My Landlord Annual ‘Gas Safety Check’ Failed Good & Proper

I’ve experienced some pretty nasty congealed meshes travelling up and down my throat in my time, but nothing could have made my most recent mouth-full any easier to regurgitate.

I’d say a third of everything I consumed last week found its way crawling back up my throat after my plumber informed me the gas safe check had miserably failed because of a deteriorating boiler that was on the verge of entering the afterlife!

[Alarm bells]

Let’s face it, whenever a tradesman says anything is malfunctioning, that’s just their passive-aggressive away of saying “fuck you, it’s payday!”

It was the worst kind of gas safety failure too, total code-red situation. The gas supply into the premises had to be terminated and the boiler had to be put down immediately like a rabid dog, and then stamped with a “useless piece of crap” caution sticker, which looked a little something like this:

Boiler Safety Warning

There went my squeaky clean record; my first gas safety fail in several years of landlording. I had a good run, though.

Why did the safety check fail?

Take a look for yourself, the report is below, which includes an internal snap of the boiler’s decaying organs. The reason for failing should quickly become apparent…

Gas Safety Fail

Click to enlarge

The sheer horror :(

Anyone else proud owners of a failure certificate? Let’s huddle together and form a support group, because this feels like a dark and lonely place right now.

That boiler does not look healthy at all, right? ‘Ticking time-bomb’ comes to mind! I’m actually thankful no one was seriously injured, because that withering corpse looks like a hepatitis-infected death-trap that was ready to slay some bodies and bring the house down at any moment.

Do you know what it reminded me of? An image that went viral on Facebook a while back (you may have seen it if you’re down with the kids), that compared a set of healthy lungs with smokers’ lungs (a.k.a healthy boiler Vs my boiler).

SmokerslungsVsHealthy

If that doesn’t make you quit smoking (or change your shitty boiler), I don’t know what will!

As you can see from the report, the issue is classified as “IMMEDIATELY DANGEROUS” because the “Heat exchanger is rotting” – any bright spark care to elaborate? Apparently there was some kind of weak gas circulation, too- way below what’s required. It was all nonsense to me either way.

I was coherently told why and how it most likely occurred and what the severe consequences could be (something about the hot water tank potentially falling through the roof and scolding the living shit out of my tenant), but my heart was too busy falling out of my asshole to fully comprehend what was being mumbled; all I could think about was how much lighter my pockets were going to be after this episode. Typical landlord.

I have no idea how long the problem was bubbling away for, but it certainly didn’t happen overnight. I used a different plumber last year to undertake the check but he didn’t raise any red flags. Hmmmmm. The mind wonders… was he a fucking idiot?

In any case, I was given two options to resolve the matter:

  • 1) Cheap/desirable option: replace the heat exchanger for approximately £300, while bearing in mind the boiler is 20+ years old and will almost certainly vomit a handful of other heart-stopping problems during the foreseeable future. However, with the cheese saved in the short term, it would allow me to purchase all kinds of useless and inadequate shit to revel. I actually do need a new laptop.
  • 2) Expensive/upsetting option: pay through the nose to replace the boiler with a spanking new power horse, and consequently struggle through life without a bitchin’ new laptop, which I absolutely

Clearly a no-brainer. Option 1 it is.

I kid. I kid.

Now, I have no idea if what my plumber guy was telling me was legit or not, the whole thing could have been a scam. However, I knew something looked wrong; I knew the safety check failed and I knew the boiler was approx 20yrs old and wasn’t worth spending a penny more on.

I opted for a new “Worcester Bosch 28 CDi”, which was a £2,200 kick in the nuts (including labour and a polish). Ouch! I quickly saw my weekend plans diminish into thin air, unless I wanted to downgrade to a one-legged prostitute plagued with genital herpes (an option I contemplated, because something is better than nothing).

Some of you boiler-anoraks might be doing the arithmetic and raising your bushy caterpillar-monobrow at the amount I paid for parts & labour, so I want to clarify that the boiler wasn’t a like-for-like swap. The new Combi boiler replaced a conventional boiler, which involved getting rid of two water tanks and a cylinder. The deal also included 2 Gas Safety checks, and a couple of other uninteresting bits-and-bobs, which don’t deserve the air time to be explained.

Either way, I got a decent boiler out of it (allegedly one of the best, so I’m told. I also hear many good things about Valliant boilers). My investment should be a solid one, because I strongly believe in good quality boilers that provide reliability and longevity (it comes with a 7 year manufacturer’s warranty on the basis it gets an annual service and is installed by a Worcester Bosch accredited plumber, which it will and was).

Gas/heating issues are no joke, especially when it comes to BTL’s, and during winter periods when heat is a priority and every asshole plumber jacks their prices up while allegedly having a waiting list longer than my…

I’ll happily pay the premium for a solid boiler if it means avoiding that stab-me-in-the-eye situation.

Landlord Tip of the day: Skimp on everything else if you want; provide second-hand plastic toilet seats and the cheapest, nastiest shit-stained carpets you can get your grubby little mits on while rummaging through your local skip… but invest in a decent boiler when the time comes; it will save you time, money and stress.

For those of you who have been avid readers for a while now (shout out to you guys, you are my inspiration and I’m truly humbled by your ability to tolerate my drivelling nonsense), you may remember I went through a similar experience several months ago, where I almost slipped into cardiac arrest and keeled over like a sack of potatoes when I went through an almighty shit-mare involving escalating and unforeseen maintenance and repair costs. It’s the unforeseen costs which hurt the most; I was left gasping for air while I laid paralysed on the floor wondering if this was really happening to me. It was. It really was.

The kitchen, oven and boiler all toppled over like dominoes in the same property during the same month. I installed the same replacement boiler back then, too. The entire ordeal hacked away a whooping 7k from my contingency pot. Urgh!

It’s been an expensive year to say the least, so if anyone wants to donate a laptop, or even some tinned food… I will be eternally grateful. I don’t expect hard cash, I understand the reservations about where it might end up (i.e. up my nose and/or flowing through my veins)… I have the same reservations when I pay my tax bill.

What should you do if your gas safety check fails?

Resolve the issue(s) responsible for the fail ASAP.

It’s really that simple as far as I’m concerned.

I can’t fathom why so many landlords (I hear many reports) don’t attend to gas/heating issues immediately. It blows my mind because there really isn’t an upside to delaying the inevitable, and it ultimately shows total disdain towards tenants (which is potentially another expensive mistake). I don’t expect all landlords to buy the best or most expensive solutions, but at the very least provide a safe and comfortable environment, even if that means making extra effort and/or sacrifices to achieve it.

According to the Gas Safe website, it’s the landlords legal obligation to do the following…

If you let a property equipped with gas appliances you have three main responsibilities:

  • Maintenance: pipework, appliances and chimney/flues need to be maintained safely. Gas appliances should be serviced in accordance with the frequency given in the manufacturer’s instructions. If these are not available, you should ask a Gas Safe registered engineer to service them annually.
  • Gas safety checks: An annual gas safety check should be carried out on each gas appliance/flue. This will ensure gas appliances and fittings are safe to use. There is a legal requirement on you to have all gas appliances safety checked by a registered engineer annually and you also need to maintain gas pipework and flues in a safe condition. This is UK law.
  • Record: A record of the annual gas safety check should be provided to your existing tenants within 28 days of completion, or to new tenants upon the start of their tenancy. If the rental period is less than 28 days at a time you may display a copy of the record in a prominent position within the dwelling. You’ll need to keep copies of the record for at least 2 years.

I suspect there is a little confusion about the gas safety check, in respect to what happens if it fails and what timescales landlords have to work with. From my understanding, the legislation states that a safety check must be done annually, and the time between the checks should not exceed longer than 12 months. However, if any problems are flagged during a check they do not need to be resolved within the 12 months from the previous check, but must be attended to in a ‘reasonable’ time frame. At this point, Section 11 of Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (ZzzzZZZzz) kicks in, which states:

to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity)

Quicker the better… that’s what she said (I’m sorry, you know I had to)!

The guidelines don’t specify exactly how quickly landlords need to react to safety failures- it’s assumed that each case is judged on its own circumstances. However, if there’s one thing that landlords should act quickly on, it’s gas/heating issues, especially if they pose potential risks. Common sense if you ask me.

Of course, appliances break, including vital ones that provide heat and water, that’s normal. However, if you’re found guilty of being neglectful or bone-idle like a lemon when the time calls to fixing those appliances, you could face heavy penalties, especially with charities like Shelter aggressively campaigning against rogue landlords, and making it so damn compelling and easy for tenants to prosecute. Hell, they make me want to sue myself!

That said, if you’re a tenant under the belief that your lousy landlord is neglecting his/her duty to repair and maintain, you should report your landlord.

In my case, once the boiler was diagnosed as a dangerous and useless piece of prehistoric turd, I had a replacement fitted within 6 days, and then had another safety check done (which passed). I move quickly when it comes to gas/heating issues because the potential consequences scare the shit out of me. I can’t have problems like that hanging over my head for too long before my nerves get the better of me; forcing my face to get hijacked by a swarm of pulsating killer zits. I’m still sexy, though.

Inconvenience aside, I think my tenant genuinely appreciated how seriously I took the matter and how quickly I reacted. The compounding effects of providing a good service (i.e. showing you actually give a flying shit) is a ‘value’ all landlords should recognise and continually achieve, because it DOES equate to good business (i.e. more profit achieved by lower tenant turnover). Obviously, the fact someone’s life is potentially in danger should be reason enough, but clearly it isn’t for many landlords, so that’s why the “profit” angle might be more compelling. Sigh. I think landlords often forget that tenants are paying for a service.

I didn’t show any obvious signs of hesitation when I was told what needed to be paid to resolve the situation (she stood next to her man (me) when the plumber broke the devastating news). She’ll remember that. Of course, inside I was an emotional mess and at the brink of passing out; I wanted to vomit all over Jamie Oliver’s glossy smug face, which was wrapped around his latest recipe book, situated on the kitchen worktop. I 100% made the right choice nonetheless.

I’m now officially £2,200 poorer, which means I’ll probably have to put my colon and rectum through living hell for the next few months as I’ll be forced to reunite with my cost-effective University dietary plan, which consisted of pot-noodles and leftovers (thanks to the remarkably easy access to the bins behind the local kebab-house).

However, knowing I’ll have your support (as always) and comforting words (leave a comment, especially if you’re a lurker and never engaged before) is what keeps me fighting another day.

What’s your experience?

Anyone else had any disastrous (or even utterly mundane) reasons for a gas safety check failing?

Oooh, and agents, have you encountered any landlords that have been reluctant or completely against resolving problems flagged by a gas safety check? What happened? Tell me how ugly they were! I imagine it’s a common scenario; landlords are generally among the cheapest assholes on the planet, while hopelessly lacking empathy. Yes, we are.

On a final note, winter is coming, so if you’re aware of any gas/heating issues that’s ‘legally’ hanging on by a thread, I’d get that resolved now.

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43 Comments- Join The Conversation...

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andrewa 12th October, 2015 @ 22:37

Sorry to hear of your troubles

I live in South Africa and hot water geysers/boilers are covered by your homeowners insurance policy (the same one that does NOT cover you if you go on holiday and when you come home the local population have stolen your house brick by brick, door by door and roof tile by roof tile leaving only the foundations) so boiler repairs cost you the insurance excess of about 30 UK pounds. My next question is how the heat exchanger "rotted", I installed a Junkers (yes the same chaps responsible for the Stuka etc. etc.) gas boiler for my home myself about 35 years ago ("gas safe" plumbers in South Africa kill about the same number of people here as they do in the UK mostly through carbon monoxide poisoning but with the odd explosion mixed in for fun). As I am an engineer I installed mine outdoors - no risk of either explosion or co poisoning but you have to re-light it occasionally as the wind extinguishes the pilot light.

The Junkers has a copper alloy heat exchanger that takes about 100 years to corrode unless your water so acidic/alkaline you cannot drink it. I cannot see a UK manufactured boiler being a much poorer design than a German one so are you sure the burners were not adjusted incorrectly allowing carbon to build up on the heat exchanger causing poor or incomplete combustion, more carbon build up and co? A faulty heat exchanger (rotten) would spray water everywhere as it not functions like a car radiator in reverse (absorbing heat rather than dissipating it) but is under pressure. Did the plumber rub the exchanger and show you it was covered in black sh!t? Then tell you the co levels were too high?
If he did and that's how it looks from the picture I am afraid "you've been had lad"

The correct procedure is to adjust for a "lean" gas mixture, burn the carbon off then adjust the gas mixture to the correct level, excess carbon may be blown off with a blower.

One other nice thing about South Africa is you only need gas safety compliance, electrical compliance, electrified fence compliance and termite compliance certificates when you sell a house and an MOT only when a car changes hands. Its a hang over from the apartheid government which assumed everyone was a "reasonable man" and not a complete idiot who needed to hold nannys hand.

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Terrie 13th October, 2015 @ 06:45

Yup, had similar experience the day before I was due to fly out to USA.
I have a maintenance contract with British Gas whereby they look after gas, electric, plumbing issues. Costs £40 pcm and worth its weight in gold. I have student tenants so gas safety a high priority.
Anyways, similar to yours, nothing flagged up on last years check, but the sticker of doom slapped on boiler this year. This was a 'warning' sticker though and he didn't cut the gas supply off. It was enough for me to have sleepless nights so I rang my plumber straight away to get new boiler put in while I was away. The BGas plumber said it was the first time ever that he'd known a landlord to do that - according to him, they have it patched up until certain death.
Cost an arm and leg plus I now have to have kitchen wall repainted and retiled.
As you say - skimp on cheap loo seats etc but not on Safety.
BTW - did you know that by law, landlord properties have to have their white goods PAT tested every year? I only found this out as I went on a Landlords accreditation course earlier this year. I didn't have a scooby before. This includes fridge, freezer, cooker and washing machine? Thought that bit of info would brighten your day, oh joy!

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Chris 13th October, 2015 @ 08:17

@The_Landlord love your work. Its almost a heart warming story. Warms the cockles somewhat to think you are now going to have to visit the CLAP clinic as a direct result of your saintly actions in this episode... could be the next blog!

Terrie - I don't think that is really accurate, the law states things must be safe, however the legal requirement does not dictate annual PAT testing like it does with gas. There is a good piece on this by @The_Landlord

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emma6 13th October, 2015 @ 08:25

I have come to the conclusion that boilers go to BTL landlords to die.

Within the first three years I owned BTL, I had boiler issues in all three properties. Oh yes, and they all go AT THE SAME TIME, as well, like I'm not skint enough already.

The thing about an old boiler is they are built like tanks, so if you can replace a part, the thing will probably work perfectly for many more years to come. The new ones fall apart if you sneeze too close to them. They hadn't thought of built in obsolescence in the Seventies.

I found a part on ebay and then argued with all the local plumbers about who would fit it - they were all hoping for a new boiler payday and so refused to do such a cheap and simple job. So, in the end, although I have had to replace one boiler completely, the other two just got new parts (diverter valve in both cases) and are working just fine two years on.

Ironically, just got back from a week away in the West Country and, halfway through the week, the hot water vanished! So the poor landlord had to send the plumber round while we were trying to enjoy our holiday (heat exchanger)(eight-year old flat). Which proves my point about the new not being as sturdy as the old.
But I do agree that, whatever the problem, for pity's sake, take it seriously. People's lives are at stake.

But, of course, as we all now have CO alarms nearby (cos we never thought of that on our own before the new regs were invented), that shouldn't be a problem now, should it?!

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Vince 13th October, 2015 @ 09:47

I always use Baxi boilers, I've good experience of them and I like to keep consistent installations. Baxi Platinum have a 10 year guarantee (regular servicing etc needed). They also supply a standoff panel so paperwork can be modified easily if the pipe connections are not readily ompatible.

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NIGE 13th October, 2015 @ 10:00

My neighbour had a gas engineer in the other day. (not buy to let property) . There is only one part that fails on his type of boiler. The gas valve.
Now this cast iron boiler is 30 years old and his house is just as warm as mine. Cost of part ? 50 quid off ebay and about an hours work from a qualified gas engineer.
On the other hand I had a tenant whinge that their boiler had broken down and it was the flame detection electronic device . These use to be a 4 quid thermocouple readily available. Well this part took 3 days to get and of course one whinging tenant.

Due to the fact that the trend moved to combi boilers there was no secondary tank with an immersion heater.
So one tenant running about with electric kettles to wash. So much for progress.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 11:01

@andrewa
God damn, you seem to know what you're talking about ha.

Unfortunately, I barely understood anything you said. Ignorance is bliss, aye?

I rubbed the rust, but it didn't rub off, so I couldn't see what was underneath.

All he said was that the heat exchanger needed to be replaced, and that there was a very weak gas circulation level (or something like that). He gave me a few options, cheapest being £300 to fix the problem. But with such an old boiler, and one that had a few problems over the years, albeit minor, it didn't seem worth reviving.

To be honest, I'm not overly concerned whether it *needed* replacing or not at that exact moment- it was quite old and I didn't want to throw more money at it.

Life sounds alriiiight in SA :)

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The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 11:10

@Terrie
Oh man, I hate it when maintenance issues pop up just before or during holidays! It's happened to me on a few occasions; it always seems like Karma getting me back for my sins. Irritating beyond belief.

Ha @ "sticker of doom", well described. It really is just that!

I'm pretty certain electrical appliances don't need to be PAT tested in England & Wales for AST's. However, it might be a requirement for HMO's (I can't remember off the top of my head). Do you have a HMO?

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The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 11:16

@Chris
Ha, thanks. It was actually quite the fairy tale, the whole 'Knight in shining armour' scenario, but with a twist (i.e. potentially catching a ghastly infection while saving the princess from the fire-breathing dragon (the piece-of-crap boiler!)).

I agree, I suspect Terrie is either talking about HMO's and/or has been misinformed/misunderstood. If not, I'm probably in trouble!

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The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 11:26

@emma6
Fair assessment regarding boilers going to BTL landlords to die. Must be some kind of curse.

Boilers are generally the most annoying and problematic devices in this game because they're so relied upon!

I hear what you're saying about old boilers being tanks, but in this case, I could have replaced the whole boiler for £800 (like for like model/installation), so spending £300 to fix it seemed pointless. It did also have a few minor problems over the past few years, Basically, I refuse to let you make me feel terrible for my decision hah.

At least with this new one I get 7 years guarantee.

Hope you had a good break! Yeah, feel for the poor landlord; sounds like a good one though!

Amen. God bless the CO alarms regulations :S

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The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 11:37

@Vince
Can't say I have ever heard of Baxi boilers (not that I'm an expert or anything), but if they come with a 10 year guarantee, they gotta' be good.

@NIGE
haha whinging tenants are what make me contemplate life these days. The "unreasonable" pressure they apply can often be ridiculous. Rest assured, if it was their own home, they would totally understand if a part took 3 days to acquire!

How much did the £4 part cost you in today's market (you said it "used" to be £4)?

The reason I always opt for combi boilers now is that less can go wrong because there are much fewer parts. The only real disadvantage (in my opinion) is that when they break, off goes the heating and hot water!!

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Terrie 13th October, 2015 @ 12:31

Well if we were given wrong info on the Landlord Accrediation course then it's music to my ears - although the one day course was £90!
We were told that annual PAT testing is a legal requirement (pref as part of an annual electrical safety inspection)and if you fail to comply it could mean a fine of up to £5,000. I didn't misunderstand. I even queried if fridges, freezers and cookers had to be done. The answer was an emphatic 'yes' as these are considered to be mobile.
I'll do some research over the weekend and hopefully as you guys say, it will turn out to be duff information and a job crossed off the never ending list of what we landlords must comply with.

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AJA 13th October, 2015 @ 12:42

As someone who helps manage two properties, a BTL for my son and a family home that is now let for my elderly father, I read the landlord blogs with interest.

You state:

"I can’t fathom why so many landlords (I hear many reports) don’t attend to gas/heating issues immediately."

Sympathies on the demise of the boiler, but why dlet it get into this state in the first place, especially considering you make the above statement? The boiler corrosion didn't happen overnight. Perhaps the last service wasn't as thorough as it should have been and should have preempted this problem. The gas engineer should have said: "Hey, landlord, your boiler looks like it is corroding and may need replacing in the near future". What is the point of a service and gas safety check if it lets the problem get to the state where the boiler has to be condemned as unsafe?

Personally I have no confidence in "new" "modern" boilers. As you state they have obsolescence built in. The boiler in my house is as old as the house and is reliable and never fails. A new boiler that my father had fitted failed within two years and had to be replaced - so much for new boilers.

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The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 12:45

@Terrie

First I've heard of it, to be honest.

On the Gov website (https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/your-landlords-safety-responsibilities), it says:

Electrical safety
Your landlord must make sure:
- the electrical system is safe, eg sockets and light fittings
- all appliances they supply are safe, eg cookers and kettles

Pretty sure you were told duff info, assuming they were talking about AST's in England & Wales :/

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The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 12:58

@AJA
I'm a little unsure about what you're angling at...

If I get a gas safety check done annually and the plumber doesn't notify me of any problems, and passes the safety check... I'm not sure what you expect me to do (or any other landlord in that situation), especially since my tenant didn't report any performance issues throughout that year.

I did imply the previous engineer may not have done a thorough job... again, what do you expect me to do? I fulfilled my obligations and used a gas safe engineer to get an annual inspection.

"I can't fathom why so many landlords (I hear many reports) don’t attend to gas/heating issues immediately."

I said that because as soon as I'm made aware of any problems, I get them resolved. But if I'm not made aware of any problem...

If a mechanic passes your car MOT... but the following year it fails by another mechanic because of some form of long-term corrosion... would you be having the same thoughts?

There's something very baffling about your comment(s). It almost seems like you didn't read the blog post at all, and common sense slipped out the window (sorry!).

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NIGE 13th October, 2015 @ 13:00

To AJA

Sadly like modern cars boilers are either working or not working. They are full of gubbins and sensors with fail safes .(not a bad thing) But when they go wrong they suddenly go wrong. Its not a deterioration you can see. Modern circuit boards (bless them) can cost up to 300 a piece and are very carefully placed so that if you get a small easily fixed leak the 2 drops of water that manage to escape short out the board.

And yes boilers do break down the day you are about to go on holiday, during bank holidays and xmas or any other inconvenient time. Ive even had to write it into tenancy agreements that repairs will be carried out ASAP with reference to available labour and parts. That puts tenants on a level pegging with me as a house owner!!!

Oh anyone else sen the British Gas advert. 9 out of 10 attended to the same day . Doesn't say fixed the same day.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 13:09

@NIGE
Hah oh yessss, I've had a few circuit boards replaced in my time, £350 a pop! In fact, I think 3-4 years ago, the boiler I just replaced had a circuit board replacement!

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Terrie 13th October, 2015 @ 13:47

Ugh - Just had quick squizz on line in lunch hour - http://www.informedlandlords.com/legal-requirements-for-landlords/

I feel like a Harbinger of Doom - I don't want it to be right, but can't ignore it if a fine is in order or tenants unsafe. British Gas don't cover this on their maintenance contract.

If you can still tell me that Landlords don't need to do this (I'm not HMO), then I'm
not forking out for it to be done again next year and will Thank you from the bottom of my pockets:)

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NIGE 13th October, 2015 @ 13:49

@Landlord

Oh the design of boilers !! I don't suppose others have noted but as has been mentioned divertor valves (or any other replacement part that is likely to fail) is always placed where you cannot get to it.

One other thing that riles me is that certain DHSS tenants can get a free brand new energy efficient boiler at Zero cost. Yes FREE !! These are the same tenants who are likely to cause more wear and tear to components like divertor valves. Out of the 4 DHSS tenants (at the time) only one applied. Yes they got one brand new eco boiler running at lower costs. Of the other 3 , 2 are running at the moment and one broke down. Oh the squeals and yells because the component took 3 days to arrive. And being on DHSS (for spurious reasons in my opinion) she had just arrived back from a MONTHS holiday in Spain . She found the boiler not working. THEN she declares she was having trouble with it before she went !!!

Brownie points for guessing who didn't get a rent increase that year out of the 4 tenants.

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Mia 13th October, 2015 @ 13:54

Enjoyed this one very much. Yes indeed. Your sense of irreverent humor does make it all bearable.

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The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 13:56

@Terrie
Ha, I'm doing my best to make you see the light.

LandlordZone (http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/content/electrical-safety):

Landlord Guide
It is important to ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings within the property are safe and in good working order. Unlike gas regulations, there is no law that says you must have a landlord electrical safety certificate. But, should any electrical fittings or appliances within your rental property cause harm to a tenant you could be held liable.

Regulations
There is no statutory obligation on landlords or agents to have professional checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances. However, under Common Law and various statutory regulations: The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, The Housing Act 2004, The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe.

I'm guessing PAT testing is "recommended"- but NOT a legal requirement.

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The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 14:00

@Nige

I'm assuming that's the "Warm Front" scheme, where DSS tenants can get a grant of up to £3500 to make their property more energy efficient? I remember blogging about it before.

But from what I remember, there was a limited budget, once it's been exhausted, that's it. I can't remember if the budget gets refilled every year or not.

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The Landlord 13th October, 2015 @ 14:01

@Mia
Thanks Mia, appreciate it. You make me sound like a mother that hides medicine in their childs' food ha!

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NIGE 13th October, 2015 @ 14:50

@Landlord
No it wasn't warm front. Some other crackpot scheme to help DHSS. Couple of years back now and tenant read my newsletter saying how to apply (landlords couldn't) and acted upon it. Fitted all FOC. Even included first years warranty and a gas check on fitting and a gas check after 1 year. Bonus for me when I sold property last year with no claim back. Thats the difference between a good tenant and a bad one. He left property in reasonable condition as well, did all his own repairs inc re-laying the patio , mending fences etc. Sad to see him move out of the area after being a 100% tenant for 10 years. And his boiler never required a repair call out during his tenancy !!!

Funny how the others didn't even apply . Well not funny as I pick up repair bills.

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Crimble 15th October, 2015 @ 15:43

Amidst all this talk about the expense of modern boilers and how good old boilers last much longer and are much cheaper to run and repair etc etc, does anyone know if there is a modern equivalent of the gold old boilers that will last forever and don't cost a fortune to fix when they do go wrong? I believe that it is not illegal to install a non-combi boiler.

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jameds 15th October, 2015 @ 16:35

@Landlord
Just want to say as a new landlord your blogs, e book and the forum have helped so much. Keep it coming. Thankfully my property flew through the gas safety check but I agree that the boiler is probably the thing that might go wrong and can be quite costly. I think your advice to get it sorted quickly if and when a problem arises is common sense and i find it a little bit sad that some landlords would try and cut corners for the sake of profit. Any way thanks again and keep the emails/blog coming.

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NIGE 15th October, 2015 @ 17:27

Its not illegal to install a non combi boiler. Combi boilers are not good in large houses ie 2 showers because they can only deliver a set amount of hot water. Even in a normal house using the kitchen tap can affect a shower. My own house (and others nearby ) are fitted with a tank and standard boiler which heats water and uses a 3 way valve to have HW, HW CH or just CH.
I think you are confusing combi boilers with gas condensing boilers which recover heat from the exhaust and have a better rating energy wise.
If a tank is fitted at least you can go to immersion hot water if it breaks down.

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David 16th October, 2015 @ 10:25

Look on the bright side, you could have killed someone, or even several or you could have killed your tenants children!

£2.5k for a boiler is cheap when taken over the life of the thing which could reasonably be another 15 to 20 years if serviced. Even then you get insurance for the thing and when a PCB blows it is covered. Watch out for warranty exclusions or labour exclusions.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th October, 2015 @ 10:26

@Crimble
As Nige said, it's not illegal, and I wouldn't install a combi boiler in a property with more than one bathroom.

The reason I opt for a combi (when it makes sense) is because 1) the energy bills are a lot cheaper than conventional boilers, because you don't have a huge tank of water that needs heating 2) there's a lot less that can go wrong with combis because there are fewer parts!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th October, 2015 @ 10:27

@David
Agreed! Money well invested as far as I'm concerned.

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The Landlord 16th October, 2015 @ 10:28

@jameds
Thanks James, appreciate it. Glad blog/website has been helpful!

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David 16th October, 2015 @ 10:33

@Nige

You really hate tenants don't you, especially DHSS.

Yet can you reasonably expect any tenany to understand what the fluck a diverter valve is or what they can do to prevent it blowing.

What bugs me is that you think that they should pay for your repairs, when that is a cost of doing business.

If you were properly insured there would be no cost and no need to screw them with a rent increase.

I think you should write a PDF of "how to be a good tenant" and include your theory on diverter valves, plus all your other expectations.

Meanwhile what the hell is a diverter valve and how do you stop it blowing.

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NIGE 16th October, 2015 @ 14:16

@ David
Thank you for your usual attack on me . Becomes a common feature on these blogs.

You don't know what a divertor valve is. I would have thought that having read this discussion that a landlords responsibility is to be intelligent enough to know that and if they don't that is what Google was invented for. Then you will know what the expert fixing it is charging for rather than just pay a ficticious bill as is invented by some.

It seems that you are not a hands on landlord. I know every one of my tenants personally (not always a good thing in business). Have you for example lent a tenant money to get their impounded car out of the police pound.
Have you given then 2 months credit to get their benefits sorted. Ever had one of your tenants commit suicide and had to work with police and relatives over that matter. Or found a tenant so ill in bed that you have had to call in social services to get them into a home. Or extended a tenancy to a cancer patient (she didn't know at start of a temporary 6 months emergency tenancy) on a house earmarked for sale.

You may like to know that every property I have (or manage) is currently a DHSS tenancy. And no they are not slums and are inspected by the council regularly due to some being on special bonds.

Do you supply your tenants with a full 15 page manual containing all the basic points of running a house, safety and fire regulations etc? It contains my contractors numbers in case of emergencies with permission to contact them directly if I am not available.Do you put out a monthly newsletter with points that might personally affect them and where help can be obtained. Or add in things like free activities for kids in the holidays or town events.

But then again I don't suppose in your cosy insured world that you have had a house set on fire. I dont suppose you have had a house completely flooded out by a tenant who left all the taps on. Or a tenant who deliberately transferred all be benefits to her boyfriend to pimp his car. Or one who gave the house to his x wife and moved out without notice.

I have had quite a few tenants who were with me for 10+ years. One x tenant who thought they got a cheaper rent was promptly evicted by the new landlord (after 6 months) and came back to me. Now why would they do that?
Then I phoned around other landlords to see if I could help.

So I am accredited by 2 trade bodies and our local council. Yes I know how to run a business and let houses thank you. Ive done it for 20 years and the majority of my tenants have been DHSS and my stories are the errant ones.

So I would be grateful if there were less attacks by you regarding how I run my business and my professionalism.
It would appear that you are the one who buys a property and lets everyone with expertise solve the problems for you. Each to their own.

I'll let you Google divertor valve now.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th October, 2015 @ 16:42

Uh oh!

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Mike 16th October, 2015 @ 17:18

I was intrigued by you calling out the lurkers to comment for the first time, so I've decided to give it a stab.

I've been reading your blog for more than a year now, and have gone back to read all of your interesting posts (the real juicy stuff, not advice on gas safety certificate and whatnot). It's been difficult understanding your language, as we speak a different dialect of English here in Canada, although I'm beginning to comprehend your slang.

I'm not a landlord, but have friends and family members who are and listen to all their trials and tribulations of dealing with dickhead tenants.

This is one of the top blogs I enjoy reading. Mostly for the witty, sarcastic, yet real sense of humour that you put out there. I especially like your risk analysis of selecting tenants, it makes so much sense when dealing with a property worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, and relying on the rent to help pay it off. Some of the comments really show why you don't 'risk' taking on a DSS tenant, because from what I've read, a lot seem like entitled pricks. I compare their attitude of not paying rent for two months (and thinking it's justified because you're obviously a filthy-rich asshole of a landlord) to not paying off a credit card. Do they also call up Visa or MasterCard and tell them to bugger off when the bills keep piling up?

Anyways, great blog man. Wish you would write as often as you did in the beginning of it, but I still enjoy reading!

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NIGE 16th October, 2015 @ 17:22

@Landlord

Thanks for not deleting it. Once council houses were the pride and joy of the people lucky enough to get them but some are now neglected and it shows how people do not take care of things that don't belong to them.
David suggested that I expect tenants to pay for repairs. What sort of repairs ? The new door fitted at 650 quid which had a hole in it within a week ? The bathroom completely wrecked when the tenant went into hospital and the kids had a wild party ?
Or does he refer to the tenant who called because the heating wasn't working and the engineer was told the rads were all hot but not giving off any heat !!!

I can give countless stories of ''obvious'' faults that we were called out to in an emergency like the tenant who had a new key cut and couldn't get in. She stood there with the old and new key but hadn't tried the old one. Or the call out at 11 oclock at night because someone had thrown a paving slab through the front window because the tenant had called a neighbour names.

Guess who paid in every one of these cases.
Remember as a landlord any faults are definitely not the tenants responsibility !!!!!!!

I even read a post on money savings expert. Basically the heating had broken down. The engineer said that the part was special order and would take a couple of days. The landlord had '' Unfortunately you are in exactly the same position I would be in ''
The tenant had posted a reply saying that tenants should have priority over house owners !! Exactly how would that be achieved ? Rules and regs dictate matters and landlords are stuck with them. Yes I can repair a gas boiler or rewire a house etc. NO I AM NOT STUPID ENOUGH TO DO IT !!!

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NIGE 16th October, 2015 @ 18:53

@Mike
Interesting !!
Note your landlord friends have similar experiences.

I had a tenant who didn't pay the rent at xmas. Told me they had to give the kids a good xmas. I pointed out that they hadn't given them a good xmas ..I had.

Another was told they owed rent. I only owe you 500 was the reply. They were taken aback when I told them they actually owed me 100k. Yep I said, whilst you have my house I cannot spend that money but I would be considerate and take them up to the bank so they could buy the house from me.

But going back to the original thread. 2500 for a new boiler is a large chunk out of the yearly take with a rent of 500 per month. It is not so bad if you can achieve 1500 a month. So how it hits a landlord may be dependent on areas.

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andrewa 16th October, 2015 @ 21:18

@ Nige,
And there you have hit the nail squarely on the head, it costs £300 000.00 to build a £300 000.00 house whether it is erected in Mayfair or opposite Windscale nuclear waste dumpsite, the difference is in the land cost and obtainable rental.

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David 17th October, 2015 @ 00:10

@NIGE

Awe c'mon Nige you know I love you really, you take everything so personally, so let me tell you something.

I am officially a nobody, I even ticked it on this site.

I do not live for the approval of others, nor should you, you know your life better than some sad git like me on a blog comment.

What do I know about the blood sweat and tears you have put into keeping your tenants homes in good nick and doing the right thing, sweet FA, right!

Forgive me for not going to the Blog HR dept and pulling your record, I know I should but I am flawed.

You see all I is do respond to what you write, you wrote that you punish tenants for the diverter valve thingy, yet in that comment you ASS U ME'd that the people reading it knew what it was.

Now they might have had more sympathy to your position if you took a few seconds to explain that they should reasonably know what is was or if you said in your post that you give a 15 page document that has a section "How not to fuck up a diverter valve".

As for the DHSS slur, again I responded to the generalisation you made. I do not like it when people generalise on groups of people, whether it be by race, sexual preference or whatever, there are only TWO exceptions to this rule. Letting Agents and Travellers, these two groups are total scum in my opinion and in the relatively short time I have left in my life I cannot see my changing my position on these two.

That is not to say that there are not other scum, nor that there are not scum who are on the DHSS.

Mostly my experience of people on DHSS are people that might not have been given an adequate education, there are some who have special needs and/or disabled other are just born into a poor environment and have not had the opportunity to read debrett's or even mastered how to put their bins out.

Truth is you usually make very good posts and you showed me how good a landlord you are, so don't worry, you will have no trouble at the pearly gates.

Now go take a chill pill, have a drink or do whatever calms you down and just ignore me from now on or just tell me to fuck off, @landlord will understand, as will I.

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NIGE 17th October, 2015 @ 01:23

@David

Lol.
Would you believe that I do not think anyone should rent property ? Sounds a bit contradictory for a landlord.

I once lived on an estate. 20 houses and for 5 pounds I bought a share in the association. So I owned one 20th of 20 houses.

We could not cash in as such for the right to buy as is being suggested today . It was a type of saving scheme. Your rent never went up. If someone left the house was notionally valued higher (at a higher rental not resale) and if the exiting tenant had left it in good condition they could have a cashback equal to the notional revaluation.

Great. If you lived there for life your rent never increased. If you looked after the house you got cashback. If you wrecked it the cash went to repairs.

I take your point about disadvantaged people. I came from a rough council estate in a very rough town myself so I understand many things. What I cannot understand is the attitude that it is always someone elses fault/problem. as you rightly say letting is a business.
For some reason housing is different from other rental businesses. Rent a car and you insure yourself against damaging it. Stop paying a phone bill and they switch it off straight away. As previously said stop paying your credit card and your credit rating gets stuffed.
Smash/damage a house or stop paying your rent and suddenly the law falls upon the landlord to fork out huge sums of money to get back something that is his.

Maybe I did escape the council estate and actually made something of myself rather than playing an x box all day or dreaming that I would be a top footballer or singer.

But I bailed out a tenant (5 yrs) the other day whilst he did the transition from DHSS to work. Oh he took some menial job. I asked how work was going . His reply was ..or should I say be an example to others.
''I used to consider myself poor. Now Im comfortable and enjoying it''
He hadn't worked for 14 years choosing to play an xbox around his mates and even finding him in to do a gas cert was a chore.

As for the divertor valve !! I dont expect tenants to know what it is. I do expect them to realise that repairs are out of my hands for legal reasons and therefore I am in the hands of others. And why is it boilers always break down when everyone elses break down !!! Phone me.. I will contact engineer and he has your number . Be in or leave a key with someone and make sure there is gas on the card meter. Dont switch off your phone or just go shopping as if he cant get in or hold of you he won't be back for ages. If you have ever dealt with a pissed off gas engineer who has tried 4 times to carry out a gas check and on the 5th attempt finds no credit on the meter you will know what I mean.

Roll on retirement.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 19th October, 2015 @ 12:20

@Mike
Yessssss! So glad you took the step, really appreciate your comments.

Amazing, I can't believe an actual lurker surfaced! But you're a real odd case, because you're Canadian and not even a landlord ha.

I can tell from my reporting stats that a massive portion of people that regularly read my blog never actually interact. But that's true for almost every blog. So I thought I'd try and pry a few of you out with a little encourage!

The whole 'DSS mentality' issue, generally speaking, truly baffles me. You hit the nail on the head with the Credit Card analogy. Moreover, they get angry at us for making decisions based on risk-assessment (e.g. refusing them because they have a poor financial record), yet seem to understand when banks refuse them loans!

Hope to see you pop in more often!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 19th October, 2015 @ 12:26

@Nige
I rarely delete comments, so your words are in safe hands 'round 'ere :)

it shows how people do not take care of things that don't belong to them.

Definitely got to agree with that.

@David
You're not a nobody to me, even if you tick the box! xo

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NIGE 19th October, 2015 @ 13:39

@Landlord
Thanks. Its actually interesting at the moment regarding DHSS. As I said all my tenants are DHSS now in some form.
But the trouble I had in the past was due to the nanny society. They could abscond, wreck a house etc.etc. Then cry to the council that they were homeless.
Our council made a very tiny change to their policies.
Anyone turning up 'homeless' who had a house was checked out. Any arrears on the last house or damage (not just talking a small part of deposit lost) was deemed that the tenant made themselves homeless.
This cut the waiting lists from 11000 to 4000. This is quite telling when 7000 people were considered unsuitable tenants. But of course these 7000 will now try the private sector which must ensure checks are made in every direction.
One interesting turn up for the books is that every one of my tenants on DHSS is now in advance with the rent !! Flags are flying here. They make up any shortfall each month but as the HB is paid in 13 installments they go into credit at some point. With the new rules slowly seeping into their brains they know that if they wreck this tenancy the chances of anything else are virtually zero. Maybe this will bring some responsibility and priority into their thoughts. As David points out rental is a business so losses will always be recovered by upping the price.

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