Landlord charging tenants for radiator

One of our radiators wasn’t working which had been working the year previously. Tried bleeding it but this wasn’t the problem. Emailed landlord for advice and they called out a plumber.

All it needed was the Lockshield valve turning on, which we presume had been turned off by the plumbers/ builders during the summer when they had installed a new bathroom in the room next door (and we were not informed of this).

We have now been given an invoice for £72, which doesn’t seem fair seeing as how we had tried to fix the problem ourselves and it wasn’t us who turned off the valve.

Are they allowed to invoice us this?

there is a simple lesson for tenants here , understand how your heating system works. It is basic common sense to make sure ALL valves on a CH system are checked and are turned on before getting someone else involved.

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Hi thanks for your prompt response. If it is basic common sense then shouldn’t the landlord have suggested this to us prior to calling someone in?

Definitely have a better understanding now of how the heating system works for sure!

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Just remind the landlord that you were not aware that the return valve had been closed by the builders during the refurb and on this basis you don’t think you’ve breached the requirement to act in a tenant-like manner.

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well it might seem hard but I would suggest that to my tenants. Some Landlords are not practical. I am a builder ,so know a fair bit about property, but some LL have no idea about practical things . on the other hand I have had tenants who locked themselves out. “So why do you not leave a key with a nearby aquaintance?” So asI lived then 50 miles away I charged 50£ to go with my keys

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He has to prove it was you who turned that valve off, otherwise it is his responsibility to keep the heating system in working order no matter how simple it was to fix it or how many miles away he lives.

Any special cases should be in the rental agreement, i.e. “By signing this you agree that all the valves are turned on. Should we find any of them in off position during the terms - you’re £72 out of pocket per each”. And I’m still not sure if it would be enforceable even then.

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we could have a lot of special cases in the contract . You must wipe your feet on the mat provided before you enter the place Otherwise I will charge for replacing the carpet… you must replace the light bulbs with energy efficent every time… You must oil the hinges to the doors ,so that a squeak does not disturb the neighbours. … You must clean up after your dog so no one slips over on my place. … You must … You must… You must… What a long contract.

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No, plumbing is entirely the responsibility of the landlord - ignore Colin3, he tends to troll tenants.

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Have you never read your own contracts?? :rofl:

“Wear and tear” as well as changing lightbulbs with like-for-like and not being a nuisance to neighbours are common, boiler-plate contract clauses…

If the lockshield had the plastic cap that covers the metal valve but isn’t adjustable without a spanner/pliers etc. then the landlord can’t expect you to do anything with it so you can’t be liable. If it’s just a manual valve they could argue it is your problem.
Have you reminded the LL of the work? I’ve had tenants ask me to do things I initially thought were their problem/ expense, but a little reminder of last events made me rethink. If ll is reasonable hopefully they’ll see sense.

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Oh for heaven’s sake. Why do people attempt to answer questions like this without referring to the law?
Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, section 11:-
11 Repairing obligations in short leases.
(1)In a lease [which includes tenancy agreements including ASTs] to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor [that’s the landlord]
(a)to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),
(b)to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity), and
(c)to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.

If the tenant did not turn the valve off, and doesn’t know what the problem is, then it’s the landlord’s responsibility to turn the valve back on.

If the tenant had turned the valve off it might be argued that the landlord still has a responsibility to turn it back on (because of the word “keep” which has been found to have a specific meaning in the law of leasehold repairs) but the landlord could then look at the tenancy agreement to see whether it includes a tenant’s covenant not to interfere with the heating system, which my agreements do, and this would justify recovering the cost.

There are times when I think it ought to be compulsory for landlords to have passed an exam to prove they understand the key provisions of the law which relate to residential tenancies. It would not need to be any more difficult than a GCSE exam.

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Excellent Perry, could not agree more.
How can any LL get into an argument for the sake of £72 is beyond comprehension.

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user58. Why dont you tell him to send the bill to the builders who turned the valve off

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I agree this is the landlord’s responsibility.

That’s how I would interpret it for my properties. Keeping the heating in working order is my problem (unless I have good reason to think they have somehow disabled it (say, if they had repainted behind that radiator.)

I am guessing what you have been invoiced is their call out charge. It is best to look for workmen who will not charge for callout to provide a quote…

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Hmm lots of views but isn’t it common sense to check both sides of a rad before calling anyone ,tenant responsibly. The landlord technical or not should have a basic knowledge of their property and request checks as above. The LL has honoured their responsibility to look at the fault, the fault was not theirs!!! Whether the builders turned off the rads cannot be proven. So you have a situ where tenant should have checked first, LL should have qualified more. A fair result would be 50:50. Like Colin, it wouldn’t have happened on my watch as It wouldn’t have gone that far, so this is only an opinion.

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It would not need to be any more difficult than a GCSE exam.
Try telling that to a letting agent :joy:

I went on a landlord accreditation exam… It was gruelling as I am not a know it all . But I did pass

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My tenants who moved in last Wednesday called me to report that the radiator in the bedroom wouldn’t heat up.
It hadn’t been reported by the previous tenant who had just left so I went round & had a look. The gas safety check had only been done a few weeks before & it was fine then.
I haven’t had much experience with faulty central heating & guessing that it could be the thermostatic radiator valve thought I’d better leave it to the plumber.
When I got home I turned to the font of all knowledge (YouTube) & found it was an easy fix.
Btw if you screw them down too hard or leave them in the off position the valve can get stuck closed.

Yes Its a bit like the water stop valve coming into a property, if never turned into the off position and opened again at least once a year they can seize up. Then its the devils own job to replace, you go to turn off in the street and that one is the same problem , unless its a new plastic one. A little thinking job that can be sorted in a regular landlord inspection