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Old 01 November 2012, 10:27   #1
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Problems with Letting agents

What would you consider a reasonable time for repairs to an immersion heater that has failed. This is the third one that has failed in as many years. We have been without hot water for 7 days now. a plumber did call on day 2 (friday), and blamed the wiring (not that likely)as before I called the letting agent i tested the continuity of the heater which had failed. The plumber rewired the immersion heater and supposedly tested it and told the wife it was working and went on his way. On Saturday I turned the immersion heater on and it sparked and tripped out. I phoned the letting agent on the next working day (mon) and again on Wednesday and now today. We are still waiting for a repair to be carried out. The property is a private let with the owner living in Spain so the agent does everything. The immersion heater is the only form of hot water we have and the central heating is via a log fire and back boiler and isn't particularly warm. Can anyone suggest a way forward that I could follow?

Thanks all


Damian
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Old 01 November 2012, 10:57   #2
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Can't you get it fixed and then give them bill?
Or take the repair costs of next months rent?

If they aren't being very helpful, maybe if you suggest the above it will spur them into action?
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Old 01 November 2012, 11:22   #3
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I can't remember the details of Landlord and Tenancy as I don't work in that field now, but hot water is pretty fundamental to making a property habitable. Have you read your lease to see if it says anything about repairs. I would thinks this would almost be considered an emergency/essential repair and there might be a right to repair it yourself and offset it from the rent if they haven't responded in a reasonable time.
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Old 01 November 2012, 13:16   #4
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for a minor repair like this 2 days, it will take longer to heat test...
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Old 01 November 2012, 14:37   #5
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Looking at it from the other side, the agents are probably trying to get the original plumber back to make good his 1st botched repair. From my experience getting tradesmen back to redo repairs can be a nightmare.

But you are entitled to a better standard of service, I would keep ringing the agent daily till its sorted. Good luck.
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Old 01 November 2012, 14:51   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbit555
What would you consider a reasonable time for repairs to an immersion heater that has failed. This is the third one that has failed in as many years. We have been without hot water for 7 days now. a plumber did call on day 2 (friday), and blamed the wiring (not that likely)as before I called the letting agent i tested the continuity of the heater which had failed. The plumber rewired the immersion heater and supposedly tested it and told the wife it was working and went on his way. On Saturday I turned the immersion heater on and it sparked and tripped out. I phoned the letting agent on the next working day (mon) and again on Wednesday and now today. We are still waiting for a repair to be carried out. The property is a private let with the owner living in Spain so the agent does everything. The immersion heater is the only form of hot water we have and the central heating is via a log fire and back boiler and isn't particularly warm. Can anyone suggest a way forward that I could follow?

Thanks all

Damian
I am the MD of a residential letting agent with 9 offices managing nearly 3000 properties, and issues like the one you are experiencing do happen from time to time.

Your lease will quote S11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 with regards to repairs performed by the landlord, it will further go on to state that repairs have to happen within 'a reasonable time frame'. The million dollar question is what is reasonable, and without all the facts, a copy of the tenancy agreement it is hard to form a realistic opinion.

What you also need to remember is it may not be the agent not doing the work, but our landlord advising them not to do the work, or wanting another quote etc etc, because your tenancy agreement (I am guessing is an assured shorthold) and that agreement is between you, the tenant and your landlord - remove the agent and you still have to pay rent, and the landlord still has to maintain the property. The agent only has a duty or care to you and is paid and thus takes instruction from the landlord.

Press the agent for some answers, and then threaten going to the property ombudsman for Lettings (if they are a member). That'll get some action.
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Old 01 November 2012, 15:43   #7
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why do tennants think landlords can wave a magic wand?
what would you do if it was your own house? they got a plumber out in 2 days (pretty good service in my book)who attempted a repair.The agent probably rang him monday and told him he failed to fix the fault,so now he doesnt want to go back cos he knows its a freebie but says i'll get there asap.He then puts it to the back of his mind and concentrates on jobs he will get paid for and thinks you can wait till he gets round to it.

The agent has to give him a reasonable time to go back because they dont want to bill the landlord twice for the same fault
while it is annoying you have no water just remember the practicallities of getting tradesmen to do jobs try and put yourself in the landlords position would you or could you find a second plumber who will come out at short notice to repair a fault that someone else has tried to fix
whilst it is an annoying situation it isnt all the fault of the landlord we are only human and are just as reliant on unreliable tradesmen as everyone else
just keep pressing the agent and be patient!
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Old 01 November 2012, 15:58   #8
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this is a 2 hour job tops, if he didn`t heat test saturday then more fool him ,the wiring burnt out for a reason ..i would have it out new one in and tested in an hour..if you take a maintenance contract on with a company you have an obligation to perform ,though sometimes it`s more how much you whey-in the letting agent
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Old 01 November 2012, 16:03   #9
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The real problem with this from the tenant's perspective, and the one that eventually drove me to lumber my self with an enormous mortgage, is lack of control. You may not get it don any quicker, as Beamishken points out landlords are just as at the mercy of tradesmen as anyone else, but at least if you were getting the work done yourself you are directly communicating with said tradesman. The only tennant/landlord relationship I had which was any good was one where the landlord allowed me to get the work done/communicate with tradesman etc, approved the quote and then let me forward him the invoice. This worked because we got on well and there was a degree of trust involved. When he sold the flat and I had to deal with the local letting agent (an 'oily' chap who used to turn up in his Aston and tell me how tight everything was financially) it pushed me to buying.

The long and the short of it hobit is that you have my sympathy but the advice above is as good as it's going to get. And I'm not bashing beamishken here either: my Dad tried to let my Gran's house for a while when she had to go into a home and he found it a massive pain in the hoop. It's hard work and not the 'free money' that a lot of people seem to expect.
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Old 01 November 2012, 18:03   #10
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Having been in the exact same situation myself all I can say is that we got zero help from the agency and landlord and ended up having to stay in a hotel for a few days!!!

Annoyingly this happened on more than one occasion and from what I gathered it was no-one's fault...

Essentially everyone palmed us off onto someone else and eventually it either gets fixed or you move out...

In the end we just moved out...then we discovered our new letting was essentially not that much different :-(

The moral of the story...buy don't rent :-(
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