Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't replace

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Latest post 11-29-2012 11:38 PM by luthien2012. 12 replies.
  • 11-29-2012 12:45 AM

    Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't replace

    I live in a condo and I had the furnace checked today for annoying noises. The HVAC technician found another problem which was an emission of 22 ppm of carbon monoxide in 7 minutes, above the legal limit of 9 ppm. My landlord says she can't replace the furnace now because she doesn't have the money for it. I still have 3 months left on my lease, but she is offering to refund the rent for the remaining days, as well as my deposit.

    I don't want to move out right now because I have recently set up the place. Can I stay put and refuse to move until she replaces it? It cannot be repaired because it is far too old, and I have switched it off for my safety. 

    I live in Utah.

    Thanks in advance for any replies!

  • 11-29-2012 9:42 AM In reply to

    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't replace

    luthien2012:

    I live in a condo and I had the furnace checked today for annoying noises. The HVAC technician found another problem which was an emission of 22 ppm of carbon monoxide in 7 minutes, above the legal limit of 9 ppm. My landlord says she can't replace the furnace now because she doesn't have the money for it. I still have 3 months left on my lease, but she is offering to refund the rent for the remaining days, as well as my deposit.

    I would take the offer if I were you. Money in the hand is better than any other remedy you could possibly have.

    luthien2012:
    I don't want to move out right now because I have recently set up the place. Can I stay put and refuse to move until she replaces it?

    Sure, you can stay put and refuse to move.

    That doesn't mean she's going to replace it. Might just get you evicted if you don't pay rent. Trashed credit goes along with eviction.

    Plus, if you stay knowing it's dangerous, then the consequences (medically) are on you.

    Read the Utah Fit Premises Act. Might be something helpful in there for you.

    http://law.justia.com/codes/utah/2011/title57/chapter22/

    I think you are foolish not taking her offer. You're going to freeze your butt off if you stay.

     

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    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 11-29-2012 10:48 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't replace

    Your post is very unclear as to exit deal LL has offered.  --- refund just what  balance

    But if the offer is to refund your deposit in full and refund you for 3 months remaining on your lease , then I too suggest you are wise to accept her offer --and I'd accept it in writing pronto so as to lock it in!

    Her offer far exceeds what I think your practical options are under the law if you chose to pay the game some other way ...

    If your deposit is 1 month I read your post in context of she is offering  about 4 months cash to vacate ??

    You accept an offer by accepting it exactly as made --any changes pretty much cancels it out and make your deal a new counter offer .

    (Me, just me, I'd clearly state the terms of her offer in my acceptance just so the details do not get lost  if it was an oral offer.)

    I'd not make the details of cash for keys into a new offer  and if you want to tough it out for a few days/week with electric heaters  I'd keep that separate.too.

    I think her offer is overgenerous relative to the likely costs of fixing it and once you depart she is still stuck with problem and no cash flow --and once she wises up she may take her offer off the table --but if she made an overgenerous offer and you locked it in via a delivered written acceptance --so be it.

     

     

     



  • 11-29-2012 10:59 AM In reply to

    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't replace

    Not precisely clear what you mean by "refund the rent for the remaining days."  You don't say whether you paid rent in advance (if so, bad idea) or whether she is saying she'll send you the equivalent of rent for rest of lease plus your deposit.  You're free to petition the local landlord-tenant court to order her to fix the HVAC or cover the cost of alternate housing if the place is uninhabitable due to lack of heat.  Read up on link provided for landlord-tenant law in Utah. 

  • 11-29-2012 2:41 PM In reply to

    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't rep...

    I'm sorry I wasn't clear about the rent. If I leave before the next month is up then she'll pay me back my rent for the remaining days of the month pro-rated. I don't pay rent in advance.

    She mentioned that I might have been scammed by the HVAC company so I asked the gas company to come have a look at the furnace. They did not find any CO emissions but said the heat exchanger is cracked and it's unsafe to turn on the furnace.

    She is not agreeing to any moving compensation and will only give me back my full deposit and pro-rated rent.

  • 11-29-2012 3:12 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't rep...

    If the heat exchanger is cracked then that is a major life threatening hazard.

    if she means to pay you just a few days of rest of month that is far far too little

    I revise my comments and suggest you read UT statutue (links provided by others) as to unsafe premises and follow the steps to a T

    She owes you a safe place !!!

    What is your monthly rent?

    Last time I replaced a hot air furnace it was no big deal --sure it was inconvenient pain but stuff  wears out.



  • 11-29-2012 3:12 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't rep...

    luthien2012:
    She is not agreeing to any moving compensation and will only give me back my full deposit and pro-rated rent

    For what it is worth, why not invest in some electric space heaters, or have the LL buy them for you, and stay if you are so inclined.

    luthien2012:
    They did not find any CO emissions but said the heat exchanger is cracked and it's unsafe to turn on the furnace.

    Not saying that the HVAC or gas company is right or wrong, but a crack in a heat exchanger does not in my experience always render a unit unusable.  If you were to ask other techs you would likely get a variety of responses.  My feeling is that if it were totally unsafe, the gas company might have pulled the gas meter to prevent the unit from being used.  A lot also depends on how severe the crack is in the exchanger. 

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 11-29-2012 4:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't replace

    Your options are as follows:

    1. Take the landlord's offer.

    2. Stay as long as you like with a broken furnace.  Someone in this thread characterized this as "a major life threatening hazard," but that's obviously a gross exaggeration (particularly if you never turn the thing on).  Whether not having a working furnace is a habitability issue depends on the climate where you live.  Maybe you can solve the problem with a space heater.

    3. The law PROBABLY would allow you to pay to fix or replace it yourself and deduct the cost from your rent (perhaps the landlord will work something out with you about this).

  • 11-29-2012 5:22 PM In reply to

    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't rep...

    luthien2012:
    She is not agreeing to any moving compensation and will only give me back my full deposit and pro-rated rent.

    I'm just a lay reader, but I think your landlord is complying exactly with the Utah Fit Premises Act (assuming she informed you IN WRITING that she'd decided to terminate the lease and refund your money).  The law lets her kick you out 10 days after giving you written notice.  She also has to actually give you your money within 10 days of her written notice to you.

    A little easier to read than the justia link:

    http://housing.utah.gov/wap/documents/Attachment06-UtahFitPremisesActlandlordresponsibilities.pdf

  • 11-29-2012 5:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't replace

    luthien2012:
    It cannot be repaired because it is far too old, and I have switched it off for my safety.

    Here's a link   http://carbonmonoxidemyths.com/Myth-1.html

    where the author says a small hole or crack in a heat exchanger isn't necessarily such an immediate safety problem you can't keep using it for a week or two - EXCEPT with older furnaces:

    "In years past, with older furnaces, a heat exchanger crack or small slit could turn into a big, gaping split once the heat exchanger warmed up. At that point the blower could force the burner flame out the front of the furnace and cause a fire or burn up wiring. A heat exchanger hole could also blow out a pilot or keep a row or two of burners from igniting and cause an explosion. These are big openings that cause the problems, not a little quarter-inch hole or two-inch crack."

    Which is neither here nor there, really, as far as your legal situation goes...

  • 11-29-2012 5:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't rep...

    Thank you all for your inputs.

    I have thought it over and I'm really not inclined to try taking her to court. It would save me a lot of time if I just found a new place and moved out. I will make sure to get a written notice from her about ending the lease early. She is a nice lady and I don't want to create a ruckus.

    The furnace is 30 years old so I'm guessing that this crack is a big safety problem.

    I'm just hoping that this doesn't become an issue when I try to find a new place (if they ask me why I'm leaving the old one). Though I'm happy I got the inspection done and I think I was within my rights as a tenant.

  • 11-29-2012 10:43 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't rep...

    In a convoluted sense I agree with ca19 that if you don't turn the furnance on it does not rise to an uninhabitable situation and unless you jumped the gun to give the LL notice of an unnhabitable situation the formal sequence of required events/options might not be yet in motion. The language of the UT law is very convoluted and there appear to be 3 different levels of problems --but if you read the language carefully, at least as a layman, unless you force the LL's hand via the specific requirements of the precise relevant form of problem notice the wheels are not set in motion and that past of the rules does not seem to permit the LL to jump a step to terminate the lease.

    If you were to do absolutely nothing and clam up and use electric heat  the wheels of progress might get bogged down.

    And ca19 might be right--a mere crack might not be life threatening--me I'd not want to risk it --I'd probably get a co alarm at Lowes or Home Depot---probably $50 or less.

    Generally speaking the LL needs to get things dead right to a T to prevail on a residential eviction matter --and your post does not support that LL has it dead right--and its not your job the educate the LL.

    In my book you need not cut any LL who is trying to sidestep a cracked heat exchanger any special slack as being a nice woman ---22 ppm of co is well on high side of what some regard as safe limits --but co might not be in your building or health code directly.

    Gas firm may have been treading softly not to issue a formal unsafe read/report as that might in some jurisdictions require an immediate shut off/lock ---

    My observation is that LL with dirty hands have big problems to win in LT court --and your LL is not headed for clean hands award ---so personally I'd not be in a major rush to get out --if my supplemental heat works--but I'd be working on getting out..

     

     



  • 11-29-2012 11:38 PM In reply to

    Re: Old furnace emitting Carbon Monoxide -Landlord won't rep...

    I feel like the gas company technician was more thorough in his inspection, and he didn't find any CO emission. However the furnace is 30 years old and a cracked heat exchanger might even pose a fire risk in my opinion. He put an "unsafe condition" notice on the furnace and shut it off.

    I am perhaps being taken advantage of because I tend to be non-confrontational. She probably feels that I'm easily going to be get rid of if she just gives me back my prorated rent and deposit.

    @Drew: I haven't given a written notice yet, but is that necessary before she ends the lease, or can it be ended informally? I read that a Utah landlord can evict a tenant with 10 days notice if the place becomes uninhabitable, but I'm confused about whether that applies to damage caused by a tenant or to regular maintenance issues.

     

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