This is the time of year that most landlords love to hate. You are in the hiatus between student tenants, and preparing for the new intake. Although this is a period of no rental income and many outgoings, you cannot underestimate the importance of undertaking work to make sure your heating and plumbing are up to scratch for the new academic year.

What the law says

If you are the landlord over a student house or a house with multiple occupancies (HMO), you are likely aware of your legal obligations. Here we offer a summary of some of the checks the law insists you undertake on your heating and plumbing.

Although the student may demand less of the property than standard tenants, you are still obliged to offer the necessary amenities such as heating. Therefore, all heating and plumbing should be working correctly.

You are also obliged by law to consider health and safety. Although this might refer to smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and other items of safety; it also requires the landlord to be secure in the knowledge that any electrical or gas appliance is safe. Therefore, all appliances, such as boilers will need to be tested before each new tenancy.

Beyond the law

It goes without saying that a landlord would want any tenant to be safe and to be comfortable in the property. Therefore, guaranteeing to heat and provide running water is likely to be the base requirement, rather than the standard you aspire too.

A well-maintained, regularly serviced plumbing and heating system will not only ensure the comfort of the tenant, reducing potential complaints, but also increase the efficiency of the house.

One of the most significant bills you will face from an HMO or student house is the energy bill. You are likely to have a high number of Gen Y and Z huddled together with their devices, and so electricity costs are already going to be high.

Add an inefficient heating system that forces the boiler to work twice as hard or a dripping hot tap that drains the tank, and the costs will increase even further.

Therefore, an effective heating and plumbing system not only serves to fulfil the requirements of the law – that your home is safe and functional – but also supports a healthier balance sheet and income.

What’s on the to-do list?

The gas appliance in a property must be checked yearly by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

You will be expected to keep a record of the visit, usually a Gas Safe certificate. Equally, all electrical equipment needs to be checked to see if it is safe. It is not a legal requirement for PAT tests to be undertaken in a HMO; however, it is good practice to hire a qualified professional to conduct this testing.

You should also do a visual check on the sinks, baths and toilets, on the pipes and wiring, as well as checking the radiators, hot water and boilers. This visual or onsite check should seek to identify any significant problems that will need repairs before the tenants move in.

At Paine Manwaring, we offer a range of plumber and electrician services for landlords. To find out more get in touch with a member of our team today.