Neighbour keeps turning the heating off

51 posts in this topic

9 hours ago, tor said:

Also, is it possible to call the heating repair man, have him turn the heat back on each time, and have the bill sent to the Landlady? 

No. The landlady has a right to pick a repairman herself. If I had this problem I´d write a letter to the guy to notify him that he has to live with having to pay a little bit more and that I´ll take him to court if he doesn´t stop turning off the heating. Plus I´d charge him for the extra electricity it takes to heat my apartment using electricity - which will be more expensive for him than any saving he can hope for by turning off the heating.

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6 hours ago, jeba said:

No. The landlady has a right to pick a repairman herself. If I had this problem I´d write a letter to the guy to notify him that he has to live with having to pay a little bit more and that I´ll take him to court if he doesn´t stop turning off the heating. Plus I´d charge him for the extra electricity it takes to heat my apartment using electricity - which will be more expensive for him than any saving he can hope for by turning off the heating.

 

How can the guy in Flat A charge the guy in Flat B for the extra electricity?  

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53 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

 

How can the guy in Flat A charge the guy in Flat B for the extra electricity?  

By sueing for damage compensation.

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And just how can the guy in flat  A calculate the extra power used to heat the apartment and not charge for the power that the new  mega huge aircon unit used in the summer?  

 

next question to the other forum users...   

 

Why am I engaging with another TT troll?

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19 hours ago, dotinwiesbaden said:

...they (and their Hausmeister) should lock the room and hang on to the key where the boiler is...

Yes.

 

Our Viessmann was behind a heavy metal door so it would not surprise me if that was there to comply with a German rule... norms and all that... it was some door, like what you'd expect in an atomic shelter. Cannot imagine that unauthorised persons would be allowed access to a boiler room if this is standard.

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On 1/6/2021, 2:25:47, innfield said:

My wife and I live in Hofheim, near Frankfurt, in a converted house that consists of four apartments; one in the cellar and one on each of the three floors. All share common heating, via a great orange contraption that lives in the cellar and looks fairly new. Radiators in the flats are the flat type with little meters on the front of them, and they have the usual thermostat.

 

I lived for a good while in an apartment building in Bingen with a similar setup.  Heating became a major issue there, somewhat similar to what you have described.  We paid individually for the energy we used, but there was also a shared “building heat” charge based on how much total energy the boiler used.  The gas-fired boiler sat in the cellar, accessible to all.  Its run-state was programmable, but it had a manual on/off override.

 

For us, the problem was not one person - it was everyone else.  3 of the apartments were occupied by single people - a baker, a nurse, an ambulance driver - all of whom worked graveyard shifts.  For them, active time was during the night and through to mid-morning, but for us (a family of three with a small child) active time was during the day and early evening.

 

So, the other tenants wanted the heating system to be active while we were gone or sleeping, and shut off while we were home and awake, because that was what matched their schedules.  It turned into a small-scale war between us and the other tenants.  It started out stealthy, with someone reprogramming the timer.  We would get it changed back when we realized that the apartment was 15C at dinner time, and then the timer would again be reprogrammed back to accommodate the other tenants.  This went on for a while, until I taught myself to program the timer.

 

At that point at least one of the other tenants started using the manual override to control the heating system, and then so did I so we could have heat, which basically meant the system was almost always on.   Everyone started lodging complaints with the property manager, but she ignored the issue. 

 

The final straw was when the ambulance driver, a heavy smoker/drinker, went on disability for 3 months, and got a heating specialist drinking buddy of his to reprogram the system to exactly match his always-at-home disability schedule (up all night smoking and drinking with the windows open and heat set to maximum, passed out all day with the heat completely switched off), with the system set so that it could not be reprogrammed without a passcode, and with the override locked out.

 

Finally after numerous complaints and threats to withhold rent the property manager paid another heating guy to come in and reset the system and enable a lock-out that could only be modified by the property manager.  The property manager’s solution was to put a heating schedule in place that satisfied no one.  Within a relatively short time, two of the three other tenants moved out, and the remaining guy bought a space heater.  Eventually people with more “normal” schedules moved in, and the system was reset to accommodate a “normal” schedule.

 

Where I live now, we have central heating for an entire complex of buildings, but there is only a very small shared building cost that does not vary  (unless energy prices change).  During the heating season, each apartment can control its own heat.  So, we don’t have these kinds of issues.

 

The only advice I can give you is to complain to whoever manages the property, regardless of their personal circumstance.  Your neighbor must be, and can be, stopped from doing this, but only if you take the necessary steps.  Unfortunately as my story shows, the solution may not be what you want, so keep that in mind as you consider your options.

 

EDIT:  Something I found interesting was that because of all the documented complaints, the two tenants who moved out were able to do so without giving the standard 3-month notice.

 

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28 minutes ago, Space Cowboy said:

Finally after numerous complaints and threats to withhold rent the property manager paid another heating guy to come in and reset the system and enable a lock-out that could only be modified by the property manager.  The property manager’s solution was to put a heating schedule in place that satisfied no one.  Within a relatively short time, two of the three other tenants moved out, and the remaining guy bought a space heater.  Eventually people with more “normal” schedules moved in, and the system was reset to accommodate a “normal” schedule.

 

That sure was a mess.  Did you not have your own radiators in your apartments?  As long as you did, I wouldn't see a problem keeping the heat on because if you don't want it, turn your own radiators to * and if you do want it, set them to 3 or whatever.  You can even get programmable radiator valves to set to your schedule.

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6 minutes ago, LeonG said:

 

That sure was a mess.  Did you not have your own radiators in your apartments?  As long as you did, I wouldn't see a problem keeping the heat on because if you don't want it, turn your own radiators to * and if you do want it, set them to 3 or whatever.  You can even get programmable radiator valves to set to your schedule.

 

Sure.  That is what I do in my current place, and we all did that in my previous place.  But as I pointed out, in the previous place everyone paid an additional variable fee for overall energy usage of the boiler.  The more the boiler runs, the higher that cost is for each tenant.  That is what my neighbors were trying to control, and that appears to be the same thing the OP’s neighbor is trying to do.

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Just now, Space Cowboy said:

 

Sure.  That is what I do in my current place.  But as I pointed out, in the previous place everyone paid an additional variable fee for overall energy usage of the boiler.  The more the boiler runs, the higher that cost is for each tenant.  That is what my neighbors were trying to control, and that appears to be the same thing the OP’s neighbor is trying to do.

 

Yes, there is normally a 50/50 or 70/30 split between heat you use vs. your area of the total so you do pay more if one of your neighbours overheats their apartment.  However, if you turn off the overheaters heat because you are not home or you are sleeping, you still can't stop them from setting all their radiators to 5 when you have the heat on to make sure they will have residual heat during the hours they are home and awake.  Or you do what the OP's neighbour is doing and turn it off entirely so nobody has heat.

 

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1 minute ago, LeonG said:

 

Yes, there is normally a 50/50 or 70/30 split between heat you use vs. your area of the total so you do pay more if one of your neighbours overheats their apartment.  However, if you turn off the overheaters heat because you are not home or you are sleeping, you still can't stop them from setting all their radiators to 5 when you have the heat on to make sure they will have residual heat during the hours they are home and awake.  Or you do what the OP's neighbour is doing and turn it off entirely so nobody has heat.

 

 

The building I lived in in Bingen is one of those crappy late 50s/early 60s buildings with no insulation and windows/doors that leak like mad (although not enough to prevent mold).  No such thing as residual heat in that place.  If the heat was off, the temperature would drop to an uncomfortable level within less than an hour.

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What the man is doing could be considered harassment and you might want to consider talking to the Police who may talk to the man. 

What he is doing is also creating more costs as every time it is switched back on again it is using more energy to get the temperature back up to what it should be. 

 

6 hours ago, optimista said:

Our Viessmann was behind a heavy metal door so it would not surprise me if that was there to comply with a German rule... norms and all that... it was some door, like what you'd expect in an atomic shelter. Cannot imagine that unauthorised persons would be allowed access to a boiler room if this is standard.

Unfortunately in different buildings there are different systems. In some places it will be locked up in other places it isn't. Seems a bit dangerous to me for it to be just open/unlocked. Anybody with a key to the building could get in there, vandalise and/or remove parts to sell, let alone switch it on and off at will. Maybe the building itself isn't even locked. :rolleyes: 

In larger buildings I guess it is always locked and a caretaker deals with it. Smaller blocks though, like the OP's, may have other, somewhat flimsier arrangements. :rolleyes: 

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What, no building regulations for boiler rooms... in Germany ??

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On 06/01/2021, 20:27:38, optimista said:

Spider! Spider! Spider! Go!!!

That great orange contraption sounds like a VIESSMANN... German reliability. Loved ours.

The kind man on the ground floor sounds like he has a mental issue. Wonder if you could pursue that avenue if all else fails... cease & desist letter from a lawyer? (Hope you have Rechtschutz.)

 

It is indeed a Viessmann ... went downstairs to the dungeon it lives in to have a look. Yes, the bloke (not unlike a sort of German Trump if you want something to compare him to) and his poor cowering missus on the ground floor (I'm sure he probably bullies her) guards it fiercely. Every time he turns it off, I turn it back on again. And so we go on., Clearly, though, some sort of remedy must be found. Thanks for your suggestions.

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On 06/01/2021, 17:27:53, jeba said:

It does because only part of the heating costs will be appropriatedin proportion to usage. But he has to live with that?

There are lots of court rulings on what temperature you´re entitled to achieve with your heating and during which hours. The Mieterverein will know them. Sometimes it´s even stipulated in the lease contract. You might want to check yours.

 

My wife, who deals with the contract and the landlady (only because it's easier that way, as she is German) said something about 20 degrees. We'll look into that; thanks for your input

 

On 06/01/2021, 17:27:53, jeba said:
On 06/01/2021, 20:27:38, optimista said:

Spider! Spider! Spider! Go!!!

That great orange contraption sounds like a VIESSMANN... German reliability. Loved ours.

The kind man on the ground floor sounds like he has a mental issue. Wonder if you could pursue that avenue if all else fails... cease & desist letter from a lawyer? (Hope you have Rechtschutz.)

 

It is indeed a Viessmann ... went downstairs to the dungeon it lives in to have a look. Yes, the bloke (not unlike a sort of German Trump if you want something to compare him to) and his poor cowering missus on the ground floor (I'm sure he probably bullies her) guards it fiercely. Every time he turns it off, I turn it back on again. And so we go on., Clearly, though, some sort of remedy must be found. Thanks for your suggestions.

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On 07/01/2021, 12:19:49, alderhill said:

The central boilers for smaller apartment blocks (or larger, or whatever) are usually on by default. If it's gas or oil, he is presumably turning off the pilot light and thus minimum temp of the boiler, or keeping it off entirely at certain times. Most modern ones have timers to keep it efficient during low use times anyway, perhaps he's adjusted that  

 

What he is doing might save some money, but it's small potatoes, penny wise, pound foolish. And on whose authority has he fiddled with the timers or other controls?? Is your wife German? Do any of your neighbours speak a tiny bit of English at least? 

 

You need to contact the owner, and get the other tenants involved. Heart operation or no, she's the easiest way to put the self-appointed boiler commandant in check, as she must do. As already mentioned. Joining the local Mieterverein is also a good idea, because this may be a long process.

 

I recall a winter once when I was a teenager (in Canada) when our old boiler broke down and needed replacement. All told, it was some weeks before we got the new one in (which required a safety inspection appointment and sign-off, too). We baked lots so we could put the oven on, and were dressed like Inca or Greek royalty during the time, wool blankets and cloaks galore.

 

Hello Alderhill, and thanks for your reply. All I know about it is that it's clearly quite a newish/modern one. It lives in the keller, and you have to get past it in order to get to the little storage units in the basement. It normally sits there mumbling quietly to itself, even in the summer - so I guess it must be doing something. I don't know, unfortunately, what it runs on, but next time I see the landlady I'll ask her.

 

I know he has fiddled with the programming in some way, although there has been a slight improvement in the last week inasmuch as the heaters in our apartment now function whever you want them to, and don't go off at random times. When I took issue once with the turkey on the ground floor, although he doesn't speak to me - and will not acknowledge a friendly/polite greeting, even - on that one occasion he rubbed his fingers together like Fagin and said 'Money, money, money!'

 

My wife is German, yes, and she's all set to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in, but I've told her to stay cool until we know we're on solid legal ground. Several people have mentioned the Mieterverein, and it may be that this is the way to go. I know that our lease agreement talks about 20 degrees minimum in the flat during the winter.

 

My wife, normally the sweetest and most inoffensive woman, has blood in her eye over this bloke downstairs and is all set to wade into him, but of course this will solve nothing.

 

 

On 07/01/2021, 12:19:49, alderhill said:
On 06/01/2021, 17:27:53, jeba said:

It does because only part of the heating costs will be appropriatedin proportion to usage. But he has to live with that?

There are lots of court rulings on what temperature you´re entitled to achieve with your heating and during which hours. The Mieterverein will know them. Sometimes it´s even stipulated in the lease contract. You might want to check yours.

 

My wife, who deals with the contract and the landlady (only because it's easier that way, as she is German) said something about 20 degrees. We'll look into that; thanks for your input

 

Quote
On 06/01/2021, 20:27:38, optimista said:

Spider! Spider! Spider! Go!!!

That great orange contraption sounds like a VIESSMANN... German reliability. Loved ours.

The kind man on the ground floor sounds like he has a mental issue. Wonder if you could pursue that avenue if all else fails... cease & desist letter from a lawyer? (Hope you have Rechtschutz.)

 

It is indeed a Viessmann ... went downstairs to the dungeon it lives in to have a look. Yes, the bloke (not unlike a sort of German Trump if you want something to compare him to) and his poor cowering missus on the ground floor (I'm sure he probably bullies her) guards it fiercely. Every time he turns it off, I turn it back on again. And so we go on., Clearly, though, some sort of remedy must be found. Thanks for your suggestions.

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On 09/01/2021, 17:20:56, Space Cowboy said:

 

The building I lived in in Bingen is one of those crappy late 50s/early 60s buildings with no insulation and windows/doors that leak like mad (although not enough to prevent mold).  No such thing as residual heat in that place.  If the heat was off, the temperature would drop to an uncomfortable level within less than an hour.

 

That's the situation we have here - cobbled-together ersatz 1960s built-to-let small apartment house with just four flats in it, and although it's not on the river, as you would have been in Bingen, for some unaccountable reason it does get cold very fast. We have the dachsgeschoss flat, with a huge wooden attic, and so it's a furnace in the summer and a fridge in winter, as all the area of the attic acts on the apartment and the temperature there is basically what we have in the flat too, with or without heating. It was intolerably hot - basically almost unlivably so - during the hitzewelle we had last September at the end of the summer. 

 

The considered wisdom on here leans towards the Mieterverein, so we will probably do that and just maintain the status quo until then. But it's so damn unpleasant - he really is a pig of a man.

 

Thanks for your contribution. Good to have heard from you.

 

On 09/01/2021, 17:20:56, Space Cowboy said:

On 07/01/2021, 12:19:49, alderhill said:

The central boilers for smaller apartment blocks (or larger, or whatever) are usually on by default. If it's gas or oil, he is presumably turning off the pilot light and thus minimum temp of the boiler, or keeping it off entirely at certain times. Most modern ones have timers to keep it efficient during low use times anyway, perhaps he's adjusted that  

 

What he is doing might save some money, but it's small potatoes, penny wise, pound foolish. And on whose authority has he fiddled with the timers or other controls?? Is your wife German? Do any of your neighbours speak a tiny bit of English at least? 

 

You need to contact the owner, and get the other tenants involved. Heart operation or no, she's the easiest way to put the self-appointed boiler commandant in check, as she must do. As already mentioned. Joining the local Mieterverein is also a good idea, because this may be a long process.

 

I recall a winter once when I was a teenager (in Canada) when our old boiler broke down and needed replacement. All told, it was some weeks before we got the new one in (which required a safety inspection appointment and sign-off, too). We baked lots so we could put the oven on, and were dressed like Inca or Greek royalty during the time, wool blankets and cloaks galore.

 

Hello Alderhill, and thanks for your reply. All I know about it is that it's clearly quite a newish/modern one. It lives in the keller, and you have to get past it in order to get to the little storage units in the basement. It normally sits there mumbling quietly to itself, even in the summer - so I guess it must be doing something. I don't know, unfortunately, what it runs on, but next time I see the landlady I'll ask her.

 

I know he has fiddled with the programming in some way, although there has been a slight improvement in the last week inasmuch as the heaters in our apartment now function whever you want them to, and don't go off at random times. When I took issue once with the turkey on the ground floor, although he doesn't speak to me - and will not acknowledge a friendly/polite greeting, even - on that one occasion he rubbed his fingers together like Fagin and said 'Money, money, money!'

 

My wife is German, yes, and she's all set to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in, but I've told her to stay cool until we know we're on solid legal ground. Several people have mentioned the Mieterverein, and it may be that this is the way to go. I know that our lease agreement talks about 20 degrees minimum in the flat during the winter.

 

My wife, normally the sweetest and most inoffensive woman, has blood in her eye over this bloke downstairs and is all set to wade into him, but of course this will solve nothing.

 

 

Quote
On 06/01/2021, 17:27:53, jeba said:

It does because only part of the heating costs will be appropriatedin proportion to usage. But he has to live with that?

There are lots of court rulings on what temperature you´re entitled to achieve with your heating and during which hours. The Mieterverein will know them. Sometimes it´s even stipulated in the lease contract. You might want to check yours.

 

My wife, who deals with the contract and the landlady (only because it's easier that way, as she is German) said something about 20 degrees. We'll look into that; thanks for your input

 

Quote
On 06/01/2021, 20:27:38, optimista said:

Spider! Spider! Spider! Go!!!

That great orange contraption sounds like a VIESSMANN... German reliability. Loved ours.

The kind man on the ground floor sounds like he has a mental issue. Wonder if you could pursue that avenue if all else fails... cease & desist letter from a lawyer? (Hope you have Rechtschutz.)

 

It is indeed a Viessmann ... went downstairs to the dungeon it lives in to have a look. Yes, the bloke (not unlike a sort of German Trump if you want something to compare him to) and his poor cowering missus on the ground floor (I'm sure he probably bullies her) guards it fiercely. Every time he turns it off, I turn it back on again. And so we go on., Clearly, though, some sort of remedy must be found. Thanks for your suggestions.

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27 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

 

Have you tried any?

 

Well, the latest is that my wife (the contract is in her name) is planning to hook up with the Mieterverein - although for the past week there has been a new development, in that the heating has been working whenever we turn it on. I doubt whether much will happen before the summer, which means we will have time before winter comes again to get advice from the mieterverein, sit round a table with the landlady and work out some kind of compromise, or whatever suggests itself in the meantime. I am reluctant to make this guy more of a problem than he already is by an opene confrontation, so that's how things stand at present.

Best wishes

 

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@innfield

Have you actually joined the Mieterverein yet? Your German wife should have known to join as soon as you started renting!  They can give best advice, lawyer letter to other tenant and landlord about this.

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