No heating or hot water for over a month

25
Found 8th Apr
We live in a private rented house. Almost 6 weeks ago the boiler stopped working. We contacted the letting agents straight away and they sent someone to repair the boiler. They got it working but it only lasted an hour or 2 and died again. We emailed again straight away ( that is their protocol) and had to wait a week for the boiler engineer to come out again, he couldn’t get it fixed so said they’d come back again, another week passed, they came and yet again failed to get it working. It’s now been almost 6 weeks and we have had no heating or hot water, we have emailed the letting agents on an almost daily basis and all they say is they’ll pass it on to the boiler people, they have been a few times and replaced almost every part of the boiler yet it still won’t work. My question is legally where do we stand now, we are still paying full rent and despite the fact it’s been freezing they haven’t even offered us any other source of heat. All the advice pages say it should be fixed in a reasonable amount of time but doesn’t specify what that timeframe is. We have 3 children in the house and it’s getting beyond a joke having to drive the 6 miles to my mums so they can take a bath. Please help im really at the end of my tether with it all now
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I am a landlord and I would not normally recommend withholding rent as it can start all sorts of legal process and should only be done as a last resort. I am trying to be independent in my reply here, so I am not just saying this because I am a landlord.

However, if you have given the landlord/letting agents a reasonable amount of time to get the issue fixed and they still have not done so then you are entitled to pay for your own repairs and deduct the cost from the repairs. You need to write to them and let them have a time frame to repair the issue and if this is not done by that time, you will get the repairs done yourself and deduct the cost from the rent.

You need to give them written notice that you will be doing this and you need to give them reasonable time to do the repair before going down this route as it may end up in court and you would need to convince the judge that you have acted reasonably and they have been unreasonable.
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deleted1315437
Sorry to hear about that. The boiler needs replacing by the sound of things. Not sure if there is a complaints procedure with the letting agents?
I tried to phone them to complain and they said they only thing I could do was email them reporting the fault, they’re not even replying to our emails since yesterday ( they always have before even on weekends and bank holidays)
I'm fairly certain that you are within your rights to with hold some of your rent payment until the problem is sorted, try having a look on some of the landlords forums, you should find some helpful advice there.
Thank you, I have been reading through them all and it states we shouldn’t withhold rent as we could be evicted. But it also states under the landlord and tenants act of 1985 they have to get it repaired in a reasonable amount of time and that’s where I’m stuck, what is classed as a reasonable amount of time?
sarah.tucker5 m ago

Thank you, I have been reading through them all and it states we shouldn’t …Thank you, I have been reading through them all and it states we shouldn’t withhold rent as we could be evicted. But it also states under the landlord and tenants act of 1985 they have to get it repaired in a reasonable amount of time and that’s where I’m stuck, what is classed as a reasonable amount of time?


Try reading this.

It does mention that the time of year and weather conditions should be taken into account regarding what is considered a reasonable time.
Edited by: "Dyslexic_Dog" 8th Apr
thank you very much I might email that to them!
Look at the martin lewis site, might be something on there. Or if not the citizans advice bureau.
I am a landlord and I would not normally recommend withholding rent as it can start all sorts of legal process and should only be done as a last resort. I am trying to be independent in my reply here, so I am not just saying this because I am a landlord.

However, if you have given the landlord/letting agents a reasonable amount of time to get the issue fixed and they still have not done so then you are entitled to pay for your own repairs and deduct the cost from the repairs. You need to write to them and let them have a time frame to repair the issue and if this is not done by that time, you will get the repairs done yourself and deduct the cost from the rent.

You need to give them written notice that you will be doing this and you need to give them reasonable time to do the repair before going down this route as it may end up in court and you would need to convince the judge that you have acted reasonably and they have been unreasonable.
mutley17 m ago

I am a landlord and I would not normally recommend withholding rent as it …I am a landlord and I would not normally recommend withholding rent as it can start all sorts of legal process and should only be done as a last resort. I am trying to be independent in my reply here, so I am not just saying this because I am a landlord.However, if you have given the landlord/letting agents a reasonable amount of time to get the issue fixed and they still have not done so then you are entitled to pay for your own repairs and deduct the cost from the repairs. You need to write to them and let them have a time frame to repair the issue and if this is not done by that time, you will get the repairs done yourself and deduct the cost from the rent.You need to give them written notice that you will be doing this and you need to give them reasonable time to do the repair before going down this route as it may end up in court and you would need to convince the judge that you have acted reasonably and they have been unreasonable.


this is a sensible approach IMO
mutley19 m ago

I am a landlord and I would not normally recommend withholding rent as it …I am a landlord and I would not normally recommend withholding rent as it can start all sorts of legal process and should only be done as a last resort. I am trying to be independent in my reply here, so I am not just saying this because I am a landlord.However, if you have given the landlord/letting agents a reasonable amount of time to get the issue fixed and they still have not done so then you are entitled to pay for your own repairs and deduct the cost from the repairs. You need to write to them and let them have a time frame to repair the issue and if this is not done by that time, you will get the repairs done yourself and deduct the cost from the rent.You need to give them written notice that you will be doing this and you need to give them reasonable time to do the repair before going down this route as it may end up in court and you would need to convince the judge that you have acted reasonably and they have been unreasonable.


Thank you, we didn’t want to go down the route of withholding rent as we feel it would cause more problems than it solves and we’ve been living here for over 5 years so we’re quite settled and would rather not get evicted. Do you feel 6 weeks Is a reasonable amount of time? They have been a few times to repair it but it doesn’t seem to matter what repair they do on it it won’t work at all. ( although they did get it working once but it only lasted a couple of hours) the boiler people have said they think it needs a whole new boiler but how long are we supposed to wait?
sarah.tucker11 m ago

Thank you, we didn’t want to go down the route of withholding rent as we f …Thank you, we didn’t want to go down the route of withholding rent as we feel it would cause more problems than it solves and we’ve been living here for over 5 years so we’re quite settled and would rather not get evicted. Do you feel 6 weeks Is a reasonable amount of time? They have been a few times to repair it but it doesn’t seem to matter what repair they do on it it won’t work at all. ( although they did get it working once but it only lasted a couple of hours) the boiler people have said they think it needs a whole new boiler but how long are we supposed to wait?


you need to start the formal complaints process to the lettings agent so that they know you are being serious and are prepared to go to court if necessary. once they see you doing this, they won't mess around any more. they tend to rely on people not knowing their rights and sometimes the landlord has no money as everyone assume that landlords are rich cows but a lot of them owe money to the hilt and running cash strapped. getting a new boiler costs a lot of money which they may not have right now so they are trying to get it fixed to no success.

you need to make this their problem and not yours. write to them to state that the boiler needs to be replaced and you have been advised this by the boiler repair guy that came out and it is evidenced by the fact that you have had this issue for 6 weeks and it is not getting resolved at all.

state that if the boiler is not working (for longer than a couple of hours) in 2 weeks' time, so making this issue 8 weeks in length, you will instruct British Gas to come round to look at the issue, to fix it and that you will deduct the cost of the repair from the rent.
mutley127 m ago

you need to start the formal complaints process to the lettings agent so …you need to start the formal complaints process to the lettings agent so that they know you are being serious and are prepared to go to court if necessary. once they see you doing this, they won't mess around any more. they tend to rely on people not knowing their rights and sometimes the landlord has no money as everyone assume that landlords are rich cows but a lot of them owe money to the hilt and running cash strapped. getting a new boiler costs a lot of money which they may not have right now so they are trying to get it fixed to no success.you need to make this their problem and not yours. write to them to state that the boiler needs to be replaced and you have been advised this by the boiler repair guy that came out and it is evidenced by the fact that you have had this issue for 6 weeks and it is not getting resolved at all.state that if the boiler is not working (for longer than a couple of hours) in 2 weeks' time, so making this issue 8 weeks in length, you will instruct British Gas to come round to look at the issue, to fix it and that you will deduct the cost of the repair from the rent.


Thanks a lot for your advice I really appreciate it, will get that done first thing tomorrow
Please bear in mind that the landlord may not know what’s going on. If the letting agents have been employed by the landlord to also be the managing agents then the letting agents are probably not telling/contacting the landlord as they feel they have got the problem covered.
In your rental agreement the landlords details should be shown. Send the landlord a copy of the letter you send to the letting agent giving notice of intent to get the boiler fixed yourself (as previously suggested) this in turn might get the landlord to lever the letting agent from their end to get it resolved.
I also am a private landlord and I think 3 days to get a plumber out and boiler working is a reasonable time frame (especially as you have children) and if a new boiler was really needed probably 7-10 daysthereon.
unfortunately not all landlords are diligent, but unless they know the full extent of the problem and you continually pester them then nothing will get fixed.
I would also agree that withholding rent is the last thing you should be doing. It will only make the matter worse, especially if you need a reference from them later that you've been paying rent every month on time.

Make sure you have everything documented, as any legal matter going forward is going to need full details of who was contacted, when, and what action was taken. Even the visits you've had from various engineers will need dates and times.

The only other thing I would suggest is looking at the local council to see if they have a department overseeing rogue letting agents/ landlords. 6 weeks without heating and hot water in the weather conditions we've just seen isn't acceptable. It may be that the letting agent is already on their radar with other properties and could steer you in the direction you need to resolve this matter.
Contact Shelter, they can give you legal advice and help you build a case if necessary. We used them when we had to take our landlord to the private housing tribunal and they were really helpful.
sarah.tucker2 h, 25 m ago

Thank you, we didn’t want to go down the route of withholding rent as we f …Thank you, we didn’t want to go down the route of withholding rent as we feel it would cause more problems than it solves and we’ve been living here for over 5 years so we’re quite settled and would rather not get evicted. Do you feel 6 weeks Is a reasonable amount of time? They have been a few times to repair it but it doesn’t seem to matter what repair they do on it it won’t work at all. ( although they did get it working once but it only lasted a couple of hours) the boiler people have said they think it needs a whole new boiler but how long are we supposed to wait?


Unfortunately the 'reasonable amount of time' will almost definitely be started from their last attempt at repair - not from the initial breakdown.
sarah.tucker1 h, 52 m ago

Thanks a lot for your advice I really appreciate it, will get that done …Thanks a lot for your advice I really appreciate it, will get that done first thing tomorrow


when i say written, that can also be done by email. it just mean a written trail showing that you have been reasonable and patient and that you have given the agents/landlord reasonable notice of your intention to resolve the issue yourself and that you will be deducting the cost from the rent.

write the email in a firm manner but not confrontational. state how you have suffered and how bad things are and how long they have been going. you may have to show this to the judge so he needs to understand the history and how reasonable and patient you have been when he reads this letter.

you want to come across in the letter as being reasonable and that even though things have been tough, you are continuing to be reasonable by giving the landlord an ultimatum of 2 weeks to get this resolved before you do something yourself. you don't want to come across as aggressive or melodramatic in the letter as that will give the judge the wrong impression of you.

hopefully when you email them with this ultimatum it will kick them into taking this issue seriously.
I'm also a landlord. From my experience heating sysems in general are a pain. There are so many different makes and models that half the time I think plumbers just do what ever is the easiest thing first, and if they get it wrong and can't fix it then they walk away saying I said you needed a new one!
Personally I'd contact the boiler manufacturer it is surprising what you can find out, especially if your boiler provides a fault code, as this can provide you useful information to take matters into your own hands.
I would then simply contact the letting agent advising that you need to have it fixed within x days (I would suggest 5) and that if this is not done you left with no alternative other than to fix it, and deduct all reasonable cost incurrd from your rent. Clearly state all the opportunities they have already had to resolve the issue and the additional cost you are incurring on a daily basis.
(as a landlord)

agree with much of what is on here

1. do everything in writing so you can prove your case
2. witholding rent is dodgy but (as a landlord who has had to go to court to evict) the courts are very sympathetic to any tenant and especially to tenants of poor landlords. The landlord chooses the letting agent so its still his/her problem
3. the landlord may not know. Find out who owns the property (if necessary, go to Land Registry and pay £6 to pull down the deeds)
4. Get electric fires etc and make note of meter readings. Preferably daily but at least weekly. you will be looking to the landlord for the difference
5. You can effect your own repairs using reputable tradesmen and recharge the landlord IF the landlord has repeatedly failed to act.
6. you are paying rent for a heated property. you dont have a heated property. You have a right to expect a reduced rent
7. If you have a labour council, talk to them about a problem with a landlord. you may find they have a dept interested in landlords
8. If (s)he is Labour, talk to your local councillor.
Edited by: "ccnp" 8th Apr
I just wanted to add a warning that as a tenant, you risk your landlord deciding not to renew your contract when your current one runs out. Landlords and agents tend to think that tenants who enforce their rights are "difficult". There is a real imbalance of power...
boohai15 m ago

I just wanted to add a warning that as a tenant, you risk your landlord …I just wanted to add a warning that as a tenant, you risk your landlord deciding not to renew your contract when your current one runs out. Landlords and agents tend to think that tenants who enforce their rights are "difficult". There is a real imbalance of power...


with a landlord like that, you are better off going somewhere else.

there is nothing wrong with a landlord being able to choose whom he wishes to stay in his property but there are lots of properties out there, we are not exactly in a rental supply crisis, unless we are talking about tenants on housing benefits, then we are talking about a property supply crisis due to less and less landlords taking on tenants who are in receipt of housing benefit.
mutley128 m ago

with a landlord like that, you are better off going somewhere else. there …with a landlord like that, you are better off going somewhere else. there is nothing wrong with a landlord being able to choose whom he wishes to stay in his property but there are lots of properties out there, we are not exactly in a rental supply crisis, unless we are talking about tenants on housing benefits, then we are talking about a property supply crisis due to less and less landlords taking on tenants who are in receipt of housing benefit.


Indeed, but the OP has been in the same property for more than five years, and their "home" could be at risk if the landlord objects to any of their actions over the matter. Getting third parties involved or sending legal letters can inflame things and it is a risk.
BTW, I did not mean to suggest that all landlords or agents are bad.
Thank you all for the advice, i did some research and found that our landlord co owns another business with the owner of our estate agents so I feel even more stuck now as I feel if we complain too much we will just get evicted. The boiler man did manage to get it working but it only worked for 3 days and has died again, we’re now at over 7 weeks and we’ve only had hot water and heating for 4 days in all that time and it’s really getting me down now. We pay £1000 a month rent to live in a cold house with no hot water and I feel now no matter what we do we’ll end up having our tenancy ended due to all of this.
You can't get evicted for complaining about a lack of essential services. I would be considering asking for a reduction in rent after all this time.
The way I see it you basically have three options.
1 plod along in fear of being evicted
2 stand up for your rights, and to have what you're paying for.
3 move.
Now unless he either wants you out anyway or is a complete idiot, then stand up for your rights, as no other person in their right mind will want to stay there with no heating and hot water either.
I can't make your decision for you, but I used to work for others in part due to fear of no regular income, I have now been self employed for ten years and it' been one of my best decisions. Sometimes you just need to have a little faith in yourself!
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