Boiler and heating system disrepair

When your central heating system isn’t operating as it should, or you suddenly can’t get hot water because your boiler isn’t working properly, it can be a really big problem, especially at colder times of the year.

If you are a tenant and your boiler or heating system breaks, meaning that you have no heating or hot water, your tenants’ rights dictate that your landlord must take steps to fix the problem within a reasonable time-frame, usually 1-3 days after the issue has been reported.

In houses where there is no other form of heating or another way to access hot water, repairs should be prioritised to make sure that everyone within the household is able to stay warm and has access to basic sanitation.

Broken boiler tenant’s rights

If your boiler breaks, the first thing you’ll need to do is contact your landlord to report the problem. It’s one of your landlord’s responsibilities, with boilers, to ensure their tenants aren’t left without essential services, like heating and access to hot water, for longer than a few days, at most.

If you have reported your broken boiler to your landlord and they have not taken steps to repair the system for a prolonged period of time, you might be able to make a claim for compensation, if you, or anyone in your household, has suffered as a result.

Landlord heating obligations

Your landlord has an obligation to ensure that tenants are able to heat their homes and have a reliable heating system. As a tenant, you are expected to report problems with your heating as soon as possible, so that your local authority or housing association can organise getting any issues resolved as quickly as they can.  Their obligations extend to any of their equipment within the home which delivers heat, including gas fires, water boilers, central heating systems, radiators and any other types of heater provided by your landlord e.g. electric heaters.

If you have experienced problems in your social housing property with boiler or heating system disrepair that your local authority or housing association has not fixed over a prolonged period of time, contact CEL Solicitors today to discuss your options.

Common questions & advice about boilers

How long do boilers last?

Boilers are usually expected to last for at least 15 years, but there are various factors that can help make this timespan significantly shorter, or longer. Older boilers may still function and provide the heating and hot water as expected, but are often significantly less efficient than modern boilers using the latest technology and temperature control devices.

If boilers are not regularly serviced and looked after, they can be expected to have a shorter life than boilers that are checked and maintained properly. It is a legal requirement for landlords ensure that boilers in any property they let out are serviced and safety-checked regularly.

How often should a boiler be serviced?

The servicing schedule for boilers depends on the manufacturer and model installed, but most recommend annual servicing for domestic boilers, so ideally they should be serviced at least once every 12 months.

Landlords of properties where boilers are installed are legally required to ensure they are regularly serviced in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. In addition, they must ensure that a gas safety check, also carried out by a registered engineer, is done at least once a year, and at the beginning of every new tenancy.

How much is a new boiler?

For homeowners, replacing a boiler can be a costly thing to do. Depending on the model and various factors, such as the size of the property and heating system, new boilers can cost between £500 and several thousand, plus the costs of installation.

If you’re a tenant, it is always your landlord’s responsibility to repair or replace a broken boiler, so the cost of a new boiler should not come into it.

If your landlord has not responded to complaints about your faulty boiler or seems to be taking an exceptionally long time to arrange repairs or a replacement, you may be eligible to make a housing disrepair claim. A successful claim would mean that the landlord is ordered by a court to ensure that boiler repairs or replacement are carried out as quickly as possible. If you, or anyone else in your household, has suffered as a result of the boiler issue or any of your personal belongings have been damaged in relation to the problem, you may also be able to claim for compensation. Contact CEL Solicitors today for more information and free initial claim advice.

The most common boiler issues:

You may only notice that your boiler is not working when you suddenly realise that there is no heating or hot water. Sometimes, you may notice that your boiler is making noises that are not usually there when it’s operating; this is usually a sign that the boiler needs looking at by a qualified and registered engineer as soon as possible.

If you’re a tenant and you experience any of the below issues with your boiler, you should contact your landlord to report the problem immediately.

  • Leaking or dripping of pipes around the boiler
  • Total lack of heating or hot water
  • Unusual noises being made by the boiler e.g. banging, whistling or gurgling
  • Boiler switching itself off unexpectedly.

Sometimes, boiler issues may be down to things such as low pressure in the system, the pilot light going out, a frozen condensate pipe, or other problems, which can often be quick to fix and don’t always need the help of a qualified engineer.

The video below has been created by a housing association and shows some of the things you can check before you need to contact your landlord for assistance to fix your boiler.

If you feel that your landlord isn’t taking boiler complaints seriously and has not organised repairs within a reasonable timeframe, you may be eligible to make a disrepair. Contact us for more information and to discuss your options.