Letting Agent renewed boiler without telling me!

by Readers Question

12:55 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Letting Agent renewed boiler without telling me!

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Letting Agent renewed boiler without telling me!

I am a long-time reader (and I suppose a ‘silent supporter’) of property118.com (and previous Money Centre client) having been a landlord since 2004. I have three properties which I rent out, one of which I manage myself, the other two are with two different letting agents. This is, however, the first time I have posted anything on the site

This isn’t a particularly complicated issue to explain, basically I got a phone call a few weeks ago from the letting agent for a flat I have in Glasgow, which is a one bedroom flat built in 2007, telling me the client had reported that there was no hot water. They asked me if I wanted to deal with this myself, or if I wanted them to go ahead and get someone out to see what the problem was. Wanting to minimise the inconvenience to my perfectly good tenants, I told the agent to go ahead and get an engineer out, and then heard nothing further about the matter. I assumed that it had probably been a straightforward repair on a six year old boiler (which had previously been completely trouble-free), and in my mind I was expecting a charge of maybe £100 or so to appear on my statement. Letting Agent renewed boiler without telling me

This morning in the post my monthly statement arrived, and I was stunned and angered to see an entry relating to a replacement (new) boiler, at a cost of £566! Although that doesn’t sound particularly expensive to me for a boiler, my concerns are numerous:

Was the problem really so bad on a six year old boiler that it needed replaced? If I had known I’d have got a second opinion at the very least! I may have had some recourse to go back to the builder (for example) I bought the property from.

Why was I not informed that the boiler was condemned? I would have thought this is a fairly major event.

Even if this was the only course of action available, why was I not given the opportunity to have any input into which new boiler was fitted? (after all, I am paying for it as it stands)

I simply cannot believe the complete lack of communication from my letting agent over this, and wondered if any members here had had any similar experiences, or could offer any professional (legal?) advice, please. The way I am feeling as I type this, I feel I should not have to pay for this new boiler at all, given the appalling way the matter has been handled, although perhaps this is a little extreme and just my state of shock at today’s news.

Thanks in advance for any help given.

Regards

Gary



Comments

Mark Alexander

12:59 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Gary

That's well out of order, although I do agree that £566 is very cheap for a new boiler. If I was up in Scotland I'd be asking you to get me the number of the guy who fitted it.

You should at least make a written complaint to your letting agent.

Do you know whether your agents are members of The Property Ombudsman Service?

Also, have you got an up-to-date landlords Gas Safety Certificate for the boiler?

David Sweeney

14:05 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

I wonder if your agency agreement has a figure under which your agent is authorised to act without consulting you? Many landlords don't want to be bothered by every minor problem - hence the appointment of agents - but I would have thought £200 would be a sensible limit.

Jay James

15:34 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Gary

Could you let me have the contact details of the fitter?

What make was the boiler?

Thanks

Jay

Gary Pryde

16:06 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Thanks Mark for a very fast response, I appreciate that. There is definitely an up to date Gas Safety Certificate for the property. I don't know if the agent is a member of The Property Ombudsman Service, but I will find out. I will definitely be complaining in regard to this, I am just taking a very deep breath, and all the advice I can get, and deciding how best to tackle this!

Hi Dave, many thanks for your comment. I would have thought there should be some sort of amount they would be able to spend without my authority, but I'd be surprised if it was enough to more than wipe out a whole month's rent. I am going to have to dig out all the literature I can find on the T's & C's and I will of course post any updates.

Mark Alexander

16:10 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Pryde" at "20/09/2013 - 16:06":

Have you checked to ensure that you do actually have a brand new boiler?

Gary Pryde

16:14 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Hi Jay, that is just the point. I don't know the make of the boiler or even who fitted it at this stage! I will need to contact the letting agent to find all of that out, and I don't think this is an acceptable state of affairs.

Jay James

16:20 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Pryde" at "20/09/2013 - 16:14":

Hi Gary
When you do find out, please could you let me know.
It would be much appreciated
--
It really is unacceptable that this amount of money was spent without your knowledge or consent.
--
Mark's question is pertinent, it may be that the boiler cost was so low because it is not brand new.

Mark Alexander

16:40 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jay Jay" at "20/09/2013 - 16:20":

Or maybe the same old boiler was fixed even?

Jay James

16:46 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "20/09/2013 - 16:40":

Exactly.
--
Gary seems clear that it is a new boiler.
Thus I think he may have been told it is new.
But at that price it may not be new.
Thus Gary may have been lied to, oops don't want to get sued, so I say 'inadvertently misled' instead.

Gary Pryde

17:59 PM, 20th September 2013
About 5 years ago

All I know for the time being is that it states "new boiler" on my monthly statement which arrived in the post this morning. Very good points however that all may not be as it appears. At the risk of sounding cynical the "opportunity" here for someone to have massively overcharged for a repair is a big concern to me.

I have now had a chance to check the T's and C's for the letting agent/ landlord agreement, and they can spend up to £150 plus VAT on work without authority necessarily being sought?/ granted, above this amount however they can only proceed in an emergency situation if they are unable to contact the landlord. Clearly they have my phone number (and also my email), so it seems to me they have broken these terms, but I wonder what people's views are on where I stand with my £566 charge?

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