Edinburgh flatmates who went without heating for over a year win £2.5K rent rebate

Stuart and Rory "shivered through the winter" after they were left without heating
Stuart and Rory "shivered through the winter" after they were left without heating -Credit:Living Rent

Edinburgh flatmates who went over a year without heating have received a rent rebate, after demanding action from their letting agent.

Stuart and Rory first reported a heating issue to DJ Alexander in December 2022. After initially being accused of using the system in their Brunswick Street property incorrectly, a contractor told them the heating was "non-functional" in January last year.

They found themselves living in a cold home for two winters, with a rent increase of three per cent in May 2023. Now, the landlord, through agents DJ Alexander, has agreed to pay £2.5k and to improve the quality of the property with new windows.

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The flatmates said they couldn't have done it without Living Rent, who helped them raise the issue and even organised a protest outside of DJ Alexander in early April. Despite paying full rent, on time, every month - Stuart and Rory found themselves "shivering through the winter".

DJ Alexander have said they are "happy with their role", and feel the negotiation between tenants and landlords has come to a "satisfactory conclusion".

Stuart and Rory said: "Living Rent gave us the confidence to defend our rights as tenants.

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"Alongside our neighbours, we are demanding compensation from DJ Alexander for leaving us without heating for two winters. We even got a rent increase in May last year, just three days after we were told the heaters weren’t even being considered until autumn.

"All whilst I was finishing my undergrad and hunting for work, it was another stress we couldn’t spend all day every day chasing, which in the end was what we had to do. The heaters were so old, contractors said they didn’t even make parts for them any more.

"We were shivering throughout winter and given it’s Scotland often at night at any time of year. DJ Alexander and the landlord could have avoided this whole situation if there had been any proactive inspection or repairs, but instead when we moved in, the entry phone was still hanging off the wall, and upgrades to the ageing kitchen never materialised.

Stuart and Rory in their Brunswick Street home
Stuart and Rory in their Brunswick Street home -Credit:Living Rent

"Living Rent helped us find the energy to fight for our rights as tenants, and to get what we’re owed for a service paid for in full and only received in part.”

Eilidh Keay, Living Rent Edinburgh City Chair, commented: "Life for Rory and Stuart in their flat was ruined by a lack of heating for over a year. It is unbelievable what landlords think they can get away with.

"To have no heating for a year and be consistently ignored is unbelievable behaviour. It is great news that through the power of collective action our members were compensated for their substandard housing.

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"Substandard housing is not acceptable in any case and Living Rent will continue to fight for safe, warm homes for all."

DJ Alexander stated to Edinburgh Live: "We were happy in our role as managing agent, to be able to negotiate an agreement between the tenants and the landlords in relation to these matters and draw them to a satisfactory conclusion."