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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    11

    Question Roommates Turned of Heat to Save Money

    I live in New Jersey and i will be moving out in a month anyway, but i currently rent month to month under a verbal agreement with the leaseholders of the apt. My rental fee includes all utilities.

    today, my roommates told me to save on gas/electric bills they are shutting off the gas heat, and using space heaters in their bedrooms and in the living room.
    They then proceeded to hand me a six inch box space heater.

    is this legal?

    oh, i also find it hilarious that they are complaining of high gas/electric costs, and deny me heat because they "cant afford it" but just today they purchased a 52 inch lcd tv.

    i know in NY state if the landlord offers heat it has to be at least 60 degrees at all times from october through march. but does this apply to roommates who pay for their own heat?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Roommates Turned of Heat to Save Money

    As is explained here,
    Quote Quoting Heat requirements
    If your lease requires the landlord to provide heat, the landlord must give you the amount of heat required by the state codes and the local town or city ordinance. Under the state housing codes, from October 1 to May 1, the landlord must provide enough heat so that the temperature in the apartment is at least 68 degrees from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., the temperature in the apartment must be at least 65 degrees. Cite: N.J.A.C. 5:10-14 et seq. and N.J.A.C. 5:28-1.12(m). Local health codes cover parts of the year not covered by housing codes.

    The housing inspector or board of health in your town enforces the heat requirements in the state and local codes. Larger cities have special no-heat hotlines that are set up especially to handle complaints. The inspector can file a complaint in court on your behalf, or you can file your own complaint. The landlord must then appear in court and explain why he or she is not providing heat. The court can impose stiff penalties, including fines or jail sentences.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Roommates Turned of Heat to Save Money

    the landlord of the apt does not include utilities. i rent a room from two tenants who are on the lease. does that make them my lanlords?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Roommates Turned of Heat to Save Money

    You say you have an agreement with the leaseholders.

    That makes them your landlords.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Roommates Turned of Heat to Save Money

    thanks, once i explained my right to heat, and explained that i would be calling the cities health dept if a reasonable temperature isnt met throughout the house, they did put the heat on, to 63 degrees. which is fine by me, im easy to please.

    Though i already wrote another post, now they are trying to change our original rental agreement, to limit my guests, as well as demanding me to write them a check for possible damages to the apt (as i have used security deposit for rent) I know i didnt have to give them a check for this but they threatened to immediately remove me from the apt. so, i wrote a check, and then stop-ordered it. i have no problem paying for possible damages (though there arent any) but i think its unfair and illegal for them to bully me into writing them a check because theyre unhappy that i requested heat in the apt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Roommates Turned of Heat to Save Money

    they threatened to immediately remove me from the apt.

    "Self help" evictions are illegal
    in New Jersey, and are now actually a criminal offense.

    You ought to read this while you're over there.



    but i think its unfair and illegal for them to bully me into writing them a check because theyre unhappy that i requested heat in the apt.
    It is, in fact, both.

    The law says that the landlord must provide heat. It's also too late for them to change the terms of the lease (verbal agreements are still leases). If they don't like it, they need to get out of the landlord business.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Roommates Turned of Heat to Save Money

    thank you, now i know for sure i can call the police. i have written threats in email. Thanks Missy!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    11

    Smile Re: Roommates Turned of Heat to Save Money

    Just wanted to update, since i dont see much "happy stories" on here, of my experiences tonight:

    I had an officer come by the house tonight, he listened to everything(things i posted here and more), sided with me on everything, stated numerous times that i was right on every instance. then told me if/when they threaten me with ANYTHING, rent increase, locking me out, forcing out visitors, cashing that check they forced me to write, he said tell them "no, i will not do that, take me to court, or call the police" he said if they give any argument or fight after that to immediately call the local police. someone will come by, explain everything to them and make possible necessary legal violations.
    should anything escalate past basic conversation of "pay this" then, "no take me to court" end of story, that i am to call the police, and ask for an officer to come by because of domestic violence in the form of harassment by a household member. In NJ because i share housing with my roommates i am a household member, and bany written email harassment and any spoken harassment can be acted upon. An officer will come speak to me, speak to them and promptly arrest them. then, after harassment is filed (and he said it this exact way) i could be a "horrendous bitch" and file a restraining order, and get to live in this lovely apartment alll alone until march first. these are his exact words, i loved him. my very favorite police officer ever.

    as far as my BF, the officer states he has a right to be here ANYTIME i invite him, for as long as I do not ask him to leave. the office said that he can be asked by my roommates to leave, and he is to say "no, i am an invited houseguest of a paying tenant, i will stay as long as she wants me to be here." if they protest he or i can call the police immediately. my roommates can even call the police to have him removed, and the officer said that they will ask him to leave, he is to say no, i am an invited guest of a paying tenant, and the officer will explain to my roommates that he has every legal right to be here, he can leave voluntarily but cannot be forced out.

    thank you helpful forum people. i am very much sure there will be further issues based upon my roommates past behaviors, but i'm glad that i know my rights and you all pointed me in the right direction.

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