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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 23746
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I’m in England. We moved into a rented property 2 months

Customer Question

Hi, I’m in England. We moved into a rented property 2 months ago, tied in to a 12 month minimum rental. The night we moved in we found the boiler was broken (no heating or hot water). The landlord got a plumber out 2 days later who reported that the boiler needed replacing. We have also found paperwork from February from the British Gas inspection saying that it was in poor condition and the parts are obsolete.The landlord refused to accept this so got another plumber out who did a temporary fix and has also says that it needs replacing. The landlord has agreed to replace it but not until July (as this is when their preferred plumber can first do). In the meantime we are stuck with a boiler that is constantly leaking water into our kitchen, making disconcerting noises and may stop working at any point. We have been told it is Unlikely to be unsafe, but obviously it may give up working and we are concerned as we are also going away for a week in June so don’t know if it will break/ leak (or explode)during that time. Our neighbours have told us the previous tenants had lots of issues with it and you can tell from the warped wood underneath that it has been leaking for a while. On top of that, the garden gate was broken when we first viewed the house. We were told it would be fixed before we moved in and it still hasn’t been. This means the property is less secure and as we have a dog we also have to barricade it so that we can allow the dog in the garden. We are paying £1600/ month in rent to live in a house with a broken boiler and I was wondering what our rights are in terms of either getting a rebate on the rent and breaking our tenancy agreement so that we can move elsewhere before the 12month clause? In my mind the landlord isn’t upholding their side of the agreement and it’s also a huge inconvenience having to keep chasing the estate agent (it is a managed service so we deal with the estate agent not the landlord) and we will have all the disruption of getting the boiler replaced which could have been done in the 6 weeks the property was vacant before we moved in.
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: No, wouldn;’t know where to start
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this?
Customer: no, this is why I’m here - to see if there is any point in discussing this with a solicitor
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no
Submitted: 18 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 18 days ago.

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist you with this today.

Please bear with me as I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Has this landlord provided you with a current gas safety cert?

has he shown you evidence that he has protected your deposit?

do you have hot water at moment?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Thank you Stuart.Yes there is a gas safety certificate from February 2021.Yes the deposit is protected (arranged via the Estate Agent).Yes we do currently have hot water.A plumber replaced a part to get the hot water working 2 weeks ago. Same plumber visited yesterday (he is the one the landlord uses) and found a broken valve (no idea what). He couldn’t tell us what was causing the noises. He said there was no point in doing anything with the valve or taking the boiler apart as the whole thing will be replaced in a month. His words were “it’s not dangerous - I’d have it in my house, but I’d want to replace it asap”
Expert:  Stuart J replied 18 days ago.

With the gas boiler there is no such thing as “likely to be unsafe”.  It is either safe or not.  Although you do say unlikely to be unsafe, I think you mean likely to be unsafe.  Please confirm.

Whilst I am aware of your concern about it exploding, a Gas Safe engineer would seal it off if there was any danger of that so that really isn’t part of the equation.

There is no claim for “may stop working” although you do have a claim under section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act for landlords breach of repairing covenant in respect of the water leak and the downtime.

You are entitled to compensation but you are not entitled to end the tenancy early or for a rebate in rent unless the landlord agrees.

On the other hand, if the Environmental Health Officer at the local authority declares the property unfit for habitation, you can walk away with impunity.  It’s unlikely you would get that notification.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Thanks for your thoughts so far Stuart.If we did want to pursue a claim for compensation under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, how would we go about that?I don't want to end up out of pocket but there's 2 litres of water dripping out that boiler a day and we've still no date to rectify it
Expert:  Stuart J replied 6 days ago.

Unless you have experience of section 11 claims, you might want to try a local solicitor who may deal with it on a no win no fee basis.

Alternatively, if you can get a Gas Safe engineer to say that the boiler is dangerous, he will shut it off and then the property is unfit for human habitation and then you are entitled to a lot more money.

You might need to ring round an awful lot of solicitors but you can search by postcode and specialism on the Law Society website find a solicitor link which is at the top left hand corner of the page.