Landlord won't fix the furnace and its 6 degrees outside!
I just moved into a new rental home a few months ago. It has electric heat (a heat pump). The first month's bill was $20 and the power company is known to be the cheaper of the power companies in the area (the place I lived previously had the more expensive company). My lease is for one year. I just got my 2nd electric bill and both were actual readings. THe 2nd electric bill is $110. The only thing that has changed is it has gotten colder so the furnance has run more (keep it at 55 degrees!) The last few nights the furnance does not shut off for more than ten minutes a day!!! And today it is 6 degrees outside and freezing in the house. If we turn it up to 60 or 65 it never reaches that temperature. It will run all day and barely reach 60 degrees!! It did this the other day when it was forty degrees outside! Called the landlord and she said she would call an electrician immediately to come check the furnance.
Well it has been days and she keeps making excuses. Saying maybe the furnance is actually working and tells us to turn it up to 70 degrees and maybe it will warm up.
Well it never raises the temperature to 70 degrees, it won't raise it above 60 and runs forever just to get to 60 degrees! We had a friend who used to work as an electrician (retired now) come over and check out the furnance. He tested the heating elements and said two have very low readings and are almost burnt out. That they need to be replaced. The landlord is stalling saying she placed a call to a guy to come out and check the furnance and he has not called back. She has tried telling us that electric heat is not as warm as gas (yes, we know that) but it feels like the furnance is just blowing the existing air in the house around with the fan. The furnance will run for an hour, shut off and literally come back on less than 2 minutes later. How can the air cool off that much in 2 minutes (there are no drafts or anything) Or the furnance will just run non stop until we lower the thermostat to 55 degress then it will shut off briefly (maybe for 20 minutes).
We live in OH and the rent is due the first of the month. If the landlord does not fix the furnance or at least have someone check it out is there any legal way we can withhold her rent until she does so? We literally can not sleep in this house at night because it is too cold. I think the landlord may have talked to her husband and they can't afford to have anyone come look at the furnance or pay to have it fixed so she is stalling and won't do anything. I found out recently that this landlord owes property taxes on ALL of her rental homes as well as her current home she lives in. She owes only $300 on the house we are renting from her. We pay her $800 a month to rent the place so she could take it out of that. Is there anything we can do?