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Broken fridge-freezer, could the letting agency be liable?

Started by BlueTheFox, July 28, 2023, 04:58:22 AM

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Hi everyone I hope you can help me with some advice.

I’m renting a fully furnished flat with a private landlord, only been here for a few months.

The fridge part of the fridge-freezer has stopped working almost completely - no fault of mine, it just ran out of gas (lol kinda literally). I have reported this to agency on the 9th, a contractor came out and told me it has to replaced and he’ll submit his report the same day - this was the 18th and I should hear back from the agency by the 21st.
As I didn’t hear anything back I contacted the agency to find out they had no idea the contractor had been and they haven’t received a report, which then they acquired the same day and contacted the LL for approval.
So I waited and contacted them for a follow up on the 25th. They haven’t heard back yet. I contacted them again the next day, no reply then yesterday morning I been told that it has been approved by the LL so I will be contacted by the engineer (or whatever they called English isn’t my first language) and as of yet I haven’t heard anything.
So it’s the 28th now and I still have no idea when I will get a new fridge. I honestly could cry.

You can imagine having to navigate without a working fridge for 19 days and counting at the hottest month in the middle of summer. I feel the agency didn’t handle this in a reasonable manner, or any consideration to me, but I don’t know what can I realistically do? Could I be entitled for compensation? Is it worth the hassle and the fallout?

I’m also about to ask for a reasonable adjustment for my disability and I’m afraid that this creates some sort of resentment if I dare to complain.

They have also refused to give contact details for the LL so I will have to put in an official request and I feel like I’m being a total nuisance when I am not trying to be.

Sorry for the long post and thanks for taking the time to read it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Things break.

And - with so many parties involved and the prospect of delays and miscommunication - the time delay is frustrating but not yet something I would consider completely unreasonable. Sure, they may be playing about a bit and it's not top of anyone's agenda, but things appear to have moved in the right direction - you've ended up at a point where the approval(s) is in place. What kind of compensation would you be looking for? Sometimes - unless it is a very black-and-white obstruction you can see happening - you have to understand that person A does something, promises to report it, forgets or delays, but eventually does, some Muppet in Office B sees an email come in and quickly scans it, doesn't look urgent to them and the phone just rang so it gets left, you chase each time, eventually the Landlord (who holds the purse) strings is contacted, but he's on holiday and maybe he wants to think about what fridge freezer to buy (who knows!) and he'll do that when he gets back... it's just like Keystone Kops and everyone bumbles around... but you have what you wanted - approval for a new one.

The key phrases you'll see time and time again are things like "the Landlord must be allowed a reasonable time to effect repairs" without "reasonable" even being quantifiable, and "Tenants sometimes do seem to think they exist inside an immunity bubble where if anything goes wrong with their property, the Manager just gets involved and moves them to a new one, like a hotel" so you have to think is 19 days clearly unreasonable? Maybe it's getting there, but there's so many moving parts. If it was 19 day from gaining approval then, yeah, but, even then, getting a Currys or John Lewis or AO date can be troublesome.

A Letting Agent cannot refuse to give details of the Landlord, as you seem to know (Section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, 1985) so put in your formal request if you feel it's necessary. But - obviously - the Letting Agent will think you want to "escalate" them to the Landlord, so they'll try every trick in the book to throw you off the scent, and the Landlord has employed the Letting Agent to manage his 'business' so that he doesn't have to deal with Tenants. So don't expect a warm welcome. Unless you have a genuinely concerned Landlord whose eyes are opened to the fact his interests aren't being served by a lazy / incompetent Agent he's probably paying >10% for. If that's not the way it is, then you will be considered a total nuisance, won't you?


The thing is,if this was your own home and fridge,you would have to decide to just scrap it and buy a new one (my choice usually for myself and tenants) or get it repaired if that makes more financial sense.Either way, delays are now very common when dealing with such things.Landlords don't have a special priority to get things done more quickly.You should get the landlord's details and let them know the problems you are having,but you do risk being labelled a nuisance.By the way, most foods,including milk,cheese,butter,can be frozen,and taken out to defrost as you need them,and you can also just buy what you need for the day. Fill your sink with cold water and put your containers of milk for each day in there. Talking about seeking compensation,and crying over a few weeks without a fridge is just ridiculous. What are these adjustments you want them to make for you? Did you discuss it when you agreed to take on the property?


Thank you so much for your input and advice.
I understand that things break and that there are a lot of moving parts. I honestly just want an ending in sight. I thought as I am paying for a furnished flat such an important equipment - a means to store and prepare food safely - I would have the right to get it replaced in a timely manner, but I understand if that's not the case. What is a reasonable time to do so? No one really knows. It has caused me a lot of stress not going to lie.

I really appreciate the advice on asking for the LL's details - I won't be requesting it at this time. I was going to contact them to give a feedback on the agency, because I doubt they filled them in on how long I have been waiting.

"crying over a few weeks without a fridge is just ridiculous" - that's a bit harsh and totally didn't make me cry. Jokes aside I have a severe depression, anxiety disorder and agoraphobia so I cry for a lot less. Because of this it is hard for me to look after myself the best of times and I most certainly not managing being able to leave the house every day (I am working from home) so going to the shops every day isn't really an option for me.
I appreciate the practical advice on the food storage although it's not really what I'm looking for.

The adjustment I am asking for is a change in policy. I haven't previously discussed this as it only now became clear how much I need it. It's only a request, they can turn it down 🤷🏻‍♀️

Thank you for taking the time to help me out today, I appreciate it.


Just to add, it’s my friends who I have told about this said I should consider seeking compensation. I don’t have a good record of standing up for myself so I just wanted to get a different perspective- who aren’t emotionally motivated, like my friends want the best for me, right?
So I appreciate the overlook on how other people may see my situation and what they might find reasonable.

I assume you both offer a LL’s perspective?


Yes,I have been a landlord for over 20 years,and have also been treated for general anxiety disorder and depression.I guess we all have different ways of dealing with it.I have also been a tenant for some years in the past.I don't think your friends are doing you any favours in putting such ideas in your head. There is nothing in your situation so far that warrants belligerent action.Compensation is supposed to redress genuine loss,not short-term inconvenience.   


Exactly why I came here for advice. Which I received and thank you for.
I'm glad to hear you coped with your mental illness well, but not everyone does. It's not a competition.
You seem to be annoyed I even asked the question. I thought that's what this forum is for.
Anyway, thanks again for the help


Quote from: BlueTheFox on July 28, 2023, 08:52:32 PM
You seem to be annoyed I even asked the question. I thought that's what this forum is for.

Asking questions is what the forum is for.

But I didn't read any annoyance towards you in HK's response; we're just fairly plain speaking in the answers given here.

It seems to me that this is a reasonable summation:
QuoteThere is nothing in your situation so far that warrants belligerent action. Compensation is supposed to redress genuine loss, not short-term inconvenience.

In your situation, I'd keep contacting the agency; daily if necessary (but be polite). Any slowness is likely down to them rather than the landlord, but it hasn't reached anywhere near the stage of warranting compensation.


Quote from: BlueTheFox on July 28, 2023, 11:54:34 AMWhat is a reasonable time to do so? No one really knows.

It's almost that, but it's more that it hasn't ever even been defined and it, then, tends to becomes entirely subjective.