District heating system

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    District heating system

    Hi

    I am a long leaseholder of a couple of apartments in a purpose built block in Sheffield. The block is 5 years old. They are privately managed.

    The apartments have a district heating system. The free holder says that I should be responsible for servicing and repairs to all the equipment in my apartment. I say that it doesnt make sense as I have no control over the water input and its temp, pressure or volume.

    Does anyone know of a code of conduct or best practice document which outlines the relevant responsibilities. The lease is silent on the matter so I am looking for some supporting evidence

    Thanks

    Read more: http://www.diynot.com/forums/plumbin...#ixzz2BEiGKJtJ

    #2
    What is the actual issue, is it related to central supply or does it relate to your flat, speak to supplier in first instance regarding issue.

    Comment


      #3
      The landlords obligation is to provide the hot water to the heating system- yours is to maintain the pipework valves and radiators.

      There is no best practice or guide.....

      Where the lease is silent, repairing obligations are controlled by the law and in your case as the lease is for more than 7 years when granted, those items are yours to maintain.
      Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

      Comment


        #4
        Hi Alexlandlord

        The problem is 2 fold. Who is responsible for the servicing and repair of the equipment in my flat. The system is extremely complicated and as there is a common boiler which is not in my property I sometimes have to send an engineer out to a breakdown and discover its not my problem but rather a breakdown in the supply of the hot water. Gas is supplied to the common boiler by npower however they are simply the supplier of gas. The boiler is controlled by the freeholder. It would be much simpler if the freeholder repaired all items comprising the common system. If he was also responsible for servicing I would know that all parts of the system were serviced in a standard fashion which is important as the system is integrated.
        I am looking to establish liability because the freeholder always simply says to all questions the problem is yours. Please see also the reply to leasehold answers which explains a little more
        Thanks for taking the time to reply. If you can think of anything else to add please feel free

        Comment


          #5
          Hi Leasehold answers thanks for taking the time to reply
          The situation is complicated so I shall explain in a little more detail
          All apartments in the property were baught off plan some 18 months prior to completion. The leases are written in such a way that if there were a standard combi boiler type heating system everything would be tickety-boo. Instead he decided to put in a common heating system, the boiler isgas fired which supplies hot water to apartments which whizzes around the radiators hot water tank via a few valves and pumps and then carries on around the rest of the complex. Each appartment has a heat meter which measures consumption.
          To date the landlord has refused to apportion costs based upon meter readings (because he would be responsible for any non payment) and preferred to charge on a percentage of floor area as the rest of the service charges. I have just gone to the LVT who have agreed that charges should be based upon meter readings and agreed that I should be refunded in full for any payment made through the service charge. He is a little sick because the meter company have advised me they will have no records until he signs a contract so cannot backdate any useage, but that is a seperate issue.
          In the LVT, the tribunal based most of . .their decision on previous case law, namely Lord Donaldson in the case of Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd V West Bromwich Building Society (1998) WLR 896.
          That case says the rule for interpretation is "the ascertainment of the meaning which the document would convey to a reasonable person having all the background knowledge which would reasonably been available to the parties in the situation in which they were at the time of contract"
          It is my view that it is a common heating system. A standard resedential heating system at my home consists of the boiler, the pipes, the tank, radiators valves etc. It makes sense to me that one company services all parts of the one system as they all interlink. Searching the internet, most examples I can find of common systems have the 1 contractor servicing all elements.
          In addition I have found the RICS residential management code of practice. Under section 7 services, item 7.16 - You must arrange for the regular maintenance and repair of communal space heating and domestic hot water systems.
          So I have the RICS stating it is the landlords responsibility and I have cutom and practice saying the same. I am lookinf for any more info that may have been available to a reasonable man etc etc.
          The overall responsibility issue is because not all leaseholders have serviced the equipment. There have been a lot of leaks. Insurers have now withdrawn loss of water cover on all properties. I am not an engineer however I think that the different parts of the system may not be compatible. I have had bills for the last 3 years for repairs to common areas which is not insured. AS the lease is silent on repair and maintenance of the system I am hoping to show it was the freeholders responsibility to service and because he has failed to do so there is negligence on his part so cannot claim for costs incurred. Interestingly he has serviced all the equipment in 2012 under an administration charge and now says he will continue on an annual basis and charge within the service charge.
          A long post I hope I havent rambled too much and hopefuly I have explained why I am looking for guidelines
          Regards

          Comment


            #6
            Hi leasehold answers
            I have just found a flaw in the part above regarding the RICS. The phrase should be read as communal space - heating and domestic hot water and not communal - space heating and domestic hot water. Funny how a space can be read to mean 2 different things !

            Comment


              #7
              Hi all

              I have now found the following quote from the Leasehold Advisory Services own website which seems to support my case.

              "Usually your landlord will be responsible for repairing and maintaining the communal hot water/ heating system where one is provided. The lease may require the landlord to provide a working communal hot water/ heating system or it may allow them to choose whether or not to provide the service."

              I dont think I have misinterpreted the statement and think it applies to my case.

              Any opinions gratefuly received

              Thanks

              Any addi

              Comment


                #8
                I would start off by thinking that the heat meter is the divison point - like with any utilities supply. That assumes it's located in or on or near your flat.

                Everything 'after' the meter - rads, trvs, pipes etc... - are the lessees responsibility. Everything 'before' the meter - boiler, main circulating pumps, etc... - are the freeholder's responsibility.

                I would be very supprised if anything after the meter would be found to be anything other than the lessees responsibility as it is for their exclusive use and would mean they wouldn't be able to alter or extend it.

                Communal heat and power systems are a great way to reduce bills and environmental impact.
                There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I can't see that it matters who is responsible for maintenance...you will still pay the bill whether the freeholder/landlord does it all or you do your own bit in your flat.

                  Strikes me you're on a hiding to nothing and trying to get something for nothing and just getting up the freeholder's nose. Perhaps you should just put up and pay up!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi tipper

                    Thanks for taking the trouble to reply

                    The common heating system has not been serviced as a whole. As a result there have been a significant number of leaks to the system. The costs of repairing these leaks were significant and have caused possibly £200k worth of damage, so much so that the insurers have withdrawn all cover for loss of water. As a result I now have property which is not fully insured. this causes me a problem as the leaseholder and a bigger problem when I want to sell.

                    I accept that the cost of service should be mine either direct or through the service charge and that is not the issue here. If however the responsibility for service lies with the freeholder he is negligent as he has failed in his duty of care and accordingly he can be held responsible for the lack of insurance and its associated costs - which would be significant.

                    Sine the withdrawl of insurance there have been at least 4 further leaks - fortunately not in my property - as a result I have been charged approx £1,000 as my share of damage to common parts which is not insured. The landlord has now started to service the common system so hopefully there should be no further leaks however my property still has no water damage insurance and I genuinely believe he is responsible.

                    Hopefully you can see that it does matter who is responsible for maintenance and I am not just trying to get something for nothing

                    Comment

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