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I'm a tenant. Afraid of fire or explosion

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soli88
soli88 Member Posts: 5
edited November 2020 in Strictly Steam
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Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    You did the right thing, in an instance of a possible dramatic and cataclysmic life safety issue. The boiler should not be run in it’s present condition.
    I would think that there is a department in your city which is supposed to ensure that rental units are safe and comfortable, and they would say something about your rental situation.
    It is probably time to look for another place to live.—NBC
    Zman
  • soli88
    soli88 Member Posts: 5
    edited November 2020
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    BobC said:
    That boiler is shot and probably has to be fixed, what state do you live in? If a section is cracked or has a hole (most likely because of the rapid water loss) in it the chances of fixing it are slim. Adding a water feeder and perhaps a new low water shut off to a failing boiler could be a waste of money. The fact the boiler is not shutting off is an extreme safety hazard. Most states require heat in apartments from November on, if they refuse to do anything about it start looking for a new apartment. Dealing with an out of state owner makes things difficult but in the end that boiler has to be made safe and if it's not they can condemn the building. It's not worth risking your life because a landlord wants to cheap out. Bob
    Live in Rhode island. Yeah, woods heating told us they told her there would be no point in installing a water feeder or anything else to it. 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    That boiler is an extreme safety hazard -- and I don't use that term often.

    Turn it off. There may be an emergency shutoff switch near the boiler, or it might be on the stairs leading down to the basement. Wherever it is, turn it off. Then go find the electrical fuse which goes to the boiler. If it's a fuse, unscrew it and put it in your pocket. If it's a circuit breaker, just turn it off.

    Then go to your local building code enforcement people (in Rhode Island you do have them) and have them inspect the boiler, with the fire marshal present if possible. Explain that the boiler leaks so badly that it has to be refilled after -- or during -- each time it runs. They should condemn it.

    Then what. If your landlord won't repair it, you don't have heat -- and during the winter you can take legal action against the landlord. That will take forever. In the meantime, if at all possible, move.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    IronmanethicalpaulCanucker
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,973
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    Shut off boiler. Have it replaced. Let landlord know that you will call authorities and/or move. No two ways about it. We would like you to be here next winter to give us updates  
    Ironmanluketheplumber
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,544
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    I would suggest it may be the Board of Health in your state/town that would send the landlord a notice to replace or repair the boiler......repair not likely.

    There are good contractors in Rhode Island that do good work but probably not at the cheapest price the landlord will want. Check "find a contractor" on this site
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,861
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    Contact the state attorney general and file a complaint.
    http://www.riag.ri.gov/

    The landlord is required to get it fixed.
    http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE34/34-18/34-18-22.HTM
    STEVEusaPA
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,909
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    As a landlord myself, these kind of people drive me crazy. You did the right thing calling it in. At this point, legally, she must either let you out of your lease to move or find a safe means of heating the house. That doesn't necessarily mean replacing the boiler, but the house needs to have an adequate heating system. She sounds like a slumbag, and I know it's probably not what you want to hear, but I think it's time for you to move.
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 508
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    GroundUp said:

    As a landlord myself, these kind of people drive me crazy. You did the right thing calling it in..

    Agree, same here. I have a feeling though that the tenant might be living in a rent below market value, and some annoyances (like adding water to the boiler every night) are allowing for the reduction in rent. I mean, I could be wrong but that's my gut reaction.

    Now, this is no way should be construed to mean I think the tenant should suck it up with a safety issue (!!), but might explain reluctance of going to any authoritative rental agency.


    GroundUp
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    If one is adding water to a boiler every night just to keep it running, it is a critical safety issue, @MaxMercy . It's not an annoyance. I've never seen a leak get smaller yet, and sooner or later that boiler is going to dry fire, and I really don't like to read those news stories.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 508
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    If one is adding water to a boiler every night just to keep it running, it is a critical safety issue, @MaxMercy . It's not an annoyance. I've never seen a leak get smaller yet, and sooner or later that boiler is going to dry fire, and I really don't like to read those news stories.

    I don't think you understood my post Jamie. Did you read the second paragraph?


  • soli88
    soli88 Member Posts: 5
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    MaxMercy said:
    As a landlord myself, these kind of people drive me crazy. You did the right thing calling it in..
    Agree, same here. I have a feeling though that the tenant might be living in a rent below market value, and some annoyances (like adding water to the boiler every night) are allowing for the reduction in rent. I mean, I could be wrong but that's my gut reaction. Now, this is no way should be construed to mean I think the tenant should suck it up with a safety issue (!!), but might explain reluctance of going to any authoritative rental agency.
    I am looking to move out ASAP. I just wanted to post this for confirmation that the landlord is being an **** and a cheapskate and has a disregard for people's lives. 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    MaxMercy said:

    If one is adding water to a boiler every night just to keep it running, it is a critical safety issue, @MaxMercy . It's not an annoyance. I've never seen a leak get smaller yet, and sooner or later that boiler is going to dry fire, and I really don't like to read those news stories.

    I don't think you understood my post Jamie. Did you read the second paragraph?


    I did. I was -- and am -- objecting to your characterization of "adding water to a boiler every night" as an annoyance which might be tolerated to allow (or justify?) a reduced rent. That's all. If the landlord is going to advertise the place as having heat, it must meet at least a minimum standard of safety. That doesn't.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    soli88
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 508
    edited November 2020
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    MaxMercy said:

    If one is adding water to a boiler every night just to keep it running, it is a critical safety issue, @MaxMercy . It's not an annoyance. I've never seen a leak get smaller yet, and sooner or later that boiler is going to dry fire, and I really don't like to read those news stories.

    I don't think you understood my post Jamie. Did you read the second paragraph?


    I did. I was -- and am -- objecting to your characterization of "adding water to a boiler every night" as an annoyance which might be tolerated to allow (or justify?) a reduced rent. .
    I didn't say that.. Sorry you didn't get the gist of it. Many landlords consider anything an annoyance, which is what I was saying. I know that written print doesn't convey messages clearly as conversation, but if I had done "air quotes" around "annoyance" you might have understood, and if I *didn't* qualify it with the second paragraph explaining what I personally thought of the boiler having to be fed by a tenant, you'd be right:

    Now, this is no way should be construed to mean I think the tenant should suck it up with a safety issue (!!), but might explain reluctance of going to any authoritative rental agency.


    But the second paragraph explains that adding water to a boiler daily isn't merely an annoyance, but a safety issue , which I punctuated with the "(!!)".


  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 508
    edited November 2020
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    soli88 said:



    I am looking to move out ASAP. I just wanted to post this for confirmation that the landlord is being an **** and a cheapskate and has a disregard for people's lives. 

    Got it. I'm surprised your mom put up with adding water to the heating plant without much complaint. I'd take her as a tenant any day! ;)

    One of my commercial tenants had a gas furnace quit during a cold snap last January. I rented a bunch of electric heaters and a couple of portable propane heaters for the three days they were without central heat while the new furnace was installed and comped them half a month.

    Your landlady does seem like a complete ***.



  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,260
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    I enjoy thinking and reading about steam systems. But they don't belong where there's nobody to operate them. The OP may not know the whole story. I recommend redundant safeties. Like two low water shut offs. Plus high temperature shut off. And an alarm.

    Problem for landlady is that she can't know whom to trust. A good guy can insure no nasty expenses after she bites the bullet. But if she makes an unfortunate choice then the bullet will fester.
    MaxMercy
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 508
    edited November 2020
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    jumper said:



    Problem for landlady is that she can't know whom to trust. .

    That certainly could be part of it. Still, it sounds like they've been adding water to that old chunk for some time which means the landlady has had plenty of time to get this figured out one way or the other. I can't imagine asking a tenant to service the boiler every day or two days tops!!

    If that were my property, I'd have someone - if not myself - get there daily and service it until it could be fixed or replaced. At the very least making sure the low water shutdown is working even if the auto fill isn't. That thing should be red tagged.

    Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and get it done sooner rather than later. That's part and parcel to owning rental properties.



  • soli88
    soli88 Member Posts: 5
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    MaxMercy said:
    Problem for landlady is that she can't know whom to trust. .
    That certainly could be part of it. Still, it sounds like they've been adding water to that old chunk for some time which means the landlady has had plenty of time to get this figured out one way or the other. I can't imagine asking a tenant to service the boiler every day or two days tops!! If that were my property, I'd have someone - if not myself - get there daily and service it until it could be fixed or replaced. At the very least making sure the low water shutdown is working even if the auto fill isn't. That thing should be red tagged. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and get it done sooner rather than later. That's part and parcel to owning rental properties.
    We have lived in this apartment for quite a few years and we are paying market value rent. I didn't even realize until I got older that my mom was having to go downstairs and fill up the boiler all the time. So yes, this is something the landlord should have fixed a long time ago and not let it get to this point. The second and third floor tenants don't have to mess with anything in the basement
    MaxMercy
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,861
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    Are they on the same boiler?
    MaxMercy
  • soli88
    soli88 Member Posts: 5
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    pecmsg said:
    Are they on the same boiler?
    No