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Landlords. Are You Ready For Winter?


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Sure enough and with the first really cold night of the year this Autumn and then to receive the dreaded phone call from one of my tenants at 7pm to inform me that the Worcester combination boiler has locked out and will not reset.

For me it's not so bad as my Son is a registered gas heating engineer, Worcester boiler factory trained as well which is a real bonus but this does not guarantee me priority service on the following day as I have no idea what his workload is like and whether he can fit me in. Threatening him with omission from my departing Will has never worked in the past either.  😀

I don't know how other landlords deal with the situation such as this but I always keep a selection of electric heaters for emergencies such as this so by 8pm I had delivered these to the property.  Happy tenant and at least they can keep warm until my Son can get there to look and fix the boiler which hopefully doesn't need replacing. Yes, the boiler is serviced and certified every year but like a car MOT it's only as good as the condition it is tested and certified for..... on the day.

I also tell my tenants, in writing, at the start of the tenancy that whilst I will do everything in my power to resolve issues like these boiler breakdowns as a Landlord I face the same problems as any other person in getting trades persons to the property to fix and repair.   Fortunately I have good and understanding tenants.

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You have my sympathy. It's amazing how heating goes wrong at the worst possible times......most of us have experienced it.

It's perhaps opportunist for me to point out that those properties with electric storage heaters probably have an advantage in that any breakdown is likely to be just one of a number of storage heater units in a property which is far better than the whole system shutting down.

Keeping a few spare back up heaters that can be used in emergencies is an excellent idea.

One final point....touched on in your post.........many tenants expect their landlord to perform miracles when things go wrong but......tenants are not entitled to expect any better treatment because they are paying rent than an owner occupier could expect if their heating suddenly failed. They will be subject to the same reasonable delays in getting repairs carried out as the owner occupier. This extends to the tenant not being entitled to rent reduction or refund for the affected period. I've lost count of the number of times I've read posts from landlords where their tenants almost expect immediate repairs and/or rent reduction.

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I have 3 sets of gas plumbers covering different areas but I am finding with new Worcesters that break downs are minimal and often just combis needing topping up.

Like you Melboy I have some heaters on standby but not had to use them in ages now I am rid of the last Basia boiler.

Yes, Richlist some tenants do expect miracles and without the plumber visiting the property (not only on gas) - they want it fixed but won't let anyone in.  Anyone else have this one?

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Just to follow up my own topic............😊

My Son got to the property by 11am managing to fit me in (!) between jobs and he was not too far from the property.  It was the gas valve and the electrical solenoid attached to it not operating. He managed to get one from the merchants which are not too far away.  So £200 later including fitting VAT etc. and boiler was up and working.  He and I believe this boiler is around 12 years old and a knackered gas valve would support this as they are usually very reliable.

The boiler fan is also not looking too good either with a bit of a squeak from the fan bearings but he put 1 drop of bearing oil on it and the noise disappeared. He has a near new Worcester boiler fan which he has given me so my £200 invoice is looking to be a real bargain now.

The classic situation has now been reached. Do you throw money at an old boiler to keep it going? or do you replace it?  New Worcester boiler fitted at family rates to me is about £1,800 all in including a Magnaclean filter.  For the time being I shall ignore my own advice that I always give out in situations like this which is: "Get that boiler replaced"!

So I have a very happy tenant which is just as well as it has been a very cold night here with heavy frost on the ground, and to be fair to them they did not for one moment cause any fuss or bother about no heating or hot water.


  My Son does boiler / heating work for a letting agent and he could bore you all day long with stories of tenants not letting him in to the property to carry out essential work or certificates. The other one is that tenants will say.......I am at work and don't get back home till 5.30 can you come at 6.30...... and the answer is always a big fat NO.  He gives them a day time appointment by email or text and if there is no one there then the landlord will be billed for a booked appointment no-show tenant if he can't get hold of them. Some of the tenant excuses for not being at home are pure fantasy as well.

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My opinion would be do not replace the boiler.

* You have access to a reliable family member for repairs and maintenance.....which is better than most of us.

* You already replaced 1 major component & have available another major component should that part fail.

* Most modern boilers have just a few major parts.....gas valve, fan, printed circuit board etc. Repairs normally cost around £200/£250 for each. 

* Your boiler is not on its last legs and will probably last many more years.......I've got one that's 30 years old with no plans to replace it.

* Save your £1800 for something more worthwhile.

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