Although it's the middle of summer, and you’ve probably got your windows open or a fan on, this warm weather makes central heating a hot topic for landlords. Read on to find out why now is the perfect time to check your boiler and heating system...
During the summer your tenants are not reliant on radiators to keep them warm, therefore it's the best time to carry out any checks and maintenance on your property's heating system, as it means the occupants won’t be inconvenienced too much if it is out of action.
You should also find it easier to book a Gas Safe-registered plumber at this time of year as they are likely to be less in demand while the sun in shining. As soon as the cooler weather sets in, people will start thinking about having their boilers serviced and, when it gets really cold, that’s when heating systems tend to be put on for the first time and poorly maintained ones break down - so the emergency call-outs start.
An annual gas safety check is a legal requirement for all rental properties - but for a small additional fee, Romans can organise this for you to take away the hassle. However if you decide to organise it yourself then it’s a good idea to get your appointment in your Gas Safe-registered plumber’s diary now, so you don’t struggle with availability. And you no longer have to wait until the exact due date to avoid missing out on your full 12 months’ certification; you can book the safety check up to two months before it expires and it will still last for 12 months after its due date.
Even if your annual gas safety check isn’t due until autumn, winter or even next spring, it’s a good idea to get a quick check on the heating system to ensure it is working efficiently and safely in good time before the summer draws to a close.
How old is the boiler in your rental property? If it’s 10 years or older, it’s a good idea to consider upgrading to an A-rated model, as not only will this be more efficient and cheaper to run for your tenants (or you, if bills are included), but it will be safer. Faulty boilers can leak carbon monoxide, with potentially fatal consequences. So as well as keeping your boiler well maintained, although the law only states that you must supply a carbon monoxide detector where there is solid fuel, they are highly recommended for all properties with gas appliances, too. The cost is minimal, it could save a life and certainly gives you peace of mind.
Another reason to upgrade the boiler is to keep your property as energy efficient as possible to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). The rules state that a tenancy cannot be commenced or renewed on a property with an EPC rating of F or G, with a few exceptions, for example, listed buildings.
The requirements will become stricter over time, with the government hoping to introduce a requirement to a C rating for rental properties by 2035, so it’s a good idea to start taking steps now to achieve this rating if your property has been graded lower. This could save you time and money down the line and may even make your property more desirable to tenants as the heating bills will be lower than the average ‘D’ rated properties.
Replacing a boiler is quite a big job which can take several days, so if your tenant is going away this summer, you may be able to plan the work to coincide with their holiday, as long as they are happy to have tradespeople in the property in their absence. If they are amenable to the suggestion, however, it could spare them the mess and inconvenience and they’ll return to an improved home.
If you have any questions about your property, its heating system or want to talk about upgrading to our Fully Managed service, please get in touch with your local Romans branch.