Lack of action: Boiler issues

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    Lack of action: Boiler issues

    Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)? England

    Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only? Sole tenant

    Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy? Sept 15

    Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)?12 months

    Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)? PCM, same date every month

    Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)? Yes, Sept 14

    Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy).

    Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant? No


    After some advice please.

    Reported issues believed to be with the boiler on Tuesday evening. Problems started started and progressed over the Christmas / NY period, but lettings office was closed from Christmas Eve to 4th Jan, with contact to a 3rd party available for emergencies only. Letter received from agency to this effect prior to Christmas.

    Problems are a lack of continual hot water (so decent temperature shower for 5 min then lukewarm), squeaking / creaking noises throughout the day coming from the direction of the boiler and the thermostat (possibly?) on the boiler appearing to be broken as the heating no longer comes on as programmed and has to be forced manually. The noises are often so bad that I have to wear ear plugs or I can't sleep, it is slowly driving me demented.

    Since Wednesday afternoon I have therefore been chasing the agency for action. I believe there has been a long drawn out to-ing and fro-ing between Landlord, Landlord's 'maintenance man,' Maintenance man's plumber contact and the agency. This has resulted in me receiving a text this evening from 'maintenance man' stating that plumber is not available until 'Mon/Tues.' No actual appointment has been offered, despite return text requesting this.

    I have no contact with the LL and never have.

    So my questions are:

    Is this an unreasonable period to wait (still don't have an initial appointment) for these sorts of issues?

    Is there anything I can do to put pressure on to get this resolved? (Some sort of contract clause, threat of reporting agency to somewhere etc?)

    My rent is very expensive for the area / property already, can I claim any rebate / compensation for my reduced facilities?

    All advice gratefully received.

    #2
    To be fair, if it was your own home you would have had a bit of a battle getting this sorted by today (starting Wednesday afternoon) at this time of year, although it is getting to be on the long side. Your rights are not really greater than you would have yourself.

    Manual control of hot water and noise are somewhat less urgent than a bust pipe and no hot water, or no heating.

    Sometimes (rarely) noises like this can signify a danger -- if the water tank in the roof is boiling over.

    So my answers

    Originally posted by Silvine View Post
    Is this an unreasonable period to wait (still don't have an initial appointment) for these sorts of issues?
    Possibly not -- yet.

    Originally posted by Silvine View Post
    Is there anything I can do to put pressure on to get this resolved? (Some sort of contract clause, threat of reporting agency to somewhere etc?)
    Call again Monday.

    Originally posted by Silvine View Post
    My rent is very expensive for the area / property already, can I claim any rebate / compensation for my reduced facilities?
    Not really - yet. A good landlord might offer you a small rebate. But I don't think you have any entitlement - yet.

    By the way if you are showing for 5 minutes and then the problems start -- you are having hell of a long showers and using whole load of water. You might well be draining the hot water tank completely by your showering if this is a pumped shower -- and this may have CAUSED the problem. A big pump and a 140 litre water tank will drain completely with a 6 minute shower on full blast at 25 litres per min. You are likely running it dry. Air is then drawn into the system. And you get a hell of a noise - and break it. And the shower goes cold because there is no hot water left. This might not be a defect - it is the way the thing works. Does that sound like what you have -- because I think that is what the plumber is going to tell you.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks,

      I think my point lies in that if this was my house, I would have gone to different companies to just get an available plumber. But it seems I have to wait for this particular plumber, probably because it's on 'mate's rates' or something for the LL. The agency have a plumbing firm that they use but state they were told by LL they had to use 'her's.'

      Also just to be clear, I don't have continual hot water in the shower. I can't get it on demand, that is the heating only. Is continuous noise that disrupts my sleep and quiet enjoyment not significant?

      Comment


        #4
        Yes but you said that you got hot water in the shower for 5 minutes and then it goes cold. That means you are (or have) drained the tank. And there is probably air in the system.

        Landlords and agents often have tradesmen they trust, so it may not be what you suggest (though it might). If it were my home I would wait a day to get someone who knew my system (or had installed it) and I could trust.

        The fact that your shower is not always on-demand-hot simply confirms that you have a conventional boiler with a water tank (which holds a defined amount of hot water) and a pump.

        Please don't feel I am being unsympathetic - I am not - I know it is hard - but houses are complex things and letting is not the same as being in a hotel.

        Comment


          #5
          What's the Make & Model of the boiler?
          This time of year is the worst time for boilers to go wrong. As an owner-occupier you may have found a plumber (at high call out rete, Even if he rec a new part, no guarantee his merchant would be open or item in stock and I guess the manuf would be closed for whole holiday.
          You have lived with the problem since Xmas but only started the clock on Wed when you reported the problem. Wait to see if main man appears on Mon and what he suggests might be the problem/remedy and posy back on this/your thread.

          Comment


            #6
            Turn the boiler off at night if noises are disturbing your sleep. Personally I have my thermostat set to ten degrees overnight to ensure tne heating is off and I don't bake in bed.

            It's possible the boiler is 'kettling'. To counter this turn the boiler temp down and the pump speed up(if possible).

            Maybe the noise is from pipework to radiators. In which case bleeding the radiators may help.

            Unfortunately in winter it takes time to fix a boiler. With older boilers many plumbers go for the little white 'can' t get the parts' lie hoping for a boiler change.This is one reason the letting agency may wait on a reliable source who will actually fix the boiler instead of changing it. Of course the other reason is kickbacks.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Silvine View Post
              I think my point lies in that if this was my house, I would have gone to different companies to just get an available plumber. But it seems I have to wait for this particular plumber, probably because it's on 'mate's rates' or something for the LL. The agency have a plumbing firm that they use but state they were told by LL they had to use 'her's.'
              If no one comes out to you after a week, I would complain to the agent that the delay is unreasonable.
              Honestly, getting a heating engineer at this time of year is a nightmare (however many people you could call if you were a homeowner - they're busy with all the things that went wrong over the christmas period.
              But a week is long enough.
              Also just to be clear, I don't have continual hot water in the shower. I can't get it on demand, that is the heating only. Is continuous noise that disrupts my sleep and quiet enjoyment not significant?
              "Quiet enjoyment" is (confusingly) nothing to do with noise, it's to do with being left alone.
              If the shower should provide hot water on demand, and it's making noise at night, it's not the shower making the noise.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


                #8
                As I understand it agent was notified Wednesday afternoon and engineer booking in for Monday.
                I'd certainly expect to deal with it quicker myself but it's hardly outrageous / neglect.

                The problems prior to Wednesday clearly contributed to your inconvenience, but if A or LL didn't know anything about it there's really nothing they could have done.

                I'd wait and see if they sort it on Monday and then, if more visits are required, base your decision about whether to request compensation on how they deal with it from that point.


                I've recently had a boiler breakdown notified on a Thursday, engineer in on a Friday - could not source specialist parts over weekend so repaired on the Monday. Tenants are demanding 50% reduction in rent for five days or legal action because they claim the boiler was temperamental for a few weeks prior to notifying me. This has not been great for our professional relationship.
                Assume I know nothing.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hi Everyone,

                  Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

                  To answer some questions / give clarity -

                  Andrew - Don't feel I am having long showers at all. Today I had no hot water, so I left the shower on and went and did something else. After 20 minutes the water was warm-ish but certainly not hot. I have previously had (various) problems at this property and it always takes the LL's "maintenance man" days / weeks to do anything.

                  Mariner - It's a Vaillant Tec Pro. Unfortunately as I didn't feel it was an emergency the earliest I could have reported it was this Monday due to the Lettings Office being on an extended Christmas/NY break. So I accept Mon and Tues this week are on me for my delay.

                  Andybenw - Unfortunately part of the problem with me being able to properly tell what is going on with the boiler is that it is not in my house. It is in a cupboard outside, off the porch. So turning it on/off involves going outside and I'm not really wanting to do that at night at the moment. I agree it could be the pipes - radiators all bled last week, no change. I would be more than happy if it was the agent's plumbing firm as I know they are reputable, however, I am being told I need to wait for the LL's "maintenance man'" plumber contact.

                  Jpkeates - Shower is not making noise. Sorry if I was unclear.

                  Brixtonia - Agent notified Tuesday PM, have been advised this morning that the first visit (from the LL's "maintenance man'" plumber contact) will be on Tuesday morning. I was unable to report problems prior to Monday this week (as noted above I accept a small delay on my part) as the Lettings Office was closed from Christmas Eve. I do not have contact details for the LL. I think the way you handled your situation with your tenants was absolutely fine and I would be happy with that.

                  My concern is plumber comes on Tuesday and further visits are then required, which draws this out over a longer period and I have to keep living here in the meantime.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Update: Plumber and 'MM' came on Tuesday and resolved the hot water issue but state they were not told by agency about the noise or suspected thermostat issue. I duly reported that to the agency who stated that they had told 'MM.' I returned a screenshot of my text conversation with 'MM' where he stated they hadn't been told and am yet to receive a response from the agency.

                    Thoughts on next steps please, still being driven demented by the noises throughout most nights?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      If MM refers to LLs maintenance man he is not your LL nor his MA. Your AST should provide address for service of disrepair et al Notices. My tradesmen do not accept Ts instruction for work I have not authorised, unless T pays their bill for additional work, because they know I won't pay it.
                      More cotton wool earplugs then and a miffed LL for not being given full details of problems.

                      Anyway I guess the MA instructed the GasSafe plumber to work on the boiler, not 'MM'

                      Comment


                        #12
                        A short term solution is to 'man up' and pop outside to turn the boiler off overnight pending it getting sorted.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          If you wish to you need to write (yes, WRITE! - or email, keep copies) to landlord (yes, LANDLORD!, copy agent) about any issues. Your contract is with the landlord, the agent is just that, his agent.

                          Here is extensive advice on how to do this including a draft letter.
                          http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_ad...n_private_lets

                          You may be a s21 notice by return though (not fair, not reasonable but legal)
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
                            You may be a s21 notice by return though (not fair, not reasonable but legal)
                            Is it not fair?

                            We really don't know as yet what the problem is. The main problem seems sorted (?) and extremely rapidly.

                            I was listening for noises in my plumbing. At 5am when the heating ramps up there is a ticking noise that carries on for about 20 minutes if you listen carefully as the pipes heat and if it is something you are thinking about a lot. When the toilet flushes there is indeed quite a noise afterwards if you listen really really carefully. Are we talking about a real problem here, or just normal household noises that someone is focusing on. Maybe even higher than normal, but everything is not exactly average -- perhaps even 100% louder than average but still within the range of normal (say within the range for 99.9% of all houses)? And because every house has a range of things that occur over a range of "normal" (water pressure, shower pressure, temperature, water temperature, noisy roof, noisy neighbours...) we are talking about lots of normal limits of things where things can vary --- or not. Really don't know, and perhaps L does not either.

                            T can easily do diagnostic work that neither L nor workman can do.

                            - Switch off boiler at night - is noise still there or not?

                            - Switch off water supply completely at night - is noise still there or not?

                            - How does noise relating to times on heating timer if any?

                            - Could it be from a neighbours property?

                            - It is usually possible to locate the source of the noise at least approximately (loft, basement, boiler cupboard)

                            Without any of this and without actually having a major noise in play when workman is there it is like chasing a small escaped pig.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Mariner - your guess is as good as mine at the moment as to who talks to who between the MA, "MM" and plumber!

                              Andy - I honestly don't want to turn the boiler off overnight as it *should* come on around 5/6am to stop me having to get out of bed into the Arctic. Occasionally it does come on as well!!

                              theartfullodger - Thank you for the link, that's very helpful.

                              Andrew - I agree with you, it would absolutely be fair for me to get a S21 when I am trying to advise the LL of issues with her property, in line with the instruction in the AST that I should do so. Can you source me a small escaped pig, as I'd quite like one for the garden? I have advised as to the rough source of the noise to the MA, and I can assure you I am not sat here 'listening' for or 'focusing' on noises like some bored housewife. All I want is to be able to sleep in the house that I pay more than a reasonable rent for. I have lived in this property for nearly a year and a half and have not heard these noises before. I have had a number of rental properties so I know what is normal 'noise' and what isn't.

                              Comment

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