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Ranger77
09-10-2011, 14:34 PM
I am letting my house to a family (husband, wife, plus 18
year-old daughter) on an assured shorthold
tenancy. I am not a professional, full-time landlord. I
am letting the house purely due to personal circumstances.

The house does not have central heating installed and so as part of the deal, I agreed to install a replacement gas
boiler within the initial, one month rent-free period and
this obligation of mine was written into the tenancy
agreement.

We are now at the end of the rent-free period. The boiler has not yet been installed, however I have had several
contractors survey the property and provide quotes. I
apologised to the tenants for the delay with installation, and also kept them informed of progress with contractors'
visits and obtaining quotes.

Today, one of the tenants (the wife) turned-up at my own
house complaining about the fact the work has not yet been done and saying the house is “cold”. I repeated my
apology, pointed out how I had kept them informed,
including that I had spoken repeatedly to the other tenant (the husband) who seemed unconcerned in our phone
discussions. I reiterated that the installation would be
completed as soon as possible.

This lady is quite trying - frankly, a pain in the rear
end - whereas the husband is very reasonable. I have to
say that I had not returned a phone message from her
yesterday nor did I want to speak with her on the phone
today. I have already told them what is going on and there is nothing further to be discussed, as the installation
work needs to be done properly, safely and economically,
and I therefore must take time and care over selecting a
contractor.

She was with her daughter when she arrived, and I
eventually lost my rag a bit as I took the view it was a
pointless conversation and it felt like harassment. Her
daughter said, “You can't talk to my mother like that” and so and so forth. Eventually, I told them to leave the
property (my home, not the rented house).

I am in the wrong in that I am in breach of the contractual obligation I agreed, however I am taking steps to arrange the installation and I have kept them fully-informed. Once I have heard from one or two other contractors who have
already surveyed the property, then I will select one and
the work will be done.

What I need to know is whether, in principle, the tenant
could ask for a refund of some of the rent and whether they have any other possible claims against me. Is there any
other advice anyone can offer about how to handle this?

Snorkerz
09-10-2011, 15:10 PM
Firstly, you are a professional landlord. All landlords are running a business and renting for money. WHY you are a landlord does not alter that.

I think there is room for negotiation here. You have contracted to provide something and you are not providing it. Is there a working boiler? Why is the tenants house cold? What are the reasons for the delay? I would have thought you would at least have a contractor selected and start date by now even if they were not available for a while - plumbers being what they are :)

You need to tread carefully, this may be the catalyst to prompt the tenant to discover what else (if anything) you haven't done right, and it could all end in tears.

A few obvious ones:
- Gas safety certificate
- Energy performance certificate
- Deposit protection

Have you checked with the local council to see if landlords or properties need licensing in your area?

Ranger77
09-10-2011, 16:20 PM
Thanks. Well, not wanting to start playing with words, but I'm a landlord by default rather than out of any positive choice. It's not something I want to do for very long, as I regard it as nothing-but hassle.

DP and EPC done. Gas Safety Certificate will be produced as part of the installation. Licensing doesn't apply in this district and it's not an HMO.

No special reason for the house to be 'cold' - it's just something for them to complaint about. If I did think they were genuinely suffering, I would do something about it, but the house is well-insulated and remains habitable and liveable.

I would have expected to have done the installation by now, yes, but BG have messed me around over the paperwork, so I had to obtain quotes elsewhere. Delay was also partly due to personal problems - I'm going through a traumatic closure of my business and this has occupied much of my entire time, otherwise I would have been chasing things-up. As I see it, I'm not hiding anything from them, so I should be OK as long as it gets done.

What worries me, chiefly, is the rent, in that while there is no general right of set-off, they could use this as an excuse to withhold some rent, giving me a practical problem.

Thanks,


Firstly, you are a professional landlord. All landlords are running a business and renting for money. WHY you are a landlord does not alter that.

I think there is room for negotiation here. You have contracted to provide something and you are not providing it. Is there a working boiler? Why is the tenants house cold? What are the reasons for the delay? I would have thought you would at least have a contractor selected and start date by now even if they were not available for a while - plumbers being what they are :)

You need to tread carefully, this may be the catalyst to prompt the tenant to discover what else (if anything) you haven't done right, and it could all end in tears.

A few obvious ones:
- Gas safety certificate
- Energy performance certificate
- Deposit protection

Have you checked with the local council to see if landlords or properties need licensing in your area?

mariner
09-10-2011, 16:28 PM
"The house does not have central heating installed and so as part of the deal, I agreed to install a replacement gas boiler"

So what is this boiler replacing? existing gas boiler for hot water taps & poss shower? It must be fitted by accredited GasSafe engineer. Is any space heating installed, gas fire, elec night storage heaters?
Suggest you get advice from Council EHO & private rented accom officer.
Did you investigate grants that may be available to you or Ts, heating, loft cavity wall insulation? Do you have an EPA report?

Ranger77
09-10-2011, 17:16 PM
Apologies - I wasn't using precise language. The central heating implements (i.e. radiators and pipes) are already fitted. There's an old boiler that needs to be replaced with new combi boiler.

Ranger77
09-10-2011, 17:26 PM
"
Suggest you get advice from Council EHO & private rented accom officer.
Did you investigate grants that may be available to you or Ts, heating, loft cavity wall insulation? Do you have an EPA report?

Cavity wall and loft insulation already fitted. Tenants voluntarily removed an electric fire that was already installed. Tenants have also been offered electrical central heating, but have refused on the grounds they think gas is cheaper.

I'm not clear why it would be in my interests to involve the local Council, particularly a EHO - can you expand and explain?

Are grants really available for central heating installation?

Snorkerz
09-10-2011, 18:36 PM
I think the point is that the EHO could tell you if you were operating within the law, as you have plans to rectify they would be extremely unlikely to get their knickers in a knot about it. It would also be good to get your side of the story in before the tenant complains to them. Same with the private rented accom officer or Tenancy Relations Officer.

Tenants on certain benefits can apply for a grant for central heating if it doesn't exist http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Energyandwatersaving/Energygrants/DG_10018661 but it would take around 6 months - no way it will be done in time to resolve this issue.

Ranger77
10-10-2011, 11:08 AM
I don't think it is a good idea to involve the Council - but thanks for the advice.

mariner
10-10-2011, 14:50 PM
If there is no valid current GSC you are breaking the law!
Local gch engineer could source new replacement boiler, eith Warranty, for sig less than BG IMO and fit within a day.

Snorkerz
10-10-2011, 15:41 PM
I don't think it is a good idea to involve the Council - but thanks for the advice.But if you don't, the council think you are purposely avoiding your responsibilities if the tenant gets in touch with them. In such a case they will hi hard if you are breaching any regulations. If you're not, you will then be able to tell your tenant that the EHO is happy with things, which may take the wind out of their sails.