Heating/Water issues not being solved quickly

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    Heating/Water issues not being solved quickly

    hi all

    I hope I am posting this in the right section. I have been renting the maisonette I am now in for the last nine years from the same landlord. Last Friday, 20th Jan, the annual gas inspection took place and the boiler/fire was condemned. So, I currently have no central heating, no fire and no hot water. The boiler is a back boiler which is about 30 years old. The heating firm which did the service have said there is little chance of a replacement part being found, but that they will see what they can do. Six days later, they are still looking and with no success so far.

    What's more the landlord isn't willing to put into motion the process of getting a new system (which we think it will need) until every last avenue has been searched regarding the parts. What's more, he has said quite explicitly on the phone today that he is likely to go with the cheapest offer to have a new boiler (with that company not able to install until mid-february), rather than a slightly more expensive firm who could do it next week.

    He has supplied me with 2 oil-filled radiators (hardly ideal, but better than nothing), but I have no hot water other than the clapped-out electric shower which has been struggling for years.

    Where do I stand here? What is a reasonably amount of time to allow this to go on for? I have said I'm not happy that simply nothing has been done and we are no further forward than we were last Friday when this happened. What are my legal rights here, and what are his legal responsibilities?

    Best wishes, and many thanks

    You don't say if the rent has been put up these nine years. If not, I don't think it unreasonable for landlord to get the cheapest repair, because you have heating of sorts and also washing.

    Beware of stamping your feet too much about this, unless you are happy to pay more rent.
    To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.


      The rent has gone up most years, although not for the last two - although because of the housing market I am now paying more than people in other similar properties - as rents have fallen in my area. There is no doubt when I leave that the LL will need to advertise this place at a lower rent than I am paying.

      It just seems odd that there is nothing in writing to say what a "reasonable" amount of time is to get something as essential as hot water and heating fixed! Yes, I have heating of sorts - although considerably more costly to me as its electric - and yes, I can wash. But my washing machine is connected to both hot and cold taps, so can't wash clothes very well. I'm in a flat without a linen line, so can't get clothes dry - unless I want damp clothes in the room i am living in. Surely his estimate of waiting another two to three weeks is out of line of being reasonable?


        Less than 1 week since boiler condemnd, LL has responded with temp heating. You have electric shower & pres a kettle. Your washer will heat cold water only. As an exercise only, try ringing 3 c/h GasSafe plumbers for time estimate to replace back boiler or fit a new c/h boiler in kitchen. How do you dry laundry normally? Many Ts think a reasonable time for repair is next day, most owner-occupiers may have difficulty in less than 3 weeks, unless cost & disruption is irrelevent. UK legal system often relies on reasonable as there is no written definition, it is the opinion of the average passenger on the 'clapham omnibus'
        Provided LL can obtain rent desired for property with working heating etc, he is under no requirement to upgrade.
        My opinion in current weather conditions would be 3 weeks for work to commence.


          I have been more than reasonable. I have told him that he has every right to try and find a part for the obsolete boiler, but we both know that that is unlikely to happen. My objection here is that he is saying that it will be fine if the work does not begin on the new heating system until mid-february. Now yes, I do have two electric radiators from him, but one is next to useless and, interestingly, neither appear to have been tested for safety. He runs his own letting agency now, so he is not someone is simply renting a second home. As for drying laundry, as you would expect, it is dried in the house in front of radiators on clothes horses. At the moment the two radiators i do have from him are being used to heat me, not to dry washing. Having damp washing in the room in which you are sitting is hardly healthy. The fact is that, in another day, a week will have gone by, and not even an estimate will have taken place. Yes, I do have an electric shower, which barely works, and one could hardly call the water coming out of that at the moment "hot" - although why the lack of heating has effected that is anybody's guess.

          My own thoughts are that, from the point of view of hot water alone, he is breaking the law not having things fixed in what could be a period of up to a month. Running hot water is, I think, one of the things considered as "essential" when it comes to basic amenities within a house.

          I have already rung two firms regarding times needed to fit a new boiler/central heating system. The firm he insists on using is saying they couldn't start before mid-feb. another is saying they could do it next week, but my understanding is they are about £200 more. Considering I have paid him fifty thousand pound in rent over 9 years, this seems like a small figure for him to be quibbling over. He is refusing to even contemplate moving away from the firm he normally uses - despite the fact that after two gas service checks in the past they have left me with gas leaks due to them not tightening up valves etc by mistake!


            You have 2 key bits of legislation . . .

            Section 11(1)(c) of the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act
            In a lease to which this section applies . . . there is implied a covenant by the lessor . . . to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water. - No mention of 'reasonable times'.

            There is also the 2004 Housing Act which brought into force the Housing Health and Safety Rating System - but that is more about standards, not on-going repairs.

            You my get advice from the housing charity 'Shelter' or your local Environmental Health Officer (at the council) but to be honest, whatever route you follow isn't going to result in the boiler being replaced any earlier than 3 weeks time. By way of example of penalties, a landlord was recently fined for not fixing a boiler for 6 months - the fine was around £500.


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