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alisonf
13-02-2007, 18:35 PM
Hello,

I was reffered here by the very lovely helpfull MrShed.:D

I am going to post the letter I sent to my landlord as it explains everything, my landlord essentially thinks its all aload of tosh.


Dear Mrs and Mrs Evil Lanlord


RE: Broken Boiler at MYHOUSE


We are writing to you in regards to the broken boiler at MYHOUSE, a property we are renting from you. As you know, we informed you that the boiler was broken shortly after we moved in on the 12th January, nearly one month ago. Despite this, very little was done to rectify the situation until the boiler degraded from simply turning itself off every ½ hour to the point that we were left without any hot water or heating at all. At this point, MYPARTNER called you to explain the situation and the level of distress it was causing.

As you are aware, the situation has not improved, despite numerous visits and the replacement of a number of parts, the boiler is still not working. This means that we have spent the past week with no heating and no hot water at all. As I am sure you know, during this week we have had the worst snow in 10 years and the temperature has dropped down as far as -5 degrees Celsius. We can assure you that it was in fact no warmer inside this house.

Furthermore, the impact on our quality of life has been colossal. Apart from suffering extremely cold temperatures in the house, we have been unable to take showers or baths and Alison’s heath has deteriorated significantly due to the cold. This has led to a number of visits to the Chiropractor in order to free up her back and relieve some of the pain. Because of this, she has not been able to work over the past week. Meanwhile, we have had to purchase and use expensive to run electric heaters in a vein attempt to take some chill off the house and try to prevent any damage to the considerable amount of expensive, temperature sensitive, electrical equipment we own.

We have now spoken to the local Environmental Health officer who has advised us that a home that does not have heating or hot water is, in fact, classified as ‘unfit for human habitation’. Clearly this is an unacceptable situation.

At this point we feel we have no choice but to draw your attention to section 3 of our Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, entitled “Landlord’s Obligations”. Please note the first paragraph:

PLEASE NOTE: These are the things that the landlord agrees to do or not to do. If the landlord breaks or does not comply with any of his obligations in this agreement or of his statutory obligations, the tenant may be entitled to claim damages or compensation from the landlord, or to seek other legal remedies against the landlord.

And the following points:

3.3 To comply with the requirements of section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which imposes obligations on the landlord to repair the structure and exterior (including drains, gutters and external pipes) of the premises; to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the premises for supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of water, gas or electricity); to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the premises for space heating and heating water. In determining the standard of repair required by the landlord under this clause, regard shall be had to the age, character and prospective life of the premises and the locality in which it is situated.

3.5 To take reasonable steps to ensure that the landlord's domestic gas and electrical appliances and other similar mechanical appliances in the premises for which he is responsible are safe, in proper working order and in repair both at commencement of, and during the tenancy, as may be necessary from time to time in order to comply with the landlords obligations under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets etc., (Safety) Regulations 1994.

As you can see, you are required to ensure that the heating and hot water supply is in good working order at all times during our tenancy period. However, the heating and hot water systems have not worked properly during the entire period of our tenancy to date and for the past week they have not worked at all, rendering the property unfit for human habitation as detailed earlier. Furthermore, we understand that this situation may not be resolved for as much as another two weeks from now.

As you have not complied with your obligations as laid out in this legally binding agreement, we are entitled to claim damages or compensation from yourselves or to seek other legal remedies against yourselves.

We have tried to contact you on numerous occasions in order to try to resolve this situation but you have not been answering the telephone over the past few days. We learnt today (from your boiler repair man) that the reason for this is that you have gone on holiday. Not only did you not inform us that you were going away, you did not supply us with any emergency or alternative contact details for the time that you are away. Bearing this in mind, we feel that we have no alternative but to seek compensation from you as per the terms of our tenancy agreement.

We are mindful that as well as being tenants, we are also landlords for the property we own in Brighton and I can assure you that had a similar situation arisen at the property we are renting out we would have ensured that the matter was resolved immediately, even if this meant replacing the boiler.

Bearing this in mind and taking into account that we have not had sufficient heating or hot water for the past month and that the Environmental Health Officer has informed us that this property in its current condition would be classified as unfit for human habitation, as well as the effect this has had on our quality of life and our ability to earn money, we feel it is more than fair to expect to be reimbursed for a full month’s rent of £995 and at a calculated daily rate of £33.17 for every day we are without heating and hot water after the 12th February 2007. Furthermore, we enclose receipts for three electric heaters, totalling £46.98 that we have been forced to purchase due to the situation detailed above. We request compensation for these items and we will, of course, leave the heaters in the house when we vacate the property.

We do not want to have to make this a legal matter and we sincerely hope to resolve this matter both amicably and in a timely manner. We look forward to your response.



Yours Sincerely.








my partner and alisonf.

CC LETTING AGENT ONLY - (they only find properties not manage them)


I should also note that the environmental health officer is not willing to get involved as the landlord has had a plumber round and is deemed to be "responsible" landlord.

Meanwhile I am in the worrying position of have a temp fix on the boiler that could potentailly overheat and go bang and I am FREEZING! Even our cat is cold-poor thing!

I would appreciate any advice!

Alison

MrShed
13-02-2007, 18:46 PM
Hi Alison :)

Just worth telling everyone else what my opinion on it was. I believe there is adequate justification to terminate the contract, as from the off the property has never been inhabitable technically. But obviously wanted confirmation, hence why I advised Alison to post here - this would be a big step!

Bel
15-02-2007, 10:13 AM
From what I have read on landlordzone posts it seems they have a pretty good case to leave as the LL has breached the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985section 11, amongst others, and has failed to fix the problem.


I dont understand why environmental health are taking such a lenient view on this?

The tenant would also be entitled to get her own quote for the work, show Landlord quote, get work done and deduct it from the rent. The inconvenience to her so far also merits compensation.

I am thinking about starting a thread on "frustrated tenancies" that Paul_F talks about in some of his posts, in order to increase the level of knowledge on this forum about this issue.

Esio Trot
15-02-2007, 10:32 AM
But moving is stressful in itself, and there may not be an alternative property available that suits Alison's circumstances.

Compensation may be the best option.

Alison is in contact with the boiler man, so she should be able to ascertain from him the state of the boiler generally, particularly whether it is just sod law (and it does happen) that once a part is replaced, another goes, and maybe even another after that - particularly for combi and condensing boilers, as there are more components inside that have the potential to go wrong).

MrShed
15-02-2007, 11:19 AM
Good fair point Esio. As a point of note, however, in this particular case Alison would like to leave, as I have ascertained from my conversations with her - she has lost all faith in the landlord.

Babylon
15-02-2007, 14:24 PM
Alisonf,

I am sorry to hear about the problems experienced by you and your partner.

In an ideal world, people wouldn't have to experience such issues but unfortunately, there are problem/inconsiderate landlords, tenants and tradesmen.

As a matter of interest, did your landlord provide you with a gas appliances safety certificate? He has a legal obligation to make sure that the gas appliances, which include the boiler, are in good working order. Perhaps you should ask your landlord to provide this as soon as possible. This will then force him to send someone suitably qualified to check the boiler and fix it if necessary. Such a certificate should put your mind at rest.

As for seeking compensation, I suggest you explore all other avenues with an open mind before considering legal action. You have to prove the wrongdoings of the landlord and it may prove troublesome unless otherwise you have collected sufficient evidence already. I am concerned to note that the council officer does not want to get involved.

I am a landlord too and for all the properties we let out, we have the maintenance insurance cover from British Gas. They inspect the properties regularly and provide the necessary certificates. We provide a copy to our tenants and ask them to contact BG whenever there are any problems. This has allowed us to minimise any inconveniences to our tenants. Needless to say, regular maintenance has helped too.

I hope you resolve your problems with your landlord amicably soon.

Best wishes,

Bel
15-02-2007, 15:40 PM
Alisonf,

I am sorry to hear about the problems experienced by you and your partner.

In an ideal world, people wouldn't have to experience such issues but unfortunately, there are problem/inconsiderate landlords, tenants and tradesmen.

As a matter of interest, did your landlord provide you with a gas appliances safety certificate? He has a legal obligation to make sure that the gas appliances, which include the boiler, are in good working order. Perhaps you should ask your landlord to provide this as soon as possible. This will then force him to send someone suitably qualified to check the boiler and fix it if necessary. Such a certificate should put your mind at rest.

As for seeking compensation, I suggest you explore all other avenues with an open mind before considering legal action. You have to prove the wrongdoings of the landlord and it may prove troublesome unless otherwise you have collected sufficient evidence already. I am concerned to note that the council officer does not want to get involved.

I am a landlord too and for all the properties we let out, we have the maintenance insurance cover from British Gas. They inspect the properties regularly and provide the necessary certificates. We provide a copy to our tenants and ask them to contact BG whenever there are any problems. This has allowed us to minimise any inconveniences to our tenants. Needless to say, regular maintenance has helped too.

I hope you resolve your problems with your landlord amicably soon.

Best wishes,


I agree with you about court action by the tenant, but I think she wants to know if the landlord would have grounds to persue her in the courts, for leaving the tenacy early, or if she is justified to leave immediately because the tenancy has been frustrated by the breach of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

Also there is no harm done by the tenant asking for compensation from the landlord without the need to go to court. A reasonable landlord would compensate if there is justification.

Babylon
15-02-2007, 16:53 PM
I agree with you about court action by the tenant, but I think she wants to know if the landlord would have grounds to persue her in the courts, for leaving the tenacy early, or if she is justified to leave immediately because the tenancy has been frustrated by the breach of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.

Also there is no harm done by the tenant asking for compensation from the landlord without the need to go to court. A reasonable landlord would compensate if there is justification.

Bel,

I didn't go into the points you mentioned because in my opinion they have been covered well by other posters already.

My post was aimed at reducing the animocity between the parties and arrive at a suitable solution. From Alison's post, it is clear that she has suffered during the tenancy and therefore deserves compensation. However these are best dealt without seeking redress from the Courts. Such action will only increase Alison's anxiety. This is what I was getting at. With all due respect to Alison, it is not fair for us to pass judgement against the landlord without hearing the other side.

As for terminating the tenancy, if moving to a new place is less stressful than make peace with the landlord (and agree on a compensation) then that is what she should do. There is no point in staying at a place if it is going to make her ill. That is what I would do personally regardless of any legal consequences.

alisonf
15-02-2007, 19:52 PM
Hmm. It really is quite difficult to know what to do at this stage.

To clarify, the landlord thinks he has acted appropriately as he has attempted to get the boiler repaired. He said that he feels he has done everything that could be resonably expected of him as a landlord. Prior to him recieving the letter my partner spoke to the landlord and he was very terse, he basically demanded to know what we had put in the letter, my partner explained and he clearly didn't like what he heard. he asked my partner what he thought he should have done and my partner explained that the boiler is old and should have been replaced, the landlord objected but my partner continued explaining that this was the opinion of his father, a Corgi registered boiler engineer, a claim that the landlord dismissed, saying "Well, that's just your opinion". Funny, because the boiler engineer the landlord has been using has also expressed the same opinion!

Meanwhile, the letting agent that let (but do not manage) the property recieved a copy of our letter and were shocked but not surprised commenting that the landlord is renowned for being something of a "penny pincher". My partner then contacted the PPP leagal helpline that is part of his employee benefit package. They advised him to contact the Environmental Agency again as although the landlord has made efforts to fix the problem he has not provided any alternative heating solution in the interim and has expected us to live without heating for two weeks now. He implied that they should be able to serve notice on the landlord. However, he was not convinced that we had a claim for compensation.

As for us, this rental is only a temporary solution due to relocation for my partner's recent career move. We intend to buy a house in the area and keep our place in Brighton Let out to tennants as an investment. We both work full time and really don't fancy having to move before we have to when we buy our new place. However, we cannot stand living in a house with no heating for much longer. My partner has made arrangements to work from home on Monday in order to be here for the boiler manufacturer's own engineer that seems to be the final shot the landlord is taking at getting this boiler fixed. If they fail to fix it with a van full of appropriate parts then it really will need to be replaced but quite frankly, if it isn't fixed on Monday we are both going to loose it completely.

An ideal resolution would be to have the boiler repaierd or replaced on Monday and to be compensated for the suffering we have experienced as tennants at this property to date.

For the record, yes, we were supplied with a gas appliances safety certificate, from june last year, for what it's worth.

Bel
16-02-2007, 11:44 AM
At the very least, he should provide you with temporary electric heaters; but this is no substitute for getting the boiler fixed.

You could also contact your local authority tenancy relations officer and explain the problem; different department to environmental health.

jinny
16-02-2007, 21:41 PM
Get in touch with housing standards at your local council, that's what i had to do when my shower packed up the month before we moved, the company dragged their feet knowing we were moving anyway, and i think they thought they could get away with not mending it.
Do you have children? if so, make a point of telling them at the council they need a bath/shower etc. Mind you, this company even ignored the letter from the council!!

M.A.O.H
17-02-2007, 13:13 PM
i can't understand why the health dept don't want to get involved. my ex landlord said he wouldn't repair my broken down heating and hot water systems, and would sell instead, advising me to look for somewhere else, although he didn't issue me with a notice there and then. i went to see about council housing (yeah right:rolleyes: ), and the housing officer i spoke to reffered my case straightaway to E Health dept, as the landlord was in breach of his obligations, and we could have been left in that state for as long as it took to find a new home. i was also told that he had a duty to sort it out even during a notice period. the officer inspected the property the next day, and issued him with a notice within a week, to carry out the repairs within 3 weeks. he also had to have his arms twisted by them to provide heaters in the meantime. as to his character as a landlord, they couldn't care less, no questions or opinions were asked.

alisonf
20-02-2007, 17:51 PM
Just a quick update the boiler was "repaired" yesterday. I got home an hour ago in time to hear the boiler go bang and see the smoke pouring out of it.

I called the emergency plumber who said he cant do anything now as he will need to buy a new boiler in the morning and come round and fit it. In the mean time after 24 hours of a working boiler I am back to square one.

The landlords response when I called him was "oh dear, well get the plumber to call me when he comes out tommorro"

:mad:

Bel
21-02-2007, 10:48 AM
What a surprise !! Gosh, we didn't see that one coming did we !!!

Good luck with the new boiler. Fingers crossed here.

alisonf
21-02-2007, 15:29 PM
Well the plumber cam out and has for the third time now replaced the pump, landlord still wont put a new boiler in.

I had to take another day off work for this. We still have had no compensation from the landlord. I am really tierd of this. What happens if the boiler blows again and I am not here and the whole house burns down next time??/

Anyone know a good solicitor in the Camberley area?

jeffrey
21-02-2007, 15:36 PM
Well the plumber cam out and has for the third time now replaced the pump, landlord still wont put a new boiler in.

I had to take another day off work for this. We still have had no compensation from the landlord. I am really tierd of this. What happens if the boiler blows again and I am not here and the whole house burns down next time??/

Anyone know a good solicitor in the Camberley area?

That's Surrey, isn't it?
I don't have any contacts local to you but I refer Greater London litigation work to a reliable firm in London itself. Send Private Message to me if you want its details.
Sad to hear of your continuing problems. If they were mine, I'd have blown up too.

alisonf
21-02-2007, 15:48 PM
Hi Jefferey,

I will pm you for those details.

I just got off the phone to the landlord. He will give us no compensation, has not even had the decency to respond to our letter. He said if we want compensation he will see us in court. So I guess thats the route we will be going. I really did want to settle this amicably but he is unwilling to do so.:confused:

MrShed
21-02-2007, 17:35 PM
What a joke! This guy is an idiot. Sue his ass off Alison!!

lorenzo
21-02-2007, 17:55 PM
Well the plumber cam out and has for the third time now replaced the pump, landlord still wont put a new boiler in.

I had to take another day off work for this. We still have had no compensation from the landlord. I am really tierd of this. What happens if the boiler blows again and I am not here and the whole house burns down next time??/

Anyone know a good solicitor in the Camberley area?
How much are these boilers anyway? Sounds like he's chasing good money after bad.

.......Never mind Googled it! http://www.miketheboilerman.com/newboilercost.htm

<censor vulgar expletive>,anywhere from 800 - 3000 pounds??

Is that right? The joys of living in a cold climate!!

Ericthelobster
21-02-2007, 18:40 PM
How much are these boilers anyway? Sounds like he's chasing good money after bad.
[...]
anywhere from 800 - 3000 pounds??

Is that right? The joys of living in a cold climate!! 800 pounds for a new boiler to be supplied and fitted, by a CORGI (ie legal) engineer? No it's not right! 2000 would probably be nearer the mark.

alisonf
21-02-2007, 18:55 PM
So far he has spent thousands on plumbers time (orginally he would only use one form poole not a camberley plumber-makes no sense i know) he has spent an awful lots on repeatedly replacing the same part , 2 of the plumbers actually said it would have been cheaper and quicker if he had just replaced the boiler!

Anyway regardless. He is mean and tightfisted -my opinion- and I will take him to court for this. I can not take any more of this.

lorenzo
21-02-2007, 19:07 PM
800 pounds for a new boiler to be supplied and fitted, by a CORGI (ie legal) engineer? No it's not right! 2000 would probably be nearer the mark.

Hmmmm, they're a similar price here in Oz... I'm shocked. Shows how long it's been since I've had to install one.

!!!! I've seen folks here relying on the rent to pay the BTL mortgage. Boiler problems would leave these LLs insolvent, surely.:eek:

M.A.O.H
22-02-2007, 08:09 AM
Hmmmm, they're a similar price here in Oz... I'm shocked. Shows how long it's been since I've had to install one.

!!!! I've seen folks here relying on the rent to pay the BTL mortgage. Boiler problems would leave these LLs insolvent, surely.:eek:

that was my ex LLs explanation for never sorting out my central heating , hot water, and not always doing the yearly safety check. 'your rent only just covers the mortgage you can't have it all'. stupid man. (ex LL that is, not you lorenzo)