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View Full Version : LTA 1985 s.11- how long should L reasonably take to repair?



freynolds
02-02-2010, 17:42 PM
Hi, I posted this on someone elses thread, but I'm not sure if that was the right place for it so I've started my own...

We've had a problem with our gas-fired central heating system for the last 6/7weeks whereby it leaks pressure constantly. The net result is that everytime you want to turn on the heating you have to 'top up' the water in the system first otherwise it's running dry with the water level only at the very bottom of the radiators. This means that the heating cannot be run from the timer and has to be started manually - it is especially a problem in the mornings when you get up with no heating at all as it takes to long to refill!

The leak has been determined to be from the underground pipes in the property (laid under concrete), so the solution to the problem is to lay new overground pipes and (in addition) a new combi-boiler to replace the aging one. The work is predicted to take 5days. I have requested that, for the inconvenience of staying in the property during the period (work will be undertaken during the day when we are at work), we be able to pay reduced rent. The landlord has rejected this request saying that we won't be inconvenienced as we will be out while the actual work is going ahead. Do you have a view on this?

In addition, I would say we have been without heating in 'proper working order' since the date I informed the letting agents about 6-7weeks ago. Do you have a view on whether the issue with the heating system I described above would break s.11 rules?

I appreciate the landlord is doing a good thing by getting the work done properly, but it's in his and the letting agents interests to have this system as well as good for us. I feel there should be some consideration of what we have and will put up with.

Your help with this is greatly appreciated...

PaulF
02-02-2010, 18:56 PM
My view is that the L is obliged to comply with S.11 as you say, and it is unreasonable to have a part-funtioning system especially in Winter. Whether this contravenes S.11 I'm not sure, but the L is doing something about it. Take a pragmatic view and try and negotiate with the L. If that fails then you might deduct an amount of your choice; this could go against you with L serving a S.21 at the first opportunity. It's a matter of 'give-and-take'.

Preston
02-02-2010, 21:27 PM
Hi

The case law in relation to section 11 makes it clear that the landlord is entitled to a reasonable period of time in order to rectify a defect before they are considered in breach.

It is very difficult to say what a court would decide, but my gut reaction is that your case is borderline. From what you have said, it appears that your landlord started to investigate the problem promptly but that it was a major, hidden defect and so took a little while to diagnose. Presumably there was then a period of time during which the work was specified, tenders obtained and orders placed. All in all, 6 -7 weeks is not quick, but I wonder - and I doubt - whether a court would regard it as excessive.

Quite apart from this, if you wish to offset disrepair costs against your rent you must usually follow a set procedure which involves giving the landlord a resonable time to rectify the defect followed by a warning that you intend to take action yourself, (search on Lee Parker v Izzet for more information on this).

Only you know all the circumstances and so you are the best judge, but from what you have told us so far I would definitely be favouring negotiation rather than a more aggressive approach, albeit I fully accept the inconvenience and discomfort which you have clearly had to put up with.

PaulF
03-02-2010, 11:09 AM
The case law in relation to section 11 makes it clear that the landlord is entitled to a reasonable period of time in order to rectify a defect before they are considered in breach.Would you be kind enough to quote such cases so I can refer?

Preston
03-02-2010, 19:53 PM
Try these.

In McGreal v Wake (1984) it was held that the landlord was liable for the period starting from when he had had reasonable opportunity to comply with notice of disrepair (in this case in the form of a repair notice from the local authority).

In Calabar Properties v Stitcher (1984) it was also held that the landlord's liabiility only arises after a reasonable time from the giving of the notice.

Morris V Liverpool CC (1987) found, amongst other things, that a delay of one week in repairing a door destroyed by firemen was not unreasonable.

PaulF
04-02-2010, 17:50 PM
I would think that L has a duty to repair a defect within any heating system in Winter PDQ.