This question is based on renting a property via a letting agent in the United Kingdom.
I am renting a small flat as I've sold one house and am considering my options before purchasing another. I didn't want to rush this so took a 6 month lease on a rental property.
The property has electricity only (no gas). It uses an Economy 7 meter which has dual readings for day/night rates. There is a large water cylinder which uses a Redring Electronic Controller to provide hot water.
On the date I collected the keys I asked the letting agent for instructions on how to operate this and was told by the letting agent to "Google it" as they didn't have any. I went to the Redring website and couldn't find the instructions so set it as best I could. My aim was to set it to a timer mode where it was heated for about 3 hours in the early hours of each morning. The options on the master switch are "Off" - meaning the electricity supply to the water heater is disconnected - or "Timed" to use it in timer mode. The unit is poorly designed from usability perspective.
I received my first electricity bill which was very high: approx £140 for 1 month, based on an estimated quote from my energy supplier of £47 (this is based on some details of the property and similar places in the area, I believe).
I managed to find a cached copy of the manual by some extensive searching.
I believe the control unit is faulty as it has an "off peak" light which is permanently on. Due to the way in which Economy 7 heating systems work, it's supposed to take off peak electricity and heat the water during these periods. It says in the manual - with regards to this light being permanently on - that if this is the case:
there could be a possible problem with the Electronic 7 or immersion elements, please contact a qualified electrician or heating engineer.
I've reported this to the letting agent who sent an electrician today who says it's working as normal. I queried this and he suggested getting a plumber. I'm unclear why since it seems an electrical issue and the water supply to the unit is fine.
I don't believe it's working properly. My opinion is that the system is permanently heating water using an electronic immersion heater which is why the bill is so high.
Last week - to test my theory - I switched the master switch to "Off" and about 2 days later the water was still incredibility hot and the "off peak" light remained on, indicating the unit was still being fed electricity. It says in the instructions that the cylinder may keep the water warm for up to 1 day and it certainly isn't insulated sufficiently to keep it as hot as it was after being "off" for this period of time.
I haven't rented for some time but at previous rentals the landlord/letting agent has supplied me with a copy of instructions for any integrated systems such as boilers. Is there any legal requirement for my letting agent to do this, and what course of action can I take to get this sorted? Their suggestion of me Googling instructions seemed a bit unprofessional but I don't know whether they have a legal requirement to supply such documents?
A friend suggested getting an independent electrician and then invoicing the letting agent. I don't think they would pay and am unsure what course of action to take.
I've explained to the letting agent that if the electricity bill is equivalent to the last bill every month it might impact my ability to pay the rent as it wasn't an expected cost before I signed the contract.