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Koko Camden: Fire engulfs famous music venue

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Media captionOne third of the roof of Koko in Camden was on fire at one point, the London Fire Brigade says

One of London’s most famous music venues has been badly damaged in an overnight blaze.

The dome on the roof of Koko in Camden has been destroyed by fire, according to the London Fire Brigade.

Sixty firefighters helped fight the flames after the blaze broke out just before 21:00 GMT on Monday and no injuries have been reported.

The venue which began life as the Camden Theatre in 1900 has hosted stars including Madonna, Coldplay and Prince.

Station commander Jon Lewis said the fire was brought under control at about 02:30 on Tuesday, adding: “Firefighters’ quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building.”

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Madonna performing at Koko in 2005

Koko owner Olly Bengough said he was “deeply saddened” by the blaze, adding: “We’ll be doing our best to get the redevelopment of this iconic building back on track.”

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The fire in the building’s roof was brought under control in the early hours of Tuesday

Crews will remain at the scene throughout the day and have warned people to stay away from the area.

Koko which was closed for refurbishment, was also previously known as the Camden Palace and Camden Hippodrome and has been one of the capital’s most iconic live music venues for decades.

The Rolling Stones, The Clash and Ed Sheeran are among other star names to have performed at the venue, which is close to Mornington Crescent underground station.

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Oliver Cooper

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About 60 firefighters helped tackle a fire at Koko in Camden High Street

It was reportedly the last venue where AC/DC’s Bon Scott was seen drinking before his death from alcohol poisoning in 1980.

In the early 80s it served as a major venue for the punk and New Romantic scene, with singer Steve Strange of the band Visage holding club nights.

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Opening night at Camden Palace 1981 with Steve Strange (left)

Members of the public have been sharing their Koko memories on Twitter.

Marc Rustic was “absolutely gutted” having seen his first grime gig at Koko.

“MoStack was performing and it was honestly the best night of my life,” he added.

Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn who held his legendary soul nights Shakatak also tweeted about the fire.

Koko and the nearby Roundhouse effectively “bookended” Camden’s music scene, according to music writer Carl Allen.

In between the two are 60 music venues including the Dingwalls and Electric Ballroom, as well as restaurants and pubs.

On Twitter the Roundhouse said it was “really sad” to hear the news about our Camden neighbours.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace/Koko up in flames this evening, a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden.”

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan thanked the fire brigade for its quick response.

The venue was set to reopen in the spring after a “major state-of-the-art” refurbishment, after the purchase of two adjacent buildings.

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The venue hosted the BBC’s Electric Proms in 2007

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Koko has hosted some of music’s biggest names including Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Prince


read this post here Do you have memories of attending gigs at Koko? Share your experiences by emailing http://patayersdenver.com/630-bellaire-st-denver/ .

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Cambridge and UCL professor ‘did not notice’ double salaries

Professor Akhilesh Reddy

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Prof Akhilesh Reddy said he was unaware he was being paid two salaries

A professor specialising in human “body-clocks” had been suspended from medical practice after receiving full-time salaries from two universities.

Prof Akhilesh Reddy, a medical doctor, was paid by University College London (UCL) and the University of Cambridge.

He made a £50,000 mortgage repayment, saying he thought the extra money was a salary “overlap”.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal suspended him from the medical register for misconduct.

In December 2016, UCL became aware Prof Reddy may have two salaries and raised concerns with the University of Cambridge.

The neurologist and researcher gave inconsistent statements about the money, claiming he only noticed the salary issue when he checked his account in February 2016, five months after starting at UCL, the tribunal heard.

‘Financially aware’

He said he thought the universities were “sharing his salary”, that there was an “overlap” in his salaries and also that he thought the large sum was just his salary from UCL.

However, the tribunal dismissed his claims, saying he was a “financially aware man”, as shown by his making the £50,000 repayment in February 2016 and his negotiation of a UCL salary nearly double that of his Cambridge one.

In a statement read to the tribunal, Prof Reddy said he thought “all necessary people were fully aware of the position.”

Prof Reddy has moved to Pennsylvania to continue his research following the allegations.

He has since repaid the “large amount of money” and the tribunal said he had showed remorse for his actions.

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Prof Reddy was accepted a job at UCL but kept taking a salary from Cambridge University

A UCL spokesman: “UCL immediately took action as soon as we became aware that Akhilesh Reddy was drawing two salaries and he is no longer employed by UCL.

“This was a unique set of circumstances that involved the complex transfer of an academic group who remained for a period of time at their previous university before moving to a laboratory separate from UCL’s campus.

“The behaviour of the individual involved fell seriously below the standards of behaviour we expect from members of UCL’s academic community.”

A University of Cambridge spokesman said it was “profoundly disappointed” by Prof Reddy’s actions.

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Frank Lampard: Chelsea boss defends Antonio Rudiger over Jose Mourinho criticism of Son Heung-min red card

Son Heung-min was sent off for a challenge on Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has defended Antonio Rudiger after he was criticised for his part in Tottenham forward Son Heung-min’s red card on Sunday.

Spurs manager Jose Mourinho was unhappy with the Blues defender’s reaction to Son’s challenge in Chelsea’s 2-0 win.

Lampard said it was “disappointing” to question Rudiger’s integrity while an investigation into alleged racial abuse directed at the German is ongoing.

“I do defend Toni firmly on it,” said Lampard.

Tottenham have appealed against the red card shown to Son in the second half after VAR ruled he had kicked out at Rudiger.

However, Mourinho thinks it should be Rudiger’s reaction to Son’s challenge that is coming under scrutiny, and not Son’s action.

“I’m not speaking about the racism incident, this is another thing. I am speaking about that incident, the red card,” he said on Monday.

“In the Premier League I love there is no space also for what Rudiger did. Stand up and play man. This is the Premier League.”

Lampard responded: “With Toni, in this incident when he’s having to post after the game about something we know is a huge deal [racism], I think to question his integrity in that time is disappointing for sure.

“Pretty universally, certainly what I heard in the commentary and the post-match reflection was that the Son incident was a red card.

“It wasn’t brutal but it was instinctive that warrants a red card in the modern day. It was pretty clear that was the case. I wouldn’t question Toni’s integrity on that.”

On Tuesday, Tottenham said they had banned a supporter for throwing a cup at Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, but their investigation into the alleged racist abuse of Rudiger “remains ongoing”.

‘I support all my players in this situation’

Both players were subject to alleged racist abuse during the fixture.

Rudiger said he heard monkey noises from the crowd, while police arrested a Chelsea fan for a racially aggravated public order offence against Spurs’ Son.

Lampard says he has only spoken briefly to Rudiger, who informed Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta of what he had heard and he told referee Anthony Taylor.

However, Tottenham say their initial findings after the alleged racist abuse of Rudiger are “inconclusive”.

“I saw Toni’s social media post, I thought it was well put, from the heart and something that he feels very strongly about,” said Lampard.

“I’ll speak to him today when I see him. I would like to think the players know I am with them on anything like this.

“I’ll have the same conversation with Toni that I had with Tammy after the incident earlier this year.

“And I will tell them and take the time to make sure he knows I support him, and that I support all my players in this situation.”

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Ellie Goulding helps driver ‘T-boned’ by Royal Mail truck

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Media captionEllie Goulding and her driver rushed to help after a car was hit by a Royal Mail truck

Singer Ellie Goulding came to the aid of a driver whose car was being pushed sideways along a road by a lorry.

Footage shows a Volkswagen GTi being pushed down Western Avenue, A40, by a Royal Mail delivery lorry near the Greenford roundabout in west London.

Goulding posted on Instagram to criticise other drivers who got out to film the crash and “shout abuse” at the lorry driver.

The Royal Mail says it is investigating the crash.

The truck driver appears astonished to see the car in front of his vehicle, claiming he did not see it, or know it was there.

He can be heard yelling: “I didn’t see him, I honestly didn’t see him.”

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PA Media

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Ellie Goulding said her driver, Guy, stopped to help while she checked on the driver of the car

Goulding told her 14.4 million Instagram followers: “On a side note, I can’t believe the first instinct of the other drivers who got out was to instantly start filming on their phones and shout abuse at the poor shocked driver, not even checking the other driver was okay.

“What on earth.”

Goulding told BBC Radio 1 she intervened because “no-one was stopping”.

She said: “I think people were desperate to get to work. All these people were just driving on.

“We just drove up right next to it [the lorry] to be like ‘Mate, you’ve got a car on you!'”

The driver who was shunted along the road later messaged the singer “to just say he was OK,” she added.

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The driver of the Royal Mail delivery truck cab said he did not realise the car was there

The Met Police said there were no reported injuries and no arrests have been made.

A Royal Mail spokesman added: “We are very concerned about this incident. We sincerely hope that no one was hurt. We are investigating as a matter of urgency.”

Road safety campaigner Rebecca Ashton told the Victoria Derbyshire programme she hoped it was not a stunt.

She said: “He must have been able to hear the scraping of the tyres – possibly a feeling of pushing a car.”

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Alex Dombrandt: Could England pick Harlequins number eight for Six Nations?

Alex Dombrandt has started 18 Premiership games for Harlequins, scoring seven tries

Harlequins number eight Alex Dombrandt would flourish in the international environment, says England scrum-half and club team-mate Danny Care.

The uncapped 22-year-old is thought to be pushing for a place in England’s Six Nations squad after starring for Quins of late.

“He reads the game so well, he’s smart and makes the right decisions all the time,” Care said.

“You put him in an England shirt and he is only going to excel.”

Care believes Dombrandt would provide England with an extra dimension if he made his international debut.

The former university student is on head coach Eddie Jones’ radar after appearing for an England XV in a non-cap game against the Barbarians in May.

There also appears to be an opening at the back of the scrum, with Billy Vunipola the only specialist number eight in the Rugby World Cup squad after Bristol’s Nathan Hughes fell out of favour.

“For me he’s got everything. He’s hungry for it, he’s got the work-rate and the work ethic, and he’s a good boy,” Care told the Rugby Union Weekly podcast.

Dombrandt only broke into the Quins first team a year ago after completing his undergraduate studies at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

But after a breakthrough season last time around, he recently signed a new deal to stay at The Stoop despite firm interest from Northampton Saints.

“He went to uni, did it properly and enjoyed himself, but he’s got a chance to play professional rugby and he’s grasped it with both hands,” Care added.

“I’m not picking the England squad, but 100% [he should be in].

“I just think if you throw him in there, and you have him running lines alongside Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Joe Marler – which attacker is the defender going to take?

“He is different, and there aren’t many of him around. And he can play six [blind-side flanker], seven [open-side flanker] or [number] eight.”

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Loughton hit-and-run: Harley Watson named as victim

Harley Watson

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Harley Watson, 12, was described by his school as “liked and loved”

A 12-year-old boy killed in a hit-and-run outside a school has been named locally as Harley Watson.

He was struck near Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex, at about 15:20 GMT on Monday.

A 51-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of his murder, as well as the attempted murder of four other teenagers and a 23-year-old woman who were hurt in the crash.

One of the victims was described by his mother as “battered and bruised”.

It is understood all the injured children – two 15-year-old boys, a 13-year-old boy, and a girl, 16 – are pupils at the school.

Debden Park’s head teacher Helen Gascoyne, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and all those affected.

“The school will be open [on Tuesday] with a number of counsellors on hand to support our community.”

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Flowers and messages to Harley Watson and his family have been left at the scene of the crash

Christian Cavanagh, executive head teacher, described the Harley’s death as “a young life so tragically lost”.

He said: “This young man had made his mark on the school and was liked and loved by staff and students.

“We will consult with the family and our school community to decide how best to commemorate his life.”

‘I’ve been hit by a car’

Donna Mills, the mother of Alfie Barnes who was one of the 15-year-olds struck by the car, said he was “still in shock… battered and bruised”.

“He remembers the car coming towards him, he remembers getting hit, but it is a bit of a blur. He hit his head and I think he blacked out for a bit,” she said.

“Alfie rang me and said ‘mum I have been hit by a car’, so I shot down there as fast as I could. It was horrendous.

“It was… horrible to see, kids laying on the floor, just terrible.”

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Debden Park High School opened on Tuesday for staff and pupils to support each other

Essex Police said officers are looking for a silver Ford Ka that was “likely to have damage to [its] front”.

Earlier, the force took the step of naming Terry Glover, 51, as someone they wanted to speak to in connection with the crash.

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Met Police superintendent sentenced over indecent video

Dido Massivi, Jennifer Hodge and Novlett Robyn Williams

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Supt Novlett Robyn Williams (right) was on trial with her sister Jennifer Hodge and Dido Massivi (left)

A senior police officer convicted of possessing a child abuse video on her phone has been told she faces “immense” career consequences.

A court heard Novlett Robyn Williams failed to report her sister for sending the “disturbing” clip last year.

While jurors at the Old Bailey accepted Williams did not view the material, they rejected her claim she was unaware of its presence on her phone.

She was ordered to carry out 200 hours’ community service.

Williams had denied the charge, saying she “zoned out” when she received the video.

The jury was told she was one of 17 people to receive the 54-second clip via WhatsApp, and prosecutors had argued there was no way she could have missed its arrival in her inbox.

They said a response sent to her older sister Jennifer Hodge, saying “please call”, was evidence that she wanted to discuss the content.

Judge Richard Marks QC, sentencing, told the Old Bailey her “grave error of judgement” was likely to have “immense” career consequences.

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Supt Williams, pictured with London mayor Sadiq Khan, was highly commended for her work helping families affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster

The court heard Williams, who was commended for her work after the Grenfell Tower disaster, had an exemplary disciplinary record, was highly regarded for her work and was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal for distinguished service in 2003.

Judge Marks told her it was “completely tragic you found yourself in the position you now do” considering her “stellar career in the police force over 30 years”.

She was cleared of a charge of corrupt or improper exercise of police powers in failing to report the distribution of an image.

As the prosecuting barrister, Richard Wright QC, noted, this is a “sad” case for all those involved, particularly for Robyn Williams who could well lose the job she cherishes.

She was the only one to be prosecuted of the 17 people who received the child abuse video.

Two individuals reported it, but no action was taken against the other 14, raising concerns among her supporters that she’s been unfairly targeted.

Did it have to end up in a trial at the Old Bailey? Or could the Superintendent have been dealt with through internal misconduct procedures, given her 36 years’ distinguished service?

There is also a wider question for all of us about our legal responsibilities when we’re sent material on social media that we haven’t asked for.

This case has demonstrated the risks of not reporting and deleting footage that contains illegal content.

Williams’ sister Jennifer Hodge, 56, of Brent, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service having been found guilty of distributing an indecent image of a child.

The social worker had denied sending the video, which she received from her partner and allegedly depicted a young girl performing a sex act on a man.

Her barrister Andrea Brown also told the court the conviction had “destroyed her relationship” with her police officer sister, who is her only immediate family member.

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Supt Novlett Robyn Williams had denied all the charges

Hodge’s partner Dido Massivi, 61, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years as well as 200 hours of community service.

The bus driver had denied two counts of distributing indecent photos and one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image portraying a person having sex with a horse.

Prosecutors said there was no suggestion the defendants derived any sexual gratification from the images but all three will be placed on the sex offenders’ register – Hodge and Williams for five years, and Massivi for 10.

Both Hodge and Massivi were also sacked from their jobs following their arrest, the court heard.

Scotland Yard said Williams remains on restricted duties but that would be “reviewed now criminal matters are complete”.

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Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on 11 April 2019

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Assange was arrested in London after Ecuador abruptly withdrew its protection

Prosecutors in Sweden have dropped an investigation into a rape allegation made against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange in 2010.

Assange, who denies the accusation, has avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years after seeking refuge at the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012.

The 48-year-old Australian was evicted in April and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions.

He is currently being held at Belmarsh prison in London.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement: “Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding Julian Assange.

“The reason for this decision is that the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question.”

The prosecutors said the decision had been taken after seven witnesses in the case had been interviewed.

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Joseph McCann: Man embarked on ‘series of depraved sex attacks’

Joseph McCann

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Joseph McCann is accused of 37 offences against 11 alleged victims

A man embarked on a series of “depraved” sex attacks on women and children, one as young as 11, a court has heard.

Joseph McCann is accused of 37 offences against 11 alleged victims, including rapes, kidnap and false imprisonment, over two weeks in April and May.

The Old Bailey heard the 34-year-old snatched two women off London streets and told one he would “never release her” as he raped her multiple times.

Mr McCann of Harrow denies the charges.

The jury was told one 25-year-old woman was abducted as she walked home in Walthamstow, east London, just after midnight on 25 April.

Prosecutor John Price QC said the defendant told her “to stop screaming or he would stab her” then dragged her into a car “and drove off”.

The court heard the woman was raped “many times” in various locations over the next 14 hours and subjected to acts of “shocking depravity and violence”.

“He made her call him ‘daddy’ and say that she was a child. At one point the man parked the car near to a school, saying that he wanted to make her rape a child,” Mr Price said.

Later the same day, and while still holding the woman prisoner, the defendant abducted a 21-year-old woman in Edgware, north London, as she walked along the street with her sister, the court heard.

CCTV of the woman being bundled into a silver people carrier just after midday was played to the jury.

Mr Price said she “suffered a similar fate” to the 25-year-old woman before the pair managed to escape while in Watford where Mr McCann had booked a hotel room for two nights.

He told the jury they would have come to “further harm” but one of the women hit their captor over the head with a vodka bottle and some builders “bravely” intervened to prevent them being recaptured.

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Can my landlord lock my thermostat in a box?

Alex Milsom with the thermostat cover

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Alex Milsom says he cannot unscrew the box and there is no access to it from the side

On Saturday afternoon, the hot water went off in Alex Milsom’s shared house in west London. Discussing the problem with his housemates on WhatsApp, one person replied: “It’s because there’s a cage on the thermostat.”

“I said I would put the water back on, but obviously I couldn’t get past the new lock box,” Alex said..

His landlady had visited the property to install a clear thermostat cover over the Google Nest thermostat – which can control heating and hot water.

“We have no idea what the temperature is,” he said. “The Nest 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.”

Alex, 21, has been living with six or seven others in a semi-detached house in Ealing since August. Rented from a private landlady, he pays £700 a month, and the landlady covers his utility bills.

In a multi-occupancy dwelling like Alex’s, the landlord is permitted to control the heating, with no rules against boxing-in the thermostat, experts say. The same is true of a standard rental property with less than three tenants, if the landlord pays the bills.

But, until now, Alex and his housemates have had control over the temperature of their home and the hot water via the thermostat in the communal kitchen.

“It’s just quite funny,” he adds.

“On Sunday night I woke up in a sweat because the heating was on, but the next morning I had to shower at work because there was no hot water,” he says. The water has since returned.

Alex shared his story on Twitter on Saturday, which went viral and prompted queries over the legality of the move.

So can a landlord box off a thermostat?

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, says there are no rules around boxing off thermostats.

But adds: “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.”

However, the issue is not clear cut.

A tenant has a right to heating and hot water, says Daniel Fitzpatrick, a partner at Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors.

But whether a landlord can box off a thermostat depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement.

“If the tenant is just paying a basic agreement where bills are not included, that could be why the landlord installed the fitting – usually thermostats can be covered,” he says.

“Should that not be the case, then there could be various actions against the landlord.

“It’s a basic right to be able to turn on heating and hot water, and it would be a breach of health and safety if the tenant could not.”

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Most homes in the UK are heated with a boiler and radiators, with controls such as boiler or room thermostats or timers

Housing experts from Citizens Advice say the legality of a landlord-controlled thermostat is likely to rely on whether it results in hazards – excess cold or possibly extreme heat.

According to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), which governs housing conditions, heating can be centrally controlled by the landlord in a house in multiple occupation.

But the guidance adds that if this causes “unreasonable extremes in temperature” then this may represent a hazard – over which the local authority can take action against the landlord.

Risks of adverse health effects arise when indoor temperature drops below 19C, with serious health risks occurring below 16C, it says.

What can a tenant do if they are still unhappy?

Under the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, all residential tenancies after 20 March 2019 are required to be free of hazards.

If a tenant feels this is not the case they could try making a claim against the landlord.

But Citizens Advice says it is better to try to “negotiate amicably” if at all possible – “due to the limited security of tenure which private tenants tend to have” – and it warns of the risk of an escalating row.

“The tenants might consider trying to take control of the heating themselves by using electric heaters.

“There is a risk, however, that the landlord may respond negatively to a huge electricity bill, and perhaps seek to serve a section 21 notice (no fault eviction notice) to terminate the tenancy at the end of the fixed term, or seek to alter the rent or other tenancy terms as a condition of any renewal.”

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