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    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 1st Nov 17, 11:38 AM
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    legality of boiler situation - rented
    • #1
    • 1st Nov 17, 11:38 AM
    legality of boiler situation - rented 1st Nov 17 at 11:38 AM
    Ok here is current situation with my boiler in a rented property.

    It is currently located in a hard to reach corner under my sink area and behind my washing machine.

    Whenever it gets cold and especially windy the flame goes out most days, so if its relit I will be lucky if I get 48 hours out of it.

    My landlord is clearly very allergic to spending money, when this happened last winter I had over 30 callouts just to relight the boiler, the guy who was relighting it said he was charging 40 per visit, and he found it ridiculous they wouldnt pay for a more long term solution as versus repeated short term costs.

    The matter is managed by the maintenance manager who works for my landlord, whenever I have applied pressure on a proper solution, she always comes back with "are you a gas engineer for a living? if no then you dont know what you talking about" and when it gets relit she considers it "fixed". I text my landlord and he just tells me to contact his office.

    The guy who does the annual checks (which is in middle of summer) also has told me the location is illegal with where the exhaust is in relation to the window. Presumably because he gets a lot of work from my landlord he signs it off anyway.

    I am not a gas engineer but I know having to relight a boiler every 1-2 days is not normal , I am usually a flexible person and if the boiler was located in conveniant place to access its controls I probably wouldnt mind relighting it, but the fact is I have severe back problems (bad enough that I have scheduled surgery), I would need to crawl in the area or move out my heavy washing machine to relight it which I simply cannot do.

    So to me reasonable solutions are.

    1 - move the boiler.
    2 - replace the boiler with one that doesnt have the problem (this one is a very old model which as I understand is suspectable to pilot lights going out)
    3 - repair the boiler.

    Last year they did replace a part but it didnt achieve anything. The guy who did the work said it was one of 3 proposed solutions he offered and was the cheapest option.

    Am I been unreasonable in my expectations, and can anyone offer advice on how to push this with the landlord, does this breach e.g. council guidelines on what is suitable living conditions, as heating this broken I suspect doesnt really count as working heating.

    Any help is appreciated. I will try to answer questions people have.
    Last edited by Chrysalis; 01-11-2017 at 11:40 AM.
Page 2
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 1st Nov 17, 6:52 PM
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    Are you on any benefits, and/ or a low income? If so you might be eligible for a grant towards a replacement. You could investigate this before speaking to your landlord, they might be more willing if most of the cost is covered.
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 1st Nov 17, 6:55 PM
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    Id say quite the opposite, 1,200 spent in just one winter to relight the boiler sounds like he enjoys spending money.
    Originally posted by parkrunner
    To me its also baffling, but maybe the cost of moving/replacing it is much higher I dont know.

    However if one is only concerned about short term costs then 40 is always more attractive when perhaps your only concern is what you spending there and then.
    • cjdavies
    • By cjdavies 1st Nov 17, 6:59 PM
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    Nevertheless I think I'd learn how to pull the washing machine out from under the work surface and relight the boiler if it meant I didn't have to go without hot water each time. And, in the meantime, write to the LL detailing the ongoing problem.
    Originally posted by Vectis
    Something breaks while moving washing machine and tenent has to pay, no thanks.
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 1st Nov 17, 6:59 PM
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    Are you on any benefits, and/ or a low income? If so you might be eligible for a grant towards a replacement. You could investigate this before speaking to your landlord, they might be more willing if most of the cost is covered.
    Originally posted by BorisThomson
    Not currently no, I used to be on DLA, but is no longer the case.

    Because of my disabilities I am waiting for a potential council home, but I am not considered an emergency as I am not homeless.

    However I am considering advice that was given to me by a social worker last year, which I just remembered about.

    I was advised I could get in a environmental health officer, and if that officer found anything of interest they have varying degrees of powers including forcing the landlord to do work on the property before been allowed to let it out for money, they only use that last option tho I was told in the most severe cases, more frequently they just send a letter advising of work thats needed.

    It seems what was first advised is my best option right now so I will work on the letter and send it as soon as possible.

    Last edited by Chrysalis; 01-11-2017 at 7:34 PM.
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 1st Nov 17, 7:04 PM
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    Is the washing machine yours or did it come with the property? If the former, the LL could be a *** and states that it's your problem for putting it in front of the boiler.
    Originally posted by FBaby
    It is mine, but bear in mind its in a location thats designed for a washing machine, its where the water pipes are and the power point clearly there for a purpose of a washing machine. Its basically a gap for that purpose. The placement of the boiler is the issue not the washing machine, its in a very odd place.

    Even with no washing machine one still needs to lie down on the floor, and worry about banging there head on the surface above them. So its not particularly easy regardless. Removing the washing machine basically just allows you to look at the unit head on with more space behind you.

    But I agree the LL could be a tosser about it in more ways than one.
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 1st Nov 17, 7:11 PM
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    Nevertheless I think I'd learn how to pull the washing machine out from under the work surface and relight the boiler if it meant I didn't have to go without hot water each time. And, in the meantime, write to the LL detailing the ongoing problem.

    Must admit though, I 'm trying to comprehend how a gas boiler can be behind a washing machine under the sink? It must be a very deep work surface, or I'm misunderstanding.
    Originally posted by Vectis
    Its not behind the washing machine.

    So I will try to explain the layout.

    Is a long narrow kitchen with door at one end and window at other.

    Sink is below window, and under the sink is the drainage pipes, to the right of those pipes is the boiler, in a very small enclosed area.

    To the right of that area, so on the side wall under the work surface is a gap for a washing machine where my washing machine is, so basically if you looking at the washing machine head on, the boiler is to the left. The boiler can be accessed without moving the washing machine, but you looking at it from the side, and the pilot controls cannot be reached without getting yourself in that very small gap.

    I tried to use my crutches on the controls as they reach, but one of the buttons has to be pressed in and held there which I cannot do using only one arm on the crutch as isnt enough strength I need to use both, which means I cannot also press down on the pilot light ignitor at the same time.

    On top of this the proper start procedure didnt work as it should last year, and the person coming out needed half an hour to get it going each time.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 1st Nov 17, 7:26 PM
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    Let us know what response you get to your letter.

    Everything else is just fluff.
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 1st Nov 17, 7:31 PM
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    I will thanks.
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 1st Nov 17, 7:44 PM
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    Do you have a copy of the annual gas safety certificate....cp12?

    I would have thought it highly unlikely that someone would put their name to that document if there were a real issue with the sighting of the boiler.

    there are several areas of the certificate where concerns should be documented....those that need immediate attention and those that are advisory....a little like a car mot....

    Regulations do change and everyone has suggested that whilst it is possible that the boiler would now not be able to be legally sighted in its current position,it was within a permitted area when it was installed.

    I also agree with the poster who suggests that you write to your LL direct and point out the number of times the boiler has been attended to and the cost as you are aware of each visit.
    If the LL is a distant one,which I suspect he is,a reality check on how much this one particular appliance is costing him might be needed....
    the chances are he is not really that aware or has got so used to the LA deductions that he may think they are part of a rolling issue....or indeed not even connected to the boiler.

    I dont see him as allergic to spending money....I see it that he's not addressing a problem that could so easily make a difference to whether you stay in the property or go elsewhere.

    Is it feesable that these problems would make you consider moving?
    Theres nothing a LL dislikes more than the potential that he needs to get a new tenant.

    My guess is he is happy paying out if you are happy to put up with it.
    Whether you are being reasonable in expecting or requesting the boiler to be moved/replaced or whatever is a matter for the LL to consider....but I think that you also need to be very prepared to say enough is enough and it's time for you to move out.
    That will generate either the response you want because the LL does not want to lose his tenant or will hopefully be an end to your problems going forward to another property without the issues this one has.
    Originally posted by LEJC
    Not so distant as other LL's

    He owns his own LA, and also has his own office there so is present at the LA. But new tenants dont get his contact details or even meet him, I only have them because I have been his tenant for 13 years and back then he had only just decided to stop using 3rd party LA's and I got the keys directly off him along with his number.

    This is a big reason I am allergic to moving to another private rental, as I am basically taking a punt that any new LL is long term committed. Whilst I have been with this one for 13 years. The moving costs are not just moving my stuff, but application and credit fees as well. Which could be potentially repeated every 6 months.

    Now does my landlord care about voids?

    Sadly I dont think so.

    A few years back my window got smashed as well as another tenant in a flat at the back. Initially they tried to get me to pay for the window to be fixed. But after I and the police explained the law to them, he eventually backed down and paid for it, however he seems to have taken revenge by now giving me annual inflation busting rent increases. But no revenge eviction. My neighbour however moved out I think over the dispute of repairing the window, which meant of course the LL ended up paying for the window anyway as he wasnt going to let it out with a boarded up window 'and' had a void period.

    Last august I tried to press hard on the latest rent increase at my tenancy renewal, they didnt even think about their response, I was immediately told on the phone without any hesitation if I didnt agree to the new terms I would be asked to leave, however I didnt push it further to see if they would send an actual section 21. I backed down. Before backing down I did text my landlord to see if he would intervene and hold the rent, he seemed to think about it, but when he did reply he said my rent was lower than his other tenants and I either accept it or end the tenancy. So he doesnt value me staying that much.
    Last edited by Chrysalis; 01-11-2017 at 7:51 PM.
    • cjmillsnun
    • By cjmillsnun 1st Nov 17, 8:10 PM
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    G_M what would the engineer gain (who does the safety checks) from telling me its non compliant when it is actually compliant?

    The non compliance is that the exhaust is directly below the kitchen window.

    As I understand from your answer there is no contravention of council renting standards that a boiler only works for a day at a time, is that correct?

    I take your advice on board thank you.
    Originally posted by Chrysalis
    The laws are not retrospective and only apply on the day the boiler was installed and commissioned.

    If a new certificate is being issued every year, the boiler is safe to use.

    It is quite possible that you have a balanced flue which can be susceptible to wind blowing out the pilot light. This may be solved by providing some shelter by some sort of shrub (although not too close to the flue).

    Now that being said, 40 a callout can very quickly add up. A new boiler install is between 2 and 3 thousand, so advising him of the callout costs directly and what they are for may make him think about a bit of short term financial pain for long term gain.
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 3rd Nov 17, 10:31 AM
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    Thanks for the information on the flue, I will put this suggestion in my letter.

    It is finally relit today, the handy man (one I never met before) was very sympathetic and said he never seen anything like it in regards to the location. He didnt have a lot of trouble relighting it once he had himself in position.

    I read shelter website in regards to protection from revenge eviction, I think the protection is meaningless, its really just 6 months at best and requires a notice from the council that the council are willing to enforce (unenforced notices are no good), same with the other link I was provided earlier in the thread as well, but I am still reading up on stuff and preparing the letter. I will send in both email and letter form.

    The good news is tho, that there is certain scenarios that make a S21 invalid, and one of those applies to me, I wont be telling my landlord about it so if I push this and get a S21 I should be able to invalidate it.

    The invalidation is I have had no energy performance certificate and also no "how to rent" guide from the government (all tenants supposed to be given one by landlord or letting agent),

    Also both of these apply on my deposit.

    "the deposit was protected more than 30 days after you paid it

    your landlord hasn't given you required information about the tenancy deposit scheme used"

    The deposit compliance can be quickly dealt with tho if they refund my deposit, then they can do a S21.
    Last edited by Chrysalis; 03-11-2017 at 10:40 AM.
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 1st Dec 17, 4:21 AM
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    An update

    Since the valve got replaced there has been no more breakdowns, so hopefully this finally got resolved, and indeed requesting by email/letter was very effective, thank you.
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 29th Mar 18, 2:18 PM
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    Broken down again last week.

    Another Email sent.

    Engineer arrived Monday, Refused to fix stating is irreparable and unsafe.
    Landlord refused the response, hired 2nd engineer on Tuesday, said wont fix, boiler in unsafe state.
    3rd engineer showed up same day so Tuesday, said boiler was unsafe to turn on, repair work would be uneconomical.
    Landlord refused to replace but offered no solution, first engineer showed up again today and removed the boiler for safety reasons, said he would take it to office to sort it out and get me a new boiler. Then got a phonecall from landlord office asking why I let the first engineer back in as they didnt want the boiler removed, they insist its fit for operation. At this point I told them if they want to be tight over money I can make it a easy decision for them by sending them invoices for the cost of my electric heater, they hung up.

    10 mins ago got an email reply stating a decision is been considered for the suitability of renting the property, seems they are so desperate to not buy a new boiler, they would rather take the property of the market.

    So right now I have no boiler, no heating system, the electric water heater that is "the backup" is for water only and for a bath only provides lukewarm water half full.
    Last edited by Chrysalis; 29-03-2018 at 2:23 PM.
    • stator
    • By stator 29th Mar 18, 2:35 PM
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    Send a letter to the landlord offering to keep renting the house if your rent is reduced by X amount. X being the extra cost of electric heating.
    If they really want to avoid buying a new boiler, they will have to accept.
    Changing the world, one sarcastic comment at a time.
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 29th Mar 18, 2:53 PM
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    Yeah I will think about that, that cost is going to be variable, and will really just be keeping one room warm, rest of place cold, also doesnt solve the bath problem either.

    They said they would reaccomodate me so seem happy to keep me as a tenant.
    • need an answer
    • By need an answer 29th Mar 18, 3:02 PM
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    • 472 Thanks
    need an answer
    Presumably they have other properties that you could move to is that what they mean by reaccomodate you ?
    The situation about re assessing your current property to determine if it is still suitable to rent would indicate that they either intend to issue you notice or will re house you elsewhere?

    Do you have any idea where the new housing is,local to you,easy to move your belongings?
    Temp measure whilst the heating/boiler system is sorted out or more of a permanent move.
    These are things you need to find out and weigh up if you would rather continue as you are with various workrounds or want the move.
    in S 28 T 20 F 42
    out S 35 T 24 F 32
    2017 -32
    • Chrysalis
    • By Chrysalis 29th Mar 18, 3:13 PM
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    I think if they dont put in a new boiler a notice for end of tenancy seems very likely, it would be a logical choice for them.

    They have 100s of properties in my city so its probably easy for them to offer me a new one.

    I can ask them these questions so I understand exactly what they offering.

    I would like to think they not going to try and rent this place to someone else without any heating, so by taking off the market I think they are probably planning to replace the radiators with cheap storage heaters, obviously way easier to do when is no tenant. Which brings me to my next point.

    I have one of the very few properties he owns that has a bath, also his properties nearly always have storage heaters, not gas central heating. so its not an easy decision as it would sound, changing landlord is not something I am happy about either given the lottery of finding a proper landlord who is serious not someone who could sell up after a year or two.
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