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Old 08.02.2012, 07:59
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No heating or hot water

Hi all, we rent an apartment that is not the cheapest in the world and we have had no heating since Friday / Saturday and the underfloor heating has lost any vestiges of warmth and it is now cold in our apartment. The regie (EPM management, if you're unlucky enough to be involved with them) has sent round a couple of engineers but they cannot seem to resolve the problem. It seems to only effect us (and yes, we have paid our bills!).

The apartment complex is only four years old or so, so I suppose the boiler must be new too.

What can we do in this situation? My kids both woke up last night because they were cold. My wife has just come back off a long business trip and she can't even have a shower. What rights do we have of recompense? It seems like we're paying a awful lot in rent and we're living like squatters.
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Old 08.02.2012, 08:18
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Re: No heating or hot water

You have the right to a reduction in rent - this will be decided on a case-by-case basis according to the severity of the problem. Normally it will be something like 5-20% if the apartment is simply underheated by a few degrees in winter (normal temperature is taken to be 20-21 degrees); up to 50% if the apartment is severely underheated and has no hot water; and there are even cases of 100% if the house is totally unlivable due to a heating breakdown (note: this only applies if you actually do move out. If you stay on, however uncomfortably, they can make the case that 'see, it wasn't unlivable after all!')

Whatever reduction you get will be backdated from the time you officially notified the agency that there was a problem - so send them a registered letter today if you haven't already.

The renters' association ASLOCA can advise you further (are you already a member? If not it's worth becoming one.)
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Old 08.02.2012, 09:13
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Re: No heating or hot water

Lots of folks experiencing problems with heat & water, real shame...My sister in law lives in a house that is nearly 5 centuries old, imagine the problems she's encountered with pipes buried in the walls

I had this discussion with my father in law trying to understand why so many are having problems in a country that is pretty advanced for a great number of things relating to a home...I realize these temps aren't common but can they really be that rare?...In Chicago, I never remotely had a problem when it was even -50

Seems strange to me but then again he lives in a tiny village and they haven't had a problem either...Says newer construction (Inside of the last 30 years) doesn't have this problem although the OP sounds like their unit is quite new - poor construction quality?
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Old 08.02.2012, 09:42
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Re: No heating or hot water

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Hi all, we rent an apartment that is not the cheapest in the world and we have had no heating since Friday / Saturday and the underfloor heating has lost any vestiges of warmth and it is now cold in our apartment. The regie (EPM management, if you're unlucky enough to be involved with them) has sent round a couple of engineers but they cannot seem to resolve the problem. It seems to only effect us (and yes, we have paid our bills!).

The apartment complex is only four years old or so, so I suppose the boiler must be new too.

What can we do in this situation? My kids both woke up last night because they were cold. My wife has just come back off a long business trip and she can't even have a shower. What rights do we have of recompense? It seems like we're paying a awful lot in rent and we're living like squatters.
Don't tell us - tell the regie again and again - phone them every hour. Threaten to move into their offices until it's fixed.

This is deadly serious in the current weather and 100% unacceptable. Make a nuisance of yourself until it is fixed - today.

And what of your neighbours? If they are silent, they could have already frozen to death...
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Old 08.02.2012, 09:49
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Re: No heating or hot water

They have fixed it after a lot of shouting on my part. There are mainly businesses around us and they have complained as well...especially the gynaecologist downstairs - heating is important to them!

Now going to try and get some reduction (as this hasn't been the first time). Thanks for the ASLOCA link - will follow that up today.

Still pretty angry about the whole situation here.
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Old 08.02.2012, 09:50
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Re: No heating or hot water

Tell them you'll move to a hotel at their expense until it's fixed.


oops, too late.
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Old 08.02.2012, 09:54
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Re: No heating or hot water

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I had this discussion with my father in law trying to understand why so many are having problems in a country that is pretty advanced for a great number of things relating to a home...I realize these temps aren't common but can they really be that rare?...In Chicago, I never remotely had a problem when it was even -50
They are pretty rare, yes. Can't speak for Vaud but the small lakes around Zürich are freezing over and starting to be opened for skating (Horgener Bergweiher this afternoon, Pfäffikersee and others predicted by the weekend) and the last time that happened was in 2006.

It's like not owning a pickup truck. You know that sooner or later you will want to move furniture, but once every five years isn't enough to justify owning, maintaining and filling it up in the meantime. So you don't buy one, and once every five years you rent, call in a favor, or manage some other way.

Same with boilers... should they be sized big enough to cope with the sort of temperatures you might get once in five years? once in fifteen years? the cold snap of the century?

I feel for the OP though. Imagine cold showers in a cold apartment, on a day like this. Shudder.

edit: just seen the post above. Congratulations mrshev, now off you go and have a long hot shower! I don't want to see you back on line for at least 45 minutes, do you hear me? The ASLOCA will still be there this afternoon.
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Last edited by MathNut; 09.02.2012 at 08:18. Reason: oops, got my dates wrong.
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Old 08.02.2012, 10:31
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Re: No heating or hot water

To put more pressure you can pay the rent into a "Sperrkonto" (blocked account) and just send the agency the documented payments. You will have to advise this before to the agency.
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Old 08.02.2012, 10:48
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Re: No heating or hot water

...and off it goes again. Mid way through shower.
((
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Old 08.02.2012, 10:55
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Re: No heating or hot water

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...and off it goes again. Mid way through shower.
((
For emergencies, you might want to consider the oil filled electric heater(available at Jumbo etc.) I bought one for 80CHF. Pretty good.
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Old 08.02.2012, 11:49
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Re: No heating or hot water

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...and off it goes again. Mid way through shower.
((
So I guess now it's time for post 6
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Old 08.02.2012, 13:11
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Re: No heating or hot water

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. What rights do we have of recompense? It seems like we're paying a awful lot in rent and we're living like squatters.
What - you mean to tell me expensive things break down as well?

I think you should sue.
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Old 08.02.2012, 20:59
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Re: No heating or hot water

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...and off it goes again. Mid way through shower.
((
If you have a bathtub, do it the old fashioned way - heat some pots of water on the stove and have a nice soak in the hot water. Also, maybe take some other pages from the centuries old heating solutions and stick a few rocks in the oven to warm, then put them in at the foot of the bed to warm it up for a little bit before bedtime.

Barring that, if your oven is anything like mine (and it is really miserable), turn it on a low temp and "camp out" in the kitchen for a while. The heat coming from my oven makes it miserable to use in the summer but a definite joy in the winter.

Good luck to you, hopefully it is fixed soon!

(Also, from the "out in the sticks" suggestions about keeping things going, maybe when it is fixed again, turn your taps so that they're all slowly dripping just a tiny bit, this will help keep the water moving through the pipes, making it less likely to freeze up - perhaps this is the problem)
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Old 09.02.2012, 08:17
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Re: No heating or hot water

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Barring that, if your oven is anything like mine (and it is really miserable), turn it on a low temp and "camp out" in the kitchen for a while. The heat coming from my oven makes it miserable to use in the summer but a definite joy in the winter.
Mm... good suggestion but not if you have a gas oven! They don't seem to be the norm here but there are still a few around so probably worth mentioning just to be on the safe side.
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