Shower Problems

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    Shower Problems

    Hi all.

    I'm going round in circles with this issue and thought i'd try and get some helpful advice here.

    I moved into a rented property in November and signed a 6 month AST. While looking round the property prior to signing i noted that the newly fitted electric shower in the bathroom upstairs was an 8.5kW shower. On first use after taking the property it tripped the fuse because the fuse board only had a 30A fuse in it and the recommended for an 8.5kW is a 40A fuse. I informed the landlady and she replaced the heating can inside the shower with what a qualified electrician I had come out to the property believed is a 6.85kW shower.

    I know the cabling in the property is 6mm which can take a 8.5kW shower but the problem is that the fuse board is so old that they don't make higher than 30A fuses for them.

    So my options are to have the fuse board replaced or to fix a normal mixer shower that uses the hot and cold water taps. Unfortunatly there are sperate hot and told taps at the moment and those rubber hose things you can get to conect to them don't fit.

    The landlady is saying that she's not willing to pay for anything because " there is a working shower". My arguments are:

    1) Is it really a working shower if the only way to wash your hair is to rest your head against the shower unit because the flow is so bad? I have had a qualified plumber round to confirm that I have very good water pressure and flow in the house so that's not the problem.

    2) I believe that to advertise (it's not stated expressly in the listing but there was a sticker on the shower that said 8.5kW when i was shown round the property) the house with an 8.5kW shower and then remove it after me signing the tenancy agreement is false advertising. I appreciate that it needed to be fixed but just putting in a worse shower is surely not on. It's the equivalent of advertising a house with sky tv and then taking it away and putting in freeview after signing the agreement.

    The problem shouldn't have existed in the first place as whoever installed it should have checked the electrics and they clearly didn't! Or if they had said it was a 7kW before hand then fair enough I could have kept that in mind when looking around.

    I don't feel like I should pay to upgrade the fuse board in the house, which is clearly a long term benefit that will be there after we move out (which may be after 4 months if she continues to refuse to do anything).

    Does anyone have any advice or recommendations?

    Thanks

    #2
    Here's s.11(1) of LTA 1985, with my underlining- a shower is not L's responsibility, it seems:

    11. Repairing obligations in short leases.
    (1) In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor:
    (a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),
    (b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity), and
    (c) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.
    JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
    1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
    2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
    3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
    4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by mckenziek View Post

      The landlady is saying that she's not willing to pay for anything because " there is a working shower". My arguments are:

      1) Is it really a working shower if the only way to wash your hair is to rest your head against the shower unit because the flow is so bad? I have had a qualified plumber round to confirm that I have very good water pressure and flow in the house so that's not the problem.
      I read s.11(b) differently here. I think this falls under LL's obligations "to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences" - surely must include showers. The bit Jeffrey underlined is IMO referring to things like dishwashers.

      Also, I am fairly sure Housing Health & Safety Rating System standards would require adequate supply of hot water to maintain personal hygiene.

      2) I believe that to advertise (it's not stated expressly in the listing but there was a sticker on the shower that said 8.5kW when i was shown round the property) the house with an 8.5kW shower and then remove it after me signing the tenancy agreement is false advertising. I appreciate that it needed to be fixed but just putting in a worse shower is surely not on. It's the equivalent of advertising a house with sky tv and then taking it away and putting in freeview after signing the agreement.
      I don't know the difference between 8.5 kW of shower and the replacement but if it's much less good, then in principle you're right.

      I don't feel like I should pay to upgrade the fuse board in the house, which is clearly a long term benefit that will be there after we move out (which may be after 4 months if she continues to refuse to do anything).
      You are certainly not obliged to replace the fuseboard. LL has a legal obligation to ensure the electrics are safe, and it's quite possible the old fuseboard doesn't meet the current safety standards.

      I would contact the Environmental Health Officer at the local council; they have the power to enforce health and safety standards in rental accommodation.

      Comment


        #4
        Sanitation: as basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences are expressly mentioned, I read it that showers aren't.
        Expressio unius excludere alterem, as we say in the biz.
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
          Sanitation: as basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences are expressly mentioned, I read it that showers aren't.
          Expressio unius excludere alterem, as we say in the biz.
          Hmmm, but what if there isn't a bath (not unusual these days)?

          Comment


            #6
            (b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences,

            I am wondering if the insertion of the word "including" in the above sentence means that there are other things not mentioned in this category which are also part of the category, such as showers?

            It could be that when this law was defined, showers were not that common?

            Just my 2 penny worth

            Comment


              #7
              Housing Health & Safety Rating System

              Operating guidance, downloadable here:
              http://www.communities.gov.uk/public...ratingguidance

              Different Housing Act (2004) but relevant.

              From the introduction, (presumably alluding to s.11 HA 1985):
              A2 Generally, the landlord (or owner) is responsible for the provision, state and proper working order of the following:
              (a) the exterior and structural elements of the dwelling; and
              (b) the installations within and associated with the dwelling for:
              i the supply and use of water, gas and electricity;
              ii personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage;...
              v space heating; and
              vi heating water.
              And then...

              Personal Hygiene, Sanitation and Drainage
              A9 The term “installations within or associated with the dwelling for personal hygiene” includes the necessary wash hand basins, showers and/or baths. Such facilities should be properly installed and fitted, including being sealed to adjacent surfaces, provided with splash-backs and with appropriate supplies of hot and cold water. It also includes the rooms or compartments where these facilities are installed.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by TenantsLuvMe View Post
                I am wondering if the insertion of the word "including" in the above sentence means that there are other things not mentioned in this category which are also part of the category, such as showers?

                It could be that when this law was defined, showers were not that common?

                Just my 2 penny worth
                It's from the Housing Act 1985, presumably drafted a few years beforehand, and showers were not at all common 25-30 years ago, more a case of rubber hoses attached to taps.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by westminster View Post
                  more a case of rubber hoses attached to taps.
                  Ah yes...takes me back quite a few years.
                  Memories are wonderful, aren't they!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by westminster View Post
                    ... showers were not at all common 25-30 years ago, more a case of rubber hoses attached to taps.
                    Originally posted by TenantsLuvMe View Post
                    Ah yes...takes me back quite a few years.
                    Memories are wonderful, aren't they!
                    Not ones like that, no!
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by westminster View Post
                      Operating guidance, downloadable here:
                      http://www.communities.gov.uk/public...ratingguidance

                      Different Housing Act (2004) but relevant.

                      From the introduction, (presumably alluding to s.11 HA 1985):
                      A2 Generally, the landlord (or owner) is responsible for the provision, state and proper working order of the following:
                      (a) the exterior and structural elements of the dwelling; and
                      (b) the installations within and associated with the dwelling for:
                      i the supply and use of water, gas and electricity;
                      ii personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage;...
                      v space heating; and
                      vi heating water.


                      And then...
                      Personal Hygiene, Sanitation and Drainage
                      A9 The term “installations within or associated with the dwelling for personal hygiene” includes the necessary wash hand basins, showers and/or baths. Such facilities should be properly installed and fitted, including being sealed to adjacent surfaces, provided with splash-backs and with appropriate supplies of hot and cold water. It also includes the rooms or compartments where these facilities are installed.
                      The guidelines in post #7 are not law, any more than OFT's are.
                      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                      1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                      2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                      3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                      4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                        The guidelines in post #7 are not law, any more than OFT's are.
                        I am aware of that, but the guidelines are, presumably, referred to by Environmental Health Officers who enforce the HHSRS, therefore relevant to OP's problem.

                        I also think tenantsluvme may have a good point about the word "including" in s.11 and the fact that showers weren't prevalent at the time the Act was introduced. If the rental property had a shower and no bath, would a court be likely to say that LL has no obligation under s.11 to maintain bathing facilities in working order, with a sufficient supply of hot water? And even if showers are excluded from s.11, the absence of adequate bathing facilities would comprise a health hazard under HHSRS/HA 2004.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by westminster View Post
                          I am aware of that, but the guidelines are, presumably, referred to by Environmental Health Officers who enforce the HHSRS, therefore relevant to OP's problem.

                          I also think tenantsluvme may have a good point about the word "including" in s.11 and the fact that showers weren't prevalent at the time the Act was introduced. If the rental property had a shower and no bath, would a court be likely to say that LL has no obligation under s.11 to maintain bathing facilities in working order, with a sufficient supply of hot water? And even if showers are excluded from s.11, the absence of adequate bathing facilities would comprise a health hazard under HHSRS/HA 2004.
                          I agree. In fact, the word 'including' seems to me to imply 'such as' or 'including but not restricted to'. If the 'including' list had been intended to be finite, surely it would have been preceded by 'i.e.' and not the word 'including' at all?
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                          Comment


                            #14
                            This problem should have been quick, simple and cheap to fix.

                            Why couldn't the landlord just have an electrician add a single rcd consumer unit next to the existing old consumer unit from which to run the shower.

                            That way you get 40A rcd protection and keep the 8.5Kw shower.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Update

                              Wow thanks for all the comments people!

                              I spoke to the landlady again and she again refused to pay to have the ciruit board replaced. It so happens that in the mean time I did some more searching and found a few places that do stock the old style of fuse at 40A so i might be possible for me to get an electrician to fit that fuse and check that everything is ok.

                              I've asked if i were to do that if she would put back in the original shower, which i think is more than reasonable given I would pay to change the fuse over and technically that's the shower I paid for when I moved in! Do people think this is a reasonable action to expect her to do? Does anyone have any suggestions if she still refuses to do this?

                              To answer one of the other questions, the shower she replaced it with is a 6.85kW shower from what I could determine from the heating element resistance readings that the electrician took. There was no label or indication on the heating can as to what power it is.

                              As for interpreting the HA regulations, I would have to agree that the shower is a "sanitary convenience". It doesn't matter if there's a bath as well because the regulations don't say one or the other but clearly "baths and sanitary conveniences"

                              Comment

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