PDA

View Full Version : Heating Problems



nli10
18-11-2005, 11:58 AM
I'm in a HMO where the rooms are individually rented out. Luckily we all get on as there are 7 of us in a house with 1 kitchen and 1 full bathroom and 1 downstairs toilet. Some rooms are also en-suite.

My problem is this, we have two boilers and sets of independant heating/hot water controlls - one for the upstairs half and 1 for the downstairs (simplification). The upstairs one is more reliable and after it was serviced and an extra drain put in hasn't shut itself off. The downstairs one has had a problem where the pressure drops and the heating and hot water turns itself off. As the weather has got colder this has happened more frequently.

Possibly to solve this the Letting Agent's Handyman came round without notice (my housemate came back to find two strange workmen standing around in my bedroom) and installed on both heaters a seperate heating control. Lots of brick dust and debris was left from this. Also they turned down both heaters and sealed them up so that it would require an unusual headed screwdriver to open them. The heating controlls on the new boxes were also sealed up to prevent changing of the settings. The first night of this the downstairs heating failed to come on at all as they had set the times wrong so half the house had no heat and the kitchen & communal bathrooms had no hot water.

My question is is this allowed? The house is now cold, much colder than before. There is no double glazing and in some places external doors have gaps that cannot be filled. When the radiators are on full the house is still cold after the heating has been on for hours. Also the downstairs heating failed again this morning due to the pressure dropping. so their 'solution' looks more like curbing excessive heating bills than to fix our problems.

Are letting agents allowed to do this? Should I read the contract again to check for hidden clauses?

Also I have never seen the gas certification for my room despite my en-suite having a boiler right next to the connecction arch to my room - there is no door between the two areas. Needless to say I got a CO detector in the first week...

MrShed
18-11-2005, 22:00 PM
OK I am quite tired, so I shall sum up briefly my thoughts....I'm sure others may embellish.

- This is COMPLETELY out of order. Demand full fixing, and if it is what is required, replacing of the faulty boiler, and full access to the heating controls. If they do not resolve this in a few days, max, get it sorted at your expense and deduct from the rent. Put all of this in a letter to them.

- Demand to see the gas certificate immediately. If they do not, contact your local Environmental Health ppl.

- The agent/landlord/people on their behalf may not enter the property without you being given at least 24 hours written notice. Even then, you may refuse. This is a breach of your quiet enjoyment.

- It may be worth checking out whether your HMO has even been approved....I would be surprised if it was with that low amount of communal facilities between 7 people.

Energise
18-11-2005, 22:09 PM
The agent/landlord/people on their behalf may not enter the property without you being given at least 24 hours written notice. Even then, you may refuse. This is a breach of your quiet enjoyment.

They can enter the property but not the tenants rooms.

MrShed
18-11-2005, 22:18 PM
They can enter the property but not the tenants rooms.

Can they not even enter the tenants rooms having attained permission? Or having just given written notice? Sorry I am not really up on HMO's.

An extra point....I really don't think they will possibly be able to argue against you charging for this. At a push move into a hotel and charge them. If it is as cold where you are as it is up here, I think even a day or two is too long to wait for them to sort it.

nli10
18-11-2005, 23:13 PM
You brief help has been great.

I'll need to do something - the pressure on the boiler was restored by me this morning and now 12 hours later had fallen again. The temperature in the downstairs and some of the first floor (it's a 3 floor property running off two boilers) has dropped to almost outside levels again as despite raising the pressure the heat hasn't come back on.

Luckily the temp in my room isn't unbearable, just colder but not freezing as I'm on the upstairs boiler.

If it's well within my right's I'll open up the attached boiler to my room to up the thermostat (this doesn't have the locking screws on it) but I still can only add single hours to the boiler via the one button left available.

I agree it is fine for them to come into comunal areas without notice (the cleaner does it) but comming into my room and leaving mes that I had to spend time cleaning up for work which then has inconvenienced me isn't on.

MrShed
19-11-2005, 08:02 AM
OK shall give perhaps slightly more info now.

- TODAY and as soon as possible, write a letter to the agent, preferably recorded but definitely first class, stating that you are to be given total access to the boiler heating controls, and that the fault with the dodgy boiler is to be fixed, and both of these are to be done by wednesday evening. State that if they are not, you will use your right of offset and call out engineers to do the work yourself, and deduct their billfrom the rent. In so much as you have a day or two, try and get a couple of estimates for the work - justifies your position more - and send a COPY of the receipt to the agent. If this work will take a while, I would also consider buying some electric heaters and deducting these as well. You have a legal right to do this.

- You could consider moving into a hotel and charging, however this is still qutie a large initial expense for yourself, so would not do so unless absolutely neccessary.

- I would also state in the letter that no-one is to enter your room without your express permission, and if you find out again that anyone has, you shall pursue legal action.

- What you have stated in your second post about the boiler, I would possibly do, as I feel you have a right to do it. However, I would probably just cut out the middle man and get an engineer in.

Hope this helps, let us know how u get on.

nli10
19-11-2005, 12:40 PM
I'll write the letter today - I'm not sure I have the postal address for the Letting agent, but I'm sure it's online.

We all have to pay by Direct Debit so I'm guessing the only way to withhold payment is to cancel this. I'll wait until nearer the first of the month.

I don't think the hotel option is necessary, but is a good last resort.

Reading some of the articles on the site again the gas shut off valve and meter are in the basement which is permanently locked. This appears to contraveen regulations too so I'll put that in the letter.

Again thanks for the advice, I've had good landlords in the past, but it seems that this letting agent is just out for maximising his proffits. I doubt the Landlord even knows what a state the property is in.

nli10
24-11-2005, 21:48 PM
Well,

He got the letter and called me at work and seemed to be agreeing with what I had said. He brushed over some of the side issues (the lack of heating certificates, no access to gas shut-off) but said that they had someone there fixing it that day and the work would be finished Wednesday (yesterday) tehy seem to have found some leaks but the boiler downstairs is still in bits (working but needing topping up with pressure almost daily) and probably still leaking. They didn't return on Wednesday so what we are going to do is leave a message asking that they finish the job (or indeed when this is scheduled to happen) and reminding him of the other points in the letter.

Thanks again for the advice.