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Drafty Windows.

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
29 replies 1.9K views
Retireby40Retireby40 Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
So a tenant has refused to pay rent this month on the grounds that the windows are drafty and her and the kids have the cold.

It is of course the middle of winter so to judge they got the cold from this is abit farfetched.

I have arranged to have someone look at it but unless theres clear deterioration how would someone prove it was a problem. Any workman could go out and say x y and z needs done when really it doesnt just for a few quid.

Has anyone had this problem before and how much did it cost to rectify?

The house is about 30 years old with PVC double glazing.


  • Retireby40Retireby40 Forumite
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    The tenant has been in the property 3 years and never seemed to notice anything before. Just this week it's now a problem. Last month the agency was speaking to them and no issues and all of a sudden everyone has the cold and she wont pay because of the windows.
  • G_MG_M Forumite
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    Is he tenant saying she is cold, or she has a cold?

    Irrespective - she's short of money and is looking for a reason not to pay.

    There are 2 issues, unrelated:

    1) rent arrears. You write briefly reminding her of the date rent was due and "look forward to receiving payment without delay".

    If it's not paid, you'll need to consider your position. Ultimately a S8 G8 Notice is an option as soon as the 2nd payment is late.

    2) The windows. Are you local? Can you go and look? Who have you asked to go in? Your agent? A contractor? What kind of contractor? Do you know/trust them?

    If double glazed upvc windows are draughty, then either
    * they are not shutting properly
    * there's a seal worn out (buy some window seal from B&Q for £3)
    * the glass is broken (tenant damage?)
    * they are loose from the frame or the frame is loose - very unlikely

    Anyway, until you know if there is a genuine problem, you can't answer the tenant and you can't fix it. But none of that affects 1) above!

    * Repairing Obligations: the law, common misconceptions, reporting/enforcing, retaliatory eviction & the new tenant protection (2015)

    Note that although a S21 can be set aside or invalidated if it follows a complaint (retaliatory eviction), that does not apply to a S8.

    * Ending/renewing an AST: what happens when a fixed term ends? How can a LL or tenant end a tenancy? What is a periodic tenancy?
    ** If I include a blue link in my post, click and read it before posting a follow-up question. The answer may be in the link! **
  • FreeBearFreeBear Forumite
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    G_M wrote: »
    If double glazed upvc windows are draughty, then either

    Another option..

    * The air close to the window looses quite a bit of heat through the glass and will always feel colder. Cold air falls, so a "draught" is felt even when no air is actually coming in from outside.
    The answer is to use decent quality thermal lined curtains and close them in the evening.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
  • dimbo61dimbo61 Forumite
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    January is always a poor month ( long time between getting Xmas pay and end of Jan pay, Overspending at Xmas etc )
    Does the tenant work ?
    Are the windows in poor condition ?
    When did you or your letting agent inspect the property?
  • princeofpoundsprinceofpounds Forumite
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    Probably related to Christmas money issues.

    But it's also possible this is a prelude towards aiming for an eviction with the hope of receiving council housing. If the problem seems made-up, it may be worth enquiring whether they actually want to be given notice, and pointing out that non-payment of rent may be counted by the council as making themselves intentionally homeless (which changes the responsibilities the coucil has to re-home them).

    If there is a problem with the windows, you do need to fix it regardless of rent payment delays (and it's good building maintenance anyway). Similarly the tenant is supposed to pay the rent regardless of whether you fix the windows promptly, although we'll see if that's the case in practice. Hopefully solving a problem, if one exists, will put things back on track on both sides.

    It's unlikely, if not impossible, that the workman will scam you for unnecessary work. They may know that you haven't seen the windows recently, but if they suggest there is a problem when there isn't, they run the risk that you go to check it out yourself subsequently (and that's probably wise if practical)
  • phoenix1837phoenix1837 Forumite
    79 posts
    Retireby40 wrote: »

    It is of course the middle of winter so to judge they got the cold from this is abit farfetched.
    A bit far fetched is an understatement, you can't catch a cold from drafty windows, it's a virus!
    I have a drafty door in the property i rent but wouldn't dream of withholding rent, I just stuff a rolled up towel to cover the crack. I am sure there are ways she can block the drafts.
  • Retireby40Retireby40 Forumite
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    Hello thanks for the replies.

    I haven't seen the property in about 3 years when I lived in it. I had no problem with cold however things may have changed in 3 years. I'm unsure they have.

    The tenant is claiming that her and her children all have the cold because of the windows. She is claiming that even with the gas heating on she is experiencing it cold and it is affecting them so badly she doesnt want to pay rent until it is looked at.

    She stated if she pays the rent nobody will come however there have been 3 other necessary repairs needing done in the last 12-18 months which were all done the minute she said something.

    The company I get to manage the property arranged for one of their contractors to go out and have a look at the property. I am awaiting their response.

    My concern is that a worker who is looking a job will always find something to do even if it isnt a problem. That I cannot help it comes part and parcel with being a landlord.

    The tenants and her husband work from what I have been told and to be honest they have never not paid rent before. It could be that this is the first time they have fallen on hard times and this is the way to avoid paying. Maybe their circumstances have changed.

    The management company did a full review in the house about 6 weeks ago in which the tenant had no complaints and expressed an interest in redecorating the house (mainly living room) to which I gave the ok to. November is freezing as well and no complaints. Which makes me think shes chancing her arm however I cant be sure.
  • Retireby40Retireby40 Forumite
    515 posts
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    Just to add the tenant didnt make contact with the agency to complain. She just didn't pay rent and when the agency phoned to say rent was a week late she then stated this problem.
  • Lover_of_LycraLover_of_Lycra Forumite
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    Interesting, so the tenant hasn't even put these repair issues in writing yet and they weren't even serious enough to warrant a phone call to the letting agency, instead she waited to be chased for the rent. She sounds like a chancer.
  • The private rental i lived in was always cold. Due to a useless boiler (as your tenant has said, even with it on, the house rarely warmed up), lack of insulation in roof (which I put in and did help with too cold to sleep in bedrooms) and a badly done kitchen extension (single brick). The PVC double glazing was draughty but I used silicon to reseal the windows, this did help with the draughts. But the house was still cold due to the other problems. Having lived in a place since where the boiler was replaced after many repair issues, I know the whole house heated quicker and more economically afterwards.

    The remainder of the problems were out of my hands and I was very glad to move out of the private rental.

    I think you are going to have to visit the property to have an idea where the problems could lie. Particularly given what you have said in your post. Its the only way really.

    I feel sure, with the private rental I lived in, all of the issues would have been sorted within weeks if the LL had lived in the property, although of course, he always said there were no issues because he didn't have to live with them.
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