How long can a landlord leave you without heating UK
How long can a landlord leave you without heating UK
Your landlord has to do more than just provide a roof over your head. They have a duty of care towards their tenants, and this includes providing a reliable source of hot water and heating. In fact, it’s a legal requirement.
The 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act lays out the law on no heating or hot water pretty clearly...
“The landlord is responsible for:
- Keeping in repair and proper working order the installations in the property for the supply of water, gas, electricity and sanitation
- Keeping in repair and proper working order the installation in the property for space heating and heating water”
Does a landlord have to provide hot water? Absolutely. But, if the boiler breaks, how long can the landlord leave you without heating? Thankfully, not long at all. Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know.
No hot water - tenants’ rights
Unless the tenants broke the boiler, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to repair or replace it and ensure access to hot water and heating again. According to The Tenant’s Voice, tenants should be able to heat their bedrooms to at least 18 degrees, and 21 degrees in living rooms, when the temperature outside is -1 degrees.
How long do landlords have to fix problems in the UK? Frustratingly, there are no rules, but landlords are expected to carry out repairs within ‘a reasonable time frame’. So, if your heating breaks down in the depths of January, any decent landlord should jump to it and sort the issue within 24 hours. Any longer than that could be considered a hazard to the tenants’ health and therefore a serious breach of the tenancy agreement.
Other than a boiler not working in a rented house, what else is the landlord responsible for? In short - a lot. From electrical wiring to pest control, read 'UK tenants rights on repairs - things you should know while renting' to find out more.
What to do when there’s no hot water in the rental property
It is the tenant’s responsibility to inform the landlord of any issues in the property; until the landlord knows about the problem, it’s not theirs to fix.
So, here’s what to look out:
- Inefficient radiators
- No hot water in the taps
- No hot water in the shower
It’s worth noting that it is also the tenant’s responsibility to look after the property whilst they are living there. So, if you notice that your radiators aren’t working properly, your first port of call should be to bleed them before contacting the landlord.
Never done this before? Bleeding your radiators is one of the easiest ways to reduce your heating bill and increase the amount of heat they’re pumping out. Read ‘How to bleed your radiator: 7 simple steps’ to find out more.
Once you’ve established that your heating has broken down, it’s time to contact your landlord or letting agency. Here’s how to go about it:
- Give them a ring and clearly explain the situation.
- Follow up in writing and attach any evidence, for example a screenshot of the indoor temperature if it’s particularly cold.
- Haven’t heard back from them within a day? Don’t be afraid to chase them, restating the nature of the problem.
What happens next…
Now that you’ve informed them of the issue, your landlord is legally obliged to act on it. So, they should now arrange for a plumber to come in and fix it, giving you an update on how long it will take. If your landlord is unable to restore heating in a reasonable timeframe, they should provide you with a temporary solution, such as portable heaters. If these aren’t enough, you could consider asking to be put up in a B&B or hotel at their expense.
Is the lack of heating or repair work significantly disrupting your living situation? It may be within your rights to ask the landlord for a rent deduction. From building your evidence to claiming compensation, read 'How to ask for a rent deduction due to disrepair' for our top tips.
What can you do if the landlord won’t fix the heating?
Have you repeatedly chased your landlord or letting agency? Are they ignoring your calls and emails, or simply refusing to address the issue? In this incredibly frustrating situation, you might decide to contact the Environmental Health Department at your local council. They have the power to force your landlord’s hand and even authorise repairs themselves if the issue is urgent. Find out who your local council is at gov.uk.
Even if the landlord is refusing to answer your emails and you have no heating in the rented property, it is never a good idea to withhold rent. You might think it will force their hand, but it’s a very risky manoeuvre. Tenants do not have the right to simply refuse to pay (even if the landlord is breaching the tenancy agreement). If you do, the landlord could decide to evict you; read ‘Landlord eviction notice: a guide’ to find out more.
A few final tips…
When your heating does work, it’s unlikely that you’ll put it on 24/7 - for the sake of the environment and your bank balance. But, there are only so many jumpers you can wear! So, read ‘12 top tips for keeping your home warm this winter’ for some extra ideas. Wondering how else you can save some money? Read ‘12 easy ways for renters to reduce their utility bills’
The energy market has been dominating news headlines recently because multiple suppliers have been forced to close. Ultimately, there is no need to panic, but it is important to know what you should and shouldn’t do. Check out our blog ‘What happens if my energy company collapses?’ for all the details.