Making landlords aware of their responsibilities when it comes to the temperature of their properties…
Time to take the temperature...
AT this time of year, we’re more used to warnings about keeping flats and houses warm enough to ward off the cold. But did you know that flats that are overly heated cause just as much damage, putting occupants at risk of dehydration and heart problems. While determining a comfortable, livable room temperature is up to the tenant, landlords do have a legal responsibility to keep the supply of heating, gas, electricity and water in working order. As The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill comes closer to being passed into law, the focus on landlords’ responsibilities in this area is only going to increase.
By focusing on the following, landlords should be able to ensure they’re fulfilling their obligations to their tenants and keeping their properties safe:
Know the ideal temperature
A healthy indoor temperature is usually defined as 21C. This mimics the average summer temperature across the south of the country and is recognised as a level that keeps people warm without experience the comfort of overheating.
Make sure your boiler and heating systems are checked regularly
Having your boiler checked at least once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer will not only guarantee that you’re fulfilling your legal obligations when it comes to boiler safety, it could also extend the lifetime of your boiler and reduce bills.
Regularly upgrade and replace where necessary
While it can be a headache if landlords feel that they’re constantly replacing white goods and heating systems, it’s worth advising them to err on the side of caution and replace systems as and when they start to date. Not only will it prevent excess heat or cold issues in the house, new appliances could help them secure a better rental rate.
Take steps to prevent unnecessary drafts
Small steps like filling in any gaps in floorboards, capping chimneys, covering the bottom of doors and re-caulking windows and doors will reduce any drafts that could be reducing the temperature in a home.
Educate your tenants
And finally, one of the most important things to do when it comes to protecting your tenants (and your property) is to educate them. Consider including details about ambient temperatures in your tenant welcome pack and make sure they know how the thermostat and heating system works. It’s also vital that you impress upon them the need to report any heating or cooling issues as soon as possible. The quicker landlords are notified of a problem, the simpler it usually is to solve them – so make sure that when it comes to communication, tenants aren’t leaving you out in the cold.
For further details about excess heat or cold – and what else is due to be included in the The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill, why not download our FREE HHSRS checklist here.