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Dispute arises between landlord and tenants over thermostat controls

A dispute has arisen between a landlord and tenants after a clear thermostat cover was installed over the thermostat controls in their house.

The dispute gained viral attention after one of the tenants, Alex Milsom, posted a picture of the thermostat cover on Twitter.

The situation arose after the hot water went off in the shared house in London, with the tenants discussing what the problem was. When one of Alex’s housemates informed him that there was a cage on the thermostat, he went to investigate.

Alex said: “We have no idea what the temperature is. The Nest (thermostat) screen only lights up when you stand up close to it, but the box has stopped that from working and we can’t see the number.”

The utility bills are covered in the private tenancy agreement, which means that the landlord is permitted to control the heating. There are currently no rules against boxing-off the thermostat.

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “It is a matter of good tenancy management and we encourage landlords to speak first with tenants before taking such action.

“In shared homes, there can often be disputes between tenants who want the thermostat set at different temperatures.”

Citizens Advice have stated that the legality of a landlord-controlled thermostat depends on whether it results in “hazards”, which could be something such as extreme cold or heat as a result of them controlling the house’s thermostat.

All residential tenancies are required to be free of hazards under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which came into force in March 2019.

For advice on matters relating to dispute resolution, contact our expert team at Mander Hadley today.

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Adrian Austin-Crowe

Adrian Austin-Crowe

Head of Dispute Resolution / Personal Injury
After obtaining my degree in 1977 and being admitted as a solicitor in 1980, I worked in the Midlands and Thames Valley before joining Mander Hadley in 2005 to lead the Dispute Resolution Department.

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