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A landlord's guide to heating obligations

As a landlord, you should be aware of your heating obligations for your property. After all, you have a duty of care to your tenants. This means you’re required by law to supply a sufficient heating and hot water system and arrange regular checks by an approved engineer.

Our guide explores everything you need to know about managing a safe, and legally-compliant home for tenants. Need help with managing your let? Find out about our range of managed services.

What are landlords obligated to provide?

The law states that landlords must provide some kind of heating for every room in their property. This could be traditional central heating or a stand-alone gas or electric heater. Modern properties may come equipped with more environmentally-friendly solutions, such as a heat pump.

As well as this, landlords have a duty of care to their tenants to provide a reliable source of hot water.

Are landlords required to fix broken heating?

Repairs and maintenance are par for the course for landlords. As well as an annual boiler check, landlords should immediately respond to broken heating within 24 hours during cold weather.

Landlords should also redecorate if the damaged heating causes cosmetic damages to the walls or floor.

For private landlords - especially those who have multiple rental properties - this can present a challenge, which is why we offer heating repair and maintenance as a part of our managed letting services.

Ask us what else is included

The laws around rental heating

The 1985 Tenancy Act states that landlords have “to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water”.

This is especially important during cold snaps. According to The Tenant Voice, when the temperature outside is minus 1°C, the minimum heating standard in bedrooms is at least 18°C, and 21°C in living rooms.

The Gas Safety Regulations (1998)

This report is designed to make sure gas boilers are kept safe. As a landlord, it’s vital that you understand it, to safeguard your property and your tenants.

Perhaps the most important take-home from the report is that you should only ever allow a gas-safe engineer to install and service your boiler.

Your engineer will understand the correct areas to position your boiler so it’s safe from corrosion and damage to itself or your property. They will also know what to check for during your annual service, and whether the boiler is safe to run.

What are your heating responsibilities as a landlord?

As well as making sure there’s sufficient heating for every habitable room in the property, landlords should make sure the heating systems will remain in good working order while the property is let.

What are the tenant's responsibilities for heating?

Ultimately, tenants are responsible for damages they have caused to the property and equipment. In practice, however, what this encompasses can be up for debate. Bleeding radiators, for instance, should be done by the landlord before their tenant moves in but the responsibility falls to the tenant after this.

Although landlords have a duty of care to supply and service heating systems, it falls to the tenant to make the necessary precautions against things like frozen pipes by running the heating regularly during cold weather.

Finally, tenants are also responsible for any heating apparatus they have brought to the property, such as portable electric heaters, making sure these are positioned safely in the property.

What responsibilities do landlords have for hot water?

As well as arranging for a gas safe engineer to install and annually test and service your boiler, a landlord should be quick to act if there are any unexpected issues.

Loss of hot water in winter is considered an emergency and must be addressed within 24 hours. If the issue can’t be fixed immediately, it should be as soon as possible. It’s considered unacceptable for tenants to be without utilities for more than a couple of days.

When you work with a letting agent, the responsibility for this will fall to them. Whitegates branches have gas safe engineers on hand to address any emergencies if and when they occur.

Find your local branch

What are the tenant's responsibilities for hot water?

Tenants are responsible for managing the day-to-day maintenance of their hot water system. This includes reporting any leaks or issues as soon as they’re discovered, and to avoid any damages to the boiler, fixtures and fittings.

Are you looking for advice on your rental property?

Speak to a member of our team today to find a managed letting package tailored to your needs.

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