Even though it’s summer, it’s time to check the heating

Although I say ‘summer’, that’s more of a reference to the official title for the time of year, as the absence of a hot climate means many of us have still had to have the heating on low apart from the odd burst of natural heat!

However, one of the biggest mistakes tenants and landlords make is waiting until September or October to check that the heating is working, because it’s already cold. That tends to mean you find yourself having to get in the queue for a plumber behind lots of other people who have done exactly the same thing. Also, if there is a problem, your tenants might have a few chilly days while it’s fixed. So think ahead and address the issue before the weather turns.

When should you replace a boiler?

Boilers tend to last between 10 and 15 years and if you’re not sure how old your boiler is, you can go online and check at British Gas.

Although the cost of replacing a boiler can absorb all of your spare rental income for a year or so, it is still a worthwhile investment, as it can:

  1. Help ensure your tenants stays, saving re-letting costs, especially if their utility bills subsequently fall
  2. Be more efficient, meaning lower bills for tenants, which can help secure a quicker let and/or higher rent 
  3. Add value to your property.

And, of course, it may be tax-deductible and in some cases you may be offered a ‘scrappage’ deal or have access to grant funding to replace it.

How much should you pay for a new boiler?

It’s always worth getting several quotes for fitting boilers, especially if the property is a flat, as some can charge you for scaffolding to gain access to the outside of the property. With any quote, always check that the person fitting the boiler has the right qualifications, i.e. is a Gas Safe registered engineer, and that the quote includes everything, such as new pipework, draining and refilling radiators and things like Magna Clean, if required.

The cost is likely to be around £1,500 for a small property through to £3,000 or more for a larger house. If you have a multi-let/HMO, where several individuals share the property, make sure the engineer is aware of how many people will be using the water and heating, so they fit the right boiler that can handle the weight of usage.

Check your insurance covers you for any tradespeople’s mistakes

Another thing you might not appreciate is that if the tradesperson makes any errors or causes any damage in the property, you as the landlord may be responsible. So check the tradesperson’s own insurance before you agree the job and also consider public liability insurance to cover yourself for any problems that may occur.

Should your tenant be in when the work is being done?

If you’re having work done and sending tradespeople into the property, it is actually your responsibility as a landlord to make sure someone is there – there is no obligation for the tenant to take time out of their day to stay in on your behalf. Of course, if they’re happy to do so and want to oversee the work, that’s a different story.

Make sure you have the right paperwork!

When you have a boiler replaced, it has to be done in accordance with the law, i.e. safely fitted. You also have to be able to prove that it was properly and legally installed if you sell the property, so make sure you carefully file the certificate for building regulations compliance. 

This information has been provided by our partner Mortgage Advice Bureau. For more information relating to Mortgages or for Mortgage Advice please visit Mortgage Advice Bureau.