Image: Ulrich Dregler from Pixabay

Landlords are legally responsible for providing student tenants with habitable accommodation. Included in the terms of a tenancy agreement is that the property has hot running water and an adequate heating system. 

Subsequently, landlords are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the boiler. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also recommends landlords should perform an annual Gas Safety check

Whist legal responsibilities and obligations may feel dictatorial, boiler repairs and maintenance checks can work to your advantage. Modern and efficient boilers that are kept in good health last longer and suffer fewer problems. 

When you consider the average cost of a boiler repair is £314, you don’t want to run the risk of a faulty boiler running into problems two or three times a year.

It’s therefore in your best interests to encourage your student tenants to engage in basic boiler maintenance checks. Student tenants should also be instructed about what to do in the event of an emergency. 

Basic Boiler Maintenance 

Students should be encouraged to periodically check on the boiler and listen out to unusual activities. Gurgling sounds, wheezing, low gauge pressure and cold radiators are all tell-tale signs that a problem is on the horizon. 

In the event of leaks or no hot water (when the boiler is switched on), the best cause of action is for them to call you or an emergency boiler service.

Bleed Radiators

Central heating systems can collect air even when they are not in use. It’s good practice to bleed the radiators at the beginning and the end of summer. The prevents air from restricting the flow of heated water. 

Present your student tenants with a radiator key when they move in. You should also provide them with a bowl and towels to lay down to catch escaping water. 

Make sure your student tenants know that when water starts spluttering out they should close the valve.

Re-Pressurise the Boiler 

It’s not unusual for the pressure to drop as a boiler ages. This normally happens from time to time anyway. However, if you notice the pressure drops regularly, there could be a potential leak somewhere in the system. 

Boiler pressure should ordinarily sit around 1 on the gauge. If it drops below 1, the boiler needs to be re-pressurised. You should find the instructions for how to re-pressurise your boiler in the manual. Alternatively, give them a quick lesson when they move in.

Boiler Emergencies

If your student tenants report an issue that falls outside the points described above, the best cause of action is to call in a certified Gas Safe engineer.

Seeking professional help and repairing the problem early will prevent irreparable or expensive damage from being caused. Don’t wait for a problem to get worse before it is fixed. 

Student tenants should also know how to switch off the gas, electricity and water at the mains. In the event of an emergency, this will prevent a potential disaster.