Tenant insists on gas fire replacement!

by Readers Question

16:40 PM, 18th September 2020
About 2 months ago

Tenant insists on gas fire replacement!

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Tenant insists on gas fire replacement!

Hi, first-time landlady here, hoping for advice. When my tenants moved in 3 years ago there was a gas cooker, fire and central heating. The cooker was old and so when they complained it wasn’t working, I replaced with an electric one. They weren’t happy but agreed.

This cooker needed replacing before the end of the warranty then needed repairing again just out of warranty (faulty thermostat). I admit it wasn’t a great cooker, but was all I could afford. It still gives problems but they seem to accept it. The wife complains but not much I can do.

At the last gas inspection, the gas fitter said the fire was completely unsafe and should not have been passed, ever! It’s switched off now (has been since May) and I intended to replace with electric. Tenant very unhappy, started talking about health problems and listed a number of other complaints. Accused me of profiteering by reducing cost of annual inspections. I replied that if she didn’t want to live in my house she didn’t have to. Would have served eviction notice (threatened to, in fact) but, of course, I’m not allowed because of covid-19 rules.

Currently, stalemate. I don’t want a new gas fire in there. She doesn’t want an electric. Husband is more reasonable, but she is the one with apparent “health problems”.

I need to raise the rent. Can I evict if they refuse to pay increase? Can they force me to replace gas fire?

Sorry, I am a bit new to this and I’m not sure I want to carry on.

There must be less stressful ways to earn a living!

Bidipus


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Comments

Neil Patterson

16:45 PM, 18th September 2020
About 2 months ago

You run the risk of being accused of a revenge eviction here under the Deregulation act.

It is also absolutely your responsibility to fix or replace the gas fire (could be electric as long as you then don't have min EPC issues) asap or you can be reported to the council for running a property that is unfit for habitation.

Bidipus

14:03 PM, 19th September 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 18/09/2020 - 16:45
Ok, thanks... I think!

WP

7:14 AM, 21st September 2020
About 2 months ago

I'd get a new gas one in and fitted fast or they could accuse you of not heating the property. Electric may be more costly for tenant so that is where they are coming from on this point rather than the health issues?
After that leave it a while then up the rent. If it states in your TA the rent can be raised at a certain date and it is now due then you have the legal right to raise it, just maybe keep it on the sensible side.

Gary Nock

8:26 AM, 21st September 2020
About 2 months ago

It is up to the landlord which replacement heating method they choose. Ensure that it is documented, that you have offered the electric fire, point out that they still have central heating and that you are complying with Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Then let them moan and whinge.

Chris Harris

8:39 AM, 21st September 2020
About 2 months ago

I don't wish to appear rude Bidipus, but it does sound from your post that maybe you aren't cut out for the role of landlord.

You don't say if you use a letting agent, but if not
then life might be easier if you used a reputable experienced letting agent who should be able to guide you through the mine field.

Good luck

Smartermind

8:41 AM, 21st September 2020
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 18/09/2020 - 16:45
I agree the landlord should replace the gas fire and should have done so as soon as it was condemned. However, if there is a central heating system in place, then the house has heating and can't be considered not fit for habitation. The gas fire then is just nice to have but not essential. (This is just my opinion). The gas fire can be replaced temporarily with a electric fan heater, which are not too expensive, but all electric heating is expensive to run.

The main problem with a condemned gas fire is that it is a health and safety risk (carbon monoxide poisoning).

Since they had a gas cooker when they moved in and the electric cooker is problematic, that could be construed a breach of the tenancy.

The landlord should replace both the cooker and gas fire ASAP before thinking of any rent increase or revenge eviction.

The landlord should also ensure there are working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in the property.

reader

8:45 AM, 21st September 2020
About 2 months ago

If you replace your old gas fire with a modern and electric fire that incorporates , a timer, a thermostat control and most importantly a fan to distribute the heat you may find your EPC rating improves.

Argos is always a good source.

Hardworking Landlord

9:13 AM, 21st September 2020
About 2 months ago

Simply put a new gas fire in there. You will then have a happy tenant which is surely worth so much more than the relatively small additional costs of putting in a less desirable electric heater.

Graham Bowcock

9:22 AM, 21st September 2020
About 2 months ago

Cooker - you say the tenant complains but there's nothing you can do - yes there is. Mend it or replace it. Why should the tenant have to put up with things that don't work.
Fire - as others have said, if you have central heating then you are complying with legal obligations. I have replaced a few gas fires with electric ones - sometimes the gas replacement is very expensive due to compliance with flues, etc.. The tenant's argument abour profiteering is wrong - as long as you provide a safe and compliant environment. Gas may be cheaper to run, so bear this in mind if you are thinking of putting the rent up and replacing with electric.

In terms of needing to raise the rent - has the market rent risen? If your tenant is paying the rent and is otherwise decent, do you need to upset the apple cart. Most landlords are not increasing rents in the current enviromnent, for obvious reasons, so make sure that if you do set about an increase you are on solid ground. Most here would probably advise you to build some bridges with your tenant before embarking on this course.

paul kaye

10:02 AM, 21st September 2020
About 2 months ago

If the home has central heating,you do not have to supply a gas fire or electric.
I have two properties that had a gas fire.
For safety reasons I had them disconnected.There is no need for them with central heating at all.
As to the rent,go on right move,put in your town/city and look for properties like your to rent.
You will see what is being charged and soon find out if you are competitive ,you can then look to increase rent.
If they agree and start to pay it,all well and good,if not,just give notice ,while you have restrictions at the moment,at least it is food for thought for them !

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