Repair (reasonable time)

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    Repair (reasonable time)

    Firstly, can I say that there is very little advice out there for landlords, loads for tenants so they can be protected. Very little to protect small, private landlords who are trying to do the right thing but are constantly being ripped off.

    Sorry, just had to get off my chest back to my question. Our tenants informed us at the back end of last week that the heating was not working and hence they were freezing and can't wash up or take a bath. We have contacted our gas certified plumber asking him to go and take a look and repair or let us know if a new boiler is needed. Despite us having communicated this to the tenant she is citing that repairs have to be done within 24 hours of notifying us. I cannot find anywhere in L&T act this statement. I can only find within a reasonable time and within 2 weeks for major repairs. Can anyone confirm what is the correct situation and also if she will have justification for taking it further I.e to court. I would also say we have agreed to reduce rent for this month, which hasn't been paid anyway.

    Thanks in advance

    #2
    It's not 24 hours, it is within a reasonable time.

    Comment


      #3
      I hear a s21 notice landing on the doormat, don't I?

      Comment


        #4
        We are in a transition period at the moment. Loss of heating in the Summer is not urgent. Loss of heating in the winter is, I think, a priority 1 HHSRS defect. De facto, in London, at the moment, I would say that we are not quite at the point were heating is essential (I haven't turned it on). The HHSRS guidance is that bedroom temperatures of less than 16 degrees are dangerous to the elderly, and there is some risk below 19 degrees. Temperatures below 10 degrees can kill healthy adults. Prosecutions would be under housing law, not landlord and tenant law (or in extreme cases, for manslaughter).

        Legislation rarely gives specific figures.

        The best guidance on best practice in these situation is probably housing association policies, e.g. http://www.gatewayhousing.org.uk/repair-timescales/ (random pick from Google) gives 24 hours between 30th September and 31st March and 7 days in Summer. CAB also provide information on target times for council housing: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ho...repair-scheme/ This includes details of monetary compensation, which could be used to argue a limit on financial compensation. It only applies to repairs under £250.

        In practice, for non-trivial faults, the initial response is likely to be the provision of alternative means of heating that will ensure that minimum temperatures are achieved. Another housing association makes it explicit that the 24 hour limit is to "make safe", and the final repair may take longer. This should avoid prosecution, but probably wouldn't absolve a housing association form having to pay compensation.

        I'd suggest electric heaters immediately, financial compensation for extra electricity, aim to get most repairs fully complete in one week, and almost never beyond two weeks.

        Although owner occupiers might buy their own fan heaters, that is not an option tenants can be expected to use, and might have safety implications. Owner occupiers might also use sleeping bags, but that is never going to acceptable for tenants.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by JK0 View Post
          I hear a s21 notice landing on the doormat, don't I?
          Which is one of the main reasons that even the Conservatives are considering repealing it: it makes tenants afraid of even making valid complaints.

          Comment


            #6
            I don't think private landlords should be dumbing down to social landlord standards.

            Dissatisfaction levels amongst Social Renters are consistently a lot higher than for Private Renters;

            https://www.gov.uk/government/collec...housing-survey

            2017 2018 Table FA5431 (also FA5423)
            • 26.0% of Social Renters are Dissatisfied with the way their Landlord deals with repairs
            • 16.8% of Private Renters are Dissatisfied with the way their Landlord deals with repairs
            Which raises an interesting point. Common advice on 'reasonableness' is usually based on how long it would take an average owner occupier to repair.

            If it is based on the actual times social landlords take to repair, then it's early knock-offs and long weekends all round!

            Comment


              #7
              And an owner occupier would probably buy the fan heaters the same day (if they didn't already have them).

              Comment


                #8
                The reason I use social landlord figures is that even large private sector landlords don't publish service level agreements. The closest I got was a set of terms that said that this would be in the additional information a the back, but that seems to be filled in for each tenancy.

                Comment


                  #9
                  "The reason I use social landlord figures is..."

                  Because you didn't know private landlords blew them out of the water when it comes to sorting out repairs.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for your responses. As I said we have already agreed to a reduction in rent (which hasn't yet been paid) to compensate for any inconvenience. We have a heating firm coming tomorrow but have been receiving texts all weekend saying it's freezing. The flat is warm and it's been 18 degrees outside. I don't think we have been unreasonable and are trying to get it done as practically possible.

                    As far a s21 landing on the mat, that may well be the case if they carry on with the attitude they have. We shall have to see how the next 4 months go.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      24 hours is a fairly common myth. I have occasionally wondered where it started? Is it a HA reg, perhaps?

                      OOoh! https://www.thinkmoney.co.uk/news-ad...s-0-8494-0.htm

                      Under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, you have the right to expect your landlord to carry out repairs in a ‘reasonable time’. If it’s an emergency repair as you’ve got no heating or hot water, your landlord should fix this in 24 hours.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        That's not true.
                        Section 11 of the LTA 1985 doesn't say anything about time to carry out repairs, reasonable or otherwise.

                        The phrase "reasonable time" is used only once, in a paragraph relating to the landlord's right to access a property.

                        It could be argued that it's an implicit part of the repair obligation because it would be strange if the obligation allowed unreasonable time scales, but it can't be (reasonably) interpreted as 24 hours.
                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
                          And an owner occupier would probably buy the fan heaters the same day (if they didn't already have them).
                          When our own gas boiler failed in the middle of winter. We were lent fan heaters by every other member of the family, for the 2 weeks it took to replace it. It was minus 10 outside Most of the time and the kids were sleeping in sleeping bags and with a quilt.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Notrigsby View Post
                            Firstly, can I say that there is very little advice out there for landlord
                            There are Landlords Associations who have meetings where you can learn all of the latest legislation, have specific talks from relevant speakers and you can network with other landlords. They also have websites and forums. Unfortunately even small landlords are in fact treated like a business and are required to keep themselves up to speed with all relevant legislation.

                            Originally posted by Notrigsby View Post
                            Our tenants informed us at the back end of last week that the heating was not working and hence they were freezing and can't wash up or take a bath......she is citing that repairs have to be done within 24 hours of notifying us.


                            You need to keep notes of what is requested , what you have arranged and communicate the progress you are making on her behalf. In the past where I have had a misbehaving boiler and a frustrated tenant I have used British Gas who send out an engineer ASAP and have a team who keep on coming back until its fixed. If the tenant is elderly or has children then BG could make this a priority call but you would need a good reason. Of course you will endeavour to get this fixed ASAP but the timescales depend upon the underlying problem.

                            You need to make sure you have done things to try and mitigate the problem (electric heaters) and NOT done anything to delay the repair. Eg If your engineer says he will call in next Wednesday if he has time after fitting Mrs Jones' bathroom and the tenant finds out this would make the situation far worse. Get a definite appointment fixed.

                            Originally posted by Notrigsby View Post
                            she will have justification for taking it further I.e to court.......
                            I would also say we have agreed to reduce rent for this month, which hasn't been paid anyway.

                            One of the suggestions above was to issue a Section 21 which under these circumstances could be seen as a retaliatory eviction which could see you in court.

                            Your offer to reduce the rent is generous as at this stage you do not know the extent of the inconvenience however your tenant does not have the right to withhold rent and if she does it will weaken her position. If you try to do everything reasonable to restore the boiler then you realistically cannot do more.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by AlexR View Post


                              One of the suggestions above was to issue a Section 21 which under these circumstances could be seen as a retaliatory eviction which could see you in court.

                              Only if the complaint was in writing.

                              Comment

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