Boiler defects, no hot water: what can I do against L?

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    Boiler defects, no hot water: what can I do against L?

    hi

    I am a tentant and Ive AGAIN got problems with a letting agency!!! Thanks in advance

    1. two week ago the boiler stopped working. The agency sent his personal unreliable "engineer" to take a look and the engineer stated that parts need changing. We let the agency know but had no response. two days later (thursday) = No hot water. the same engineer came around and said he need to order the part and will be back. He only returned on tuesday with the part, but by then we had contacted a 24hr boiler service to fix the problem (which we are still awaiting payment for from the agency). The 24hr engirneer then stated that another part of the boiler need to be replaced as it was about to fail (he noted this on the receipt that we sent to our agency). Today the boiler = no hot water. The boiler is almost reached the end of its life span!!!!!

    We had in total spent 7days with out hot water in the last 3 weeks and feel very frustrated. Should i now put in a formal written complaint the agency. How long can the agency legally leave us without hot water?

    can the agency give the key to his engineer and let him into the house without anybody else been present?? does the agency have present when were not in the house?

    Is there some regulation agency that i can contact??

    again thanks in advance

    #2
    Originally posted by omneo

    We had in total spent 7days with out hot water in the last 3 weeks and feel very frustrated. Should i now put in a formal written complaint the agency. How long can the agency legally leave us without hot water?

    I had almost exactly the same situation in my last rental. We didnt pursue anything, as we appreciated they cant really just get a boiler replaced overnight. Do you have a shower running off hot water or is it power shower? If it is a power shower, I would suggest just asking for a reduction in rent for the period without hot water. If not, I would ask for total amount taken off until its fixed. Oh, and if the agent say that they wont pay for the engineer bill, write to them and state that you will deduct it from the next rent payment....you are legally entitled to do so.

    can the agency give the key to his engineer and let him into the house without anybody else been present?? does the agency have present when were not in the house?


    Yes they can. As long as they have permission from you to enter the property. They are allowed to enter the property without the 24 hour notice period in the case of an emergency. I, however, wouldnt class this as an emergency. It raises an interesting question though....when the landlord/agent gain permission to enter the property from the tenant, can they then allow an engineer access without them being present? Or has the permission ONLY been granted to the LL/agent? Unsure about this.


    Is there some regulation agency that i can contact??

    If you wish to complain about the agent, it would only be their professional body(ARLA etc) if they are a member. It sounds to me as if the property is habitable so cant complain to Environmental Health or similar.

    again thanks in advance

    I can appreciate why you arent happy, but I think you are flying off the handle somewhat prematurely. They have sent an engineer round at least twice from what I gather, and ordered the part, waited for the part, ad youve only found out in the last day or two that the boiler basically needs replacing. Replacing a boiler takes time. I would merely put in writing to the agent that the boiler needs replacing and you would expect it done within 7 days of the date of the letter(send it first class recorded). Ask in the letter for a reduction in rent over the last 30 days. Agents dont have a magic wand to fix things instantaneously!
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

    Comment


      #3
      Omneo. The position is as you are entitled to hot water at all times, the landlord is in breach (not your agent). It appears the boiler is inefficient and therefore likely to break down, possibly at regular intervals.

      You are entitled to deduct from your rent the cost of calling out the 24 hour engineer. If the boiler is gas fired then he MUST be a CORGI Registered engineer with the appropriate certificates.

      Although Mr Shed suggests you have to have some latitude, in practice this is the landlord's problem so you should receive compensation commensurate with the inconveience, and as there is no set amount you will have to negotiate with the agent or landlord. Being left without hot water for more than 24/48 hours is I would say unacceptable especially if the boiler is old and inefficient as these are factors in your favour. If you can't find a compromise you will have to deduct an amount you feel appropriate. My feeling would be 25% or the rent as being reasonable for the time of inconvenience. You should co-operate regarding entrance to the premises but as Mr Shed states, you can insist on being present, and times should be convenient to you, but it should be during the "working day". The agency cannot use their own key without your express permission.
      The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

      Comment


        #4
        By your post it appears that the landlord is trying to fulfil his obligations under S11 LTA 1985. Other than a breakdown and an emergency plumber telling you another part might break what evidence is there that the boiler is nearing its end? Are you saying you have absolutely no method of heating hot water at all? no immersion, no shower, not even a kettle?

        I'd be suprised if you had an agreement that offered compensation for such an event unless the property was uninhabitable which doesn't seem to fit the case. A full refund for the period without hot water, even if warranted, would be grossly unfair as you haven't lost the use of the rest of the property

        You've invoked the rule of set off by calling in another plumber despite being told that the new part was on order; did you notify the landlord/agent first that you would do this? there are fairly well defined rules for using set off and claiming the cost back from a landlord - on the face of it you haven't followed those rules

        Most agreements have a clause allowing the landlord and his agent (which could be an engineer, plumber or even bricklayer - it doesn't literally mean his letting agent) into deal with an emergency. So if you consider it an emergency it shouldn't be a problem.
        My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

        Comment


          #5
          Paul, as always, you are right. But just to clarify....I am not saying that he shouldnt ask for some form of compensation, they should. But flying off the handle, saying he wants to complain etc, I feel is a bit much, when it is obvious that the agent is at least trying to resolve the issue. I would also say that being an old inefficient boiler would not be a factor for quicker resolving, would be a factor for longer, as if the boiler is that crap then you want it replacing not repairing, which will take longer.

          And oaktree has a good point about the offset rule....having thought about it, when the landlord has shown he is at least beginning to deal with the problem, will it still stand if the tenant takes it upon himself to do so?

          I just dont believe loss of hot water is all that big a deal. Yes it should be fixed, but being without it for a few days, especially if you have a power shower, isnt really an issue. If it was the middle of December, I would understand. But its a heatwave!!! (Well its above like 10 degrees up here in Newcastle....usually Arctic up here :P)
          Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

          Comment


            #6
            Mr Shed I agree with you. It seems that this forum is all too happy to quote the law and minimum requirements without looking at it from the point of view of the individuals.

            If the property has an immersion and electric shower then there is little cause for compensation to be demanded, especially if the Landlord or his agent can demonstrate that they have taken all 'reasonable' steps to remedy the problem.

            Equally throwing the right of off-set around all the time can often be extremely unfair on the Landlord. There is precedence now of Landlords failing to cover rent arrears through the courts when tenants claim right of off-set against fictious damages never even reported.

            I note that a number of people have put forward time limits. Where in the LTA or even the HA do we have a 24 or 48 hour requirement. It should be obvious to all that unless a Landlord is a CORGI registered engineer himself there is little he can do to guarantee a time scale for repair. It is commonly understood that all a Landlord must do is demonstrate that he took every possible step to remedy the problem as quickly as possible.

            If we put a perspective on some of the comments in this post, how would the Landlord be able to cope. So far we have two engineer visits lets say £60 a time also a 24 hour plumber, in my area these are a minimum charge of £150. There has been a part ordered lets say £75 and now the boiler needs replacing which on average with the new condensing requirements is about £1400. So the Landlord in three weeks is expected to come up with £1745 and the tenant should be entitled to not pay rent for the full time that there was no hot water?? If this was a six month tenancy at £600pcm the Landlord will spend nearly all his tax free income on this issue.

            It seems to me that common sense can often prevail rather than continually preaching the exact statutory requirements.

            If your Landlord shows no interest in repairing the problem or takes a very long time with no action in the meantime then I agree 100% that off-set and compensation should be involved.

            Anyway I have rambled on enough.
            For the avoidance of doubt, I am not a solicitor nor a specialist. I have simply spent many years in the business and am expressing my opinions. I would urge caution to any individual using these forums as a sole basis for decision without first speaking to a solicitor.

            Comment


              #7
              thanks to all

              The water is heated by a gas boiler and we have been using heated water in the bath via the kettle etc. My main issues is

              We have left messages and emails with the agency and still no reply (now almost 2 weeks). We constantly have to do HIS job, we have to call HIS engineer else it does not happen (many previous experiences). Can i request contact to the landlord them selves (they are in australia).

              I dont want to cause any type of trouble but im a person that showers everyday before work and if i have to make hot water for a bath = ill be late for work and as i am a contract worker it cost me money!! that is the reality. As i sit here after a cold shower and dirty = im &*^%. Being clean is important to me and my fellow collegues!

              We only call the emergency plumber because 1. he's unrealiable 2. Took from thursday, till tuesday to get the park after saying he had the part on friday. The Emergency plumber had the part within one day and had it installed.

              The idea of compensation sounds good but is only nessary if nothing is soon. I feel this route is the only way i MAY be able to get the agency "WORKING".

              thanks again

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by omneo
                thanks to all

                The water is heated by a gas boiler and we have been using heated water in the bath via the kettle etc. My main issues is

                OK....so you have no power shower?

                We have left messages and emails with the agency and still no reply (now almost 2 weeks). We constantly have to do HIS job, we have to call HIS engineer else it does not happen (many previous experiences). Can i request contact to the landlord them selves (they are in australia).

                However, in this experience, THEY have sent you out an engineer. Have you told the agent that the boiler needs replacing? Have you asked them to replace it? Have you asked for a timescale?

                I dont want to cause any type of trouble but im a person that showers everyday before work and if i have to make hot water for a bath = ill be late for work and as i am a contract worker it cost me money!! that is the reality. As i sit here after a cold shower and dirty = im &*^%. Being clean is important to me and my fellow collegues!

                Well....late for work is not neccessarily true, you get up earlier. Yes its an inconvenience, but it doesnt cost you money unless you choose it to.


                We only call the emergency plumber because 1. he's unrealiable 2. Took from thursday, till tuesday to get the park after saying he had the part on friday. The Emergency plumber had the part within one day and had it installed.

                Yes, and will probably have paid through the nose for the replacment part. Bear in mind, one plumber might have on available already, another may have to order it....c'est la vie. And on what basis do you call him unreliable?


                The idea of compensation sounds good but is only nessary if nothing is soon. I feel this route is the only way i MAY be able to get the agency "WORKING".

                thanks again
                It sounds to me as ifyou and your agent have communication problems. Write (or phone and write) to the agent, asking when it will be replaced, asking for it to be done within a certain timescale. The agent does not know the extent of the problem if you do not communicate itfully to them. Ask for a (small) reduction in rent for the period of time you have had problems. How much is your rent?
                Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                Comment


                  #9
                  However, in this experience, THEY have sent you out an engineer. Have you told the agent that the boiler needs replacing? Have you asked them to replace it? Have you asked for a timescale?

                  His Job!!!! my understand of communication is that 2 people are involved in some type of communication to the party involved. quote "its an inconvenience, but it doesnt cost you money unless you choose it to" (picking up a telephone and talking would suffice). i will again try to communicate with him to get the information that u suggested. I sure you defend good practice Mr shed but there are other people call CUSTOMERS and CUSTOMER satisfaction, as i understand it is important to run a good business.

                  Let me Clarify. This morning 6:25am. Time for shower, breakfast = 45. if i dont know the boiler is not working = wake up earlier!! But that is not the case! Defending poor working practice is not a good thing. Practically i had no choices today but have a choice tomorow.


                  I agree : Communication to let us know that the plumber is on the way, Would have been GOOD! Am i in a position to tell if a boiler need replacing, i dont think i should tell people how to do their job? I dont.!! Rent is about £1800 exc

                  Learn form others and you should not have to make the same mistakes!!

                  thanks again and if anybody else has some good constructive advice and comments it would be appreciated

                  thanks

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by omneo

                    thanks again and if anybody else has some good constructive advice and comments it would be appreciated

                    thanks
                    Thats a little bit unfair. I'm not absolving the agency, I'm saying that God(or in this case, agents :P) helps those who help themselves. And you arent exactlymaking his job easy here by the apparent lack of communication and sudden flying off the handle when it is obvious the agent is at least trying to resolve the situation.

                    And theres plenty of good advice been given already on this thread, both by myself and others, so why not follow it, see where it gets you, rather than arguing with people who say what you do not want to hear, who are removed from the situation and so not letting emotional feelings overpower normal rational feelings on the matter
                    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      not at all.

                      I take aboard all the good advice written to me and am gratefull and with again use this site.

                      Had a cold shower lately. I still have not heard anything further from my agency - still cant communication no matter how hard i try!! I do feel that people forget how helpless the tenants feel when they are let down by the very people that are providing a service or lack of.
                      Agencies are paid to provide a service for more than one party, unfortunately the loser always seems to the tenants. I fortunately fight the corner of the tenant and you for the agency.

                      There are many good agencies out there. I just have to find the right one. Im all for a rating system for agency so that all smaller "rogue" agencies can understand that bad service may lead to loss of business.

                      im sure u do all u can for your tenants, but unfortunately my agency is not. I dont percieve that all agency are bad, please dont percieve that all agents are good ones. Thanks for your communication, now i await my agent to contact me before i have to contact them!

                      Ive got the emergency plumber coming this pm and will be writing a formal letter to the agency to request a new boiler!!

                      thanks to all

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Actually, I am speaking from both sides. I have never been a landlord, but I have been a tenant in EXACTLY the same situation. I am not biased towards either side, merely trying to take both sides view.

                        Yes the agent need to sort it out, yes they should probably give you some form of reduced rent. But I dont think, so far, it is anything for you to complain about to any kind of agent governing body. It is apparent that attempts are being made to resolve the issue, but as I have said agents cannot just click their fingers and make things happen instantly.

                        And issues such as this affect different people differently. If it is causing you real hardship, you need to communicate this to the agent, as they will not know otherwise(some people work from home for example, some people stay at a girlfriends a lot, these people it wouldt affect so much). And you should ask them for a timescale for the works, as again means you have a time scale, and shows to them that you really do need it done asap.

                        I do not perceive all agents are good, my experiences are fairly poor. However, this agent is at least acknowledging the issue.

                        Write the letter, and phone them. In the letter, state you want it replacing within 7 days.
                        Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          will do!

                          all i want is prompt service!! not god like service, just human service, but the agency is not getting close to this!

                          some people need a kick to get started, and ive got the agency that needs one (looking at the clickto evict advert above) . I have reached the time where Mr nice guy gets you nowwhere! Something-someone needs to give, if thats me leaving the property and talking about my experiences then so be it! Customer service needs to be improved and the only way that is going to happen is people complain (in the right way).

                          Will let you know how things pan out!
                          thanks

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Omneo,

                            Perhaps your earlier suggestion will work. Contact the agents and let them know that you are unhappy with the amount of time being taken to rectify the problem and that you wish to contact the Landlord directly.

                            Depending on the agent you may have a section 47 notice built into your agreement or a section 48 which should provide you at the very least with an address. If the agent tries to avoid this by stating that they cannot provide you with contact details, ask them instead to get your landlord to contact you.

                            Bear in mind though that trying to rush the job by calling in a 24 hour plumber does not seem to have had any real effect either. The Landlord is not going to be greatly pleased to receive a bill for a job that has failed to remedy the problem and is at far greater expense than the other plumber who took three working days longer.

                            Equally, I noticed a quote earlier about a 7 day deadline to replace a boiler. Hmmmm, perhaps your area has plumbers with nothing to do but in may area the very quickest need more time than that.

                            At the present time the Landlord is failing in his statutory obligations by not having had the boiler repaired in good time. If the agent is as poor as you content you may well have to withold your rent to speed up the process but bear in mind the agent probably holds your deposit and might slip some rent arrears charges in somewhere. No doubt you will be told by someone that this is unfair but do you really want to go through small claims for £100.
                            For the avoidance of doubt, I am not a solicitor nor a specialist. I have simply spent many years in the business and am expressing my opinions. I would urge caution to any individual using these forums as a sole basis for decision without first speaking to a solicitor.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              HOUSING ACT 1985 - Fitness Standard

                              It does take time to get contractors - in some areas it is well nigh impossible!! and v difficult to get them to rush.
                              Also we don't know all your circumstances or relationship with your agents (some are better than others and some have repair obligations up to a specified amount etc) but.....
                              if no joy contact your local authority Environmental Health Officer who should be able to help.

                              My particular authority take a lack of hot water very seriously.

                              Housing Act 1985 Section 604
                              Guidance in circular 6/90

                              'Fitness for habitation'

                              House may fail in 2 areas - food and personal hygiene

                              1. 'Facilities for the preparation and cooking of food'
                              has to have an satisfactory supply (piped) of hot and cold water

                              2. 'WC, wash hand basin, bath or shower'
                              needs a sufficient supply at all times to all amenities, installed and maintained to provide a constant supply to each fitting as appropriate
                              Whilst I hope you find the contents of this posting interesting and informative, the contents are without prejudice or liability and are for general information purposes only

                              Comment

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