No hot water or heating, help!

No hot water or heating, help!

0:01 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago 14

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A friend has asked for my opinion, and help, however despite being a landlord I do not feel fully qualified to give proper advice as I have never experienced a problem with my tenants. All help will be gratefully appreciated and thanks in advance, please see below the tenants statement of events: –

I wish to seek some legal advice on the following matter. Below I lay out the issues and timelines of an ongoing issue we have with our flat and landlord.

Since the third of November 2023, we have not had hot water or heating in our flat. The hot water and heating are centralised in the building, so this has affected all of the flats in the building.

We have been told that the managing agents of the property notified the owners that the boiler would need to be replaced at the end of November by speaking to other residents. The owners decided to move away from a centralised system and switch to a decentralised system, where each owner is responsible for installing a boiler in the flat that they own.

We paid full rent for the month of November, despite there being no hot water or central heating.

In December it was made clear to us by our landlord that this was an ongoing issue and there was not an end date in sight. We therefore approached our landlord and requested a rent reduction in light of not having heating or hot water. We did not have feedback before our rent was due, so we cancelled our direct debit until we had had a conversation and had come to an agreement with our landlord.

We had a phone call and agreed we would pay a reduced amount for the month of December (30% reduction).

We vacated the flat for the last few weeks of December so that we could spend the Christmas season with hot water. We agreed that we would catch back up in early January. Our landlord told us that he would reach out to companies and attempt to get someone in to consult on installing a boiler within the flat.

We also agreed that we would talk about the rent amount for January onwards in the New Year, once there was clear information on the next steps.

We have not had an update since we last spoke in December 2023.

We have not paid the rent amount for both January and February 2024 as we have had no news regarding a resolution and feel that he hasn’t held up his side of the lease agreement.

As a result of not having heating or hot water in the flat, we have incurred significant additional costs on bills due to using huge amounts of electricity to warm up our flat and boil the kettle for hot water. Our monthly EDF bills have increased significantly.

We are now almost at 4 months without heating or hot water and have not paid our rent for 2 consecutive months. We are not clear on what exactly we should do as we clearly feel that the terms in our lease agreement have not been met, which is why we have withheld payment. However, we are also concerned about what it means to be in violation of our responsibilities and are concerned about the steps that our landlord could take.

Based on the above information, please can we have some legal advice on next steps. Our desired resolution is to have heating and hot water back working in our flat as soon as possible.



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10:18 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Ultimately it is the landlord who carries the can, he can blame the managing agents but that won't wear in court. A few years ago I was refurbing a property with the tenants in situ. I gave them a months free rent to cover periods when they couldn't cook or they had to use electric heaters. If I were the tenants of this property I would certainly ask for compensation. As a landlord you need to put yourself in the position as if you were a tenant and would you accept the situation.

Jay Patel

10:32 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Heating and hot water is a category one repair and must be taken care of with all reasonable steps being taken. If you've been four months without heating and hot water than this border is on negligence.

I would probably tell your friends to send the Landlord that you will get three quotations to repair the boiler and you will pick the cheapest quotation and pay for the replacement of the boiler and then deduct the payment from the rent. This is allowable in law, as long as you've given the landlord an adequate opportunity to do the Repair himself. in this case, the landlord has been given more than adequate time


10:38 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jay Patel at 04/03/2024 - 10:32
From Citizens Advice -

Procedure for using rent to pay for repairs
There are a number of steps that you must follow if you want to use your rent to pay for repairs. This procedure is only likely to be of use to you for more minor repairs which you can afford to pay for if required.

The steps are:

Step 1 – report the repairs to your landlord. It's best to do this in writing and give your landlord a reasonable time to do the work. Keep a copy of your letter or email.
Step 2 – if nothing happens, write to your landlord again telling them that you will do the repairs yourself unless they arrange for the work to be done. Keep a copy of your letter or email.
Step 3 – allow a further reasonable period of time for your landlord to do the work. If nothing happens after this time, get three quotes for the cost of the work from properly qualified contractors.
Step 4 – write to your landlord again enclosing copies of the quotes and giving them a final chance to do the work, for example, within two weeks. The letter should warn that, otherwise, you'll do the work yourself and deduct the cost from the rent. Keep a copy of your letter.
Step 5 – if there's no response, arrange for the contractor who gave the lowest quote to do the work.
Step 6 – pay for the work and send a copy of the receipt to your landlord and ask for the money to be paid back to you. Keep a copy of your letter.
Step 7 – if the landlord doesn't pay back the money, you can deduct the cost from future rent, but not other charges such as service charges. Send your landlord a breakdown of the amounts to be deducted, when they will start

Shining Wit

10:45 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Our Leasehold system at its very best.

The (BTL) LH LL is at the mercy of the FH (and/or Managing Agent) - and gets to pay (literally) what they do or, in this case, do not do.
Before installing a decentralised boiler in each flat (which may not be particularly practical) and, obviously, an expense for each LH, find out why the FH doesn't just replace the centralised system (obviously all works done under a S20 note, at LH expense)


10:48 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Environmental Health or your local councils' private rented sector team (if they have one).
As above this is a serious issue that your landlord should have dealt with within days.
There is a risk at the moment that you will be served with an eviction notice. You can reduce that risk by notifying EH of the lack of heating and hot water.
The repair route mentioned above doesn't work with a centralised heating system. You as a tenant can't go installing a local heating system without permission from the landlord (and probably the leaseholder as well)- that is a battle for the landlord.
Withholding rent is a very risky move- at the very least you should be holding the owed rent in a separate bank account.
Make sure you have documented all excess costs incurred to date due to the lack of heating, I would suggest paying the rent owed to date minus your expenses (with a cover letter obviously).
Action- if you want to you could start getting quotes for installation of heating/hot water- expect to pay for these quotes since you have no authority to accept any of them. There may be building safety issues around local heating (is gas allowed in your flat), is the building listed, is there an up to date asbestos survey.....


11:03 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago

The tenants should not have withheld rent and asking for a rent reduction does not solve the problem. As above, they need to go to the local Environmental Health officer immediately. The landlord should have acted before now.


11:14 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Oldbutnotdead at 04/03/2024 - 10:48
I had this the year before last - centralised system - boilers kept breaking down, ended for weeks with unreliable/no heating and hot water - you as the landlord put in an electric shower and give them heaters and rent reduction if you want to keep your tenants because you won't be replacing them with no heating and hot water in place anytime soon. You can look to taking the landlord to the FTT if they have not maintained the boilers (very likely) - but good luck with this.
As the landlord is not in control of this situation and it is down to the managing agents/freeholder to get it fixed there is no more you can do, report to the council, have them threaten but you cannot make this system work on your own.
Stupid to have a centralised system and I've fought to have individual but it's a mass of work upgrading incoming gas and feeding to each flat and in small flats where do you put the boiler with all the flue regs then replumb.. It is also a huge drain on the service charge as it cannot be switched off - it is 24/7 heating and hot water.

Judith Wordsworth

11:49 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago

1. It would appear the Freeholder has decided not to continue with a centralised system and heating and hot water to be the responsibility of each flat to organise their own. What is the date of this decision and what date was this communicated to your landlord, the leasehold owner of the flat you rent?

2. You negotiated a reduction in rent whilst ch engineer/plumber was being sourced. Plumbers are like gold dust and get booked well in advance. Your landlord may be looking to install electric heating and electric source for heating water and not a conventional boiler, even if a combi boiler.

3. You should not have withheld any rent, as once 2 months old rental figure is in arrears your landlord can issue a s8.

4. Is your tenancy managed by a letting agent? If so you should be discussing with them.

Perhaps your landlord is hoping you will give notice. Probably the best move as whatever method to supply heat and hot water will cause significant upheaval and mess to have to live with.


11:51 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Harlequin at 04/03/2024 - 11:14
Electric boiler and infrared heaters are the way now

Jay Patel

11:59 AM, 4th March 2024, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jay Patel at 04/03/2024 - 10:32
Sorry, I failed to see that the heating was provided via centralised heating and hot water system.

In this scenario, I suggest that is the freeholders responsibility. - though, if your tenant calls in environmental health, they may say that the bus stops with you as the landlord. (Even though the matters are completely out of your control).

In the meantime, I would suggest that you fit an electric shower to the property and provide portable heater straight away.

I understand that the freehold is now saying that the internal heating is each properties responsibility, though I would check the terms and conditions of your lease which I'm sure would clearly state that the freeholder is responsible for providing the services. They have to continue to do so unless there has been a variation of the lease.

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