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View Full Version : Boiler breakdown - What is my landlady responsibility?



fabhouse
26-12-2011, 16:59 PM
Hi

Could I have your thoughts and maybe advice on this:

For the last 2 weeks I couldn't get any hot water from the kitchen tap unless I pressed the reset button of the boiler. I had to do that once almost every day.
Last Tuesday night I looked by chance the pressure gauge which is under the boiler and I noticed that the boiler pressure was at 3 bars. I know it shouldn't be that high (I don't know how long it has been like that) and maybe I should have looked at it more seriously but I didn't think much of it at the time as it seemed to work without problem, apart of the daily reset.

On Friday I did try to call the gas man (K) that my landlady uses for work in the house to see if he was available after Christmas to have a look at boiler. The last time he came in (problem with radiators) he did say that I could call him directly but I had no answer or reply.

On Saturday, we have been out all day and when I came home the house was freezing. I checked the pressure gauge and no pressure at all! I refilled the boiler to 1.5 bars but after an hour all pressure was gone again. At that point I texted my landlady but because I could still get heat by refilling boiler it wasn't an emergency for her.

We have been out all day on Sunday (yesterday) and at no surprise the house was cold when I came back. I refilled the boiler to have a bit of heat for a couple of hours.
Just before going to bed, my girlfriend went to the downstairs toilet and noticed there was a small puddle of water on the floor; water was dripping down through light bulb. Fortunately, she didn't switch on the light.
The leak was coming from the boiler cupboard which is above.
For your information, we have a second toilet which is next to the boiler cupboard. The toilet flushing system is behind the toilet wall, inside the boiler cupboard and is connected to the boiler. Worm Water was dripping out the toilet system down through the cupboard wooden floor.
Is it common (or legal) to have that type of system? It's not the first time we notice that the toilet is flushed with warm water. Sarcastic: “I am fortunate enough to have warm water to flush my toilet”.

Anyway, I immediately switched off the boiler, flushed the upstairs toilet, put bucket and towel to soak up.
This morning I tried to switch on boiler but it would not ignite.

I called landlady this morning, she said she wouldn’t be able to get someone out today (what she means is she is not going to pay to get someone out on Boxing Day) and she will call engineer tomorrow.
I kind of tried to put some pressure on her saying that I have a small child and there was no way that I could stay in a cold house. She offered me to use her portable heaters but she can’t drop them off and I am welcome to go and pick them up at her house (16 miles). Is it not her responsibility to ensure I have got heat and bring them to me, or has she done her duty by offering her heaters?

Is it the way to be or my landlady is wrong and she has to get someone in by any means? What do you think I should have done or I should be doing now? I know that some people are not working tomorrow in lieu of Christmas (like me) so there is no guarantee she will get someone in.
I am total novice in terms of boiler or knowing my rights in that type of situation so please be gentle with me.

QuestForFreedom
26-12-2011, 18:21 PM
Your landlady IS responsible for keeping your house warm and providing hot water. Are you letting through an agent or direct with the landlady?

fabien
26-12-2011, 19:37 PM
Your landlady IS responsible for keeping your house warm and providing hot water. Are you letting through an agent or direct with the landlady?

I think she knows she has too. Every time that I have updated her of the situation she has asked me if I had heating and hot water. On Saturday night, she knew that I had heat by manually increasing pressure so she wouldn't go the extra mile to get someone out on Sunday but I think that would have saved to have a mini-flood and electric hazard.

I saw the house via an agent, I paid them the first deposit but contract was signed with landlady and she took over from there.
When I visited the house with agent he did say that I can still speak to them if I have a problem with landlady.
If I don't hear from landlady by 10 tomorrow I will call the agent but I don't know how much power they have. Can they really help me and what can they do, or was is for the 'sale speech'?

She doesn't seem to be that bothered that water leaked through light bulb. To be honest I am a bit scared as it is a fire hazard, or is it safe by now because leak was stopped?
What's her responsibly about that?

Snorkerz
27-12-2011, 20:36 PM
The agents will have no sway whatsoever with the landlord, and even less interest as there is no financial benefit to them in helping you.

The landlord obviously does have an obligation to maintain the water and electricity systems - section 11 of he 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act to be precise.

You could, technically, sue as the property is currently sub-standard. However, the amount you could sue for would be minimal and (lets face it) would result in your eventual eviction.

Have a chat with the environmental health officer at your local council for advice, but again unless you have no great desire to stay in the property, it would probably be best to avoid their direct involvement.

With regard to the landladys speed of action, there are availability limits at this time of year, when considering what is reasonable, one has to consider how speedily a homeowner is likely to get such repairs carried out.

fabien
28-12-2011, 11:12 AM
With regard to the landladys speed of action, there are availability limits at this time of year, when considering what is reasonable, one has to consider how speedily a homeowner is likely to get such repairs carried out.

The landlady managed to speak to her engineer yesterday. He was away yesterday but he could come today. He came this morning and had a look to the boiler but he can't repair it, there is a faulty part. He said the manufacturer engineer has to look at it because he can't mess with it being less than 6 month old boiler. We spoke to the service agent but they can only come tomorrow. I guess if a part needs to be repaired or changed that won't be fixed tomorrow.

What can I do apart waiting? Can I claim compensation for not having heating since Sunday?

Dan_Manchester
28-12-2011, 11:24 AM
The landlady managed to speak to her engineer yesterday. He was away yesterday but he could come today. He came this morning and had a look to the boiler but he can't repair it, there is a faulty part. He said the manufacturer engineer has to look at it because he can't mess with it being less than 6 month old boiler. We spoke to the service agent but they can only come tomorrow. I guess if a part needs to be repaired or changed that won't be fixed tomorrow.

What can I do apart waiting? Can I claim compensation for not having heating since Sunday?

You could of course attempt to claim compensation but it sounds like the LL is trying to get the situation resolved within a reasonable timescale (you did well to get an engineer out yesterday IMO).

Snorkerz
28-12-2011, 11:26 AM
What can I do apart waiting? Can I claim compensation for not having heating since Sunday?


You could, technically, sue as the property is currently sub-standard. However, the amount you could sue for would be minimal and (lets face it) would result in your eventual eviction

Your only real option is to attempt to negotiate. I don't think it would be unreasonable for you to tell the landlady that you're going to buy a couple of hallogen heaters from Argos and deduct the cost from the next rent payment. Obviously, if she ends up paying for them they will remain her property when you leave. There may be a difference between what I consider reasonable and what a judge would consider reasonable - but I doubt it in this case.


when considering what is reasonable, one has to consider how speedily a homeowner is likely to get such repairs carried out.Given everything you know, how quickly would you get this resolved if you owned the property and had to pay for it? Who would you claim compensation off?

BTW, are you posting as both fabien and fabhouse?

fabien
28-12-2011, 13:54 PM
I don't think it would be unreasonable for you to tell the landlady that you're going to buy a couple of hallogen heaters from Argos and deduct the cost from the next rent payment.

I don't know if she will accept that because she has offered me to use her portable heaters but I will have to get them at her house. My car broke down just before xmas as well and I am not going to do 16 miles by bus and carry heaters


Given everything you know, how quickly would you get this resolved if you owned the property and had to pay for it? Who would you claim compensation off?
At this stage there is nothing I can do until tomorrow as I have to wait for that manufacturer service agent but if I was the home owner I would have tried to find someone to come in on Christmas day to have a look to boiler. Nobody wants to spend Christmas in a cold house.
Yes to call them in on Christmas day is more expensive andsome people work 24/7 365 days.


BTW, are you posting as both fabien and fabhouse?
I am new to the forum. I first registered with fabhouse but for some reason after I couldn't log in after my first post so I created a second account. Hope I am not breaching any forum rule.

Snorkerz
28-12-2011, 14:22 PM
I don't know if she will accept that because she has offered me to use her portable heaters but I will have to get them at her house. My car broke down just before xmas as well and I am not going to do 16 miles by bus and carry heatersI agree - it is not your responsibility to do this.


At this stage there is nothing I can do until tomorrow as I have to wait for that manufacturer service agent but if I was the home owner I would have tried to find someone to come in on Christmas day to have a look to boiler. Nobody wants to spend Christmas in a cold house.
Yes to call them in on Christmas day is more expensive andsome people work 24/7 365 days.Most householders, upon discovering the cost of a Christmas day call out, would put it off*. In this instance you would ot have had a working system on Xmas day even if the engineer had called out.


I am new to the forum. I first registered with fabhouse but for some reason after I couldn't log in after my first post so I created a second account. Hope I am not breaching any forum rule.No, you're fine, just wanted to make sure it was the same situation.

++++++++++++++++++++
* I have no idea how much a Christmas Day boiler engineer would cost - but last spring it cost me £64 to get an electrician to come out at 8pm on a Wednesday to re-instate a tenants electricity supply. It involved flicking a switch in a specific way.

Ericthelobster
28-12-2011, 17:15 PM
I don't know if she will accept that because she has offered me to use her portable heaters but I will have to get them at her house. My car broke down just before xmas as well and I am not going to do 16 miles by bus and carry heatersIt's certainly not up to you to collect them. One way of getting them to you (right now) would probably be by ordinary taxi, actually - you could phone up a local firm yourself to find one who's agreeable to doing it before contacting the LL about it (to pre-empt her obvious predicted response). It's her responsibilty to pay the fare, of course.

fabien
28-12-2011, 17:53 PM
It's certainly not up to you to collect them. One way of getting them to you (right now) would probably be by ordinary taxi, actually - you could phone up a local firm yourself to find one who's agreeable to doing it before contacting the LL about it (to pre-empt her obvious predicted response). It's her responsibilty to pay the fare, of course.

Thanks Eric, I really didn't think I could ask for a taxi delivery. You would have told me that on Monday I would have done it but now I have got used to living in a cold house and wearing extra layers. But knowing it should be sorted tomorrow I wouldn't bother the hassle

fabien
29-12-2011, 13:56 PM
I am furious!!!!
The engineer came today and said the main boiler exchanger needs to be changed and it won't be done before Tuesday onwards.
I will ask ll for her heaters to be delivered by taxi or is there anything else that can be done.

Snorkerz
29-12-2011, 14:02 PM
Don't be furious, it is an unfortunate combination of the time of year plus the fact that boilers do break down, and, as I said before, it seems your landlord is acting with comparable speed as could be expected of a homeowner.

However, leaving you without heat is a no-no, so yes, get on the phone and see what can be done about getting those heaters to you. If the landlady is non-cooperative, see if your council is open today and talk to the EHO - they may be quiet as nothing gets done between Christmas and New Year :)

mariner
29-12-2011, 19:52 PM
It may be cheaper for her if LL says you can nip down to Argos and spend taxi fare (£50?) on cheap fan heaters which she will deduct from next months rent when you send her the receipts & let you keep the heaters