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landlord not doing work

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1550 views 4 replies latest reply: 14 November 2013
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Tenant

does anyone have any advice for the following : what can I do if a housing agency acting on behalf of the landlord is taking too long to fix my boiler (6 weeks) can barley keep the radiators on for more then 15mins as it keeps losing pressure iv had 3 plumbers out to have a look but yet nothing has been done I have 2 children 2years and 7years old. can I go to council to suspend the rent ? even though I am in a little rent arrears ?

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Tenant

Don’t EVER stop paying rent, that means you are breaking the terms of the tenancy and puts you in the wrong! Always protect yourself.
Within your local council Housing Department there will be a team that deal with private tenants and landlords. Contact them and they have the power to force the landlords to do the works.
Do it, don’t wait.. the sooner you call, the sooner it will get sorted!!
Good Luck 🙂

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Other

If you stop paying your rent you will be in breach of your tenancy agreement (whether or not your landlord is doesn’t matter, don’t breach your side).

Contact the agency in writing, and inform them you will contact your own plumber to diagnose the problem and quote to repair it. Contact a plumber from local advertising, NOT a friend or someone you may know.
Once you receive his quote, send it to the agency and tell them they have 7 days to sort out the problem with their plumbers or you will instruct yours to complete the work.

Don’t tell your plumber about the issues with the agency, just simply call one and get him out to quote for whatever is wrong with your boiler.

Keep all communication with the agency in writing (this is important).

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Tenant

It is the landlord’s responsibility to provide you with adequate heating and hot water. You should go to your local council’s health and environment officer and ask them to come round to inspect.

In terms of withholding the rent you must follow a specific procedure if you want to pay for repairs and take the cost out of your rent. Otherwise, your landlord can evict you. To find out more about this you can visit Shelter’s site on the following link which explains in detail the procedure you have to follow: http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/disrepair_in_rented_accommodation/repairs_in_social_housing/withholding_rent_over_repairs#procedure_for_withholding_rent_over_repairs

In terms of whether you can withhold the rent because you don’t have a fully functioning boiler – you can’t no matter how unfair that may seem. And in terms of asking the council to suspend the rent, they won’t do this either.

If the boiler is very old you could call out your gas service supplier to make sure the boiler is safe but they may charge for this. Have any of the plumbers told you what the problem is with the boiler e.g. are they just doing a quick fix rather than repairing the boiler properly?

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Other

If your boiler is the only thing causing you problems, I personally wouldn’t recommend calling environmental health just yet. They might take a few days to call out, then they’ll send a notice to the agent/landlord giving them a time limit to sort out the problem, could be 30 days, could be 3 months.

Once the problem is sorted the agent might then call the landlord and recommend sending you notice (section 21). The conversation could go along the lines of “this tenant is a problem tenant and will cause you no end of trouble and money, let’s kick her out and get another tenant in”. It happens… a lot!

You just need to be assertive (and polite) with the agents, and warn them that if they do not sort it within 7 days, you will.

Keep a written record of everything, and keep communication with the agent in writing. If you talk to them on the phone, follow it up with an email confirming what was discussed.

You said it was under one year old? Sometimes you need to prompt the agents (a lot of lettings depts are run by inexperienced junior staff), ask them if they can send out the guy who fitted it and call the manufacturers as well… Might be best you don’t call the manufacturer, because if it is not their fault, they might charge you a call out fee.

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