HHSRS , fair rents tenant , no heating

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    HHSRS , fair rents tenant , no heating

    My first post and hope you can help.
    Rental bungalow with a “fair rents” tenant since 1960s
    Property let with no central heating as shown on the fair rents agreement
    Tenants husband who passed away years ago fitted Baxi which runs on coal to run radiators.
    Surviving wife now in her 90s can no longer carry coal in.
    Care workers etc are now involved and it’s snowballed.
    Council have now written to me saying energy performance inspection they did says rating is F when minimum needed is E.
    Council say category 1 hazard under excess cold, through lack of heating & loft insulation.

    Ive said the tenancy agreement is no central heating but they say apparently this is not relevant . Even though the Baxi works fine is just because of tenants age she can’t use the heating system they installed.

    Next letter just arrived from council “informal agreement”
    somehow it says I’ve agreed to put a gas central heating system in the property. If I don’t they will undertake a HHSRS , if a band A-D hazard is identified they will take enforcement action .

    I was hoping I could just sort out roof insulation and get my energy performance up to an E and be ok , but I didn’t know about the HHSRS bit. There’s gas in the road but not to the property , and when the property becomes empty it will be gutted and renovated as it’s very 1960s but it appears I’m being forced to do it now because my tenant has become old and can’t use the heating system they installed years ago.

    thanks for any help .

    You have to provide heating, not GAS heating

    You could install electric panel heaters with thermostat control (through a contactor in the DB), this will give the tenant control of heating through a time clock and thermostat (exactly the same as gas CH) at a fraction of the cost.

    You have a duty to provide heating- you have no requirement to provide gas heating.


      I had a similar situation with a regulated tenant on a full repairing tenancy - the problem was it had electric heating but she couldn't afford to run it! Fortunately she left before this became an issue.

      Unfortunately the change in regulation over the years has now put you in a difficult situation. You are not exempt the EPC regulations even though your tenant may be responsible for much of the repair and you are liable under HHSRS regs for ensuring the house is habitable.

      As I see it you have two options:

      1. Put in gas central heating - this will save you a job when you renovate in the future & it will cost less you than in a few years! You can do it with the tenant in situ which potentially saves you a void in the future. It will sort out the EPC & the hazard in one fell swoop.

      2. Put is some electrical heating: this is less invasive than putting in central heating but it may not get you out of the woods EPC wise - the regs don't like electric heating; you can set it up like a wet system with a thermostat controlling all the radiators or have them individually controlled. However a properly installed decent system may not be hugely cheaper than the gas solution.

      3. Investigate an air / ground source heat pump

      4. Try to botch it with a few electric heaters

      Either way do the loft insulation - cheap and will not be affected when you renovate.

      Personally I would put a complete central heating system in and whether you choose gas or electric will depend on factors like cost / accessibility of gas / invasiveness of fitting but put in a system you will want to keep for the future - I think you will be pleased you did it further down the line - and it will allow you to sleep at night knowing your tenant won't die of hypothermia! Then apply for an increase in rent (you can apply for a rent increase because you have improved the property and this can be done outside the normal timeframes & percentages on a regulated tenancy).

      Good luck


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