If All Bills included does that mean 24/7 heating?

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    If All Bills included does that mean 24/7 heating?

    I have a student house where I have an internet thermostat as they have a bills included contract (where I am responsible to pay utilities). This has worked well for many years until this set of students. The heating is on 9 and a half hours a day and if they want to change the timings they just tell me and I change them immediately. They are supposed to be at uni!

    They say they want total control and should be able to have the heating on any time without limits. They say that me not allowing them this could be seen as harassment under Quiet Enjoyment!.

    I am a bit stunned by this as always had good relationships with my tenants. Your advice and feedback would be appreciate.

    Does ALL Bills Included mean 24/7 use if they want?
    Am I doing something wrong but controlling the timer? IF I was neglectful I could see it but I respond immediately, so not.

    Thanks,

    #2
    Depends on your contract.

    If you have let them on room by room basis (HMO) with shared common area, you may have control of the thermostat.

    If you let the property out as a whole, unless you explicitly mention you will be controlling the heating, then they should have access and control to the whole property, you messing with the thermostat would be a bit out of ordinary.

    Having all bills inclusive is never a good idea, I've had a friend who used to mine bitcoins in a flat he rented because it was all bills inclusive, in the end landlord actually bribed him out of the tenant contract by paying 2 x his monthly rent back to him in order to get him to leave, as he was drawing 5KW from his mining rig.

    Comment


      #3
      The housing health and safety ratings system guidance for landlords bottom of page 24 says:

      "Centrally controlled space heating systems should operate in a way that makes sure
      occupants are not exposed to cold indoor temperatures. Occupants should be
      allowed to control temperature within their dwelling."

      https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...425/150940.pdf

      They might argue they can't control it if they have to text you to change things. I cant imagine 24/7 heating would be a reasonable expectation however.

      Comment


        #4
        Just a thought, like mobile data limits, maybe worth having a fair usage policy incorporated into the tenancy. Alternatively may be cap at x amount once over then the tenant pays the remainder.

        Comment


          #5
          What exact wording does it say in the TA about the bills being included? Maybe something in the wording already to stop the T taking the mick.

          Comment


            #6
            Normally there is a stiplulated £2,000 pa cap where tenant's pay above (although I have never enforced). With this one it just says the landlord pays the utilites.

            Comment


              #7
              You are screwed and liable for ALL utility bills unless you can persuade Ts to sign a more reasonable usage TA as outlined above. Serve s21 when permitted.

              Comment


                #8
                Internet thermostats and landlords don't mix.

                I'd argue that the existence of an internet thermostat is a breach of quiet enjoyment and risks an illegal eviction claim unless the landlord is resident. Remote monitoring of tenants is not a good idea.
                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


                  #9
                  I agree with jpkeates. I think the tenants are probably right. If you contracted to pay the heating bills without limits then thats what you have to do and you must give the tenants control of the theromostat in my view. You can consider placing limits on it next time but you'll have to suck it up for the current set of tenants.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I have a nest system at home, and can set a pin and an upper temperature limit.
                    Works wonders with SWMBO who is feeling slightly chilly so turns it up to 25.. Limits it to 21



                    Would the same work here? Dial in an upper limit that is above the normal reasonable range.
                    Once the property is up to temperature then it will stop heating anyway, so its not like the heating is going to be on 24 hrs a day.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Boilers have a maximum limit at which they can generate heat.
                      If someone sets the property thermostat to above that limit, the boiler will simply run 24/7.

                      Using a thermostat that lies to the user and which restricts the heat output below what they set is (legally at least) fine at home, but not for a rented property.

                      The (only) issue here is an inadequate contract that doesn't limit the tenant's usage.
                      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


                        #12
                        I see my idea would fall foul of the rule that "Occupants should be allowed to control temperature within their dwelling."

                        One thing I am not clear on, @KerryFl Are you sharing the property (ie lodger agreement) or is this an AST?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          It might also fall foul of the law that prohibits " a landlord from doing " acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier or members of his household".

                          Moreover, they're intrusive. They store records of activity in the property and, albeit in a minor way, monitor the occupants.
                          In your home, you install one, you're making that decision for your own purposes.
                          In a rental, not so much.
                          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


                            #14
                            If you have an internet thermostat, I'd expect the heating to be on continuously, with the set point varying throughout the day.

                            In any case, assuming that reasonable temperatures are maintained at all times, the cost of having it at the highest setting for m hours instead of n hours will not be m/n time higher

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I used to run HIMOs and student houses and heating was often an issue. The problem is that tenants prefer an all-inclusive rent and you may not be competitive without it. Any clause you add to the contract will be difficult to enforce.You are better to make a good allowance for heating overuse in the rent charged. I tried programmable thermostats which worked to a degree but I found that you either take a risk with all-inclusive or don't cover bills and they can use what they like.

                              I took a hard look at my houses where there was heavy gas and elec usage and I found that the ones where there was poor insulation and damp or cold rooms etc were the ones with the problems. Cold attic rooms are not really acceptable to most people these days for example. Students are varied in their courses, mode of study and lifestyles. Some study mostly at home and this has a heating implication. It may be you have been lucky up till now with tenants and you need to upgrade the property or the way it is tenanted. I insulated one of my houses and sold the rest. My houses were 1900 terraced types which students don't see as a first choice option anyway.

                              Also you have to ask whether it unreasonable to be able to turn your heating on (yourself) or up when friends come around?

                              Comment

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