Why now is a good time to check your heating system

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30 Aug 2018

Why now is a good time to check the heating system in your rental property

Author: Grace Watson

Heating and boilers are likely to be far from most people's minds as we enjoy the last of the summer sunshine. However, as an annual gas safety check is a legal requirement for landlords, there is no time like the present to get the heating system in your rented property checked.

The main reason to start checking your heating system now is that the warmer weather means your tenants are not relying on it to maintain the property at a comfortable temperature. As fixing or replacing a boiler can take a few days, they won't suffer the inconvenience of a cold house if work was to be required.

Another reason is plumber availability. It is essential to use a Gas Safe-registered plumber and, by autumn, their diaries are likely to be flooded with people requiring boiler services before winter fully sets in. These demands will increase in the colder months and, if we get another particularly cold spell, plumbers will suddenly be inundated with requests for emergency heating repairs.

Changes to the law from 6th April this year mean you no longer need to miss out on your full 12 months' certification if you book your gas safety check early as you can now book it up to two months before its due date and still maintain the original expiry date.

If we manage your property for you, your Property Manager will have all of this under control, as part of our service. But if you have chosen our Let Only or Rent Collection service, it's worth considering orgaising a plumber/gas engineer to service the boiler and check the heating system is working well and safely now, so it doesn't offer up any nasty surprises when it's turned on for the first time later this year.

One of the biggest risks of a faulty boiler is a deadly carbon monoxide leak. This gas is known as the 'silent killer' because it is invisible and odorurless. If you don't have one already, it is highly recommended that you supply a carbon monoxide detector in any property with any gas supply - and it is a legal requirement where there is solid fuel.

If the boiler is 10 or more years old, you may wish to consider upgrading to a newer, more efficient model. The recent changes to EPC requirements for rented properties mean energy-efficiency is now more important than ever for landlords. The regulations changed in April 2018, so that in England and Wales, a tenancy can only start of be renewed if a property has an EPC rating of E or higher. Properties with existing tenancy agreements must meet these requirements by 1st April 2020. Those with a rating of F or G must be improved and reassessed before they can be (re-) let.

These rules look set to become even sticter in the future, with the latest news indicating plans to increase the requirement for rental properties to a C rating by 2030. Therefore, if you are planning on upgrading a property, making changes to boost your energy rating now could be worthy considering, to save you having to make changes at a later date.

For this reason, if your boiler is an older model, switching to an A-rated appliance with a long warranty could be a sound investment for your rental property, especially if you can pick up a good deal. From a tenant perspective, it can also make your property more attractive if lower heating bills can be achieved, leaving more money to help pay the rent.

With plenty of warning, you may even be able to coordinate any major work around your tenant's summer holiday, if they agree to this. That way they will be out of the property while the work is carried out, avoiding the inevitable mess and inconvenience, before returning home from their break to a property with a more efficient boiler or heating system, ready for the cooler months.

However, for additional peace of mind, you may wish to take advantage of Romans' Emergency Repairs Service, which covers you for up to £750 in call out charges, labour and materials, including for emergency central heating or boiler failure. That way you can be assured that you have everything covered and you can save a lot of time and hassle, especially if you aren't taking advantage of our full management service.

To find out more about Romans' Emergency Repairs Service, or to discuss how best to manage your rental property, please contact your local Romans branch or call 01344 985 699.

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