PDA

View Full Version : No Heating or Hot Water



TGMoon
27-02-2006, 12:19 PM
Hi everyone.

I know that this has been covered a few times previously, but sometimes it a little unclear as to what qualifies as reasonable time etc.

14 days ago, we informed our Agent that we no longer had hot water or heating (all run of one system) (plus we have no powershower, so the only means of getting hot water is a kettle and the cooker).

To my surprise the Agent said they would have to contact the Landlord which may take some time. After 2 days, the Agent asked for the make of boiler, which we supplied. Again, after another 2 days, the Agent got back informing us that it was an awkward boiler to repair so could take some time. All this time, we have either been having to go out of our way to friends to shower, or "boil a bath" which takes hours, or have a flannel bath, which just isn't pleasant when you have no heating!! We’ve had to cancel visits from my parents, and friends. I am also getting particularly concerned as it looks like some very cold weather is getting ready to set it and I’ve just had a call from the agent again saying she won’t know anymore for another 2 days!.

From what I've read, it may seem that the Agent is doing something about this, but it seems strange that they haven't even sent anyone at all to at least take a look, and make sure it's not something stupid like a blown fuse!!

I have just called a plumber/engineer who instantly said he is qualified to service/fix our type of system, so am I now in a position to just sort all this out myself and bill it back to the Agents/Landlords?

And do you think it is just to seek compensation, and if they agree but what they offer is derisory, what action could we take?

davidjohnbutton
27-02-2006, 13:04 PM
You must give the landlor, through his agent, the chance to put it right before you are entitled to get the work done and deduct from rent.

You should write to the agent by recorded delivery or fax giving a reasonable time for repair/replacement and warning that if it is not done by x date, that you will obtain three quotes and pay for the cheapest one and will deduct the cost from your next rent payment.

Alternatively you could contact your local environmental health department and ask them to issue an urgent notice to the agent. As to what is a reasonable time - it depends, but I would have thought no more than 2 days for this - after all you can boil water and use that for washing suitably topped up with the cold water that is available - that having been said, it is obviously inconvenient to have to do that but if the local EH became involved, it would probably be a 7 day notice anyway.

As to compensation - something breaking down does not create an automatic entitlement to compensation - if your landlord fixes it within a reasonable time you would not be entitled to compensation - but if it goes above that, then you will need to negotiate a downward reduction in your rent for the period of being without hot water and heating.

TGMoon
27-02-2006, 13:13 PM
Thanks David.

Just so I've got it clear, would reasonable time be from when I write to the Agent, i.e. today and basically ignoring the past 2 weeks?

May thanks

justaboutsane
27-02-2006, 13:26 PM
My response would be along the lines of ... " we have now been without hot water or heating for X number of days .. you now have X number of days to sort it......" and then follow DJBs info as above!

davidjohnbutton
27-02-2006, 14:11 PM
I concur with justaboutsane - your slight problem is that you have to show reasonableness in a contemporaneous form (i.e. as it happens) and all you have so far is your various exchanges on the telephone with the agent.
If you are going to go down the line of paying for the repair yourself and deducting it from rent, the starting point has to be the point at which you make the matter time concious - as they usually say "time is of the essence" and your letter setting out your intentions in writing is the start of you keeping a formal record of what is happening and is your proof of your reasonableness if it ever came to court.

Scenario 1: Tenant phones landlord, says repair is necessary - landlord fails to do repair, tenant phones and says "you no do repair - I no pay rent" - tenant does repair and pays for it himself and takes money out of rent - landlord sues for missing rent - landlord liable to win as tenant not followed correct process.

Scenario 2: TPL, srin - lftdr (see above) tenant now writes and says, you have 7 days to do this repair or you no do repair - I no pay rent - landlord no do repair, tenant gets 3 quotes, takes cheapest, pays for it and takes money out of rent and sends copy quotes and final bill to landlord - landlord sues saying tenant had no rights to do this etc etc. Tenant wins because he has followed law and demands of reasonableness - tenant also counterclaims the summons for damages for breach of repairing covenant and wins compo as well!

TGMoon
27-02-2006, 15:31 PM
Thanks everyone.

Scenario 2 definately. I most certainly want to have the upperhand where at all possible, and withholding rent I can envisage as being messy and possibly acrimonious. (i'm also worried because they hold a huge deposit). I think, considering i've now been able to contact 3 engineers today, who have all said that, if asked, they could fix it tomorrow, so I don't see why the LL/Agents can't do the same, i'm going to allow 4 days before I do it myself.

Thanks again for all the advice, and I'll let you know the outcome!! Fingers crossed.

TGMoon
21-04-2006, 12:10 PM
After another 2 weeks waiting we eventually had to go ahead and get quotes for the work to be done, which the landlord agreed to (via the agents). It turned out the boiler was trashed and had even been leaking contaminated water into the system (have paper work to prove it)! The boiler was eventually fixed. In all we were without hot water & heating for 4 weeks (during the coldest few weeks of the year), and the plumber was even recommending we report the incident to the H&S people.... though we didn't.

We have diligently paid our rent through all this, we didn't move to a B&B which i think may have been our right, and we had to take time off work to not only go to friends/gyms to shower, but to oversee the plumbers.

When we enquired with the agents about compensation, they have now said.. "not a chance"!!! which i find ridicules considering the rather large amount of rent we pay!

I'm pretty sure i know the answer to getting some sort of compensation..... small claims court, which to be quite honest I don't have the energy to do.

but does anyone have any suggestions as to how one might pressure the agents into some sort of action. to be quite honest i'd be quite happy giving notice and leaving the property on the assurance that I got my deposit back on the day I leave (prior to pre-inspection of course). Would this be unreasonable to try and negotiate with the agents?