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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi, i hope everyone had a really good christmas.

I'm just wondering if anyone knows how long a private landlord can leave a tenant without heating in the uk.
Our central heating broke down on saturday night, (this is an on going problem) so i have spent the last few days trying to get hold of the landlord agency, (they have no emergency out of hrs number .... actually is this legal?) Finaly this afternoon i gave up and phoned a engineer who said they would be out shortly. I then left yet another message on the landlord's answering phone telling them what i had done and that i would be sending them the bill. strangely this message seemed to get to them as they were on the phone with minutes promising to send someone round. (somebody much cheaper i would expect) The engineer who came round had no idea what is wrong with the boiler but is coming back tomorrow morning to try some stuff. the last time this happened we were left with out heating for over a week and its much colder this time.
does anyone know how i stand with this?

a very frozen Elle x
 

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Elle, if you phone your local council emergency helpline they can give you advice!

Hope your heating gets fixed soon!

I would ask landlord for some emergency heating (plugs ins) for each room and a deduction on rent!

Lesley
 

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Hello Elle

I'm sorry I slept in this morning, but last night I spoke to somebody "who knows" who said: A landlord has a legal obligation to provide heat for tenants but the landlord's agent is not obliged to provide a 24/7 emergency service. You are however in a very strong position given that it is bitterly cold at the moment and it's essential that you have some adequate heating. Tell your landlord/agent that you must be provided with adequate heating today by 4pm- as Lesley says plug- in heaters would be fine, or be put up in a hotel. Call your local Housing Advisory Service who are there to protect tenants. You might also have a word with the Environmental Health people and can mention them if need be to the landlord. Keep a detailed written account with times of all your efforts to get the heating back on.
It sounds as if you have had problems before.

If you have young children or special needs of any sort you could call your local health and welfare people, or anybody relevant in fact.

If you have gas CH it would make total sense for the landlord to take out an annual maintenance and service policy which provides a 24/7 service. I hope you have an annual safety inspection certificate ? I don't know about other forms of heating.

You can withhold rent for each day you have no central heating - annual rent divided by 365- including days when there's electrical heating provided as your electricity bill will go up probably more than your gas bill would have been.

Edited to add: divide by 366 as 2008 is a leap year.

I hope you will be warmer tonight!

Many warm hugs

Clare
 

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Hi Elle,

Checking in to see if your heating system got fixed?

I sure hope there is a fast fix for this problem.

The cold can reek havoc on our bodies.:(
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the replys,
well the engineer finally got the heating on again at about 11 this morning. Which then lasted a whole 6 hrs before it packed up again this time taking the hot water with it.:mad:
Am just considering phoning up british gas and asking them to do it and invoicing the landlord.
Angry isn't the word!!!!

Thanks again

Elle x
 

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Elle,

Sorry to hear the problem still existing!

Clare is correct that you need to phone environmental health - they have an emergency out of hours no. and should be able to help you. Give them your landlords deatils including contact telephone number. Keep calling and leaving messages on an answer machine (if he has one) for your landlord every 10 minutes or so (dont just hang-up - basically you will need be very, very persistent and as Clare says tell him you are getting environmental health involved. Keep a note of every time of you tried to contact him.

I'm not sure that British Gas would invoice anyone without seeing a contract first that states another party is responsible for payment other than the house occupier!

Good luck and I hope you have some emergency heaters to help!

Lesley
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi thanks again for the replys.

Unfortuanly the problem is still going on:mad:
I eventually decided I was going to have to pay for it myself but have since been told that although I would be priority for British Gas they can not come out without the landlord's permission, no matter who is paying for it:sad: The landlord is refusing to give permission for anyone to do the work other than their engineer who has said the boiler need to be replaced and that can't be done until next week at the least!:mad:

I have contacted enviromental health and although they have said they can help, they can't do anything until monday. However I did get hold of a law adviser who agreed to attempt to sort things out for me. Unfortuantly the landlord is now not answering her messages! I have had fan heaters on for the past few days but these play havoc with my asthma so we have had to move out of the property.
The legal adviser has been fantastic and is going to take this further as they have broken their agreement. However I don't think it is going to be long before we are 'asked' to leave by the landlord now, and although I know that long term leaving is the best thing to do, I can't even face the thought of having to cope with moving right now. :worried:

I hope everyone has a good new year!!!

Thanks again
Elle x
 

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WOW, sorry this is happening elle.



I hope this gets resolved for you and the money you put out is reimbursed quickly.
 

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Yes, I am in the US, but I am in both sides of this issue. My parents have a rental property which I manage while they are out of the area traveling most of the year. Last year one of the service lines of the oil furnace plugged. This happened on a Sunday afternoon. The oil company came out and rigged up a 5 gal can of heating oil, and made it so she was ok until Monday when they came out and did fix it.

I am also a tenant where I live. I don't quite understand why you cannot get service, if you are going to pay for it. In order to keep my rent low, I pay for all the maintenance here. I have not had that problem with any of the companies I have contacted. My furnace was not producing adequate heat, and I had service on it. Since I had never dealt with an electric furnace repair, I asked my landlord who he would recommend. We ended up splitting the service call as he had to have his heat pump serviced, as well as his elec furn checked out. They live on one side of the 5 acres and I live on the other side.

I agree with the attorney that this landlord is not meeting the needs of common responsibility. Here, the landlord cannot evict a tenant just because they went to the renter/tenants group. I would ask the attorney if you have such a protection provision there.

Good luck and I hope you get a LOT better service SOON.
Sally
 

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Hello elle
The landlady has behaved despicably and illegally, shame on her - she could have the book thrown at her- but I am glad you have someone to advise you legally. Despite the fact that the law is heavily weighted in favour of tenants, it's difficult to stand up to a rogue landlord especially if they are able to afford legal help.
Any responsible landlord would take out a service contract but even with one it might not be possible to make major repairs like boiler replacement all that quickly especially during the holiday season. With the best will in the world, things sometimes go badly wrong but there is no excuse for her not to talk reasonably with you Regardless of the legal ins and outs it is an awful experience to go through.
You certainly can't be evicted by her because on hearing the tale no court would agree to her repossessing. But there again, it is very stressful living in such circumstances.
Keep a written record of everything that happens and no doubt you will be advised to write to her.

I hope you can soon be back home and the matter speedily resolved. It is all so stressful.

Many hugs
Clare
 

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Hello Sally

I don't quite understand why you cannot get service, if you are going to pay for it. In order to keep my rent low, I pay for all the maintenance here
That's simply not the way it works here. Landlords and tenants usually have legally binding standard tenancy agreements with rights and obligations clearly set out.
It is the landlord's obligation to provide and maintain heating and hot water. You can't get any work done in a rental without the permission of the owner even if you are willing to pay for it, except for what the tenant is legally responsible for or by express agreement with the landlord.

In fact the tenants' rights here, in England at least, are heavily protected. It is very difficult to regain possession of your own home if the tenant refuses to play ball,even when they have not paid the rent and trashed the place. I have been landlord in the UK for many years and a tenant for many years in other countries including the USA and have had very bad experiences as both.
Different countries have different laws, it's as simple as that, each with their pros and cons.

In the UK, the day after Christmas is also a public holiday and so is New Year's day. With the holidays falling on a Thursday this year you can imagine how hard it is to get anything done for getting on for two weeks except for public emergencies and dire life or death personal business.
There are various service contracts for the utilities including water that provide a 365/ 24/7 service but as far as I know only the owner of the property can sign up for them.

All the best to you in the coming year
:)
Clare
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi guys,

Thanks for all the advice.
I have been keeping a diary of the events and I have emailed them a number of times too so there is a record in writing.
A lawyer is supposed to be contacted me tomorrow regarding taking this further so hopefully the ball will start rolling very soon.
Clare is right that here in the uk the landlord has to give permission for repairs, it is their property. :worried:
although a boiler replacement is a very major repair, both the landlord and the engineer have told me that it CAN be fixed but it is a very expensive part and they think it is more cost effective to be replaced. So in the end it all comes down to the landlord trying to save money. :mad:
In regards to the tenancy, I have a short term contract and they can legal evict me with 2 months notice. :sad: Although to be honest I think it might be time to move anyway.

Hope you all have a healthy new year.

Elle x
 

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Having lived in rented accomodation in the north of England you have my sympathy.

It doesn't matter what the law is if you have a bad landlord / lady.

I would not pay for the work to be done myself in the hope of getting the money back of somebody like this. It could easy equate to a deposit and the next months rent in a better place.

I was wonering if it might move things forward if you were to get British Gas in to simply CONDEMN the boiler as dangerous to give you more leverage. The landlord's mates are not going to do that in a hurry, but it sounds as if they should really.

I would not only keep notes on all your contact with your ladlord / lady, but also the names and contact details of the engineers sent round. And let them know you are doing this by asking for the details and also whether or not they are Corgi registered.

British gas is terribly expensive and fussy. We don't use them for repairs, etc. but we do have a contract with them to do an annual service, and this works well.

I hope you find somewhere an awful lot better.

Take care.
 

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Hello again Elle,

It was -10 here last night and we are not too far away from you, so I was worrying about your heating.

Have you got something sorted out yet?

Sorry about the British Gas comments, by the way, having re-read your post I now see you cannot get them involved without the landlord's consent.

Sorry about that. Let us know how you are doing becasue it is bitterly cold throughout the day as well as during the day right now.

Take care
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi Alwin

the heating was fixed yesterday, (11 days after it went off:mad:)
Thank goodness as it has been colder here than it has been for years.
I have had a fair few extra aches and pains caused, I would expect, by all the worry and the sleeping on floors and sofas. But I am currently snuggled nice and cozy at last. :)

I have kept record of all the emails i sent to the landlord and I am going to write again in a few days asking for a full explanation. I will decide then whether to take it further but I still think we are going to move out of the property eventually .

Thanks for everything
Take care

Elle x
 

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Dear Elle, I am sorry you have had so much trouble.
Are you on the Register for Housing Association property? It may be an idea.
Is your Tenancy just a Shorthold renewable one? They usually are these days.
My Son was in a property where the drains collapsed, and sewage was flowing up the toilet. The Landlady was nice but useless and refused to accept the problem We had a Plumber friend come out to look and make a Report. Luke moved back home temporarily and has a better flat in view.

Have you had a Social Services Assessment of your needs? You are entitled to ask for one. I have known people who have had to move out and because Social Services know of their difficulties they have provided someone to help pack up everything.

I would also think, if you can provide evidence of your illness you would be in a strong position to ask for a Community Care Grant to move somewhere more suitable, if you qualify for this on income grounds.

Sounds like you already have good help, but just wanted to say the organisation Shelter provides some good leaflets etc.
All the Best,
Lola x
 

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Elle,
I am not sure about the uk but am sure that if your weather is like mine it is too cold for no heat. I live in the usa so you might want to check things out. If it gets to cold in the usa the landlord is responsible to pay the hotel bill for the tenant. I would think the least they would have to do provide you with space heater for some warmth. You might remind the landlord that without heat the pipes could freeze and break costing more than it already is.

I hope that you find someone that can fix your heating problem very soon and that you have warmth for the rest of the season at least.
Tammy
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi Tammy
There doesn't seem to be any laws like that over here, although I am going to ask for a rent reduction to cover the period of time that we couldn't live in the property.

Hi Lola
Yes my tenancy agreement is a shorthold. It used to be on a 6 month period but they changed it recently to that it can be cancelled anytime with 2 months notice. I have just put myself down on the Register for Housing Association property. Fingers crossed that something will come up fairly soon, although I know some people have to wait years.
I had no idea about the Community Care Grant or the Social Services Assessment. I will be looking into those really soon.

Many thanks.

Elle x
 

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Years ago I got a housing association house!

It was the first stroke of good luck I had had in years. well i say luck, but i did have to get a bit down and dirty to get things moving.

Elle - we got moved fairly quickly after I asked the housing association to come and look at my privately rented house, which had a coal fire with a back boiler in the front room and no other form of heating. No fire = no hot water. The place was freezing unless you stood right in front of the fire. It was damp too, and there was mould growing on the kitchen walls, despite my wiping it over with bleach repeatedly.

Eventually my daughter was taken into hospital with bronchiolitis and this moved things along very quickly after the housing assocaition visit.

It was the beginning of my getting back onto my feet and resulted in my eventually being able to become an owner occupier again.

I am wishing you all the best luck in the world because I remember it actually meant better accomodation, a warmer home and far more affordable bills because the property was designed to be far more fuel efficient than old properties. There was a garden too! I could not believe how much better of I was, despite a slightly higher rent.

Now you are on the list don't forget to keep contacting them to let them know of any addtional problems you are having - aches and pains, any health deterioration, stress, etc.

All the best in the world Elle. I hope you get somewhere nice soon.

:love:
 
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