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  • FIRST POST
    • scoey1001
    • By scoey1001 1st Feb 18, 2:27 PM
    • 9Posts
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    scoey1001
    Heating repair gone wrong!
    • #1
    • 1st Feb 18, 2:27 PM
    Heating repair gone wrong! 1st Feb 18 at 2:27 PM
    Hi all,

    Looking for some advice please.

    Property is a council maisonette. Had 2 radiators stop working in the living room in December. On the council website it states this as an emergency repair 'total or partial loss of heating between October & May - fix time 4 hours'.

    To cut a long story short their heating contractor has been to the property 10 times (plus one no show), have broken the boiler 4 times leaving us without heating and hot water for days at a time (it is currently broken again as of last night). They have also told lies, not followed policies etc. a right set of amateurs.

    We have made ourselves available for all 10 of these appointments (5 have been all day jobs replacing various parts etc. which seemed to make the problem worse) including using up all out remaining annual leave and been co-operative throughout.

    The situation now is they believe there is a kink in the pipe, their solution was to run vertical pipework exposed in the centre of the living room. I said no, and the council agreed.

    This means the flooring needs to be taken up, the council say it is down to the tenant (my partner) and will have to then be replaced with carpet as she signed a disclaimer. The disclaimer reads the following;

    Name -

    Address -

    'The following non standard items will remain in situ at the above address:

    All flooring
    Bathroom mirror
    All feature shelving

    If any of the above require repair the landlord will only replace with standard fittings.

    If any items which are not a statutory legal requirement fall into disrepair the landlord will not be responsible for replacing.'

    I am struggling with how to interpret the wording of this disclaimer and where we stand legally.

    All comments welcome. Thanks.
Page 1
    • pinklady21
    • By pinklady21 1st Feb 18, 5:00 PM
    • 519 Posts
    • 355 Thanks
    pinklady21
    • #2
    • 1st Feb 18, 5:00 PM
    • #2
    • 1st Feb 18, 5:00 PM
    Have you tried Shelter?
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/repairs/complain_about_council_or_housing_association_repa irs

    They also have a phone helpline, I think.
    Best of luck, sounds like you have had a ghastly experience!
    • anselld
    • By anselld 1st Feb 18, 5:30 PM
    • 5,626 Posts
    • 5,252 Thanks
    anselld
    • #3
    • 1st Feb 18, 5:30 PM
    • #3
    • 1st Feb 18, 5:30 PM
    Sounds like she will have to lift the flooring and then the Council will fit a carpet. (or presumably she could re-lay the flooring if it is not damaged)

    What type of flooring is it?
    • G_M
    • By G_M 1st Feb 18, 8:48 PM
    • 43,823 Posts
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    G_M
    • #4
    • 1st Feb 18, 8:48 PM
    • #4
    • 1st Feb 18, 8:48 PM
    Escalate via a formal complaint in writing?

    Mind you -
    emergency repair 'total or partial loss of heating between October & May - fix time 4 hours'.
    Dam**d ambitious target!

    Even a 4 hour call-out target would be ambitious. but 'fix'???
    Last edited by G_M; 02-02-2018 at 12:07 PM.
    • martindow
    • By martindow 2nd Feb 18, 10:06 AM
    • 7,527 Posts
    • 4,267 Thanks
    martindow
    • #5
    • 2nd Feb 18, 10:06 AM
    • #5
    • 2nd Feb 18, 10:06 AM
    Escalate via a formal complaint in writing?

    Mind you - Dam**d ambitious target!

    Eve a 4 hour call-out target would be ambitious. but 'fix'???
    Originally posted by G_M
    That surely can't be the wording can it? Heating breaks down at midnight and an engineer comes out to fix it before 4am?!
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 2nd Feb 18, 11:22 AM
    • 570 Posts
    • 579 Thanks
    HampshireH
    • #6
    • 2nd Feb 18, 11:22 AM
    • #6
    • 2nd Feb 18, 11:22 AM
    Most places is attendance within 1 working day or 24 hours.

    I googled the wording in the OP and nothing was an exact match which is unusual if quoted directly from a webpage.
    • Lioness Twinkletoes
    • By Lioness Twinkletoes 2nd Feb 18, 11:42 AM
    • 1,266 Posts
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    Lioness Twinkletoes
    • #7
    • 2nd Feb 18, 11:42 AM
    • #7
    • 2nd Feb 18, 11:42 AM
    No, the OP is taking it too literally. An HA or LA will consider nil heating/hot water an emergency and thus 4 hour attendance but within reasonable parameters (i.e., not in the middle of the night) and that does not necessarily mean they'll fix it. If parts are required, then quite rightly, they'll need to order them. They should provide temporary heaters though.

    Sounds like the OP has had a rough time of it. Contractors working for LA and HA's are generally !!!!!. I once had 6 visits to fit a new double glazed unit that had blown. The operative had measured the window incorrectly on one occasion and forgot to bring it with him on another.

    Personally, I'd escalate to a formal complaint, copying my MP in. I'd also ask, in writing, for clarification, as to what they mean with the flooring.
    Last edited by Lioness Twinkletoes; 02-02-2018 at 11:45 AM.
    • scoey1001
    • By scoey1001 2nd Feb 18, 2:12 PM
    • 9 Posts
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    scoey1001
    • #8
    • 2nd Feb 18, 2:12 PM
    • #8
    • 2nd Feb 18, 2:12 PM
    Hi everyone thanks for the replies.

    I fully agree 4 hours is a ridiculous target! and have stated this to the council that i wouldn't expect them to attend in this time. However it has now been 7 weeks, 10 engineer visits (plus one no show) boiler broken 4 times (fixed last night but again down to human error) lies, stress, 6 days annual leave lost etc. etc.

    - Council is East Kent Housing and the following is from their website.....

    1. Emergency repairs - we aim to fix within 4 hours in all areas
    Definition: We class emergency repairs as any repair required to fix any defect which puts the health, safety or security of a resident or third party at immediate risk or which affects the structure of the building.

    We provide an emergency response service 365 days a year and over 24 hours a day

    Examples of an emergency repair could include:

    Uncontrollable water leak
    Total or partial loss of gas supply
    Report of fumes
    Leaking oil tank or pipework
    Total or partial loss of heating between 31 October and 1 May
    Repair request from a sheltered scheme
    Repair request from a vulnerable tenant
    Repair request to attend a communal heating site


    - I have made a formal complaint which was responded to. Although they apologised many times they failed to answer any of my questions directly and their version of events had many inaccuracies such as ' we tried to fit XYZ but it had to be delayed as you had boiler trouble' when in fact it was their engineer that had broken the boiler. Another time an engineer attended and turned the boiler off stating it was unsafe but later denied touching it and said it was fine. When they sent someone out 4 days later it was in fact found to be unsafe!

    Hopefully this gives an idea of the type of company i have been dealing with.

    Safe to say i rejected their complaint and it has now been escalated to someone nominated by the chief executive.

    It's just the wording of the disclaimer i am having trouble with.

    P.S it is wood flooring.
    Last edited by scoey1001; 02-02-2018 at 2:16 PM.
    • pinklady21
    • By pinklady21 2nd Feb 18, 6:08 PM
    • 519 Posts
    • 355 Thanks
    pinklady21
    • #9
    • 2nd Feb 18, 6:08 PM
    • #9
    • 2nd Feb 18, 6:08 PM
    If they are trying to get you to sign something that you do not fully understand, then ask them to explain it to you in clear and simple terms.
    I often think I have understood something, and when I try and explain it to someone else, realise I didn't get it at all!
    I hope you get someone competent to fix your heating - is employing your own contractor and then reclaiming the cost from the Council an option?
    Best of luck.
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 2nd Feb 18, 6:58 PM
    • 570 Posts
    • 579 Thanks
    HampshireH
    Ok. In relation to the disclaimer most Associations or Councils do not provide flooring. By accepting it and signing a disclaimer you take full responsibility. This includes making the area beneath it accessible for repair.

    The Council are only responsible for the repair. Are you not able to relay the wooden flooring after the work has been done?

    If you don't understand it ask them.

    I read it as you have signed for responsibility. If they have to repair something it so be replaced with standard items.

    Example. If you had a non standard kitchen and needed a door front. They may put one on for you but it won't match. Likewise you fit a posh tap they fit a normal one. They won't match.

    Carpets and flooring are not something for repair therefore they have no responsibility to replace it.

    They may choose to but they aren't liable to.

    It is poorly worded.
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 2nd Feb 18, 6:59 PM
    • 570 Posts
    • 579 Thanks
    HampshireH
    Additionally your tenancy agreement with spell out your responsibilities vs theirs. I expect flooring is referred to as yours.
    • scoey8
    • By scoey8 12th Apr 18, 3:36 PM
    • 20 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    scoey8
    UPDATE :

    Hi all, thought i would provide an update on this. The complaint is now with the ombudsman after a total of 14 engineer visits and still no resolution.

    The last visit was from an independent auditor who concluded the following - New pipework will need to be run under the laminate floor due to a combination of the following;

    1. The current pipework installed by the landlord is of insufficient size (needs upgrading from 15mm to 22mm)
    2. There is a blockage/kink in the pipework somewhere that needs to be bypassed by running new pipework (as the powerflush was unsuccessful).

    * The only time the pipework has been accessed was by the landlord to fix a pipe leaking into the flat below, they did this from the neighbours flat from the ceiling. Hence this is the only time a pipe could have been damaged.

    The sticking point is the landlord is still saying it is down to us to replace the laminate with carpet (see disclaimer above). Which i dispute as i believe it falls outside of the wording of the disclaimer. But i am having trouble convincing them of this. I believe that as the system was not fit for purpose to begin with (hence recommended increase in size of pipe) and as above only the landlord has accessed the pipework, it does not constitute 'falling into disrepair' as per disclaimer.

    Please can anyone offer advice? Thanks
    Last edited by scoey8; 12-04-2018 at 3:40 PM.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 12th Apr 18, 3:56 PM
    • 2,925 Posts
    • 5,922 Thanks
    Smodlet
    Many tenancy (and indeed leasehold) agreements require carpet to be used to minimise the noise of walking about for the occupants of the flat below. If you have laminate flooring you/your partner may be in breach of the agreement and I am surprised you/they have not received complaints.

    As to the 4 hour thing, this usually means 4 working hours i.e. between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Whether this applies in your instance is unclear.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • scoey8
    • By scoey8 12th Apr 18, 4:09 PM
    • 20 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    scoey8
    Many tenancy (and indeed leasehold) agreements require carpet to be used to minimise the noise of walking about for the occupants of the flat below. If you have laminate flooring you/your partner may be in breach of the agreement and I am surprised you/they have not received complaints.

    As to the 4 hour thing, this usually means 4 working hours i.e. between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Whether this applies in your instance is unclear.
    Originally posted by Smodlet
    Hi, as stated above the flooring was already in situ when she moved in, hence the disclaimer.

    Also re: 4 hour it actually states on their website 24 hours a day 365 days a year! which is incredibly optimistic lol.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 12th Apr 18, 4:15 PM
    • 5,295 Posts
    • 7,433 Thanks
    deannatrois
    Unless you have glue laminate, it can be taken up and relaid. I have done it for similar jobs to the one you need. If you have laminate, that is. If you have real wood flooring, I am afraid its one of the problems with it. But it might still be possible to relay it.

    With the central heating, I had the same problem. A few repairs that didn't work, then it broke again. In the end the council replaced the boiler and the radiators, which included some 15cm pipework which was replaced with 22 cm pipework. I think we were lucky and had a more senior engineer come round and he must have ordered the replacement although we did point out the problems and how old the system was (over 25 years) every time someone came round. Eventually I suspect we pressed the right button.

    I am afraid that if you want the major repair, and a working central heating system, you will probably have to be prepared to do some decorating and mess with your flooring. For me it was a fair exhange. Once the new system was in, the place was warmer, quicker and cost 1/3 less than previously.

    I've just seen you say the flooring was already in place, so you didn't even pay for it! I'm sorry but I think you are expecting a bit much. You could view that you were very lucky to have that in place for the time you have been there. If you need to replace it, now you can choose your own. Central heating systems do break. They may need repairs. Its just part of living in a property.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 12-04-2018 at 4:18 PM.
    • scoey8
    • By scoey8 12th Apr 18, 4:32 PM
    • 20 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    scoey8
    Unless you have glue laminate, it can be taken up and relaid. I have done it for similar jobs to the one you need. If you have laminate, that is. If you have real wood flooring, I am afraid its one of the problems with it. But it might still be possible to relay it.

    With the central heating, I had the same problem. A few repairs that didn't work, then it broke again. In the end the council replaced the boiler and the radiators, which included some 15cm pipework which was replaced with 22 cm pipework. I think we were lucky and had a more senior engineer come round and he must have ordered the replacement although we did point out the problems and how old the system was (over 25 years) every time someone came round. Eventually I suspect we pressed the right button.

    I am afraid that if you want the major repair, and a working central heating system, you will probably have to be prepared to do some decorating and mess with your flooring. For me it was a fair exhange. Once the new system was in, the place was warmer, quicker and cost 1/3 less than previously.

    I've just seen you say the flooring was already in place, so you didn't even pay for it! I'm sorry but I think you are expecting a bit much. You could view that you were very lucky to have that in place for the time you have been there. If you need to replace it, now you can choose your own. Central heating systems do break. They may need repairs. Its just part of living in a property.
    Originally posted by deannatrois
    Hi there, understand what you are saying. However it is clear the heating system was not designed properly in the first place (hence recommendation for large pipework). And also the fault only occurred after the landlord accessed the pipework from the flat below. So i don't see as the system breaking but rather a combination of not being fit for purpose and being damaged by other works. Therefore incompetence by the landlord will leave me up to 1500 out of pocket to lay new carpet in 2 large rooms.

    And 14 engineer visits (plus 2 no shows) including breaking the boiler on 4 occasions, to an issue which the specialist auditor said should have been diagnosed in 1 visit is a joke. I have lost a weeks annual leave not to mention the countless hours chasing progress.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 12th Apr 18, 4:54 PM
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    deannatrois
    No the 15cm pipework is old. Now they use 22cm. It just wasn't upgraded in all areas, same as with mine. It happens whether in social housing or a purchased house. It probably wasn't even noticed. It wouldn't have been until detailed investigations were done. Same as with mine. It happens.

    It is annoying, there are times when the council actually pays out more in the end on inadequate repairs but you aren't paying for them directly so when you move into social housing, you don't have any control over who goes in and who is employed. That's the way it goes. I'm not condoning the council's actions, but you need some perspective.

    Believe you me you don't need to pay 1,500 for 2 rooms of carpet unless you are living in a palace. Just relay the floor you have. That you have had for free for x no. of years. I mean, you haven't been overly helpful, forcing the council to go through someone else's ceiling so you don't have to to take floors up you didn't even pay for?????????

    14 visits by engineers is very unfortunate, but it does happen. You should have bought your own place rather than going into social housing where they don't pay as much for repairs (and unfortunately repairs can be low standard) because they don't have the budget for it. One of the joys of social housing. In return you get rents that are less than private rents (more often than not) and a place you can normally live in as long as you want rather than risking being moved out every 6 months, or having to get a mortgage. Its not perfect, nothing is though.

    Deary me.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 12-04-2018 at 5:11 PM.
    • scoey8
    • By scoey8 12th Apr 18, 5:03 PM
    • 20 Posts
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    scoey8
    No the 15cm pipework is old. Now they use 22cm. It just wasn't upgraded, same as with mine. It happens whether in social housing or a purchased house. It probably wasn't even noticed. It wouldn't have been until detailed investigations were done. Same as with mine. It happens.

    Believe you me you don't need to pay 1,500 for 2 rooms of carpet unless you are living in a palace. Just relay the floor you have. That you have had for free for x no. of years.

    Deary me.

    I can still be suprised by entitlement it seems.
    Originally posted by deannatrois
    As i say the fault only came about when the landlord accessed the pipework from the flat below. Hence they have been negligent. Difference between entitlement and paying for the landlords poor workmanship.
    • scoey1001
    • By scoey1001 12th Apr 18, 5:31 PM
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    scoey1001
    Also i cannot simply relay floor as it is not allowed once taken up. So if your landlord caused a kink in your pipework when carrying out work in a neighbouring property then took 14 visits plus 2 no shows, losing you a week's annual leave, broke your boiler 4 times during said visits leaving you without heating and hot water to the whole property, you would be happy to foot the making good costs? Because that's what you are suggesting I do.
    • scoey1001
    • By scoey1001 12th Apr 18, 5:44 PM
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    scoey1001
    And I didn't force the council to take someone's ceiling down! They never asked to lift the floor otherwise i would have let them. So don't know where you got that from. Also rent is comparable to private in this area and unfortunately cannot afford a deposit to buy at this time. I just ask them to fix their mistake and make good.
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