Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Getting ready to write


It's finally time to write the landlord, requesting that she invest in repairing the state of insulation in this rental unit. I've done my homework:

-I got the oil delivery volume from the oil company. Simply multiply the oil gallons x $4 and see how expensive heating this home has been, which is becoming a deterant. A single man lived here immediately prior to us, and we're conserving, using a bit less as a family of 3 (sometimes more) than he did
-I supplement my heat with a wood stove, located in the uninsulated, original section of the home. It was an expensive endeavor, which only makes sense if I stay several years and am able to prorate the installation costs over those years
- the furnace was serviced, a faulty zone valve replaced (she covered that luckily)
- I've weather stripped, installed insulating panels as well as draft dodgers in most of the windows/doors
-I've installed 6 ml poly plastic sheething over the worst doors and windows, on the exterior of the window/door
-I installed programable thermostats, dropping the temp to 60 at night or when we are out
-I filled some gaps with spray foam insulation
-at my cost, I had a home energy audit performed and they filled many gaps (they'd need several days to do more)LL was told ahead of time, she had no issue with this, I advised her that a report would be shared with her
-I've received my audit report and have their recommendations, which include photos of the areas of the home that need to be fixed
-I researched any rebate programs, sadly because this is  a rental and not a primary home, they do not apply; she can still deduct any expenses for upkeep on her taxes, however
-I asked the home audit report people to break down the cost for the 3 major repairs that are recommended: 1-reinsulate the attic $4000 (insufficient, improperly installed, damaged from a previous water leak from roof yet not replaced; 2-insulate the crawlspace $1500 (literally falling away from the building, no poly vapor barrier on the ground below, 3-insulate the perimeter of the rim joist of the home $1500  (you've heard of the house of 7 gables? this is the house of many gaps). These are guestimations from this particular company. She may choose to have someone else do the work, to save $. I just wanted to provide an approximation of what these things could cost. Rather than immediately reject a $7000 improvement, she may entertain attacking these issues one year at a time. I can only hope.

I am willing to "work with the LL" but am leary that she may see this as an opportunity to jack up the rent. I am paying what I believe to be a fair price for this place. It's not perfect (outside of the insulation issues)but I am just now getting it to how I want it. I already have formulated a list of what I would like included in the next lease, assuming that we stay here. Things like LL will do annual Fall and Spring landscaping cleanups, annual gutter cleaning. There are numerous "widow makers" aka tree limbs broken off during storms that now hang percariously overhead. Frankly, that should not be my responsibilty and what if someone gets hurt?

I will be factual in my correspondance, sending it certified mail.

 I will state that while I intend to continue renting for several more years, energy consumption in heating this place is an on-going concern. While I won't send an ultimatum, I do want her to know that I am serious and if needed, am willing to move out, find another, better insulated home that will not cost me so much to heat, although my preference is not to move and incur moving expenses (I'd have to hire help this time, probably to the tune of several $1000). The small cottage next door is now up for rent. Former tenant just moved out, after 6 years. I suspect it's a total dump inside. LL's handyman told me that he was asked to paint the place come the end of this week. Once he's in, he can see what else may need attention. LL told him that if he fixes it up, she hopes to get more $ for the place.

Any suggestions? anything I am missing here?


Marcia in rural WNY said...

I cannot think of anything you've missed, but it's a wise move to put her on notice that these things need to be done. You don't get good tenants to stay without offering a decent product, and you're telling her exactly what needs to be done and about how much it would cost--can't think of anything more fair than that. The idea of doing the repairs over a period of time would also help her. She must be able to write off some of those expenses as business costs, and you've saved her the trouble of researching it herself. It all depends on how much she depends on the rentals for income, I suppose. I know many landlords just want to get what they can without spending, but SMART landlords put out enough money to attract good tenants!

CTMOM said...

I failed to mention that I looked up the taxes on this place. Less than 1/2 of my rent pays those, so LL is clearing a nice profit.

sqbdew said...

Iagree with you Carol but I doubt very much that she will spend all of that money to save you money/

CTMOM said...

I have no rose colored glasses on, by any means. If she would agree to at least properly insulate the attic, that would be reason enough for me to stay. I am just weighing my options, having also found another very suitable house that someone bought this Fall and flipped it into a rental. It would also work well for me.

Pamela said...

I'm glad you're also looking at alternative rental arrangements. It's important to do that. You just never know.