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Costly and ineffective heating

livonialivonia Member Posts: 74 Courageous
No one seems to know the answers so hopefully someone here has experience 

i took this council bungalow as first place offered it’s all electric storage heaters

I have severe anxiety and am often suicidal so the stress I’m experiencing is t helping me I have fibromyalgia. The move in Dec was 100 miles and I was on my knees trying to pack and I pack. A downsize too.

its general needs but is adapted with wet room rails one step in and out. A godsend affordable rent. Except I nov to April my bills for electric on economy 7 not even up full heat were up to200 a month 

turned off 29 and below a month

Today council left me a voicemail to say previous tenant was offered energy efficient radiators 3 years ago and declined and so now no money and I wont get them and I’m not going on any planned maintenance 

one heater is broke and and I have been chasing since June to get a decision on replacement of at least that single heater they supposed to deal in 28 days!

a heating charity sent a report saying I’m in fuel poverty a nd heaters don’t meet my needs as by 4 pm the heaters are cold. Fibro symptoms worsened when cold . A friend has bought me an oil radiator and I will try save to get in it two more. Not much room tho. Fighting isn’t helping me at all. All I can think is buy my own I can’t get credit as went bankrupt last year.

hs anyone else managed to get heating replaced in my circumstances . Everyone else in my rd has the energy efficient heaters. I cd try bid elsewhere but I do t tho know up to moving medically. Let alone financially.

ironic I wd qualify for 2500 from council and govt funding  if o was a home owner in my circumstances!!

anyonw know housing rights specialist in law in Devon

Replies

  • April2018momApril2018mom Member - under moderation Posts: 2,882 Member - under moderation
    edited September 2019
    Hello @livonia
    This is serious with colder weather on the way. If your council or landlord can not help, join this site. They can help you advocate for yourself.  https://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/heating-and-hot-water/
    In the meantime you could always order a handwarmer or hot water bottle online or buy one in the shops. Additionally you can build a fireplace and light a fire for warmth. 
  • livonialivonia Member Posts: 74 Courageous
    I will have a look at site thanks. Yes I’m very worried as yu can’t imagine. Ironically this had solid fuel fire but council remove them prior to new tenants now and don’t want maintenance 
  • April2018momApril2018mom Member - under moderation Posts: 2,882 Member - under moderation
    edited September 2019
    My first suggestion is to keep calling them. Call tomorrow. CAB have some more information for you on landlords and no heating https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/repairs-in-rented-housing/repairs-what-are-your-options-if-you-are-a-social-housing-tenant/using-the-right-to-repair-scheme/
    Say you deserve heating. Being warm is a basic human right. Keep us updated! Best wishes. As requested here is a name of a solicitor with experience in social housing issues
    https://www.tozers.co.uk/our-services/specialist-sectors/social-housing/
  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 1,241 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2019
    Don't forget you may qualify for warm home discount, contact your electricity supplier and ask them now, its a one off payment of £140 credited to electricity account usually around December.
    The problem with E7 is that whilst cheap during the night its twice as expensive during the day, so perhaps you could do your washing during the "off peak" hours and heat you hot water as well?
  • livonialivonia Member Posts: 74 Courageous
    I receive the discount and I use e7 correctly the problem is the heaters are costing ridiculously high amount to run in winter and go cold by four pm . My electric is down to 29 ish in the summer 
  • david235david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    I fear the bigger problem here might be poor insulation and other energy conservation measures, @livonia . Storage heaters are often not a brilliant option (not least because you can only get rid of unwanted heat by wasting it through an open window), but even old ones are fairly good at releasing pretty much all the electricity taken in as heat. The drop in temperature after 4pm might be down to insufficient storage capacity in the heaters or simply too much energy loss from the home.

    Have any of your neighbours with the newer heaters shared what their energy bills are? Sadly, the council are probably right to say that the funding that once existed to upgrade the heating is no longer there - these things tend not to hang around if unspent.


    What little landlord and tenant law I know is mostly to do with the private rented sector. Is an Energy Performance Certificate part of the lettings process for a social landlord? If so, what band is the property in and is there anything relevant about the storage heaters and/or insulation in the EPC?


    I think it is most likely you signed to accept the property 'as is' when you accepted the tenancy. The question is whether there is any obligation on the council to improve the heating bearing in mind your disability. My understanding of the Equality Act 2010 is that a landlord cannot be required to improve the heating as a reasonable adjustment for a disabled person, as there is no duty to provide reasonable adjustments to physical features in let premises. My understanding is that heaters would be fixtures rather than chattels (applying the normal test from Berkley v Poulett [1976] EWCA Civ 1) which would mean they are physical features exempt from any reasonable adjustments.

    I stress that all the conclusions in the previous paragraph are tentative - I'm really outside my legal experience here. You would perhaps be better off asking your question on a specialist housing forum that deals with social housing matters.


    Seeking rehousing is an option - but not an especially good one. Other than the heating, you are now appropriately housed and it is unlikely you will attract much if any priority for rehousing. It would also be expensive for you to move again.


    I think your best bet might be to work with the council on a Disabled Facilities Grant application to provide heating that is suitable for your needs as well as any remedial energy efficiency work that can be justified as part of the scheme.
  • livonialivonia Member Posts: 74 Courageous
    Storage heaters release over the day so by evening all the charge is used up in these ancient heaters

    i don’t believe a council tenant can apply for disabled facilities grant
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 20,020 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2019
    livonia said:

    i don’t believe a council tenant can apply for disabled facilities grant
    Yes, they can. I know someone that lives in a social housing property that had a DFG. See link. https://www.disability-grants.org/disabled-facilities-grant.html

    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • livonialivonia Member Posts: 74 Courageous
    I am A council tenant not housing association so been told I can’t 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 20,020 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2019
    Council tenants and housing association are the same thing, anyone can apply for a DFG. Who told you, you can't apply?
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 20,020 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2019
    See eligibility here and it states, own a property OR be a tenant, which means any tenant. https://www.gov.uk/disabled-facilities-grants/eligibility

    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • livonialivonia Member Posts: 74 Courageous
    edited September 2019
    not helpful arguing when yu are not correct if yu read further it states landlord applies in behalf a of tenant:  a local authority is governed by strict regulations . The are supposed to repair and update stock themselves. My council can’t legally apply for a grant to itself to replace its owned  heating system. 
  • david235david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    I am struggling to see why a council tenant is not eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant. The council themselves cannot apply as a landlord for a DFG (section 3(2)(a) Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended) ('the 1996 Act')) but that does not prevent the tenant from applying. There is a definition of 'tenant' for DFG purposes in s. 19(5) of the 1996 Act, but this is a non-exclusive list of who is a tenant ("tenant" ... includes), so this cannot exclude you merely because of the type of tenancy you hold.

    The normally reliable Shelter Legal's page on DFG says that local authority tenants are eligible to apply for DFGs, though it does note that councils have the power to decide whether to use its own resources for capital works rather than the tenant applying for a DFG.

    It is possible that there is secondary legislation removing the right of council tenants to apply for a DFG, but if there is I have failed to find it so far.


    I would ask the council for a formal ruling on your eligibility for a DFG and also for council-funded capital works to fit suitable heating, @livonia . Let them know politely that if both are refused on the basis that you are ineligible that you intend to make a formal complaint and, if this is rejected, to complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

    I would also contact your MP's office for assistance, especially if the council are taking the line of "there is nothing we can do". The involvement of an MP can focus minds!
  • livonialivonia Member Posts: 74 Courageous
    Thank yu David I am on a local housing charity’s waiting list for an appointment to discuss and enlist their help to write formally. I cd compile a letter myself however I lack the acts and regs to quote.  things are also complicated because I am a new council tenant I am introductory don’t become a flexible secure for five years until  nov 14 this year.
    last thing I want is to say it doesn’t meet my needs and them not re ew my tenancy and push me move 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 20,020 Disability Gamechanger
    @david235 thanks for that. I specifically know people that have successfully received a DFG being a council/housing association tenant so i know for a fact that it's possible for any tenant to receive one.

    @livonia if you read it, it does actually state that If you are a tenant in rented accommodation you can either apply for the grant yourself or your landlord can apply on your behalf.

    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • livonialivonia Member Posts: 74 Courageous
    I don’t appreciate your tone wanting to have the last say thank you. I have read it . Yu don’t I know the law or regulations that’s that govern case and everyones different. I neversd  yu didn’t know peoplewho had the grant just for me ex yu are not really right so back off please    In my circumstances it’s a heating replacement and the administrative authority is my landlord who don’t want to pay for a replacement. Yes I’m sure they do give grants for certain repairs it would seem not for my heating replacement in my circumstances of which yu don’t know details . I will be working with a housing charity an energy charity and my neighbour officer to try raise a complaint.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 20,020 Disability Gamechanger
    livonia said:
    I don’t appreciate your tone wanting to have the last say thank you. I have read it .
    You are completely misunderstanding me... i was actually trying to help you but i'm sorry you thought differently.

    As a community champion here on scope i help lots of others too.

    I won't comment any further on your thread but i will wish you good luck.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
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