Freezing property, new windows needed

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    Freezing property, new windows needed

    Hi there,
    My partner has recently moved into a property above a shop. It is 2 storeys with 3 bedrooms on the top floor. When he viewed the property, he questioned the condensation on the windows, and was reassured by the letting agent that it was because the property had been empty for a couple of months, and would clear up once he moved in.
    Since then, he has had continuous problems. The place is constantly cold, and the windows and sills are always wet. It's single glazed throughout. He has complained to his landlord, but he's refusing to do anything. He got Dept of Environmental Health out to do an inspection, but they were quite laid back about it and only sent a letter advising the windows should be replaced.
    Since then, he has received a gas bill for nearly £500 for 2 months. (this is on actual readings, not estimates)
    He has the heating on intermittently, as he cannot afford to pay out this huge amount. It's pointless having it on, even constantly, as it still doesn't heat the property sufficiently. His ex won't allow him to have his son overnight as he can't keep him warm enough.
    The window frames are wooden and old. They are single glazed, and the property has very high ceilings. The other thing that concerns us is that he doesn't have an Energy Efficiency Certificate, which I believe is a legal requirement.
    Please can someone advise on what he can do to get the windows replaced? Or how he can proceed with this? It's obvious that it's the main cause of the problem, as his neighbour's property is double glazed and she doesn't have these problems.
    He is literally having to wrap himself up in a duvet, as well as wearing thick jumpers. I know it's winter, but surely that's too much?
    Thanks in advance.

    #2
    Unfortunately the only requirement is that the property must be heatable to a certain temperature (16C iirc), but how it is heated & how much it costs to heat it are not relevant (legally). He should get back in touch with the EHO, explain the landlord has done nothing, and ask if he can have a HHSRS inspection. The Housing Health & Safety Rating System is a points based assessment so it is possible that even if the property fails in one area, it may pass overall.

    If your partner has proof that he asked about the condensation, and the agents (false) rply he may have a claim under the property mis-descriptions act, but I'll wait for others to comment on that.

    Your boyfriend should have asked for a copy of the EPC before accepting the property, although you are right, he should have been given one by now anyway. Again that is an EHO issue.

    In situations like this, there are things that you shouldn't have to do but that may make a huge difference.

    A small amount spent on insulation materials at a place like b&q could make life so much better. 'stick on' secondary glazing and filler if there are drafts. If your partner is on benefits he may want to do some research to see if he qualifies for energy efficiency measures under the ECO (energy company obligation) as it is unlikely the landlord would refuse permission for *free* double glazing & insulation. Also, google 'green deal' - it may make financial sense for the landlord to have a huge raft of works done.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi,
      Thanks for your quick reply. The property is extremely difficult to heat. I was there last weekend, and even with the heating on full, throughout the property, I could still see my breath! He is going back to the EHO, and hopefully will get a better response from them.
      He previously lived in a property he owned with his ex-wife, and wasn't aware of the EPC until I mentioned it to him as he hasn't rented for many years.
      As far as the conversation with the agent about the condensation, unfortunately it was only a verbal communication so has no proof. He doesn't claim benefits, so is not entitled to any help through the ECO or similar.
      I was wondering, as it doesn't seem clear, if this comes under the whole 'habitable conditions' thing. I feel that the property is not in a good enough state for someone to be living there, but he doesn't have much choice at the moment. How about sending a letter through a solicitor stating that it's not being maintained to an acceptable standard and he will seek to recover rent paid and bond if the windows aren't brought up to date? Would this have much of an affect, and is he within his legal rights to do so?

      Comment


        #4
        Remember that it is no good just chucking the heating on as the fabric of the building has dropped too low.

        Comment


          #5
          There is no automatic obligation for the LL to make improvements such as replacing windows; one cannot claim against a LL for failing to make improvements when there is no statutory obligation to make improvements.

          The LL would only be obliged to replace the windows if the EHO assessed the property under HHSRS and decided there was a severe cold hazard which merited window replacement. In which case the EHO would enforce this requirement.

          But I wouldn't hold up much hope of this happening, particularly when the EHO has already inspected and doesn't seem hugely alarmed. And neither the LL nor the EHO can do anything about the very high ceilings. No doubt a lot of the heating is being wasted heating the top half of rooms.

          The lack of an EPC is wrong, but reporting the LL for it won't change anything. He might get fined £200 is about all that might happen.

          Comment


            #6
            You may think that it's obvious that it is the windows at fault, but it's not

            The heating savings from replacing SG windows with DG are minimual.

            Your problem is somewhere else.

            You say that this flat is above a shop is it the top floor?

            If it is lack of insulation in the roof is the problem. Fixing this will cost a fracton of the costs of new windows and have a much greater impact on heating costs.

            Alternatively, it could just be the the windows are drafty. You can fix this problem with 20 quid's worth of material available from your local diy store.

            tim

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks everyone for your replies and advice. After speaking to my partner about this, he sent an email to his landlord, outlining the issues and what needed to be done. He highlighted the EPC form, and also said he would be seeking legal advice.
              Within 3 hours of sending the email, there was a windows company there measuring up. There was also a builder there the next day to check if anything else could be done. Within 24 hours the EPC form was organised, and just over a week ago the new windows were fitted. It's like a different house!! So much warmer, and when it does get chilly, he can put the heating on for a short time and it warms up well.
              Thanks again for all your help, it certainly made a huge difference!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by westminster View Post
                And neither the LL nor the EHO can do anything about the very high ceilings. No doubt a lot of the heating is being wasted heating the top half of rooms.
                False ceiling.
                Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by SarahC78 View Post
                  just over a week ago the new windows were fitted.
                  Consider your friend VERY LUCKY.

                  I had snow coming in my windows, got council, solicitors and
                  barrister, and as soon as he got the solicitors letter about the
                  windows, I was issued a section 21, and was evicted.

                  Count yourselves VERY lucky.

                  R.a.M.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Agree fully with RAM you are extremely fortunate.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                      Unfortunately the only requirement is that the property must be heatable to a certain temperature (16C iirc), but how it is heated & how much it costs to heat it are not relevant (legally). He should get back in touch with the EHO, explain the landlord has done nothing, and ask if he can have a HHSRS inspection. The Housing Health & Safety Rating System is a points based assessment so it is possible that even if the property fails in one area, it may pass overall.
                      I looked at this very recently AIUI the heating must be able to maintain 18C in bedrooms and 21C in the living room when the temperature outside is -1C, it must also be controllable.
                      I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by tim123456789 View Post
                        Alternatively, it could just be the the windows are drafty. You can fix this problem with 20 quid's worth of material available from your local diy store.

                        tim

                        With what kind of materials? links?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by be kind View Post
                          With what kind of materials? links?
                          Secondary doubleglazing.

                          Plastic sheeting, with kit for stip draught excluder ( thin, not wide )
                          not seen any for ages, but ends up with clear plastic sheet, with
                          edges pinned to wooden window frame.

                          Even garden centres may do similar.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by ram View Post
                            Secondary doubleglazing.

                            Plastic sheeting, with kit for stip draught excluder ( thin, not wide )
                            not seen any for ages,
                            You can buy it in Wickes.

                            http://www.wickes.co.uk/secondary-gl...2/invt/210014/

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Great, thanks ram + Mrs Mug. Just wondering if the fixing tape would tear up the paint on the windows when removed? And can it be reused?

                              Comment

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