Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • StrugglingApprentice
    • By StrugglingApprentice 11th Oct 16, 6:47 PM
    • 89Posts
    • 23Thanks
    StrugglingApprentice
    HMO and pennypinching landlord
    • #1
    • 11th Oct 16, 6:47 PM
    HMO and pennypinching landlord 11th Oct 16 at 6:47 PM
    Hi all,

    I know there is likely to be some landlords among you so im expecting some hostility, but i just need to vent and perhaps get some advice.

    I have been stuck living in a HMO for over a year now, the house is nice and all tenants get on for the most part.

    The problem is the landlord/agency.

    When something goes wrong in the house, such as the second hand cooker/freezer/washing machine breaks, or the sink is blocked, heating/hot water doesnt work it has taken weeks to so much as get a response let alone work done. I was showering at work for almost a month because the landlords contractor was "busy".

    Then early this year the landlord himself turns up to install a device which lets him control the heating from an ipad, all while we are still waiting for responses on issues with the house. At this point i thought nothing of it until we had the late snow flurry and realised he had also turned the heat off.

    He says the thermostat he fitted last year wasnt good enough and that the house cost him too much (locked with a code, i might add, with his own settings) so he has lowered the heating to 16-19 degrees for 2 hours in the morning then 2 hours in the evening. Although i have asked repeatedly for this to go back up, he refuses to even talk about it.

    Amongst the 5 tenants here, we have decided to buy electric heaters because we are not putting up with being cold while paying our rent on time every time.

    When the agency cleaner reported a load of heaters in the kitchen, the landlord turned up less than an hour later threatening evictions if we plan to use them to heat the house.

    I am looking to move out before winter hits because i know the landlord will just turn everything off if it costs "too much".

    What can i do? Any advice would be great.
    Last edited by StrugglingApprentice; 11-10-2016 at 6:50 PM.
Page 1
    • csgohan4
    • By csgohan4 11th Oct 16, 6:49 PM
    • 2,563 Posts
    • 1,583 Thanks
    csgohan4
    • #2
    • 11th Oct 16, 6:49 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Oct 16, 6:49 PM
    time to find somewhere else to live. Life is about choices and you are not stuck unless your in contract
    • StrugglingApprentice
    • By StrugglingApprentice 11th Oct 16, 6:53 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    StrugglingApprentice
    • #3
    • 11th Oct 16, 6:53 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Oct 16, 6:53 PM
    time to find somewhere else to live. Life is about choices and you are not stuck unless your in contract
    Originally posted by csgohan4
    I am in a contract until the start of december
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 11th Oct 16, 6:57 PM
    • 8,861 Posts
    • 11,880 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    • #4
    • 11th Oct 16, 6:57 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Oct 16, 6:57 PM
    Where is this HMO? Scotland or England & Wales?

    When did you last sign a TA?
    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.
    • StrugglingApprentice
    • By StrugglingApprentice 11th Oct 16, 7:01 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    StrugglingApprentice
    • #5
    • 11th Oct 16, 7:01 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Oct 16, 7:01 PM
    Where is this HMO? Scotland or England & Wales?

    When did you last sign a TA?
    Originally posted by Pixie5740
    Its in England, and i last signed up for 6 months on 2nd July
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 11th Oct 16, 7:05 PM
    • 8,861 Posts
    • 11,880 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    • #6
    • 11th Oct 16, 7:05 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Oct 16, 7:05 PM
    Well in that case you have some protection for revenge evictions if you request repairs to the property.

    Does the council require the HMO you live in to be licensed? It's not on controlling your heating so that the thermostat is down at 16/17 DegC and threatening you with eviction because you have electric heaters. If the rent isn't enough to cover your room and utilities he should increase it (using the correct processes) to a suitable level not harass you with cold living conditions.
    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.
    • anselld
    • By anselld 11th Oct 16, 7:10 PM
    • 4,869 Posts
    • 4,319 Thanks
    anselld
    • #7
    • 11th Oct 16, 7:10 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Oct 16, 7:10 PM
    Check with your Local Council on the rules for HMO Licensing.
    Where I am, all HMOs need to be licensed and it is one of the licensing conditions that tenants must have control over their own heating system at all times.

    Even in the absence of any Licensing Conditions you may invite the Council (Environmental Health or Housing Standards) to make a HHSRS inspection where the failure of the heating system to maintain a comfortable temperature will be classed as a hazard and can be taken to enforcement action.

    Needless to say involving the Council will not make you popular with the Landlord but it may get things fixed (for future tenants).
    • StrugglingApprentice
    • By StrugglingApprentice 11th Oct 16, 7:27 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    StrugglingApprentice
    • #8
    • 11th Oct 16, 7:27 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Oct 16, 7:27 PM
    I need to do more research, but i do know it is a licensed HMO and the landlord has a few.

    A healthy indoor temperature is around 21˚C. There is small risk of health effects
    below 19˚C. Below 16˚C, there are serious health risks for the elderly, including
    greatly increased risks of respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. Below 10˚C a
    great risk of hypothermia, especially for the elderly.

    I took this from the housing health and safety guide for landlords. Im not elderly, nor are any of the other housemates but this morning when i left for work it was at 13 degrees C clearly indicating it hadnt been on all night.
    • theartfullodger
    • By theartfullodger 11th Oct 16, 7:27 PM
    • 8,349 Posts
    • 10,902 Thanks
    theartfullodger
    • #9
    • 11th Oct 16, 7:27 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Oct 16, 7:27 PM
    You seem to suggest landlord/agent has always been like this: So why did you sign up for a new fixed term rather than go only rolling periodic? (Which landlord cannot stop you doing)??

    Basically, move: Enough time to find & plan a move to a new home.

    Sorry to read the story but, with respect, the solution was & is in your hands...

    Yes, there are bad landlords.

    Yes, there are bad tenants:

    - avoid both!
    • StrugglingApprentice
    • By StrugglingApprentice 11th Oct 16, 7:32 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    StrugglingApprentice
    The landlord laid it on thick in the summer about selling the house and we had just got a load of work done so 4 of us did sign up thinking things had changed. Obviously not.

    I do like the house and the location but the landlord is a jerk so i will be moving as soon as i can. It will leave me with nothing over christmas but i cant put up with it anymore.

    It looks like at least 2 of the other tenants are doing the same so the landlord will have more empty rooms than tenanta when we go.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 11th Oct 16, 7:41 PM
    • 37,060 Posts
    • 40,987 Thanks
    G_M
    Hi all,

    I know there is likely to be some landlords among you so im expecting some hostility, .
    Originally posted by StrugglingApprentice
    Any hostility is directed at a landlord who gives us all a bad name!

    1) check via council website if the HMO is licenced. If not, should it be

    2) decide if what you want is
    a) to get things improved and stay, or
    b) to leave in Dec

    If a) see below. If b) put your energy into looking for somewhere else for December or the new year.

    3) Read how to deal with repairs. Note in particular the protection you can get (IF you do it right) from revenge eviction:
    * Repairing Obligations: the law, common misconceptions, reporting/enforcing, retaliatory eviction & the new protection (2015)

    4) what exactly does your tenancy say about
    a) electricity usage
    b) heating

    5) Always communicate in writing so you have a record and history of complaints/reports and LL response

    6) if you can act as a group you are stronger than acting individually - Losing one tenant is not the end of the world to a landlord. Losing a whole HMO house-full is not so easy for a LL to accept!
    • StrugglingApprentice
    • By StrugglingApprentice 11th Oct 16, 7:52 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    StrugglingApprentice
    Any hostility is directed at a landlord who gives us all a bad name!

    1) check via council website if the HMO is licenced. If not, should it be

    2) decide if what you want is
    a) to get things improved and stay, or
    b) to leave in Dec

    If a) see below. If b) put your energy into looking for somewhere else for December or the new year.

    3) Read how to deal with repairs. Note in particular the protection you can get (IF you do it right) from revenge eviction:
    * Repairing Obligations: the law, common misconceptions, reporting/enforcing, retaliatory eviction & the new protection (2015)

    4) what exactly does your tenancy say about
    a) electricity usage
    b) heating

    5) Always communicate in writing so you have a record and history of complaints/reports and LL response

    6) if you can act as a group you are stronger than acting individually - Losing one tenant is not the end of the world to a landlord. Losing a whole HMO house-full is not so easy for a LL to accept!
    Originally posted by G_M
    1) it is licensed. I did check thar before i moved in
    2) I would like to get things sorted and stay, but at the same time its very difficult to get the landlord to do anything.
    3) Thank you for the link i will have a read
    4)Our tenancies just say it is incorporated into the rent. It mentions nothing about usage caps or temperature control.
    5) Communication goes through the agency but i do have the landlords email, so i copy them both into communications now.
    6) Ad it stands, none of us are happy with his control by wifi.

    The other stuff in the house currently is minor in the grand scheme of things but the temperature is the biggie.

    I work outside most of the time whatever the conditions and with no tumble drier or ability to turn the heating on when i walk in soaking wet and cold is really demoralising and it could make me ill.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 11th Oct 16, 8:02 PM
    • 37,060 Posts
    • 40,987 Thanks
    G_M
    5) Your tenancy must give you an address "for serving notices on the landlord". That is where you write, addressed to him by name. It may well be c/o the agency address, but still write to the LL at that address. Copy the agent.

    If you wish, you can write to the agency and ask for the LL's actual address. By law they have 21 days to give it to you (Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 Section 1)

    I'd recommend an initial, polite, letter pointing out the lack of adequate heating, and the inability to adjust it as required yourselves. Refer to the tenancy agreement which indicates heating and electricity are incuded and suggest that either
    * more adequate heating needs to be provided, with controls within the building, or
    * you will be forced to use alternative supplementary heating

    If you ALL sign the letter it will carry more weight.
    • Yorkie1
    • By Yorkie1 11th Oct 16, 8:24 PM
    • 11,036 Posts
    • 20,633 Thanks
    Yorkie1
    Its in England, and i last signed up for 6 months on 2nd July
    Originally posted by StrugglingApprentice


    Just to point out that earlier in the thread, you said you were in the tenancy until December.


    On the quoted information, your 6 months expires on 1 January 2017 - so you'd be there for Christmas (unless you moved out sooner - but would remain liable until the end of the 6 months.


    Do you and the other tenants have a joint contract, or a separate one each?
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 11th Oct 16, 9:01 PM
    • 8,861 Posts
    • 11,880 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    Right, it's a licensed HMO. If he won't let you control your own heating complain to the council. Contact Shelter as well.
    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.
    • StrugglingApprentice
    • By StrugglingApprentice 12th Oct 16, 5:35 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    StrugglingApprentice
    We are all on different contracts.

    I have contacted the agency today with a request for the landlords postal address, which the agent is reluctant to provide.

    I honestly thought the agreement included the month of July but yes it looks like im stuck until Jan because theres no way i can pay 2 lots of rent every month.

    It does come on sometimes for an hour during the day, but not for long. The thermostat is in the kitchen, which if you could see the layout of the house is almost like an extension so even if its 19c in the kitchen the rest of the house can be much cooler. Overnight it has dipped down to 12c and we are only in October.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Oct 16, 5:50 PM
    • 37,060 Posts
    • 40,987 Thanks
    G_M
    I have contacted the agency today with a request for the landlords postal address, which the agent is reluctant to provide.
    Originally posted by StrugglingApprentice
    In writing?

    Did you refer to the Act?

    Agents are often unfamilar with the Act (or pretend to be) - there's no training required to be an agent. And enforcement of the Act depends on the council/Trading Standards being willing to prosecute. Given their limited resources, they tend to only do so where there are significant failures by the agent or LL.

    However quoting the Act can sometimes pursuade they of the right thing to do.......
    • StrugglingApprentice
    • By StrugglingApprentice 12th Oct 16, 6:39 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 23 Thanks
    StrugglingApprentice
    In writing?

    Did you refer to the Act?

    Agents are often unfamilar with the Act (or pretend to be) - there's no training required to be an agent. And enforcement of the Act depends on the council/Trading Standards being willing to prosecute. Given their limited resources, they tend to only do so where there are significant failures by the agent or LL.

    However quoting the Act can sometimes pursuade they of the right thing to do.......
    Originally posted by G_M
    Thank you for that i will try again tomorrow
    • anselld
    • By anselld 12th Oct 16, 6:44 PM
    • 4,869 Posts
    • 4,319 Thanks
    anselld
    Thank you for that i will try again tomorrow
    Originally posted by StrugglingApprentice
    To emphasise, it must be in writing. Pen, paper, envelope, stamp, proof of posting. None of your new-fangled communication methods.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

716Posts Today

5,628Users online

Martin's Twitter