Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rankled

We've been getting this bill for the past few months. It's for a rented water heater in one of our units. We've owned the property for almost 6 years and this is the first we've heard of it. Apparently the previous owner leased a water heater for one of the units but didn't tell us, then when he moved and we found a tenant for his apartment, she paid the bill for the last 5 years! According to the notarized papers from the purchase, all the heating equipment belonged to the owner. That means that according to my documents, the water heater is mine. We are receiving a bill because apparently when the bill is not paid, it falls to the current owner of the building to pay it. So I call to see if we can somehow find a solution for this. Serge had already called twice, the first time was told it was a mistake, the second time was told it'd be $287 to close the contract. (about the price of a new water heater.) I told him I'd call this time since we keep receiving bills.

I got so mad I hung up on the girl. She kept talking in circles, "this is how it works" she kept saying. She wants to send an inspector over to the building to verify that it is their water heater. I kept saying, legally, it doesn't seem like you can pin any kind of responsibility to me. Who did you sign the contract with, I asked her. "That doesn't matter sir, if it is our heater, you will have to go after the notary who was supposed to verify this." I told her that Gosh that sounded like I have to do some work and all I have is your word that "possibly" the water heater (installed 7 years ago) is yours. Sounds like you don't have a legal leg to stand on to me. The most telling moment came when she said, "Sir, it's not fair that you get to keep a water heater sold on a rental contract." AHA! That pretty much tipped her hand. "Not fair" and "illegal" are vastly different things. But I was reasonable and kept saying, let's find a solution, let's come up with a dollar amount and then we can both be done with this. The third time she said, "That's not how it works" I told her I was done talking to them and I'll wait for a court order giving them the right to enter the premises. And then I hung up as she pleaded something. It kind of ruined my day as I was so infuriated. We're not the first this has happened to, they did a show on this very thing a year ago. If you want a little french lesson, you can see more here.

23 comments:

CoffeeDog said...

I'd stop paying, that'll teach them! Or better yet, I'd get a new HW heater installed and leave theirs on the street, and call them to come get it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I was going to suggest yu take it to the rental center and leave it but out on the curb might work. I once made the mistake of buying a TV on a rent-to-own basis. It was a 300 dollar TV but after I was done paying the weekly payments I had paid 1400 dollars for it. Never agian! If it is over 7 years old a new would be quite an improvement. More energy efficent and less calcium build up inside. Ed

Brice said...

That would drive me absolutely batty. Hanging up is the mature, responsible way. Good job, now don't waver!

Snooze said...

It's good you questioned it. I would have paid the bill without even thinking about it.

tornwordo said...

Snooze, the bill is "forever". They want me to pay $8 a month with no end, ever.

Lemuel said...

My approach would be very similar to CoffeeDog - somehow telling them "I did not sign the contract. Come get YOUR [French expletive deleted here] WH. It is not mine. It is yours." And then I would have one of my own (purchased, not rented) installed.

There are so many scams being played on so many unsuspecting people these days: rent to own, buy outs of structured annuities, etc. People get suckered in by the sweet talk and fail to know they are trapped.

Good luck. I hope you are able to get them in the end. [play on words intended.]

delsolranger said...

How bizzare. Who would rent a water heater?

bardelf said...

I would definitely take it out and call them to come and get 'their' damn waterheater. I'd buy a new one and install it (pretty simple to do). Be done with these idiots, torn!

Chicken said...

Ooh, what Coffeedog said.

Don't you hate it when people talk in circles? They are really just trying to get around the fact that they are hiding something, or have nothing to say.

How do you say "Bite me" in French?

RoxRocks said...

I'm with everyone who said rip that thing out of there, get a new one and tell the rental company to shove it. Do it. It will make me feel better if you do.

GayProf said...

I didn't even know one could rent a water heater. It seems a bit like renting a faucet or a toilet.

Lewis said...

Holy smokes, it doesn't sound good. What else do they rent? I'd get rid of it and move on to something new. Too much tension and stress....must be reduced!

lattégirl said...

Crisse! Colisse! No French lesson needed here... gang de cons! I know how nasty those kinds of convos can be... I have them all the time with Hell Canada.

PS: Hey, dude I am coming into town the weekend of Feb. 14.

Can I meet up up with you and Serge? Can you refuse me? I think not.

I need to... oh, just go to my blog to see my agenda.

TJ said...

Ah the joys of being landlords. This is exactly why we pay a real estate agent to manage our properties. We don't want to deal with the everyday ins and outs of things. The only time we get a note is when the management team needs to spend a sum over $250, otherwise they take care of all other issues. I hope you can get this resolved. I feel the same as the others in telling the rental people to come pick it up or place it on their door step and be done with it. Also like the others, who the hell rents a water heater? I mean I surely wouldn't be a renter and move into some place that didn't provide a water heater. I'm just sayin'. Good Luck!

jali said...

If they previous building owner paid only $10 per month to rent the stupid water heater that's $120per year times 7 years. That thing has been paid for over and over.

David said...

I'm not sure I even understand all of this, but I think I would have hung up on her, too.

Mark in DE said...

Just what you need to sour your day. Sorry.

Mark :-)

Snooze said...

Yeah, I completely see your point and that you're in the right, but I never would have even thought to question it. They so could have taken advantage of me.

Dantallion said...

I know them well because of my work.

At 7 years, that heater is nearing the end of it's regular service life. Ideally, you'll probably want to change it out in the next couple of years. Disentangle yourself from them if at all possible.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

What an odd legal quandary.

Where do they get their balls?

A seven-year-old water heater contracted by another party should cost YOU almost 300?

WTF?

christopherc said...

I think the proper next step is to talk to the supervisor/manager of this sham. Your argument should now be that this is an inefficient model of water heater that is casting you $10 a month more to operate than it should, and as a rental company it is their obligation to maintain and exchange their equipment in such a fashion that it operates as efficiently as possible. You expect them to start paying you $2.00 a month from this date forward that you use their substandard equipment.

Then, as you schedule the time they can come pick up the outdated equipment, you can schedule an installation of a tankless, on-demand hot water unit to maximize efficiency!

-C

YNAGER'65 said...

It may be the same cost to purchase a new water heater, but back here in the States, it costs almost 3X that to install one. Since I do not know how and don't wish to mess with a gas line, we are having a new one installed next week. A new 40 gallon water heater and labor will be about $1700.00. Luckily it is income tax time = )

Good luck

em said...

I fail to see why you have to deal with taking it out and giving it back to them. That thing has been paid for, and a ridiculous amount of money. They don't have a contract with you, either. They are not going to be able to rent it out to someone else.

I say they can kiss your ass. Of course, tankless water heaters are far superior so you could always get one of those just for the awesome energy saving properties.