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It's cold outside - and inside too!
December 1, 2012 9:14 AM   Subscribe

UKTenantFilter: My heating broke on friday at 2pm. The landlord turned up at 4 but didn't fix it then because he 'wanted daylight to work on it'. Today (saturday) he said it couldn't be fixed because it needed a new fuse and 'nowhere that was open had one' - so we have to wait until Monday.

There are 4 students in the house. Currently there is one heated room, the lounge has an electric fire, but no central heating or hot water (including shower). We've been told they can lend us a portable heater but we have to share it because they only have one.

Are we being treated unreasonably? What should/can we do?

(note: I strongly suspect the landlord does not have plumbing qualifications but I don't know this for certain. He didn't seem to be very sure about what he was doing when looking at the boiler)
posted by fearnothing to Law & Government (4 answers total)
 
Can you borrow electric heaters from friends? One per room would be good. Or can some/all of you even stay with other people this weekend?

If your landlord is not a plumber by trade he should not be messing with your boiler, especially a gas boiler. If you suspect your landlord does not know what he's doing insist he bring in a specialist. If it is a gas boiler he's also supposed to provide you with an annual service certificate. Have you got that? If not that would also indicate your landlord is less than clear about his obligations. And that he doesn't really care about your safety.

As to your rights - find your tenancy agreement and read what it says about maintenance and emergency maintenance in particular? That's your starting point.

On Monday, take your tenancy agreement and go to your student union housing office and see if they can help in any way. And go to the Citizen's Advice Bureau. Between them they should be able to explain your rights and what you can do to make sure your heating is repaired safely. Take it from there.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:35 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Call your local council's Housing Standards office or similar. Shelter has some pages on disrepair in housing accommodation and what you can do about it.

Also, it seems highly unlikely that your landlord is a Gas Safe registered engineer, which is a requirement for working on the boiler. Making sure that work on a boiler is done by a competent person is very important. Improper work can, and does, result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
posted by grouse at 9:38 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe hardware stores don't have the fuse, but do you know who does probably have one in stock? An electrician. Start calling some, then tell the landlord you found one, and are they really going to force you to sleep in the cold when one is so easily available? Not to mention whether you all should suffer because the landlord's unprepared.
posted by rhizome at 9:54 AM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seconding everything koahiatamadl said. If your landlord isn't certificated he shouldn't be going anywhere near the boiler. If he isn't and he breaks or makes it unsafe anyone caught trying use it could be prosecuted, that's how serious it is.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:54 AM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


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