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BraveInca
17-02-2007, 12:01 PM
Hello,

First ever post so apologies for asking what is probably a stupid question, but have only just become a landlord as a result of an inheritance (and hence come across this site).
I have been told by the Corgi plumber doing the annual gas check that the gas fire in the front room has broken - simply as a result of its age I think. Once this was the only source of heat in the unfurnished property however in the last few years central heating was installed.
My reading of the situation is that although I have a legal responsibility relating to the safety of the provision of gas, and the installations relating to its supply, this doesn't go as far as ensuring the gas fire is in working order especially now that central heating has been installed (even if my tenant might enjoy doubling this up with the gas fire when its very cold).
The gas fire is currently disconnected whilst I decide what to do. I was intending on asking for the fire to be removed from the property rather than asking if the tenant wants to pay for the repairs himself and then potentially encounter this situation again somewhere down the line.
I would be grateful for anyone's confirmation as to whether my understanding is correct, in that its not appropriate for me to repair the gas fire at my expense & am ok in having it removed, or for anything else I might be missing.
I really don't want to start off by getting things wrong.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

MrShed
17-02-2007, 12:05 PM
Hmmm....someone else will be able to correct me here probably. But, as the property was supplied with a gas fire, I believe you have an obligation, should the tenant demand it, to keep the property supplied with a gas fire. You are not in breach of the gas and/or heating regulations, but you may be in breach of your contract with the tenant, as the property no longer contains what it originally did. Does that make sense? Of course if the tenant is happy for you to remove the fire, then not a problem. And there would be no problem in doing this between tenancies. But if the tenant demands a gas fire, in my opinion you have to supply it.

And, you cannot charge the tenant to fix the fire. It is your responsibility not theirs.

BraveInca
17-02-2007, 12:24 PM
Thanks for that speedy response Mr Shed. I understand exactly what you are suggesting. Know for certain the tennant wants the gas fire back up & working as soon as possible.
The lease is vague as to landlords obligations. It just says I will be required to keep in repair & working order the systems for the supply of gas... and.... heating and hot water installations.
I thought I may have been covered by the fact the central heating had been put in. Having read your opinions on other posts this morning, I will have to concede you know your onions and so this is probably not the case.
I just want to get things right. I'd obviously prefer not to have to pay out on things where I don't have to, but if that's how it's got to be...

Will give the plumber a call later this afternoon unless another forum expert thinks I may have a case.
I appreciate it's only a minor thing but don't want to give the wrong signals to my tenants at this early stage.

Paragon
17-02-2007, 12:26 PM
You may remove it and take it off the Inventory Report. You have supplied heating to the flat via central heating.

MrShed
17-02-2007, 12:31 PM
You may remove it and take it off the Inventory Report. You have supplied heating to the flat via central heating.

I dont agree. The property has been let on the basis that the gas fire is present. Heating is supplied via central heating, yes, so he meets his environmental health requirements. But his contract with the tenant is that the property shall in effect be the same as at the commencement of the tenancy. As a landlord, you cannot unilaterally say that you are removing an item and changing it on the inventory, without any say by the tenant. The legal requirement to provide adequate heating is a completely seperate issue.

I shall give an example I experienced recently. Big wooden gates at the end of a driveway broke. The landlord put up security cameras and lights in their place, stating that the security is still adequate. The tenant was absolutely entitled to have the gates replaced, and the landlord eventually did so, as those gates being present was part of the contract with the tenant, it was part of the conditions(although not explicit and not written down in the AST itself) of the tenancy being accepted.

P.Pilcher
17-02-2007, 13:16 PM
I agree 100% with Mr. Shed. If it had been me, the Corgi inspector condemming the fire would have been asked for a quotation for it's replacement.

P.P.

BraveInca
17-02-2007, 13:25 PM
Two senior members in agreement is good enough for me.
Will make the phone call.
Thank you for your help.

Paragon
17-02-2007, 13:25 PM
I was under the initial impression that it was let with an already non -functional gas fire in place. Similar to a non-functional fire place. I didn't think that a tenant would have any objection to having it removed, since it was non-functional to begin with.

If the contract called for a working gas fire, then I stand aside and you are correct. Other than that, I contend that if the tenant wants a working gas fire, then the LL should allow him to get it fixed.

Poppy
17-02-2007, 14:00 PM
Out of interest, when is the current tenancy agreement due to end?

Also, what is the tenant's opinion if the gas fire were to be removed completely by mutual consent?

BraveInca
17-02-2007, 14:52 PM
Clearly this isn't as straightforward as I thought it might have been.
I've called for the man to fix it now as it doesn't seem to be a black & white position.
Just for information, the tenancy continues month to month until either party gives a notice to end.
It might be that I've been premature in agreeing to get in fixed but as I say, it didn't seem black & white so I'm happy enough to get it sorted.

Thanks for the advice again.

Ericthelobster
17-02-2007, 17:07 PM
Probably a bit late now, but I think the LL's liability depends on the circs, which aren't clear:

Was the fire originally working and being used by the current tenant? Or has it always been broken?

Or has the fire been condemned as unsafe by the CORGI and can no longer be used?

MrShed
17-02-2007, 17:41 PM
Well the renewal monthly is still the same tenancy, it is just a statutory periodic tenancy, with the same terms as the initial tenancy, so no amiguity there. However, Paragon is right in that if the place was let originally with the fire non working, you probably would not have to get it repaired.

BraveInca
17-02-2007, 18:11 PM
No, it's always worked - just now there's a fault that was noticed as part of the gas check and hence it got disconnected.
Happy with the original advice & progressing on that basis so, once again, thank you everyone.
Sure I'll be back with more questions as & when things go wrong!

MrShed
17-02-2007, 18:49 PM
BI you are welcome. And as a new landlord you have done the best thing by seeking advice when unsure, letting can be a hazardous place when you do not know it, and I'm sure all the members here will be happy to help with anything that crops up! :)