Why now is the right time to test your heating system

Thu 30 Aug 2018

The sun is shining (at the time of writing at least) and you’ve probably thrown open your windows to keep your home cool. The last thing on your mind is likely to be your central heating.

But in actual fact, the warm weather we’ve experienced recently makes heating a hot topic for landlords. Summer – when your tenants are not reliant on radiators to keep them warm – is the perfect time to carry out any checks and maintenance to the 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 and if you use our Fully Managed service, your Property Manager will organise this for you. However, if you use our Tenant Find or Rent Collection service, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with your Gas Safe-registered plumber now, so you don’t struggle with availability later in the year. And you no longer have to wait until the exact due date to avoid missing out on your full 12 months’ certification; the law changed on 6th April this year, so if your annual gas safety check is later this year, 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. 

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 they are 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. 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 and far more reliable. 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 lives and certainly gives you peace of mind.

Another reason to upgrade your boiler is to keep your property as energy efficient as possible, to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). These came into effect in April for new tenancies and renewals, and is due to be rolled out to most rental properties in England and Wales by April 2020. 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 2030, 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 a fairly 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, so long as they are happy to have tradespeople in the property when they’re not there. 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 to talk about upgrading to our Fully Managed service, please do get in touch with your local branch.