It is never fun when your boiler stops working and you don’t have a heating or hot water. If there is -3 degrees outside, you could be shriving. It can take a few hours before getting an engineer to fix the boiler. Those who live in a rented property, there is always confusion – is the tenant responsible for boiler cover or the landlord?
Let’s take a look at the rights of the landlord and tenants to understand who is responsible for taking out a boiler cover.
Boiler Service – What does the Law Say?
Landlords are responsible for the repairs to the boiler, heating, pipes, gas appliances, sanitary fittings, ventilation, and wiring.
Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the landlord is responsible for repairing and proper functioning of the supply of gas, water, electricity, and sanitation. They are also responsible for space heating and heating water. The landlord is also obligated to arrange an annual gas safety check by a Gas Safe engineer. They must maintain copies of these checks and provide them to the tenants at the beginning of the tenancy period.
Therefore, a landlord is responsible for taking out the boiler cover. If they don’t have boiler cover, the repairs are still their responsibility.
Who’s Responsible for Boiler Cover – Landlords or Tenants?
The landlord is responsible for taking out boiler cover. The tenants have the general responsibility of maintaining the boiler, keeping the heating running, and reporting any problem with the boiler or the heating system.
The only exception to the landlord’s responsibility for boiler repairs is when the damage is caused by the tenant as a result of mistreating the equipment.
What Is Landlord Boiler Cover?
Landlord boiler cover is a service that repairs the boiler in event of an emergency breakdown. When the boiler breaks down, it is important to have it fixed as soon as possible. The landlord boiler cover will provide coverage for boiler repairs.
The insurance covers leaks or breakdown of the boiler, central heating system, annual boiler service, parts and labour, Gas Safety Certificate (CP 12), carbon monoxide test, internal plumbing and range, home security, and electrical emergency. Providers have usually different boiler cover plans to offer. They start from the basic to the most premium package. The type of package you choose determines what repairs are covered.
How Does the Landlord Boiler Cover Work?
In the event of an emergency, the tenant usually informs the landlord about the breakdown. The landlord verifies the damage and calls the cover provider to send an engineer for performing boiler repairs.
If they can’t fix the boiler immediately, it is the responsibility of the landlord to arrange temporary accommodation for the tenants until the boiler is fixed.
Can Tenants Get the Boiler Fixed on Their Own?
If the boiler needs repair, a tenant must contact the landlord and let them know about the situation. The landlord will arrange the repairs or replace the boiler if necessary.
A tenant is not legally responsible for the repairs. Therefore, they should never get the boiler fixed on their own. Not even attempt to carry out the boiler repairs either. It is dangerous to repair a gas appliance on your own.
The Gas Safety Responsibilities of Landlord
A landlord is responsible for the safety of his tenants. The legal duties apply to the range of accommodation occupied by the landlord under a lease. According to the Gas Safety Regulations 1998, landlords are responsible for ensuring the fittings, gas appliances, chimneys, and flues provided for tenants are safe. They are also responsible for:
- Residential premises provided for rent by the housing association, hostel, local authorities or private sector landlords.
- Rooms, bed and breakfast accommodations, private households, hotels.
- Rented holiday accommodations like flats, narrowboats, cottages, caravans, and chalets.
Maintenance of Appliances: The landlord is responsible for maintaining appliances, gas pipework, chimney, and flue. Gas appliances must get service maintenance annually or by the manufacturer’s instructions.
The gas appliances owned by the tenants are not the responsibility of the landlord. However, connecting these appliances with pipework and flue is the responsibility of the landlord to maintain.
Gas Safety Checks: A registered engineer must check the gas appliances and flues annually for gas safety. Landlords are free to arrange a Gas Safety Check between 10 and 12 months calendar at any time. Landlords are not responsible for performing safety checks on the gas appliances owned by the tenant. They are not responsible for the flues connected to the tenant’s gas appliances either.
Keep Records: The landlord is responsible for providing a record of the annual gas safety check. They must hand over the certificate to the existing tenant within 28 days of completing the procedure.
In case the tenant is staying for less than 28 days, the landlord might display a copy of the record on a prominent position.
Provide Training: The landlord must provide some training to the tenant. Let them know where the gas line is, how to turn it on or off and what to do in an emergency.
Make sure anyone performing gas work on your property is a qualified Gas Safe engineer. This is a requirement by law.
Rights and Responsibilities Tenants: Tenants must use the provided facilities carefully. They are also responsible for daily maintenance. Any damage caused by the tenant due to incorrect usage may avoid the tenancy agreement. The tenant will have to take financial responsibility for the repairs as well. The landlord might deduct the cost from the tenancy deposit. Tenants are also responsible for reporting issues with the heating and hot water supply to the landlord. Watch out for the following troubles:
- Look for leaks, inefficient radiators or other faults in the heating.
- Blocked chimneys, unsealed stoves, broken grates.
- Insufficient heating and hot water.
During the tenancy, a tenant must pay attention to a variety of things. Here is a list of rights and obligations:
Meters: It is important to keep the meters in a dry and well-ventilated room. The room should be clean and the meter dial must be readable. The tenants need to ensure the meters are easy to access.
Heating system: The tenant is responsible for protecting the heating system against frost. They must operate the boiler according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Radiators: Sometimes, the radiators are working but the house is not warm enough. There is a possibility that air is trapped in the system. In such a situation, the radiators need bleeding. The tenant must bleed the radiators regularly to make sure there is no clogged air.
What to Do If Repairs Are Needed?
Being a tenant, you should report the problem in writing if the boiler problem is not urgent. You can send either an email or a letter. Make sure you include the date in the letter and keep a copy of it for your own record. You can also send the letter to the landlord’s address. You will find it on your tenancy agreement. If an agent manages the property, send the correspondence to the agent. When you are dealing with an agent, always follow-up with a phone call.
If the boiler needs urgent repairs, call the landlord or the letting agent immediately. Make sure you document the conversation. Emergency repairs are usually addressed within a day. If the emergency arises outside business hours, don’t hesitate to call the agent on their emergency number.
Reasons to Have Landlord Boiler Cover
Many landlords have the misconception that they are saving money by not taking boiler cover. Such landlords are often found delaying and, in some cases, completely avoiding emergency maintenance issues.
As a landlord, you must take hold of your obligations by providing your tenants with a safe environment. Annual boiler check-ups cost between £150 and £200 per year. This is the price of one boiler only. If you have more than one boilers that need an inspection, the cost will be higher. Apart from monetary aspects, there are a few other reasons why you need landlord boiler cover:
- If the tenants are not happy with the environment and they have to deal with boiler breakdowns frequently, this will increase the tenant turnover rate. It is relatively cheaper to resolve maintenance issues. If they are prolonged, you may have to replace the boiler altogether.
- Boiler problems don’t get better with time. Your broiler will deteriorate the more it is used without a proper diagnosis.
- It is the legal obligation of the landlord to keep the property in good working condition. That also includes gas, heating, water, and electricity. Failure to comply with the legal obligation can lead to a penalty.
- Failure to maintain the property also means you are putting your tenants at risk. The consequences can be fatal.
Legal Benefits of Having a Landlord Boiler Cover
A landlord boiler cover can fulfill some legal obligations automatically apart from boiler repairs. Here are some of the responsibilities that will be met as you take out the cover:
Gas Safety Certification: You need a gas safety certification every 12 months. It validates that the boiler is correctly installed and maintained.
Calling a Gas Safe Certified Engineer: Every time you call an engineer for repairs and service, they must be Gas Safe certified. They are authorized and skilled in checking the pipework, thermostat, gas flues, as well as the boiler controls.
Safety Inspection Reports: A landlord must keep copies of safety inspections for the last 2 years on record. This also applies if you have bought a new boiler.
Landlord Gas Safety Certificate: You are legally obligated to give a copy of the Landlord Gas Safety Certification to your tenant within 28 days of the boiler inspection.
If you have taken out the landlord boiler cover, the Gas Safe certified engineer will carry provide you with all these documentations. Your tenants will be pleased and satisfied that they are living in a safe home.
Choosing the Right Landlord Boiler Cover
The bigger the property, the more tenants you have and the greater the risk of boiler breakdown. Getting the right cover for your rental property will give you peace of mind and protect your tenants from the worst. These tips will help you pick the right landlord boiler cover:
Know What Cover You Need: Before choosing any plan, you must evaluate what you need. Do you just want boiler repairs and annual service or you want the central heating, home security, plumbing, drainage, etc. covered as well? Always choose the most comprehensive plan to be sure your tenants are protected from all types of problems.
Learn about the excess: Some providers let you pick the excess. It affects how much you will pay on a monthly and annual basis. A lower excess means you will pay more premium whereas a higher excess might get you discount.
Type of Boiler: Whether it is a heating boiler, combi boiler or a condensing boiler, the plan you choose must cover the boilers installed on your property.
Parts: Whether it is the heat exchanger, valve or any other part of the boiler, the policy must have it repaired or replaced.
Unlimited call-outs: You must get unlimited call-outs and there should be no separate charges for that.
24/7 service: The engineers must be available 24/7. Boilers breakdown at unusual times. You don’t want your tenants to live without hot water and heating. If they have to wait for an engineer to come and perform the inspections, you might have to arrange temporary accommodation for them.
If you are living in a rented apartment or flat, your landlord is responsible for boiler cover. Whenever the boiler breaks down and requires repairs, contact your landlord or agent. They will call the boiler cover provider to arrange a gas safe certified engineer to fix the issue.
A tenant is not responsible for the boiler cover; however, they are responsible for using the boiler and heating system with care. If the boiler breaks down because of the tenant’s mishandling, they will be legally responsible to pay for the repairs.