Although landlords need to take their obligations towards their tenants seriously, these obligations are particularly important for elderly people, and acutely important when the weather is cold. Low temperatures and wintry conditions can exacerbate people’s health problems, and cold homes can prove fatal for the most vulnerable members of the community.
Boiler breakdown ‘worsening Liverpool pensioner’s health’
Vicent O’Brien, a 74-year-old former builder who lives in Kirby, recently told the Liverpool Echo that he is worried that he might develop pneumonia due to his landlords’ delays in fixing his boiler.
Mr O’Brien said he feels “terrible”, he is “cold all the time” and “shivering”, and that his hands feel like “ice blocks”.
He said he has repeatedly asked social housing provider Riverside to send someone round to fix his boiler, and has been trying his best to keep warm with loads of blankets in the mean-time. He has also had to visit friends to use their showers.
The pensioner has already suffered from pneumonia three times in the past, and suffers from angina, apnoea and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), a collection of lung diseases that includes chronic obstructive airways disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulties, breathlessness, frequent chest infections and persistent coughs.
Mr O’Brien told the Echo he is worried that the cold weather will make these health problems worse, and that his apnoea has already been worsened as he has no hot water and therefore cannot easily wash the mask he uses to breathe in sterilised water.
He said Riverside knew all about his health conditions, and that these issues were one of the reasons he was eligible to live in the social housing when he moved in 16 years ago.
Furthermore, this is not the only boiler breakdown Mr O’Brien has dealt with – he told the newspaper he is “always having trouble” with the appliance, claiming it develops problems every year and that he and his wife Doreen have had to sit in the cold on some Christmases.
Landlord responds to boiler complaints
Riverside said that they first received notification of Mr O’Brien’s boiler problem on Saturday November 29th, and that their staff visited him on December 1st to assess the issue.
Assistant Divisional Director for the social landlord Mark Burnett told the newspaper that Riverside has ordered a new part for the boiler, which should be fitted today (December 3rd), and that it provided Mr O’Brien with temporary heaters he can use while his boiler is broken.
Landlord Cover – keeping tenants warm
With the help of 247 Home Rescue, landlords can keep their tenants warm 24/7. Call our emergency claims line on Saturday to report a boiler breakdown and we will send an engineer round to visit the property and sort out the boiler within 24 hours, keeping tenants safe and comfortable throughout the year.
If you’d like to set up a bespoke landlord cover package, just give us a call on 0345 3192 247 and start taking the stress out of letting.