrenheit or Celsius?

Bricker
08-30-2016, 09:30 AM
I have a black cat, Scottish Fold, who lays in the window in the sun. Her coat gets so hot I can't touch her without feel pain, like I'm getting burned. She just lies there loving it. I'd guess her fur is about 130F, just the way she likes it.

My cat begins her day lying on the middle step of the staircase as the sun shines in. As the sun rises the illumination shifts gradually downward and he moves ever hour or so to stay toasty.

CookingWithGas
08-30-2016, 11:16 AM
I checked my lease and saw the clause that says, "Landlord is not responsible for any inconvenience or loss caused by an interruption of utilities services."Notwithstanding the prior posts, this clause has nothing to do with your air conditioning. "Interruption of utilities" is loss of water or electricity (and possibly telephone). It doesn't state it but this is probably intended to cover such failures that are not the fault of the landlord. IMHO it favors the landlord because it is not explicit; the landlord should be responsible for any utilities failures that originate on his property.

leahcim
08-30-2016, 12:00 PM
That depends: Fahrenheit or Celsius?

Or possibly floor angle.

kanicbird
08-30-2016, 12:10 PM
How old are your cats? 90F is not outside their ability to handle - though I set my a/c to 82F when away for my >^..^<. Yes they will become lethargic and eat and drink less, but so will people. This in itself is not a heath issue.

Drinking less is a issue if they become dehydrated, but there is a easy test for that and you have not indicated that this is the case, nor have indicated things like panting, and just seems they have entered a lower metabolic state of rest to get by the hot temps.

So I'm not sure there was even a actual problem, or just over-reaction on your part (which may be aggravated by the high temps and the lack of concern of your landlord - but not a case for being compensated).

However the boarding rates seem very reasonable.

slash2k
08-30-2016, 12:49 PM
Does your vet's office think the cats were in distress or needed to be boarded due to temperatures?

If yes, you might have a case. If no, well, probably not.

Dogzilla
08-30-2016, 02:26 PM
Are you sure there's anything wrong with your cats? As far as I know, most housecats are perfectly comfortable at 90 F, and simply get lazier than usual as the temperature goes up. They're eating and drinking less because they're moving less. Laying prostate on the kitchen floor is not exactly "suffering" for a cat. Maybe if they were elderly or had some other health problem it could be an issue.

Wikipedia says (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat):
For instance, cats are able to tolerate quite high temperatures: Humans generally start to feel uncomfortable when their skin temperature passes about 38 C (100 F), but cats show no discomfort until their skin reaches around 52 C (126 F),[53]:46 and can tolerate temperatures of up to 56 C (133 F) if they have access to water.[63]

I was thinking along these lines. I live in Florida and there's dozens of random cats in my neighborhood who live outside without air conditioning. Big cats in the wild do not require air conditioning. You do not require air conditioning. I see no reason whatsoever, unless it was specifically spelled out in your lease, that your landlord/rental management company should have any obligation whatsoever to reimburse you for your choice to send your cats off to an air conditioned kitty hotel. While I applaud you as a pet owner ('cause I'd probably do the same thing), I do not advise you to attempt to recoup the costs for this choice.

Gatopescado
08-30-2016, 02:55 PM
No.

Doctor Jackson
08-30-2016, 04:06 PM
I would think this is the sort of thing for which you have renter's insurance.

Sorry, but renter's insurance is to replace possessions in case of a covered loss. It would no more cover pet boarding for loss of A/C than a homeowners policy would.

Dewey Finn
08-30-2016, 04:13 PM
My understanding is that if the food in your refrigerator spoils due to a power outage, your homeowner's or renter's insurance may reimburse you for the loss, and I would think that pet boarding fees might similarly be covered.

Doctor Jackson
08-31-2016, 08:05 AM
My understanding is that if the food in your refrigerator spoils due to a power outage, your homeowner's or renter's insurance may reimburse you for the loss, and I would think that pet boarding fees might similarly be covered.

Nope, no pet boarding coverage. I don't even know of a rider you can get for that, though I suppose for enough money anything is possible.

Dogzilla
08-31-2016, 08:09 AM
Nope, no pet boarding coverage. I don't even know of a rider you can get for that, though I suppose for enough money anything is possible.

Which would completely defeat the purpose of trying to get reimbursement for boarding. Wouldn't you spend so much on coverage that it would just be cheaper to pay the damn boarding bill?

muldoonthief
08-31-2016, 08:48 AM
My understanding is that if the food in your refrigerator spoils due to a power outage, your homeowner's or renter's insurance may reimburse you for the loss, and I would think that pet boarding fees might similarly be covered.

Even in that case, they'd only pay if the power outage is due to a covered event, like a storm knocking down the power lines. If your refrigerator just dies one day because it's old, they won't cover the food loss.

Dewey Finn
08-31-2016, 08:50 AM
Which is why I used the word "may" and even italicized it for emphasis.

bordelond
08-31-2016, 09:31 AM
Maybe it's kind of a cultural thing that varies around the U.S. ... but I'm surprised at the cavalier attitudes about going without AC in the summer. Granted, I'm coming from a Louisiana perspective, but still -- Pennsylvania is only several degrees cooler in the summers (not like afternoon highs in the low 70s or something). It's hard for me to think that living in an apartment with an ambient indoor temperature in the 80s, for weeks on end, is reasonable - especially in newer construction that lacks high ceilings, transoms, large exterior windows, etc. to aid in cooling indoor space without AC.

Down here, losing one's central heat (which is standard even here - no furnaces or heating oil, though) is easily mitigated against -- space heaters, even the cheapie ones from WalMart, do fine. Then again, on the cold end of the spectrum, New Orleans does have a pretty substantial advantage over Pennsylvania -- dipping below 30 degrees here, even at night, is uncommon and never sustained for long.

Thudlow Boink
08-31-2016, 10:21 AM
Maybe it's kind of a cultural thing that varies around the U.S. ... but I'm surprised at the cavalier attitudes about going without AC in the summer.Maybe it's because AC is a relatively recent invention. You don't have to go back very far in human history before no one had air conditioning (though, as you correctly note, homes tended to be built in ways that were easier to keep cool back then). Many of us have lived in a time and place when home air conditioning was considered a luxury rather than a necessity, or at least have spent substantial time "roughing it" (e.g. at summer camp) in environments without AC.

cochrane
08-31-2016, 12:51 PM
Maybe it's kind of a cultural thing that varies around the U.S. ... but I'm surprised at the cavalier attitudes about going without AC in the summer. Granted, I'm coming from a Louisiana perspective, but still -- Pennsylvania is only several degrees cooler in the summers (not like afternoon highs in the low 70s or something). It's hard for me to think that living in an apartment with an ambient indoor temperature in the 80s, for weeks on end, is reasonable - especially in newer construction that lacks high ceilings, transoms, large exterior windows, etc. to aid in cooling indoor space without AC.


I suspect a lot of it has to do with humidity. I live in Arizona where the outdoor temperature is over 100 in the summer for weeks on end, but I set my air conditioner for about 84 and my dog and I are both quite comfortable.

watchwolf49
08-31-2016, 01:25 PM
I've never owned an A/C ... Iowa, Cape Cod, North Carolina, Texas, Southern California, Oregon ... I consider it a frivolous luxury ... but then again I almost always work outdoors ... 92F indoors is a welcome relief from 104F outdoors.

kanicbird
08-31-2016, 02:06 PM
I've never owned an A/C ... Iowa, Cape Cod, North Carolina, Texas, Southern California, Oregon ... I consider it a frivolous luxury ... but then again I almost always work outdoors ... 92F indoors is a welcome relief from 104F outdoors.

72F is even more welcome ;)

Doctor Jackson
09-01-2016, 10:23 AM
Which would completely defeat the purpose of trying to get reimbursement for boarding. Wouldn't you spend so much on coverage that it would just be cheaper to pay the damn boarding bill?

Hey, some people pay extra for towing coverage on their automobile...

shunpiker
09-01-2016, 10:28 AM
Goodness gracious. This cant be real, can it? Youre seriously asking if the landlord is responsible for cooling your cats?

Thanks for the chuckle.

iamthewalrus(:3=
09-01-2016, 06:03 PM
I seriously doubt it.

I got my landlord to pay for boarding my cat once (and a hotel room for me), because I had to be out of my house for a weekend so it could be tented for termites. But...

1. There was a legitimate need to vacate, and it was prompted by the landlord
2. We agreed on it beforehand.
3. I had extra leverage in the form of "I'm not signing the pest control company's waiver until we come to an agreement".

SeaDragonTattoo
09-01-2016, 06:42 PM
Goodness gracious. This cant be real, can it? Youre seriously asking if the landlord is responsible for cooling your cats?

Thanks for the chuckle.There's a "famous" thread that was closed back in 2012 that had to do with asking Dopers for donations to fix central air for the pets in the home. It did not go well.

puzzlegal
09-01-2016, 06:58 PM
Another vote for "My cats seem quite happy when the temps are around 90". At least, the cat who is allowed to go outside will beg to do so when it's hot out. True, she will then lie on a piece of slate and not move, but she seems happy in the heat. I think you over-reacted, and your cats would have been fine there.

And I don't think you can get the landlord to pay for boarding your pets.

cochrane
09-01-2016, 07:47 PM
There's a "famous" thread that was closed back in 2012 that had to do with asking Dopers for donations to fix central air for the pets in the home. It did not go well.

I won't mention names, but that's exactly the thread I was thinking of when I read this one.

shunpiker
09-02-2016, 11:54 AM
In re-reading my earlier post, it seems unnecessarily snarky. I mean, thats the way I feel about the OPs post, but I also hope that she/he and the kitties are going to be okay.

Part of me the grumpy, old man part- rolls my eyes to think that folks expect to have AC all.the.time. Its also a bit of a stretch to imagine that 90F is too hot for a pussy cat (or a human). Rhetorically; didnt both species evolve without the benefit of air conditioning? Another part of me the cynical part- thinks the OP's would be a good subject to troll with.

Either way, I do hope everyone is enjoying cooler temps by now.

Dewey Finn
09-02-2016, 11:59 AM
We as a species may have evolved without the benefit of air conditioning but some modern housing may be uncomfortable or worse without it. (Just as we evolved without the benefit of electricity, but you're still going to be uncomfortable when that goes out.)

Atamasama
09-02-2016, 12:22 PM
I'm almost 40 and I've lived most of my life without air conditioning. In a rough summer it can be uncomfortable but a fan and a couple of open windows should be enough. Only recently did we get air conditioning in my house, and wow is it great, but it's still a luxury. Even living on Guam for a couple years I got by without it in most places (in the car, at school, and so on).

Mama Zappa
09-09-2016, 06:06 PM
The question about the cats has been pretty well handled but now I'm wondering: might the OP be due some kind of remuneration from the landlord for failing to provide services designated in the lease?

While 90 degrees isn't comfortable, it's survivable unless you have health issues. Nonetheless, the lease says "air conditioning is included" and they're not living up to that. The service company is clearly run by idiots - it does NOT take that long to replace a compressor (I've had entire new systems put in place in 72 hours from signing the contract).

I'm thinking that in March they simply triaged your problem and decided it was lower priority since March is NOT a peak air conditioning month. Still, whatever they did was clearly defective.

watchwolf49
09-09-2016, 08:54 PM
The question about the cats has been pretty well handled but now I'm wondering: might the OP be due some kind of remuneration from the landlord for failing to provide services designated in the lease?

While 90 degrees isn't comfortable, it's survivable unless you have health issues. Nonetheless, the lease says "air conditioning is included" and they're not living up to that. The service company is clearly run by idiots - it does NOT take that long to replace a compressor (I've had entire new systems put in place in 72 hours from signing the contract).

I'm thinking that in March they simply triaged your problem and decided it was lower priority since March is NOT a peak air conditioning month. Still, whatever they did was clearly defective.

I think we're into an area of unreasonable expectations here. From what the OP posted, sounds like the manager called the HVAC company the next day, and the HVAC company showed up the day after that. Last we heard the part was on order.

Whatever the problem is with the HVAC company, it's quite a reach for the tenant to sue the landlord for the behavior of another company. Generally speaking, the landlord needs only make an honest effort to gets things fixed. Having a part on back order is a fact of life, you might have had the same issue if you had chosen to repair your old system rather than replacing it.

Alley Dweller
09-09-2016, 10:06 PM
Whatever the problem is with the HVAC company, it's quite a reach for the tenant to sue the landlord for the behavior of another company. Generally speaking, the landlord needs only make an honest effort to gets things fixed. Having a part on back order is a fact of life, you might have had the same issue if you had chosen to repair your old system rather than replacing it. Really? That is an interesting legal theory you have there.

Say you give ask me to deliver a package across town and give me $100. I give the package to an honest looking fellow who has a car and tells me he'll drop it off there. The package doesn't show up. Do you think it's reasonable for me to say "Hey not my responsibility. Go find the guy with the package."

Seriously, you think you can keep collecting money for a service that includes air conditioning and tell the person paying YOU that it's no longer your problem and someone else's responsibility to provide it?

Peremensoe
09-09-2016, 10:51 PM
Nonetheless, the lease says "air conditioning is included"

I would be surprised if it did.

Isilder
09-10-2016, 03:53 AM
I live in Pennsylvania, in an apartment building owned by a management company which owns several properties.
Bottom line: my apartment's A/C broke on Saturday,

By and large, compensation to a consumer is punitive on the service provider, so that the provider provider doesn't knowingly provide a poor service.

Since you can't show the AC should have been pre-emptively serviced... The assumption is that there really is no way to know when its going to fail ...



90 F isn't so hot for the pet or you, a few days without food is not causing any stress, you really have no issue. Since both cats are sick the same way it seems they have a pathogen not heat stress. Heat stress would normally be very individual in effect.

Sputnikkk
09-10-2016, 04:17 AM
I would think if you where renting and it was in your lease that you where supplied AC, then you should have access to AC and if not maybe you can deduct some portion of your rent because of discomfort.

... as far as your cats go, unless there is something unusual about your breed of cat— like maybe they are a super furry Persian breed from whose descendants come from Iceland, they should be able to handle 90 degree temps. However if your rental suddenly went from 70 degree AC all the time to 90 degrees overnight, perhaps it shocked their system causing lack of appetite, dehydration. Cats don't do well at all if they get dehydrated and go down hill quickly, kidneys stop functioning and then they can't absorb water they drink and its just downhill from there. You are a good owner for taking them to the vet.

watchwolf49
09-10-2016, 08:05 AM
Really? That is an interesting legal theory you have there.

Say you give ask me to deliver a package across town and give me $100. I give the package to an honest looking fellow who has a car and tells me he'll drop it off there. The package doesn't show up. Do you think it's reasonable for me to say "Hey not my responsibility. Go find the guy with the package."

Seriously, you think you can keep collecting money for a service that includes air conditioning and tell the person paying YOU that it's no longer your problem and someone else's responsibility to provide it?

Bolding mine

Why are you assuming the HVAC company isn't licensed, bonded and insured? In you analogy, replace what I bolded with "USPS, UPS or FedEx". Now you drag me into a court of law claiming I was something other than completely honest by hiring a national famous shipping company to send your package. I have the receipt and tracking information and see here where the truck with your package was waiting at a railroad crossing when the oil train blew up. Sorry, your package was destroyed.

The fun part for me is listen to your rebuttal and then the judge screaming at you for wasting his/her time.

Setting that aside, my post that you responded to is less legal theory and more actual written law. So of course this might be different in your jurisdiction, but I seriously doubt it. A good rule of thumb is for the tenant to think the place was theirs. Now how long would it take to fix something? Best you could do is call the HVAC company the next day, the service guy comes out the following day and orders the part ... exactly the same as what the OP said happened ... that's life, get over it.

Another consideration is market conditions. If there's a 10% or 15% vacancy rate in the local area, yeah the manager will be bending over backwards to keep the tenant, and yeah the manager would be smart to cut the tenant some slack on the rent paid. However, if the vacancy rate is closer to 1%, the manager more likely will tell the tenant to just move out if they don't like it, it's only going to take six hours to move someone else in.

bob++
09-10-2016, 08:50 AM
Bolding mine

Why are you assuming the HVAC company isn't licensed, bonded and insured? In you analogy, replace what I bolded with "USPS, UPS or FedEx". Now you drag me into a court of law claiming I was something other than completely honest by hiring a national famous shipping company to send your package. I have the receipt and tracking information and see here where the truck with your package was waiting at a railroad crossing when the oil train blew up. Sorry, your package was destroyed.

The fun part for me is listen to your rebuttal and then the judge screaming at you for wasting his/her time.

Setting that aside, my post that you responded to is less legal theory and more actual written law. So of course this might be different in your jurisdiction, but I seriously doubt it. A good rule of thumb is for the tenant to think the place was theirs. Now how long would it take to fix something? Best you could do is call the HVAC company the next day, the service guy comes out the following day and orders the part ... exactly the same as what the OP said happened ... that's life, get over it.

Another consideration is market conditions. If there's a 10% or 15% vacancy rate in the local area, yeah the manager will be bending over backwards to keep the tenant, and yeah the manager would be smart to cut the tenant some slack on the rent paid. However, if the vacancy rate is closer to 1%, the manager more likely will tell the tenant to just move out if they don't like it, it's only going to take six hours to move someone else in.

While not entirely disagreeing with you, I think that US law would be very similar to UK law here, in that the tenant has a contract with the landlord, set out in a tenancy agreement of some kind. To take any action against the landlord he would have to show a failure to observe that agreement and it may hinge on some actual wording about the services provided.

If the agreement was drawn up by a competent lawyer, they will be plenty of weasel phrases like "as soon as practicable" and "minimal disruption." All the landlord has to do is to show that he took "reasonable" steps to resolve the problem. If a part is hard to find, that is no fault of his.

The analogy above, of taking a package for delivery and passing (ie - subcontracting) all or part of the process to others is so standard in the delivery business that there is ample case law to cover just about any situation. I used to deal with shipping goods across Europe before the EU. A local van might collect and sign for some goods in Italy; pass them to an Italian haulier who takes them to a hub in Paris, where they are passed to a Hungarian haulier for shipment to a UK hub and then to a local carrier for the final stretch. If the goods failed to arrive, or were short, our beef was with the original shipper not any of the carriers in between.

D'Anconia
09-10-2016, 09:10 AM
I would think if you where renting and it was in your lease that you where supplied AC, then you should have access to AC and if not maybe you can deduct some portion of your rent because of discomfort.

In most jurisdictions, a tenant cannot legally withhold rent over mere discomfort. The standard is habitability.

gallows fodder
09-13-2016, 09:49 AM
Hi, thread. Some of your responses are doozies, but re-reading my OP, I can see why you'd want to take me to task.

First, I wrote the OP while literally melting down at my kitchen table and metaphorically melting down over the thought that the HVAC people might take over a month to fix this again, like they did in March/April. I was kinda frazzled.

Second, I wasn't very clear about this, but the idea of asking my apartment management for compensation for boarding my cats didn't come from me, but from my aunt. I thought (then and now) that management was doing all they could for me while they waited for their contracted HVAC guys to respond to the issue, but my aunt kept insisting that it was my right to demand compensation. Hence my question here, to find out if she was right.

I have not requested compensation, nor do I want to, nor will I be contacting management about this issue again, except if the A/C breaks again. It was my decision to board my cats with the vet, because worrying about them while worrying about everything else was making me more frazzled, and this was one element I had within my control to straighten out for my own peace of mind. That's not management's responsibility.

The building supervisor updated me every day about the status of the repair, and the A/C was fixed that Friday, which was the soonest it could logistically be done. I'm satisfied with the way it was handled. My aunt keeps asking me if I've written management an angry letter yet, and I keep telling her that I have nothing to complain about -- if there had been a time for an angry letter, it would have been in March, when I had to wait for weeks until the HVAC service even acknowledged the service request. (The explanation I got at the time was that they were newly contracted with management and were having some issues getting up to speed.) But this time, everything was handled by both management and HVAC as quickly as they could.

It would have been nice if they had offered me a window A/C unit or something to tide me over, like staying in a vacant apartment, but I didn't ask and maybe they didn't have any to offer. (When my washing machine broke a couple years ago, they gave me a key to an empty apartment and let me use the machine in that unit, so this wouldn't be unheard of.)

To address some of the recent posts, I don't have my lease in front of me, but when I read over it a couple weeks ago, I know I didn't see a single mention of the A/C. If I had felt like I was in a position to lodge a complaint, I would have just said that central air is rare in apartments in this town, and it is (truthfully) one of the main reasons I chose to live in this building -- I wouldn't have tried to claim it as a right.

I grew up in this town, in a house with no A/C at all. I remember sleeping on my bare floor on the summer nights when the humidity made touching bed sheets unbearable. I don't feel entitled to A/C, I feel lucky to have it now. I've never lodged a complaint with anyone over anything before; I've never even told a waiter my food was overcooked. May anyone who snorted in derision over my perceived sense of entitlement breathe more easily now. Thanks to everyone with factual replies -- I've learned from them.

muldoonthief
09-13-2016, 10:58 AM
I'm glad it got resolved to your satisfaction.

It may be worth a few minutes of your time to write a non-angry letter. Just give dates of both incidents, when you reported it, how long it took to fix, etc. Politely ask for some relief on your next rent payment. Couch it in terms of "Having A/C is x% of my rent, and it was out for y% of the month, so could I be credited x*y% of my monthly rent?" If you're a good tenant who pays on time and doesn't cause them problems with noise, etc., the worst they'll do is say no.

Really Not All That Bright
09-13-2016, 12:33 PM
The question about the cats has been pretty well handled but now I'm wondering: might the OP be due some kind of remuneration from the landlord for failing to provide services designated in the lease?

While 90 degrees isn't comfortable, it's survivable unless you have health issues. Nonetheless, the lease says "air conditioning is included" and they're not living up to that. The service company is clearly run by idiots - it does NOT take that long to replace a compressor (I've had entire new systems put in place in 72 hours from signing the contract).
Leases very rarely provide that air conditioning is included. There is an implied warranty of habitability in every lease, but that does not necessarily mean AC in Pennsylvania. On the other hand, that fact that the apartment is air conditioned is certainly in the landlord's sales materials and is likely an implied term of the contract. Still, as a general rule landlords have a reasonable time to make repairs. Five days is pretty standard. I would have sought an abatement of rent if the landlord took a month to fix it.

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