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  • Buy-to-Let

    Rebate due to broken boiler

    One of the boilers in one of my properties has developed a fault.

    The boiler is probably fixable but it’s very old and the tenant is on benefits so I’ve contacted an energy company to see about getting a new boiler supplied for free.
    According to the energy company in question it can take two to three months to get the new boiler signed off and installed. On hearing this, I immediately ordered some new oil filled radiators for the tenant. As the tenant is on benefits, she’s obviously concerned about any extra cost due to using electricity for heating instead of gas. She’s a good tenant and I’m a good landlord so I want to make sure that she’s not left out of pocket here. Obviously I’m not going to ask her to estimate the additional cost and go with that, I see this as a bit of a ‘blank cheque’ approach.

    My preference would be to ask for last year’s energy bill and look at this years and work out the additional electricity usage and calculate the extra cost from there but that’s not an option here as the tenant hasn’t been there a year yet, plus the property has a key metre so probably harder to compare.

    Failing the above my thoughts were to look to see how much cheaper it is to rent an equivalent eclectically heated property (about £25/pcm) and deduct that from the rent until the new boiler is installed. The other option is to work out the average annual gas bill for a property of that size and work out how much gas she ‘should’ be using for the time of year. Once I have the amount of units, I can give her a discount of the difference between the gas cost vs the electric cost, obviously she’d be doing well out of this as gas is far less efficient that electricity, especially when the gas is being used in a 30 year old boiler.

    So, my question is, does anyone else have any other ways or rebating the tenant for this type of thing? Are there any more scientific ways or industry standards? I know that the hard line answer is that I’ve already fulfilled my obligations by providing alternative heating but I’m assuming that any rebate will be quite small on the scale of things and I’m not looking to screw every penny out of my tenants.

    Thoughts please.
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    Why do you need an energy company to install the boiler, why cant you use a reputable local gas engineer?

    3 Months seems along time for a job that could be done in a day by a skilled engineer!
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    I would try & find another company with access to the Gov Funds for new boiler install, maybe contact your local council who may have a list.

    IMHO its unacceptable to leave tenant without boiler for 3 months, if they complained to the council they would issue you with an improvement order to carry out the work ASAP.

    Also speak to original company & state that unless they can fit new boiler with 14 days you will take your business elsewhere - given that they are being paid way over the norm for this type of install they may likely say they can "fit you in".
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    Save Money on All of Your Utilities Attract Prospects to Your MLM Business

    Unless I'm missing something, surely the easiest and quickest way to fulfil your obligations to the tenant is to get a new boiler fitted?

    No one likes to waste money, but in this case it's required. The property has been rented out as centrally heated, and now it's not. Oil filled rads aren't a suitable replacement IMHO, and certainly not for three months.
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    Don't go with the bigger boiler companies doing the free boilers on the gov. scheme. Get a small operator in and he can have it done in a week if really good. The house needs to be assessed and an EPC carried out - the worse the better to get a boiler. Then they take photos of the house / boiler and take all details from the tenant and send off the paper work to the relevant gov dept. Once they get the all clear they can instruct their engineer to fit the boiler ASAP. Realistically 2 weeks is the normal wait time.

    In January of this year i had a new boiler fitted, but the old boiler actually broke down 3 weeks before this boiler was installed and it was 3 days before Christmas day - bummer.

    It was the PCB and it cost me £120 plus £60 labour for the engineer. We got it changed within a day and so all was ok. If your boiler is an older combi you can still sell it afterwards on gumtree as lots of people want them for spares. I sold this boiler only recently for £120, so got most of my money back from it.
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    Thanks for your thought all. Some interesting points.

    Bowcutt1 - I wouldn't normally use a big energy company to do anything but they're offering free boilers to certain tenants under their ECO (Energy Company Obligations).

    John Mac - The company that I'm using are the only company left offering free boilers to non-customers that will replace my type of boiler (back boiler) so I'm not in a position to call the shots here or 'take my business elsewhere' unfortunately.

    Ampersand - Yes, it is quicker and easier to just fit a new boiler but £2,000 is £2,000 at the end of the day and I'm in this to make a profit.

    John - Are you saying that you got one done under the ECO scheme in two weeks or were you paying for it? I think it's the extra paperwork going through the ECO process that slows things down.


    It turns out that it's not actually the boiler that's at fault here, it's the radiators/pipe work that have become sludged up so the central heating hot water can no longer circulate. I'm getting it power flushed tomorrow to restore heating but will still stick with the new boiler scheme anyway as the current one is a very old Baxi back boiler.

    Current status. Tenant has passed initial assessment, meaning that she it eligible for the scheme. Energy Co. are going out there on Thursday to do some sort or EPC / site assessment.

    Please let me know if you want me to keep you updated with how this goes.
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    Yes a free boiler on the national scheme. The bigger companies doing it get you to wait for 6 weeks or so as they have so many installs to do. The smaller one / two man startups are much quicker.

    You can hire a power flush machine and do it yourself much cheaper than the £400 they normally charge. Very easy to do.
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    "You can hire a power flush machine and do it yourself much cheaper than the £400 they normally charge. Very easy to do".


    Very true. Machine hire - £60 inc vat (local firm not HSS etc). Cleaner and inhibitor - £13 for both (Tool Station). Rubber bung for header tank and push fit stop end for expansion pipe - no more than a fiver. So a day's work and you've saved over £320. I'm always surprised at how much plumbers charge for power flushing. Firms that do it own their own machine so don't pay anything like £60 for each use either.
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