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Boiler woes ~ tenants are asking for compensation


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Hello all. 
Our agent contacted us on the 10th March saying there was a problem with our boiler. It’s only 2 years old and under warranty, as well as us having a BG service agreement. We called BG and miraculously got an appointment for the next day only to find out when he got there he was only authorized to perform a service, not fault find and repair so he left. Tried to rebook but BG didn’t have any availability until end of April. The appointment I got was fluke - someone must have cancelled at the exact same time as I booked. 
Fast forward a few weeks ... we had an engineer out who said it was a blown fuse. Tenant didn’t want to change the fuse so we said we would as we were going to be in the area. He ended up doing it in the end as they don’t want anyone there due to shielding their sick and elderly parents (who were supposed to be visiting for Christmas and have never left). The fuse didn’t work so we arranged for an electrician to visit and install a new controller. That didn’t work and he said it was the PCB. As the boiler is under warranty we called Worcester Bosch out. They said it wasn’t the PCB, it was the electrics as it wasn’t installed correctly. Ugh. We then called the company we bought it from who installed it and they sent someone out who said it was the boiler. Ugh. Agent kicked up a stink as did we and Worcester Bosch insisted it was the installation electrics, so we got them to talk to the installers. Finally they arrived yesterday and fixed it. 
 

As you can imagine everyone is more than fed up with the situation, not least the tenants who have had no heating since March. They’ve had to use electric heaters which cost more to run. They’ve had hot water as there’s an immersion heater. 
 

The tenants are requesting compensation after talking to their solicitor friend who has advised them we should compensate. Said friend also told them they were entitled to being put up in a hotel for the whole of this period at our expense. Have things changed there as I was only aware that was correct if there had been a fire or something? Trying it on? They stayed in the house as they still have their elderly parents and also their cat. We wouldn’t be paying for them!

What do you say about compensation? We’ve gone back and asked what they’re looking for with the view we will compensate for the time they were without heat, so just over a month. Bear in mind there are 2 additional people in the house since early December and these are the same tenants who are refusing to let the BG engineer in to clear the hob for the GSC. 
 

Thanks for your replies

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Well I'm going to post something that I have posted a few times previously.....and it goes like this :

Tenants, by virtue of paying rent, are not entitled to any special treatment over and above that which an owner occupier could expect it they were in the same situation.

So, provided you have acted quickly & applied the appropriate level of urgency in order to arrange repairs then the tenants are NOT entitled to anything.

Some landlords might like to provide them with a small treat.....bottle of wine, box of chocs, bunch of flowers etc  but it really comes down to how much you want to promote a good relationship vs your in the business to make a profit.

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2 hours ago, Richlist said:

Well I'm going to post something that I have posted a few times previously.....and it goes like this :

Tenants, by virtue of paying rent, are not entitled to any special treatment over and above that which an owner occupier could expect it they were in the same situation.

So, provided you have acted quickly & applied the appropriate level of urgency in order to arrange repairs then the tenants are NOT entitled to anything.

Some landlords might like to provide them with a small treat.....bottle of wine, box of chocs, bunch of flowers etc  but it really comes down to how much you want to promote a good relationship vs your in the business to make a profit.

My sentiments exactly RL. My husband and I disagree on this one as he feels we should be keeping them sweet. So I called the NRLA and asked them their advice, and they said the same as my husband ... we should compensate them. So I’ve gone back to the agent and asked her to find out what they are expecting. It grates me as we did everything we could to get it sorted. If we were living there we too would have been without heat all that time. 

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It really depends on what the NRLA means by ' should' compensate them. I don't think they mean you have a legal obligation. I'm 99% certain that if this ever went to court and you provided proof of your prompt & diligent action to resolve the heating, the tenants would not be awarded anything.

So, that leaves it down to personal choice. If you don't refund any rent are the tenants going to take legal action ? I doubt it. Are they going to serve notice anytime soon ? I doubt it. 

Why  not use the situation to your advantage......insist that any refund of rent (however small) is first subject to you gaining access for your gas safety cert + anything else that is currently outstanding.

Some tenants seem to have an expectation of entitlement.......they dont in this case.

 

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There can be a lot of this and that thinking around this but.

They have been inconvenienced, and I'm not considering guests here, and as much as you did as you were able it was the various tradesmen that screwed up. If you are able to achieve compensation from them it would be reasonable to pass it on. But I wouldn't want to put the effort in for the benefit of these tenants.

They have turned your property into a care home, they are selective as to who can have access. They run the property w/o any consideration of you but expect all the responsibilities of you being a landlord. I think I might politely suggest that when they change their attitude and show you consideration they will get the same by return. Even though you have demonstrated your continued contentious attitude over this.

I would consider alternative accommodation is only applicable where a tenants property is uninhabitable. If they considered it was then that is when they should have cited it as such. Too late.

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Whatever route you choose it has to be a commercial decision, handled carefully and ideally you want a win/win situation. If it is perceived as a win/lose to the landlord you potentially could lose the the tenants and have a void period that may cost you more or any number of problem.

We had a similar situation earlier in the year with a new boiler installed badly by a contractor and after numerous return visits had to get another contractor to put right which took longer than it should have. The tenants wanted compensation even though there was an electric immersion heater and electric shower but there had to use portable electric heater. The tenants wanted compensation for the extra cost of the electric heating. It was explained to them "not entitled to any special treatment over and above that which an owner occupier could expect it they were in the same situation." as RL rightly states, but we told the tenants if they could provide details/calculations of the extra cost they have incurred against the savings of less gas used we would put it to the landlord for his consideration.

We didn't hear anything further and there is no bad feeling between between parties because we kept up a good line of prompt polite communication during the whole saga.

You may find their idea of compensation is relatively small and a small price to pay for making the issue go away, or it could be unreasonable to which you could meet in the middle or refuse outright.

  

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As most of you know my Son runs his own gas heating company. Fully Bosch Worcester registered and accredited for over 25 years now . ( God I am old 😃. ) Even I don't get preferential treatment. 

          When I get new tenants in I explain the situation regarding broken down boilers and no heating or hot water and I tell them I am no different to anyone else but they can be rest assured that behind the scenes I am pulling out all the stops to get their boiler fixed or replaced and yes, I do get problems from time to time. I do provide heaters to help out and in all probability I would offer an extra £25 to cover the short period towards their electric bills and inconvenience but it is a goodwill gesture on my part and not an automatic right.

           Whilst we are talking about heating breakdowns etc. my Son deals with a lot of landlords some very good and some downright not so good when it comes to boilers and no heating/water. The not so good landlords do not seem to realise that with an old boiler you can repair it possibly but you are likely to have things going wrong the older it gets just like your 12 year old car. Replacement boiler is required or you keep putting your hands in your pocket and paying out for repairs and inconvenience to your tenants.

         My Son has just replaced 8 boilers on the trot for a private (wealthy  😅 ) landlord in my location and 2 boilers for me this year and when he was doing a gas certificate yesterday for me he advised me that the boiler was coming to an end of it's life as it was nearly 18 years old so during the Summer it will be yet another boiler change for me.   

 

Topical........Have a read.  My Son has been repairing boilers for BG customers who have a BG contract in place as they cannot get appointments for 3 to 6 weeks.  It is utterly disgraceful but but that is BG for you.  He went out to a 94 year old pensioner this week to repair her boiler after BG had failed to turn up twice after a 3 week wait. He repaired the boiler in 30 minutes and she wanted to give him a £50 tip.  He refused it.

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-9466337/Scandal-thats-boil-Stories-British-Gas-bosses-read.html

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An 18 year old boiler ??  It's only a teenager. I've got one that's 34 years old, in its prime and working fine. Whilst parts are readily available I'm gonna stick with it. It's serviced every year, usually requires something major replaced every 6 or 7 years (fan or PCB etc) but thats not very expensive compared to a new boiler.

When it's time to finally pension it off.....sometime in the next 10 years, I'm afraid gas boilers won't be on the shopping list. I'm going for an Air Sourced Heat Pump.....cheaper to run, far more environmentally friendly, will probably pick up Gov grant, can be run in reverse as an Air con unit and with solar panels some running costs will be free. We have one installed in our place in Spain......it's absolute magic.....heat in winter, cool air in summer.

Ok it might be significantly more expensive to buy & install but future generations will recognise my contribution to saving the planet.

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I have just replaced a boiler in fully working order that was installed in 1986. Just part of my upgrading of the properties just like the electrical consumer "fuse boards." upgrades. 

 Gas boilers will be around for many years to come.

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I agree they are going to be around for a while yet just like petrol & diesel cars.

The problem is that the Gov of the day are intent on reducing green house gases. What we don't know yet is how legislation might increase taxes on gas powered devices in order to persuade people to switch. New property is likely to move away from gas completely and replacement boilers will likely carry a heavy tax burden. That will reflect on property values going forward.

Heat pumps are the future in the same way that electric transport will be the norm.

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RL if they tax the voter on boilers they lose votes.

It's us that are fair game.

12 year old cars, well a whole new subject that involves manufacturers designing to make us more dependant on them and causing a return to the keep it 3 years or so and sell it on principle.

There will be an increasing realisation that, certainly with diesels, pre 2010 cars  (and possibly more so vans) are more reliable.

 

After thought, if they could tax gas boiler spares that might well be a sly way of persuasion.

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Tax increases on gas boilers will likely start very small & be very subtle and then gradually ramp up over time so that the extra tax becomes embedded in the pricing structure.

Have you noticed the tax increases on new petrol & diesel cars ?......some of them carry a massive tax payment in their first year of ownership. Not a lot of adverse press, nobody suggesting it's causing voters to turn away. ......voters have more important priorities.

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Old Boilers. I've known many over the years. Some just keep going but you do wonder sometimes if its time to trade in for a new model.😉

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6 hours ago, Carryon Regardless said:

Is that the new model that might be attracted to a sports car?

I couldn't possibly say. 

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