lighting not working - whose responsibility?

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    lighting not working - whose responsibility?

    We are the tenants. The overhead lighting in the kitchen is one of those horrible fluorescent strips. Since not long after we moved in we have been aware that the wall switch is a bit 'wonky', ie you often have to jiggle the switch about to make the light come on. This didn't bother us, so we said nothing.

    Then 2 days ago the light stopped working altogether. Jiggled the switch and nothing happens. Jiggled it again a bit more and light came on for a second but now the switch is unresponsive. Seems like its the switch thats not working.

    Told the LA, thinking they would send someone round, but they want us to change the fluorescent tube first, to see if its that. If that doesn't work, they will send an electrician. It says in our terms and condition tenanats are responsible for replacing these tubes, as well as light bulbs (fair enough re lightbulbs).

    But the thing is, we are pretty sure its the switch that's faulty, not the tube, and as they are not cheap and involved a trip to B&Q etc, we are not happy. Would we be able to return it if not needed, I wonder?

    So my husband is thinking of getting a new lightswitch and trying to fit it himself. Is this a good idea or what would you advise?

    #2
    1. Do you have any friends who understand electric wiring in houses ? Best option is to ask someone who knows how to be safe to check for you. Or Get a DIY book from public library showing how to replace switch.

    2. If you can switch OFF the electricity supply at the main switch, and you have only a single light switch for the kitchen light ( with 2 wires connecting to back of switch ) then you can consider buying a replacement switch from Wilkinson and replace the switch and make sure the little screws holding the wire ends are TIGHT. Loose screws at back of switch can cause overheating and risk of fire.

    3. If the tube is blackened at the ends , it may need to be replaced. Also there is a little starter switch ( small can ) which can fail and is removed by slight twist and draw out.

    Comment


      #3
      If you are 100% convinced it's the switch that's faulty, tell the agent to send the electrician to change it, and that if it turns out that it was indeed the tube or its starter (also user-replaceable) that was faulty, then you will pay the electrician's bill.

      If you're not 100% sure, or not prepared to take that risk, then do as the agent says and replace the tube first.

      The 'jiggling' symptoms do sound as if it's a dodgy switch - indeed, identical to one I changed at home yesterday, as it happens. But the agent's request is reasonable in view of the high cost of getting an electrician to come out. Changing a light switch is an easy task to do if you know how to do it correctly and safely (a 5-minute job; it costs about 50p, much less than a fluorescent tube) but I absolutely would not want one of my own tenants to mess with the electrics.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Marisol View Post
        But the thing is, we are pretty sure its the switch that's faulty, not the tube, and as they are not cheap and involved a trip to B&Q etc, we are not happy. Would we be able to return it if not needed, I wonder?
        A tube is £3 or £4.
        If money's tight, ask the agency if you can be refunded for it if it turns out not to be the tube.
        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for all your replies!

          thesaint - are you sure, £3 or or £4? Because I was looking at B&Q online and they seemed to be £20+? If it is indeed £3-4 we would not be bothered.

          Anyway, husband went to local small DIY shop and got a new lightswitch. He has fitted simple lightswitches before in previous houses. He fitted it (after switching off mains first!) and tried it, for a second the light came on again, but that was it. Still not working.

          The guy in the DIY stored advised, like you Gordon999, that the tube would be blackened if it was dead, and it is not. But following up on what you say about the starter switch, (attached to the tube? - I think I know what you mean) - I wonder if it could be that? Can you or anyone diagnose the problem from my description?

          And if it is this starter switch, then is this our responsibility, or landlord's? And if ours, then what do I need to buy exactly to replace?
          Thanks for your help.

          Comment


            #6
            See here.. length matters....

            http://www.wickes.co.uk/invt/162291
            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


              #7
              I found this on Artful's page link:

              http://www.wickes.co.uk/invt/162275/?source=123_75

              I have these in all my tubes. They start without flashing, and are said to increase tube life. Yes, it is T's responsibility to buy these, though I would have thought your landlord should reimburse you for the light switch.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Marisol View Post
                But following up on what you say about the starter switch, (attached to the tube? - I think I know what you mean) - I wonder if it could be that? Can you or anyone diagnose the problem from my description?
                Symptoms are the same as for a duff tube to be honest. I have a couple of spares in the house, and I always check an apparently duff tube is definitely duff before condemning it by temporarily swapping in a new starter switch first. It's dead easy - take the old one out by twisting a quarter turn anticlockwise and withdrawing it; refit using the reverse process.

                And if it is this starter switch, then is this our responsibility, or landlord's? And if ours, then what do I need to buy exactly to replace?
                The electronic ones as already cited are fine.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Agreed, I always head straight for the starter switch in these situations. If its not stated in your terms that you are responsible then it's your landlord who should replace the starter switch.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Handy View Post
                    If its not stated in your terms that you are responsible then it's your landlord who should replace the starter switch.
                    What do you base that on? Just your opinion?

                    Starter switches are most definitely user-replacable (even easier to do than changing a tube), unlike a light switch, say. I would certainly argue that replacing a starter goes along with all other tasks which tenants are expected to do in the well-established context of behaving in a 'tenant-like manner', such as changing lightbulbs and tap washers.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Suggest Wickes price is for full tube & holder, you only need a replacement tube of same length (~£5), starter (£5) and light switch. The starter is equiv to a fuse IMO and flourescent tube = light bulb, both Ts resp to replace, though I accept not many know about starters. With LLs permission the florescent light could be replaced with a standard ceiling bayonet bulb holder Total time <30 mins.

                      Most shops won't accept tube return, too fragile. If tube has not failed, then you will have a spare avail. Also be careful not to break a tube, working or not, due to nasty contents.
                      Dispose of it semsibly.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Try the starter first. You can get a pack of two for less than £2 in Morrisons (and I presume, other supermarkets). Our light was doing the same thing, but I remember from a shop I once worked in that changing the starter worked some of the time and fortunately it did for us.

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