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Under the skin of the letting market

Here we share news and views on both the local letting market in & around Oxfordshire and all planned and recent legislation.


What’s the hold up?


Boiler

When you discover that you have no hot water in your rental property, a couple of days’ wait can feel like a lifetime, especially if you have small children. Unfortunately, even immediate action can mean a delay in fixing the problem as our tenants recently found out.

At 9pm on a Wednesday night our tenants realised that their boiler was not supplying any hot water to the house. They checked the boiler and saw that the pressure had dropped down on the dial, which is a common problem. A boiler is, technically, an appliance and so – when it is possible – a tenant is expected to top up the pressure themselves. Unfortunately, in this case the filling loop was not attached to the boiler and so the tenant was not able to top it up.

At 9am on the Thursday morning the Property Manager visited the property to see if he was able to sort out the problem himself. When he found that it was impossible to easily fix the pressure, he arranged for a plumber to visit that afternoon. The plumber reported back that boiler was broken and diagnostic tests showed which part was at fault. He sought technical advice from the manufacturer and found out that the faulty part was obsolete, meaning that the only option was to replace the boiler.

Acting as agent for a landlord, we can only approve jobs below a certain ‘agreed spend’ limit without having to seek instruction from the client. A boiler replacement is clearly a large job, and so our Property Manager contacted the landlord, who lives abroad, to discuss the various options. Late on Thursday afternoon, the landlord had not been in touch and so the Property Manager made the decision to get the estimates done as the boiler had to be replaced.

At 9.45pm that night, the engineer sent estimates to either do a straight swap or to replace the boiler and add an unvented system (which supplies hot water even if the boiler breaks down). He advised that the latter would be the best option for a family-sized house, including a table of pros and cons.

 

Combination boiler
Boiler & Cylinder
Existing boiler
Sedbuk 98% efficiency?

 

X

Stored hot water, with emergency backup immersion?

x

X

Continual pressure at hot water taps?

x

No shower pump required?

 

Space saver?

 

x

X

Filter protection required?

 

Our Property Manager arrived in on Friday morning find the email from the engineer and a voice mail message from the landlord confirming that he agreed with the course of action and wanted to see the estimates. The quotes, advice and table of pros and cons were all emailed to the landlord that morning and by the afternoon the landlord had given verbal approval and then signed the estimate.

The plumber attended the property on Monday at 9.30am to install the hot water tank (as these parts had arrived first) and this meant that the tenants had hot water, even though the boiler was not yet replaced.

It is an unfortunate truth that even if your Property Manager is following the right steps as quickly as he can, these repairs can sometimes take time.