Landlords and Tenants
Landlords and tenants responsibilities can be a bit confusing. In a large number of legal publications, the word ‘chimney’ and ‘sweeping’ isn’t actually used – instead, they talk about ‘room heating systems’, ‘heating installations’, ‘appliances’ etc. However, anything that burns fuel gives off poisonous gases – be that an open fire, a solid fuel stove, a woodburner, or a gas heating system – and so it is often assumed that the maintenance of solid fuel (fire) appliances and chimneys (flues) which expel dangerous gases is the Landlord’s responsibility in the same way a gas system would be. This will include:
- Ensuring the fire appliance (stove) is fit for purpose and is well maintained
- Ensuring the flue is clear and unobstructed to carry poisonous gases away.
- Ensuring the property has an adequate ventilation system appropriate to the stove.
- Ensuring the appropriate smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted.
These may all be achieved by asking us to undertake an expert and professional Chimney Sweep and Stove Service
A Landlord does have onerous responsibilities – however, a Landlord also has a vast amount of money tied up in their rented property and whilst the tenants can (hopefully) walk away from a chimney/house fire – a Landlord may be in the position of watching their careful investment literally going up in smoke as a result of a chimney fire, and worse, maybe prosecuted in a criminal case of negligence for failing to discharge their duty of care to their tenants and face imprisonment.
And, of course, an appalling state of affairs would be if a tenant and their family and pets were to succumb to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, which as we all know is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas which at best makes you extremely poorly and at worst is fatal in a spectacularly short space of time. Maintaining the flue and stove and taking advice from us would go a long way towards ensuring this doesn’t happen.
In the real world, tenants do not always look after a rental property and the fixtures and fittings as a homeowner might, and will often burn incorrect fuel or even household waste. This can mean flues become blocked more easily and increase the likelihood of a chimney fire and/or a carbon monoxide leaks.
This likelihood can be at least mitigated by the educating of the tenants in the correct use of their stove and regular chimney or flue sweeping.
Potentially, if a Landlord does try and insist the tenant takes on the responsibility for sweeping the flue and maintaining the stove, chances are the sweep engaged to do the job will be the cheapest sweep possible and may not have the necessary qualifications or expertise that would give a homeowner peace of mind.
It is also always worth a Landlord checking their insurance policies – A number of insurers will require proof that chimneys and flues have been regularly swept and adequately maintained – Failure to do so could mean the insurance would be invalid in the event of a chimney fire.
Having said all of that, a tenant does have some level of responsibility to:
- Help look after a fire appliance/stove if they are using it
- Use a solid fuel heating appliance in line with the manufacturer’s instructions (provided by the Landlord)
- Use only appropriate fuels for the fire/stove/appliance
- To inform the Landlord as and when defects arise
- To ensure smoke/carbon monoxide alarms are tested regularly and where necessary batteries replaced.
- To ensure the Landlord or Letting Agent has the chimney swept and stove serviced on an at least yearly basis for their own safety.
Contact us on 01989 218328 or 01453 753485 to talk through both landlords and tenants responsibilities or get in touch.