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Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience:  I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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I am a tenant, and the temperature in our rented property ranges

Resolved Question:

I am a tenant, and the temperature in our rented property ranges from 24 degC in the winter to 30+ degC in the summer months. I have bought powerful portable air conditioners, but they will only lower the temp by 2 degC max, and are expensive to run. I belive the problem is caused by a metal roof (we are on the top floor) and no insulation in the roof. The sun heats the roof and the heat radiates directly into the flat. We are expecting newborn twins in July and I need to find way to lower the temperature urgently.

I have two questions:
1) does the landlord have an obligation to insure the temperature is reasonably comfortable in the flat? If so, what exactly are his obligations here?
2) Would I be permitted to have roof insulation professionally installed without his permission?

Thanks for you advice!
Marty
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.

Matt Jones :

Hi I will try and help

Matt Jones :

where doe you live?

Matt Jones :

do

Matt Jones :

when you come back on line you can reply to the above. I am gong of line now so may reply a little later. Can you also let me know if you have complained about the heat. I know you have said that you have asked the Landlord to going halves on conditioning but did you explain why? How many times have you complained? and how long have you been in the property?

Customer:

Hi - I live in London (Putney). I have indicated to the landlord through his agent that the temperature is too hot as part of my request to install air conditioning. However, I did suggest that I would buy portable air conditioners since he was not willing to install fixed ones. Now that I have purchased portable units, I've discovered that they are not sufficient.

Customer:

We have lived here for about 1.5 years now, on a 2 year tenancy contract. We did not complain about the heat last summer - the difference this time is that we are expecting newborns and therefore are much more concerned about the temperature. Although after living through the heat last summer, we porbably would have raised it with him anyway this year.

Customer:

Hope this helps.

Matt Jones :

thanks

Matt Jones :

sorry for the delay. The landlords obligations for repair and maintenance are principally contained in section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (plus any obligations in the actual tenancy agreement itself)

Matt Jones :

the main provisions state that the Landlord is responsible for are

Matt Jones :

(a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling, including drains, gutters and external pipes,


(b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences) but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity, and


(c) to keep in repair and proper working order the installation in the dwelling for space heating and heating water.


 

Matt Jones :

to answer your two original questions therefore: - (1) the landlord has to ensure that the exterior of the property is properly repair to as to allow you to heat the property sufficiently, and to ensure that there is sufficiently working heating installations. this doesn't necessarily mean that just because there is a low efficiency roof that he has to change it as it may not be classed as a "repair" for the meaning of the act. The problem sounds like a latent defect in the structure of the building. A landlord would therefore only be under a duty to fix a problem like this if the latent defect was causing a disrepair. So for example you could argue that the roof was so bad that no installation for heating was going to be proved adequate to heat the property. If he refuses to replace, and you are forced to sue, then you would need a expert surveyors report to comment fully on this

Matt Jones :

(2) On the face of it you should ask for permission and your lease will say that you cant make any changes without his consent. However if you do it then the worse case scenario is that you will have to remove it and when you leave and make good. Of course it is up to you if you wish to go down that route.

Matt Jones :

one other thing to consider is something called the Defective Premises Act. This make a landlord liable for the personal injury of someone injured in their defective property (where they have had notice of the defect). of course you don't want your family and newborns injured, but you could use this as a threat that if the temperature issue causes illness or injury to your family you will sue for damages, and it is in his best interests to sort it now

Matt Jones :

I hope this helps.


Please ask any follow up questions you wish.


If you are happy then please leave positive feedback, the question wont close and then if you think of something later you can always come back and ask any further follow up questions.

Customer:

Thanks Matt, one more thought. If I did proceed with the insulation, are there any other liabilities I should consider. For example, if the insulation casued a problem some time in the future, would I be liable to the landlord for that, or would that liability fall to the company that installed the insulation?

Customer:

also, in the Landlord and Tenant act section 11, does 'heating' refer to both heating and cooling? I'm wondering if the landord has the responsibility to keep the exterior of the property in a condition that enables me to heat the property sufficiently, does that apply to cooling it as well?

Matt Jones : Thanks
Matt Jones : as to your liability as you are the contracting party with the landlord you are liable directly to him for any damage. Your contractor would then be liable to you if he were negligent
Matt Jones : As to the second point I think this is a trickier one to answer. I have not come across a case where the landlord has been held liable for disrepair for a tenant not being able to cool a property but that is not to say there hasn't been one. In the end your claim would be based on the inability to heat during the winter. The cooling issue would be a secondary point that would flow on from that
Matt Jones : Hope this helps further
Expert:  Matt Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hi do you have nay further question in this matter?

If you are happy then please leave positive feedback, the question wont close and then if you think of something later you can always come back and ask any further follow up questions.

I would be grateful if you could rate me for my time, otherwise I don't get paid. many thanks.
Matt Jones, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 671
Experience: I am a qualified and practising Solicitor with over 7 years post qualification experience
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