discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by Fox

Posted by Kristine-CA on July 02, 2007 at 08:31:27:

It’s not just you. I’ve lived in MI, MN, NY, NJ and CA in probably 3 dozen
different houses and apts and dormitories. I’ve encountered exactly one
switched outlet.

discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by Fox

Posted by Fox on July 01, 2007 at 10:39:05:

I have a rental and the tenents have been there since May 12th. On Friday night they called and said they had no hot water. On Saturday morning at 10:30am, I had a plumber out who replaced a part that was bad and it was fixed (when he left, the tank was filling and the water was warm). This morning, the tenants called and said the water heater must have broke during the day while they were out because there was water all over the laundry room and they now have no hot water when they got home last night. I called the plumber again and looks like I need a new hot water heater (waiting for him to call back).

The question is - do I give these guys a discount on the rent for the days that they do not have hot water? I know they will ask - they tried to give me receipts for mulch( I hate mulch), a garbage can and a broom and dustpan that they bought, so this question is coming.

Also, they have called several times saying that the air conditioning wasn’t working and the electrical outlets weren’t working. I had someone go out to look at them the next day and turns out they didn’t know how to work a thermostat or turn on the switch in the rooms to activate the plugs. Afterwards, they called and said they couldn’t turn the air conditioning off - I walked them through pushing the buttons on the thermostat via a voicemail and they must have got it because they didn’t call back.

I know that it stinks that there is no hot water, but they have been there less than 2 months and have called at least 4 times with things that were not wrong. Now that there is no hot water, I am afraid they are going to say they should be discounted for the time without hot water. Should I give one?

Luckily, their lease is 6 months and I can refuse to renew at my discretion. I would rather them call if they can’t figure something out, but I can’t tell if they are chronic complainers or this will slow down after they get used to the house. If I give them a discount, will the calls and requests to pay for crazy things continue? Or is giving a discount for something this big the right thing to do? I am in PA. Thanks.

Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by jason sc

Posted by jason sc on July 01, 2007 at 19:24:24:

in most states there is a Tennant LandLord act

in PA check out

(i think thats the website?)

but anyway normally hot water is considered an essential service and there is a time frame it must be fixed within.

I am in South Carolina - Here you have 3 days to fix an essential service - if you dont it could cause problems. Such as the tennant moving out on you, them sueing you, them sueing you and staying in the property.

so you definatly want to get this fixed asap.

Also you might want to check you lease you signed with the tennant - if you used your states standard for it probably makes a refrence to what you are responsible for.

Normally we dont give discounts unless it is an extreme situation - we have in our lease in BOLD letter UNDERLINDED no repairs may be deducted off of rent

good luck


Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on July 01, 2007 at 16:43:21:

Being w/out hot water is certainly an inconvenience, but if
something goes out on Friday & you fix it Mon, a reduction in rent
is not necessary. However, as a matter of policy, when something
like that happens I usually bring the tenant a large candy bar or
some cookies & an apology for the inconvenience. Even rotten
tenants usually smile w/understanding when confronted by

The holiday is looming, so if your plumber doesn’t show
tomorrow I’d be prepared to make a small rent concession or
provide a gift certificate for Lowe’s in appreciation for patience.
Check your state statutes to make sure you know your legal
responsibilities. Rights & responsibilities are seldom enough
when landlording. Grace & goodwill often come in handy, but if it
turns out this tenant is truly a pain in the patoot, just don’t renew
the lease.


Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by Rich-CA

Posted by Rich-CA on July 01, 2007 at 13:54:01:

Its takes all kinds. Might explain why they don’t work their own house yet.

For things like heat, water heaters and so on. Many locations have laws as to the time you as the landlord have until these services are restored. You might want to check up on these because the clock is ticking. I somehow doubt that the tenants are responsible for the water heater failure or the water heater leak. I suspect it was the plumber you called. They are not all the same and the skill and care with which they approach their jobs varies quite a bit. Most plumbers have a warranty on their work, so make him come back and fix it. Remind him you are on the clock with a government mandated fix and may have to get someone else, but you would expect a refund from him for the work that was not done properly the first time (only say this if he tries to schedule into the next week or something).

I would credit a small amount of rent for every day past the government mandated deadline (and for every day after 48 hrs if the government does not have a deadline) because hot water is an essential service.

For the other stuff. I have never heard of anyone NOT being familiar with switched outlets before. I have heard of people who cannot figure out why the top outlet works but the bottom ones does not (often only one of the pair is switched) or can’t figure out which of the 10 outlets in the room is on the wall switch.

For maintenance items, I tell them that they are responsible for maintaining the yard and exterior the way it was when they moved in (its in my lease) at their expense or I will restore it at their expense. I also tell them that if a problem was found to be a result of their action (flushing a diaper down the toilet, or some such), they get to pay for the visit and the fix. As a rule, if they call and ask how to use an appliance (heat, A/C, etc.), I will walk them through it over the phone. If it requires a visit, I charge for that. Its in the lease. I have never had to make the visit, but have been able to help over the phone a number of times. Sometimes when on the phone I hear (a noise in the background) or they say something that says to me "get your butt out there, something is wrong), in which case I will go out an investigate and NOT charge them. Because it helps keep my property in better shape to catch problems early and charging them will just mean problems won’t get reported until they get really expensive.

Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by wpage

Posted by wpage on July 01, 2007 at 13:21:09:

I guess you must be a new landlord and just learning the business? They tried to give you a receipt for mulch, a broom, and a garbage can??? What kind of a tenant have you got? You will have to learn to say NO NO NO in this business. You did the right thing already; you sent the plumber out and he supposedly fixed it. My question to you would be what kind of a plumber do you have? He should have seen that the tank had a leak. It doesn’t just leak over night.
I would not run everytime they call for something. If you start that there will be no end to their calls. I once had a tenant that I didn’t get along with and he waited 10 days for a water tank. good luck

Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by Dave T

Posted by Dave T on July 01, 2007 at 13:12:42:

I am guessing that your tenants are first time renters. Even it they aren’t, they may not have known about switched outlets. I have lived in most regions of the country and I had not seen them until I moved to my retirement home nine years ago.

Likewise with digital thermostats. They can be tricky. I have a degrees in math and computer science and I still had to have my HVAC guy give me an orientation when I had digital thermostats installed. The user manual just did not cover everything.

I would not be too hard on your tenants for these issues. Because your tenants have asked to be reimbursed for other things like mulch and cleaning supplies clearly suggest your tenants have never been renters before and don’t realize that yard maintenance and house keeping are their responsibility (you have that in your lease, don’t you?). A little patience will go a long way, so as long as they are paying the rent on time, I would just chalk this one up to their inexperience.

Hot water is a different story.

How long will they be without hot water before you can get a new water heater installed? You now have a health and safety issue that needs to be resolved quickly.

If your tenants will be without hot water more than two days, I would seriously consider giving them a partial rebate on the rent just for their patience and the inconvenience.

I had a tenant report a dishwasher problem within two weeks after moving in. It took a little over a week to get a new dishwasher (it had to be ordered) delivered and installed. The rent was $950 per month and I gave my tenant a $50 rebate in appreciation for their patience while I was resolving the problem.

The tenant never asked for any concession. I did it as part of my tenant retention program. That tenant is still with me and the rent increases to $1100 in September.

Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by ken

Posted by ken on July 01, 2007 at 10:52:12:

I would not give a discount if you do they will want more discounts regularly,these things happen and you took care of it.I would charge them whatever it cost me to have the repair man show them how to turn on the electric and air conditioning.I would also let them know they are a pain in the butt and they need to learn how to live without me baby sitting them or find another place to live

Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by michaela-CA

Posted by michaela-CA on July 01, 2007 at 15:00:04:


I have never come across a switched outlet until maybe 2 years ago. I also thought that the outlet wasn’t working and called someone else, who explained it to me. I didn’t know there was such a thing and i’m in the U.S. +25 years. So, it may be a regional thing or only on new houses or whatever.

As to the thermostat, I have a really high iq, yet, I’m unable to handled one of those. I can only deal with increasing and decreasing on 2 buttons :wink:


Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by ski

Posted by ski on July 01, 2007 at 19:03:30:

By the way …it is a water heater, not a hot water heater. This product will heat water.If the water is already hot why bother. At any rate, these people sound like professional renters looking for something for nothing. If they cannot figure how to work a thermostat DUH. Not your problem. My lease says that they pay for the first $75.00. If they are that stupid you have a long lasting relationship.

Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by Rich-CA

Posted by Rich-CA on July 01, 2007 at 16:29:46:

I grew up in CT in a house built in the 1950s. We had switched outlets. I have lived in several places in CA - Orange County, 4 places in Marin County and 2 places in Contra Costa County. I have houses in Phoenix, San Antonio and Colorado Springs. All have switched outlets and were built between 1973 and 2002. And you are the first I have heard of homes without these. It could be regional. It could be the age of the building. I’d just be guessing.

Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by michaela-CA

Posted by michaela-CA on July 01, 2007 at 19:35:54:

THose digitally programmable thermostats can be very difficult for some of us not technically minded. I had a long discussion with my HVAC guy and he told me that many of his customers have problems with them.

So, just because you may have no problem figuring it out, is no reason to be condescending about others, that may have their strengths somewhere else.


Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by michaela-CA

Posted by michaela-CA on July 01, 2007 at 17:21:54:


In the +25 years I’ve been in the U.S. I have lived in:
Fredonia, NY
Atlantic Beach

THe first time I came across a switched outlet was in Atlanta about 2 years ago.


Re: discount rent for broken hot water heater? PA - Posted by ski

Posted by ski on July 07, 2007 at 12:14:32:

Not trying to be condensending. My impression was that it was a regular t’stat, not a programmable type. I also am a state certified HVAC contractor in Florida and will not install the programmable ones unless the customer INSISTS. In the past I did install them but had so many callbacks that I decided not to do it any more.