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Double hung windows and weatherstripping

Hi folks,

We've been having real issues trying to heat our open plan downstairs, well, since we've been in this house really. It's a rental, private landlord. It can be boiling upstairs and downstairs it can still be 35 degrees. The windows all let in air and the weatherstripping around the front door is rotting away. We've only been here 1.5 years.

We finally told the landlord who was very apologetic and got his guy on it straight away. (Landlord lives in FL, we're in MD). The guy comes over and says we have to replace the weatherstripping around the front door, and also take apart the windows and vacuum and wash the weatherstripping around the windows. He says doing this will fix the problem. He also said this was tenants responsibility (but that it didn't look like it had ever been done).

I've been working on it today and I can't solo do this project... I can't hold up the windows and try to get the vacuum hose round to do it. Plus when I put the window back it still lets in the air.

So I guess a few questions.

Does vacuuming the weatherstripping actually help it work better or, is it as much bs as I feel like it is (right now I'm kinda frustrated with the windows).

Is this really a tenants responsibility? Half the windows are stuck and won't open enough to get them apart and we stopped touching blinds after we'd been here two months because they go up but then won't go down again.

We're hoping to leave in a couple months. Should we just eat the $500 electricity bills and leave this all alone as we have been doing?

Re: Double hung windows and weatherstripping

  • I would say if something is needing to be replaced, it should replaced according to the responsibility outlined in the lease. For example, in the lease I had our tenants sign, it says they are responsible for the first $50 of the repair. That is so little things they are to replace and are not calling about every little thing. I would also call your landlord again and make sure you "understood" his guy correctly. I put understood in quotes, because I know you heard the guy right, but I would double check with the landlord.

    If you are definitely leaving in a couple of months - I would probably not mess with it. If I had to pay for it, I definitely wouldn't mess with it. It depends on how much of a headache you would want to mess with "fighting" with the landlord.



    TTC since June 2012

  • Everywhere I have ever lived (rentals) the landlord was responsible for the mechanicals and the actual structure. Windows should/would fall into this category.

    If the property is aging, then eventually he will have to replace the windows. This happens on all structures due to normal aging. This is very clearly a property owner's issue, not a tenant's.

    In addition, if the windows stick...isn't that a fire hazard? Like, if they cannot even be opened?!? THAT for sure is a landlord issue.

  • If the weatherstripping is worn no amount of cleaning will make it effective, nor have I ever rented anywhere that this would be a tenant responsibility. Weatherstripping is part of the structure, just as the windows are. A PP mentioned being responsible for a portion of repairs, but since this is general maintenance I would in no way consider this as a "repair". That would be akin to asking you to pay a portion of replacing the roof because it's worn out.

     That being said, your landlord isn't necessarily required to replace the weatherstripping. In most states the rental just has to be habitable and meet certain minimum requirements, and I would bet this isn't one. If you have working heat and have a sound structure, that's about all that's required.

     If the landlord doesn't move to fix quickly and it will continue to be cold where you live, you may want to undertake some inexpensive fixes to get the bill down -  get window film to cover the leaky windows. Layer curtains over the windows (with rod clips you can use sheets, tablecloths, etc. so you don't have to buy anything). Use spare fabric (old jeans, t-shirts) to make draft stoppers by cutting a rectangle and sewing it into a tube, then fill with fluff or rice and place across the bottoms of windows and doors. Get a space heater that you can move from room to room so you can stay warm while keeping the heat turned down.  


    BFP 11.8.12 * EDD 7.17.13 * MC 12.20.12
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over!
  • Thank you for your replies.

    We're lucky to have a really lovely landlord (and I do feel guilty everytime we have to bring a problem to his attention, because he is that lovely).

    The house is really only about ten years old. The one window that I managed to do properly didn't seem much different afterwards with letting air in. I've cut (BGE's smart meter thing) everywhere else I can without sitting in the dark from 4pm til H gets home at 12.30am. We're managing right now so I am inclined to leave it.

    The landlord will probably keeping our pet deposit (at the very least) anyway so he can probably take care of some things after we go. H thinks he'll replace the downstairs carpet definitely (I've been cleaning it as we go but its a couple shades darker than when we got here - cream carpet).

    Would it be awful to leave him a short list of things to check on before a new tenant moved in? We took the lease over from a coworker of H's who told us the place was perfect.. it obviously wasn't and I'm not sure I want to leave new tenants with the same issues if the landlords never heard about them.

  • I would see if you can still find any of the plastic that you can put over windows to block out the cold. That may help make things more comfortable. It really does help. Then in the spring if you are still there open the windows & wash them & the seals, if for nothing else, it will make the windows easier to open which like another pp is a better in case you need to exit in an emergency. I would advise the landlord when leaving that you tried what their maintenance guy suggested but it didn't work & what you did yourself to make the matter better. And if there are any other issues that you think the landlord should know that are small now but could turn into something bigger down the road. Landlord is is out of state and is paying his guy to take care of property for him, if his guy isn't doing it, landlord needs to know.
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