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Faulty Boiler - 5 Weeks Without Hot Water

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I moved to a newly refurbished rented flat about two months ago.

Since then I've had endless hassle. The drains outside were blocked with effluent spilling all over the patio and I'm sure this is how I picked up a stomach bug. Then the washing machine didn't work and an engineer had to be called out to fix it. Then I had to wait three weeks for window locks and a shower curtain to be fitted when they were supposed to be fitted before I moved in. I've also had numerous water leaks from the flat above which isn't the landlords fault but it's still hassle because he had to send his builder around to inspect the damage.

But the biggest problem has been the boiler. It's a Saunier Duval combi boiler which are notoriously temperamental. The gas safety certificate was done the day I moved in and while it did pass the inspection the corgi engineer noted that the bearing on the fan had gone so it was really noisy and, more worryingly, he identified a number of faults. These include - electrical corrector block missing, electrical cable next to gas pipework, no sleaving on gas pipework through walls and all electric sockets including hob/oven wired to a 30A fuse on consumer unit. I don't know if any of that is dangerous per-se, clearly none of it was enough to fail the gas safety certificate but it doesn't sound good.

That isn't the worst of it. A new fan on the boiler was fitted soon after I moved in so at least it didn't sound like a 10 tonne juggernaut in the kitchen. But then about a week later the pilot light wouldn't stay on. An engineer was called. They ordered a part and called back, fitted the part, but it still wouldn't work. Another part was ordered, another visit, part number 2 installed, but it still wouldn't work. Part number 3 was ordered, another visit, part number 3 installed, still wouldn't work! So he called Saunier Duval technical support for advice, another visit and this time the pilot light stayed on. That was on Friday by which time I had been without heating and hot water for 5 weeks! However, I did manage to negotiate a £200 discount on this months rent because of the inconvenience.

That was on Friday morning. Problem sorted at last, or so I thought. I return on Friday evening and the flat smells of gas. I shut the gas valve off at the meter and the smell of gas soon dissapeared. Today I called Transco and their engineer confirmed that there's a gas leak. He says they've used PTFE to seal the main burner pipe in the boiler and apparently that isn't usual for a pipe in a boiler which all sounds a bit dodgy to me. Clearly the engineers that installed the parts have caused the leak with a bit of shoddy or at the very least 'non-standard' workmanship. The Transo engineer has capped the gas at the valve and left a big sticker on the boiler marked 'unsafe appliance'. Obviously the agent/landlord are going have to send the engineer out yet again to fix the boiler or install a new one and in the meantime I still have no heating or hot water.

Besides all this hassle there are lots of things I don't like about the flat and I will be moving out when the 6 month tenancy agreement ends on October 1st. But I'd like to move out sooner. Am I within my rights to ask for the tenancy agreement to be ended prematurely? Could I give them a months notice owing to all the problems I've had, get my deposit back and not be liable for the remaining 2 months of rent? Are they in breach of contract and if so would that be sufficient justification? All 3 engineers who have visited have said the boiler really needs to be replaced and isn't worth fixing because it'll just break down again. So the landlord has put my life in danger by not replacing a dodgy old boiler. That should count for something should it not? Even if they agree to replace the boiler why should I put up with yet more inconvenience?

Bear in mind that although I've had lots of problems the flat is managed by a professional agency who have done their best to sort all the problems out. It's just the landlord is a bit of a penny pincher. I don't think the agency would stand in my way if I had a legal right to end the tenancy.

Edited by dazed&confused

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Technically the house is unfir for human habitation without a boiler:

Housing Fitness Standards

A dwelling is considered to be unfit if it fails to meet one of the following requirements of Section 604 of the Housing Act 1985 (as amended) and as a result is not suitable for occupation:

1) it is structurally stable

2) it is free from serious disrepair

3) it is free from dampness prejudicial to the health of the occupants (if any)

(d) it has adequate provision for lighting, heating and ventilation

(e) it has adequate piped supply of wholesome water

(f) there are satisfactory facilities in the dwelling house for the preparation and cooking of food, including a sink with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water

(g) it has a suitably located water closet for the exclusive use of the occupants (if any)

(h) it has, for the exclusive use of the occupants (if any), a suitably located fixed bath or shower and wash hand basin each of which is provided with a satisfactory supply of

hot and cold water and

(i) it has an effective system for the drainage of foul, waste and surface water.

So you could start with the environmental health officer who has draconian powers to enforce.

There is also the interesting possibility that the LL is required to put you up in suitable alternative accommodation while the repairs are carried out - hotel perhaps?, as this is one thing Landlords Insurance (sometimes) protects against:

the expense of providing suitable alternative accommodation if the tenant has to temporarily move out for repairs and where the cost is greater than the rent currently being paid.

http://www.howtobooks.co.uk/property/buy-t...t/insurance.asp

Faced with the possibility of hotel bills the LL may be only too happy to let you out of the contract. Once the Env Health have got their teeth into him he will HAVE to repair, or they can ban him from letting the property at all until fixed to their satisfaction.

Try the CAB, or the tenants advice bit of the local council.

Edit: Oh, and ignore any helpful suggestions from renterbob that you go round and attack your LL with baseball bats!

Edited by cartimandua51

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I moved to a newly refurbished rented flat about two months ago.

Since then I've had endless hassle. The drains outside were blocked with effluent spilling all over the patio and I'm sure this is how I picked up a stomach bug. Then the washing machine didn't work and an engineer had to be called out to fix it. Then I had to wait three weeks for window locks and a shower curtain to be fitted when they were supposed to be fitted before I moved in. I've also had numerous water leaks from the flat above which isn't the landlords fault but it's still hassle because he had to send his builder around to inspect the damage.

But the biggest problem has been the boiler. It's a Saunier Duval combi boiler which are notoriously temperamental. The gas safety certificate was done the day I moved in and while it did pass the inspection the corgi engineer noted that the bearing on the fan had gone so it was really noisy and, more worryingly, he identified a number of faults. These include - electrical corrector block missing, electrical cable next to gas pipework, no sleaving on gas pipework through walls and all electric sockets including hob/oven wired to a 30A fuse on consumer unit. I don't know if any of that is dangerous per-se, clearly none of it was enough to fail the gas safety certificate but it doesn't sound good.

That isn't the worst of it. A new fan on the boiler was fitted soon after I moved in so at least it didn't sound like a 10 tonne juggernaut in the kitchen. But then about a week later the pilot light wouldn't stay on. An engineer was called. They ordered a part and called back, fitted the part, but it still wouldn't work. Another part was ordered, another visit, part number 2 installed, but it still wouldn't work. Part number 3 was ordered, another visit, part number 3 installed, still wouldn't work! So he called Saunier Duval technical support for advice, another visit and this time the pilot light stayed on. That was on Friday by which time I had been without heating and hot water for 5 weeks! However, I did manage to negotiate a £200 discount on this months rent because of the inconvenience.

That was on Friday morning. Problem sorted at last, or so I thought. I return on Friday evening and the flat smells of gas. I shut the gas valve off at the meter and the smell of gas soon dissapeared. Today I called Transco and their engineer confirmed that there's a gas leak. He says they've used PTFE to seal the main burner pipe in the boiler and apparently that isn't usual for a pipe in a boiler which all sounds a bit dodgy to me. Clearly the engineers that installed the parts have caused the leak with a bit of shoddy or at the very least 'non-standard' workmanship. The Transo engineer has capped the gas at the valve and left a big sticker on the boiler marked 'unsafe appliance'. Obviously the agent/landlord are going have to send the engineer out yet again to fix the boiler or install a new one and in the meantime I still have no heating or hot water.

Besides all this hassle there are lots of things I don't like about the flat and I will be moving out when the 6 month tenancy agreement ends on October 1st. But I'd like to move out sooner. Am I within my rights to ask for the tenancy agreement to be ended prematurely? Could I give them a months notice owing to all the problems I've had, get my deposit back and not be liable for the remaining 2 months of rent? Are they in breach of contract and if so would that be sufficient justification? All 3 engineers who have visited have said the boiler really needs to be replaced and isn't worth fixing because it'll just break down again. So the landlord has put my life in danger by not replacing a dodgy old boiler. That should count for something should it not? Even if they agree to replace the boiler why should I put up with yet more inconvenience?

Bear in mind that although I've had lots of problems the flat is managed by a professional agency who have done their best to sort all the problems out. It's just the landlord is a bit of a penny pincher. I don't think the agency would stand in my way if I had a legal right to end the tenancy.

A lot of valid points in there

1. The wiring, the kitchen must be on a RCD circuit breaker but it is just OK for the cooker to be on the ring if it is only rated to 13 amps (i.e. the cooker and the grill won't come on at the same time) but an electric hob can never be rated at 13 amps as the consumption is 8kW will all the rings on. Most kitchen should at least two rings as there are several 13 amp appliances in a kitchen (cooker, toaster, kettle, washing machine, tumble drier and dishwasher)

2. It is OK for use PTFE tape on a gas joint provided it is a taper joint or compression joint.

3. Pipe and wire don't need sleeves provided they follow a route vertically or horizontally from the installation within walls, nor is there a rule which says they need to be separate, gas pipes have to be earthed near to the appliance anyway.

That side your should study section 11-17 of the 1985 LTA, as it is a combi boiler it provides both hotwater and heating with no other provision for hotwater so it must be working to comply with S11

http://www.letlink.co.uk/letting-statutes/...t-act-1985.html

You must have used "set off" before you can terminate the contract, i.e. withhold rent to pay for the repair, given it has taken 5 weeks and still counting I would dispense with the formalities, get a plumber in to repair it, pay for it and deduct it from the next rent payment. I would also get the plumber to mark up the receipt a little to cover your hassle. There is a due process for setoff but 5 weeks to repair something which is so fundemental is plain silly, no court is going to penalise you for rent set off (IMHO)

You can of course make you claim to LA and request a mutural contract termination.

Edited by Matt Henson

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I've emailed the letting agency, who to be fair, do seem very professional and on the ball. I have requested terminating contract by mutual consent one month from today. Really I just want out of the flat, I'll go without hot water and heating for another month if need be. We shall see......

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I know not having the boiler not working is a pain, however I would be more concerned about the fact the engineers caused a gas leak.

Did they leave any paperwork, does it have their corgi number on it. This assumes they are corgi registered which they should be to work

on a gas boiler.

If you do have this information call corgi up and ask them to inspect the work either now or after the boiler is fixed.

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I've emailed the letting agency, who to be fair, do seem very professional and on the ball. I have requested terminating contract by mutual consent one month from today. Really I just want out of the flat, I'll go without hot water and heating for another month if need be. We shall see......

Do not pay any more rent - for what you are having to put up with, you should not be paying for the privilege of living there. Previously when I had a severe damp problem that the landlord did nothing about, I negotiated a free month out of the six. Interestingly, the landlord only pulled his finger out after I stopped paying rent.

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Agency/Landlord have agreed to terminate tenancy agreement one month from today and have offered a sincere appology. They've also agreed to install brand new boiler. I'm more than happy with that, I just can't wait to leave this place.

Re: corgi number for the company that installed the parts. I don't have their corgi number and the trouble is I have no proof that it was them that installed the faulty seal. Clearly they did as the seal was fine before they started working on the boiler.

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Agency/Landlord have agreed to terminate tenancy agreement one month from today and have offered a sincere appology. They've also agreed to install brand new boiler. I'm more than happy with that, I just can't wait to leave this place.

Re: corgi number for the company that installed the parts. I don't have their corgi number and the trouble is I have no proof that it was them that installed the faulty seal. Clearly they did as the seal was fine before they started working on the boiler.

If you are feeling public spirited, you could give them 6 weeks to install and re-let, then write a letter to "The Current Tenant" telling them that it ought to have been installed - just in case they've botched another repair.....

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So you could start with the environmental health officer who has draconian powers to enforce.

There is also the interesting possibility that the LL is required to put you up in suitable alternative accommodation while the repairs are carried out - hotel perhaps?, as this is one thing Landlords Insurance (sometimes) protects against:

I wouldn't go as far as draconian but they do have pretty effective powers and seem to be capable of using them to deal with dodgy landlords.

Perhaps one of the few services local govt effectively provide.

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Make sure that you keep good records of conversations and that all PROMISES are in writing.

I would hate for an unscrupulous LL to (ignore the agent) try and chase you for rent or something after you had left.

You have been so very reasonable about it all.

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A lot of valid points in there

1. The wiring, the kitchen must be on a RCD circuit breaker but it is just OK for the cooker to be on the ring if it is only rated to 13 amps (i.e. the cooker and the grill won't come on at the same time) but an electric hob can never be rated at 13 amps as the consumption is 8kW will all the rings on. Most kitchen should at least two rings as there are several 13 amp appliances in a kitchen (cooker, toaster, kettle, washing machine, tumble drier and dishwasher)

2. It is OK for use PTFE tape on a gas joint provided it is a taper joint or compression joint.

3. Pipe and wire don't need sleeves provided they follow a route vertically or horizontally from the installation within walls, nor is there a rule which says they need to be separate, gas pipes have to be earthed near to the appliance anyway.

That side your should study section 11-17 of the 1985 LTA, as it is a combi boiler it provides both hotwater and heating with no other provision for hotwater so it must be working to comply with S11

http://www.letlink.co.uk/letting-statutes/...t-act-1985.html

You must have used "set off" before you can terminate the contract, i.e. withhold rent to pay for the repair, given it has taken 5 weeks and still counting I would dispense with the formalities, get a plumber in to repair it, pay for it and deduct it from the next rent payment. I would also get the plumber to mark up the receipt a little to cover your hassle. There is a due process for setoff but 5 weeks to repair something which is so fundemental is plain silly, no court is going to penalise you for rent set off (IMHO)

You can of course make you claim to LA and request a mutural contract termination.

Some minor points:

1) An RCD is not the same as a circuit breaker. Look it up.

2) You need to make sure its gas impermeable (not just water impermeable) PTFE tape.

SC

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Some minor points:

1) An RCD is not the same as a circuit breaker. Look it up.

2) You need to make sure its gas impermeable (not just water impermeable) PTFE tape.

SC

Indeed... although a residual current detector does break the circuit if it detects a leak to earth so it is a kind of circuit breaker ;-) but yes you are right same goes for the PTFE tape....

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A lot of valid points in there

1. The wiring, the kitchen must be on a RCD circuit breaker but it is just OK for the cooker to be on the ring if it is only rated to 13 amps (i.e. the cooker and the grill won't come on at the same time) but an electric hob can never be rated at 13 amps as the consumption is 8kW will all the rings on. Most kitchen should at least two rings as there are several 13 amp appliances in a kitchen (cooker, toaster, kettle, washing machine, tumble drier and dishwasher)

3. Pipe and wire don't need sleeves provided they follow a route vertically or horizontally from the installation within walls, nor is there a rule which says they need to be separate, gas pipes have to be earthed near to the appliance anyway.

1. If the kitchen is ground floor, and any socket outlet can be reasonably expected to supply portable equipment outdoors, or any cables are concealed in walls less than 50mm, then under current regulations ( IEE 17th wiring regulations), the circuit must have the additional protection of an RCD. However if the installation was constructed when earlier regs were current, then it does not have to have RCD protection. An RCD is for earth fault protection only. Its purpose is to limit the severity of electric shock. It will not protect against overload or over current.

Ring circuits (on 2.5mm cable) are protected by a 30 or 32 amp protective device (depending upon type of device).

A kitchen will be fine on its own dedicated ring circuit. There really is no need for two circuits.

Assuming that the cooker and hob is all electric then it should be on its own dedicated circuit with cable and breaker rating to suit full load current.

3. Copper pipes in walls or going through walls should be protected by sleeving as the lime content in cement will eventually eat in to the pipes.

Hope this sheds some light on the matter

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