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Is my landlord being unreasonable?

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Author Topic: Is my landlord being unreasonable?  (Read 191 times)
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« on: January 17, 2020, 05:55:52 PM »

First of all, thank you for taking the time to read this as its a little long winded and i am stuck where to turn next.

the property is rented through an agency.

i will start at the start and go from there.

We got the keys to the property on the 23rd of December, we finally moved into the property on the 4th Jan 2020.
on the first night the carbon monoxide alarm went off at night so i called the emergency gas number and an engineer come out within the hour,
upon inspection it was the boiler that was the problem and he capped the gas supply off to the house.
we spent all saturday night and sunday trying to contact the agency emergency number but nobody ever answered.
finally on monday 6th we contacted the agency when they opened and reported the problem and requested that it be sorted asap.
we had an engineer out on the 7th who was sent by the landlord and he condemned the boiler straight away saying it was unsafe and the boiler needed replacing.

then the fun started, we called and called the agency and kept getting told that nothing had been said about the boiler, at this point the house was freezing and we requested that some electric heaters were supplied, the agency responded saying that we could buy 2x heaters no more than 10 in value each which we did.
upon pluggin the heaters in we noticed the electricity was tripping, we ruled out the heaters as being the problem and reported this.
an electrician was called out who said the wiring is wrong and he will fit a temporary solution, we still have not heard back about the "full solution"

back to the boiler, after being passed from pillar to post, ignored and freezing the whole time we called the agency on monday 13th and was informed that a new boiler would be installed some point this week.
the boiler was installed yesterday, and i noticed it was dented and scratched so made a joke to the installer about "the landlord has fitted himself a new boiler and given us the old one" to which the installer said yes he had.
so basically we have been sitting here freezing in a house the 10 heaters did nothing for nearly 2 weeks because the landlord updated his boiler before sorting ours.

there are also other problems in the house like a hand railing in the garden on the patio thats broken and is unsafe.
internal door handles are missing and broken, my partner locked herself in the bedroom because the latch broke.

so come to today and we have requested compensation for the fact we have had no heating or gas, and having an unsafe boiler since moving in and this is the response we get....
to clear the first bit up we only took the house before christmas because we was told that if we did it beofre christmas the first month would be half price.
(the boiler is second hand and not new as stated)


My thoughts are ..

 The new tenants benefitted from a 50% rent reduction on their first months rent ( approximately 290 ), this was suggested by -----------------. To which I agreed.

 I was advised by your office of a problem with the boiler at the beginning of last week by ----------, she requested that a contractor should go out and review the damage / problem and advise on the repairs that were needed. This would cost 120.

 She also suggested the heaters that were purchased by the tenant and used for just over a week as a temporary solution and asked that I pay for them. Cost 20.

 The contractor suggested the old boiler was " on it's last legs " and a new boiler was really required. The cost would be 2,600.

 I managed to source a slightly cheaper option, albeit still over 2,000, which has seen a brand new boiler installed this week. Basically a week after the initial problem came to light.

 So far the about stands at over 2,500. Whilst I accept that costs do occur and items need repairing and updating. I am not convinced that a further payment is warranted. I believe a timescale of 8 days from notification of the boiler issues to having a new boiler installed in actually very good. The tenants will now benefit from having a new boiler.

 Having taken everything into consideration and having already been given the first months rent at half price, I respectfully decline your / tenants request for a further payment or rent reduction.

 Many thanks

Kind Regards,
 

Where do we go from here?
What do we do?
Thanks again for taking the time to read this.
A
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2020, 06:35:18 PM »


Were you given an up-to-date Gas Safety Certificate at the start of the tenancy?
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2020, 07:33:47 PM »

Yes the gas cert has 2 months until its due for another one
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2020, 09:58:54 PM »

On the one hand, you can't expect a boiler to be fixed overnight: even if you owned your own home it could easily take a week or so to get it sorted at this time of year.

On the other hand, your landlord knew full well the old boiler was on its last legs - or he should have done, at any rate. This wasn't an otherwise-pristine boiler that's been cruelly cut off in the flower of its youth on account of a circuit board going pop: it was leaking deadly gases into the dwelling. It was knackered, and it didn't suddenly get that knackered in the space of eight months. If it was your boiler, you'd have replaced it at a convenient time, before it breathed its last toxic breath, and you'd have been without heat for all of half a day - and probably a summer day if you were sensible.

A prudent landlord would have seen this coming and swapped it out with minimal disruption, maybe even between tenancies. Your landlord decided to chance it because he's vaginismus so you ended up being without heating for two weeks (4kw of electric heaters is no substitute for a 15kw boiler) because he had to source a replacement at short notice at the busiest time of the year.

His argument that he shouldn't have to offer anything to you because he's had to pay for a new boiler is cobblers. He's a landlord, it's his property and he should be expecting to shell out for a new boiler every ten years or so. I wouldn't mind betting the old one was more than ten years old but, in any case, that's no skin off your nose: old boiler or new boiler, all you want is a working boiler and that's what your landlord is legally obliged to provide so there's no point his wrapping it up as an act of wondrous generosity.

What can you do about it? In the short term, not a lot: you've got yourself a tight-arsed landlord but they're not exactly a rarity. You might try checking your "brand new" boiler for build dates or serial numbers that might shame him, and you might make enquiries about how he carries out his electrical safety checks. In the longer term, just vote with your feet!
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2020, 01:30:08 AM »

If the boiler (and property) successfully passed its last GSC, which it did, then no Landlord in their right mind would go around proactively replacing boilers before they fail. The whole notion of that is incredulous to me. The GSC is annual, not every ten years, so it's a good timely reassurance of whether a boiler is working acceptably. No compensation is due to the Tenants here. Things break. The boiler broke. It was replaced, in actually a very short timeframe (the Landlord appears to be very on the ball). All is good. The Tenant's Bubble of Immunity is only slightly dented... integrity definitely maintained.

Even if the new boiler is not new new... it's probably still more efficient than what it replaced, so the Tenant can be delighted with their reduced energy bills.
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2020, 12:54:21 PM »

Fair enough. I just think it's a bit rich of the landlord to be complaining that he's had to fork out a couple of grand for a new boiler when he was always going to have to do that sooner or later anyway. The way I see it, if a boiler needs replacing within ten years you can consider yourself unlucky, weep, howl, trouble deaf heaven with your bootless cries etc. Anything over ten years is gravy to the tune of, say, 200 a year, and I get the feeling that this dearly departed boiler blew out its tenth candle many, many years ago. That, coupled with the fact that it's gone full-on Lynn-Faulds-Wood-potential-deathtrap monumentally fubar within days of the new tenants' moving in, would motivate me - personally, and not through any legal obligation - to make some sort of gesture (not two cheap heaters and one middle finger) by way of recompense.
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2020, 03:30:28 PM »

The point I was trying to make was not about conjecture, though... ten months ago a valid GSC was issued. This, and the fact a CO alarm was installed, and the fact a replacement boiler has been installed relatively quickly (the timescale is excellent, actually)... would lead me to conclude the Landlord we're talking about is not sailing close to the wind, far from it maybe. So I just got the opposite impression. If this Landlord had protested and dragged their feet I might feel the other way. The Tenant here is in the compo. mindset... as many people are.

My point about replacing boilers in some kind of pro-active way stands though... I cannot conceive of many faster ways of spending money unnecessarily. You replace boilers when they break... not beforehand... certainly not on a schedule. Many boilers now come with a 10 year warranty... you don't wang it on expiration of that warranty... you wang it, with regret, when you're told (and you believe it) it's uneconomical to repair.
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2020, 06:39:42 PM »

I admit I am making a lot of assumptions about the previous boiler. It did, after all, pass an inspection within the last year, and the landlord did get it swapped out in reasonable time, and since he uses an agent he can't be that shy of spending money! :)  If it had happened further into the tenancy and in isolation, I'd agree it's just the rub of the green.

First impressions count though, and, as far as the OP is concerned, in the first weeks of the tenancy, the boiler's been condemned, the electrics have gone on the fritz and he can't get his girlfriend out of the bedroom (ahem). The impression that gives is of a landlord who doesn't take proper care of his property. That's not an impression that I, as a landlord, would want to give, because it results in tenants who don't take proper care of my property and/or who don't stay long.

In other words, don't fart on a first date!
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