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No heating, not much hot water.

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614 views 6 replies latest reply: 09 October 2016
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Tenant

Hi. I have been without heating since last Tuesday and the landlord has told me there will be none until next Friday. The problem is with the boiler, which has finally packed up after he has spent years ‘tinkering’ with it. Nor is there enough hot water to have a bath as there is only an immersion heater which has to cover three flats. The central heating is included in the rent but additional heating is paid for by us using a coin meter! So, the fact is that this situation is costing us money as we are having to pay for extra heaters, while he is saving it. What should I be doing here? And does it really take that long to get a new boiler? The trouble is he has told us such lies we can no longer believe him. And not only that, I have got flu!

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Administrator

Hi Rose

At this time of year it can take a while to source and fit boilers, simply because of the demand. If it takes any longer than Friday then your landlord is probably pushing the boundaries of what might be considered a ‘reasonable’ length of time in which to get it fixed. You might consider asking for a rent reduction during this period – you don’t have full use of the property you’re paying for so you’re well within your rights to ask (30-50% is what most people seem to opt for). Plus, if you are incurring additional expenses such as the extra you’re spending on the coin meter you could ask for those to be covered too. A fair landlord should agree to these and the fact of you asking for them should also help to get the landlord to get a move on in terms of getting your boiler fixed. They won’t want to face a claim for rent reduction for any longer than they have to.

Out of interest, have you been given a gas safety check certificate? There’s info on that here. If the landlord hasn’t done that then they have broken the law. It’s probably especially important if they have been ‘tinkering.’ Obviously the old boiler is going but if you didn’t receive a gas safety certificate for it you could use this to help persuade the landlord to move quickly to install the new one and to do things properly with that one (or you can report them to the Health and Safety Executive and they could be prosecuted and fined).

Alex

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Tenant

Hi Alex. Thanks for this, it was very helpful. I did post a reply but it has seemed to have vanished into the ether, so here goes again. No, we have never had a safety certificate. There has been a lot of banging going on where the boiler is located and I am very concerned that he is going to install it himself. Can he do this? He would be required to get a certificate I suppose but he will never do anything that costs him money. I have had a dripping tap in the kitchen for the last 17 years – literally – and he finally admitted it was still dripping because the tool he was using was old. But he has not bought a new one. That’s how bad he is. I am not sure how far to push it, there is always the thought he has the power to evict me.

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Administrator

Hi Rose

It’s a legal requirement for your landlord to have an annual gas safety check for the property and to provide you with the gas safety certificate within 28 days that results from that – this is non negotiable, it’s the law.  There’s more info on that here. If your landlord doesn’t do this then the Health & Safety Executive can prosecute them and they could end up with a criminal convinction and a fine that could be up to five figures.  So it’s very stupid for landlords not to do this – and very irresponsible given the potentially fatal consequences.

I would ask your landlord to get this gas safety check done after the boiler has been installed – presumably the check would pick up on any issues with the installation. It MUST be done by someone who is gas safe registered (not by the landlord’s cousin etc) – you can use the link I pasted above to check the engineer is gas safe registered. If the landlord refuses to do this you could remind them of their legal responsibilities. If they still refuse you can contact the HSE yourself and report them.

I think your landlord can install the boiler himself (but I’m not 100% on this as I’m not a lawyer). However, he must make sure that if he decides to do that he is still meeting requirements as to gas safety. It won’t be legal to shoddily install a boiler that is a danger to tenants. Obviously, all this puts you in a difficult position as you don’t want to be evicted but you are entitled to ask to live in a property that is safe, that’s not asking for much.

Alex

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Tenant

Thank you Alex. I will have to wait and see what happens on Friday. In the meantime, my landlord has told me he doesn’t have to give us any money for the meter because the heating is not included in the rent, he gives it to us free. Is this what the contract says? No. I am still trying to work out his logic, if it is free why is he making us pay for it?

He is cross with me questioning him. I do think there needs to be a change in the law whereby landlords are not allowed to evict us when we stand up for our rights, particularly in regard to the safety certificate which is a requirement by law. The tenants downstairs are too scared to say anything to him at all and now I am worried about the potential repercussions for myself. 

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Tenant

Sorry to intervene, but does the annual safety check need to be shared with all tennants, regardless of how the heating is set up? We have a central heating here, the annual check was 3 weeks ago and we have no access to the boiler. Should I ask for the check to be sent to me as well?

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Tenant

Sorry to bring this subject back up, but was wondering if the gas&safety certificate has to be presented to all tennants period. In my case, I’ve been living in a shared house with separate rooms for 10 months now and have never received any certificate or such. The gas inspection was done at least 5 months ago (because I remember when the bloke did that, he forgot to turn it back on and we had no heat for 2 days) without any sorts of forms. 

The question now is: do I have to ask for it specifically or should he have presented it to me regardless?

 

Cheers.

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