As a landlord, you may be looking at a number of expenses to keep your property in good condition and liveable for your tenants. One of the last things you may be considering is replacing the boiler, especially because of the general expense associated with it. Replacing a boiler in the UK can cost anywhere between £700 and £2,300. Installing an entire full heating system can cost quite a bit more.
However, it’s incredibly important to keep the boiler in good working condition. After all, there are plenty of laws that protect tenants and make sure they have adequate heat during the winter.
At the same time, landlords are not generally paying for the energy bills associated with heating a home that a tenant leases. In other words, landlords don’t have any direct connection to the energy expenses to generate heat in the home they own. Therefore, they may not have a true understanding about the difficulties their tenants may be having to keep the heat on and cover their bills throughout the year.
The government has developed a program called the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) that was instituted in 2013. This program helps to cover the full cost and installation work of replacing the boiler.
How would a landlord qualify?
One of the first questions that many landlords have when it comes to any type of funding scheme is whether or not they would even qualify for it. These programs are designed to help homeowners who have limited income.
Tenants who are dealing with increasing expenses every year just to keep the heat on in their house may be limited with regard to their options. They may understand that insulation is poor in the house, the boiler is old and inefficient, yet the landlord may not be willing to invest properly in a new boiler or insulation. However, private tenants can get permission from their landlord to apply for one of these grants, especially if they will readily qualify for it.
The criteria that needs to be met.
As a landlord, it would be highly unlikely that your income would meet the specific threshold set forth by the kept Energy Companies Obligation. This income threshold at the moment is £16,010. The entire household at the property needs to be earning less than that threshold amount to qualify. They may also need to meet certain other criteria. Those who are receiving pension credits may also qualify if they meet those other criteria.
On top of that, the boiler needs to be at least five years old or older in order to take advantage of this particular government funding scheme. Perhaps the boiler on your property is 15 or 20 years old and is constantly breaking down. Maybe the energy supplier or maintenance technician has told you it needs to be replaced, but you have limited funds to do anything about it.
If your tenant meets some of those criteria, that boiler will certainly meet the criteria as well.
Another stipulation that needs to be met when it comes to free boilers for landlords is the house needs to be connected to natural mains gas. If the boiler is operating at under 86% efficiency, it may also qualify to be replaced for free if other criteria are met. The existing boiler may also qualify if it is rated from C to G, and you may need to contact the manufacturer or your energy supplier to determine if your particular model has that type of rating.
In order to determine the efficiency of your boiler, you can check out the PCDB database to find out. You’ll need to know the make and model of that particular boiler to determine its efficiency rating.
Finally, even if your existing boiler is rated A or B, it may qualify for this program for new boilers for landlords if it is not producing heat or hot water, the pilot light continues to go out, it’s making noises, losing pressure, or has other major mechanical failures.
What if you don’t qualify?
As a landlord, even if you don’t qualify for this particular funding scheme to get a free boiler, it’s a good idea to look at this as a home improvement project. Not only will it benefit your tenants, it can also improve the efficiency of your property, thus reducing carbon emissions and your carbon footprint.
The most important thing is the safety of tenants. If tenants don’t have a proper functioning boiler or one that is operating efficiently, it can place them at risk, especially during those cold months. Take advantage of the Energy Companies Obligation funding scheme made available through the government.