How long does a landlord have to fix a boiler? 24 hours. Under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, you have the right to expect your landlord to carry out repairs in a ‘reasonable time’. If it’s an emergency repair as you’ve got no heating or hot water, your landlord should fix this in 24 hours.
We are not solicitors and provide the below information for illustration purposes only. We hope it is of assistance but please seek legal advice from solicitors and be aware we are not liable for any loss or issues resulting from any reply or communication with us.
Now the disclaimer is out of the way we hope the information below assists you. Unfortunately, the legal position is quite unfair on tenants in reality, and therefore the likelihood is that a tenant needs to either a) pay a solicitor to send letters and represent them or b) take action themselves directly.
Would a solicitor pursue a claim for you on a No Win – No Fee basis?
In our experience and in most cases no. The reason for this is that most housing disrepair solicitors will only proceed with a no win – no fee claim where:
- The landlord is a council / housing association and not a private landlord.
- The heating/hot water situation is an ongoing problem, e.g. it has not yet been repaired.
- The issue requires a permanent repair or replacement with a cost in excess of £1,000 – e.g. a complete replacement boiler
- There is a unique situation where compensation would be in excess of £10,000
- The matter has been reported previously
For the above reasons, tenants are often best placed complaining to their landlord via the existing complaints procedure and/or writing to their landlord reminding them of their legal obligations and settling the matter amicably.
Is your landlord refusing to fix the broken boiler in your property?
It is a legal requirement that your landlord must fix your broken boiler. Not only is this a legal requirement, your landlord is legally obligated to fix your broken boiler within a specific time frame. The Landlord and Tenant Act in 1985 was adopted in order to prevent landlords from, amongst other things, avoiding this responsibility, it is set out out in Article 11 of The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 that your landlord carry out repairs in a ‘reasonable time’. If it’s an emergency repair as you’ve got no heating or hot water, your landlord should fix this in 24 hours.
Is your landlord responsible for the boiler?
Yes! Every landlord must adhere to the Landlords and Tenants Act 1985, therefore they are legally obliged to repair a broken boiler within a property, provided that the tenant has not caused the damage to the boiler, this would shift liability from the landlord.
What else is the landlord responsible for?
The boiler is not the only appliance that must be taken care of by a landlord. The Landlord and Tenants Act 1985 also requires landlords to maintain the installation systems within the home. This would include systems such as:
- space heating
- water heating
Not only does the government consider it hazardous, it is a part of the responsibility as a landlord to ensure that these systems are kept in good repair and are regularly working, in order for you, the tenant, to go about your daily life without any complications.
What can you do if your landlord won’t fix your heating?
If your landlord refuses to fix the heating problem within your home, then the landlord must provide you with heating equipment that has the capacity to heat your house to around 65 degrees. However, there are instances in which a landlord would refuse to carry this out, in that case, you would be well within your rights to contact the police as they will visit your home, check the temperature and call your landlord with strict orders to carry out his responsibility as a landlord by mending the heating problem. Some may understandably wish to avoid a step such as this in fear of creating a poor relationship with your landlord, therefore it is possible to pay to fix the problem yourself and deduct the cost from future rent fees, provided that the landlord is notified beforehand and proof can be provided. We would recommend obtaining the landlord’s written consent before doing this
Can you withhold rent if the landlord does not carry out repairs?
Technically, no. Tenants do not have a right -in law- to simply not pay their landlord for not carrying out repairs, as frustrating as that may sound. This would only harm your chances of remaining in the property, which in the grand scheme of things is more important. Therefore, the best way to avoid a situation in which there could be a relationship breakdown, is by simply following a procedure whereby you notify your landlord of the problem in writing and keep a record of any, or all, attempts of chasing the landlord you have made. If you have the money available an option is to pay for the damage out of your own personal expenses, in exchange for a decrease in future rental fees. Finally, evidence that you have paid for the damage would also have to be provided to ensure that the landlord is able to reimburse you entirely.
What is uninhabitable living conditions?
In accordance with the Homes Act 2018, there is quite a broad scope for what renders a property uninhabitable, for example, mould would be an example because this is a sign that your house has poor ventilation or even that water pipes in your house are leaking, leading to an even bigger potential problem. In addition, if there is damage to your property’s exterior or interior structure you may be able to make a claim that your house is unfit for living in as there is an obvious high risk of danger in this situation. An unsafe structure or layout, lack of natural light, damp, carbon monoxide (this odourless gas is extremely harmful and prevents oxygen from being carried around the body, impeding your breathing), asbestos (which can aggravate lung tissue if inhaled), excess cold or heat all amount to uninhabitable living conditions per the Homes Act 2018. It is worth noting that things like unattractive paint colour or carpet that is worn out does not constitute uninhabitable.
What action can you take as a tenant?
In terms of a claim for compensation, this is calculated by deducting a percentage of the rent that you paid to your landlord for the time period whilst the repairs should have been completed. This is like a refund of your rent – usually between 20% and 50% depending upon the severity of the disrepair.
You can also claim for:
-refund of any fees incurred
-refund of any damage to property or items etc
You can of course pursue the landlord yourself irrespective of the period of loss though.
Legal aid options?
Legal Aid is still available for possession claims, homelessness, eviction and unlawful eviction, re-housing, disrepair, judicial review.
If you think you may qualify for legal aid then we would recommend googling “housing solicitor legal aid” and local solicitors with a housing legal aid facility should appear. They would be the best people to speak to in the first instance.
Generally, legal aid can apply to:
Disrepair, where there is a serious risk of harm to the health and safety of a client or their family legal aid, is available to pursue a disrepair claim.
Funding does not cover any claim for damages in civil proceedings.
Legal Aid is therefore only likely to be suitable for very urgent injunction cases where compensation is minimal.
Legal Help can be used to investigate prosecutions under the Environmental Protection Act but alternative funding will have to be used to take the case to Court.
Once you have complained to your Landlord / Lettings Agency regarding hot water/boilers they are legally obliged to treat this as an emergency. What SHOULD happen is your Landlord should:
1) Arrange to fix the hot water/boiler urgently and
2) Provide alternative solutions in the meantime
Further information can be found here: https://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/heating-and-hot-water/
If your landlord refuses to fix the heating problem within your home, then the landlord must provide you with heating equipment that has the capacity to heat your house to around 65 degrees. However, there are instances in which a landlord would refuse to carry this out, in that case, you would be well within your rights to contact the police as they will visit your home, check the temperature and call your landlord with strict orders to carry out his responsibility as a landlord by mending the heating problem. Some may understandably wish to avoid a step such as this in fear of creating a poor relationship with your landlord, therefore it is possible to pay to fix the problem yourself and deduct the cost from future rent fees, provided that the landlord is notified beforehand and proof can be provided. We would recommend obtaining the landlord’s written consent before doing this and reaching a written agreement regarding repayment of these sums or offsetting of rent.
Basically, the advice is to engage with the Landlord and ensure:
a) this is fixed asap and
b) what can be done in the meantime to provide suitable heating and hot water as temporary measures.
You also need to consider how long you want to stay at the property and how your landlord will react to how you react to this problem. That is really unfair but is a reality you should consider before taking action.
If a significant delay, you can also complain to environmental health.
Keep on top of your landlord. Be polite, reasonable, and ensure you communicate in writing (again email is ideal). If the repairs to the boiler fail, or are temporary and not suitable, continue to update and report these matters to your landlord. Do not withhold rent and keep all rent payments up to date. You must comply with your tenancy agreement.
We hope this helps and please get in touch with us again if the boiler is delayed further and/or fails again
Initial email idea to Landlord / Lettings Agency
As you are aware we are currently without hot water and heating. Whilst we appreciate the difficult circumstances right now in the country there are legal responsibilities to us which are not being adhered to.
We need certainty today as to the a) up to date position on permanent repairs and b) any temporary solutions
We are happy to engage and help in any way we can. You will know that legally this is to be treated as an emergency. We all would like an amicable solution to this as a matter of urgency and would be grateful if you can call us with an update today.
A formal complaint to your Landlord – you would need to substantially amend something like the below to suit your circumstances. If the hot water is unavailable for an unreasonable period of time and you want to formally complain to the Landlord
1) possible complaint letter you can amend if you wish. You may not wish to cause any issues with your Landlord that is for you to consider as a family. See italics below
You are in breach of Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. We have the right to expect you to carry out repairs in a ‘reasonable time’. Hot water and a boiler is classed as an emergency repair as we have got no heating or hot water, therefore under the law of England & Wales, our landlord should fix this in 24 hours.
This has not been the case.
In addition, no temporary solutions have been offered, e.g. electric heaters, alternatives for showers, baths, etc.
Not only does the government consider it hazardous, but it is also a part of the responsibility as a landlord to ensure that these systems are kept in good repair and are regularly working, without any complications.
Our landlord must provide us with heating equipment that has the capacity to heat our house to around 65 degrees. We are within our rights to contact the police as they will visit our home, check the temperature and call our landlord with strict orders to carry out his responsibility as a landlord by solving this heating problem sooner and/or providing us with greater support.
We are entitled to:
1. Temporary solutions to the heating issue today in lieu of permanent repairs being scheduled.
2. The boiler being fixed and us having hot water as a matter of urgency.
3. Compensation. We look forward to you putting forward an offer within 14 days.
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