11:02 AM, 22nd August 2019, About 4 years ago 1
I purchased my first Buy To Let in Paddock Wood Kent on 5th July,1991 and completed on the sale yesterday (21st August, 2019). Basically, it has gone up in value 10 times in 30 years.
The house was a regulated tenancy and became a de-regulated tenancy (an Assured Shorthold Tenancy) prior to sale with vacant possession.
It had been a good investment, but three years ago in 2016 the local council served a Notice on myself because the Boiler was not working and he had no Hot Water! I should explain a Regulated Tenant had the right to install his own boiler. This particular tenant had Warm Front install it and it, therefore, was not my boiler. It reverts to the landlord only at the end of the tenancy.
The Notice was issued under the Housing Act 2004 which requires the Local Authority to attend with the landlord. I trotted along to the house. I said it is the PCB, but pointed out it is not my boiler. Warm Front installed it and has the repairing responsibility. Quite simple. Just put a new pcb in.
I said “By the way, this is called an immersion heater. It is located within the cylinder. Just push the switch to on and you have hot water!”
“Yes that is the function of the immersion heater!”
The Council withdrew the Notice!
A week later they were back. “The Heating Engineer says the Boiler is not man enough for the job. It needs a new boiler.”
“Really, read my lips. It is not my boiler!”
“We wish to put in a Boiler of larger capacity for the house.”
“Take it up with Warm Front. Has the tenant ever complained about a lack of heat?”
“No, but the engineer says it is suitable for a 2-3 bedroom house and the one he suggests is suitable for a 3-4 bedroomed house.”
“But it has 3 bedrooms! Have you seen that programme Rip Off Britain?”
This takes me to the one on the Panorama Programme. The Notice was issued under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which was essentially replaced by the Housing Act 2004. The important thing was it deals with the Hazard and Health Hazard Rating System HHSRS and requires the Council Officer to attend with the Landlord.
The Council Officer did not do so. The tenant asked for her Notice! Rather odd for a tenant to ask for a Section 21! Oh dear! Oh Dear!
We all know that means 5½ months in temporary accommodation.
At the end of the day the Council withdrew the Prosecution because it was out of time!
The next tenant moved in and switched on the immersion heater and then complained the water was too hot!
If a Landlord receives a Notice or communication by letter then he should ask for a meeting at the property. Normally the Council suggests a meeting. I have always found it is some form of electrical deficiency. In plain English the immersion heater has not been switched on.
If the Officer writes to say “The water is cold” the question is what was the temperature? This is important because some tenants with Boilermates say the temperature is too low (i.e cold) and then put on the immersion heater to heat it up to a higher temperature. Where is the Corpse? Where is the Smoking Gun?
The point is that the immersion heater is the back up. As far as the Hot Water is concerned the source of the energy is academic. If the tenant has hot water available by immersion heater then the requirement to provide hot water is complied with.
Finally, make sure you keep all your emails.