There’s no doubt that a landlord should be looking at boiler maintenance in their rented property as a priority issue but do they need landlord boiler cover?
Landlords will appreciate they have a legal responsibility to carry out repairs to their boiler and heating services including hot water when required.
This means that the pipes, flues, and ventilation for gas-fuelled appliances need to be working and the boiler servicing and repairs will come under the landlord’s responsibilities.
An annual Gas Safety check must be carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer who will inspect the gas appliances in a landlord’s property and a Gas Safety certificate issued.
While landlords are not responsible for those gas appliances owned by their tenants, there are sound reasons as to why they should include these appliances as part of their annual Gas Safe inspection, particularly to bring peace of mind.
The gas safety check record will need to be handed to the tenant within 28 days of being carried out or when the tenant moves into the property. The certificate will need to be retained for a least two years.
Questions about boilers in a rented property
There will be some questions about boilers in a rented property that landlords may have and they include:
Who pays for boiler service – the landlord or tenant?
Since the landlord has a legal responsibility to ensure the boiler works, then they will need to pay for the boiler service. That is unless the landlord states clearly in their tenancy agreement that the tenant is responsible for maintaining the boiler, along with the flues, then the tenant should not be expected to pay. It’s also worth appreciating that not having heating and hot water in a rented property is a hazard under the law and landlords will need to take urgent action to repair problems quickly.
Is it illegal not to have a Gas Safety Certificate?
The question of whether it’s illegal not to have a Gas Safety Certificate is one that should be dealt with directly – and it is ‘Yes’. Landlords not only need to know and understand the law over gas safety but they cannot avoid their responsibilities. Not having a gas safety check carried out every year may lead to the landlord being fined for breaking the law and failing to keep their property safe for tenants.
How old can a boiler be in a rented property?
While there is no specific legislation about how old a boiler can be in a rented property, it needs to work efficiently. There are a number of issues that tenants and landlords need to appreciate and they include:
- The tenant will have an obligation to report problems with their heating and the boiler;
- The landlord must respond quickly to carry out repairs;
- If a new boiler is needed, then the landlord needs to arrange this.
The issue is that rented properties now need to have a minimum energy performance certificate rating of ‘E’. This means that properties with inefficient or old boilers may not be up to the job and a landlord will be under a legal obligation to upgrade the boiler.
For those landlords with rented properties that have old back boilers installed need to be aware that these are not only inefficient but also obsolete. No-one makes them any more, so landlords will need to tackle a potential boiler solution and it may be best to remove it and have a new boiler installed in a different location.
A rented property’s energy rating can also be improved significantly by switching to a new combi boiler, rather than having an old condensing boiler installed as this will take care of heating and hot water – plus there’s only one appliance to take care of.
You may also find that a local authority has the power to compel a landlord to replace an old boiler to a more energy-efficient model to help the tenant avoid paying expensive heating bills.
Landlord boiler service cover
This then brings us onto the potential costs facing a landlord in replacing a faulty or old boiler – and these costs can be significant.
A new boiler can cost between £1,500 and £4,000 with call out charges starting at £60 plus £30 (at least) labour charges.
However, it is possible to obtain boiler breakdown cover for a rented property as part of the landlord’s contents insurance cover.
There are lots of providers with varying packages on offer and these will bring peace of mind because:
- A qualified engineer can be found at short notice;
- The cover may include an annual safety check;
- The cover will help ensure the boiler works efficiently;
- The alternative is to consider specific boiler breakdown insurance cover.
Does landlord insurance cover boiler breakdown?
Landlord insurance can cover boiler breakdown, but you need to check the small print carefully and you may find that this is an add-on option for most providers.
Landlord insurance policies cover a wide range of needs and many providers offer home emergency cover which will include boiler breakdown.
Essentially, with specific cover should the rental property’s boiler stop working, an engineer will be sent quickly to fix it.
Also, and this is an important point for landlords to consider, the repair bill for the gas boiler will be covered, minus any excess amount that the landlord has agreed on their policy.
What does landlords’ contents insurance cover?
So, while you may have landlord’s contents insurance cover for your rented home, it may not include boiler breakdown cover.
As mentioned, you should check the small print rather than facing the prospect of a large repair bill should the boiler become faulty though some landlords may resent having to pay for boiler cover, particularly if the boiler is fairly new.
The cover you buy may not include routine servicing or the Gas Safety check.
It’s always best to never assume that a landlord’s contents insurance cover will include boiler breakdown plus the gas safety check so you should consider a separate policy to cover this.
For example, Direct Line offers landlord boiler cover as a standard feature on its landlord building’s insurance. They say that should the boiler breakdown, then the repair costs are covered, and if it is irreparable then it will be replaced. There is a £200 excess and cover excludes wear and tear.
Remember that landlord’s boiler cover will be worth it in the depths of a cold winter because:
- Cost of hiring a heating engineer or plumber is covered;
- For London-based landlords, emergency boiler repairs can be very expensive;
- In winter, you may struggle to find a heating engineer or plumber.
The peace of mind that boiler cover brings is that you can find a heating engineer or plumber quickly, particularly for emergencies, whereas you may struggle to find a heating engineer at short notice in a very cold winter as they will be very busy.
Landlord boiler cover reviews
As mentioned, some landlord insurance policies are better than others, and you need to explore the details carefully. It may help to read landlord boiler cover reviews, particularly from other landlords, to find the policy that will best meet your needs – and at a price you like.
One of the best platforms for this purpose of checking boiler cover reviews is Trustpilot.
Along with reading boiler cover reviews, it may also help to read boiler reviews on other websites and publications to help landlords choose the best boiler available for meeting their needs.
For example, Which? magazine has articles on how to choose the best boiler cover and it highlights that most policies will set the maximum age for the boiler they will cover at no more than 15 years. For some insurers, the maximum age is just seven years.
Some of the best known providers of landlord boiler cover policies include:
- British Gas
- Simply Business
The costs range from £12 for basic boiler cover to £30 for home emergencies.
However, as with most things in life, it’s always best to shop around and there are lesser-known providers of landlord boiler cover delivering exceptional customer service at lower prices – one example is Hometree who have been reviewed by Property Road.
As with most providers, Hometree offers various levels of cover from basic, that’s just the boiler plus the flue and controls to a comprehensive offering.
Essentially, a lot will depend on a landlord’s preferences and experience in dealing with tenant heating and boiler issues as to whether they buy landlord boiler cover – but the old adage of being ‘better safe than sorry’ should be considered because keeping tenants warm in winter is a crucial aspect for renting a home.