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Can anyone offer any advise? (Council and refusing to do anything)

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Symone, Jan 16, 2014.


  1. Symone

    Symone PetForums VIP

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    So, I live in a council property. My partner and I have currently paid £400 for heating for the year yet haven't had any heating at all. No one in my block of flats has had any. (We pay it throughout the whole year so we don't get a huge bill in the winter. Coulcn't even opt out of that because the council say so.)
    We have storage heaters and the council decides when our heat goes on to save money.. (This is what they've said for the past year when I questioned why we couldn't have it on sooner.)
    Only this year we've had no heat!
    Many of us have phoned the council to complain, but they just say that they have a contract with EDF Energy and it's up to them. "they will turn it on when they deem that it's cold enough" (It's colder than the fridge in the flat when we don't have the portable heater on.)
    Phoning EDF? They refuse to talk to me because I'm not the council. (Tried quite a few times :/)

    Well anyway fast forward to now.. We're moving in a few weeks, and the partner isn't happy about paying the council £400 for nothing. Our rent is £420 for the month and he wants to pay them £20, and say they take the other £400 back from edf because they haven't held to their side of the contract. Can he do this? He doesn't care if we get "evicted". (I however am quite worried about it. He however is the one that brings in the money and he gets the final say...)

    Where do we legally stand?
    I've tried to contact Citizens advise but our local centre appears to still be closed.

    So, does anyone have any advise for what we can do? I have no idea what's left to do.. Just wanna know what we can do..
    Other tenants in the block of flats have already written to the papers, and a story has been printed in our local paper.

    The people I feel sorry for are the ones with young children and the elderly. 90 flats and no heating. :/ I doubt some people even have the money to power up a portable heater. (we spend £3 from our electric a day heating 1 room with it.)
     
  2. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

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  3. Symone

    Symone PetForums VIP

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  4. skyblue

    skyblue PetForums VIP

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    i've never heard of anything like that before
     
  5. cinnamontoast

    cinnamontoast Sois pas chiant, chéri.

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    Sounds very dodgy, good job you're moving! I'd be kind and copy that sheet for the entire block (with the rent money!)
     
  6. MLB

    MLB Guest

    i've not heard of anything like this either. :confused:

    Thought everybody was in charge of their own bills/meters etc. How odd to be told when you can and can't have heating on. I find that all very strange.
     
  7. Jobeth

    Jobeth PetForums VIP

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    You can also contact your local MP. Get together as a group and tell the council you will be going to the papers if they don't sort it out ASAP. Find out if anyone has legal cover on their house insurance and that will help get you legal advice.
     
  8. Jesthar

    Jesthar PetForums VIP

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    That is just plain weird, why should an energy company have the power to decide when it is cold enough to heat your flat, but still be able to charge you for heating they haven't provided? Sounds downright illegal to charge for a service that has not been provided!

    I'd contact your local MP and your local newspaper with the story, to be honest, and seeing if you can get hold of CAB by phone - get as many neighboours as you can to do the same.

    I'd also invest in a decent thermometer and record the temperature in a non heated room of your flat a few times a day, and encourage your neighbours to do the same as a record of how cold it gets as heating is not being provided - evidence is key in these cases.
     
  9. LDK1

    LDK1 PetForums VIP

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    My Mum lives in a council flat in a block in NW London and the system is the same: gas is paid for all year round, along with the rent, and the communal heating system is turned on sometime in autumn through to sometime in spring. She only has control over turning the individual radiators on or off during that time.

    Gas is on all the time for the cooker.

    Electric is done by individual meter.

    I don't know what the rules are, but I certainly wouldn't want to let the Council (as a landlord) get away with taking the money without providing the service, but it's best to tackle the problem in a 'legal' way or it may end up costing you even more, e.g. you may get fined for not paying your rent or they could chase you through the courts if you still don't pay.

    I would definitely get some expert advice on this, as quickly as possible.
     
  10. Symone

    Symone PetForums VIP

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    I'll give my local MP a phone call in the morning, see if they can help at all. Thanks for that suggestion. :)
    I'll also call CAB and invest in a thermometer. I'll put it in the bedroom as that room isn't heated. (we have tons of duvets. The dogs join us under them as well.)

    I have to say that I also find this strange. I don't understand why I'm not allowed to decide when I have any heating. At most times I tend to wear a coat inside and the dogs also have coats or jumpers on. I bet they'll enjoy moving more than me. :eek:
    But yeah.. Until complaining and demanding I get my money back the council always told me they were in charge of when the heating goes on.. I don't even know what's the truth with them any more. :/

    I'll let the neighbours in on this, as well. Maybe someone has already done all of this.. I'm not sure. I'll post a big distracting notice downstairs tomorrow and put which flat I'm at so people interested can knock on my door and I'll print off what I've already done. I hope that this at least gets sorted before next winter for the people that will continue to live here. Not everyone has the money to move out. :(
     
  11. porps

    porps Swollen Member

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    definately dont pay your final rent if they still owe you 400 quid.
     
  12. donna160

    donna160 PetForums Senior

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    I don't know how the system you have works i've never heard of it before, do you have regular meter readings?
    I'm wondering if there is some sort of system for that as fuel prices change so i would imagine the council and energy company would want to monitor it to ensure they are not loosing money.
    surely the energy company reads the meters and sends the standard letter re: usuage and costs etc? if they do then you would be able to give proof of how much energy has been used and what the correct charges are.
     
  13. Symone

    Symone PetForums VIP

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    Well, The council sends me a letter if the prices change. And I get readings once a year. When they are read they send me a letter about a week or so later. I believe that's only for the electric meter though. As far as I'm aware the storage heaters aren't checked often. Or, they haven't been whilst I've lived in this flat. :/
    The heating charge gets paid to the council and I assume they then send it on to the energy company. I keep all my receipts from payments that I send to the council so I have proof it's paid, too.. Some online, some paper.
    The price however did go up by about 20p a week not that long ago.. So they must have some way of checking it.

    The heating charge is on my tenancy agreement and I got a new one come through when the charge changed.
     
  14. donna160

    donna160 PetForums Senior

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    It's a really strange way of doing it, it sounds like a real rip off and it's a ridiculous amount of money to pay if you hardly have any heating!
    Really really push them,go see your local MP and keep trying your local CAB or one thats open 5 days a week.

    I hope you get it sorted :)
     
  15. DoodlesRule

    DoodlesRule PetForums VIP

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    Sounds an odd system, would not like my heating controlled by others :confused:

    I know someone who lives in a flat, there are communal areas eg gym, swimming pool etc and there are separate heating bills for that which the management company have to pay and its covered by tenants monthly service charges, but they are all in control of and individually billed for the heating for their own flats.
     
  16. Pointermum

    Pointermum PetForums VIP

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    What a disgraceful way of doing things, it's completely unfair , i've never heard of such a odd system.

    I would be fuming if i had no control over when to out the heating on, how do you get clothes dry (if no tumble dryer) the flats must get damp also being cold for so long :confused:

    Glad your getting out of there !
     
  17. LDK1

    LDK1 PetForums VIP

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    Just an update for the record: having spoken to my Mum today, it seems her council no longer switch it on and off autumn and spring, but keep it on all year round now.

    There are no individual gas meters or any kind of statements.
     
  18. Symone

    Symone PetForums VIP

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    Well in the summer they're on the balcony. Winter it's on the clothes horse in the living room (warmest room of the flat) or if it's good weather balcony again.. I do however have some lovely person some floors up that always chucks their mop water off the balcony. Not fun when I have clothes out there!
    It still takes a good 2 days for something to dry when inside. I actually used a hairdryer to dry some bedding the other day, lol.

    And as far as I'm aware there isn't any damp.. but the walls get painted quite often so that probably hides it? I have no idea.

    Dad has advised that I can just email the council and say that I'm withholding my rent until they fix the heating. Apparently if I send it in a message it is all legal and allowed? So either way I end up with the money or heating. Typing up the email to them now.

    Also had an email back from the link Rona gave me, and they said they can't deal with cases when the council is the landlord, however they have given me an address that I can contact so I will forward what I sent to them to the other address.
     
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