Tenants have no hot water or heating – their fault, my problem!

by Readers Question

15:19 PM, 15th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Tenants have no hot water or heating – their fault, my problem!

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Tenants have no hot water or heating – their fault, my problem!

I have tenants who would not allow access for replacing a back boiler with new combi boiler and extra radiators. Tenants have no hot water or heating

Guess what …………. now the boiler is not working and they have no heating/hot water and the engineer cannot fit a new system until March due to work load.

If this cannot be repaired and a new engineer cannot be sourced to fit a replacement system, unless it is for more money, what should be the way forward?

Thanks

Maureen



Comments

Rob

18:49 PM, 15th December 2014
About 4 years ago

I have a similar situation, my tenants have been without the boiler for 4 weeks and a new one is being fitted Jan 5th. I've given them 3 plug in heaters and £100 of the rent for Dec & Jan. in your case I don't think the tenants are in a position to complain as they refused access for a new boiler previously which seems odd, maybe if it's nothing too serious you can get an engineer out to fix it within the next few days and keep the install date for the new one? If they refuse to allow access for the repair or the March install I think I'd evict them.

Jonathan Clarke

19:32 PM, 15th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Unfortunately however annoying their previous stance was you nevertheless have an obligation to supply hot water and heating. The fact they refused access previously is really a separate issue.

If heating and hot water is not supplied within a reasonable time frame they can legitimately complain to the EHO and you could be served notice to complete the works. If you cant supply alternative heating and hot water then you may have to consider alternative accommodation like a budget hotel for them. You should have insurance to cover this eventuality as it may get expensive for you if you cannot resolve the issue fairly swiftly

You should have a few engineers keyed into your phone to call on in any case as to wait until March for your favoured one is not acceptable. Engineers can always be sourced at a price. Having no heating and no hot water is classed as an emergency.

I had one boiler go on Saturday. I had a new boiler in on the Monday.
.

Mark Alexander

22:56 PM, 15th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Maureen

Is there no electric immersion heating system?

If so, why can't you do what Rob has done?

I also agree with Jonathan though, waiting until March is ludicrous. You need to start calling plumbers ASAP before your tenants start calling Environment Health and ambulance chasing solicitors!
.

Maureen Pickering

12:01 PM, 16th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Many thanks for your comments. The system has a back boiler & no immersion tank. They do have an electric shower (apparently this morning I am told they have never used!) so have washing facilities. The landlord (not me) is not happy about spending more money trying to repair when the whole system should have been replaced in the summer & I must say I agree with him. They also have some electric heaters.
I am phoning c/h engineers now to see if anyone free but if cannot be repaired then I cannot see a new system being installed this side of Christmas but I live in hope!

Mark Alexander

12:08 PM, 16th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Maureen Pickering" at "16/12/2014 - 12:01":

Hi Maureen

Presumably you are the letting agent then?

If that is the case I think you are in a very precarious position and you should be looking to cover your back.

You need to be able to prove that you have done everything possible to get this problem fixed before Christmas and that you have made the landlord aware of his responsibilities.

If the landlord declines to take action that's his fault. However, if/when he ends up in Court you can be sure as eggs are eggs that he will try to blame you. That's why you need to have everything documented.

Presumably you are a member of a redress scheme, which is now law for all letting agents and you have Professional Indemnity Insurance? If not then expect that to be thrown back at you too once the sticky brown stuff hits the fan!

I sympathise with yours and the landlords frustrations but the landlord has a legal responsibility to resolve this issue ASAP. Whilst the landlord is ultimately accountable to the tenant (and any fines imposed), you are accountable professionally to your landlord so he has the right to sue you for negligence and consequential losses if you advise him badly.
.

Maureen Pickering

12:26 PM, 16th December 2014
About 4 years ago

I am Mark & I have documented everything & will continue to do so.
I am a member of a PRS & have PI insurance.
I emailed the landlord yesterday (he lives in the USA & is 8 hours behind me) to explain the situation & ask him what he wanted me to do before I posted here. Will advise him again that he has to agree repair or replacement sooner if can be arranged. To be fair he did not say he would not agree repair but was concerned over the increased costs to him when the tenant cancelled the installation of a new system, not he or I.
I emailed the c/h engineer who is down to fit new system (at 11.00pm yesterday) but he cannot get there to repair before Christmas so I am trawling others now for someone to call. Doing all I can so hopefully no-one can complain (but I am sure someone will!)

Mark Alexander

12:34 PM, 16th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Maureen Pickering" at "16/12/2014 - 12:26":

Hi Maureen

You are fighting a losing battle on this one, damage control needs to be your first priority.

You need to be able to PROVE that you have done everything possible to get this issue resolved on a daily basis until it is resolved. I'd suggest you also email the landlord to suggest offering compensation to his tenant, again covering you own position.

As I have said before, I totally sympathise with the landlord but no amount of sympathy absolves him from his legal obligations.

I am amazed that you haven't had more grief from the tenant yet. Most tenants would have been calling on an hourly basis or screaming in your face at your office by now. I am also surprised that you haven't had Shelter, no-win-no-fee lawyers, Environmental Health, the media and Uncle Tom Cobbly and his dog giving you grief too.

I suspect it's only a matter of time!

Sincerely, I wish you all the best. It is times like this where property managers are able tested to the max.
.

dom glynn

13:06 PM, 16th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Maureen,
Have you tried British Gas? They offer a fixed price repair service and can usually respond in 24 hours. I used them a couple of years ago to fix a boiler in one of my rental properties. It took them about 3 visits and numerous parts but only cost me about £200. I'm sure if you called them out it would mitigate you/ the LL against any claims by the TTs.

Maureen Pickering

13:20 PM, 16th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Thank you everyone, I have an engineer who has visited the property before, to visit tomorrow as no-one else replying from messages left. Tenant OK with this so - so far so good. I just hope it can be repaired before Christmas and it lasts for a while! Will arrange new quotes for landlord asap so he can decide who he wants to fit and not wait for March.

Mark Alexander

13:30 PM, 16th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Maureen Pickering" at "16/12/2014 - 13:20":

Hi Maureen

If it can be fixed short term then there's no issue waiting until March.

However, if it can't be fixed quickly you know what needs to be done.

Fingers crossed for you, the landlord and the tenant.
.

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