Electric supply and no return?

  josie mayhem 11:26 18 Dec 2007

Sorry for this one I know it's not computers!

The hosuing asociassion replaced my mains electric boards last year... On completion a electrian check the new installation, noted that he could not find a 'return'? A fault that could take either 5 minutes or days to locate!

Action he would inform The housing associalsion for arrange for another electrican to resolve the fault!

What danger/effect does this have?

I have had elecrical problems since, losing 2 computers with similar electric problems, a aquatic filter pump failed (£100 to replace) 1 electric fire and to top it all we went from having a electic emmersion heater that was a bit doddgy heating water, so element was changed! then reset and then changed and now awaiting repair again... Spending more time without hot water than with.....

Is this just one of those things and a run of bad luck or does it all stem from a missing non-return (what ever that means)on the electrial mains board that was replaced last year?

  recap 11:43 18 Dec 2007

Paragraph 5 (c) may be of relevance to you mayhem?

If you do go down this route, ensure you notify the landlord/housing association first. You could inform them that if the repair is not undertaken within the next 14 days you will have it repaired yourself and send the bill to them.

1. Disclosure of landlord's identity

(1) In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor -

(a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),

(b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwellinghouse for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity).

(c) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwellinghouse for space heating and heating water.

(1A) If a lease to which this section applies is a lease of a dwelling-house which forms part only of a building, then, subject to subsection (1B), the covenant implied by subsection (1) shall have effect as if-

(a) the reference in paragraph (a) of that subsection to the dwelling-house included a reference to any part of the building in which the lessor has an estate or interest; and

(b) any reference in paragraphs (b) and (c) of that subsection to an installation in the dwelling-house included a reference to an installation which, directly or indirectly, serves the dwelling-house and which either-

(i) forms part of any part of a building in which the lessor has an estate or interest; o

(ii) is owned by the lessor or under his control.

(IB) Nothing in subsection (1A) shall be construed as requiring the lessor to carry out any works or repairs unless the disrepair (or failure to maintain in working order) is such as to affect the lessee's enjoyment of the dwelling-house or of any common parts, as defined in section 60(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, which the lessee, as such, is entitled to use.

(2) The covenant implied by subsection (1) ("the lessor's repairing covenant") shall not be construed as requiring the lessor-

(a) to carry out works or repairs for which the lessee is liable by virtue of his duty to use the premises in a tenant-like manner, or would be so liable but for an express covenant on his part,

(b) to rebuild or reinstate the premises in the case of destruction or damage by fire, or by tempest, flood or other inevitable accident, or

(c) to keep in repair or maintain anything which the lessee is entitled to remove from the dwelling-house.

(3) In determining the standard of repair required by the lessor's repairing covenant, regard shall be had to the age, character and prospective life of the dwelling-house and the locality in which it is situated.

(3A) In any case where-

(a) the lessor's repairing covenant has effect as mentioned in subsection (1A), and

(b) in order to comply with the covenant the lessor needs to carry out works or repairs otherwise than in, or to an installation in, the dwelling-house, and

(c) the lessor does not have a sufficient right in the part of the building or the installation concerned to enable him to carry out the required works or repairs,

then, in any proceedings relating to a failure to comply with the lessor's repairing covenant, so far as it requires the lessor to carry out the works or repairs in question, it shall be a defence for the lessor to prove that he used all reasonable endeavours to obtain, but was unable to obtain, such rights as would be adequate to enable him to carry out the works or repairs.


  recap 11:44 18 Dec 2007

(4) A covenant by the lessee for the repair of the premises is of no effect so far as it relates to the matters mentioned in subsection (1)(a) to (c), except so far as it imposes on the lessee any of the requirements mentioned in subsection (2)(a) or (c).

(5) The reference in subsection (4) to a covenant by the lessee for the repair of the premises includes a covenant -

(a) to put in repair or deliver up in repair,

(b) to paint, point or render,

(c) to pay money in lieu of repairs by the lessee, or

(d) to pay money on account of repairs by the lessor.

(6) In a lease in which the lessor's repairing covenant is implied there is also implied a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or any person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours' notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair.

  Belatucadrus 11:45 18 Dec 2007

As I understand it, the 'return' is the Earth return or Ground Return click here .
Now I doubt that this is directly responsible for the electrical problems you've had, but there are safety issues and the Housing Association need to fix it ASAP. Keep the polite but firm pressure on them.

  josie mayhem 12:47 18 Dec 2007

Even though the emmersion heater is now getting a bit tedious it's the mains board that I'm more worried about...

Part of it is not chasing things up eariler, but with very limited knowledge of electrics partfrom that every plug has a fuse (I can wire and replace a fuse in a plug) your electric installation is based on a circute, needs to be earthed and that if like me you don't have a notion of in and outs, then get someone one who does as it can kill...

One assumed that one was safe if a electrian doesn't take immediate action when you have no idea what 'return' actualy means...


I followed your link, it doesn't bold well me thinks, so I'm going to e-mail my housing offier + the maintainance manager expressing my concerns and get hubby to phone the housing association this afternoon...

I let you know how we get on..

  octal 13:07 18 Dec 2007

It depends on what type of system is used in your area on what he means by not being able to find a "return", either earth or neutral? Myself being an electrician I would be concerned at hearing that from the safety aspect. I hope they send another electrician sooner rather than later.

From the problems you describe it might account for the electrical problems you are having if the return is faulty.

  octal 13:09 18 Dec 2007

Also if you are concerned, contact your local electricity suppler and tell them the electrician couldn't find a return and see what their reaction is.

  Bapou 13:25 18 Dec 2007

We had similar problems a couple of years ago. Computer switching off when switching on another appliance such as the kettle. Bulbs going pop when turning on the TV.

Called in a local electrician and he traced the fault to two cables being fitted so close to each other, heat had melted the cable casings and the wires were virtually fused together.

The meter had been changed some time before and the installer had cocked up the fitting. We were close to the house going up in flames.

Our electrician was not allowed to proceed any further by law. He advised me to phone NEDL immediately, an engineer arrived within 15 minutes and saved our home.

He advised I have strong words with the supplier which had authoised the change of meter.

May not be the answer for you but a call to this emergency service in our area may help.

click here

  josie mayhem 14:32 18 Dec 2007

There's apart of me getting a bit worried now...

About a fortnight ago we recieved (hubby answered) a phone call from housing association asking if we were home that Friday afternoon the contrators were coming as a emergency call to earth bond the electrics?

So we canceled our plans for the afternoon and waited! contractors didn't turn up... I phoned the next day (office hours) and nobody knew anything about it...

Even though I have mentioned this and the 'return' on every occasion no-one seems to know anything about it...

Starting to get a bit worried now though

  Forum Editor 15:57 18 Dec 2007

normally means connecting earth bonding clamps to water and gas pipes, and running earthing wires from the clamps back to the consumer unit earth terminal. pipes are commonly 'cross bonded', which means that the clamps on individual pipes are linked together by a common earth wire, so that only one wire goes back to earth.

If the electrician who originally called spotted that your consumer unit (what you might know as a fuseboard) isn't earthed at all the situation is very serious, and is potentially very dangerous. You should contact your housing association as a matter of urgency.

  Diemmess 16:51 18 Dec 2007

I sympathise with you and your serious problem where you are unsure what to complain of and who to complain to!

I think you must prepare yourself for some time on the phone and concentrate on having a qualified electrician investigate this as a matter of real urgency.

You could either go to the housing association first and ask for their recommended electrician's number, or direct to the supply authority, ask them to treat it as very urgent.

A total failure of anyone to ensure that a preliminary visit is followed up by answers and thorough investigation, just must not happen again.

As the customer, and potential victim, bang on about this until something is done.

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