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Hello All,

 

Last weekend, our boiler broke down, late on the Sunday night. I called the maintenence man who deals with these issues for the letting agency first thing on Monday morning. He came over on Monday night and found that the transformer on the circuit board had burned out and killed the boiler. He said it would be a full boiler replacement and he will sort it with the letting agency as soon as possible. In the maintenence man's defence, he is really good, it is the agency who are slow at everything.

 

So, we've spent all week without heating or hot water. My wife sent a text to the letting agency to negotiate a rent reduction, as we haven't had use of these utilities. Here is the text conversation:

 

LA = Letting Agency

 

Wife: Under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, I would like to negotiate a reduction in the rent for this month due to not having heating or hot water.

 

LA: Sorry, we can't accept that. We will hold you responsible for damaging the boiler and we will remove the cost of the boiler from your deposit. Any deductions made by yourselves are down to you taking too long to inform us of the problem, which has caused a delay in getting a new boiler.

 

Wife: Excuse me, we did not damage the boiler, the transformer on the circuit board burned out. We have done your job for you by contacting the maintenence man first thing the following morning. We are in a house with no hot water or heating in mid-October. I'm sorry, but it should not take this long to sort out. Please send me our landlord's details.

 

LA: Why?

 

Wife: Because I do not feel that you are doing your job and we would like to contact the landlord. Please send me his details.

 

LA: We have been doing our job. To say that you are deducting rent because the process is taking too long is very wrong.

 

Wife: Please send us our landlord's details.

 

LA (seconds later): I have made him aware of your complaint. Goodbye.

 

Now, for one thing I do not believe for a second that he made the landlord aware of our complaint. Another is I cannot believe he actually put in a text that he will say that we broke the boiler. The third is they seem to think that a boiler breaking late on a Sunday night and then informing the maintenence man at 8am the following morning is "taking too long."

 

We do know somebody who knows the landlord and we have asking him to give us the details, as the letting agency is refusing, we are justing waiting for him to message us with his details.

 

My question is, what can my wife and I do? We are concerned that the LA will now make up a pack of lies to tell the landlord. However, we do have evidence against them where they admit that they will say things if we withhold the rent. I do believe we are within our rights to negotiate a small reduction in the rent under these circumstances. Thoughts?

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T does not call & inform MA repairman about a problem, they contact the MA asap, pref in writing, then MA engages Contractor.

Rule is T engages Contractor, T pays for his visit & any minor repairs made on day.

New boiler will cost LL ~£2500 and MA prob has to get LL authorisation for such an amount. Also sourcing Gas Safe engineer/boiler & fitting could take min 1 week, even for an owner-occupier, the standard for how long a repair could take,so withholding rent or seeking a rent rebate after only 4 days is unreasonable. Perhaps MA could have provided an inexpensive fan heater whilst boiler repaired, or you could have bought one from Argos, Tesco etc.

MA was prob just miffed you called out their repair guy before informing them of problem?

MA does not have 'make up' things things against you,if you withhold rent you are in Breach of Contract and LLs response is likely s21.

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Ok.

 

A) The LA told us to contact the maintenence man, as the LA is only run by one man and he's told us that it isn't his first job and spends all his time abroad.

 

B) Clearly, the LA said that they will blame us for the boiler wearing out and take the money for it, I have it in writing from them, so I'm unsure why you think they don't need to make things up when they already have.

 

C) My wife's text message clearly stated "Under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, I would like to negotiate a reduction in the rent for this month due to not having heating or hot water." NEGOTIATE, as in "let's talk". We weren't trying to withold a week worth of money. As we've been without heating or water for almost a week with no end in sight, I don't think we were being unreasonable at all. Also, if they don't replace or carry out repairs, they are also in breach of contract.

 

D) By law they have to give us the landlord's details if we request them. They clearly did not give the details to us.

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You have had dealings with LA, I have not.

My point was LA has no need to rely on refutable allegations of causing boiler damage if you are in breach of Contract with rent withheld. LA cannot sanction lower rent, even for1 week without LL consent.al rate

LA has 21 days to provide LL contact details in response to formal written request, which sms may not be, though email prob would be.

As advised, a reasonable time for boiler repair/replacement would be what an owner-occupier could arrange atl rate for same period.

Any rent rebate during that time should be at LLs discretion.

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...By law they have to give us the landlord's details if we request them. They clearly did not give the details to us.

 

Aren't the landlords details on your tenancy agreement ?

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A burnt out transformer doesnt mean the boiler needs replacing, a new transformer will be about £25 and unless it fried the circuit boards isnt that difficult for a heating engineer to replace. It may be that the boiler is old and the repair man figured that it was throwing good money after bad or it could be that he earns a lot more for an installation than he does for a repair! Try getting a second opinion from someone who is listed on one of these trusted persons sites, the call out fee will be probably no more than £30 and you may well get your boiler up and running in a day, even if you have to pay for the repair yourself. £60 in the grand scheme of things isnt that much considering the inconvenience of no hot water/heating

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Also you say the maintenance man is good.

 

I do hope that maintenance man before he touched a Gas Appliance is Registered with the Gas Safety Register (simply ask him to show you his Gas Safe Register ID Card) and if they dont have one report this

 

Gas Safety Register: http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/

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