Private Landlord says I must wait for grant to get hot water!

by Readers Question

7:54 AM, 3rd March 2017
About 2 years ago

Private Landlord says I must wait for grant to get hot water!

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Private Landlord says I must wait for grant to get hot water!

I am looking for advice regarding an issue I am having with Private Landlord. I am a lone Parent in a Private Rented Property. I have a Short Assured Tenancy which has been a rolling contract as I have stayed many years at the property.hot tap

My Boiler stopped working properly a fortnight ago, and although I still have heating, I’ve no hot water. My Landlord instructed me to get a Heating Engineer out which I did and paid for myself. I was told the problem cannot be fixed and I need a new boiler. Having told my Landlord the outcome, he said I must wait till he applies for a Grant through the Energy Savings Trust.

I find this completely unacceptable as it is going to leave me without hot water for weeks on end, and even then there is no guarantee he will get the grant. I have been in touch with my Local Council who are looking into it, but they stressed they cannot enforce measures right away.

Meanwhile my Landlord wants access to allow his own Heating Engineer to write up a Green Energy Report, which I am presuming is part of the process to obtain this grant. I feel by allowing him access I’ m somewhat being forced into agreeing that I will be without hot water for a considerable time.

Can you please advise on what I should do? Do I have to give him access for this? Can he legally force me to wait several weeks under the guise that he is ‘fixing’ the issue? Thank you.

Janet



Comments

Graham Bowcock

10:11 AM, 3rd March 2017
About 2 years ago

Dear Janet

There are no hard and fast rules and each case will be different, but several weeks without hot water is not reasonable.

You should permit your landlord and/or his chosen engineer to inspect the current system. You could hope that they could actually get it going again, alt least temporarily.

In practice it can be difficult to get a boiler replaced overnight and in my experience we generally allow a week. From the landlord's point of view it is reasonable that we get competitive quotes and look at alternative systems (perhaps replacing traditional systems with combis); this can take a couple of days. Once a contractor is appointed they have to order the boiler and book the work in. A week soon goes by and this is in a case where everybody is on board. In fairness this is no different from the position of an owner occupier - there is no magic formula.

The landlord's obligations come under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (s11) and this is says there must be a cold water supply and a means of heating the water. I think you should ask your landlord to set out his proposals for dealing with the matter, including a realistic timetable. Explain your legal right to a hot water supply.

What is reasonable will depend on the precise situation. I assume you do not have an electric immersion heater that would heat the water (this if often forgotten about). If you, for example, have an electric shower then, again, the effect of the boiler fault will be minimised. If you are totally without water then you do need to persuade your landlord to get his repairs done quicker.

Incidentally, your landlord should pay for the call out that you said you paid for.

Good luck.

Graham

Stephen Smith

10:42 AM, 3rd March 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi,

If the landlord cannot fulfil their legal obligations of a fit and suitable place for residence, then perhaps he might care to offer alternative accommodation?.

Stephen

Seething Landlord

14:24 PM, 3rd March 2017
About 2 years ago

It sounds a bit odd that the boiler is still working but the hot water supply cannot be reinstated and I would want to know why before committing to replacing the boiler. It is entirely reasonable that the landlord wants his own heating engineer to confirm the position although why he didn't do this in te first place is a mystery.

Grumpy Doug

15:08 PM, 3rd March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Seething Landlord" at "03/03/2017 - 14:24":

That's what I thought.
If the heating is working my assumption is that the boiler is fine. I had something similar the other day in one of my houses. Simple fix - the 3 way valve was defective. Not the first time its happened. My plumber is in-and-out in 20 minutes with that one ..

Janet Carter

17:05 PM, 3rd March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Seething Landlord" at "03/03/2017 - 14:24":

Thank you all for your replies.

A bit more information...My Landlord asked me to contact a Heating Engineer because he was away working. The Heating Engineer that came out said the Diverter assembly plus diaphram hot water valve had gone. He also said that there might be more parts needing to be replaced. On that basis he advised a replacement boiler as he would not be able to fix it.The boiler itself is over 20 yrs old, but my Landlord refuses to divulge exactly how old. I have rented the property for 19 years in May (Yes you read that correctly!) So I cannot be accused of being a 'nightmare tenant.' I digress..

The next installment of this saga is that he has been texting me wanting access to do a Green Energy Report. Can anyone tell me what this is, and how it pertains to me getting my hot water supply back? The latest texts are wanting access to do an EPC report. As I understand it, this is going nowhere towards 'sorting' my lack of hot water problem. It's just so he doesn't get fined.

Just don't know what to do, and nobody including CAB, Shelter or the Local Council seem to have any definitive answers. The bottom line is that I don't want to be seen to be in 'agreement' with any drawn out grant/loan applications. But after nearly two weeks of this, it seems I may have no choice?

Mike

0:36 AM, 4th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Janet, I am sorry that you are having this issue with hot water, and i am in with your plight as well as that of your landlord, you called an incompetent heating engineer who could not be bothered to repair that boiler even assuming for a few weeks to get it going for the time being whilst steps are in place to replace it eventually as it has seen many good working years.

Please allow your landlord to now go ahead with this green energy scheme, it will benefit you in the long term for putting up with a bit of nuisance now,
not only they could add more insulation to your loft to a total of 270mm thick layer of insulation, this will help reduce your heating losses, and cut on your energy bills, I understand the hardship you are facing by not having a running hot water in your bath and kitchen. But if assuming your landlord does get it fixed by another engineer, then he may put off replacing it for another time until it breaks again.

It really is the problem with the heating Engineer's incompetence, I don't know how on earth do they get their licence to trade as gas safe engineers.
I would have fixed your problem in less than a day, it is your diverter valve and diapghram, that is a likely cause of your problem because i know a lot about boilers myself and don't allow any gas safe engineers to take me for a ride. My own boiler is 24 years old and running like new, and as it has not broken down as many times as modern boilers do now a days, I have saved more money than I would have if I had gone for more modern condensing boilers.

It may be better if your landlord knew a particular engineer he had used in the past and sends him there to get it going for the time being without compromising its safety,

The engineer you called must be lame, and full of excuses, landlord hating, so I know many such engineers and I avoid them like a plague, I never give them my business, fortunately I know many good ones and charge very reasonable service rate and very honest, they won't look at a boiler and turn it down just because it is 20 years old and leave you stranded without hot water, so please don't blame your landlord on this.

You might want to tell me what make is your boiler whether it is a combi boiler or a system boiler where you have hot water cylinder .
mike

Mike

1:00 AM, 4th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Another thing Janet, about EPC, it is called Energy Performance Certificate, it is another one of Governments useless scheme that really does nothing for owners and landlords, but a quango scheme which tells an owner or an occupier how much energy they could save if they were to for instance increase the depth of loft insulation, replace old filament light bulbs with modern low energy or LED light bulbs, replacing an old boiler with a more modern condensing boiler, he should have got this EPC in place at some stage in the past when this scheme was first launched some years ago, as it is now necessary for all landlords to have it in place, without which they cannot issue S21 notice to quit, so make sure if your landlord is intending to get this because you may have threaten to report him or have done so, to the council for the boiler or hot water problem, and so he may want to evict you, but he cannot do that now for 6 months since you reported this problem, so relax and let this EPC valuation go ahead, I am sure both you and him must have been good towards each other as you would not have been staying in that place this long. So compromise and discuss with him and say get the boiler fixed temporarily or if not then get a new one put in as soon as possible and in any case within a week or two and not months. The problem is gas safe engineers rip off people for service work where it may cost him half the price of a new boiler!

Some people are entitled to boiler grants, you as an occupier may be a qualifier, or he may be a qualifier, so he may want to use this offer to get a good new boiler under this grant.
mike

Paul Green

14:39 PM, 4th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Janet, this is not an answer to the boiling but how to get around not having no hot water. I bought my tenant a large catering tea urn. This allowed him to temporarily wash up, plates, fill up the bathroom sink and wash. I know it's not ideal, but I could not think of any way to get hot water into the home whilst I waited for an engineer over the xmas period and then the parts to be ordered. I also offered to pay for him to use a sauna club or sports club, were they have showers. He is a police man and told me they had shows at work. As for laundry, some washing machines don't need a hot water supply as the have a heating element in them, if yours doesn't then, the local laundrette is your only option or a friends. You could use the local swimming pool and it's showers , plenty of people take shampoo in... or rent a b&b and ask him to pay the bill. In your tenancy agreement, he has to make the home habitable or put you up. You could comprise and say pay for the urn, the swimming entry fees and the laundry fees and buy you an urn and your work with him , cheaper than b&b . It's not possible to live with no hot water. If you don't get anywhere Seek legal advice, take you tenancy down to a solicitor and see what he says, you could be in a b&b or hotel and claim back every penny plus legal fees if your tenancy states he has to rehouse you, until he fixes it...good luck

Michael Barnes

17:34 PM, 5th March 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mike " at "04/03/2017 - 01:00":

As this is a long-standing tenancy, I believe that the "retaliatory eviction" rules do not apply at the moment (I think it is 2018 when all tenancies are covered).

Sarah Shaw

20:09 PM, 5th March 2017
About 2 years ago

I think the EPC might be necessary in order to be eligible for the boiler grant....one of the hoops to jump through unfortunately.

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