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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71151
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi there, My daughter is currently in a rented house in London

Customer Question

Hi there,
My daughter is currently in a rented house in London with 2 friends; their problem is that the heating keeps failing, since early December. They have had various engineers out, but the problem keeps reoccurring. In total they estimate they have had approx 15 days without heating, including days when the temperature was extremely low.
They have asked the property management company looking after the property for a discount in rent, but they fail to communicate.
So my questions are;
1. Am I correct in that they are due a rent rebate?
2. Should the management company provide alternative heating (electrical heaters etc) & a rebate on fuel bills?
3. If the temperature falls below a certain level, can they seek alternative accommodation billed to the management company/landlord?
4. Is there a ‘body’ which we can report the management company to for poor service?

I appreciate there maybe additional questions/clarification from yourselves, which I am happy to investigate. In addition, we are not desperate for a response today if these points need clarification from ourselves or further investigation

In advance, I thankyou for your assistance.
Kind Regards
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 5 years ago.
Thank your for your question. I will try to help with this.

Is this an AST?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi there, sorry can you clarify what AST stands for?


Expert:  Remus2004 replied 5 years ago.
Assured shorthold tenancy agreement.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi there, I am pretty sure it is, as they have signed a tenancy agreement for 12 months. I have called my daughter and left a voice message.



Expert:  Remus2004 replied 5 years ago.
OK. Thats all I need to know.

Is there any other form of heating in the house than gas central heating?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

They have a gas fire which gets vaguley warm, & the girls bought a couple of fan heaters just before Christmas, as they were wrapped in ouside cloths, hats & scarfs.


Expert:  Remus2004 replied 5 years ago.
I am sorry but you are overstating the merits of your position.

On your specific points

1 Not necessarily.

You don't show disrepair just because you show that there is a fault. Any house can develop heating problems at any time. The question is whether or not there are suitable alternatives in the house and how quickly the landlord acted.

In fairness, 15 days without any form of heating does seem rather dilatory on his part. I suppose he might be able to argue that he couldn't find a gas engineer to do it any faster and if he can prove that then thats not disrepair. A landlord can only do whats possible.

Even if a court takes the view it should have been done faster, there were other heating sources in his house and so the chances of getting a reduction in rent of 100% are very low.

Thats not to say there would be an entitlement to something but you are not going to get 100% reduction.

2 No and no. All the landlord has to do is repair any fault reasonably quickly and if not offer a percentage reduction in rent to reflect the particular fault. Heating is essential but there were other sources in this house.

3 No. There's no obligation to provide alternative accommodation. The remedy is a reduction in rent.

4 There is an association of letting agents which you will find here

But the plain fact is that this is not the worst form of disrepair I'm afraid.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi there, some additional information,

They have had various heating engineers out, some have come out within 2 hours, most have taken 4-6 hours and on a couple of occasions they had to wait nearly 48 hours (they even took time off work to be in the house because the management agency said it was not their responsibility to be at the property to let the engineer in & on 2 occasions the engineer never turned up).

We are not asking for 100% rent rebate, but is there an industry standard?

The 15 days was not consecutive, the heating was repaired, broke, repaired, broke etc, so the engineer work has not been undertaken properly. This is probably the fault of the management company for not sourcing the correct engineer; however the tenants are the persons suffering from; inability of heating engineers to rectify the problem, management agency not providing a level of service, landlord not providing a property fit for purpose. So it appears the tenants have no legal rights at other parties incompetence?


The alternative heating (electrical fan heaters) were purchased after about the 3rd or 4th time the heating failed as the temperature was extremely low.


As for alternative accommodation, if this was your property and you lived in it, at what time would you seek alternative accommodation? I have viewed this problem as if I owned and lived a property.


I appreciate this is not the worst form of disrepair, we need to know what action we can take to rectify this problem, e.g. rent reduction, action on the management agency to act in a more productive & professional manner.




Expert:  Remus2004 replied 5 years ago.

This information wouldn't change the answer above I'm afraid save for, I'm afraid, the fact that the landlord has acted faster than we had originally thought so the challenge is weakened. If its not 15 days consecutively then the chances of being able to argue the landlord has been dilatory are much lower than otherwise.


You never have a right to demand alternative accommodation from a landlord. The best you can get is 100% reduction in rent.