I've moved a rental in the spring. In the rental contract I am responsible for regular maintenance as the oil heater needs yearly servicing. As the weather is cooling off I scheduled servicing.
The repair person noticed large amounts of ash consistent with an improper setup. I paid for the servicing which he completed the best he was able. Configuring the heater properly requires more tools and a specialist. As explained by the repairman the heater is minimally functional but really shouldn't be operated for extended periods (the whole winter) in it's current condition.
I've contacted the rental agency about the issue. They said that since regular heater maintenance is part of the contract this is my responsibility. I explained what the repairman informed me about the improper installation, which occurred prior to moving in, and their response was that was one persons opinion and did not change my responsibility.
What are my options? The repairman mentioned this could be a health inspector may be a place to turn. Should I lawyer up now? What kind of lawyer should I seek out?
I'm in the U.S. in the state of Pennsylvania.
P.S. I'm asking for my sister's benefit as she is the one actually in this situation. I'll answer any questions as I'm able. I've urged her to get a paper trail started now and flesh out as many details as possible. I'm under the impression the configuration will not be cheap, but do not know exact details.
P.P.S. I made a follow up call to the rental agency to ask for a message to be passed to the property owner requesting information about the people who installed the heater. This was an attempt to get them to warranty their own work and also nail down someone who should be qualified to do the work. The agency said "that is none of your business" and ended the call. They immediately called back on my phone asking for the property owner by name. Once they realized their mistake they denied attempting to contact the property owner and hung up. Strange.