Landlords have a legal duty to protect their tenants and ensure that their properties are safe to live in. If an issue arises with a boiler, whether it is faulty or just inefficient, it is the responsibility of the landlord to check out the boiler and call the appropriate engineer to carry out boiler repairs. If the issue cannot be fixed immediately, the landlord is obliged to help tenants find temporary accommodation until the boiler is working again.
How do I know a boiler is working?
As a landlord, it can be difficult to spot when a boiler is working, since you will not be at the property often. Some signs to be aware of are:
- Fluctuating heating bills due to the tenant increasing the use of the boiler
- Irregular hot water supply
- Cold spots in the property
- Unidentifiable noises coming from the heating system
These are some easy ways to understand if the boiler is working smoothly. Tenants should be made aware of these before they move into the property and should be told to contact you immediately if something does not seem right.
Regulations for landlords
As of 1 April 2020, the Government introduced regulations to all new and existing tenancies that requires every property to have a minimum energy efficiency rating of E. As it is now against the law to rent out a property that breaches these regulations, it is a landlords duty to either stop renting out F or G rated properties, or increase these ratings. If you are found guilty of this then it could lead to a fixed financial penalty.
There are many ways that landlords are able to increase the energy rating of the building. Installing double glazing or adding extra insulation into the loft and walls are a couple of ways, but perhaps the easiest is by replacing an inefficient boiler.
Boiler replacements can be very expensive at up to £4000 depending on your supplier, and whilst the cost of this replacement is the responsibility of the landlord, the Government introduced a number of schemes to help the financial aspect.
Who is eligible for a boiler grant?
If you are a landlord, you will need to consider whether your tenant is eligible, rather than your own status. The majority of grants are aimed at assisting low-income households and, therefore, require the tenant to be in receipt of any of the following benefits:
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credit
- Pension credit
- Income-related ESA/JSA
- Universal credit
- Disability living allowance
- Armed forces independence payments
This is not an exhaustive list, so it is worth mentioning to your tenant if you think that their status may mean you qualify for a grant. This could really benefit them, as in the long term their heating bills would be cheaper, but will also benefit you with the slashed upfront costs.
As well as receiving a Government benefit, most schemes will require the boiler to be over 7 years old. If you have recently installed a new boiler for your tenancy property, then it is worth checking the warranty if the boiler seems to be inefficient.
Which boiler grants are available?
Government ECO scheme
The Government introduced the Energy Companies Obligations scheme as an initiative to allow private tenants to replace old or inefficient boilers for free. Like most of the schemes, this was set up to aid low-income families and provide financial support to those who need it.
The eligibility for this scheme is strict and is only available to tenants with landlords permission that is on a Government benefit and has a household income of less than £20k a year. The boiler must also be over 7 years old and have a low-efficiency rating in order to benefit from this initiative. This scheme includes big energy company names such as EDF Energy and British Gas – the aim is to make sure that everybody in the UK has access to affordable heating in their home.
If you are a landlord and think that your tenant meets this criterion, then it is worth getting in contact with them to see if it is something they would be interested in, as the application has to come from them. To apply, they must prove they have your consent by filling out an ECO3 Private Housing FTCH declaration form, which will require some details from you about the properties you own.
Affordable Warmth Obligation (previously called Warm Front)
This is another scheme that is open to landlords through their tenants. This initiative can provide financial help for energy-saving improvements to be made to the property. This can be through adding extra insulation to the loft or walls, replacing or repairing the boiler, or any other upgrades to the heating system.
Like with the ECO scheme, this will require the applicants to meet the stringent requirements mentioned above, primarily claiming at least one type of benefit. Landlords who think that this could be useful to their tenants should speak to them about the affordable warmth scheme.
What about in my own property?
As mentioned above, the main grants available are only available to those who meet the strict criteria. If you are looking to replace the boiler in your own home and need financial help, then it may be worth looking into a rent a boiler scheme that allows you to spread the cost of payments over a longer period of time – this is also useful if your tenant is not eligible for the Government ECO scheme.
Boiler grants for landlords conclusion
There are many schemes that can be beneficial to both tenants and landlords in regards to boiler replacement and home efficiency. Since tenants do not own the home, they are not legally responsible for any repairs or replacements that may need to be undertaken but are impacted by rising heating bills and an unreliable boiler system.
In the case of an issue with a boiler, landlords should make it clear that they are to be contacted by tenants as quickly as possible in order to rectify the problem.