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Landlord/Estate agents won't fix boiler

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1763 views 3 replies latest reply: 21 December 2014
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Tenant

We’ve had an ongoing issue with our boiler: it loses enough pressure at least once a day, whereby it errors and stops working, essentially. We deal with the estate agents, as they manage our property – the landlord lives abroad.
 
So every morning, and on most evenings, I have to re-pressurise the boiler in order for it to start functioning again. This means that every morning that I wake up and on most evenings when I get in from work, the house will not be heated until I intervene.
 
I first notified them about a loud (annoying) whistling noise when we use the hot water on at least September 16th. However, they refused to try and fix this. I’m unsure whether this is related.
  • On 19th November, I emailed the estate agents to let them know the boiler was losing pressure. At this point it was happening around once a week. 
  • On November 26th the plumber came round and couldn’t find an issue. So the boiler works order was closed. 
  • December 2nd I informed the estate agents it was happening more regularly and waking up to a freezing house. No response.
  • December 6th I emailed again, no response.
  • December 16th. Partner rang the estate agents about the boiler. They sent the plumber round. He informed me he couldn’t find anything wrong, however, he was going to quote a price for a part and let the estate agents know.
  • December 18th (yesterday). Partner receives call demanding we sign a 12 month renewal (despite being offered a 6 month contract via email). She is told that the plumber will not be taking any further action to fix the boiler.
As you can imagine I’m incredibly frustrated with the estate agents as well as waking up to a cold house and having to re-pressurise the boiler every day. It’s causing a lot of stress in our home (I’m actually shaking just thinking about this whole experience). 
 
We are away during the christmas week for a few days, so when the heating fails, the house won’t be heated until we get back!
 
I don’t know what to do. We aren’t being taken seriously. I’d really appreciate some advice.

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Administrator

Hi Robin

This is incredibly frustrating, you’re entitled to be angry! It’s the landlord’s responsibiltiy to ensure the boiler is working correctly for the provision of heating and hot water – this is a legal requirement under section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 and should be stated in your tenancy agreement too. Can you bypass the agent and go directly to the landlord? The agent is legally obliged to give you the name and address of the landlord and asking them for it might indicate you’re serious about the issue being dealt with.

If the landlord still doesn’t do anything you could contact the local authority housing standards team or the environmental health team – sometimes even the threat of this is enough to force action.

If you’re being asked to sign any kind of renewal then perhaps you could make the signature of that renewal conditional on there being a proper review of the boiler to find the issue? Of course they might refuse in order to just pass the issue on to a new tenant but that’s not a particularly long term solution for a landlord.

In the meantime, when you’re back in the property, get as much proof as you can of the boiler not working – error codes that flash up, take photos and videos. Perhaps leave it in its de-pressurised state (if you can) until the plumber comes around so they can see it when it’s not functioning. You could suggest that the landlord needs to get an actual boiler engineer to look at the boiler, rather than a plumber, i.e. someone who is from the company who made the boiler. Obviously, agents and landlords want to keep costs down and unfortunately this can result in what feels like a rather careless approach. In fact it’s infuriating. But this is their responsibility, not yours and it’s part of what you pay your rent for so you’re entitled to be persistent.

Alex

Ps we have seen issues like this before in our own personal renting experience. The first time the repeated loss of pressure was being caused by a leaking radiator. In a different property it was something to do with the pipes external to the property being the wrong size/at the wrong angle to properly deliver what the boiler needed. Not sure if that’s helpful. Really hope you get this sorted!

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Tenant

Thanks for your reply. I was literally just reviewing our contract and a post on http://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/ about repairs. 

Our contract reflects sections 11-16 of Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 requiring the landlord to repair and keep in good order: … (d) space heating and water heating.

I’ve been considering requesting the landlord’s contact details and is perhaps my next step.

What’s more infuriating is that we had a prior issue with a leak from our bathroom to the kitchen, whereby the ceiling was left with a gaping crack in it. It took over 2 months for the letting agents to send a plasterer round, although it’s still yet to be painted.

I’ve already contacted my council about the boiler and they suggested getting Environmental Health involved. However, I’ll persevere by reiterating our contract’s terms to the letting agents, first.

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Administrator

Sometimes the landlord has no idea of the issues that are going on so it can be a good first step to make direct contact – especially if there is a history of delays like this. Here are a few ways you can find it if not in the tenancy and the agent won’t pass it on for whatever reason.

Good luck Robin, let us know how you get on.

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