Who pays for the boiler replacement if operated incorrectly?

by Readers Question

10:49 AM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Who pays for the boiler replacement if operated incorrectly?

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Who pays for the boiler replacement if operated incorrectly?

I have recently replaced a boiler in my rented property, I have a letter from the plumber that states that the boiler has been operated incorrectly and run without having the pressure topped up, even though the plumber went through all of the process with the tenants. who pays

Who will be liable for the cost of the repairs if the tenant has been negligent?

Thanks for your help.
Paul



Comments

Neil Patterson

10:55 AM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Hi Paul,

I had to google this as I have never had a boiler where this is an issue. See below:

I don't know if this falls under maintenance or operation, but I don't think tenants will be used to it either. I think it would be hard to prove malicious damage and force the tenant to pay.

"If your central heating is not working, it could be down to a loss of water pressure. The water pressure indicator on the front of your boiler should read between one and two bars of atmospheric pressure. If it is below one, then your boiler pressure is too low.

To top up your system and increase the pressure, you will need to locate your filling loop. This is usually a silver/grey coloured, flexible hose with a small valve at each end, and you’ll find it either underneath your boiler or nearby:

Make sure the boiler is switched off and the system is cool.

The hose will have a valve at both ends – make sure both ends of the hose are securely attached to both valves.

The valves can be opened either by tap handles, or by using a flat headed screwdriver.

Open both valves to allow the cold mains water into the system.

You should hear water filling the system.

Keep an eye on the pressure gauge until it reaches 1.5bar, then close of both valves, one after the other.

Once the pressure is at the required level, switch the boiler back on and (if required) reset the boiler."

Paul Mullally

11:56 AM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "06/02/2017 - 10:55":

The only reason a sealed system will lose water is if there's a leak somewhere. In this instance, I'd unfortunately say that is a maintenance issue and not something you can blame the tenant with. It would be a hard one to win even if you tried.

Generally speaking, most modern boilers will go into fault if there isn't sufficient water pressure to run. My wife tends to call these "needy boilers" and I know, we've had two of them (boilers that is, not wives). I'm definitely steering away for the "boiler" and "wife" possible connection 😉

Mark Evans

11:59 AM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

I would say it depends on what you have in your contract in terms of expected Tenant obligations. Then of course you have to prove they have been negligent, which I doubt you will be able to do. They could argue that the pressure shouldn't reduce significantly over time without a regular landlord/agent visit identifying the low pressure. They'd probably argue that it was improperly installed if the pressure is reducing significantly.

In short, if you expect to legally recover costs, make sure you can prove they are at fault. Maybe obtain an engineers report and show how it contravenes the relevant clause in their AST, and offer a 50% contribution as a goodwill gesture.

Mark

CazT

13:03 PM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Had an identical problem with a boiler put in by my then plumber. After loads of tenant complaints and much cost I sold the property. Perhaps not the best way to deal with it but I'm pretty sure it's down to the landlord to ensure the boiler is doing its job properly.

Rob Crawford

13:07 PM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Sorry but I don't get this. Insufficient water pressure will automatically shut down the boiler. This is a safety feature. All you need to do is restore the water pressure. This is as described by Neil. Alternatively if there have been external works and water has been cut off this will cause the same issue. There must be another reason for the boiler to fail to an extent that it needs replacing.

CazT

13:25 PM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rob Crawford" at "06/02/2017 - 13:07":

On further thought, Rob is absolutely correct as ours switched off at the most awkward times. We showed every tenant how to deal with it but most couldn't or wouldn't be bothered and rang us every time. Got to be a bit too much in the end.

steve gilbert

14:01 PM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

As an ex plumber and current landlord I can tell you that you are liable.
A boiler can lose pressure for a number of reasons not just a visible leak, evaporation through automatic valve, depressurisation of expansion cylinder etc. Also I have not come across a system that does not lose pressure slowly over time, has anyone ever had a system where the radiators have never needed bleeding? In fact most sealed systems leak a bit , usually at nut unions on rad valves. You will never see the leak a it is so minor the water just evaporates away.
It is unwarranted to expect the tenant to top up the pressure I have only ever had one tenant who did this ok but 3 tenants who over pressurised or left filling loop slightly open and buggerred the pressure release valve or worse. I usually check pressures at time of gas safety inspection, your plumber wont mind doing this for no extra charge as it's easy.
Lastly I fail to see how running a low pressurised system can damage a boiler, it is impossible at worst it will just cut out at 0.5 bar. I can bore you with why but trust me something is awry with your plumber if he believes it can. If you have to constantly top up a system, due to an obvious leak this can damage the heat exchanger. The reason being that you are constantly introducing aerated water into he system and causing corrosion.
I recommend you don't encourage your tenants to top up systems ( in fact I remove filling loop and cap off filling valve) as this invites problems. I also suggest you get a heating engineer who knows what he is talking about. I am not denying your boiler may have a problem but I can assure you it is not because of low pressure

Colin Brammeld

14:07 PM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Would a tenant be negligent if they caused the leak that reduced the boiler pressure eg hoover repeatedly hitting radiator pipe, tenant sitting on radiator and pulling off wall, radiator hit while moving furniture around etc etc
Tenant then leaves filling loop attached and both valves open. Boiler pressure increases and then blows out expansion valve - eventually boiler stops working. Couple hundred pounds to fix. Tenant thinks wet patch on carpet is there because they spilt their cup of tea, not from radiator (real tenant answer)

Not malicious, just stupid but are they negligent? Perhaps the tenants don't have the cognitive ability to operate a modern gas boiler correctly. Many home owners don't bother to read the instructions fully but a home owner would have to pay for repairs.
If tenant has caused the issue then its not a landlord maintenance issue. Even Shelter says a landlord does not have to repair damage caused by the tenant.

Colin

steve gilbert

14:16 PM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

In my opinion it would be very unusual for the tenant to be liable unless it was malicious damage. If you leave a filling loop at a property then it is not unreasonable that they use it, leaving it slightly open is an easy mistake, plumbers are always seeing this at private homes. If a radiator has come off the wall it is most likely it was not fitted properly in first place. Pipes are always getting banged by a hoover and as long as copper with no plastic or compression joints under the boards where the tails pop up, they are fine. Although I'm not advocating it one should be able to stand on a rad with no probs. Negligence would be so hard to prove by renting they would expect a working heating system without having to understand how to maintain it, that's your job. I take the approach that if anything in house stops working I or somebody will come out and fix it. If the tenant is contributing to the problem I will explain it to them, if they still persist in contributing to damaging something then they are not a tenant that you should want to hang onto

Paul Green

16:47 PM, 6th February 2017
About 2 years ago

Your find an expansion vessel on a conventional boiler, the have a diaphragm inside them and occasionally need pumping up, like a car tyre. There can be red or silver/ grey. This can cause the boiler to lose and show loss of water pressure too...I use British gas one off repair boiler cover. You call them up they fix it for a fixed price depending on location and time spent all parts and warranty included. This is a landlords issue, you can't damage a boliler just because the water pressure fell, the system simple shuts down....

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