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1 Month of No Hot Water or Heating - Desperate

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I am one of 4 adults living in a house provided by Birmingham City Council. I hope you can help


Almost 3 weeks ago our combi-boiler broke leaving us without central heating or hot water. The council attended promptly after reporting it (but beyond their 24 hour promised call out) and said that a total replacement would be advised. The boiler has been fixed on average 3 times a year ever since it was fitted and is in a terrible state.


After many phone calls, failed promised visits, we are still without heating. They claimed they have to fit scaffolding before a replacement could be executed, but they have not turned up on the two promised days to fit it. As far as we know, no scaffolding means no boiler.


The council have said that the job will be done by 3rd Feb which means we will be over a month without heating and hot water. They gave us two tiny fan heaters to heat a 3 bedroom home. Our house is on a meter and one room consumed £7 of electric in a 14 hour period. Heating water via kettles and pans to wash in a bowl with a jug is costing us dearly and my mother is becoming ill and depressed thanks to arguing with the council in a bid for cooperation. We are becoming quite desperate.


We are a working household and the council promise to call before turning up without notice, they fail to call leaving us to come home to 'We missed you notes'. They threaten to charge a £40 call out fee should we not be there when they visit without notice. If we take days off work, they don't turn up. They have ZERO comprehension of how much this is costing us.


We have no date for repair and are becoming quite distressed. One occupant in the house has a heart complaint, the other diabetes. We have contacted the higher management of Morrissons (the company who do the councils boiler repairs), the council, and our local MP, we are getting nowhere.


How do we sort this. Can we be compensated for the electricity? Should we have to pay full rent for no hot water or heating for a month?




NB: The council told us that a partial repair had been noted at our home on the boiler. This is lie. When confronted the council worker said that he actually didn't do a partial but posted a 'Missed' note through our door - he did not. We feel our home is being used to process claims for repairs that are not happening. Another visit at 9.30 in the morning was logged as an 'out of hours visit' according to the council. We are not receiving the service that they think we are.

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Have you thought about contacting Shelter - they have a department that deals with problems in Social Housing.



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I would send them a letter by recorded delivery telling them that you will be in on the date and if it is not fixes on that date you will contract a local plumber to do the job and bill the council for it.

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HI can you please confirm


1. What type of Tenancy Agreement you have?


2. Is this an HMO Property?


3. On the dates the contractor attended that no one was available did you have previous notice that contractor would attend on that specific day?


4. Have you been informed if your repair is a qualifying repair under the Right to Repair?


5. Have you made a Formal Complaint in writing yet?


6. Have you taken a meter reading when you started using temporary heating issued?

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If private / social landlord refuses to carry out repairs within reasonable time upon your written notice, you need to get 3 written quotes from 3 reputable local tradesmen and attaching them to the letter, write to the council that unless they carry out the work in one weeks time, you will get the work done by the cheapest quote you got and you are going to deduct the amount from the rent if the council fails to reimburse you upon the receipt and written request to pay for the repair.


It is case law and you have to follow the above process. [Lee-Parker v Izzet 1971] Can not deduct the costs from the rent unless you follow the above process.


In this case it won't work though because no tenant will be able to fork out the cost of scaffolding and a brand new boiler.


I was on the first floor when the gas engineer had to make a big hole in the wall to do whatever to fix my boiler but there was no scaffolding. Could do the lot within the flat.


I would write to the LL about getting the 3 quotes and the legal process to deduct the costs from the rent and add that I'd rather the LL picks his own tradesman in case the work done by my one is not satisfactory and it will costs for the LL to fix the damage done- more than the original costs of the repair.

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You could get an injunction from the county court to order the LL to carry out the works within one weeks time.


My ex landlord refused to fix my boiler to make me move out [rent arrears]. Had no heating for 2 months and it was winter. He changed the locks to evict me illegally.


I asked the court to reinstate me and order the LL to fix boiler and restore water and electric. Water and electric he had to do within 24 hrs, the boiler within one week and it was all done in time.


Form N244, is it. You download it from the courts website. £160 to get an injunction but free if you are on low income or on certain benefits [iBJSA].


Need to fill in a form and attach evidence of benefit / low income. They wanted a letter from me from the Jobcentre that I am in receipt of IBJSA and the letter has to be less than 30 days "old". You call JCP they send you one immediately [2nd class]. They did not accept my JSA allowance letter or bank statements to prove up to date JSA payments.


On-the-day injunction is that they will hear your case any day on the day, Mon to Fri, provided you have filed your claim form and evidence at the county court office before the hearing time. Eg by 10am or by 2pm daily. Keep a copy of all documents filed. Some courts want you to call to book the injunction hearing so call them to find out about the process. File a copy of the tenancy agreement to prove you are the tenant and a recent utility bill for proof of address.


You get a copy of the injunction order after the hearing on the day- you wait around a bit. You serve it on the other party ASAP in person with a witness. Fill in and file form to prove you served it.


If they do not do what it says in the order, it is contempt of court and they can be arrested.


Will that convince the council officials? The threat of an injunction and £1,000 claim for the distress caused?


You need to file evidence that you asked them in writing to carry out the repair. All the little notes they leave is evidence so state the facts of the case and the law.


Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, s 11, Landlord's repairing obligations. They have not carried the work out in reasonable time because it is winter. The heaters they provided are inadequate to heat the flat and state how much it costs.


If you rent a property for a term longer than 7 years, you have to carry out the repairs yourself. ie the initial fix term is 7 years or longer.


The judge was very helpful and it was pretty quick to get the order. The reference number for the two ongoing possession cases convinced the judge that the LL has no right to lock me out: they have to follow the due process of the law and get a possession order, even if it takes a year or two.

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As well as the above it is easier to sue for damages, there is a very helpfull CPR pre action protocol to follow which may give the council a kick up the rear, google pre action protocol repairs and use the template letter, etc

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