Start a new topic

Renter turns down heat too low?

Hello,  Hoping for some advice for a delicate situation. I have a renter that is from a southern state (where it's warm) that doesn't seem to understand the need for heat is not only for people to be comfortable - but also to protect the house. She's been a renter for a few years now - and is a wonderful renter. Except the heat thing.  We've had issues each winter and pipes have froze, etc.  The first winter we found she was turning the heat off - completely.  It's an old house with poor insulation in the basement, so this is very bad on the pipes. There is an upstairs with electric heat (the main floor and basement are controlled by the boiler for heat)...  but she spends all her time upstairs and just uses that heat.  After we figured out she was turning the heat off, we replaced the thermostat with one that could not be turned off and the lowest temp setting is 40 degrees.  However, in a old house - that's in Minnesota - 40 degrees on the main level can mean much colder in the unfinished basement downstairs.  I don't want to offend the tenent. But at the same time want to be strict with her on this. But - also know even if we demanded verbally that she keep the heat at 50 to keep pipes from freezing - I'm not sure she'd trust us and think it was still fine to keep it at 40.  And, still keep it at 40 since there is no way for us to technically police her.  My concern is if there are problems and she is negligent since she kept the heat too low - I would like her to be responsible for the costs.   Does anyone have any advice on this hard to discuss-but much needed issue?  Are there legal steps I can take as far as an official letter to her that outlines what her responsibilities would be if there were issues - and even how could I prove it if there was a problem and THEN she turns the heat up so it doesn't look like she had it down low (we've caught her doing that once)...  Like I said - we love her. She keeps great care of the house and pays her rent on time. We don't want to lose her as a renter but this issue very much concerns us - especially as we head into another winter.  Thanks for all help/suggestions.

You could create a custom document stating the issue, stipulations, and the consequences then have both parties sign.
I would also explain to her how much you appreciate the things she is doing right, and that she is a great tenant.
Easy solution.  Talk to her, replace the thermostat with a programmable one.  Set the program to keep it at 50 during the times she's normally not in that part of the house.  If you get the right one, even if she turns the heat lower or off, when the time comes for the program to kick in it will go to the setting in the program.
Login to post a comment