If you are renting your home, it is your landlord’s responsibility to provide heating and hot water. When the heating or boiler fails through no fault of your own, your landlord must repair or replace the boiler or other equipment. Of course, how long this might take or whether the landlord is forthcoming in doing so is a different story. This article looks at the landlord’s obligations to provide heating and hot water and the steps tenants may take where their landlord fails in their obligations.
Does my landlord have to fix the heating?
Under the law, your landlord must provide you with water, gas, electricity and adequate sanitation facilities (toilets). You are also entitled to equipment for heating each occupied room, or central heating and a boiler for hot water.
There are minimum heating standards for each room, which is at least 18°C in bedrooms, and 21°C in living rooms where the outside temperature is -1°C. It is not acceptable to leave tenants without heating for more than a few days without the landlord taking steps to resolve the problem.
Under the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985), your landlord is responsible for any heating repairs, and replacements set out in the act. This cannot be set aside by any other document - including a tenancy agreement.
What should I do if the heating in my rented property is broken?
In the first instance, you should contact your landlord to let them know about the problem via your usual method of communication with them.
You should also keep evidence of your communications and the repair problem - including photos or videos.
My landlord has not responded/taken action. What should I do?
If your landlord has not replied to you after a few days or taken any action to resolve the repair problem, you should chase them up. We would recommend following up with an email or letter so you can set out the issue in full and so that you have a clear record of what has been said. In the letter or email, you should:
- Remind them that they have a responsibility to make repairs
- Set out times when you are available for the repairs to be carried out
- Tell them what action you would like them to take and the standard of repair that would be acceptable to you
- Provide them with a reasonable deadline to respond
Contact the council
If your landlord refuses to make repairs or does not respond to you after several attempts at contact, you should report them to your local council. Each local council has a private renting team, and you should provide them with evidence such as emails, letters or photos. The environmental health team may then arrange an inspection of your home and have the power to order your landlord to carry out repairs.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.