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  • Buy-to-Let

    No hot water - compensation?

    Looking to get views from other landlords on how to proceed with compensation claim from tenant. Am trying to be a good landlord but it can be difficult at times!

    4 year old combi boiler failed recently in a new-to-me property, got plumber on site 3 hrs later, no fault found. Soon failed again, part ordered and fitted, still broken, lost faith in plumber on 3rd visit. Called manufacturer in. After another 6 visits later they failed to repair and offered me a new boiler (I upgraded!).

    My response time throughout I feel was good with repairer called out each time within 1 to 3 hours + regular progress chasing. Typically repairers visited were next day, though parts added delays. Despite best efforts the somewhat intermittent problems lasted a total of 16 days mainly without hot water until new boiler installed. I even offered to have installed an electric shower, though offer declined by tenant! Family muddled through with kind assistance of neighbours and local gym showers.

    Tenant requested compensation. I had in mind anyway to offer a sum due to extended outage / inconvenience caused. Is there any legal precedence here? What would experienced good landlords do? (I had in mind 30% of rental for period affected though tenant wants full rent refunded)

    Situation somewhat complicated as tenant ignoring AST agreement recently got a dog... and is currently refusing to remove said dog. Rental ROI is good so amicable solution preferred... tho relationship is currently fragile. What would you do next?

    I do have an unsubstantiated gut feel that perhaps (DSS) T may have engineered initial failure and compensation claim to get his summer holiday paid. Do such scams exist?
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    If you are going to give the tenant "compensation" for matters outside of your control then you could say the 30% will be held as a "Pet Bond".

    I don't think you legally owe them compensation if you were pro-active in getting it sorted. The for me is 16 days is quite a long time.
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    (10-09-2014 06:27 PM)Adam Hosker Wrote:  If you are going to give the tenant "compensation" for matters outside of your control then you could say the 30% will be held as a "Pet Bond".

    I don't think you legally owe them compensation if you were pro-active in getting it sorted. The for me is 16 days is quite a long time.

    Thanks Adam. I like the idea of a Pet Bond.

    Thanks Glenn for your comment. Yes, it did cross my mind that paying compensation may set a precedent. I think I used the words "one-time"... time will tell I guess
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    This type of tenant will not see compensation as an act of kindness but rather as a sign of weakness. They will come back for more and more. Have they mentioned a figure ?
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    Good Guy
    I think you responded very well you were unlucky in the outcomes. All my boilers have breakdown cover and the tenants have contact and policy details so that they can take action when needs be. This also, from a tenants point of view puts the responsibility on the breakdown cover provider to solve the problem. They see me as being good for having the cover in place so I don't think they would blame me if it takes a while to sort out, although I would do as much as I can to support and help them. Also the thing with breakdown cover is that the engineers tend to have specialist knowledge of the boilers they are dealing with.
    PS. No compensation - if you do it for this what will be next?
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    Full time Landlord in WestYorkshire, mentor and property education to new and inexperienced PRS investors. 25+ years of working knowledge. RLA member http://www.landlordgeoff.co.uk [color=#800080]

    (10-09-2014 09:29 PM)Landlord Geoff Wrote:  . All my boilers have breakdown cover and the tenants have contact and policy details so that they can take action when needs be.

    Hi Landlord Geoff,

    Who do you have breakdown cover with? I haven't used it because it seems quite expensive and I've heard less than good reports (mainly for BG). Currently I have relationships with plumbers near each of my properties, but those are a lot of relationships to keep track of.
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    (13-09-2014 05:37 PM)Mensah1981 Wrote:  
    (10-09-2014 09:29 PM)Landlord Geoff Wrote:  . All my boilers have breakdown cover and the tenants have contact and policy details so that they can take action when needs be.

    Hi Landlord Geoff,

    Who do you have breakdown cover with? I haven't used it because it seems quite expensive and I've heard less than good reports (mainly for BG). Currently I have relationships with plumbers near each of my properties, but those are a lot of relationships to keep track of.

    Mensah
    I use a local company not a national one. If you talk to one of the nationals I would have thought they would do a deal for you if you have several properties.
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    Full time Landlord in WestYorkshire, mentor and property education to new and inexperienced PRS investors. 25+ years of working knowledge. RLA member http://www.landlordgeoff.co.uk [color=#800080]

    Goodguy,

    I had a situation very similar to yours. It took a few weeks to get sorted and the tenant asked for fifty quid off the rent because they were boiling pans and driving to family nearby for hot showers. I was happy with his reasonableness. The boiler went again with a different problem and again took weeks to get parts and fixed, I told him on ast renewal that because they had been so understanding I wasn't putting their rent up - they were at least £25 pcm below market rate. Quid pro....

    Your tenant sounds an arse. I would offer £100 max and offer him early release from his AST if he disagrees. As said before, your man doesn't sound the type to appreciate compassion and may well see it as weakness. Offering him to leave the ast will make him think twice. Full rent refund, what a plonker!!!
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    I wouldn't go down the 'pet bond' route as, having given it with one hand and then taken it back with the other, it would effectively be a deposit which would then need to be protected and, if there was no reason to retain any of it at the end of the tenancy, would have to be 'returned' to the tenant.
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    (10-09-2014 05:57 PM)Goodguy Wrote:  Looking to get views from other landlords on how to proceed with compensation claim from tenant. Am trying to be a good landlord but it can be difficult at times!

    4 year old combi boiler failed recently in a new-to-me property, got plumber on site 3 hrs later, no fault found. Soon failed again, part ordered and fitted, still broken, lost faith in plumber on 3rd visit. Called manufacturer in. After another 6 visits later they failed to repair and offered me a new boiler (I upgraded!).

    My response time throughout I feel was good with repairer called out each time within 1 to 3 hours + regular progress chasing. Typically repairers visited were next day, though parts added delays. Despite best efforts the somewhat intermittent problems lasted a total of 16 days mainly without hot water until new boiler installed. I even offered to have installed an electric shower, though offer declined by tenant! Family muddled through with kind assistance of neighbours and local gym showers.

    Tenant requested compensation. I had in mind anyway to offer a sum due to extended outage / inconvenience caused. Is there any legal precedence here? What would experienced good landlords do? (I had in mind 30% of rental for period affected though tenant wants full rent refunded)

    Situation somewhat complicated as tenant ignoring AST agreement recently got a dog... and is currently refusing to remove said dog. Rental ROI is good so amicable solution preferred... tho relationship is currently fragile. What would you do next?

    I do have an unsubstantiated gut feel that perhaps (DSS) T may have engineered initial failure and compensation claim to get his summer holiday paid. Do such scams exist?

    I don't see any reason why you owe any compensation. You have done everything including suggesting a suitable replacement - which they declined!

    If they have been good tenants up until now, you could offer a 15% rent reduction on one month as a gesture of good will.

    I wouldn't go any further.
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    If you acted promptly and reasonably (and it looks like you did) then technically no compensation is payable at law. That said that is not likely to make the tenant happy and keep your relationship good!
    A good working guide for heating and hot water is between 10-25% of rent for each day unavailable depending on seriousness and time of year and whether there was some other source of heating or hot water available (such as an immersion heater).
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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.