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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
Need some advice. We are in Colorado and have rented out mountain home where we lived for years to a renter who has become unemployed.

Mind you we never had issues with freezing pipes when we lived there or when it sat vacant from Jan-May until we rented it out.

There have been very cold temperatures there and she admitted she does not want to turn on the furnace because of the bills. She has used the wood burning stove and a space heater to try to minimize the heating bill.

We have advised her she needs to have heat in the home so we don't end up with frozen pipes.

We got the call now that there are frozen pipes and possibly a leak under the house.

Who is responsible for the repairs in this case? Is there any way to prove her negligence and if we did would be able to recover damages as she is unemployed?

I have thought about telling her that in order for the insurance to pay a claim they require the heating bill to confirm there was indeed heat in the home and also thought about putting some kind of a lock on the thermostat to prevent her from turning it off in the future but don't know if this would be legal.

Now I am rethinking if she is the best tenant to have there and wonder if the next thing might be a burned down home with the wood burning stove in the home?

Thanks in advance.

Posts: 314
Reply with quote  #2 
she owes the bill.............. as long as your furnace and thermostat works
I do believe there is a thermostat that goes as low as 50 degrees, no lower, however it must be turned on, so do not think that would help

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
It works well, its a new furnace and yes the lowest it goes is 50.

We told her this time is on us, next time it's on her. She turned it off and then left the place for several days. [frown]

Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #4 
Wow, I just signed up for the same reason! We have 75 year old brick triplex. We installed new mini splits in two units and insulated the whole house last winter. The tenants in the two apartment units keep turning them off when they leave the house. Everything I understand about the mini-splits says that they are most efficient (and the space most comfortable) when left on all the time.

We are in a cold snap and I contacted a tenant to remind them to open the kitchen cabinet to avoid a possible pipe freeze. We had a slight freeze last Feb. in that unit (before the house was insulated).  The tenant is out of town for a few days and you guessed it, turned off the heat. With their permission, I went and turned it on.

Looks like we are within our rights to add a heat clause into the lease to protect the building (and their belongings). Has anyone done this and would you be willing to share your clause?


Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #5 
We had 6 breaks, 2 pipes and 4 fittings plus inside the unit we had some issue with the kitchen faucet seals as it had gotten so cold the seals had busted.

We are thinking we will add a heat clause too so would love to hear others ideas or clauses as well.


Posts: 3,787
Reply with quote  #6 
- I have a special form for the electric company and Natural Gas Company on file that will revert the utilities back into my name when the tenant turns them off. Helps if they were to move out in the middle of the night, etc.

Owners should keep in mind - the bill reverts back into your name whether the tenant moves out - or gets it turned off for lack of payment.  So the tenant could just not pay, have it go back into your name, and he's using the utilities on your dime until you get him evicted.  Keep an eye on this.

Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #7 
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