Even though some try, landlords can’t do whatever they want!
Providing you with heating and hot water is a responsibility enshrined in law. If your landlord won’t fix the heating in your home, it’s a big problem – and you shouldn’t have to put up with it!
Getting your landlord to step up and take responsibility shouldn’t be difficult. But unfortunately, some bad landlords will do anything to get away with everything!
In this expert renting guide, we’ll answer all your questions on heating, boilers, hot water, and radiators and explain what you can do if your landlord won’t fix the heating in your home.
Is it a Legal Requirement for Landlords to Provide Heating?
Yes, landlords must ensure you, as the tenant, have access to heating and hot water by law.
More specifically, they have to provide you with a minimum of:
- Access to a radiator/electric heater in every occupied room
- A radiator/electric heater in bedrooms that can heat the room to a minimum of 18°C
- A radiator/electric heater in living rooms that can heat the room to a minimum of 21°C
It is considered illegal for your landlord to rent a property without heating.
If a problem occurs with your heating or hot water, your landlord is always responsible for fixing this. They must pay for the repair work unless there’s evidence that you caused damage to the heating, which could lead to you losing some of your rent deposit.
Landlords don’t have to pay your heating bills for you, but they may do if you pay for all-inclusive rent. With these types of rented properties, you’ll still pay for your heating, but you’ll just pay it to your landlord instead of directly to the energy company.
Related article: How Lifetime Deposits can help moving renters
How Long Can Your Landlord Leave You Without Heating?
Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact timeframe for how long landlords can leave you without heating.
However, the law is very clear that problems with your boiler, heating or hot water are considered emergencies in a rented property.
Therefore, they should fix heating issues in a “reasonable” amount of time. Generally, this is considered to be no longer than two days.
Under The Landlord and Tenants Act 1985, rented properties without heating, hot water, gas or electricity are considered hazardous and inhospitable to live in.
Therefore, your landlord should not leave you without access to these things for a long time. If your landlord doesn’t fix the heating, you can take further action despite you asking them.
Related article: My landlord is ghosting me; what should I do?
Is No Heating or Hot Water an Emergency?
In simple terms, yes, no heating or hot water in a rented property is considered an emergency.
You should contact your landlord, letting agent or the named person in your lease (for example, if your landlord has given you a number to contact when you need emergency repairs) to report the issue immediately.
There are some instances where no hot water or heating is not an emergency for you. For example, if it’s summer or you are going on holiday and won’t be using the heating and hot water for a couple of weeks.
However, it’s still considered an emergency by repair standards. Therefore, even in these instances where it isn’t an emergency for you, your landlord should still arrange to fix the heating in a reasonable amount of time.
Related article: What SHOULD & SHOULDN’T happen during landlord visits
Does My Landlord Have to Fix the Heating?
Yes, your landlord must fix the heating or hot water and pay for it if a problem occurs. They should also redecorate after the problem is fixed if needed.
If your tenancy agreement says you are responsible for heating and hot water repair, this could be a bogus clause that your landlord was not allowed to include and cannot enforce on you.
Your landlord must fix the heating within a reasonable period of time, which is usually considered to be a couple of days.
Even though a time period for fixing the heating isn’t defined by law, if your landlord takes too long and you take further action against them, you could be entitled to compensation.
The only reason your landlord won’t fix heat or may ask you to pay for the fix, is if you caused the issue and there’s evidence to prove it. For example, you had a party and broke a radiator in a living room.
This should be very unlikely, as it isn’t easy to break radiators, the heating or hot water yourself. Usually, problems with heating occur on their own or because of neglect.
Since your landlord is responsible for ensuring the boiler is routinely checked for issues, and that routine maintenance is done, you should not be held responsible for neglecting the boiler.
Related article: 10+ Things landlords DON’T want tenants to know
My Landlord Won’t Fix Heat, What Can I Do?
The first thing to do when you notice a problem with your heating is to contact your landlord or whoever is stated in your lease as responsible.
If you have not already contacted your landlord to request they fix the issue, you should do so now. Sending them a text, email or letter is suitable. Shelter has a request for repairs letter template you can use to ask your landlord to carry out essential repairs.
If you’ve already made contact and your landlord won’t fix heat or is ignoring you, you don’t have to put up with it.
Here’s what you can do when your landlord doesn’t fix the heating.
1. Compile evidence
Before you proceed, gather evidence of the problem. As a minimum, consider whether you can/need to:
- Take photos of the problem and any damage it’s caused, including damage to your belongings
- Screenshot or save emails, texts or letters to and from your landlord
- Get a doctor’s note if the issues with heating are affecting your health and wellbeing
Make sure you continue to compile evidence as you proceed.
2. Write to your landlord again
If your landlord won’t fix the heating and is ignoring you, you should write to them formally, even if you’ve already asked them to fix the issue, to outline various things.
You can send them a letter or an email.
When you write to them, you should:
- Remind them that the repair work is their responsibility to fix
- Remind them about when you last contacted them, what you said and that you haven’t had a response
- Suggest dates they could visit to fix the problem
- Provide a deadline for when you’d like them to respond to you
- Notify them that you will be taking the complaint further if they do not fix the issue within a certain timeframe
If you’re unsure what to say, Shelter has an urgent repair reminder letter template you can use when your landlord doesn’t fix the heating. Simply amend the letter to suit your situation and send it to your landlord.
3. Complain to your letting agent
All letting agents should have an internal complaints procedure. If your landlord is ignoring you, or if your nominated letting agent is, you can make a formal complaint via their redress scheme.
Visit your letting agent’s website or check your lease to find details on how to complain about your letting agent.
4. Contact your local council
If your landlord or letting agent has still not fixed the issue, you can complain to your local council.
Every council has a private renting team who can help you if your landlord doesn’t fix the heating. They can get your landlord to do the repairs for you.
They can also arrange for an environmental health inspection to assess the impact of the problem on your health.
Before you complain to the council, you can send your landlord another written letter or email stating that you will be contacting the council.
Just be mindful that this could upset your landlord and spark a revenge eviction. You should only send this notice if you think it will encourage your landlord to do the repair work.
You can use Shelter’s intention to report repairs to the council letter template if you decide to notify your landlord before contacting the council.
When you know who your local council is, you can use Shelter’s request for repair help letter template to ask for their help. Or you can visit your council’s website to learn how best to get in touch.
5. Consider legal action
If your local council has not been able to assist and you’ve run out of other options, you can take your landlord to court.
When you take legal action and win the case, your landlord will have to carry out the repair work and may pay you compensation.
Just be wary that you may need to pay for help from a solicitor before taking legal action. Some firms offer a “no win, no fee” deal for certain issues, like when your landlord won’t fix the heating, which can be less risky.
Learn more about how to take your landlord to court for no repairs on Shelter’s website.
Are You Moving Soon?
You shouldn’t have to move home because your landlord isn’t doing repairs. But if you’re tired of your landlord’s shenanigans (or your home in general!) and want out, we have good news for moving renters.
You no longer need to save up for a deposit every time you move.
For the first time ever, if you already have a deposit protected in a deposit scheme, you can transfer it to your next property.
A Lifetime Deposit will help you keep hold of £1,200 on average, which we think is pretty neat.
We are on a mission to help more people move, so if you are moving soon, don’t forget your Lifetime Deposit!