The rules and regulations that govern a relationship between a landlord and a tenant can be confusing at the best of times but especially in winter.

Winter promises freezing temperatures and expensive heating bills which can make that confusing relationship even more unclear.

What exactly are the legal responsibilities of your landlord and letting agent when it comes to your heating? What should you expect of them when it comes to repairing your boiler?

With the UK's heating crisis "at an all time high", the boiler installation experts BOXT have shared some key advice about what to expect as tenants but also what your obligations are. 

What is the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985)?

The Landlord and Tenant Act (1985) sets out the minimum standards in tenants' rights against their landlords.

Under the law,  a landlord is responsible for keeping in repair and proper working order the installation in the dwelling for space heating and heating water. 

The landlord’s responsibilities include:

  • Getting the boiler serviced annually by a specialist
  • Paying for maintenance and repairs of a boiler, as tenants have the right to heating and hot water when living in the rented property
  • Ensuring that the heating system is operating properly to keep the property warm during the winter months
  • Checking that the radiators have been bled before the start of the new tenancy
  • Ensuring that the plumbing is working and hot water is delivered to all areas of the property that require it (bathrooms, kitchen, etc..)

Tenants also have some responsibilities when it comes to the property's heating and boiler.

BOXT reminds tenants that they are required to:

  • Report any issues in a timely manner to the landlord
  • Know how to use a boiler in the right way: for instance, the temperature cannot be held under 12 degrees as the pipes would risk bursting
  • Take care of simple maintenance, like re-pressuring the boiler

What can you do if your landlord is refusing to fix your boiler?

The boiler experts have urged tenants to notify their landlords or agencies of any issue with their boiler in the first instance.

BOXT commented: "Among the tenant’s responsibilities, one is to report any issue with the home’s heating system or hot water.

"Any damage caused by the tenant’s negligence in reporting issues with the property puts the tenant in breach of the agreement, and the landlord will either deduct the cost from the initial deposit or ask the tenant to cover the costs of the damage upfront".

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The experts also advised that if the landlord doesn't reply to the initial letter, tenants should send a second one, in which they can suggest being willing to arrange the repairs themselves.

If, once again, you don’t get a reply, or if the landlord refuses to pay for repairs, tenants are allowed to arrange the repairs, make the payment and send the final bill to the landlord. 

BOXT advises: "If you cannot afford the boiler repairs, you can turn to a citizen advice organisation, as well as the Environmental Health Department at your council - this might push the landlord to deal with the issue more quickly".