First-time landlords will soon discover that there are a lot of rules and regulations they need to abide by. This is why tenancy agreements are so important to get right. Once you have a tenancy agreement in place, everyone involved knows what they are responsible for.
But while you might be able to pass the responsibility for gardening or cleaning, there are some things that only the landlord can handle. The boiler is one of them. There are strict rules around the use of boilers and gas appliances in rental properties. Since gas can be potentially deadly, it’s important for landlords to understand their responsibilities.
Who is responsible for servicing the boiler?
The landlord is always responsible for servicing the boiler. This isn’t something that you can pass on to your tenants, even if you try to include it in the tenancy agreement. You will have to get your boiler and all gas appliances serviced once a year. If you are likely to forget, then central heating cover for landlords could be a great way to remind yourself. You’ll also be covered for repairs and callouts, so you will find it easier to budget.
What does the law say?
According to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, landlords are responsible for servicing their gas appliances once a year to ensure they are efficient and safe. To prove this has been completed, you will need to obtain a Landlords’ Gas Safety Certificate. This is a report which outlines which checks have been completed. This can only be provided by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Why service the boiler?
It’s not just about staying on the right side of the law. There are multiple other benefits of servicing the boiler. A well-serviced boiler should last 15 years, so if you want to protect your investment, this is a great way to ensure everything is working efficiently. If you have recently purchased a brand new boiler, then you could also help to keep your warranty by getting it serviced regularly.
With more tenants being aware of the environmental impact of gas boilers, efficiency can also be a selling point. If you know the tenant is likely to save money on their bills, they might be willing to pay a little more to live in a home with a green and efficient boiler.
How can the tenants help?
Keeping a boiler in good shape is about more than just getting it serviced once a year. It’s also important that you educate your tenants on proper boiler maintenance. Many minor problems can be fixed before they become bigger problems, but only if the tenant knows what to look out for. Don’t assume that your tenant knows to look out for things like leaks, power supply problems or thermostat issues. They also might not know that they will need to bleed the radiators, so try to do this once a year to keep the central heating system efficient.
In certain circumstances, tenants may be eligible for financial support towards the installation of a brand new boiler, so it may be worth investigating this route. If your properties boiler is ancient and you are seriously considering replacing it, then make sure you familiarise yourself with the art of choosing a good quality boiler e.g. types, brands, warranties and so on. This new boiler replacement guide is helpful.
What if I can’t get access?
The tenant is required by law to give access to the property for maintenance and boiler services. But surprisingly, some may refuse. If this happens, you can’t just enter the property anyway, and you can’t cut off the gas supply as both would be considered harassment.
You will need to provide adequate notice, preferably in writing. If you are still struggling to gain access to the property, then you will need to serve written notice at least 3 times, outlining why it is necessary to carry out an inspection.
If you are still unable to gain access, you can then either seek possession of the property under section 21 procedure or seek a County Court injunction. Once tenants understand why the inspection is necessary, they will often be compliant.