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mrglowe

tampering tennants

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i have a gas combi boiler in my rented house.Our letting agent rang me the other day to tell me the boiler has broken and the 16 year old lad that lives there with his mum got an electric shock off the boiler,she went on to tell me that the boiler had been

lossing presure and they were somehow filling the boiler with water.

we sent an engineer round who has told me that the boiler has lots of problems mainly due to the tennants leaving the presure loop on and blowing various seals and valves he knew nothing about the electric shock part but has told me the only way this could have happened is if they removed the cover off the boiler and they really shouldnt be tampering with it.

he has told me the boiler needs to go back to the makers as it needs too many parts and is not cost effective for him to fix so its going to be costly for either a repair or new boiler

my agent has indicated these things happen and it is up to me to put right,i however disagree because if the tennant hadnt tampered with the boiler then it wouldnt of happened,

my choices are now to serve notice to the tennants leaving me with a costly boiler to replace and no tennant

foot the bill and do nothing,

try to get the money for the boiler off the tennant (not likely i think)

go after the agent for not helping with this after all they are supossed to be managing the property.i have suggested the agent talks to the engineer then advises me on my next step but i would like some input off you guys if you know where i stand legaly as i think my agent is not going to come through for me and i want to one step ahead if possible and know my rights before the agent gets back in touch,any help and advise would be apreciated thanks

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i have a gas combi boiler in my rented house.Our letting agent rang me the other day to tell me the boiler has broken and the 16 year old lad that lives there with his mum got an electric shock off the boiler,she went on to tell me that the boiler had been

lossing presure and they were somehow filling the boiler with water.

we sent an engineer round who has told me that the boiler has lots of problems mainly due to the tennants leaving the presure loop on and blowing various seals and valves he knew nothing about the electric shock part but has told me the only way this could have happened is if they removed the cover off the boiler and they really shouldnt be tampering with it.

he has told me the boiler needs to go back to the makers as it needs too many parts and is not cost effective for him to fix so its going to be costly for either a repair or new boiler

my agent has indicated these things happen and it is up to me to put right,i however disagree because if the tennant hadnt tampered with the boiler then it wouldnt of happened,

my choices are now to serve notice to the tennants leaving me with a costly boiler to replace and no tennant

foot the bill and do nothing,

try to get the money for the boiler off the tennant (not likely i think)

go after the agent for not helping with this after all they are supossed to be managing the property.i have suggested the agent talks to the engineer then advises me on my next step but i would like some input off you guys if you know where i stand legaly as i think my agent is not going to come through for me and i want to one step ahead if possible and know my rights before the agent gets back in touch,any help and advise would be apreciated thanks

First of all get a 2nd opinion in the repairs ... ring the manufacturers direct as they have specialised contractors and i've had cases where it is easily diasgnosed as something different just because that certain plumber hasn't worked on that make before (hope that makes sense?)

After that, depending on what he says, speak to the tenants direct and be truthfull and say that you would like a contribution if not all the money for the repair .... ask the plumber in question to do a report of whats happened and why to back your story up. If it is mega bucks to fix it then you can always get the small claims court involved if they dont play ball. Just a mention of this may make them pay.

If the plumber does do the report then you have evidence that you can use the deposit held to help with the cost of this, if the tenants do move out or are given notice. Ideally you dont want an empty property so they being calm with them and talk normally, face to face if possible.

These things do happen but not to this extent .... the agent is in the wrong and personally i would leave them at the earliest opportunity.

Keep us informed.

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Combi boilers operate on a gauge pressure of 1-2 Bar to be effective. There is nothing wrong with leaving the pressure filling loop in situ provided of course the person who operates the on/off switch knows what they are doing to restore system pressure to the boiler.

Why was the system losing pressure in the 1st place?

Were the tenants ever informed never to touch the boiler but always to inform the LA of problems?

Your chances of proving that the tenant tinkered with the boiler system are virtually zero and even if you could prove it obtaining any repair money from them would be minimal I would suggest.

The LA cannot be held responsible as any LA can only respond to taking action if they are informed of problems by the tenant or landlord......Yes?

Over pressurizing the boiler system is not the end of the world as there is a pressure relief valve that would operate to relieve system water pressure and dump it externally.

Is your combi boiler an old one? Is it due up for replacement?

Fitting a new one is a tax deductable item.

Mel.

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thankyou both for your comments.

firstly i dont yet know why the boiler was losing pressure and maybe 1-2 a year you need to check the pressure and top up if necesary however the loop was left in the on position keeping the boiler pressure at 3.5 bar blowing the seals in the boiler the pressure relief valve was in constant use and has now also got a fault ,(this is what the engineer has told me) i take on board maybe a seconed opinon is required and will arange for this to happen.The boiler is serviced yearly as per requirement and no problems have been reported.the boiler is about 6 years old .i dont believe there was any direct instruction not to tamper with the boiler but i feel it should be obvious that only a qualified person should be taking the front cover off for instance which so my engineer informs me is the only way the lad should have got an electric shock

.I have made my feeling clear to the letting agent and have sugested they talk to the engineer then talk to me again to discuss our next move .So far no progress has been made but i would have hoped for a better response from my letting agent who we pay for a full management service

once again thankyou for your advice

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Hi Mrglowe,

I do not think your letting agent has been at fault. You are paying the Letting Agency to manage the TENANCY not the BOILER!!! If the tenant has decided to tamper with the boiler what do you actually expect the letting agent to do about this ? ... and how can you possibly hold the letting agent culpable?

Your letting agent's role is to advise and act as your agent ........ you should not expect the letting agent to act as your "whipping boy" though ..... If you have got a problem tenant .... "whip the tenant not the agent" ....

Good luck,

Mark

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Hi Mrglowe,

I do not think your letting agent has been at fault. You are paying the Letting Agency to manage the TENANCY not the BOILER!!! If the tenant has decided to tamper with the boiler what do you actually expect the letting agent to do about this ? ... and how can you possibly hold the letting agent culpable?

Your letting agent's role is to advise and act as your agent ........ you should not expect the letting agent to act as your "whipping boy" though ..... If you have got a problem tenant .... "whip the tenant not the agent" ....

Good luck,

Mark

HI MARK,

thanks for your comments and your right ultimatly the tennant i feel is responsible for tamering and breaking the boiler,and as such should be held accountable and made to pay

i still feel the letting agent is there to manage my property along with fixtures and fittings sure the L.A. could not forsee the tennant doing what he has done but as you also said "the letting agents role is to advise and act" so far i dont see too much of that happening i thought the idea of someone managing is to advise me of my obligations,rights and to look after my investment so i dont get into trouble they should know the law and know how to proceed not wait for me to tell them what they should be doing but to advise me of the next correct step and making that step on my behalf. if the letting agent cant do this then there only there to pass on the rent and take there cut easy money

as always i welcome other peoples points of view and thank you for your comments and advise,

maybe i am a little harsh on letting agents as i have had some poor experiences in the past

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How would the letting agent actually be aware of the fact that your tenant is tampering with the boiler?

LA's are there to manage the property.. true... and inspect at regular intervals on behalf of the landlord but in this case I cannot see any blame being placed on the LA no matter what your previous experience of LA's happens to be.

Mel.

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How would the letting agent actually be aware of the fact that your tenant is tampering with the boiler?

LA's are there to manage the property.. true... and inspect at regular intervals on behalf of the landlord but in this case I cannot see any blame being placed on the LA no matter what your previous experience of LA's happens to be.

Mel.

I think your missing his point though, the letting agent should still be telling him what to do, they are the professionals .... they should supply the law and the advice to go with it ... its an all round service and yes they would never have seen this coming nor prevented it but its still up to them to do the "leg work" and help get it sorted.

I am a landlord and a letting agent and i would never treat a client like that.

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I think Mr Glow you need to get more hands on about how combi boilers function.

Some need to be topped up once a month some once a year even if all is well. If the boiler stopped working then tenant or son probably thought they could sort it by topping it up but all seems to have gone wrong. What would you have done if tenant constantly called you or the agent saying the boiler does not work? In fact do you know that tenants did not do this?

New boiler is about £2,000 fitted and they are much more easy to top up these days - I always buy Glow Worm and that makes it easy to instruct tenants as they all have same type of boiler.

As a landlord your gas plumber is the most important tradesman. The boiler needs to be serviced and certificated annually then you don't tend to get problems. Keep the same gas person for continuity.

I think you should compare the repair price with a new one and go from there. Usually after boilers are 10 years old they can get expensive to run.

Bite the bullett and get new boiler, learn how it works and what tenant has to do to top up. I can't see why any tenant would mess with one if it was working correctly and I can see no way you can take action against agent or tenant.

Mortitia

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I think your missing his point though, the letting agent should still be telling him what to do, they are the professionals .... they should supply the law and the advice to go with it ... its an all round service and yes they would never have seen this coming nor prevented it but its still up to them to do the "leg work" and help get it sorted.

I am a landlord and a letting agent and i would never treat a client like that.

Specifically relating to the boiler I don't think I am missing the point. There was a time when the the combi filling loop was not left in position by the Installer for the very reasons that have been highlighted here...over pressurising of the boiler causing the relief valves to blow which then required the 'Plumber' to return and reset and recharge however things have moved on.......Some combi's now require a combi "Key" which is inserted before pressurising the boiler (Worcester/Bosch) therefore avoiding the meddling by unqualified persons.

Personally I cannot see an LA instructing a tenant on how to repressurise a combi boiler or indeed a tenant wanting to undertake this task in the first place.

As an aside... and I am sure Trenner's will support this as an LA, ALL Landlords should have a reliable & trusted & qualified Heating Engineer on call to quickly repair heating and hot water problems in their rented properties as these problems cause the most grief between landlords and tenants when not repaired quickly and there are plenty of stories doing the rounds about long delays in repairing heating systems and disgruntled tenants.

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Hi again,

I agree and support the view of Melboy. The LA would not be qualified to instruct a tenant on how to fix a problem with a combi boiler .... and is highly unlikely to have instructed your tenant on such matters in this instant.

I also agree that one of the most important tradesman for any landlord to have ... is the plumbing and heating engineer .... as when these types of problems occur (which at my properties is quite often) ... it is imperative that the landlord and/or the letting agent has someone who they can send around to a) fix the problem and B) trust.

Good luck,

Mark

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I agree with Melboy and Trenners. The bottom line is that you will never be able to prove the tenant was responsible for the boiler malfunction. The repairing standard and the lease will state that you as the landlord must repair the heating system. If you don't the tenant will be entitled to withhold the rent. The best option is to do the repair, take the pain and keep the tenancy running. Thats what being a landlord is all about. You can insure the boiler through several companies in the future from £10 to £20 pcm which covers all parts and labour. You will need to either replace the boiler or have it repaired before they will accept you as a client. If you get the insurer to do the repair it is often easier.

As for the letting agent, they are all different when it comes to tradesmen. Did they call the yellow pages or do they have there own in house guy. Either way you are exposed to whatever they want to charge you. I would find a letting agent that i trust or find tradesmen that i trust and instruct repairs directly.

If the property is in Scotland i could organise an installation of a new boiler for about £800. Typically i would use a Vokera Unica 28he which should have a life of about 15 years if looked after. If you are not selling always spend a little extra on the product as its cheaper in the long run. B and Q are selling boilers for £275 but they are end of line and may be difficult to get parts in the future.

The pressurising of a boiler is a relatively simple task. The landlord would have to decide if they want to pay a plumber £60-£100 per hour to go out and do it or accept that they are saving them plumber call out fees every time the tenant reports a loss of heating. . The pressure valve and gauge are usually easy to access and operate and all you need to do is turn it on and wait till the valve goes to the correct amount. I think its between 1 and 2 bar. If the tenant has left it on then of coarse they are liable for the repair but this would be impossible to prove and my experience of tenants is that they will simply deny it. There is also the point of why the boiler is losing pressure. This is most certainly not the tenants fault and if its a leak it could need topped up every day therefore its better to fix the source of the problem.

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