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Who Pays? Landlord or Tenant?

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706 views 4 replies latest reply: 05 April 2015
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Tenant

Hi

I have rented and lived in the same property for 20 years. I had new UPVC windows installed 8 years ago by my lnadlord and after they were fitted my rent went up by £60 a month. I was given the option of having this work done and as the old windows which were mainly Louvre type which made the house very cold and draughty. Prior to having the windows I had found myself on benefits after a relationship breakup and had heating and hotwater installed by a government grant at the time. I was offered a heating system to be installed by my landlord but the rent would be another ££60 a month but getting it done for free seemed the only option at the time.

The landlords are now saying it is my responsibility to get the bolier fixed and I have been without heating and hot water for nearly a week and at the moment I cannot afford the £275 to get it repaired.

Also my landlord puts my rent up 12.5% every 2 years.

The windows are substandard and the house is still cold and draughty. I think by now I have paid for the windows twice over.

Just wanted to know where I stand and where is the best place to get advice and know my legal rights in this situation.

Are they my windows? As the heating system was no fitted by the landlord is it mine? as they hold no responsibility for fixing it!!!!

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Administrator

Hi Janette

What does your tenancy agreement say? Normally this should set out who is responsible for something like boiler repair. If it doesn’t mention the heating and hot water then it may be that it is up to you to sort the repairs out, particularly as the boiler was not installed by the landlord. Landlords are normally only responsible for what’s in the property when you move in.

However, I’m not 100% sure in this case as the landlord would need to have consented to the installation and as it’s a government scheme. Get in contact with the Citizens Advice Bureau or a local law centre and see what they have to say.

You might also want to contact the boiler manufacturer – presumably it’s fairly new so it might still be under warranty.

Alex

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Tenant

Hello,
Janette, Alex, by law the landlord is responsible for repairs and maintenance to the structure of the property. The walls, floors, roof, electrical wiring, gas networks AND appliances for space heating and heating water. It is said here in the Landlord and Tenant Act from 1985.
11Repairing obligations in short leases.
“to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.”
It is their legal obligation and they have no rights to request payment or bill you for this type or repair. If they do, they are breaking the law and you can very well sue them for compensation. The CAB that Alex linked you to can help you out with this. Otherwise you can contact your local counsil and file a complaint for disrepair of basic accommodation features.
As for the windows:
Was the arrangement with the landlord to increase rent by 60 a month until you’ve paid for the windows and the installation bill ? If so, you should request the receipt of purchase and installation and calculate whether or not they are overcharging. In any case it would be a hard battle after 8 years, but you might be able to at least drop further payments.
12,5% rent increase every two years, without upgrade to the structure and energy efficiency of the property is a pure skim off your back. I’m seeing this case as a greedy landlord grating away at you as much as possible and would honestly recommend you to rethink your tenancy in their property.
Hope I have been helpful,
Audrey Wright @ Move out Mates
End of Tenancy Cleaning London

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Administrator

Hi Audrey, Janette

Audrey is right about the legislation applying to heating and hot water installations but, just to be clear, that use of the word ‘keep’ (as far as I know) would usually restrict it to heating and hot water fixtures that are there when a tenant moves in. You can’t usually create an obligation on the landlord to maintain something you put into the property. Landlords are not legally obliged to provide central heating so there isn’t a basic minimum standard of care that you can hold them to other than maintaining what comes with the property at the start of the tenancy.

As I said, I’m not sure whether the landlord’s involvement in the process of getting the free boiler installed might make the new boiler a part of the installations that they need to maintain – as Audrey says that’s something Citizen’s Advice can help you with.

Hope together we have helped!

Alex

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Tenant

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my original post.

Well it is day 10 and still no hot water or heating. I have to wait until Wednesday 8th for the engineer to come back and fit the parts. I say parts because he didn’t know what had gone on the boiler and thought it best to order ‘one of those and one of those’ so really I hold no hope and I am sure I will be starting my next write up as ‘Well this is week 4 and still no hot water or heating’….  you just don’t appreciate how luxurious washing your hands in hot water can be. 

My landlord are not some fly by night out to make a quick buck. (Tongue in Cheek) They are a very large company who own a vast amount of properties around the UK and they are based in Newcastle. They have a contract with a company for all the maintenance of properties they own. But they don’t do gas so this is then contracted out to another company.

I reported the no hot water or heating on the 26th March who passed this on to their contractor on the 27th which was a Friday who rang me lunch time while I was at work making an appointment for the Monday 30th as they had no-one over the weekend so booked a day off work. Monday came and 2.30pm they rang to say the engineer had rang in sick so needed to make the appointment for the next day. I arranged for the next day off work and Tuesday 31st came and yet another phone call – No engineer to attend. By this time I was very very very angry but I agreed an appointment for the Thursday 12-5pm so booked another day off work. I rang about 3 times throughout the day to ensure the engineer would be turning up. He eventually came 10 past 6 so yet another wasted day off work and as I am on one of those 0 hours contracts with the Local Council I don’t get paid. I was told by the Heating firm I could put in for compensation but I think I will wait until the boiler is actually fixed because I think the way things are going I will be adding a few more days to the claim.

As for the windows – they asked any tenants if they wanted double glazing, central heating or a new drive they would do it but for each the rent would go up by £60 for windows £60 for heating and £25 for a new drive. You could of course pay and have this done yourself but you had to ask their permission to have it done.

I don’t really have a Tenancy agreement. Over the years they seem to change the way they renew your contract. I used to get a an individual bound book which was written up for ‘my property’ which 2 copies were sent and I signed and also got a witness to sign and sent one copy back. This would outline everything eg maintenance, paying on time, even stated that you can’t keep chickens or goats’. Then we went over to electronic whick you accepted on line and along with that came a charge of £60!!!! When queried I was told all landlords charges this now. But thinking back no tenancy agreement was attached. We are now down to just a letter stating they are willing to renew the tenancy for another 2 years with a usual 12.5% increase. If you agree I need to do nothing and my DD will be changed by them. Only if I do not want to continue with my tenancy do I need to contact them.

I think the time as come to use these next 2 years to save up and get a deposit together to look for new accomodation. My husband and I are mid to late 50’s so buying is not really an option. Our next increase would take us up to mid to late £700’s making it almost £800 a month in rent.

I will be making an appointment with the CAB hopefully next week but at the moment I feel I cannot commit as I will probably be leaving my week free for the engineer appointments.

Hope everyone has had a nice Easter.

 

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