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No heating and no temporary heaters provided

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238 views 2 replies latest reply: 21 April 2017
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Tenant

Hello 🙂

My parents live in a housing association property and on Friday their boiler had to be switched off as it was unsafe. This meant that they were left with no hot water and no heating. They were told that some portable heaters would be brought over and I spoke to someone at the housing association who confirmed that heaters would be delivered within 24 hours. It’s now been over 24 hours and still no sign of any heaters. As my mum has painful joints and my father has a severe heart condition, both of which worsen in low temperatures, my mum has now purchased a portable heater to keep them warm until the boiler is fixed. I was wondering whether leaving a household (especially one containing vulnerable people) without any heating for over 24 hours is legal, and also whether we would be able to claim the cost of the heater back from the housing association. Any advice would be greatly appreciated x

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Tenant

Hello, 

Given the conditions of your parents, the housing association should have provided a better service and care for the elderly and vulnerable tenants. 

I would say that it’s a breach of the tenancy agreement, because of several factors: 

  • The HA did not do timely inspections and maintenance to mitigate the total loss of the boiler, thus heating and hot water.
  • HA did not deliver on the promise to provide alternative heating to the property.
  • HA did not meet legal requirement to “at least 18°C in sleeping rooms, and 21°C in living rooms, when the temperature outside is minus 1°C and it should be available at all times.”

However, to get compensation for purchasing your own heater, you must go to court. I do not believe you have enough material evidence and due to the period being very short – 24 hours – I could think of a number of excuses for why the HA could not deliver on their promise. 

What this means is that I’m not sure you could win, and you DO have to pay the costs of raising a case which makes the whole process risky and I cannot recommend doing it without consulting a solicitor first. 

Just for information purposes, you should download and read our PDF guide covering loss of heating and hot water in rented properties. 

It’s free on this page – http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/letter-templates/request-repairs-heating-and-hot-water

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Tenant

Hello again,

I thought I’d provide an update to my previous post.

It has now been almost 2 months since the boiler has been switched off and, apart from someone coming over to do a few checks a couple of weeks after my last post, there has been no contact from the housing association at all. I also emailed them a (polite) complaint 3 weeks ago and have had no reply despite them saying they would reply within 10 working days. Apart from receiving a heater a week later, my parents are still in the same situation as they were when I last posted. A couple of appointments were made but no one turned up (again). The housing association has not been in touch at all and so we have no information as to what’s happening. It’s incredibly frustrating especially as my parents are not in good health.  

Should I now make a formal complaint or give them more time to get in touch? Is there anything else I can do?

Thanks in advance for any replies, I really appreciate them.

 

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