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Question

Landlord Responsibility for Repairs and Maintenance (England)

Environmental health

13 Dec 2017 | 1 comment

Dear Guild
I have a DSS tenant who is £2780 in rent arrears. Last weekend the boiler in my property broke down. It is less than 4 years old. I called an engineer out straight away. The boiler was leaking so the engineer has let it dry out and is going back tomorrow to see if it can be saved, or if I need a new boiler. I have kept my tenant up to date with all of this. She has no gas central heating, or hot water, but she does have an open fire which she is using, and an electric fire. The house is a 2 bed mid terrace. I have also put my tenant in touch with a charity that provides emergency heating in some circumstances however, she needs to contact them and I don’t think she has. My tenant called environmental health out today regarding the situation. Environmental Health have come back to me said that ‘it is reasonable in the circumstances for me to provide portable electric heaters for her’. I have told them that due to the considerable rent arrears, and the fact that I am paying engineers and my well have to pay for a new boiler, I can’t afford to provide her with portable electric heaters. In your opinion, do you think that they could serve a notice on me for not providing the heaters? As I previously said, she has an open fire that she is using, and an electric heater, but they may not have been in use when environmental health visited.
Many thanks

Answer

1 Comment

  1. guildy

    This really all depends how long it’s expected the heating will take to repair (or replace).

    There is no breach of the Landlords repairing obligations until (a) there’s been notice of the defect and then (b) if the works are carried out “expeditiously”. There is no specific requirement to supply alternative heating during this repairing period.

    However, if there is some delay falling out of “expeditiously” then alternative heating would be needed.

    The rent arrears are not a relevant factor.

    From a personal view, we have had this problem a few times and always carry spare heaters which we leave with them if it’s not going to be working within 24 hours.

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