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EliteHeat

Boiler Exploded (well, Sort Of) Advice Needed

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I have a serious problem with my heating and hot water and would appreciate a bit of advice regarding property owners responsibilities.

First some background; Two months ago I had a problem with water coming through the ceiling of the one bed roomed maisonette that I rent. This happened when the ancient boiler was heating the water in the equally ancient hot water cylinder. Unfortunately, the immersion heater did not work either so I was without heating and hot water.

I immediately informed the landlord in writing and offered to see to the repairs myself as a qualified heating / gas engineer. After several days the landlord sent his handyman around who simply jammed the ball valve in the heating header tank closed as a temporary solution. The permanent repair was to replace the hot water cylinder, which is a non-standard size, and, according to the handyman, the landlord told him to ‘try and get one off eBay’. To date nothing more has happened except the symptoms of the problem stopped.

This morning I turned on the heating and hot water and minutes later the boiler, which is located in the kitchen, developed a huge leak with water pouring onto the worktop and floor. Luckily, I was in and noticed and I was able to quickly make safe and catch the majority of the water. Since the header tank valve was still jammed shut after a few gallons of leaking water it was all over. The cast iron heat exchanger of the boiler has failed and so not only is the boiler now classed as ‘At Risk’ but it will be impossible to repair.

Obviously I am going to notify the landlord as soon as practicably possible but my past experience of the man has been problematical. He does not seem to be that bothered about tenants health, safety or comfort to any degree and to my knowledge has been happy to leave elderly tenants without heating or hot water for months before agreeing to the remedial works. Given that this particular tenant was in extremely poor health and this was the middle of winter I do not rate my chances of an early repair too highly.

Many apologies for the long post but I want to be able to talk to the LL with some degree of authority. I know what the problems are with the system and how to fix them (lots of money) but what I am unsure of are what are his responsibilities with regard to providing adequate heat and hot water and in particular what time-scales he must work to and what actions are open to me should he fail to remedy the situation.

Many thanks and all advice will be appreciated.

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I'd've thought your next step would be a call to your council. Not sure more specifically: possibly Health&Safety, but if that's wrong, they'll (hopefully) redirect you.

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These sort of people should not be allowed to be landlords.

I would say do not touch the system even if you are capable of repairing it, otherwise he will try to blame you for any problems that are actually his responsibility.

You really need to get out of there. I hope there is some way that this charlatan can be prosecuted and that you can move on to a better deal with a better landlord.

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Firstly, stop the SO or DD for your rent payments, and tell him that he won't be getting another penny until it's fixed. Secondly, give him seven days to have it fixed (I remember from somewhere that this is the legally specified amount of time a LL has to restore vital services, but can't remember where), and tell him that if this doesn't happen, the council's environmental health department will be your next stop.

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Shelter have good advice ( & the LL is more likely to take notice of a printout from their site than HPC!)

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/r...s_doing_repairs

& a pdf file

http://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/asset...ide_repairs.pdf

Contact your Environmental Health Officer - this contravenes the HHSR regulations ( mind you, an awful lot does, but this is one of the more important areas!)

NB if you decide to withhold rent, make sure you keep it under 8 weeks if you don't want him to have S 8 grounds for starting eviction proceedings.

Unfortunately, I'm inclined to agree that the LL may simply not have the money, in which case doing it yourself & reclaiming from the rent may be the only way forward. But read the Shelter stuff first.

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People, why do you advise to go straight for the nuclear option of Environmental Health, Shelter and so on? I know the track record of this landlord is not good, but the first thing to do has to be to get him round to look at the problem and reason with him. This boiler problem is damaging his property, never mind causing distress to his tenants, and he may (I hope?) have insurance against this sort of problem.

I would only go down the route of withdrawing rent and so on if he refuses to take action within an acceptable timeframe (like 1-2 days, with work to be completed in 1-2 weeks as it can take time to order in non-standard components).

I say this just to maintain/build good relations, rather than instantly assuming that relations between tenant and landlord are always confrontational and atagonistic.

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I say this just to maintain/build good relations, rather than instantly assuming that relations between tenant and landlord are always confrontational and atagonistic.

The LL in question has already done one bodged repair that has made the problem worse rather than fixing it in the first place, which IMO makes it reasonable to assume that he's unlikely to co-operate (or at least, co-operate willingly).

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