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caz72me
26-10-2005, 14:42 PM
I am a tenant, have been for last 2 years, paid my rent every month direct debit, all inspections have had good reports etc etc. My landlady lives in Greece so I deal with the letting agents, a week ago today I reported to agents that my central heating and hot water had gone down. Without hot water we do not even have showers that work as they all run on the hot water. Heating engineers came out that afternoon and said we needed new valve assembley, told it would take 2 days, after two days told it would be here next day, next day we were told wednesday (1 week after they came out), today is wednesday and just rang and have been told no chance before next week and that even next week is even doubtful as part needs manufacturing. What can I do, I live there with my two young children and we have all had flu, one of my children is really bad with his chest and is coughing like mad at the moment, we are surviving with a little oil filled radiator in one room of the house and hot water bottles at night. But most of all the hot water is the thing we miss most, it is costing me a fortune to boil kettles of water all the time and then to have a shower every few days, I have to pay for us all to go into the local swimming baths to use their showers. I know I can try and claim compensation for all this but it is a total nightmare living like this and I am afraid for my son's health, I have considered booking into a B&B but have no money apart from my credit cards, can anyone give me advice, I have phoned my agents three times today and they are just avoiding my calls, the boss is supposed to ring me back but my last call was an hour and half ago and still no phonecall back, they even got me to chase up the heating engineers instead of doing it theirselves. I am going to request my landladies contact info so I can write to her to let her know what has been happening, but by the time she gets the letter in Greece, I would hope the central heating will be sorted. I have considered stopping my direct debit which is due out in 5 days, but feel there may be legal implications in this - I would put it aside but just feel they may do something if I withhold it, it seems to be my only way of making them listen and do something. Help please.

dazalock
26-10-2005, 15:00 PM
Sorry to hear you are having these problems and this is what I would do if I were in your position:

You should write a letter to the agent stating all what you have written here. State that you and your children are suffering health problems because of this and state that if the situation is not sorted in 48 hours you will have the problem rectified using a third party heating engineer and retain the rent to pay for the above. Also state that you will contact environmental health about the situation and until things are sorted you are going to book into a BandB and again, you will withold rent and all associated costs including interest on credit and extra travelling expenses.

Post this recorded delivery and see what happens. If they dont react, do it! I understand your concern about them doing something, but they will be in a sticky situation if they try to take you to court for the rent as a judge will throw the book at them.

Keep all reciepts and expense details, only retain what it costs you, not a penny more.

If im wrong here, someone will put me right.

hope it works out for you.

caz72me
26-10-2005, 15:24 PM
Thanks for reply, still stuck as just had call from boss, he then got the same girl to phone me back as before and tell me they are trying their best and offer me the use of a convector heater!! Also the heating engineer and my letting agent are accusing each other of lying and are both phoning me and telling me the other provided me with false information in the first place, I am just stuck in the middle and its me and kids suffering

dazalock
26-10-2005, 15:28 PM
Dont get involved with their arguments and dont accept anything apart from a fixed system, a convestor heater isnt giving you hot water. Write your letter and stick to your guns, time for you to take control of the situation.

RichieP
26-10-2005, 15:30 PM
I'd go along with what Dazalock says. Just to add though that it's worth getting two quotes and send them to them. If they do go to court over unaid rent as a result of this you can at least show you tried to get the best price.

MrShed
26-10-2005, 19:05 PM
I fully agree with dazalock on this, sound advice. At the end of the day, if it is affecting your sons health, then no judge will grant them the rent. However, a side issue is that after causing this hassle, be prepared to be evicted at the end of your fixed period, or in 2 months time if you are not in a fixed term(which you are probably not).

Gigi
26-10-2005, 20:20 PM
I see where you are coming from MrShed but she is not causing the hassle so it would be a little harsh.
From a LL point of view though I have recently had trouble with my central heating at home and been without it for 5 weeks while one bod after another tried to sort it out (all trusted bods ;) ), so it may be that they are really trying. If you got someone in you may have the same problems. Plumbers are a dying breed, right after electricians!

P.Pilcher
26-10-2005, 20:21 PM
I seem to remember that Oracle Paul F. has stated in the past that under these circumstances you are entitled to move your family out into reasonably priced B&B accommodation at the landlord's expense until the problem is either fixed or acceptable heating and hot water facilities are provided. Apparently the courts look very favourably on tenants with young families in these circumstances. A solicitor should be approached pronto about this and his initial advice should be provided free of charge - the rest at the landlord's expense! Failing this, talk to Shelter or your local CAB.

P.P.

MrShed
26-10-2005, 22:49 PM
I see where you are coming from MrShed but she is not causing the hassle so it would be a little harsh.


Yes, but seeing as though the landlord/agent is the one being the pain, and not dealing with the issues, I would genuinely expect it. I am not saying that the OP deserves it, but there is a good chance that that is what will happen.

caz72me
31-10-2005, 12:30 PM
Thank you all very much for all your advice, after alot of phonecalls and shouting, it looks as if we will be without heating/hot water/showers for a month in all, so another 2-3 weeks at least to go yet. I did contact enviro health, and they want details from me to persue this with the agents but the same day I had a call from the agents saying that my landlady is back from Greece on the 3/4th nov for a few days and would I like them to arrange a visit so I could speak to her about the problems - I think this is a good idea, at least I can tell her about the lack of co-operation from the agents in this matter and advise her of all my extra costs and the fact that it is extremely difficult with no hot water for showers or baths especially with two young children. I feel I should hold fire with the environmental health at the moment as do not want to upset my landlady before I give her the chance to sort something out. I think I could cope with electric blankets and portable heaters if I could just get in some sort of temporary hot water supply, does anyone know if its possible to hire portable hot water boilers, like they would probably use for outside catering etc, if I had something like this for a couple of weeks, at least we could probably have shallow baths which I feel we could cope with fine. I would need to know this is feasible before suggesting it to the landlady.

caz72me
31-10-2005, 12:35 PM
I did contact a couple of other heating engineers - problem is that the boiler we have is not very popular and only one or two heating engineers in our area will go near it - parts can only be ordered direct from the manufacturer, and the particular parts we need (5 in total) need to be manufactured. A friend of mine very kindly did some investigating for me and rang the wholesalers with whom the parts are on order with - there is no chance of getting them quicker and last thursday delivery was quoted as being 3 weeks away after chasing the manufacturer. I personally think as this is the 2nd time in a year this boiler has broken down, that my landlady should seriously consider getting it replaced and not repaired.

Ericthelobster
31-10-2005, 15:51 PM
some sort of temporary hot water supply, does anyone know if its possible to hire portable hot water boilers, like they would probably use for outside catering etcI think the best you could hope for is something like an urn from www.hss.co.uk, but I think it's very doubtful anyone from the agency is going to reccomend that as there's huge potential for self injury from pouring large volumes of boiling water, electrical risk from the urn in the bathroom etc etc.


problem is that the boiler we have is not very popular and only one or two heating engineers in our area will go near it - parts can only be ordered direct from the manufacturer, and the particular parts we need (5 in total) need to be manufactured.Totally ridiculous and unacceptable - for a start it'll cost a bomb to have parts made up specially: obviously a very old boiler which needs dumping. You can't be expected to go without hot water for a matter of weeks while someone manufactures new components! Get yourself off to a B&B pronto!

evictor
31-10-2005, 18:34 PM
now let me get this right the parts have to be imported.. yes the LL is doing all he /she can ........ yes if my CH goes down and i get a nice chap to come and fix it and he cant get the parts then i ask another plumber to come out and am sure he would tell me the same ... so i got to live without CH for a few weeks its not the end of the world is it ??? worse things happen 7/7 .

if you hold your rent back you are then in breach of your TA and this could lead to CC and CC costs plus you could get a MJO and that then affects your credit..

is it not better to wait a few weeks

caz72me
31-10-2005, 20:15 PM
now let me get this right the parts have to be imported.. yes the LL is doing all he /she can ........ yes if my CH goes down and i get a nice chap to come and fix it and he cant get the parts then i ask another plumber to come out and am sure he would tell me the same ... so i got to live without CH for a few weeks its not the end of the world is it ??? worse things happen 7/7 .

if you hold your rent back you are then in breach of your TA and this could lead to CC and CC costs plus you could get a MJO and that then affects your credit..

is it not better to wait a few weeks

Thanks for the reply, but if you have read the whole thread, you would realise that I have not held back my rent but am waiting to speak to the landlady direct, the parts are being manufactured in the UK, and that it is not just my heating but also hot water and mixer showers which run only on the hot water system(only a boiler and no immersion heater in my rented house) so no showers or no baths, 1 sick 7 year old with asthma and 1 month without which I believe are neccessities and no family or friends close by who I can pop around to their house to use their facilities, yes I agree worse things do happen, but my son's health is more important to me and also to environmental health who do want to take up my case, but I am holding back to allow the landlady to speak to me first, so yes I do think I am being fair in asking for a little more help from my agent/LL.

dazalock
31-10-2005, 20:42 PM
You should be able to hire a Burco Boiler from a cater's.

But, you should not have to provide solutions here, you LL should be coming up with the solutions and begging you not to throw the book at her!!

dazalock
31-10-2005, 20:47 PM
now let me get this right the parts have to be imported.. yes the LL is doing all he /she can ........ yes if my CH goes down and i get a nice chap to come and fix it and he cant get the parts then i ask another plumber to come out and am sure he would tell me the same ... so i got to live without CH for a few weeks its not the end of the world is it ??? worse things happen 7/7 .

if you hold your rent back you are then in breach of your TA and this could lead to CC and CC costs plus you could get a MJO and that then affects your credit..

is it not better to wait a few weeks

Where do you get your information, a TA does not superseade the Law, if this tenant is taken to court for the rent and she produces evidence that shows hardship for herself and her children, the courts will have a field day on the LL. You cannot place tenants in accomodation and fail to maintain it. You have an abligation to provide amenities regardless of what your AST says. There is something called unfair terms!

Jennifer_M
31-10-2005, 21:00 PM
I shall add that it's not the tenant's problem if the parts don't exist anymore. If parts can't be found in a reasonable delay (more than a week isn't reasonable) because the boiler is too old then I'm afraid it's time to change the boiler !

As a home owner I wouldn't wait for a month (if the parts arrived in time which is not guaranteed) to get my boiler fixed so I can have a shower and heat my home so why would I expect a tenant to.
It's coming to the cold months now so would a landlord like the idea of frozen pipes bursting (if she doesn't care about her tenants much surely she cares about her "investment").

evictor
01-11-2005, 18:06 PM
Where do you get your information, a TA does not superseade the Law, if this tenant is taken to court for the rent and she produces evidence that shows hardship for herself and her children, the courts will have a field day on the LL. You cannot place tenants in accomodation and fail to maintain it. You have an abligation to provide amenities regardless of what your AST says. There is something called unfair terms!


you will find that if A LL has done all he can to get the Ch fixed then why would a Court through the book at the LL , who said there is a failer to maintain i trust the T has a gas has been serviced every 12 months , i take cases like this every week ........ only one winner the LL

evictor
01-11-2005, 18:09 PM
I shall add that it's not the tenant's problem if the parts don't exist anymore. If parts can't be found in a reasonable delay (more than a week isn't reasonable) because the boiler is too old then I'm afraid it's time to change the boiler !

As a home owner I wouldn't wait for a month (if the parts arrived in time which is not guaranteed) to get my boiler fixed so I can have a shower and heat my home so why would I expect a tenant to.
It's coming to the cold months now so would a landlord like the idea of frozen pipes bursting (if she doesn't care about her tenants much surely she cares about her "investment").

so what you are saying is that you would replace a combi at a price of say what £1200.. when a part would be here in a few weeks at a fraction of the cost

Jennifer_M
01-11-2005, 20:20 PM
As a landlord you are getting money every month for a service: a place to live for someone. It is a business, not a part time hobby. In every businesses there are costs.

Your duty as a landlord is to maintain the property. A property without heating or hot water for any period longer than a couple of days is not providing the minimum amenities that anyone is entitled to, in particular someone who is paying you for you to provide these amenities.

When a boiler is so old that parts can't be found in a reasonable delay then you know it's time to update it. More parts are bound to be needed in the short term causing more trouble to your tenants.
Replace the boiler. You can probably offset it against your rental income for tax purposes anyway.

And on a personal basis, yes I would get my boiler replaced if I couldn't find parts in less than a month because they don't exist any more. I'm not of the ones who can live without a minimum or cleanliness and personal hygene. If you can bear the smell yourself, it doesn't mean others have to.

MrShed
01-11-2005, 22:07 PM
evictor what you have said is rubbish. A landlord has not done everything to fix the problem if they have not tried replacing the boiler.

mjpl
03-11-2005, 14:54 PM
A month without heating or hot water is not acceptable.

I normally try and save all our Landlords unecessary expenditure but in this case a new boiler is needed.

A LL would not win any case against a family with small children who have been in a house with no heating or sanitary facilities for month.

On a personal level I consider five working days to be adequate time for a boiler to be repaired.