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What is a reasonable to expect in terms of hot water in a rented flat?

(23 Posts)
MrsHuxtable Thu 20-Oct-11 10:53:58

We've been renting our flat privately for 3.5 years. The boiler has always been shit but now I'm pregnant and it's getting colder, it's pissing me of to the point...well...I can't even describe it.

The building is from 2000, so not old. Our water doesn't get really hot at all, it goes warm, towards hot, hard to describe. For example, if you shower, all body parts that are not under direct water are freezing and by the time the water has hit the tub, it's cold. You couldn't sit in it therefore there's no change of taking a bath, ever.

Also the amount of "hot water" is ridiculous. It lasts a maximum of 10 minutes, not on full power. So we have to have 30 minute breaks between showers.

When we first moved in, there was no hot water at all for 2 weeks. The letting agent kept sending a boiler man who was useless. He must have been here 10 times back ten, and admitted at the end that he didn't really know what to do with or boiler either. All he achieved was to give us the 10 minutes of warm water.

We're trying to get out of our contract right now to move but the LL has not made up hiw mind yet. If he doesn't let us leave before the contract is up, do you think we can complain about the boiler situation?

I feel that if I'm renting a flat in the 21st century with a bathtub and pay the amount of rent we do, I should be able to have a bath sometimes.

JarethTheGoblinKing Thu 20-Oct-11 10:56:49

Totally daft question, and I'm sure you've already done this, but have you checked the thermostat on the front of the hot water tank?

(sorry if stating the obvious)

Emsmaman Thu 20-Oct-11 10:59:30

I think you're well within your rights to demand it gets sorted, whether you stay or not. It's another thing you just don't need to be worrying about once the baby comes (plus you will need the hot water for bathing the baby, relaxing yourself!). Unless LL is a real nightmare, I would try and stay where you are. We moved when DD was 2 months old and it was awful flat hunting with a newborn.

RunforFun Thu 20-Oct-11 11:01:07

I know exactly how you feel.

We are renting atm too and the shower in our room looks lovely, nice and big recently retiled. BUT the water coming out is too cold (despite the rest of the house having a good supply) The LL suggested running the cold water in the sink at the same time as thats what they used to do hmm

I've given up now and use a tiny shower in DDs room which is fine if you are a size 6 but anything bigger and its a bit of a wrestle.

I am just glad we are not here for the long term.

aquashiv Thu 20-Oct-11 11:05:52

Ring a plumber and ask if this is normal. I know one of my boilers has an anti scalding thermostat maybe that needs adjusting. As for the capacity 'It lasts a maximum of 10 minutes', that seems a long time not sure if I understand you there, some systems you do have to wait of them to heat up again.

MrsHuxtable Thu 20-Oct-11 11:06:12

Jareth by thermostat do you mean, a thing that shold show the temperature? If so, there isn't any on the whole boiler. I just went and checked. The boiler man checked all there is to check and says it's just a crap boiler.

Ems I'm 6 months pregnant now and have been yearning for a bath. Getting out of here would be my first choice, we have a flat we could move into. The move could be managed before Christmas. It has so many advantages I can't even describe. Staying here makes me depressed no end. We have horrible problems with or next door student neighbours as well. I haven't been able to sleep in weeks de to their noise.
But if we have to stay, I guess a bath would be a start.

kelly2000 Thu 20-Oct-11 11:07:46

The ll has to provide hot water. Contact the council and they will put you through to the department that deals with this. They can send someone around, and if they find there is not enough hot water they will tell you LL to fix it straight away.

Runforfun,
the bathroom has to be useable so it needs hot water, you can insist they repair it. But depending on your lease, they can also ask you to leave once it is up.

MrsHuxtable Thu 20-Oct-11 11:09:11

aqua We're not allowed to phone any workmen. It all has to go through the letting agent who has his contracted plumber. He is the one we've had out 10 times already.

NinkyNonker Thu 20-Oct-11 11:09:34

That would hack me right off. Our boiler does that on occasion and blimey is it irritating.

I am also a landlady, and if my tenants told me this was happening I would think it needed to be fixed, it is a problem.

MrsHuxtable Thu 20-Oct-11 11:13:08

I guess I have resigned myself to the fact that noone will do anything. What standatrs will the council expect? If you hold your hand under the shower, of course it feels warm. The plumber said, it felt fine ti him. But it's not hot on your body.

There is prob enough warm water to fill the bath up 1/6th at a push, prob less but like I said, once it hits the tub, it's cold.

I've just never experienced anything like this.

becstarsky Thu 20-Oct-11 11:15:22

That's awful. We're in a privately rented flat, our flat is warm, and the water in the shower is hot all day. (Of course we do pay the electricity bill which is extortionate!) Check with your local citizens advice about who you can complain to - a council dept that deals with landlord/tenant disputes maybe? And if not, and you're feeling miserable then it does make sense to move. We're forecast a cold winter, you don't want to have a newborn baby in a very cold flat.

Firawla Thu 20-Oct-11 11:16:26

yanbu to expect hot water, what has the landlord said about it? if they are not seeming bothered about fixing it and u have another flat u could go to, then personally i would just move but hopefully the ll will agree to it so u can get your deposit back easily

MrsHuxtable Thu 20-Oct-11 11:17:44

Ninky you sound like a lovely landlady. We spoke to our LL yesterday about the moving thing and he is a pure business man. Has many, many flats and only cares about the money he makes. He wasn't the slightest bit interested in the noise issue either.

Wish he'd kick us out now. Is there any legal way of making this happen? I'm not even sure if I'm joking.

blackeyedsusan Thu 20-Oct-11 11:19:11

fill it up with the water you have got and add 2 kettles full of boiling water to heat it up enough to have a bath. not ideal, but it will give you a warm bath. try the council as someone has suggested.

JarethTheGoblinKing Thu 20-Oct-11 11:19:46

Yes, something like www.deaexampractice.com/images/q7.jpg this. It does just sound like a knackered boiler though.

Might be worth a word with the CAB - they might have some advice for you about getting it sorted/getting out of your contract.

Get the plumber round again and fill the bath up, rather than running the shower? Might illustrate the point better.

ItWasABoojum Thu 20-Oct-11 11:20:35

Could you advertise the flat yourselves, on Gumtree or something? Presumably the landlord would be happy to let you out of the contract if he knew that somebody was waiting to replace you.

Either way, he needs to sort the boiler - there's no way any tenant should put up with not having hot water. If the letting agents aren't doing their job and getting it sorted, report them to ARLA if they're members, or speak to your local council. In my experience, letting agents love to take the piss on the assumption that you won't do anything officially. As soon as you do, they tend to sort themselves out sharpish.

JarethTheGoblinKing Thu 20-Oct-11 11:20:36

Meant to copy the following from my CAB link

"The landlord’s general responsibilities
By law, your landlord has a number of repairing responsibilities, including repairing and keeping in working order:-

•the structure and exterior of the premises, including drains, gutters and external pipes
•the water and gas pipes and electric wiring (including, for example, taps and sockets)
•the basins, sinks, baths and toilets
•fixed heaters (for example, gas fires) and water heaters (but not gas or electric cookers).
Your landlord has these duties by law, no matter what is written in the tenancy agreement. However, if you ask your landlord to do these repairs they may attempt to regain possession of the property or not renew the agreement when it expires. Before attempting to use this general right to repairs you should consult an experienced adviser.

MrsHuxtable Thu 20-Oct-11 11:22:34

Well, communication about this has been through our very incompetent letting agent who in turn speaks to the plumber. The plumber says he fixed it as much as he can, it's just the way the hot water in the bathroom works.

DH didn't want to start about this as well to the LL yesterday, as or first choice due to the noise is to get out of here before the baby comes. So this is actually me being a pain in the arse moaning about it. DH doesn't need baths and is happy with warm shower. He didn't even have warm water growing up.

kelly2000 Thu 20-Oct-11 11:26:44

Contact the council, if they decide it is not good enough they can stop him renting it out. I would tell your letting agent that if either it is not fixed, or you are not released from the tenancy you are going to contact the council's environmental health department. You can also contact the ombudsman your letting agent belongs to to get advice and make a complaint. The council are the peopel to speak to though if you want it fixed.

MrsHuxtable Thu 20-Oct-11 11:28:01

Itwas we're also not allowed to advertise for new tenants ourselves. LL said he'll let us out if the letting agent tells him there is a good chance of finding a new tenant. So it's all up to the letting agents personal opinion I guess.

But who'd want to move into a 2 bed city centre flat in at this time of year? The students have all just started and are sorted.

And yes, it's a good idea to show the plumber the bath situation.

BUT

Do I have a right to having a bath? Seems like they might argue it's a luxury and a warm shower should do.

Thanks for the links.

MrsHuxtable Thu 20-Oct-11 11:32:19

Little anecdote:

When we moved in and there was only cold water, we contacted the letting agent immediatelly. Took him days, not to call a plumber but to come out himself. He turned the tap on, put his hand under it and after 5 minutes said "hmmm, yeah, that's cold!" Didn't know if he was trying to insult us.

kelly2000 Thu 20-Oct-11 12:11:53

If you have a bath in the flat, then you have a right to be able to use it. Anything like that the landlord has to make sure it is in working order. If you really wnat to move out, you could threaten the landlord with both the council and the small claims court for back rent for not having a bath despite the agreement being for a flat with a bath. He might be keener for you to go if he thinks the alternative is court. But be careful about the deposit.

eurochick Thu 20-Oct-11 12:30:03

If it's that bad, can you afford to get your own plumber out (at your own expense)? You shouldn't have to, but if you are not getting anywhere with the letting agent and you are uncomfortable living with so little hot water, maybe it is worthwhile just seeing if you can sort it yourself. And if that plumber says the boiler is knackered, you then have some ammunition to use with the agent and LL.

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