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Old 06-02-2010, 10:44 AM   #1
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Default help me with my apartment AC problem, please

I lease an apartment. The AC will not cool lower than 80*f and runs 24/7. I leaned this after recieving a $331 electric bill and can determine from looking at usage that its from 10 days of the AC running 24/7.

Texas Law:
Quote:
Repairs and Improvements
Texas law requires landlords to make a diligent effort to repair anything that materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant. Examples of things that materially affect the health and safety of an ordinary tenant are sewage backups, roaches, rats, no hot water, faulty wiring, roof leaks, and sometimes lack of heat or air conditioning. If the problem violates a provision of your city's building, health, or fire code, then it is more likely to be considered a health or safety risk. Problems such as broken dishwashers, walls that need painting, unsatisfactory draperies, or grass that needs cutting are generally not covered by state law. However, your lease agreement may require the landlord to fix these problems as well. Be sure to read your lease to find out. If you are uncertain how to classify the problem, consult a lawyer, health or building inspector, or tenant association.

It is possible that a landlord's failure to repair problems that do not affect health or safety (such as a broken dishwasher) may be addressed as a breach of the lease, even if the lease fails to mention repairs. A court may find that a landlord is still responsible if the landlord clearly implied he would fix anything that broke in the apartment. Texas law does not provide an easy-to-use remedy, so careful and courteous negotiation is the best practical solution. The remaining sections of "Repairs and Improvements" will only discuss the requirements and remedies provided by state law as described above. Although some of the general advice may be applicable in other situations, a tenant should not assume that ANY of the remedies discussed below will be available.
Local ordinance protecting renters:
none

Service record:
5/29: service call, no change
5/30: service call, coils and blower need cleaning
6/1: apartment manager refuses servicing, tells me to deal with it
6/?: I'm about to provide a written notice via certified mail to the apartment manager and put them on notice

The first two service attempts by the apartment determined the problem and the maintenance personnel suggested "cleaning the coil and blower". Now the apartment manager is refusing this service suggesting that the apartment is cooled to a "safe temperature" and will not rectify the problem causing excessive energy usage and inefficient cooling. I firmly believe that although 80*f may be safe, it is not comfortable and unacceptable to ignore in addition to creating an inflated electric bill.

Can anyone provide advice to get me out of the weeds here aside from taking them to court?
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:47 AM   #2
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Sounds like you need some freon (sp). Tell them to check the pressure and add some more.
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bojanglincraig View Post
Sounds like you need some freon (sp). Tell them to check the pressure and add some more.
freon is supposedly good, blower works, but air exiting the vent is like 74* or something like that.
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:54 AM   #4
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spray foam your windows...not only will it help insulate it will block all light(heat energy) from entering your apt!


I have two cathedral ceilings with large palladium windows and very poorly thought out ducting, so our a/c sits around 75-76 on any day warmer than 90. Probably doesnt help that the compressor is over 20 years old and undersized.
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:57 AM   #5
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Hmm, If pressure is good and blower works and the outdoor unit isn't blocked or covered by anything then it sounds like you got a AC guy who is lazy and doesn't want to figure it out.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:02 AM   #6
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take their bitch asses to court. if he refuses to pay to fix it, what else can you do?
aside from wasting your own money/time and fixing it yourself
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:07 AM   #7
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If I was the a/c guy I wouldn’t waste too much time figuring it out either. It sounds like the landlord doesn’t want to pay him to do anything, perhaps he knows this from past experience?

That sucks btw. You should grab the biggest ugliest window unit you can find, spray paint it neon pink on the outside, and stick it in the most visible window possible.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:07 AM   #8
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I had the same problem in my last apartment. The whole complex had 25 year old A/C units that couldn't keep up with Mississippi summers. Our apartment would hit 85 degrees during the day -- the only way I could sleep at night was to close all the A/C vents except in our bedroom, and even then, we'd have a box fan blowing full speed. We requested maintenance on the A/C units repeatedly, and it would be marginally better for a couple days, but never great. After much thought, I finally figured out the solution to the problem, and we've never had an issue since.

My solution? I bought a house. (And Obama paid me $8000 to do it! Out of your pocket!)
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:09 AM   #9
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I'm about to do the house thing.

This apartment cooled fine the last 3-summers, but suddenly its not working. I'm sure simple maintenance will take care of it and I may have to either do it myself, sabotage the unit, or move.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:13 AM   #10
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Buy a house so you can plow 100 bitches at the same time
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:22 AM   #11
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I'd go out there and look at it your self, probably clogged up with grass. Send that letter too. Also, make sure you look at the apartment main office unit. I sense that the unit for their office works great, but rats are chewing on the wires...lol
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:25 AM   #12
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Send a certified letter. If they don't reply with in 30days to fix the problem, then pay someone CERTIFIED to do it yourself and deduct it out of the rent. If the certified professional that comes in says that there is work that nereds to be done, then they will not be able to argue with that.

Same thing happened to me with a water heater. They were pissed but it worked.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:31 AM   #13
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Go borrow a dead body from a morgue, then tell them it was your grandfather and they killed him from heat exhaustion.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rharris19 View Post
Send a certified letter. If they don't reply with in 30days to fix the problem, then pay someone CERTIFIED to do it yourself and deduct it out of the rent. If the certified professional that comes in says that there is work that nereds to be done, then they will not be able to argue with that.

Same thing happened to me with a water heater. They were pissed but it worked.
I believe they have 5-days to reply according the the state code. My lawyer buddy is drawing up the notice for me.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:42 AM   #15
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Turn unit off since it's using an inordinate amount of energy (running constantly), and then measure the inside temp and let them decide if that's safe.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:54 AM   #16
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and send them your power bill.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:57 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
I believe they have 5-days to reply according the the state code. My lawyer buddy is drawing up the notice for me.
I don't know where my head was on that. I wasn't completely awake. It is 5 days and at that point they have to show that they did everything they could in writting to you or you can repair it yourself.

"Sec. 92.053. BURDEN OF PROOF. (a) Except as provided by this section, the tenant has the burden of proof in a judicial action to enforce a right resulting from the landlord's failure to repair or remedy a condition under Section 92.052.

(b) If the landlord does not provide a written explanation for delay in performing a duty to repair or remedy on or before the fifth day after receiving from the tenant a written demand for an explanation, the landlord has the burden of proving that he made a diligent effort to repair and that a reasonable time for repair did not elapse."

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.u.../htm/PR.92.htm

It's about half way down the page. I used to love looking this stuff up when I was in law school. Now I am off my game a little.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
and send them your power bill.
I would try to get the power history from the power company. The subtract the excessive amount from the lease payment. Make him work as well. It's very difficult to evict someone if they are paying money. They can't just throw you out. It's quite funny how long and hard the process to evict somebody really is.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:51 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by djp0623 View Post
I would try to get the power history from the power company. The subtract the excessive amount from the lease payment. Make him work as well. It's very difficult to evict someone if they are paying money. They can't just throw you out. It's quite funny how long and hard the process to evict somebody really is.
I'm great at record keeping. Last June-September 2009 was at $115 on average...May 2010 was $331.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:14 PM   #20
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The trouble is, the manager knows where the line of responsibility lies, and he's not willing to do anything more than fold his arms right behind it. State law doesn't require that he make it work efficiently, unfortunately. If they are they old, and within working specs, it's reasonable (technically speaking) for the system to only be capable of cooling 20 degrees below ambient and considered "working". If you know anyone in the HVAC field, I'd say pulling the freon down to the lowest it can be with the system still running may "help" you... since the compressor will likely seize and/or blow a terminal off of it.

As for what's wrong... if it really does have enough freon in it, the coils certainly will cause it. Did I understand correctly, that it's been diagnosed as needing it, but that work has not been done? If I were in your place, and were preparing for a pissing match with management, I'd pay for that cleaning out of pocket. I'd do it to get a jump on that next electric bill which is going to have more than 10 days of constant running on it. It will cost you less to pay for this service, than it will to pay for that bill. In the end, you may not get management to pay for anything. -But if you did, you'll stand a better chance of getting paid back for the service call, than the electric bill.

Is this an independent complex, or is there a management company behind it. I'd just go over their heads. Particularly if your lease is anywhere near renewal, or if you regularly make conversation with any other tenants on property.
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