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Compensation for no heating etc

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601 views 2 replies latest reply: 03 January 2015
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Tenant

Hi there, I moved into this property on Nov 1st 2014 and it is through an agency, There were a lot of issues wityh the property which I listed and put in writing to the agent on November 3rd, most important being the heating system and the security of the house, Nothing was done by the agents until I went back into see them at the beginning of December 2014 and asked them to act on these issues, Since then I have had a week without any heating at the beginning of December 2014 and then on Christmas Eve the boiler packed up completely and is still not working and I have been told by the contractor that it will be finished by the 9th January, so In total  I will not have had any heating for 3 weeks during December, Over the Christmas period it was exceptionally cold and one night got down to -8 inside the house, I informed the agency that due to mny paretner being 6 months pregnant that it is not possible for us to stay in the house, I also have two other young children, I asked if we could stay in a hotel for a night over Christmas as the temperature was just so cold and they agreed but not in writing, they also agreed to allow me 3100 to buy some oil radiators, which enabled me to buy 2 plus one small convector heater, This is a large house, Converted Stone Church and two oil heaters and 1 small convector heater are not adequate to warm the house, The agents are now telling me that they will compensate me for the cost of the oil heaters £104.00 + 1 days rent which equates to £40.00, I have said that it is not enough and that I should be compensated for not being able to live in the house for this time, I am happy to pay my rent but would like to know if I have a legal right to compensation not only for the heating but also for the house not being able to be locked and cannot insure this house for contents insurance as a result, Any advise would be great..Thank you Steve

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Tenant

Sorry that should read £100 not 3100 for oil radiators, Sorry it was a typo

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Administrator

Hi Steve

This sounds really difficult, especially over the Christmas period and it’s not great for the landlord to leave you in this position, especially as your partner is pregnant. Your landlord is legally required to make sure you have proper heating – there some info on this here and here.  Compensation is a difficult topic because the landlord needs to have a reasonable amount of time to get repairs done and over the Christmas period this is going to be extended. However, you could be entitled to something. This post on a landlord forum is quite interesting and gives you an idea of what you could ask for in terms of the compensation (not sure how reliable this is though so perhaps research it a bit more too). Normally, you’d try to negotiate a drop in rent for the affected period (a heated property is part of what you’re paying for so if you don’t have that the rent for that time should, in theory, be lower) rather than a compensation amount. Remember that you should never stop paying rent completely or try to deduct the rent yourself as then you’ll be in arrears.  

Essentially, you probably do have a legal right to compensation (contact an organisation like Shelter to confirm this in your specific circumstances though as we’re not lawyers) but what it often comes down to is enforcing your rights while at the same time preserving the relationship with the landlord if you want to stay in the property. If you’re offering something that’s reasonable and you’re good tenants then they should, in theory, be willing to negotiate. If you find the agents are being obstructive then go straight to the landlord.

Good luck and all the best for your new arrival in three months!

Alex

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