Tenants void warranty on new boiler – who pays now?

by Readers Question

11:15 AM, 2nd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Tenants void warranty on new boiler – who pays now?

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Tenants void warranty on new boiler – who pays now?

I was called in by the tenants in one of my properties because they were having problems with a shower, and was horrified to see a large pool of water outside the front door which seemed to be coming from the condense pipe of the boiler.

The tenants admitted that they had been having trouble with the boiler for a while and were repressurising it at least once a day to get it going. I asked why hadn’t they reported this and they said they didn’t think it was an issue but they had started to worry that the discharge from the condense pipe was making the doorsteps slippy in the recent cold weather.

The boiler is less than two years old so I called in the manufacturer under the boiler’s guarantee but by not taking action sooner, the engineer says the boiler is ruined and will now have to be replaced.

My question is who is responsible for paying the £1600 cost of doing this? Is it down to me as the landlord or can I charge this to the tenants?

I have been a landlord for years, and I have only once been taken to MyDeposits tribunal and that was by some tenants who through their total stupidity trashed a brand new washing machine within a week of it being installed. I deducted the cost of another new one from their deposit.

They objected and took it up with MyDeposits and, to my complete shock and horror, they won on the grounds of no paper trail informing them that I was going to do this and giving them the option of replacing it themselves. I don’t want to go down the same route again.

I know the tenants are going to argue that central heating is a landlord’s responsibility, which it is. But had they told me at the start that there was a problem with the boiler, or had they called Ideal themselves because the boiler was still under warranty, it could have been fixed before the damage became irreparable.

Barbarawarranty



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:20 AM, 2nd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Barbara,

Have you checked with your Landlords Insurance that you are covered (could be malicious damage)? Have you checked with your deposit protection scheme to see if this will be deducted from the deposit?

ian

11:55 AM, 2nd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Barbara

Had same problem with tenants, Plumber just re pressurized the expansion vessel & topped up the rads with inhibitor as this got flushed out with constant topping up with water by the tenants, Might be worth getting an independent Plumber to look at it first before paying out £1600

Barbara Gwyer

12:02 PM, 2nd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Ideal's engineer says it's very seriously damaged beyond repair. I got him to run the problems past my usual central heating engineer and he agrees. I'll check with the insurance though. They weren't actually being deliberately malicious; they just had no idea what harm they were doing

Joe Bloggs

9:18 AM, 3rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

i suppose ideal would say that; I would pursue this hard with ideal.

occupiers are meant to be able to repressurise and i show my tenants how to do it. why would repressurising the boiler wreck it???? and surely when the pressure falls the boiler should cut out before damage results (i could imagine that only a catastrophic leak whilst the boiler was very hot could damage the heat exchanger, but cant see how the condensate pipe has anything to do with this...do you mean the PRV?)?

yes, the tenants should have reported such frequent losses of pressure, but i think you need good evidence that this caused the boiler to be ruined in order to claim the cost of a new boiler from them.

how do ideal prove that the boiler didnt need renewing anyway irrespective of any delay?

Sam Addison

10:53 AM, 3rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

If the tenants were unable to get the boiler to fire up without raising the pressure there was something seriously wrong with the boiler. This was probably not down to the tenants at that stage but it sounds as if they have made the problem worse. It is hard to criticise the tenants for doing something many of us would do - at least in the short term. It appears they thought they were coping with the problem and didn't want to bother you.
While I am surprised that a modern boiler can be ruined beyond repair by repressurising I am not in a position to argue with your plumbers.
I assume you did not at the start of the tenancy impress upon the tenants that if anything goes funny with heating or electrics they should call you immediately.
Were I in your position I would probably just replace the boiler and write it off as one of those things.
I guess if you wanted you could explain the situation to the tenants and see if they were prepared to make a contribution.

Barbara Gwyer

11:31 AM, 3rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

I have now called Ideal back and I have to say they were wonderful. They fixed the boiler for me but I still can't understand why the tenants didn't tell me about the problem on this occasion when they've been in my flat for several years and they know I always deal with problems straight away. I raised this matter to discuss the wider issue - if a tenant's behaviour causes a major and avoidable breakdown, who pays?

Richard Tuke

11:32 AM, 3rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hello
After being in the heating trade 18 years I have never seen a two year old boiler that is beyond repair ( then again it is a ideal boiler )
Sounds to me they are trying to get out of the long warranty they offer
The boiler will have been serviced and had gas safety check that year

If the prv is running the expansion vessel may need replacing and prv
If the condense pipe is continuously running and making doorstep wet then it's not been piped to a gully or drain and the heat exchanger could of failed
I would get another opinion from a heating engineer

Paul Shears

12:33 PM, 3rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

This just highlights a risk that we have in all walks of life in this society. If you don't have the skills to assess a problem yourself you are out way out on a limb. This is your real problem beyond not being told about the matter immediately.
All boilers are very simple devices indeed and there is nothing that Ideal themselves could not fix immediately if they have the motivation.
Just from over the Christmas & New year period I can recount many examples of unskilled scam merchants in various walks of life both affecting myself and others.
By the way, for future reference I suggest anyone checks out Intergas boilers but this will not overcome the problem of finding a competent installer no matter how much you research the matter. I've had both.

Sam Addison

12:46 PM, 3rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hurrah for Ideal.
To address your wider point :-
I recall having read somewhere on this forum that if you provide white goods such as a washing machine, and it breaks down, you are not legally obliged to repair it (presumably unless there is a specific clause in the lease). The tenants side to this is that they can request the landlord remove the broken machine and install their own - taking it with them when they leave.
In the case of heating (room and water) I believe you must enable a supply of this for a property to be habitable and therefore the forgoing would not apply. However, room heating could be by means of fan heaters and hot water by electric shower. It is almost certain that you do not have to supply central heating as such.
As far as paying for avoidable damage caused, you might have to be able to establish negligence by the tenants either because they did something clearly stupid or because they ignored instructions supplied to them on use of equipment.
Bear in mind I am not an expert - I rely on others correcting me here if I have got it wrong.

Recardo Knights

12:49 PM, 3rd January 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Barbra, in my opinion the tenant is in the wrong to play around with the boiler without telling you. Do they know anything about boilers or plumbing?

A boiler needs topping up 2-3 time a year, if it looses pleasure daily, or weekly there is a serious leak on the system or something wrong with the boiler. If they had told you it could have easily been fixed.

Best tell them as per tenancy agreement to inform you IMMEADEATLY of an maintenance problems or stand the cost of repairs themselves. Pass on the repair bill to them or say you will take it from the deposit. No way covered by insurance-malicious damage is a deliberate act and not done through ignorance with no harm intended.

Please tell them NOT to replace any faulty sockets or fuse boards as the may need to buy you a new house when it burns down!

New boilers can normally be fixed without need to renew, always get 3 quotes/opinions. I once had a twat cut cables and connections to my boiler and said I needed a new one. I told him he had vandalised my boiler so go get stuffed. Another gas man repaired the damage he had done and fixed the boiler for £120. Before the damage caused by the first expert touting for business the bill would have been £60.

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