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Who Should Fix the Boiler in a Rented House?

Is the landlord or tenant responsible for the boiler and heating system?
 
A broken boiler is the last thing you want. And if you’re renting, it can throw up all sorts of questions. Mainly: “Is this a job for the landlord?”

Well, landlords have a job to make sure you have working heating and hot water. So, at the first sign of an issue, get in touch with the landlord (or letting agency) to let them know.

Before you read on… Never attempt to fix a broken boiler or heating system yourself. Boiler repairs should always be left to a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Repairs are up to the landlord

You don’t want to be without heating or hot water for long. So, when you first notice a boiler problem, get in touch with the landlord.

Landlords must carry out repairs within a ‘reasonable’ timeframe. But in the case of an emergency (no heating or hot water is classed as an emergency), your landlord should have the issue fixed within 24 hours.

This may vary across different tenancy agreements but gov.uk states that gas appliances in a rental property are the responsibility of the landlord.

What if the landlord refuses

As a tenant, this is the last thing you want. But don’t be tempted to stop paying your rent. This could leave you facing eviction.

Instead, you can complain about your landlord (or letting agency) to your local council.

What else should the landlord do?

Services

Landlords must arrange for the boiler (and other gas appliances) to be serviced each year.

Not just anyone can service a boiler – oh no – this is a job for Gas Safe registered engineers. It’s up to the landlord to make sure the engineer has the right certifications before hiring them. The tenant can do their bit by asking to see their Gas Safe ID card when they turn up at the property.

After the service, the engineer will leave a safety certificate. Hold onto this as it’s proof that the boiler has been serviced.

Fit alarms

By law, landlords must fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel source in their rented residential properties in England. The legislation also requires landlords to fit a smoke alarm on each floor, with the hope that these measures could prevent up to 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year.

Meet energy standards

Landlords must ensure their rental property has an energy efficiency rating of at least band E. Alongside this, tenants can also request consent to make their home easier to keep warm. This is somethat that landlords cannot refuse if the property is below the E-rating.

What the tenant needs to do

Tenants aren’t responsible for fixing boiler problems or arranging the annual service. But they must use the heating system correctly and let the landlord (or rental agency) know of any issues right away.

Should tenants pay for heating?

Landlords don’t need to pay for heating bills. Some tenancy agreements may include utilities (such as heating) within the rent but most don’t.

As the one paying the heating bills, the tenant is normally free to switch suppliers. And it’s worth your time too as you could save a fair bit of money.

The Tenancy Act 1985

The Tenancy Act 1985 covers the reponsibilities of both landlords and tenants.

When it comes to heating, it states that landlords must:

“Keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.”

So, if the boiler, or any part of the heating system was to break, then the it’s up to the landlord to arrange repairs. The only time that this isn’t the case is if the tenant has purposely caused the damage.

Can a tenant arrange boiler repairs?

If your boiler is in need of repair you should contact your landlord to let them know. It's also worth following up with a letter or email confirming what has been agreed.

They will then be able to arrange for repairs to be carried out, or have the boiler replaced if needed.

You should never attempt to repair a boiler yourself. Attempting to repair gas appliances is dangerous and could cause serious damage or harm. Always contact a Gas Safe registered engineer.

What about replacing the boiler?

If you would like to have the boiler in the property replaced (and pay for this yourself) some landlords may agree. As long as you get quotes from Gas Safe registered engineers.

Never attempt to replace a boiler yourself.

Can a property be let without heating?

A rental property must have heating and hot water. Making sure that the property has this is the job of the landlord.

For more information on the rights of tenants, visit Citizens Advice or Shelter.

Boiler Guide Team

About the author

Boiler Guide Team

Boiler Guide has been home to a host of heating experts who have helped millions of UK homeowners searching for advice and guidance. If you’ve got heating questions, we’ll have the answers.

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