• This topic has 40 replies, 25 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by nickc.
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  • Legal advise Re rented property
  • Premier Icon pinch_flat
    Free Member

    So I think my landlord/ agent may be in breach for section 11 of the landlord and tenant act in regards to heating:
    We have a very old back boiler- 30 years according to one plumber! The water pump started playing up and stalling out. I therefore reported it, plumber came round yesterday while only my wife was in- she told him the problem and it was intermittent, he literally had a quick look and then left!

    Well today the pump appears to have given up the ghost and so we are left with no heating or hot water.
    The agent for the landlord has an emergency out of hours helpline with a third party company, spoke to them who said that due to the age of the boiler they have a exemption clause and therefore won’t do anything.
    As a result we are left with no heating till Monday and so are going to my parents 40 miles away. I have told the agent by email that I will deducting £100 for the inconvenience and this is to cover the cost of the hotel, also told them we’ll be deducting a further 50 for every night it’s not fixed.

    Where do I actually stand legally in the situation?
    To complicate matters we are moving out at the end of Feb and buying a house so we can’t have any black marks on our records.

    Any and all advise appreciated.

    Premier Icon fifeandy
    Free Member

    Can’t give any legal advice, but as practical advice you could maybe not play the ‘act like a princess’ card.

    Pump only broke today, and assuming you get someone to fix it on Monday which you’ve indicated you will, then that seems pretty reasonable.

    If you want hot water boil the kettle.
    If you want heat use the 2KW fan heater thats kept for such emergencies and a blanket.

    Premier Icon andyrm
    Free Member

    Can’t stress enough, DO NOT withhold rent. You have no legal right to do so, meaning there is no protection for you against a mark on your credit file for a “late payment” which could scupper your plans.

    The other thing is that the 24hr emergency service will always have clauses around availability of parts and labour, so effectively you are always going to be limited on a weekend, even more so on an old boiler. I think they use “reasonable time” and Monday being next working day, would fall well within reasonable to get a call out.

    Sadly not very helpful I know, but don’t risk your new place for want of £100.

    Premier Icon pinch_flat
    Free Member

    That’s not the point, I pay rent to an agent, one of their responsibilities is proper upkeep of the property, this system has been limping along for years with recurring faults that they never manage to fix properly- the fact that their inactivity is now however a direct negative impact on me and my family is what the real nubbertemplar@hotmail.com of the problem is.
    As for putting up with it, it’s a couple of degrees below zero out there and this house is already down to 12 degrees after only 6 hours without heat. With no shower facilities and work on Monday at a new job the suck it up option isn’t really practical in this situation.

    Premier Icon TheFlyingOx
    Full Member

    Withholding rent just means that you’re in breach of contract, regardless of what the landlord is or isn’t doing. It’s not something I’d be doing if I was trying to avoid “black marks”.

    Premier Icon pinch_flat
    Free Member

    Yeah at the moment it’s just me threatening to withhold rent to ensure activity on their end. So even though the plumber was in yesterday (who acts as the agents agent) it would still be considered reasonable turnaround for a fault that was reported on Monday and has now escalated?

    Premier Icon cozz
    Free Member

    try being a bit more hardy ?

    warm clothes, blankets, fan heater

    you gotta give em monday/tuesday to get parts and fix it

    we rented an isolated cottage in scotland in Oct, big storm, power cut for 10 hours, lit candles, wrapped up, got over it.

    At least you have power, if you have power you can get heat, If it happened to my tennant, id be straight round with a couple of electric radiators to help them. Or i would re-imburse them £40 to buy a couple of them

    Premier Icon andyrm
    Free Member

    Yes. He was in Friday, f ultimately re-reported OOO, and back on site next working day. No court or arbitration panel in the land would find fault with that attendance. It’s also entirely impossible to guarantee a “first time” fix as no tradesman can carry every spare or have access to every spare at any moment in time.

    I worked in building and facilities management when I was younger, you’re doing bloody well here on callout times. Don’t get their backs up or you’ll be back of the queue.

    Premier Icon TheFlyingOx
    Full Member

    Is there an emergency contact number for the letting agency? Given the temperature outside I would have thought this warrants putting you up in alternate accommodation with someone’s insurance picking up the tab.

    Premier Icon Larry_Lamb
    Free Member

    Sure start ‘deducting’ from the rental, see where that gets you.

    Just contact your local environmental office/housing standards office, if the landlord/agent don’t make headway on fixing it in a reasonable time which you have to allow for things like the fact it might be a new boiler job.

    Unfortunately you have zero right to deduct anything from the rent and if you do so you’ll be in a bad position legally. The joys of renting, glad we moved away from that. Just feel good about the fact that the actual fix will cost you nothing.

    Premier Icon hughjayteens
    Free Member

    I’d go and buy a couple of cheap electric rads or fab heaters from Argos and I am sure the landlord will reimburse you for then.

    We survived as a nation for many centuries before central heating so I’m sure you’ll be ok for two nights.

    As above – sadly no legal right to withhold rent.

    Premier Icon jam-bo
    Full Member

    Go on holiday somewhere warm instead of paying the rent.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Full Member

    Can’t give any legal advice, but as practical advice you could maybe not play the ‘act like a princess’ card.

    +1

    Premier Icon hammyuk
    Free Member

    There is a legal allowance to withhold a portion of the rent according to the issue.
    I was in a property where the landlord had absolutely no back up fund, no money, etc and refused to pay for a single repair despite the agency telling him he had to. The “conservatory” roof falling into the property being the biggest because instead of replacing the rotten beams when he had it done he told the firm to just fit lighter panels and then painted over them with gloss paint.
    Environmental Health visited, advised of issues that were allowable and those that weren’t, etc and I was told I could reduce the rent to that of an acceptable market value given the current condition of the property.
    Not a thing went against me even when him and the agency withheld the entire deposit after a 100% checkout report – the deposit protection service gave the entire amount back and costs.

    Premier Icon pinch_flat
    Free Member

    Thanks Hammy,
    that is useful info even if it is more extreme situation than ours.

    To all those who are saying toughen up, yeah I would do but my wife wouldn’t- she doesn’t really get on with camping in summer let alone in winter.

    What this really boils down to is this problem has been coming for ages. The age of the boiler is such that we have someone in every three to four months to look at the same problem, all they can ever do is get it to carry on limping along. I have told them and a number of plumbers have as well that the boiler needs replacing but they won’t do it- I think the landlord is broke!

    So as a consequence we are in this situation due to their tight fisted/ lack of activity and the really stupid thing is that the third party emergency call out team would put us up in a hotel if they couldn’t fix it tonight but because the age of the boiler exempts us we don’t even get that and there are no other points of contact for the agent or landlord

    Premier Icon andybanks
    Free Member

    Put this in context – would any of it have been any different if you actually owned the house? No.

    You’d probably have not replaced the pump until it failed, couldn’t have got it covered by a British Gas Homecare type scheme because of the age issues, and still couldn’t have got a plumber to get parts to fix it until Mon/Tue.

    Would you withhold your mortgage payment?

    It’s a small issue. Wait till Monday, get it fixed. Don’t withhold a landlord his livelihood because you’re being petty.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Full Member

    The age of the boiler is such that we have someone in every three to four months to look at the same problem, all they can ever do is get it to carry on limping along.

    I know it’s not your fault, but if this is really recurring why not find somewhere else before the winter?

    Premier Icon TheFlyingOx
    Full Member

    the third party emergency call out team would put us up in a hotel if they couldn’t fix it tonight but because the age of the boiler exempts us we don’t even get that

    I’d be back on the phone contesting this.

    Premier Icon totalshell
    Full Member

    well buckle up.. you reported a problem the landlord sent someone 2 days later its not fixed.. tough.. if it were your own you d be struggling to have had someone come out yet..7-14 days is not unreasonable 21 days is..

    i m doing a hot water system at the mo. been off for 7 days wont be back on till monday/tuesday.. you do of course have hot water via the immersion heater? electric shower?

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    We have a very old back boiler- 30 years according to one plumber! The water pump started playing up and stalling out.

    I have a back boiler that’s older than that. The water pump is a separate component and totally unrelated. It was a (relatively) easy thing to replace when mine went, the hardest thing was finding the bugger (it was buried under the floorboards).

    Premier Icon brooess
    Free Member

    There’s some real heartlessness on this thread – if you’ve nothing constructive to say to the OP then maybe stay out of the conversation? it’s minus 2 and the middle of winter FFS! The landlord’s created this situation and is in breach of the tenancy agreement in any case…

    OP – you have my sympathy. This is why, in part, renting is being forcibly professionalised and the amateurs driven out… landlordism and this housing crisis generally is bringing out the very worst in the ‘great’ British public. This in particular:

    Don’t withhold a landlord his livelihood because you’re being petty.

    My boiler broke a couple of weeks ago when I was away and I’m glad to say the agent and landlord were a damn sight better than yours. One thing the agent did do was bring around a couple of those electric heaters which, along with me spending the weekend in my thermals, got me through ok – it was in the minuses then as well…

    My advice – do NOT withold rent, it puts you in breach of contract.
    I would either get a hotel for the weekend and keep the receipts and make a claim back for it or buy some heaters and, if you need it, thermals and claim back for them. If you look at your tenancy agreement it will have a clause in there that your landlord has to make provision if the place is uninhabitable which in these temperatures I would think you’ve a very reasonable case…

    Call Shelter on Monday and get some advice on your legal rights and best course of action… You may want to stay away from this thread if you want some useful advice and support

    Premier Icon fifeandy
    Free Member

    @brooess, it’s not heartlessness, it’s realism.
    Sometimes s*** happens, its not always someone’s fault, and you just have to man up and get on with it.
    OP won’t be the first person to spend a few chilly days and wont be the last. Its not like the OP has been thrown out on the streets.

    As a number of us have pointed out, there’s plenty of ways to manage just fine as long as the electricity is working.

    Premier Icon Junkyard
    Free Member

    would any of it have been any different if you actually owned the house? No.

    yes it would be the OP making his own risks and then dealing with the consequences as it someone decided to rent a house with a 30 year old boiler in in it despite the inherent risk it would break down.

    You’d probably have not replaced the pump until it failed, couldn’t have got it covered by a British Gas Homecare type scheme because of the age issues, and still couldn’t have got a plumber to get parts to fix it until Mon/Tue.

    wow there tiger you need to say definitely there as remember you are arguing it would be no different if they were the owner so remember to carry the confidence over or it will weaken your own argument….probably

    Would you withhold your mortgage payment?

    I doubt he is totally bonkers and i bet they will pay the gas bill

    Don’t withhold a landlord his livelihood because you’re being petty.

    how about i come round and break your heating and we see how petty you feel in the freezing cold?

    Its a contract and the landlord agrees to do things and so does the tenant follow the rules re what to do when this happens and just do that

    It sucks for both sides landlord gets bill tenant gets inconvenienced perhaps they will fit a decent boiler now?

    Premier Icon Junkyard
    Free Member

    Sometimes s*** happens, its not always someone’s fault, and you just have to man up and get on with it.

    when you rent something and it breaks it is always their fault as they agree to rent you something based on it being serviceable /usable

    if you hire a car and the gearbox breaks do you just pay the rental agreement for the rest of the hire or do you get another car ?

    Yes sht happens but its not your problem likewise its not the landlords problem if you are skint and need to chose either fix car or pay the rent.

    Premier Icon n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    Get another party to fix issue, you pay third party and get receipt, send copy of receipt to agents and deduct receipt value from next rent?

    Premier Icon fifeandy
    Free Member

    There’s a difference between it being the landlords ‘fault’ and them having the responsibility to fix it in a timely manner.

    If its fixed by Tuesday/Wednesday no real harm done. If OP’s still in the cold this time next week then its a different ball game.

    Premier Icon bearnecessities
    Full Member

    The minimal experience some people have with members of the opposite sex is shining through in this thread 🙂

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Is there such a thing as a Service Level Agreement in the renting world?

    Premier Icon fifeandy
    Free Member

    @bearnecessities. Not really into princesses of either sex. If they can’t also man up when required then not a keeper for sure.

    Premier Icon Junkyard
    Free Member

    dont disagree fife andy if i were ever a landlord and this happened i would say go get some electric heaters and I will reimburse you sorry for the inconvenience i will get it resolved as soon as possible

    However a tenant who felt the contract included 24 hour a day seven day a week cover to fix everything may still be vexed by my reply and i would refer to the contract and just do that

    Premier Icon pinch_flat
    Free Member

    To those that have offered constructive help thank you.
    To the others, if I owned this house I would have replaced the boiler years ago when the problemsun started getting frequent, as it is I think the landlord has spent more in repairs than a new boiler.
    If this was my house then I would also replace the pump myself- it’s accessible. However and this is the big thing, I would be penalised by the landlord if I did it or got someone else to do it- stated specifically in the contract. At best I might be out of pocket for the repair, at worst plus a fine from the agent. Given my experience with this landlord and agent I wouldn’t guarantee they would reimburse for the work any way.

    I would be a bit more considerate and agree that it was a suck it up experience if it was out the blue but the heating system has needed a full overhaul for ages and they have been told this on numerous occasions but they never did anything so this is why I feel particularly aggrieved.

    Premier Icon ulysse
    Free Member

    The age of the boiler has nowt to do with the reliability in my experience.
    My Ma’s estate had baxi back boilers installed in 1976, those that were right to buy’d generally still have these systems fitted and are still working reliably aside from the separate heating circulation pumps which seem to last about 7 or 8 years before needing replaced. The back boilers seem to get by on the yearly gas safe checks and the odd igniter circuitry once every blue moon or if the pilot has been extinguished for 8 months of the year.
    On the other hand, those with modern condensing boilers seem the be on the fritz at least once a year

    Premier Icon pinch_flat
    Free Member

    Ha ulysse sounds kinda familar- ignition circuitry never worked properly and the best fix only lasting two years. The separate pump is ancient but has been playing up and reported for ages- latest issue this week.

    Premier Icon frankconway
    Full Member

    Check out ‘decent homes standard’ which is legislative.

    Premier Icon Larry_Lamb
    Free Member

    You’re failing to understand that how it’s fixed has nothing to do with you. Yes you may have done it better but that’s irrelevant.

    If the landlord wishes to keep putting a sticking plaster on the cut artery then that’s his choice.

    It fixed the previous issues didn’t it. Total cost to him is again irrelevant.

    You also have the opportunity (guessing you’re out of the fixed term contract?) to move out as sounds like you’ve been there a while.

    If the boiler is beyond repair they’ll have to replace or make alternate provisions to ensure the house is liveable within a reasonable time I.e. A few days.

    You could purchase some heaters etc but whether it’s claimable at the moment is another matter. If it was me I’d get some anyway just to feel comfortable and the you’ll always have them wherever you are in future, they’re not that expensive and look into what you can claim if at all afterwards. Don’t just assume you can as some have suggested deduct from rental, you might be leaving yourself open to being sued for breach.

    Premier Icon MrSmith
    Free Member

    There’s some real heartlessness on this thread – if you’ve nothing constructive to say to the OP then maybe stay out of the conversation? it’s minus 2 and the middle of winter FFS!

    People have gone soft. A few of years ago when I was a renter our boiler failed a couple of days before christmas, we just wore a lot of jumpers and used a couple of borrowed electric heaters to take the chill off. Boiler was replaced first thing in the new year. I didn’t threaten to withhold rent and nobody died from frostbite.

    The next Christmas which i spent at my folks we had a power cut for 5 days, somehow we muddled through and survived the ordeal.

    Oh and I’m a ‘soft southerner’ so if I can deal with it so can anyone north of the Thames (ill and the aged excepted)

    Premier Icon cornholio98
    Free Member

    If it’s a back boiler you will still have heat in one room from whatever heats the boiler. Before you head off to your folks do you know if the boiler requires the pump to circulate and stop boiling/explosion.
    I only mention this as one exploded and broke my dad’s head but some nuns called an ambulance so it worked out…
    It would have been nice for the landlord to pop round with some heaters but if you are through an agency they may not even know about the issue. As for fixing the pump straight away, if the plumber needs to order one then there is not much to be done.

    Premier Icon skids
    Free Member

    it doesn’t even drop below 10c in my house with the heating switched off

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Its all about what is reasonable and that has a legal definition. IMO waiting till monday is perfectly reasonable.

    Premier Icon fanatic278
    Free Member

    You have my sympathies OP. I went through something similar. The rented house was superficially lovely, but bits and pieces would constantly break down. If I was capable I offered to the landlord to fix it myself, and deduct the cost from the rent. So when the 30 year old heating started breaking down constantly, with a 2 month baby in the house I expected some quick action to get the unit replaced. After the 6th appointment with an engineer we had enough and insisted that it was replaced and threatened to withhold rent. But he never replaced it, just patched it up again, and I never followed through with my threat. We moved out shortly after and the prick withheld all of my deposit.

    Lesson of the story is never rent a house again. People are arse holes.

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