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Heat level and electricity price - coin meter operated

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301 views 2 replies latest reply: 07 March 2016
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Tenant

Hi, I’ve moved into a shared house (6 rooms) 2 months ago, but during this time I’ve stumbled upon several issues.

– the heat level in the house is extremely low, the landlord messed around with the boiler settings a lot, which are hour-based. Right now there are 17C in the room and the heat is off! I’ve sent over 6 emails during these 2 months about this subject and it only got worse, instead of improving. Isn’t he forced by law to provide a decent level of confort / heat? somewhere in the 20C area? The house has central heating, but it’s insufficient as the temperature goes below 0 often this time of year and I already have a cold due to waking up to cold air in the morning.

– I have a coin-meter operated electricity scheme, and it’s set at 35p/kWh. Honestly, I feel as thought that’s a rif-off. Is he allowed to set such a high amount?

– He enters the room without letting me know in advance, without any hygiene concern or cleaning up the mess he leaves in the room.

He almost never answers emails and texts are generic and without a real solution. I’ve tried explaining these things to him, but the most pressing one, with the heat, after trying 5 times to tell him that it is simply too cold in the room, I gave up.

Is there anything I could do to get him to adjust the heat accordingly, and not on a time schedule? That is, without me having to buy a separate heater, which would increase my costs a lot, considering the 35p tax he uses!

Thanks.

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Administrator

Hello

There is guidance but – as far as I know (although I’m not a lawyer) – no law that forces landlords to maintain a certain heat in a rented home. This document covers what might be considered to be a property that is excessively cold – it looks like anything under 18 degrees. I would imagine you could report the landlord to the local environmental health department if your home is excessively cold, even the threat of doing that might force the landlord to give you a bit more heat.

I’m not sure about the coin operate meter – have a chat to someone at Citizens Advice and see what they say.

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (as opposed to being a lodger, for example), then your tenancy gives you a right of exclusive possession and your landlord is absolutely not allowed to just let themselves in to the property whenever they choose. There is a legal requirement – which should also be in your tenancy – which states the need for 24 hrs notice for a landlord visit, and for tenants to consent to someone being in the property. If the landlord doesn’t respect this then you can sue for tresspass and perhaps even report him to the police for harassment. If you are a lodger you don’t have this protection.

Hope that helps – Shelter has some great information on how to deal with problem landlords.

Alex

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Tenant

Thank you for the reply, it’s a a bit clearer now. I’ve emailed him asking for a more dedicated heating schedule, during the evening towards midnight and early in the morning. I was more than reasonable by asking for only a small increase in gas usage, since gas prices are much much lower than the 35p he enforces on the coin-motor, which leaves me no option but to avoid electric/oil heating.

I am under a tenancy agreement, but nowhere is it specified how he should treat the heat requirement (I’m overly dressed now and it’s still not enough, I already starting having knee and joint pain), nor is there anything specific about the coint-meter, which I why I wanted to see if he’s not over-charging me. The average that I found was around 15p/kWh, whereas I’m on 35p regardless of the time (day, night etc).

I’ve reminded him about letting me know whether he enters the room, he appeared to understand my privacy and hygiene issues. We’ll see how long that lasts.

 

Thanks again!

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