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No hot water for 6+ days

Started by gabbynats, January 02, 2024, 01:34:48 PM

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For context, I live in a private block of flats owned by Berkeley Homes which is managed by RMG London.

On the evening of Wednesday 20th December, we noticed a leak coming from the ceiling in our shared corridor. Two days later, on the evening of 22nd December, our hot water supply suddenly stopped and did not come back on until the morning of 25th December. It then went back off on the afternoon of 27th December and hasn't resumed since. At time of writing, we've had to endure six consecutive days with no hot water.

It has transpired that the hot water issue is directly linked to the original water leak. It would seem that when the contractors reduced the flow of the water leak, the hot water got cut off. And when the hot water was reinstated, the leak would intensify. So, someone has seemingly made the decision that some residents/flats would just have to be without hot water until the leak was properly fixed. But they haven't had the manners to even warn us or provide us with a rough timeline.

Needless to say, we've been phoning RMG everyday since our hot water went off. We've been told is that a part has been ordered, but they can't tell us when it is due to arrive and when the leak will be fixed. The RMG London office actually had their calls diverted to the Cheshire office over the Christmas period, and the Cheshire office could only relay limited information to us. They of course kept logging reports but they weren't hearing back from the London team/estate manager/contractors so we've been totally left in the dark.

Unsurprisingly, when we message our lettings agent, he keeps passing the buck to RMG. And to add insult to injury, our tenancy is up for renewal in Feburary which means our rent is increasing. We did ask it could be kept the same and reviewed in 6 months time, given the circumstances (and other issues), but our lettings agent wouldn't budge. Also, our flat is actually on the market, and has been for about a year and a half, so you'd think it would suit them to keep us as tenants until they sell, but apparently not. I really don't want to renew our tenancy, but my partner and I have both started new jobs and would find moving by mid-February quite stressful, especially when the London rental market is so competitive at the moment. We've thankfully managed to get a six-month break clause put into the new contract, and fully intend to get the hell out of here when the time comes.

I suppose my question is: where do we stand from a legal point of view in all of this? We are not the leaseholder of our flat, so we can't claim reimbursement on ground rent/service charges from RMG/Berkeley. Some web articles state that landlords have a duty of care to resolve hot water issues within 24 hours, but our lettings agent keeps telling us to contact RMG and is taking zero responsibility. Any advice would be greatly appreciated - thanks in advance!


The landlord has a legal obligation to maintain heating and hot water. The agent is either the landlord or works for the landlord. Landlords don't have a deadline of 24 hours, though.

I have some sympathy with the landlord, given the time of year, most tradespeople simply don't work over the christmas period, so a repair that should take a day or so will end up taking considerably longer. And the agent (or landlord) is probably totally in the hands of the management company, because they can't work on anything outside your flat anyway - that's just the reality of living in a flat (if you were the owner, you'd be in the same situation).

You can ask for some compensation, but, if the repair is completed in the next few days, I'd say that the repair was probably done as quickly as could be expected.

Longer term, assuming you're on an AST tenancy (which is the default in England for a residential tenancy), you don't have to renew your tenancy, it will just continue on a periodic basis. The agent may not like that, and they can serve notice or, usually, increase the rent during a periodic tenancy.


Quote from: gabbynats on January 02, 2024, 01:34:48 PMSome web articles state that landlords have a duty of care to resolve hot water issues within 24 hours, but our lettings agent...

I don't think the assertion made here could be backed-up. It may be a dream many Tenants have - but it's not real, nor is it workable in the actual world we all live in, where things will sometimes break or become damaged and need fixing / replacing. The last part I've left quoted may be a slip of the tongue but is also a complete misunderstanding - they are not your Lettings Agent by any measure - they have been employed by your Landlord and they have little to zero interest in working for you... they just want their commission (from the Landlord) and a quiet life.

It is unfortunate when things break and there is no hot water, on par with loss of heating in winter, but if a part needs to be ordered - then it does. And the time of year will likely have some impact on that, as well as arranging of fitting. All appears within a "reasonable timeframe" to me so - legally - you've got nothing on your side but if you don't ask, you don't get... do ensure you're asking the correct party, in this complicated setup, for the compo. you want, though.


Forgive me if I am misjudging you, but you have written a long and very detailed account of a pretty minor incident, portraying yourselves as being the badly injured parties. "Get the hell out of here"-get a grip! I agree that you should have been informed that this was likely to happen, but getting parts and repairs carried out often takes time, never mind over the Christmas season. Maybe you have an electric shower that will suffice until the hot water comes back on.
If you ever buy your own place you will find that home- owners and landlords are in the same boat when it comes to things breaking.