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How Long Can Landlords Leave a Broken Boiler and What Rights Do Tenants Have?


When something goes wrong in a rental property, tenants are required to report the issue to their landlord. Unfortunately, without the freedom of being able to call a professional out themselves, renters can be left unclear about when the problem will be fixed. Landlords can also struggle with knowing how quickly they need to respond.

In some cases, the maintenance isn’t urgent. For example, paint jobs can often wait until a time that is convenient for both parties – even if the issue is aesthetically displeasing for a while.

However, on other occasions, the work can’t wait. Major problems such as burst pipes and broken boilers can immediately impact quality of life, and therefore require looking at as soon as possible.

So, what rights do tenants have, and how long can a landlord leave a broken boiler? Let’s discuss.

Whose Responsibility is a Broken Boiler?

As long as the tenant has not caused any damage to the boiler, getting it fixed is the landlord’s responsibility.

Landlords are required to comply with the Landlords and Tenants Act 1985, which stipulates that they are legally obligated to repair a broken boiler.

This is because landlords have a responsibility to provide habitable living conditions.

What Are Uninhabitable Living Conditions?

‘Unhabitable living conditions’ covers a variety of factors, from the safety of electrical and gas appliances to the prevention of several potential hazards.

When it comes to temperature, government guidelines stipulate that households must have a way to maintain the temperature between 18°C – 21°C. This temperature should also be made available at a reasonable cost to the occupier.

If the occupier is unable to achieve these temperatures, the landlord is not providing habitable living conditions and may face legal consequences.

How Long Does a Landlord Have to Fix the Boiler?

If the tenant doesn’t have access to heating or hot water, then an emergency repair is required. A landlord should get this fixed within 24 hours.

Any other issue concerning the boiler should be sorted by the landlord within a “reasonable time”.

What if a Landlord Doesn’t Fix the Boiler?

If an emergency repair is required, and the landlord refuses to organise this, they are obligated to provide tenants with another way to maintain the temperature in the home.

It's worth noting that tenants do not have the right to withhold rent, even if the landlord refuses to carry out the maintenance.

Tenants are advised to have written correspondence with their landlord, discussing the problem, and keep this as evidence. If the problem does not get fixed, tenants may choose to take their landlord to court.

For landlords, one of the best approaches is to know of a reliable boiler engineer – just in case. This takes the stress out of calling an engineer in an urgent situation.

M J Burt offer a professional boiler repair service at a reasonable price. We’re also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – ready to deal with any emergencies.

If you require boiler repairs or servicing, or would like to find out more about what we offer, please get in touch or call 07766 894833.

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