Whether you’re a landlord, tenant or homeowner, you’ll likely have had a run-in with your boiler at some point, they’re typically vital to the running of the home.
As a landlord, you should know that you must have gas appliances such your gas boiler inspected every year as part of their gas safety check. It’s also, however, important for you to know your duties and responsibilities in relation to this throughout a tenancy.
As mentioned, if your property has a gas boiler, it should be inspected as part of your annual gas safety check, which must be conducted by a Gas Safe registered engineer, Just Landlords, a leading provider of Landlord Insurance, reminds investors of the importance of this yearly measure.
However, in order to help prevent your property’s boiler breaking down — potentially costing you money and inconveniencing your tenants — it is recommended that you don’t stop at your annual check. Please find below some of our top tips which, in our opinion, may help keep your tenants happy and warm:
Have the boiler serviced
Alongside your 12-month gas safety check, you could arrange with an engineer to have the boiler serviced once a year**. If you change tenancies every year, the break in between is the perfect opportunity to have this done. Otherwise, show your tenants that you’re responsible by booking a service in.
The service will typically involve a range of maintenance checks to help ensure that everything is working correctly and that the boiler is safe. Not only could this prevent you from forking out for hefty repairs, but it could also help you avoid being in the firing line of a tenant that’s had to have a cold shower.
If there is a problem with the boiler, you should arrange for the work to be conducted as soon as possible; fixing a small issue now could prevent it from becoming a larger (and potentially more expensive) problem further down the line.
Fix issues quickly
Following on from the last point, organising repairs as quickly as possible shows your tenants that you’re a responsible landlord that aims to look after their health, safety and comfort within their home.
This practice should also be applied throughout the tenancy, not just following a service. This means that, if your tenants/letting agents get in touch with you regarding boiler repairs, address the issue and arrange for a reputable trader to complete the work at a convenient time.
Additionally, during your regular periodic inspections of the property, you could ask your tenants if they are having any problems with their boiler, and include details in your post-inspection report, explaining how and when you aim to resolve the issue.
Have the boiler cleaned
You may not think of cleaning the inside of your boiler, but this could help to prevent a build-up of dust within the system, which in turn could help to prolong its life and maintain its efficiency. If you’re not a professional, cleaning the inside of your boiler could be dangerous, so it’s recommend that you use a reputable engineer. HomeServe’s Gas Safe registered engineers specialise in conducting system Powerflushes to rid central heating systems of any dirt, rust or sludge that may have accumulated over time. Get in touch to arrange an appointment.
Additionally, when you visit the property on your periodic inspections, it’s a good idea to check whether the area surrounding the boiler is clean and tidy, as it must be well ventilated in order for them to work properly.
For instance, if the boiler is in a cupboard, make sure that the space isn’t filled with your tenant’s belongings, as this could create problems with the boiler. We’re sure they’ll be obliging to remove their things if they know it will prevent them shivering in a cold home during winter!
Bleed the radiators
Bleeding the radiators in a rental property is one of those grey areas, which has been widely disputed throughout the industry – is it the tenant’s responsibility, or the landlord’s?
Bleeding radiators is a fairly simple task, so if your tenants are comfortable with doing it themselves, it’s typically safe for them to do so. You could show them if they’ve never done it before, or refer them to a helpful guide. Alternatively, you may wish to do it yourself.
During periodic inspections throughout the autumn and winter months, always check that the radiators are heating fully. If they’re not, this could cause the boiler to work a lot harder and less efficiently – which could ultimately lead to a breakdown and higher energy bills.
Check the pressure gauge
The pressure of a boiler can be a leading indicator of how it performs. Over time, the boiler could lose pressure, which could decrease its efficiency.
Checking the pressure gauge at every inspection could give you an indication of how well the central heating system is performing.
If the pressure is low, you could top this up yourself, or ask a qualified engineer to help you. Always make a note of the works you’ve completed for future reference, and include this in your post-inspection report.
Install a carbon monoxide detector
Currently, carbon monoxide detectors are only required in rooms containing a solid fuel burning appliance in UK rental properties. However, as gas appliances such as boilers can emit carbon monoxide, it’s recommended that Landlords understand where carbon monoxide detectors should be fitted within their rental property in line with best safety practice and law.
Having a carbon monoxide detector installed – that is tested on a regular basis - could give you, and your tenants, the peace of mind that they are living safely in your rental property.
All in all, it’s normal for boilers to play up every now and then and it’s usually the best course of action for you to aim to prevent damage and know what potential indicators to look out for.
As a landlord you have duties and responsibilities and it’s is recommended for you to be proactive and organised when it comes to maintaining the central heating in your rental property.
** Subject to an annual service at the customer's expense. Warranty extension from 5-years to 10-years only available on Worcester Bosch and Ideal gas boilers.