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Ongoing maintenance issues

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558 views 1 replies latest reply: 13 January 2015
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Tenant

I am currently renting a property through a local letting agent. At present the property has inadequate or faulty heating facilities not fit for intended purpose.

a. There is no means by which to control when heating comes on/ off in the property ie. thermostat controls

b. There are electric heaters (these are not storage heaters) several of which do not work.

c. The electric fire place provides no heat (blows cold air) and I have checked the controls on the heater itself to no

   avail.

d. A couple of large electric radiator heaters have been provided that are inadequate for heating the required space and need to be moved from room to room (as required). This is the most expensive tariff to run/ heat a property with. I requested via the letting agents whether something could be done in July 2014 and I have been ignored !

e. The property is a 1950’s built property and I have asked whether the wall line cavity can be investigated and a free grant obtained to reinsult the walls. I have offered to do the leg work on the landlords behalf and have been ignored!

f. The property has a gas meter but I derive no usable benefit as there are no gas appliances in the property. Yet I am expected to pay the gas bill (£5.00 per month/ £60 per year). I have requested to be reimbursed and have been ignored!

g. Early into the tenancy agreement I requested an energy efficiency certificate which I understand the landlord should be able to provide one when asked. Again, I have been ignored!

I understand it is the landlords legal obligation to ensure the property has heating and hot water at all times.

I have today written a formal letter and emailed it to the letting agents and informed them this will follow with a formal letter sent by mail recorded delivery raising my ongoing concerns and lack of response to issues raised that I can reasonably expect to be completed.

I understand I face the risk of the landlords asking me to vacate the premises as I hold a short term tenancy agreement (into second term). 

I am aware that if the landlords/agents fail to act I can approach the local Council directly who can force the agent/ landlords to undertake necessary repairs to the property. 

Is there anything else I can or should be doing?

Has anyone else had similar issues and how did you resolve this?

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Administrator

Hi Gavin

It sounds like you’re on top of things to be honest. I’m including below a little information that might help with responses etc.

– It’s the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 that makes repair and maintenance of the heating provided the landlord’s responsibility so anything that doesn’t work or hasn’t been properly maintained would be covered by this. Not 100% but presumably the fact that there’s no way of controlling the temperature would make the heating faulty (unless this is an intended design and the landlord has control?). More info here. Whether the heating provided in your particular case is inadequate for the specific property is something you’d probably need legal advice on – try the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Fairly sure there is no legal requirement to provide central heating, just adequate heating.

– However, if the property doesn’t have enough heat then this could be considered a hazard under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. Although this isn’t a standard every property must meet, it is the system that a local authority would use when you contact them to judge whether they need to take action against the landlord (more info here). Not having adequate heating is a category 1 hazard that a local authority would be obliged to take action against the landlord for. It would be the Environmental Health department that you’d need to contact.

– EPCs- there’s a huge amount of info here on EPCs, exactly when they should be provided and the penalty for not doing so. Usually the requirement is for the EPC to be produced before the property is even on the market.

– In terms of the insulation, from next year tenants will have the right to request consent to carry out energy efficiency measures, with landlords only able to refuse ‘unreasonable,’ and from 2018 landlords will be forced to upgrade if properties fall in the lowest energy efficiency bands. So the landlord is being rather shortsighted here – however, there isn’t a lot you can do right now.

Have you tried making direct contact with the landlord about all of this? Sometimes, landlords with managing agents are not aware of the issues their tenants are having and opening a direct channel of communication can take things off a confrontational level and stimulate progress – most landlords simply want a good, conscientious tenant in their property.

Yes, you might be asked to leave as a result of the issues but you might also be better off as it doesn’t sound like the property is in great shape. Just make sure you keep all correspondence, proof of the issues with the heating appliances and inventories from check in and check out. 

Good luck and we hope the landlord sees sense and responds to your letter.

Alex

 

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