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Is the tenant or landlord responsible for looking after the boiler?

If you’ve ever wondered who’s responsible to service & repair a boiler in rented accommodation, then we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll explain who must fix the boiler and what heating related rights a tenant has when renting.

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Does the landlord have to fix the boiler?

As a landlord, if the boiler is in need of a repair and your tenants haven’t purposely damaged it, then under the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985), it's your responsibility to repair or replace the broken system and make sure your tenants have access to heating and hot water.

The amount of time taken to deal with the repair depends on how urgent and necessary the repairs are. For example, it could be emergency repair so you'd be expected to have the issue fixed within 24 hours, and let your tenant know what will be done to fix the repair and how long it should realistically take.

Does the landlord have to service the boiler annually?

In the same way, landlords are responsible for repairs, they’re also responsible for servicing the boiler. By law, landlords required to make sure installations that supply water, gas, and electricity, as well as sanitation systems, are well maintained and in good repair.

As a tenant, you take responsibility for the daily maintenance of the heating. So, this means you only turn the heating on when necessary, trying not to waste fuel and will report any issues to your landlord.

Just to let you know, if you have a chimney or flue, there are some tenancy agreements that stipulate it’s up to you to maintain them, so keep an eye out when looking for a property to rent.

What are tenants’ rights when it comes to boilers?

When renting a property, tenants have certain rights that should protect them in case of any issue. Below are just a few:  

  • The accommodation requires a reliable source of heat and hot water – a landlord is always legally obligated to provide these. 
  • The property requires a boiler for hot water and central heating, or other heating equipment, in each occupied room.
  • If a tenant causes damage to the property or equipment, then they are responsible to get it fixed or replaced.
  • A landlord is legally obligated to have an annual gas safety check conducted by a gas safe registered engineer.
  • If tenants don’t have heating or hot water, they'll need to get in contact with their landlord - writing a letter or email fully explaining the situation as clearly as possible, this will be used as evidence if necessary.
  • If there's no response from the landlord tenants will need to send a second correspondence, restating the existing problem and letting them know this is your second and final letter before getting the local council involved.
  • Still no response? Contact the Environmental Health Department at the local council. They can enforce a landlord to uphold their responsibilities - this department can authorise repairs and send the landlord the bill.
  • If all else fails and the landlord ignores all contact, tenants can implement the repairs themselves and then seek compensation from the landlord in the courts.

How to maintain your boiler

The boiler is the heart of your home, so you should always make sure it’s in great condition and running as efficiently as possible. Here are our tips to help support your boiler:

Get an annual service

Ever get a service for your car and it feels a lot smoother and less run down? That’s what an annual service is like for your boiler. For landlords, it’s the law to get your boiler serviced annually on all rental properties. For everyone else it’s optional, but if you have a boiler warranty intact, you’ll be required to get a service or you could forfeit your warranty.

Teach your tenants

If you’re a landlord, take the time out to help your tenants understand key things about the heating system. Advise them to keep an eye on the pressure, how to run the heating regularly and to let you know if there’s any issue as soon as possible.

Bleed your radiators

This sounds like a harder job than it really is, but radiators should be regularly maintained and if they’re cold or your boiler pressure is lower than usual, you should always bleed a radiator. Read our easy to understand guide on how to bleed a radiator.

Use a reliable engineer

Don’t just use Jim from down the street because he’s cheap, you need a Gas Safe registered engineer to legally work on gas appliances. Legally, if you don’t use the engineer and Jim damages your heating system, or installs the boiler incorrectly, that could lead to an expensive repair bill or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Don’t put off repairs

Don’t be tempted, when a repair is needed you should always get it sorted as soon as possible. If you leave it for too long it will manifest into something bigger and cause you to spend a lot more than you initially thought or could potentially lead to a boiler replacement.

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