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LANDLORD TELLS FAMILY CENTRAL HEATING IS ‘NOT IN THE CONTRACT’


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https://www.bristol247.com/news-and-features/features/landlord-tells-family-central-heating-is-not-in-the-contract/?fbclid=IwAR1PFbhRVx3es8x-dHvkwylc_xpMtLicJpxMpmgblAX4Cyi06KTJlKUv7fM

A family who have been living in a one-bedroom flat on West Street off Old Market without central heating for over four years say they feel stuck in their sub-standard rented accommodation.

Alexandra Hernandez and Freddy Palacios, who live in the flat with their son, say they are now at “breaking point” after their landlord has refused to carry out adequate repairs and does not allow them to use the central heating, even in the winter.

They say they recognise that the flat is too small and not suitable for their four-year-old son, who was diagnosed with autism last year. They are desperately trying to find new accommodation, but with the huge waiting list for social housing and the minimum income requirements that private landlords demand, they are finding it “almost impossible”.

This place is not suitable for a child, especially one with additional needs,” says Alexandra. “It really broke my heart to see how my son changed over the first lockdown. I saw the progress he had made over his speech reversed; he has become extremely irritable and constantly wakes up at night. I know that my stress from this constant struggle and negative energy is impacting his behaviour. It’s no surprise as we are basically trapped in a shoebox.

“My husband works full-time at a hotel and I was working part-time alongside caring for my son before the lockdown, but all the agencies refused us when we looked for new rented accommodation because our income is too low.

“I am beginning to really suffer with mental health problems for the first time in my life.”

 
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OK, lets look at the sums.

He is working full time in a hotel - assume minimum wage. 37.5h x £8.72 = £280 pw take home

She is working part time - assume minimum wage. 10h x £8.72 = £87 pw take home.

I put the number through the benefits calculator - no disabilities or anything out of the ordinary assumed. Rent for a 1 bedroom in that part of Bristol looks to be about £800pcm. Weekly benefits would be £210 pw. Adding the earnings gives a monthly take home of £2,500, so £1,700 left after rent. Surely they could upgrade to a non-slum further out for a bit more money, and still have plenty left?

Something doesn't add up - where have I gone wrong?

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OK, lets look at the sums.

He is working full time in a hotel - assume minimum wage. 37.5h x £8.72 = £280 pw take home

She is working part time - assume minimum wage. 10h x £8.72 = £87 pw take home.

I put the number through the benefits calculator - no disabilities or anything out of the ordinary assumed. Rent for a 1 bedroom in that part of Bristol looks to be about £800pcm. Weekly benefits would be £210 pw. Adding the earnings gives a monthly take home of £2,500, so £1,700 left after rent. Surely they could upgrade to a non-slum further out for a bit more money, and still have plenty left?

Something doesn't add up - where have I gone wrong?

Their son has autism - that will add to their entitlements. They should also be able to get a blue badge too as a result plus possibly carers allowance.

Landlord can't be all bad - Azzta computers (the business he runs below his 7 buy to let flats) has 16 five star reviews on yell.com!

https://www.yell.com/biz/azzta-bristol-6673431/

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 I was 19 years without central heating, just a (regularly serviced) gas fire and immersion heater. Not sure I see the big human rights violation here.

 Many heating intalls are so badly fitted (ie all rads all running off 15mm speedfit, wrongly sized rads, unbalanced etc)that the real efficiency is never what a condensing boiler can do under the right conditions, much 'savings' then lost to badly insuated houses. 

If the gas system has been condemmed, IIRC then it is illegal to charge rent on the property. Could be a year's free rent for them if handled correctly.

 

 

 

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Their son has autism - that will add to their entitlements. They should also be able to get a blue badge too as a result plus possibly carers allowance.

Landlord can't be all bad - Azzta computers (the business he runs below his 7 buy to let flats) has 16 five star reviews on yell.com!

https://www.yell.com/biz/azzta-bristol-6673431/

Does autism count for disability payments? Maybe? It would add more to the vast sums.

And I am going to jump to conclusions and say that they are not UK citizens by their names - I can't find anything on Facebook.

 

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"She still finds that she cannot use the oven at the same time as the washing machine or shower as it causes the electricity to cut out. A leak in the bathroom ceiling, which causes the bathroom light to cut out, has made her scared to use the electric shower"

"Alexandra says it took three-and-a-half years of complaining for the landlord to fix the leak in her child’s bedroom, which they did only after she showed them that the ceiling was ready to cave in".

 

 "All they ever do is complain and I have been good to them, I have not put up their rent. I want them to find somewhere else, the flat is not suitable for them.”🤣

 

 

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Does autism count for disability payments? Maybe? It would add more to the vast sums.

And I am going to jump to conclusions and say that they are not UK citizens by their names - I can't find anything on Facebook.

 

So do I.

They need to go home.

The JK is too expensive for them.

 

 

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OK, lets look at the sums.

He is working full time in a hotel - assume minimum wage. 37.5h x £8.72 = £280 pw take home

She is working part time - assume minimum wage. 10h x £8.72 = £87 pw take home.

I put the number through the benefits calculator - no disabilities or anything out of the ordinary assumed. Rent for a 1 bedroom in that part of Bristol looks to be about £800pcm. Weekly benefits would be £210 pw. Adding the earnings gives a monthly take home of £2,500, so £1,700 left after rent. Surely they could upgrade to a non-slum further out for a bit more money, and still have plenty left?

Something doesn't add up - where have I gone wrong?

May I ask - How did you get to the £210 pw benefits figure?

Thanks!

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OK, lets look at the sums.

He is working full time in a hotel - assume minimum wage. 37.5h x £8.72 = £280 pw take home

She is working part time - assume minimum wage. 10h x £8.72 = £87 pw take home.

I put the number through the benefits calculator - no disabilities or anything out of the ordinary assumed. Rent for a 1 bedroom in that part of Bristol looks to be about £800pcm. Weekly benefits would be £210 pw. Adding the earnings gives a monthly take home of £2,500, so £1,700 left after rent. Surely they could upgrade to a non-slum further out for a bit more money, and still have plenty left?

Something doesn't add up - where have I gone wrong?

The problem here is that, like income multiples for mortgages, landlords now use credit refrencing to decide who to allow to rent. In effect instead of the old 'no dss' there is now a minimum salary requirement. 

According to the website below an annual income of £19k as per your figures would allow you to rent a maximum of £633 a month. The cheapest 2 bed rental I can find in Bristol on zoopla is £750 a month, though rooms to rent start at £300ish and 1 beds start at £450ish.

https://rentright.co.uk/calcrent/

My brother In law has had similar problems in Oxford. 

His landlord wouldn't plaster bare brickwork where plaster had fallen off the lintl in the living room, and wouldnt replace rusted, jagged, radiators as he was waiting for the rust to cause the radiators to leak at which point his insurance would replace them for free. The landlord answered any complaint with 'Plenty of other people want to live here. if you don't like it leave.'

When he split up from his partner and left that property he's now been in an assortment of crap tenancies because, despite a decent trade as an industrial pipefitter, he doesnt make enough to afford a 1 bed flat. So he's been in rooms in shared houses, a converted double garage and a converted office /bedsit 

He was only able to move into the nicer two properties (the garage and the converted office) as he coincidentally had a small inheritance all of which went on paying 6 months rent up front, which was the only way he could 'beat' his low credit score and secure a rental on these properties. 

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Does autism count for disability payments? Maybe? It would add more to the vast sums.

And I am going to jump to conclusions and say that they are not UK citizens by their names - I can't find anything on Facebook.

 

No i have a kid slightly on the spectrum and it's not worth the effort to go trough the hoops to be classed as a disability, the only thing we are fighting for is help at school with 1 to 1 support. But if your autistic kid is what is call "A screamer" , the ones that break down in Tesco's or from load situations and just scream, then maybe it's worth it.

I reckon this too, father in law is not a UK citizen hand on his 2nd 2.5 year visa, will have done his 5 years next year and is in process of applying for indefinate leave to remain.  As my wife went through this when we first met, and has been a UK citizen since 2013 now, they will be entitled to "£0" help until they have been here 5 years, have past the life in the UK exam and paid their fees for that precious stamp in their Foreign passport. The only thing the state will provide for is to take the kid into care if they cannot support it. Good luck to them getting it back. 

My opinion, if it's to hard and they don't like it, go home, or pay themselves to have the central heating fixed.  Cant see how the LL can stop you using GCH as long as it works. 

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I disagree, if your letting a property it should as a minimum have working heating and be dry/ not full of leaks. It really is the most basic of requirements if your in the business of people farming. 

If they "went home" wherever that is which we don't know, then it doesnt solve the problem and only forces the next person into that situation. 

I know the area well and it's grim, some gentrification happening but this is only causing rents to rise,  having viewed a flat in that area years ago I can believe the state of it. 

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The UK never really get's cold enough that anyone needs central heating.  Just another load of toss to force people to replace rubbishy gas boilers every few years.  A nice little earner for some freeloaders.

Yes it does. Well some form of heating anyway. Even if you're happy enough in a cold house it'd not good for the house, condensation will build up. You might be able to find some very heavily insulated new house where you hardly ever have to heat it but they're not the norm (and I'd hate to live in one anyway).

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 I was 19 years without central heating, just a (regularly serviced) gas fire and immersion heater. Not sure I see the big human rights violation here.

Doesn't some form of heating have to be provided in a rental? So fine if there is a gas fire.

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I disagree, if your letting a property it should as a minimum have working heating and be dry/ not full of leaks. It really is the most basic of requirements if your in the business of people farming. 

If they "went home" wherever that is which we don't know, then it doesnt solve the problem and only forces the next person into that situation. 

I know the area well and it's grim, some gentrification happening but this is only causing rents to rise,  having viewed a flat in that area years ago I can believe the state of it. 

I dont rent out properties so dont know, but i assume there is no requirement for a "council approved certificate" to rent out a flat anywhere in the UK?  If there was then you couldnt legally rent out a property to anyone without it being up to scratch. Again i assume there are such systems as this in places like Germany? 

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Yes it does. Well some form of heating anyway. Even if you're happy enough in a cold house it'd not good for the house, condensation will build up. You might be able to find some very heavily insulated new house where you hardly ever have to heat it but they're not the norm (and I'd hate to live in one anyway).

Yeah some form of heating, fair enough, but no need for full on gas central heating imo. 

It's just another scam to flog crappy gas boilers to mug punters.

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Yes it does. Well some form of heating anyway. Even if you're happy enough in a cold house it'd not good for the house, condensation will build up. You might be able to find some very heavily insulated new house where you hardly ever have to heat it but they're not the norm (and I'd hate to live in one anyway).

Our modern 2009 built detached house is like that, boiler stopped lighting last week, took me a while to diagnose the issue and fix it, and we had a cold snap with ice on the cars some mornings. As long as all doors and windows shut, the house never got below 16 degrees, even at night when it was freezing outside. 

Also i find non native UK residents really feel the cold far more than those born and bread here, espacially if from warmer climates. My African wife will want the heating on 20 deg at least , and have jumpers, slippers, under a duvet watching TV, when i am in shorts and a t-shirt. But then on holiday in 30 degree heat she is perfectly comfortable and i am melting and sweating like a pig. If the UK was 15-25 degrees all year round i would never need heating and never need to wear anything more than a t-shirt inside or outside. 

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Yeah some form of heating, fair enough, but no need for full on gas central heating imo. 

It's just another scam to flog crappy gas boilers to mug punters.

I'll take it over some alternatives... I've lived in a flat with just storage heaters, and they were a complete waste of time.

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Yeah some form of heating, fair enough, but no need for full on gas central heating imo. 

It's just another scam to flog crappy gas boilers to mug punters.

Modern boilers from good makes don't need much attention, our 2009 Potterton (Baxi) heat only boiler only just played up for the first time last week, never been serviced that i know of, an certainly not since we arrived in 2016. 

Fix was easy too, you can fix almost anything watching a few evenings of YouTube videos these days. £18.50 for a pattern ignitor / flame sensor until (flame sensor thermistor was fooked) , 2 screws, 3 wires, 20 mins to fit.

Apart from that this 2009 Megaflow pressurised GCH system has been bulletproof.

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May I ask - How did you get to the £210 pw benefits figure?

Thanks!

Entitledto.co.uk putting in the earning numbers I estimated above.

 

If they "went home" wherever that is which we don't know, then it doesnt solve the problem and only forces the next person into that situation. 

Part of the problem is there is a huge supply of labor from the EU willing to go the gap (I'm guessing they are Spanish by their names). Slumlords know they will always be able to find *somebody* to fill the void, hopefully somebody who doesn't know their rights. And from my benefits calculator, the taxpayer is basically paying the rent.

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The Landlord And Tenant Act (1985)

The Landlord and Tenant Act (1985) details the responsibilities of landlords and tenants under assured shorthold tenancies. The document came into force in 1985 and is still used today. It overrules any other document.

When it comes to hot water and heating systems, the act states that the landlord is responsible for keeping heating and hot water systems in repair and proper working order. The act also requires that the landlord keeps water, gas, electricity, and sanitation systems in the same condition. This act covers everything from gas fires and water boilers to radiators and any electrical heaters that have been provided directly by the landlord.

Your Responsibilities As Tenant

You do have some responsibilities, as a tenant, to ensure that heating, hot water, and other systems are kept in good working order. You are required to perform daily and routine maintenance, and to ensure that you don’t damage or break the system.

You will need to check your tenancy agreement to see what exactly you are responsible for. For example, you are likely to be responsible for clearing blocked drains or fixing leaking taps.

General maintenance includes actions like bleeding the radiators, so if your radiators are warming up but not heating up fully, you should bleed the radiators first. If this doesn’t fix the problem, then it may be indicative of a different, bigger problem, that is the responsibility of the landlord.

Some problems, such as frozen pipes preventing the heating system from working, could be your problem or that of your landlord.

If you do attempt any maintenance yourself, ensure that you do so safely, and use registered engineers where required. If you attempt a repair yourself, and your actions cause further damage, you may be liable to pay for more expensive repairs which will need to be made by a professional.

Landlord Responsibilities

If repairs are deemed to be the landlord’s responsibility, the amount of time they have to make these repairs are determined by a number of different factors. For example, if the heating system breaks in summer, this is not likely to be considered an emergency or urgent, but if the system breaks down in winter, when temperatures are much lower, you can reasonably expect this problem to be rectified as a matter of urgency.

Your first step should always be to contact your landlord or, in the case of managed properties, the letting agency that deals with your property rental. Keep a copy of any email or letter that you send, and document phone calls and discussions that you have. These might be required if you need to claim compensation at a later date.

What Is Considered An Urgent Repair?

A total loss of hot water is always considered an emergency, regardless of weather or other conditions. You can boil water for cleaning dishes, for washing, and even for washing clothes, but your landlord should not hold out on making repairs.

A lack of heating may also be considered an emergency, but this depends on the time of year. For example, losing your heating during the summer months is unlikely to have much effect. In winter, a lack of heating could be life threatening, and if your landlord fails to fix the problem after 48 hours of it being reported to them, they could be guilty of causing a major health hazard for you and other tenants

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The Landlord And Tenant Act (1985)

The Landlord and Tenant Act (1985) details the responsibilities of landlords and tenants under assured shorthold tenancies. The document came into force in 1985 and is still used today. It overrules any other document.

When it comes to hot water and heating systems, the act states that the landlord is responsible for keeping heating and hot water systems in repair and proper working order. The act also requires that the landlord keeps water, gas, electricity, and sanitation systems in the same condition. This act covers everything from gas fires and water boilers to radiators and any electrical heaters that have been provided directly by the landlord.

Your Responsibilities As Tenant

You do have some responsibilities, as a tenant, to ensure that heating, hot water, and other systems are kept in good working order. You are required to perform daily and routine maintenance, and to ensure that you don’t damage or break the system.

You will need to check your tenancy agreement to see what exactly you are responsible for. For example, you are likely to be responsible for clearing blocked drains or fixing leaking taps.

General maintenance includes actions like bleeding the radiators, so if your radiators are warming up but not heating up fully, you should bleed the radiators first. If this doesn’t fix the problem, then it may be indicative of a different, bigger problem, that is the responsibility of the landlord.

Some problems, such as frozen pipes preventing the heating system from working, could be your problem or that of your landlord.

If you do attempt any maintenance yourself, ensure that you do so safely, and use registered engineers where required. If you attempt a repair yourself, and your actions cause further damage, you may be liable to pay for more expensive repairs which will need to be made by a professional.

Landlord Responsibilities

If repairs are deemed to be the landlord’s responsibility, the amount of time they have to make these repairs are determined by a number of different factors. For example, if the heating system breaks in summer, this is not likely to be considered an emergency or urgent, but if the system breaks down in winter, when temperatures are much lower, you can reasonably expect this problem to be rectified as a matter of urgency.

Your first step should always be to contact your landlord or, in the case of managed properties, the letting agency that deals with your property rental. Keep a copy of any email or letter that you send, and document phone calls and discussions that you have. These might be required if you need to claim compensation at a later date.

What Is Considered An Urgent Repair?

A total loss of hot water is always considered an emergency, regardless of weather or other conditions. You can boil water for cleaning dishes, for washing, and even for washing clothes, but your landlord should not hold out on making repairs.

A lack of heating may also be considered an emergency, but this depends on the time of year. For example, losing your heating during the summer months is unlikely to have much effect. In winter, a lack of heating could be life threatening, and if your landlord fails to fix the problem after 48 hours of it being reported to them, they could be guilty of causing a major health hazard for you and other tenants

Who enforces this? and stops landlords renting out properties that dont comply?  The law says i must not exceed the UK driving speed limits, i break this law every single day, except when i am aware of police cars or speed traps, then i comply. 

99.9% of my driving life spent breaking the UK speed laws, but i am still allowed a driving licence. 

Without enforcement any law is pointless, until maybe, someone dies.

If this landlord knew every 12 months a council inspector would visit his property to check all was legal and he wouldn't get a council permit to rent it out , without that inspection passing, he would fix everything.

Leaving it to the honour system, they will do nothing. 

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Who enforces this? and stops landlords renting out properties that dont comply?  The law says i must not exceed the UK driving speed limits, i break this law every single day, except when i am aware of police cars or speed traps, then i comply. 

99.9% of my driving life spent breaking the UK speed laws, but i am still allowed a driving licence. 

Without enforcement any law is pointless, until maybe, someone dies.

Well announcing it on a public forum might be a way to get law breaking noticed...

How much do you break the speed limit by though? The police generally aren't interested in people doing 71 mph on a quiet motorway but at the other extreme might well go out of their way to track down someone routinely spotted doing the same speed down a 30 mph urban street, and they'll definitely use it to throw the book at you when there is a crash. Similarly with the tenancy rules probably, a landlord might get away with it until something serious happens which draws the law's attention.

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  • 439 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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