THOUSANDS of households may be renting accommodation that is too cold due to poor maintenance, with dangerous effects on their health.
But if landlords refuse to address heating issues and tenants are limited with refurbishment options, where does that leave them?
Legally, the accommodation must be considered safe under the Human Habitat Health Act 2018.
This means that tenants can claim compensation if their home is at risk to their health – or generally fails to build at all.
In March 2020, the act was extended to lessors who lived in a property before the ruling went into effect, allowing more tenants to take legal action.
And as of April 2020, homeowners must meet minimum energy efficiency standards or face fines of up to £5,000.
To assess standards, homes that are awarded an Energy Efficiency Certificate (EPC) rate their efficiency on a scale of A to G, from highest to lowest.
To find your home’s EPC, you can search government website.
Homeowners who own properties that are rated F and G or require improvements.
If a tenant discovers that the property is rated F or G and the landlord has no plans to improve it, they can contact their local council to request assistance.
Local councils can order homeowners to make improvements – but before they do, discuss the action plan with them thoroughly.
Landlords are known to often evict ‘difficult’ tenants, so involving the council should be done with caution.
Types of repair
Home improvements such as better insulation and double-glazing will not only protect tenants’ health but also cut bills – £1,368 a year according to Switchcraft.
These savings will be a welcome relief for those battling with cost of living crisis.
Homeowners are often responsible for boilers, heaters, pipes, and gas appliances, so contact them to see if they can perform these repairs.
Even if you don’t have a boiler cover, repairs may still be the responsibility of the homeowner.
If you’re not sure where you stand, we recommend calling Citizens Advice for appropriate help.
How do I get help with my cold accommodation?
Who you turn to for help depends on your situation.
You can speak to your landlord directly or speak to an authorized representative on their behalf.
If you think backlog repairs are the cause of your cold home, you should contact either person directly in writing – be sure to keep the conversation going.
But note, tenants are responsible for repairs in the event of damage caused by them.
What if my landlord refuses to help?
If the landlord ignores your request or doesn’t complete it within a reasonable time, you can take them to court.
Doing so will carry court fees, and you should know these before deciding which path to take.
To seek action you will need to send a ‘letter of complaint’ to your landlord, stating the issue and documenting your intention to take legal action if the issue is not resolved.
If these are ignored, you can initiate a lawsuit by filling out Form N1 can be found on the government website along with instructions.
Alternatively, you can give Advice for local citizens Call and follow their advice on next steps.
If successful, the court will either order the landlord to make the home fit for habitation, or stipulate that compensation will be paid instead.
Follow governt, there is no limit to the amount of compensation that can be awarded – that is the judge’s decision.
Additionally, families who are having a hard time paying their energy bills due to the cost of living crisis may have free cash from the Household Support Fund.
Failing that, Britons can apply warm house discount plan to get free cash for essentials.
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/17510667/renting-rights-explained-cold-accommodation/ Is your home frozen? Your Tenancy Explained