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to be seething with estate agents/landlord.

(31 Posts)
Ineedmango Sun 30-Nov-14 21:53:12

Will explain so as not to drip feed..

Moved house at beginning of June into a rented house managed by the estate agents. It needed a LOT of work to make it presentable which the estate agents agreed with us on so they came to an agreement with the landlord to waiver the third months rent for redecoration. We are talking every single room needed stripping and filling and painting, there was damp in places, the kitchen ceiling was hanging down in one corner, you get my drift. money was spent on the redecoration ad well as plenty more of my own money.

I keep the house neat & presentable Inc gardens front and back. The issue is that the boiler is an old immersion heater. We quickly discovered after moving in that there was no hot water running. The shower was also broken. Me (pregnant), dp and dc who is 1 for the first three months had no access to running hot water or a working shower. Think no baths, showers and piles of dishes in the kitchen. grim! They got shower sorted which is electric. kept sending people out to fix the boiler but it has never actually been done (men not turning up or not having correct parts ect) and they are too tight to replace it. It has never worked. We have been fobbed off time and time again but I just want to cry.
We can only do dishes by boiling a kettle. We can only have showers. now winter is setting in its so so cold. Mil was brilliant and brought plug in radiators round which will obviously cost a lot to run and because one is permanently in dcs room the other has to be carried upstairs & downstairs every day & night. Since the weather has gone cold we have all been affected and usually a healthy family, we are now entering into week three of ill. We all have throats that are only viral but it feels like swallowing razor blades. mucous coughing up, blocked noses, struggling to breathe at times and it has been like this incessantly for the last fortnight not getting any better. docs confirmed it's just viral although my dc is now on antibiotics but as we still don't have heating I just don't know when it will end. I feel so awful. There's nobody we can stay with in the meantime.

estate agents after many many complaints have agreed to replace the boiler by sending our details to one of those free government schemes. They called me up and said would ring back and that was a week and a half ago. I was out shopping at the time I didn't even get the company name. I don't know how much longer this is going to take to be sorted out but it's a nightmare.

does anybody know how long these things take to complete? I'm worrying about bringing a new baby home to a house without heating and hot water. I've had other problems with the pregnancy and we're really skint right now. We're paying (struggling to pay) full rent for a house that is making us ill and miserable. I'm worrying about ending up in debt with energy companies through using the kettle and heaters so much. Please give me some mumsnet sensible advice because I just feel miserable. I want to ring my mum and have a good chat about it all but I can only whisper at the moment because my throat is still so bad sad . I know people have far worse problems but it feels like we are being taken the piss out of a little bit.

scarletforya Sun 30-Nov-14 21:57:55

A little bit?

I'd stop paying rent until it's sorted, that'll get their attention.

grumpyoldgitagain Sun 30-Nov-14 22:00:33

Sounds like they are taking the piss a lot

You shouldn't have to get a free boiler the landlord and agents have a duty to ensure your property is fit for habitation

Suggest to the agents that you will get the boiler replaced and provide them the plumbers invoice in place of rent as you will have paid it when they should have done

That suggestion should get some action

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 30-Nov-14 22:04:51

PLEASE don't stop paying your rent. Get in touch with Shelter, they will give you the right advice. england.shelter.org.uk

Fabulous46 Sun 30-Nov-14 22:08:12

I agree you should contact Shelter. Your tenancy agreement should state what the landlord is responsible for. I know the agreements our tenants have states we are responsible for heating and hot water (which includes the boiler). It sounds as if they are trying to shirk their responsibilities to me.

tiredgranny Sun 30-Nov-14 22:13:06

contact environmental health at local council.

ThePinkOcelot Sun 30-Nov-14 22:19:08

Is there something else going on in the house to make you all ill? Damp, ,mould or something? I ask because I grew up in a house with no central heating and whilst not pleasant in winter, we werent ill because of that.

lotsofcheese Sun 30-Nov-14 22:22:11

When is your tenancy agreement up?

LadySybilLikesCake Sun 30-Nov-14 22:22:56

Good point, ThePink. Have they checked the boiler recently? Do you have a gas safety certificate for it?

specialsubject Sun 30-Nov-14 22:23:24

no, this is in no way good enough. Do contact environmental health. Do not with-hold rent, that's two wrongs. Yes, the piss is being taken by renting you a dump. This is disgusting.

no, it is not making you directly ill, being a bit cold doesn't do that.

simple answer - give notice and leave. It isn't even cheap,why stay?

Ineedmango Sun 30-Nov-14 22:24:51

Thank you guys. Obviously I've considered withholding the rent before, but it worries me because money is so so so tight for us at the moment that if they took legal action against me or sent it to a debt collection agency or something I'm not sure I'd be able to afford to pay it back. I'm genuinely scared of this. We are living penny by penny at the moment and not in a great situation, not by choice. I just feel so so stuck.
I emailed the week before the shower finally got fixed asking for an abatement (discount on the rent, I genuinely couldn't afford to pay it because we had spent so much money trying to shower ect) and their reply was "no, we don't do that".

ReallyTired Sun 30-Nov-14 22:26:38

I second the advice of contacting shelter or possibly contact the citizen's advice bureau for advice from someone who knows what they are talking about.

If you have no decent way of getting hot water and heating then the house is unfit for human habitation.

england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/repairs_in_private_lets/court_action_to_get_repairs_done

You need well considered advice as there is a risk that the landlord could evict you if he is ordered to do repairs. Depends how you would feel about eviction.
Get very careful advice before refusing to pay your rent as it could backfire. Being evicted for non payment of rent would make it harder to get social housing. It is better for the landlord to evict you because he doesn't want to do repairs.

Ineedmango Sun 30-Nov-14 22:26:49

Lots of cheese agreement is up in June but we can't afford to move and we are quite lucky to have found a house in this village.

KnackeredMuchly Sun 30-Nov-14 22:27:28

You can't withhold rent, although you shouldn't be paying them. They sound like Grade A slum landlords.

Please get in touch with Shelter.

KnackeredMuchly Sun 30-Nov-14 22:28:13

*call Shelter for advice not to rehome you.

brimfullofasha Sun 30-Nov-14 22:28:44

Our local council have a
'Private rented standards' team who will come and do an inspection. They have various enforcement powers (including carrying out the work and billing the landlord) but often the visit is enough to make landlords comply. I would contact your local council housing team to see if they have similar.

TraceyTrickster Sun 30-Nov-14 22:33:06

as a landlord, when the boiler/water/heating has stopped working (once was a frozen pipe outside the house), I am obliged to get it repaired asap. My managing agents tell ME the landlord what is my legal obligation, So it sounds like the EA are out of their depth and the lkandlord avoiding expense.

It should be repaired, bill sent to EA and taken out of the rent submitted to the landlord.

lotsofcheese Sun 30-Nov-14 22:34:02

OP, is your landlord registered? Apologies if it's different in England, here in Scotland they have to be, and also to produce an energy performance certificate , which might give you ammunition if your landlord had complied with the legislation.

ReallyTired Sun 30-Nov-14 22:35:50

Is your deposit in a proper desposit protection scheme? Do you have a valid gas safety certificate? I believe you can get help from your local council environmental health to force your landlord to carry out repairs if your home is unfit for habitiation.

addictedtobass Sun 30-Nov-14 22:40:58

Contact shelter. You can't stop paying rent but you can say you want money off. Check your contract as well, you may be entitled to break the tenancy if they are seen not to be keeping up their end of things.

DixieNormas Sun 30-Nov-14 22:43:56

Try the council, they rehoused us in the end. We had no heating or hot water for a year though

Blossomy14 Sun 30-Nov-14 23:00:28

I agree contact Shelter. And the free boiler scheme - well it will depend on availability and your own personal circumstances - but if you are entitled it can take many months to get sorted. I waited 2 years for mine, this included surveys, negotiations, refusals, further surveys, budget for that tax year run out etc. It was a nightmare to get sorted out and should not be relied upon to get a dodgy boiler replaced urgently.

ReallyTired Sun 30-Nov-14 23:05:05

Free boiler schemes usually don't apply to private buy to let. They are designed for homeowners who struggle to afford a new boiler. Quite rightly it is usually assumed that a landlord is financially rolling in it and can easily afford the 2K for a new boiler. A few years ago there were schemes that paid for the repayment of a WORKING boiler which was not enviomentally friendly. After all why should Joe tax payer's money pay for a landlord's new boiler?

Contacting shelter and your council is a good move.

PigletJohn Sun 30-Nov-14 23:18:14

I have heard stories about landlords moving their granny into a flat, who then gets a subsidised boiler. They then move granny into another of their flats, and get a new boiler in that one too.

I am not aware of any rules to prevent that happening, though I think it is very undesirable.

I do know one person, on Pension Credit in a private rental, who had a new boiler installed in her (landlord's) flat just over a year ago. Since the landlord owns the flat and gets the benefit of any increase in value, I think the landlord should pay for maintenance and improvement of their properties. Not the taxpayer.

Blossomy14 Sun 30-Nov-14 23:20:12

ReallyTired - that is wrong. I got free boiler and radiators - and I rent. And Piglet I think you have to wait 2 years until you can apply again.

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