N.L. from Litchfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in an older complex where the HOA fees cover Heat, Hot Water and garbage removal. We have baseboard heating with electric thermostats hard wired 6 years ago by the association. Last evening, when we hit 7 degrees I went to turn my heat above 71 degrees and it would not allow me. I contacted property management and was advised “There are regulators that won’t allow heat above that temperature on every unit because the association pays for heat. ”
Is this completely true? Thanks in advance.
Mister Condo replies:
N.L., I am sorry I couldn’t get to your question sooner. I am guessing that with the heat of summer upon us this answer isn’t as urgent for you now. However, cooler weather is just around the corner so let’s discuss what you can look forward to when the mercury drops once again. Since the association is paying for the electricity that powers the heaters, it is not unusual or unreasonable for them to control the highs and lows of the devices. This is not unlike a large apartment building where the heat is controlled by controlling the temperatures that the boilers operate at. They must provide a minimum heat level as determined by the local or state housing authorities since they are functioning as a “de facto” landlord. If you check with the State of Connecticut website, I think you will find that as long as they are providing heat at a minimum of 65 degrees, they are likely in compliance. However, your association is not your landlord and you are a voting member of the association. Bring it up for a vote soon and get the Board discussing how much they might have to raise common fees to provide a warmer environment for unit owners. Don’t be surprised if most unit owners simply prefer to wear a sweater and keep their common fees as low as possible. If enough folks feel as you that it should be warmer, the Board can make that happen with a vote and instruction to the property manager to raise the maximum heat level. Hope that helps. Good luck!