Colleague being scre£wed by "mate" Landlord

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  • Colleague being scre£wed by "mate" Landlord
  • Lazgoat
    Member

    A good colleague (Barney), recently moved flat and into one of his friend’s properties. At the time they also worked together full time but the landlord has since changed job. They’re both musicians and gig together now and then. Barney has an 8 month old baby and wife and the new flat seemed a good move from an old draughty victorian terrace.

    It seemed like a good idea at the time as they got along really well. What could go wrong?

    Well, the heating started to play up and they asked for it to be looked at. Two months later they still have no heating and when an engineer did come round to check the boiler he couldn’t find the fault and as he was taking his time to try and find it the landlords wife asked him to leave as it was costing too much!

    Barney is a big softie and doesn’t want any aggro but he’s also taking cold commando showers in the morning and his baby can’t sleep as its so cold at night.

    What action (legal, I’ve suggested a set of bombers already!) can he take against the landlords to force them to fix this immediately as we’re forecast a cold spell next week and it can’t be fun for him and his family.

    McHamish
    Member

    I’d be tempted to stop paying the rent, or to get it fixed myself and take it out of the rent.

    toys19
    Member

    Call environmental health in your local authority.

    Premier Icon martymac
    Subscriber

    and find some new friends.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Your mate sounds like an angel. If I had a baby and no heating I’d be going apeshit.

    Shame about the lost friendship, but this still deserves an ultimatum – send a heating engineer to fix it by the weekend or I’ll get it fixed (using one of those AAAAAAA plumbers who charge by the second) and deduct the cost from the rent.

    patriotpro
    Member

    Which landlord doesn’t have basic utility-cover ffs?

    Best bet (cheapest) would be to take out the cover and deduct the cost of said cover from the rent.

    About £20 will get you full CH cover with no callout fee and unlimited callouts.

    What’s not to like?

    Premier Icon Megatron
    Subscriber

    Had a problem that resulted in no heating for my flat back in Feb/March this year. The landlord, lettings agency and flat management company wouldn’t do anything. From more recent experience it seems that all three parties don’t know how to pick up the phone and talk to each other.

    The local authority environmental health people fixed the problem, charged everyone else for the work done, and I got a months worth of rent back. I was very careful to keep within my side of the contract, and quote bits of it back to them along with the relevant laws to make sure they knew I understood what I was entitled to (heating and hot water!) and they should be fixing it ASAP.

    I now have two weeks left on my contract and far more stories of their incompetence. The most amusing is them trying to arrange a viewing for a potential new tenant by text message…

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    I’d be very wary of witholding rent or offsetting it against repair costs – it’s breaking the contract.

    can they not get a couple of convector or fan heaters for a week or two – Currys are doing them for a tenner each.

    LHS
    Member

    I would pay for the boiler to be fixed myself and then take it off the rent payments.

    LHS
    Member

    I’d be very wary of witholding rent or offsetting it against repair costs – it’s breaking the contract

    It is the landlords obligation to ensure heating is provided. If they are quibbling over the heating technician being there too long they’re definitly not going to pay for a lawyer to take them to court over breach of contract.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    probably.

    also possible they’ll just issue a notice to quit.

    it’s a risk.

    toys19
    Member

    also possible they’ll just issue a notice to quit.

    Which the dude should relish and go and find a decent property.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    the problem with leases and contracts is that leases (and rent) are treated differently from contracts and payments. Failure to pay rent can lead to forfeiture (oi, you, out!), failure to meet any other covenant in a lease just ends up with an argument about how much compensation for lack of service, hence why all the sensible advice says to pay your rent. Even by Shelter – not known for being a landlord’s best mate.

    The caveats in the shelter advice are quite rare. the vast majority of private tenants who arent on housing benefit have AST (assured SHorthold Tenancy) not Assured tenancies.

    Lazgoat
    Member

    Thanks for the links and advice, I’ll pass them on.

    He’s definitely not going to break his side of the contract but just needs good advice to back him up.

    Cheers!

    Premier Icon schmiken
    Subscriber

    We had a similar problem in our house. DO NOT WITHOLD RENT! If you do it can be considered breach of contract and the landlord can toss you out easily. Contact Environmental Health, they’ll be quick in coming out and they will basically force the landlord to repair it.
    Happy ending our end – lack of hot water violates basic tenancy rights.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    I am not a lawyer(the mrs is, though. I am a landlord.
    He should just take some evidence of the heating issues in case landlord tries to chase him for breach of contract and find another place to live. That’s my real world answer. Another real world answer would be to fix the heating and deduct it from next rent payment. British Gas website claims £79.95 fix fee repair(if less that 1/2 hour fix), it actually usually works out at £199. Yes, he can take legal action, council environmental health officers may help with this, but it’s likely to be slower and more hassle than fixing the boiler.In any event, whenever his tenancy is up, I’d be looking for somewhere else, not all landlords are crap. The landlord is in breach of his legal obligations already to provide a safe, habitable environment in return for the rent.

    cbmotorsport
    Member

    Get a quote to get it fixed. Send it to the Landlord with notice that as he has a baby and heating and hot water is vital, he proposes to accept this quote and deduct the money from the next rent payment. State clearly that if the landlord would prefer to fix it himself can he please address the situation by X date or he will have no other option. Send all by recorded delivery. I doubt they’d be a court in he land that woul side with the landlord if this process has been followed, and the tennant has made every effort to be reasonable.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    Stop paying the rent, live rent free while the landlord goes through the legal hoops to arrange eviction (months!) then spend the saved rent money on fixing the heating while looking for a new place to live.

    hora
    Member

    Two months later

    Move out now, give notice and leave it as amicable. Lifes too short and they are obviously scraping by. Two months will turn into all this winter.

    Keep it amicable. I know good friends who I could never live with- one is my best friend (I avoided living with him at Uni as did our other mates).

    yunki
    Member

    Surely the situation is in gentlemanly punch in the face territory?

    Premier Icon wiggles
    Subscriber

    Call environmental health and the local council housing department they may offer temporary accommodation because of the baby etc

    project
    Member

    Have expereinced a similar thing from a landlords point of view, tennant rents accomodation, gets slightly behind with rent,landlord sends written letter to state the tennant is slightly behind with the rent, so then the heating goes on the blink,tennant then contacts local council who get involved, landlord gets angry and starts eviciction process, next tennant has to suffer the consequences of last tennants failure to pay.

    Other forms of heating are available, but a boiler or imersion is usually required for hot water. and as stated above there are quite few monthly fee maintenance charge schemes available for landlords.

    Just perhaps there is more to this story than you know.

    mj27
    Member

    This is easy.

    As part of the Landlord and Tennancy act 1985 section 11 the landlord has certain obligations. Section B will help you but is more to do with safety but part C you can win with as it is seen as essential to provide space and water heating.

    (b)to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the 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 the supply of water, gas or electricity), and
    (c)to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.

    Do not withhold rent but do report it to the landlord again who is allowed a ‘reasonable’ time to fix the problem (baby and winter may make this a short time). Then seek to get money back via rent abaitment.

    Also if you rented the place with hot running water that is what you expect to have, it will have been part of you decision to accept the place. No one would rent a place with no hot running water.

    Mate or not I would be making a large issue for him.

    Premier Icon Woody
    Subscriber

    ……the landlords wife asked him to leave as it was costing too much!

    Interesting, as my mate at work was in a very similar situation and the problem was the landlords missus, as she too refused to spend any money on repairs. My mate ended up moving out anyway and it caused a lot of bad feeling as they still worked together. Has he tackled his ‘mate’ about the situation?

    Good advice above re not withholding rent.

    hora
    Member

    Move out. What is he waiting for (frosty) Christmas?

    hora
    Member

    Move out. What is he waiting for (frosty) Christmas?

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Subscriber

    I’m not cut out to be a landlord, I’d rather someone moved into my house than make a baby live in an unheated flat. No way could I sleep knowing that was the case.

    toys19
    Member

    I’m not cut out to be a landlord scumbag, I’d rather someone moved into my house than make a baby live in an unheated flat. No way could I sleep knowing that was the case.

    ftfy

    the bloke is an arsehole, being a landlord does not mean being a scumbag.

    hora
    Member

    I lived for 3yrs rented. When I left my landlord gave me my deposit within a day and the agent said thank you on his behalf. I said vice versa. I cant imagine a shit landlord. Plenty more IMO.

    toys19
    Member

    I am a landlord and I hate every minute when something is faulty in my rented house. often tenants do not quote tell the truth though (not casting aspersions on the op) eg here is a text I received last friday night at 9pm:

    Hi toys19, another electricity problem at the house! Since the electrician came on Wednesday every time we put the oven on, after about 5 mins it trips out the power. When we put the power back on the oven works fine and it doesn’t trip again but every time we turn it on initially it does it.

    Now this royally annoyed me as I am often telling them if there are any faults they need to tell me pronto.

    The electrician worked there on weds, and was working in all of my houses on weds thurs fri so could have easily returned on any of those days. She told me in her friday txt she that problem manifested on weds, bit waits until 9pm friday to tell me this me.
    So I cannot get the electrician back until yesterday (weds) and they are all moaning that the problem has been going on for a now over 7 days and I am an uncaring landlord for not sorting it out last week.. 🙄

    Lazgoat
    Member

    Well, Barney and family have found a new flat today and could be moving out soon. The problem they’ll probably face is that they signed a 6 month Agreement about 4 months ago. Another colleague has had a word with the landlord today and asked him to sort it out pronto. So hopefully this will be resolved in a day or so.

    I called the Council Environmental Health and asked their advice. They advised that at least two letters must have been sent to the landlord before they will get involved and they want copies of the letters too. So, TopTip: Put everything in writing as soon as things start to go wrong and keep copies of them. And don’t mix friendship with business.

    bonchance
    Member

    Did Douglas Adams have a quote that would cover this thread – anyone?

    zokes
    Member

    Now this royally annoyed me as I am often telling them if there are any faults they need to tell me pronto.

    Perhaps:

    a) They didn’t use the oven until the day they reported the fault
    b) They observed the fault a few times before coming to the conclusion as to what was probably causing the power to trip
    c) Despite you saying you wanted to be told straight away, they wanted to make sure it was a real fault (things to trip from time to time for no obvious reason), so as not to disturb you

    They pay you rent to live there. It might be your house, but it’s their home. The logistics of you obtaining an electrician to ensure the correct and safe operation of the electrics in that house are none of their concern, legal, or morally. It is, however, you legal duty to ensure that you do so.

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    Call you local council’s private housing standards team as they have a statutory duty to the safety and fitness of private rented housing. If the flat does not have an adequate functioning heating system they will serve notice on the landlord and ultimately get the works done in default.

    Do write a letter to the landlord formalising the problems experienced.

    rebel12
    Member

    toys19 – Member
    I am a landlord and I hate every minute when something is faulty in my rented house. often tenants do not quote tell the truth though (not casting aspersions on the op) eg here is a text I received last friday night at 9pm:
    Hi toys19, another electricity problem at the house! Since the electrician came on Wednesday every time we put the oven on, after about 5 mins it trips out the power. When we put the power back on the oven works fine and it doesn’t trip again but every time we turn it on initially it does it.
    Now this royally annoyed me as I am often telling them if there are any faults they need to tell me pronto.
    The electrician worked there on weds, and was working in all of my houses on weds thurs fri so could have easily returned on any of those days. She told me in her friday txt she that problem manifested on weds, bit waits until 9pm friday to tell me this me.
    So I cannot get the electrician back until yesterday (weds) and they are all moaning that the problem has been going on for a now over 7 days and I am an uncaring landlord for not sorting it out last week..

    To be honest you sound like a d**k, the sort of amateur landlord who gives the rest of us a bad name. Get a good electrician, fix the whole problem and you’ll have no more hassle. With an attitude like yours it’s no wonder tenants think twice or wait before informing you of a problem.

    toys19
    Member

    To be honest you sound like a d**k, the sort of amateur landlord who gives the rest of us a bad name. Get a good electrician, fix the whole problem and you’ll have no more hassle. With an attitude like yours it’s no wonder tenants think twice or wait before informing you of a problem.

    Oooh thats a bit mean. What is it about me that makes you think I’m a dick? Or amateur? I’m moaning because I want to fix the problem pronto so they are happy with the house. I cannot see what is dickish about that. It makes me annoyed that it has taken this long to fix, and it is not my fault, they could have told me on weds last week when the problem arose.
    My electrician is the same guy used by our local authority and is an excellent tradesman, it turns out it was a coincidence and the oven is at fault not the electrics, so the appliance repair guy is on his way.

    I cannot see how I can have responded any better/faster, please explain what I have done to provoke your ire? As an implied “professional” landlord, how would you have handled it?

    Perhaps:

    a) They didn’t use the oven until the day they reported the fault
    b) They observed the fault a few times before coming to the conclusion as to what was probably causing the power to trip
    c) Despite you saying you wanted to be told straight away, they wanted to make sure it was a real fault (things to trip from time to time for no obvious reason), so as not to disturb you

    They pay you rent to live there. It might be your house, but it’s their home. The logistics of you obtaining an electrician to ensure the correct and safe operation of the electrics in that house are none of their concern, legal, or morally. It is, however, you legal duty to ensure that you do so.

    Zokes, I summarised their message, she told me it started on wednesday. I cant see why they waited until friday night to tell me.
    If you can get an electrician on a friday night for a non life threatening emergency then you are a better man than me.

    Also I find this a bit contradictory :

    This

    b) They observed the fault a few times before coming to the conclusion as to what was probably causing the power to trip
    c) Despite you saying you wanted to be told straight away, they wanted to make sure it was a real fault (things to trip from time to time for no obvious reason), so as not to disturb you

    vs this

    The logistics of you obtaining an electrician to ensure the correct and safe operation of the electrics in that house are none of their concern, legal, or morally

    Either it is their concern or it isn’t.

    I fail to see how I am the bad guy here (other than moaning about them)

    Please explain how could I have handled this better?

    cbmotorsport
    Member

    What is it about me that makes think I’m a dick?

    er…

    The electrician worked there on weds, and was working in all of my houses…

    😆

    toys19
    Member

    Ho ho..
    It would be sad if it is the politics of envy, say you are a landlord and instantly people hate you?

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