Freezing cold, outdated heating and draughty insulation

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    Freezing cold, outdated heating and draughty insulation

    Hi folks,

    I’ve been renting a flat through a housing association for a few years now but find my flat to be insanely freezing during the winter (it never bothered me too much before Covid as I was away with work a lot). Last year was the first year I was around all winter and I’ve ended up accruing nearly £1500 in electricity charges over 12 months for a 69sqm flat by myself with the vast majority being heating costs.

    According to the EPC certificate (valid until 2025, assessing company doesn’t exist anymore and assessor stopped being accredited in 2019) the flat has a D rating:
    Wall Solid brick, as built, insulated (assumed) Good
    Window Full secondary glazing Good
    Main heating Electric storage heaters Poor
    Main heating Room heaters, electric Very poor
    Main heating control Manual charge control Poor
    Main heating control Programmer and appliance thermostats Good
    Hot water Electric immersion, off-peak Average
    Lighting Low energy lighting in all fixed outlets Very good
    Roof (another dwelling above) N/A
    Floor (other premises below) N/A
    Secondary heating None N/
    Having said that, the heating (already found to be poor/very poor) years ago consists of:
    - Electric panel heater in both bedrooms (around £4 a day for just one of the panel heaters for 6 hours). Although the bedroom panel heater heats nicely, the flat turns freezing again within minutes of turning it off.
    - A storage heater in the hallway (broken) and 2 in the lounge (barely working and smells when operating)
    - An electric fan in the bathroom

    There are no room thermostats anywhere and central heating is a remote pipe dream. Additionally, there are
    - Major draught along the skirting board along the interior walls
    - A nearly 1cm gap below the front door and gaps along the side (I can see hallway lights shining through along the frame)
    - Old style sash windows (one has a gash in it, with plaster cracked) in all rooms. Although there is now some internal plastic glazing (about 10cm or so from the sash window) that was only installed recently and is ice cold to the touch

    With the context set, does anyone have any advice on what I can do (aside from move)?

    Thank you in advance!

    #2
    Since you were given the EPC, there's not much you can do, if the Flat does not have Gas coming into the property you would not be able to have this, the only thing is electric heaters or storage heaters. Storage heaters are what are recommended in EPC's but each one costs around £500-1000 so they are not cheap. External windows is not an option as the freeholder would need to do this, and then pass on the costs to the leaseholders.

    If you don't want to move due to the costs and your low rent, your better to invest yourself in a new heater which is then yours. The cold spell hasn't fully hit yet, so there is time to get some portable heaters, before there is a shortage.

    Comment


      #3
      I have a couple of properties which are all electric but they are very well insulated and between other properties so they only have two exterior walls, the tenants tell me that when they have the electric panel heaters on they turn them off after about an hour or so and it stays warm the rest of the evening, it's the insulation (or lack of it) which is causing you the issues, have you involved the MP in your area ? It may seem extreme but going straight to the top can cut out a lot of wasted time, do not ask for everything to be done, start with the insulation and then move onto getting better heaters which can be controlled via apps on the phone. The sash windows you mention will be a real problem, all mine are modern double glazed and i cannot see how sash windows can be made as thermally efficient.

      Also remember that even when the new min EPC ratings come in, housing associations are looking like they will not have to comply !!! So no help there i am afraid.
      Last edited by Hudson01; 26-11-2021, 11:00 AM. Reason: spelling

      Comment


        #4
        I assume you know how to set and adjust ghe jnput and output values on the storage heaters?

        If the flat is too cold, vote with your feet. That's the beauty of renting.

        Comment


          #5
          Storage heaters smell due to the build up of dust. Sounds like you aren't using them, doesn't it? No wonder your bills are high, if you're just relying on the direct heating.
          To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
            If the flat is too cold, vote with your feet. That's the beauty of renting.

            Totally agree with this, as far as i can see this is one of the major advantages of not owning your own home..... use it.

            Comment


              #7
              Storage heaters smell due to the build up of dust. Sounds like you aren't using them, doesn't it? No wonder your bills are high, if you're just relying on the direct heating.

              Yes correct. They will only smell in the beginning of the season, when they are turned on after summer. After the dust has burned off, there is no smell. Also, if the property has been painted (e.g. sanding walls) or other things which release chemicals dust.... All of it should dissipate, when turned on for a couple of weeks and open the windows. It will get better.


              However, sometimes, the smell can be from electric switch or a component (it can be a fish type smell but it may be something else).

              Comment


                #8
                Follow the Housing association complaints procedure which is usually on their web site. e.g.
                https://www.octaviahousing.org.uk/fo...ion/complaints

                - after first reporting any repair issues using draft letter here..
                https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...ivate_landlord


                - all calm & polite usually gets best results..

                & see...
                https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...ng_association
                I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                Comment


                  #9
                  I would be checking point 1. Solid wall insulation assumed. Look outside and inside and see if you can detect any form of cladding or foam attached and rendered. Worth checking epc on neighbouring properties. I would imagine only recourse might be if the epc is wrong as the provider was commissioned by the housing association I assume.

                  If I were you I would try adding draft excluder on front door. Get some felt pipe lagging from DIY store comes in a small roll and stuff that into the floor board / skirting gap.

                  Take professional advice before acting on anything I say!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Lol I rented a property apt worse than that rating. Walls and roof was very poor rated penetrating damp and a thermostat with no adjustable heat setting just on and off mode. Black oniony smell on walls mould in other words and gaps at front door 🚪 where you could feel bitter cold air seeping through.

                    long story short I bought my own property now reported to landlord first then environmental health department. People don’t report things purely out of fear of eviction in some cases or want the hassle but end of the day you are a paying tenant not free.

                    to the OP in most cases it’s better just to leave or put up with it and save up to buy or remain where you are in reality.


                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mokka View Post
                      Lol I rented a property apt worse than that rating. Walls and roof was very poor rated penetrating damp and a thermostat with no adjustable heat setting just on and off mode. Black oniony smell on walls mould in other words and gaps at front door 🚪 where you could feel bitter cold air seeping through.

                      long story short I bought my own property
                      Tenants at the bottom of the market can't afford to buy.

                      Cheapeskates fueling the rogue landlord market are part of the problem.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by boletus

                        Tenants at the very bottom end of the market don't have that luxury.

                        Cheapskates fueling the rogue landlord market are part of the problem.
                        Very true. They bring decent landlords down.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          If you get yourself £20,000 deposit (plus buyers fees) by saving up its possible to get yourself a cheap property at the beginners end of the market and upgrade the property , sell again and move on from there.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thank you for all of the responses!

                            Insulation is definitely the biggest issue by far by the looks of it. I’ve picked up 20m of gap seal and an under door draught excluder for now. Some electric heaters to follow (and keeping bills). Unfortunately, moving is not really an option as the housing market in Nottingham is a mess right now and I am likely to move overseas permanently come spring/summertime.


                            ash72 I only looked the EPC up earlier today. Was never made aware of it when I moved in.

                            Hudson01 involving the MP definitely sounds like a good avenue at this stage.

                            theartfullodger Thank you for the links! I already had to file three complaints with a fourth one on the way:
                            • One about windows being painted shut and not being unstuck for months
                            • One about repairs to the internal windows not being carried out for a year
                            • One about flooding (with a second one coming as soon as flooring repairs are finished in January
                            Flashback1966 I just didn’t end up using the heaters over summer. Two of the three do not put out any heat whatsoever when I tried to use them

                            Stew I am pretty sure that EPC rating is naff. The internal walls all sound hollow when you knock on them. There is about 1cm worth of insulation in between the dry wall and the brick wall to the outside. The Windows are insanely draughty around the frame, with extra draft coming through cracks in the window frame itself where they used something akin to a screwdriver and a hammer to get the windows loose after they painted them shut from the outside before.

                            mokka don’t even have a thermostat anywhere. There are also issues with dampness from rainwater ingress from the roof and drainage on at least 10 occasions

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Canning18 View Post
                              [/LIST]Flashback1966 I just didn’t end up using the heaters over summer. Two of the three do not put out any heat whatsoever when I tried to use them

                              Yeah, they won't put out heat in the summer. They have these new inventions called 'Thermostats'. Give me strength!
                              To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

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