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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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landlord wont make repairs

Resolved Question:

I'm hoping that someone here can help, last November our landlord had a combi-boiler installed the installation was flawed. We called out gas safe who found a long list of problems the installer came back out and only fixed the flue, lagged the loft and made a small adjustment to the pressure relief pipe. this still left us with an incorrectly fitted condensate drain pipe that is still leaking, a connected filling loop that is leaking water into the system (which i have to drain regularly to prevent the system over-pressurizing at the advice of the manufacturer), plastic push fit joints connected directly to the boiler (that violate the manufacturer's instructions on installation and are a leak risk due to temperature and system pressure), an over pressure exhaust pipe over a door and finally a usage of £4 per day in gas (£3 of witch is being used to heat water) due to the boiler being fitted int the loft resulting in a huge amount of pipe work between the boiler and the taps in both bathroom and kitchen. I have spoken to the letting agent and landlord about this these problems and was told that they didn't have to do them as there was no danger and they weren't required to do the work. I have spoken with independent gas engineers, a gas safe engineer and the letting agent's own contracted plumber who have all agreed that this installation is wrong and has a risk of causing a serious leak because of the over-pressurization cause by the filling loop leaking into the system. As a final insult the letting agent told me that i had no legal ground to stand on about getting this work done despite the risk. In the last few days a representative of the environmental health came out and recommended that i seek legal advice. in hopes that you can help simon wright

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Do you have any form of written report from gassafe please identifing the problems you refer to?

Customer:

Yes one report from before the flue repair and one after detailing the work that hadn't been done

Joshua :

Thanks. From what you say the latter report sites certain aspects of the installation is remaining potentially hazardous or dangerous?

Joshua :

You mentioned you had a visit from an environmental health officer. Was this an HHSRS inspection - if you don't recognise the term it probably wasn't

Customer:

I'm afraid I don't recognize the term, all I know is that I called the local environmental health department and they sent out an inspector to look at the boiler and see if they could help.

Joshua :

Sorry for the delay in reverting to you. Thanks for the above. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 places an implied term in every tenancy that the landlord must keep in repair the structure, sanitary installations and exterior of the property which means among other things he must maintain and repair the boiler. Landlords can also be held liable if they have failed to provide a safe and healthy environment for their tenants. You could consider using or threatening to use the HHSRS inspection system and ask an HHSRS officer at the environmental department at the local council to carry out a health and safety assessment of the property. They have the power to serve improvement notices on the landlord to remedy any areas which do not come up to standard.

Joshua :

There is a raft of legislation and regulations to protect tenants in respect of landlords repair obligations. The landlord provides for duties under statutory legislation. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides that the Landlord has a duty of care to provide adequate and safe conditions in their properties and the Housing Act 2004 introduced the Housing Health and Safety Rating System which shifted assessment towards health and safety impact. Each council is responsible for developing its own policy but most have a substantive list of requirements that address mould, damp structure and so on which goes beyond the boiler but includes the same. There is a useful guide to the same here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/9425/150940.pdf.

Joshua :

Each local authority is responsible for preparing its own HHSRS policy put it must conform to the principles laid down by the above document. You will note on page 9 that the HHSRS regulations require that all equipment necessary to supply gas must be fully,safely and correctly installed in order to be compliant.

Joshua :

The environmental health department can inspect the property to ensure it meets HHSRS standards and serve enforcement notices on the landlord where necessary. Depending on their report you may be able to claim a reduction in rent for the period the property has failed to meet standards.

Joshua :

There are some alternative approaches. If the property does not benefit from a current gas certificate you could notify the health and safety executive which can impose a fine. http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/faqtenant.htm

Joshua :

If the boiler is less than 12 months old or is dangerous you could ask building control to take enforcement action against the landlord under building regulations.

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Joshua :

Finally if you have a report that indentifies the installation as dangerous and sets out corrective action required to regularise the installation you could seek your own contractor to come and fix the issues and look to the landlord for the cost. If you adopt the approach you should ideally obtain two quotes ensuring you limit the work to that which is required to make the installation safe and use the cheapest. In addition you should consider notifying the landlord direct or through his agent of the report and your intention to carry out the work yourself and look to the landlord for the cost given the landlords failure to carry out the work himself unless he reverts to you within 7-10 days with confirmation that the work will be carried out. You can refer to the landlords liability to do so under the above legislation. You can then if he still does not carry out the work look to the landlord for the costs of the work via the county court. The simplest way to do this is by using www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

Customer:

sorry for not getting back to you before now i have bad headaches that make it hard to do things, the information you've provided looks like it might do the trick who do i contact to perform the inspection and have any findings enforced ?

Joshua :

I am glad the above was of some assistance. On a non legal related matter if you are getting headaches, in view of what you have said above, may I recommend you consider getting a carbon monoxide detector just to be on the safe side and in the meantime open some windows. Headaches can be a sympton of CM poisoning.

Joshua :

In relation to your query, you can request an HHSRS inspection by asking to speak to one of the officers at the local authority that enforce HHSRS regulations. They will typically work within the environmental health department.

Joshua :

Are you happy with the information I have provided to you above or is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

thank you for all you help regards simon, (the headaches are an old complaint)

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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