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Been asked if we could pay rent in advance so that landlord can replace boiler

(45 Posts)
Pemba Mon 09-Jan-17 18:49:26

Bit of an odd one!

We are renting a house, we have lived here five years, the house suits us fine and the location is very convenient. Also the rent has not been raised since we moved in.

Since October there have been problems with the gas boiler. It's very noisy and the downstairs radiators are not working (we are using electric heaters that we bought - dreading the next electricity bill). The whole system needs flushing apparently. It's a combi boiler and still OK for hot water. Other people looked at it and it was determined that it would actually be cheaper to replace the boiler.

The landlord asked for another quote, which he got before Christmas. He also apparently asked if the plumbers would allow him to pay on credit. Having heard nothing since before Christmas I got in touch a few days ago to be told I would be updated soon and things were looking positive.

Today I was a bit gobsmacked when the letting agent got in touch and suggested that one way forward would be for us to pay six months rent in advance, so that the landlord could use that to pay for it. I said I would think about it.

I suppose we could just about scrape the up the money, but this is a bit dodgy isn't it? Sounds like the landlord may be in trouble. On the other hand, it does suit us living here and the rent is cheap.

What does anyone think?

Ilovewillow Mon 09-Jan-17 18:53:47

I think you would be well advised to refuse and possibly consider looking for a new house. If as a landlord you can't afford to replace a boiler either with cash or credit then he may well be experiencing some financial difficulties.

TDmoocher Mon 09-Jan-17 19:11:22

I would be worried, what if the roof leaks? How will the ll afford the repairs? What if he takes your rent then gives you 2 months notice to leave?

I once lived in a flat which developed a serious fault. There was weeks of dealing with ll and letting agent until it was repaired. Letting agent let slip that the ll insurance refused to pay out as he was, in their view, responsible for the issue. I moved quite quickly after that.

Baylisiana Mon 09-Jan-17 19:27:03

That would worry me a bit, because the wider financial picture for your landlord must be quite bad if they have had to ask this, and it could potentially affect you. Not unsympathetic to the landlord's trouble, but I would be considering moving on.

littlejoshua Mon 09-Jan-17 19:27:10

who is the letting agent?! that is ridiculous.

if you are renting through an agent I would definitely be demanding it get fixed. how can you go through the colder months of the year with some radiators not working.

you definitely have rights as tenants for things like the boiler not working properly.

I would ring the agent and ask them what your rights are and if they don't know then ring citizens advice see if they can answer or suggest where you would find advice.

this might help:

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/repairs-in-rented-housing/disrepair-what-is-it/how-to-report-repairs/

good luck

Pemba Mon 09-Jan-17 19:27:47

Thanks for the advice. I think you're probably right. I did think that TDMoocher what if he takes the advance rent and then gives us notice, or (who knows) the house gets repossessed?

Oh dear it's not looking good is it? sad Just been looking on Rightmove.

I don't know why this landlord (who presumably is fortunate enough to own at least 2 properties) thinks it's OK to effectively ask for a loan from his tenants!

Testificateman Mon 09-Jan-17 19:28:38

6 months??? No way. Is he getting a gold plated boiler or something? Even if you are paying £300 a month, £1800 would cover the cost of a boiler.
I'd start looking for somewhere else to live cos, if he's got money problems, he'll either, up the rent or, have to sell up quickly.

HeddaGabbler Mon 09-Jan-17 19:30:51

No way Op! If anything your rent should be being reduced for the inconvenience of no proper heating for 3 months. You could pay the money up front and he could leave you high & dry. I used to be a letting agent and I'm horrified they would suggest this to you. Very unprofessional.

OneWithTheForce Mon 09-Jan-17 19:35:23

shock

That's a brass neck and then some!

The landlord is supposed to have built up a maintenance fund for all repairs and replacements. Basically they are saying they are skint, they don't know how to run a business and if the roof falls in they can't afford to rehouse you or repair it.

I'd move ASAP!

RenterNomad Mon 09-Jan-17 19:35:37

Dodgy. As. Hell. Are you able to give notice? If your LL is this behind with money, there will be more problems ahead. He's unlikely to have been doing much maintenance!

PinkFluffiUnicorn Mon 09-Jan-17 19:40:19

I rent too, that would worry me, if they can't afford to sort out boiler, what else can't they afford, insurance,mortgage, etc maybe need to look for somewhere else, and since they have asked such an unusual request, if you feel like asking to meet them to discuss it? What if you pay 6 months in advance and then need to leave?

specialsubject Mon 09-Jan-17 19:40:28

Property ownership is not a matter of luck or fortune. But renting out properties comes with costs, and it sounds like your ll can't afford or won't pay. Which may not be unconnected with the low rent.

Paying six months in advance doesnt cost you more , think noses and faces. But make damn sure the payment is recorded and secured. Of course one way could be for you to pay for the boiler and deduct the cost from the rent, which ensures the job gets done.

BTW how are all the other legals?

Pemba Mon 09-Jan-17 19:44:48

Testificate yes, that's another thing. They sort of let slip to me how much the new boiler would cost in December and it was a lot less than 6 month's rent. Unless he is suddenly getting a gold-plated one, like you say. I'm a bit suspicious, why is he asking for so much up front?

Hedda thanks for your perspective that they are being unprofessional. I suppose, to be fair to them the previous time I spoke to them they seemed to be as frustrated with the landlord as we are. As an agent, what would you have done about a landlord who couldn't or wouldn't deal with his responsibilities and was hard to contact?

specialsubject Mon 09-Jan-17 19:48:57

An agent would do nothing about those things. The buck stops with the landlord.

How to rent? Epc? Gas safe ? Smoke alarms?

OneWithTheForce Mon 09-Jan-17 19:50:51

They sort of let slip to me how much the new boiler would cost in December and it was a lot less than 6 month's rent.

I'm going to suggest landlord is behind with his mortgage and needs to pay off a big whack now to prevent next step of action from lender.

Seriously, I'd move.

MrsJayy Mon 09-Jan-17 19:54:38

Landlord is obviously struggiling i would do as suggested and look for a new place its not up to you to finance boilers

Pemba Tue 10-Jan-17 01:50:07

DH thinks 'to help out' we could offer 2 or 3 months rent upfront, which should cover the cost of the new boiler. He laughed at six months, said we can't afford it. We do obviously have financial commitments of our own. Or perhaps it would be safer to offer to pay the plumber directly, as per Special's suggestion.

But actually thinking about it I think it might be foolish to do even that. We are on a rolling contract, so could be evicted on 2 months notice. Plus we actually have no idea of the landlord's financial position, whether there is a mortgage on this place or anything. Letting Agent told me cagily (in a bid for sympathy perhaps) 'he is not working' but I have no idea whether this means he has lost his job or just retired.
.
If I knew the landlord personally and knew he was having temporary financial difficulties I might feel it was worth doing, as really we'd prefer to stay. But we just don't know him. Twice I have requested his home address from the agents, which they have ignored. Yet they expect us to effectively hand him a large-ish loan!

I think the best thing would be to keep on trying to get him to pay up, meanwhile searching for other properties, though it would be a shame to move.

Pemba Tue 10-Jan-17 02:14:31

And Special thanks for your helpful suggestions about getting everything documented if we do pay in advance, etc. But I do take issue with some of the other comments you made.

'*Property ownership is not a matter of luck or fortune*'. Well of course it is in the majority of cases! Whether it be family money used to put down large deposits, houses inherited outright, being of the right age at the right time to buy before prices became stupid, or simply having the ability to earn large amounts, not getting ill or having family misfortune, etc. etc. Is that not good fortune? But I am sure you will be back to say how hard landlords work, etc, am I right? Anyway, not to get too political:

'*Paying six months in advance doesn't cost you more, think noses and faces*' Apart from the slight loss of interest, we might need that money ourselves. If I knew for a fact the landlord was not in serious financial difficulties and would be keeping us on as tenants indefinitely, then it might be worth it. But as I simply don't know and am unlikely to find out, it would be silly to take the risk. I have to be wary and protect my family. Just as I am sure you would be the first to advise a landlord not to take on a tenant who might be risky.

VimFuego101 Tue 10-Jan-17 02:17:21

Agree with the previous poster who said he's behind on the mortgage...

lokisglowstickofdestiny1 Tue 10-Jan-17 02:20:34

I'd be looking to move as soon as your tenancy agreement allows.

HappyGoLuckyGirl Tue 10-Jan-17 02:23:29

If you don't have his home address you are legally within your rights to withold rent until it is provided.

Pemba Tue 10-Jan-17 02:27:04

We can leave with a month's notice loki.

The landlord is being very silly I think. He should try and borrow the money elsewhere - family perhaps if he can't get a bank loan? Because if we do leave because of this, he will quite likely get a void period (no rent) and have to pay the agency to find new tenants. Plus he'll have to replace the boiler anyway for the new tenants! Why does he not realise this!

Pemba Tue 10-Jan-17 02:31:29

I understand that's not the case, HappyGoLucky. I looked it up. The agency have to provide the address but legal opinions vary as to whether 'care of the letting agents' is sufficient or not. I don't think the rent can be withheld for that reason. Shame!

lokisglowstickofdestiny1 Tue 10-Jan-17 02:33:46

Probably because he thinks you are settled there - 5 years is a long time to rent the same place and because he hasn't raised your rent. He's banking on you not wanting to go through the hassle of moving. He has financial difficulties, I don't rent now but did in the past and wouldn't rent from someone if I knew they were struggling. I gave notice on one place when the landlords credit card company starting sending debt collectors around. He hadn't bothered notifying them of a change of address so I also got letters from his mortgage company, which I marked gone away - so he hasn't told them he was renting out the property either!

Pemba Tue 10-Jan-17 03:19:18

I think you're right loki. Have never received any mail for him, but still he must have problems, or they wouldn't be suggesting this. Quite worrying.

Just been searching more intensively online and realising how much everything else has gone up in the last five years! shock

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