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  • FIRST POST
    • seashore22
    • By seashore22 14th Sep 18, 11:04 AM
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    seashore22
    Communal heating?
    • #1
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:04 AM
    Communal heating? 14th Sep 18 at 11:04 AM
    My daughter is bidding for social housing at the moment and has seen a new flat which is considerably more expensive that other older properties and also has communal heating. We have no experience of this type of heating and would appreciate some advice, pros and cons etc. She will be on a tight budget and is wary of taking on a property which is expensive to run.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by seashore22; 14-09-2018 at 11:12 AM.
Page 1
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 14th Sep 18, 11:13 AM
    • 8,819 Posts
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    Owain Moneysaver
    • #2
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:13 AM
    • #2
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:13 AM
    Run away quickly.

    Communal heating can be very expensive, especially if it's unmetered so no-one has any direct incentive to reduce consumption.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 14th Sep 18, 11:24 AM
    • 5,221 Posts
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    Cakeguts
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:24 AM
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:24 AM
    Find out if the cost of the heating is why the rent is so expensive. She may be paying for the heating as part of the rent?
    • seashore22
    • By seashore22 14th Sep 18, 11:25 AM
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    seashore22
    • #4
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:25 AM
    • #4
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:25 AM
    Thanks for the reply. That's what I suspected. Such a shame because a new property should be more energy efficient and less expensive, or that's what I hoped.
    • seashore22
    • By seashore22 14th Sep 18, 11:28 AM
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    seashore22
    • #5
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:28 AM
    • #5
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:28 AM
    Find out if the cost of the heating is why the rent is so expensive. She may be paying for the heating as part of the rent?
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    On homesearch it says that property benefits from communal heating and who provides it. Nothing about heating costs included. I think that's too much to hope for.
    • NaughtiusMaximus
    • By NaughtiusMaximus 14th Sep 18, 11:33 AM
    • 1,351 Posts
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    NaughtiusMaximus
    • #6
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:33 AM
    • #6
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:33 AM
    Find out if the cost of the heating is why the rent is so expensive. She may be paying for the heating as part of the rent?
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    I know 3 people who rent flats in buildings with communal heating and in all 3 cases it's included as part of the rent so presume this is the norm.
    • seashore22
    • By seashore22 14th Sep 18, 12:41 PM
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    seashore22
    • #7
    • 14th Sep 18, 12:41 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Sep 18, 12:41 PM
    I know 3 people who rent flats in buildings with communal heating and in all 3 cases it's included as part of the rent so presume this is the norm.
    Originally posted by NaughtiusMaximus
    Is that likely to be true for local authority rentals as well? If so that would help a lot.
    • NaughtiusMaximus
    • By NaughtiusMaximus 14th Sep 18, 12:48 PM
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    NaughtiusMaximus
    • #8
    • 14th Sep 18, 12:48 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Sep 18, 12:48 PM
    Is that likely to be true for local authority rentals as well? If so that would help a lot.
    Originally posted by seashore22
    Of the 3 people I know, one is in a council tower block, one is in retirement flats and the other is renting from a housing association.
    • seashore22
    • By seashore22 14th Sep 18, 12:52 PM
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    seashore22
    • #9
    • 14th Sep 18, 12:52 PM
    • #9
    • 14th Sep 18, 12:52 PM
    Of the 3 people I know, one is in a council tower block, one is in retirement flats and the other is renting from a housing association.
    Originally posted by NaughtiusMaximus
    Thank you, that looks promising and the flat may be possible after all. Might be worth checking with the housing association.
    • WibblyGirly
    • By WibblyGirly 14th Sep 18, 6:35 PM
    • 427 Posts
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    WibblyGirly
    If it is included in the heating, I'd enquire about who has control over it or how it works, I hate being cold in winter so wouldn't want to pay all the extra in rent to find out it comes on at 12 degrees for 2 weeks in January.
    • Taiko
    • By Taiko 14th Sep 18, 9:28 PM
    • 2,542 Posts
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    Taiko
    It should have its own meter, as per Heat Network Regulations.

    You're going to be trapped into whatever the landlord is paying though, which may not be favourable.

    If you've got any information available, or even a link to the rent advert or something in the block, I'm happy to advise as someone experienced in dealing with these systems. A good one is great, but an unoptimised one is costly.
    • Annie35
    • By Annie35 15th Sep 18, 9:37 AM
    • 237 Posts
    • 195 Thanks
    Annie35
    I knew someone who lived in a council flat which was communally heated from the city incinerator. It was free/included & always on.
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 15th Sep 18, 10:48 AM
    • 1,049 Posts
    • 1,208 Thanks
    HampshireH
    Do not be misled into assuming that it is included.

    Call them and ask.

    Most flats with have an electric meter plus a heat meter. Both readings are taken and both accounts go into the customer name depending on which agreement is in place.

    Do not just assume. I also wouldnt waste a bid either until you know.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 15th Sep 18, 10:53 AM
    • 64,933 Posts
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    PasturesNew
    You need to find out more about the specific system that's installed.

    There have been many stories in the papers of people having HUGE bills. In short, if you're poor and want to spend 10/week on heating and just sit under a blanket, you can. With these systems, chosen by the middle classes who might have their heat pumping through their 5 bed house for 5-6 hours a day or even more ... the bills seem "so cheap, such a bargain".

    Heating might be included in the rent - or it might just be running on a central boiler and she's still individually billed. One expert looking at one system said that they're designed for heating to be on all the time, whereas poorer people turn heating on and off.... so they will never be in a position to benefit from the expensively installed central system.

    So, you need to ask questions about the system.... and bills. In writing preferably, but they probably don't like doing things in writing.
    • jonnygee2
    • By jonnygee2 15th Sep 18, 7:18 PM
    • 444 Posts
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    jonnygee2
    I've lived in two such places previously, and now I own one.

    All of the ones I lives in, the heating was included in the service charge, and therefore in the rent when I was renting. The majority are run on that basis, is my understanding.

    Of course, you are effectively paying for the heating in your service charge / rent. But, as they are mainly local council this is still reasonable. My service charge is 1500, far lower than the majority of private developments nearby, even though heating is included. Our gas bill, which only runs the oven/hobs, is about 7 / month so a big saving.

    Another fringe benefit - as water comes into the property in two places its generally impossible to fit a water meter. Therefore, if you ask the water company to fit a water meter and they can't, they have to give you a reduced rate, roughly halving the annual water bill.

    I'd say it suits you if you like to run the heating a lot. My partner is from a much warmer country, can't stand the cold, so it's a nice benefit to keep the house warm without worrying about the cost of doing this. You also get a nice, constant supply of very hot water - really great for families.

    If, though, she is being billed individually then I'd avoid it. I've seen my neighbours with their windows open all winter, I'd feel a bit !!!!ed off about paying for that!
    • boliston
    • By boliston 15th Sep 18, 9:18 PM
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    boliston
    communal heating sounds like a good idea as it avoids the need for an expensive boiler - they can cost a fortune to replace - also the idea of one boiler heating a whole block is probably more efficient
    • jonnygee2
    • By jonnygee2 15th Sep 18, 9:23 PM
    • 444 Posts
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    jonnygee2
    communal heating sounds like a good idea as it avoids the need for an expensive boiler - they can cost a fortune to replace
    Well, if the communal boiler goes, I think it gets replaced and the leaseholders are charged for major works.
    • Taiko
    • By Taiko 16th Sep 18, 1:39 AM
    • 2,542 Posts
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    Taiko
    I was three different setups at a housing association, all of which were bad. 1st was connected to a geothermal network, so they were tied in to a single supplier for the lifetime of the building. They then opted to have rented and leaseholders in the same block, fitting the rented customers with pre-payment meters. The main issue was the renters would then phone up to report their heating wasn't working, and the HA's in-house repairs team would go out and remove the valve from the pre-payment meter, things would work, tenants would be happy but the reality is they'd then get free heating for life because it wasn't reinstated.

    2nd one was in a 2015 new build, again attaching everything to different prepayment meters. Left before the project really took off, but it didn't look great.

    3rd was the worst one for me. They installed communal heating/CHP in a supported housing complex for the elderly. Everything submetered, and recharged quarterly to residents. Idea was to recover the costs, but their repairs staff were not actively maintaining the system, and so the CHP wasn't kicking in, resulting in more mains power being drawn. The worst part though was the calculations for the unit prices that they put in, which came to around 15p/kWh of heat, and for 1m3 of hot water was an eye-boggling 18. That's not a typo. One resident got charged almost 1000 in a quarter as they needed a lot of hot water.
    • seashore22
    • By seashore22 24th Sep 18, 8:45 AM
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    seashore22
    Thank you for all the replies and apologies for not returning sooner. She is waiting to hear if she has been shortlisted. If she is we will try to find out more about the actual system they have installed.
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