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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12918
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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My boiler in my flat is faulty and is causing my energy

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my boiler in my flat is faulty and is causing my energy bills to be much higher than they should be. my landlady says that she should only pay me the extra i have had to pay from the time that i told her of the issue with the boiler. i do check my bills but not every month and so i don't feel that i should be penalised for not checking my bills regularly ?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: yep ive spoken to my landlady and she has accepted that she will have to refund me some money but i want to know how far back from when i told her there was an issue with the boiler i can claim from her.
JA: Where is the flat located?
Customer: Bromley, Kent
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

My view is that you are due the money back from when you put the landlord on notice of the problem. You could either withhold rent to cover the shortfall or issue a small claim - either way, you need the money back.

To summarise the law, landlords must ensure the property is in good repair under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Meaning the boiler should not be faulty. A faulty boiler can also be a health hazard (carbon monoxide issues being the most serious) so it would be highly recommended to get it checked out, either from the council or a heating engineer.

Further, a recent law came in to force to provide more protection to tenants, which is the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 is not in force - the house or flat needs to be healthy, safe and fit for human habitation (free from things that could cause serious harm). So a faulty boiler would put the landlord in breach of this law.

If they do not, they face prosecution by the local council and can be fined. It would also be a breach of contract on their part. The only situations where a tenancy can be ended are, you finish the tenancy term or there is a break clause meaning you can end the tenancy part way through. Or the landlord agrees to you leaving early - usually if another tenant can be found. You could terminate but you would need evidence of repeated requests to the landlord to fix and they do nothing. If you terminated then they could sue and you may have to defend the claim in a civil court.

The Local Authority Environmental Health Officers have powers under the Housing Act 2004. They have a duty to ensure that properties in their area are in a habitable condition, and will serve improvement notices on landlords of properties which are assessed, under the new Housing Health and Safety Rating System as having ‘category 1 hazards’.

I would therefore recommend that you contact your local council (the housing department) in the first instance to report the matter and ask them if they can send someone out to do an emergency repair - if so, they will do the work and they will bill the landlord themselves.

You can reach yours here: https://www.bromley.gov.uk/forms/form/437/en/report_disrepair_in_your_private_rented_property

If for some reason the council cannot help, you would either have the option of paying it yourself and withholding rent or to instruct a heating engineer to come out and fix the problem and you then pursue the landlord for the money for the repair, plus the higher bill amount.

If the landlord does not pay or if they refuse for whatever reason, you can sue them in the county court for your losses on the money claim site (www.moneyclaim.gov.uk) although I recommend sending the landlord a letter before action to warn them of your intentions first and allow them 14 days to reimburse you. If they do not reimburse, you are free to issue a claim.

JimLawyer and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim