Submitted by BurntHippie t3_zpfztb in pittsburgh

Hi my father in law (70) has not had heat for over a month. Things have been fine while the weather was warm but with the drop in temp things have gotten really cold in his apartment. He claims they keep telling him they are getting quotes, but it doesn’t seem like they are to me. He also tells me the apartment above him also does not have heat.

He is elderly, on government assistance, and has had multiple transplants. He is very high risk to get complications if he gets sick. My plan is to call the office tomorrow and get them to commit to a date of some kind. But I would also like to file a complaint with the proper people since this has been going on since before thanksgiving.

The apartment is in the turtle creek/ east Pittsburgh area.

Update 12/20/2022 Yesterday I called every agency short of the news and left my messages. My FIL has had multiple visits from different agencies that are going to put pressure on the management. I was also informed by my FIL there is another 70+ person without heat in this building.

Today I went to the management office since they have not returned mine, or my FIL calls. As of December 1st, the building is under new management and the previous management did not disclose the furnace issues during the sell process. There is a furnace company coming out this Friday to fix/repair/replace the furnace. In the meantime, I have provided my FIL an oil heater, and a new heated blanket. It is keeping his living room very warm; I also provided the option to stay at my house until the heat is fixed.

I have spoken briefly with a lawyer, but our wish is to just have his heat fixed. If things are not fixed Friday, I will be speaking with the lawyer again next week.

Once resolved plan on removing all the details and providing all the links provided to me for any others who may have these issues in the future.

THank you all for everything.



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--jawnday-- t1_j0stvx5 wrote

Contact the health department because eff that shit.

No one should go without heat in the winter in Pittsburgh.


WoodpeckerFar9804 t1_j0uualp wrote

For real, it’s going to be 12 degrees for a high on Christmas Eve! Below zero with the windchills!


cfowen t1_j0t7uyl wrote

Tell them you’re going to contact a lawyer and see how quickly they move. This is, in essence, constructive eviction. Landlord is not making the necessary repairs/maintenance to allow the space to be livable. Your FIL could legally withhold rent payments until the situation is completely rectified.

In other words, this is some serious bullshit.


CinciMaybe t1_j0u2h62 wrote

OP, if he'd want to go the withholding rent route, please be sure to do your research. It needs to go into an escrow account to show he's not just not paying. But hopefully it's resolved before his next rent payment is due! I'm so sorry this is happening.


evil_iceburgh t1_j0t3mb2 wrote

I manage property and the correct answer for how long this should take is hours or maybe a day but not weeks. During those hours our tenants get as many space heaters as is necessary to stay warm. If there is a major problem with the building then the landlord should absolutely be making every accommodation they possibly can. Stuff like this is sickening


mikeyHustle t1_j0ue7ek wrote

I was gonna say, I don't love my landlord (company), but when our furnace circuit board died on goddamn New Year's Eve, they answered their emergency line and dropped off two space heaters at least, the same day. Was it enough? Not really. But we didn't freeze.


BurntHippie OP t1_j0ujppy wrote

I totally understand in the current climate of things taking a few weeks to get things scheduled and figured out, but we discussed this at thanksgiving that he didnt have heat for a few weeks then, now its almost 2 months!
He has his own space heater, but the rental company has not provided a time range for repair, or even offered up other solutions.


evil_iceburgh t1_j0uo2o2 wrote

Your outlook is way too patient. This is completely unacceptable in my professional opinion


BurntHippie OP t1_j0uraxv wrote

He was supposed to be calling around, I have been on his case. I just took it upon myself this morning to call the health department and the others listed here.


evil_iceburgh t1_j0uthai wrote

The calling around part is the problem and a big delay. Any halfway professional situation has some guys they know and can call. Even if it is to rig a system up to work temporarily while they wait for a dedicated service to show up they should have people. I’m glad you called the numbers to put some pressure on this guy. I hope you get it sorted soon


dingurth1 t1_j0tabax wrote

They 100% owe some sort of rental reimbursement regardless of what else happens. I'm pretty sure there are legal standards for what habitable means and this isn't it.

Please be aware that temperatures are going to go to the teens by day and hovering above zero at night by next Friday. There's also supposed to be major wind which best case is added wind chill, worst case power outages. Given the lack of action so far I would try to have a plan to get him out of there if necessary.


just_an_ordinary_guy t1_j0u7atc wrote

Wind chill won't affect him indoors, but it absolutely will lead to the apartment temperature being harder to maintain/dropping down to ambient faster, particularly if it's drafty. And as far as reimbursement goes, I've looked into the PA landlord/tenant act before and I don't think there's a provision for that. Unsure if there's anything stricter for Allegheny county.


BurntHippie OP t1_j0uj8tu wrote

Unfortunately, Hes the corner apartment, and also next to the entry way so he is surrounded by cold on 3 sides. We are working things out with family on who can house him, but he has a disability preventing him from doing stairs, so things are not easy.
There is no legally defined reimbursement for these kinds of things, but some landlords will choose to do something extra. I doubt his will unfortanetly.


dingurth1 t1_j0umbm6 wrote

damn, I hate landlord favoring states.

Looks like there may be a couple options. PA does mandate that heating be maintained. If they are unwilling or unable to fix it before next rent is due, definitely look into properly withholding rent, or suing for an appropriate amount since living standards weren't maintained.

I don't get why any landlord or manager would drag this out or play with this issue. If your FIL or another tenant got sick or heaven forbid died, they'd have a much bigger and expensive issue on their hands.


glenn_q t1_j0wxhan wrote

Honest question: Why do you say PA is landlord-favoring? Most often, people don't read their leases and then complain that the justice system is in favor of landlords when they're held to the terms of the lease they signed.

I'm not defending what is happening in OP's situation one bit. Just asking what particularly makes PA landlord-favoring.


dingurth1 t1_j0wyv7p wrote

It seems lawyers agree that PA landlord-tenant laws favor the landlord generally.

Specifically in this case, it should be easy for tenants to recoup rent when something as simple as habitability is jeopardized (ie: the law already states it). Instead it looks like it would have to go to court in almost all circumstances unless you had a great and generous landlord, in order to get compensation. Which is a high bar for most people, meaning by default it benefits the landlord.


glenn_q t1_j0x2co3 wrote

Thank you for that resource. I wonder how they tabulate what tips the scale one way or another to decide landlord or tenant friendly. Like is there more weight given to certain aspects?

I get what you are saying about things needing to go to court. But some bad tenants have also helped to create that situation. Like "I'm not paying rent because the light in my oven is out." It doesn't affect the habitability. Then it takes about 90 days of not paying rent to get an order for possession.

I also understand that landlords generally have better resources and experience when going to court, so I agree with you in that aspect.


lrube t1_j0xkp0m wrote

No the laws are landlord friendly. The rent withholding act in PA requires the apartment be classified as unhabitable by the proper jurisdiction and the renter must make valid payments into an escrow account. The landlord has SIX MONTHS to repair it. While the renter keeps paying and living there. If after 6 months it’s fixed the money goes to the landlord. Even if it took all 6 months.


TwilightontheMoon t1_j0tmxpd wrote

Honestly call the news stations too. I know a friend of a friend going through something similar. I wonder if it’s the same shitty landlord


BurntHippie OP t1_j0ujdpe wrote

He is located in east pittsburgh/turtle creek. He tells me the guy above him also does not have heat, but my main concern is my FIL.


pghreddit t1_j0u0uyt wrote

He should call the Transplant Office, our social workers are amazing and can help.


BurntHippie OP t1_j0ujran wrote

Thats a really great suggestion, as soon as he wakes up today I will have him call them.


BetesBurgh t1_j0yljhc wrote

This is a good comment - I used to work for a transplant related nonprofit and your DO NOT want to get in the way of a transplant social worker on a mission. They move mountains


SmashedPumpkin30 t1_j0swefe wrote

If you cannot afford a space heater for him DM me.


smilingtriathlete t1_j0tzh98 wrote

Also, his transplant social worker might be able to help draft letters if necessary. I'm a transplant social worker and have had to do this for several of my patients over the years.


Lil_Phantoms_Lawyer t1_j0u9k7h wrote

If he needs a warm place to stay for a few days while they hopefully get it fixed, reach out and I'll pay for 2 nights in a hotel for him.


BurntHippie OP t1_j0uk08c wrote

Thank you, we appreciate your offer but I think we should have space somewhere for him at someones house.THank you for your kind heart


sopabe6197 t1_j0ucwaf wrote

Call one of the local news channels. This time of year they will trip over themselves with a story like this. Elderly man living without heat and a week before xmas? Gold ratings.


susinpgh t1_j0u47a5 wrote

If you need a lawyer, check into Neighborhood Legal Services.

There's an office in Pittsburgh. They work on a sliding scale.


ExcellentInevitable t1_j0vv2rb wrote

Yes definitely contact NLSA. They are a free service if you qualify. (Which being on assistance you should)


BurntHippie OP t1_j0uivos wrote

Thank you for the overwhelming support and suggestions.
This morning I have taken the following actions:

- Called the rental management office and left a message.
- Called the AGHD and left a message
- Called the elderly neglict line and entered a report.
- I also called the nearest HUD office and left a message.

I am working with other family members to work out arrangements for somewhere else for him to stay until this is fixed. We have provided him with a space heater earlier this month, but it can only heat so much unfortunately.


lrube t1_j0uxdxh wrote


LurkersWillLurk t1_j0xcadl wrote

Contact the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Consumer Protection office as well


[deleted] t1_j0tgw2f wrote

Try Adult Protective Services.

IMO they will be faster at busting that landlords balls than any other agency.

If worse comes to worst? Call the media, they love plastering scumbags on the news.


queenoftheidiots t1_j0t6r14 wrote

There’s a lot of good info on here. I have always heard of you have a senior, child or disabled person they can’t cut off utilities. I would think it having working heat the same. Call the state senator for this area and start there. They may be able to call a county person or get through to someone quicker than going through the bureaucracy.


AtmoSZN t1_j0t8l8e wrote

Real feel temps are going to dip into the negatives this upcoming weekend so I truly hope that you can figure something out for him ASAP.


BurntHippie OP t1_j0ujwww wrote

Agreed!!! I am taking this on this morning with a burning passion after him calling us late last night freezing. Also working it out with family who can house him for a few days.


just_an_ordinary_guy t1_j0u7ekn wrote

Absolutely get the ACHD on it immediately. What's the temp in the apartment? If it's below 60F it's considered uninhabitable.


Old_Science4946 t1_j0uf1hq wrote

the health department moves quickly for stuff like this, and they were extremely helpful when i had to contact them


Burghflex t1_j0v8o6y wrote

Also be aware space heaters can cause fires. Obviously you need to be warm, just be smart with them.


joy4114 t1_j0u3ghc wrote

Not sure but could contact Allegheny County Agency of Aging. Could assist ?


rae1104 t1_j0tasu5 wrote

This is against his renters rights.


WoodpeckerFar9804 t1_j0uue8r wrote

Can he stay with you until they fix the heat?


BurntHippie OP t1_j0uw3za wrote

Currently battling a cold in our house but I think that may be the plan. My father is also his friend, so I am going to ask him today as well.


WoodpeckerFar9804 t1_j0vcl46 wrote

I hope you feel better! What an awful situation, nobody should be without heat. I hope it works out for him!


Low-Lingonberry2760 t1_j0v3xdf wrote

This is incredibly illegal regardless of the persons age or health status


Kate_Pansy t1_j0w9ym8 wrote

also, put rent in escrow until they fix it


iSoReddit t1_j0tjz9p wrote

Call? I’d be appearing at the office in person demanding something be done


PurpleMong00s3 t1_j0vpcgs wrote

At least it's warm there. Tell them he intends to stay in the office as long as they've got it open


bloomoon1975 t1_j0ugvg8 wrote

Please apply for Liheap. They can potentially help with this. Call 1 877 395 8930. Will need to be with him so he can either speak or give permission dor you to speak. Apply on Compass or we can send app but that takes time.


Correct-Med5992 t1_j0wrteb wrote

Amazon essentials has little space heaters that work wonders. Of course report this landlord to the health department but for the short term, get some space heaters!


sr214 t1_j0wvqse wrote

Call the Area Agency on Aging.


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