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Is my landlord required to allow me to adjust the hot water?

My apartment is the entire top floor of a 3 story building. There are two other apartments, one on the first floor, and one on the second, both occupied by tenants. My apartment is one open room with a bathroom (a small room with a toilet, shower, sink) and a second sink outside the bathroom. There is a refrigerator but no oven or stove. I have one exit and no second exit or fire escape. There are no smoke detectors in the apartment. I went through a realtor and signed a lease to get this apartment.

The water in my apartment is affected by water usage in the other apartments - specifically, if any water is being used on the lower floors, my shower will not mix cold water with hot water, and only runs hot water. When this happens, the water isn't hot enough to scald my skin, but it is hot enough to turn it pink, and the experience is painful. It isn't possible to adjust the temperature of my hot water on the hot water heater, which provides hot water only for my apartment (I'd like to turn it down), nor is there anything that identifies how hot the hot water is. I pay for the hot water, and I don't appreciate having to turn the shower off when I'm partway done in order to stop having the experience of painfully hot water hitting my skin, and this happens every time I take a shower, unless no one else is home. Is this situation legal? Is my landlord required to provide a way for me to adjust the hot water temperature or is he required to adapt the plumbing so that my water flow isn't so directly affected by my neighbors, since I pay for the hot water? (I don't pay for water usage.)

I feel like there's a possibility that my apartment isn't legal, but I can't identify what the regulations would be if it IS legal. I don't know if it would be considered a room or an apartment, and what legal resources I might have.

Thanks for your help!

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No, the landlord need not allow you to adjust the hot water.  However, he must ensure that you have hot water with a temperature that does not stray below 110 degrees F or above 130 degrees F, under ordinary operating conditions.  The state sanitary code says in part:


410.190: Hot Water

The owner shall provide and maintain in good operating condition the facilities capable of heating water. The owner shall also provide the hot water for use at a temperature of not less than 110°F (43° C) and in a quantity and pressure sufficient to satisfy the ordinary use of all plumbing fixtures which normally need hot water for their proper use and function, unless and to the extent the occupant is required to provide fuel for the operation of the facilities under a written letting agreement. The hot water shall not exceed 130°F (54° C).


If the plumbing system is not operating properly and your water is consistently too hot or cold, it becomes like any other repair issue.  You need to ask the landlord to fix it.  If he doesn't, then you can get your city or town inspectors involved to force the landlord to make repairs. 

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