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Can anybody help with some advice.We have rented out our large house with a guarenteed rental agent.The subtenants did not use the central heating or hot water due to worry about how much it would cost.They had not used for 6 months during this cold spell up to December 08.They left switched on and now on turning on found there is leak in boiler and have been told it needs to be replaced.We feel its due to tenants misuse.We were advised they had not been using and left switched off by rental agent.We know that boilers do get cracks obviously but feel its misuse by tenants.In these cold temperatures to leave switched off seems very irresponsible to us.Can any advise where to go from here.Thank you

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An interesting dilemma.

I think you need to convince the agent and tenant that not running the boiler was likely to damage the property, of which the boiler is itself a part.

Does your agreement have the usual "tenant is not to damage property" and/or "kept warm during the tenancy" clauses?

Not keeping a property at a suitable temperature could lead to all sorts of damage e.g. damp, mould, etc.

Did you provide any instructions on how to warm the property, use the boiler or state (the obvious perhaps) that the boiler needed to be used to protect the property?

Try that.

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Hi Chromedome,

Less a dilemma .... more an outrageous question ...... from a landlord trying to blame a tenant to save money!

So, the boiler in your property is bust and the tenant hasn't used it ....... well who is to blame ....... ?

If the tenant didn't use it they couldn't have broken it ...... and it might well have been broken before the tenant moved in

Assuming you did not tell the tenant that they MUST use the boiler (to avoid damage to it) then it is pretty obvious who is reponsible for fixing it ..... YOU.

By the way ... whilst you are "ducking and diving" trying to absolve your landlord responsibility .... your tenant is freezing cold with no heating !

Just because the tenant didn't want to use the heating in the cold .... doesn't mean they won't need the heating in the snow ......

Although, I guess, you could blame the tenant for frozen pipes if you don't fix the boiler ....

Get it fixed ASAP


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Hi all,

I agree with Trenners all the way on this. How old is the boiler anyway? Nothing lasts forever and sometimes you just have to get things done at your own expense.


Thank you for your replies.Of course you would not have had all the information from my short question but this boiler has only just come out of its guarentee period, so is not old and this should not have happened.Trenners, as I can see you feel that a lot of landlords try to shirk there responsibilites but this is not so in this case.This is not the only problem we have had with the tenants.There has been damage after damage to our property.This property market value is over a million pounds.I have been in touch with the company that serviced this boiler days before the tenants moved in and they confirm that this damage would be caused by not having the heating on and not running the boiler in frost mode.The instructions in the lease states that the boiler should be left in frost mode and not turned off.The boiler instruction booklet also handed to the tenants also states that it should be drained if it is not used and never left off without being drained.Neither has been done and this has been confirmed.I also contacted the manufacturer and they also have confirmed in writing to me that this would happen.The maufacturer will take no responsibility because of this being left off.Are you saying Trenners, that its ok for the tenants to default with there lease and just decide for themselves that they want to turn it off.I feel its very unfair for someone to be in a house of this value if they cannot afford to pay the bills and general upkeep of the house.This information was provided to the rental agent before they signed the lease so they cannot say they did not realise what the cost would be.

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1) First get the boiler replaced or repaired, keep the bills and take the costs up with the manufacturer. Unless the water actually froze inside it, a boiler that failed so soon in this way doesn't sound like a very good one. What make is it? As it is so new, even if out of warranty it is always worth pursuing the manufacturer (or supplier) for the offer of an allowance on its replacement or repair.

.........Is it covered by your buildings insurance?

2) As I suggested in my original answer, your issue seems to be with your agent about the general care of your property by the tenants. You could try to reclaim your costs if you can prove a breach of your agreement by the tenant. You may need legal advice on this. It is difficult. Otherwise bite the bullet!

A functioning boiler is your responsibility.

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Hi Chromedome

There are still a few items I am unclear on:-

1. What is a guranteed rental agent?

2. Why are there sub tenants? Who is the head tenant?

3. Who approved the sub tenancy? You, the agent, the head tenant and what financial checks/refences were made?

4. When did the agent become aware that the sub tenants were not using the heating (and yourself for that matter?)

5. Where is the boiler located? In the house, in an outbuilding etc?

6. Did the subtenants vacate on Dec8 and when was the boiler next switched on?

7. Are you saying that the frost stat was deliberately turned off during the tenancy and by whom?

8. Is there a deposit and has it been returned?

I'm sorry there are so many questions but it is only when you look at the whole issue can one form an opinion as to whether anyone was at fault.

You do have my sympathy, I had my oil boiler replaced 2 years ago and I didn't get any change out of £3000!



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I was just wondering what the value of a house has to do with a broken boiler!! So you own a house worth a million and you think that the tenant should be able to afford all these things.

For the record i once has a LL worth 20 million, never a tighter person did i find. Well i guess we can all work out where it came from, yes owning property!!

Anyways, regardless of who is at fault at this stage, YOU the LL has a legal duty to fix the boiler, failure to do so will no doubt involve the Environmental Health Department, and they will not be concerned of who broke it or the cause just that YOU the LL need to fix it. YES its a LEGAL DUTY of the LL, to maintain.

I would also agree, talk to the manufacturer and the Buildings Insurer. If your Legal guys feel you have a case, sue the tenant in the CC, but i would not hold your breath.

Sadly just because people rent expensive houses, does not mean they have common sense brain cells, rather to the contrary in my experience.

I empathy with your situation, however, i would not hold your breath.

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