Long question, jump to the end for a TL:DR.

I rent a house, I'm the only occupant. My Gas boiler was given a gas safety certificate by an engineer who warned me that the boiler was extremely borderline, and that if it was not for the fact I had just moved in, he would have condemned the boiler.

Skip forward six months, I've been in the house, turning the boiler on and off (gas) when I wanted to heat a tank of water, and generally not burning it for more than 30 minutes.

It's coming into winter, and now the house needs heating, so I got concerned about my safety and called out an engineer (my own money) to inspect the boiler as a independent third party. He promptly shut off my gas, cut the pipe leading to the boiler, capped off the pipes and gave me a certificate condemning the boiler.

No problem there.

I let the estate agent know (private rental through an agency). And they told me to use the electric heater in the tank while repairs were conducted. I checked, there was an electric element in the tank, but it was not wired into the house electrics. So they had to call out an electrician.

Still not a problem.

Contacted the agency to thank them for getting the water temporarily fixed, obviously heating on electric is going to cost me more, so I wanted an estimate of how long the boiler would take to get fixed up.

I was then instructed by the estate agent that the boiler would not be repaired, and that I was to use electric from now on.

It's coming into winter as I already said, so now I'm expecting this is going to cost me 15~20Kw a day (calculated this from tank size, and thumbing it, so there's definitely some give in those numbers), it's about 3* the price of using Gas to heat the house and heat the water, and if I the electric was on a timer like the Gas was, then I could probably have pulled this down to 6Kw a day. (It does have a thermostat in the tank that stops it boiling, so it just maintains a constant temperature (not sure what temperature exactly)), Over a month under the new system it's going to cost me about £101.29(per/month), where before when it was gas it would have cost me (with the timer and all other benefits) about £9.42(per/month)

The electric coil they hooked up also does not have a timer, it's a switch that's either on or off, so it's going to be running 24 hours a day, instead of being on a timer that only runs when I'm expecting to be at home.


I've emailed the agent to say it's not a good solution and that I expected the landlord would cover the difference in cost.

My message: Please also let the landlord know that because the house is now on Electric supply for hot water, and the cost of this is significantly higher than the equivalent Gas system, I will calculate the difference and he will need to cover that.

Agents message: Not a problem at all. With regards to the boiler being fixed, the landlord is not going to replace it so therefore, as you have suggested please calculate the difference, which we will then pass onto your landlord.

Can I reasonable hold their message as a guarantee that the extra costs will be covered by them/landlord?

(The agent is referred to in the contract as attached in image, but does not say anything about having the authority of the landlord to agree things) enter image description here

Alternately (And I've been searching, but can't find a good reference to this anywhere) since the house has been changed from Gas to Electric for Hot Water, is this considered a substantial change in the dwelling? Since there was no electric water before, and the house was "Gas Only" for hot water... (You probably get where I'm going with that)

(Reference numbers) enter image description here

  • 1
    Note that tank immersion heaters typically have a thermostat built into them, otherwise there's a risk that they'd eventually boil the water. In other words, the heater may not actually be running all day. (Not a big help, but I thought it was worth mentioning!) – Steve Melnikoff Oct 4 '18 at 19:22
  • Yea you're right I didn't realise I missed putting that in my question (will fix). Thank You :) – TolMera Oct 4 '18 at 19:36
  • You might want to hide the Agent's contact details; they aren't germane to the question. – Brian Drummond Jan 12 at 21:13
  • Also, not from the legal side, but the Agent may be amenable to having the electrician fit a timer to the heater circuit ... especially if there's a question about who's paying the extra power. – Brian Drummond Jan 12 at 21:17

In saying "Not a problem at all", you cannot infer that the agent is committing the landlord to covering the difference in cost. That sentence is standard verbal fluff equivalent to "it's no bother, I'll pass the message on to the landlord". You requested him to inform the landlord of the expected higher cost, and that you hoped he would cover the difference. He then says "please calculate the difference, which we will then pass onto your landlord", so he is agreeing to pass the information on. This is not a commitment by anyone to do what you want.

Of course, the lease might specifically commit them to providing a gas-fired boiler. If so, you should expect that they will cover the difference in cost for the duration of the lease (and the lease may change after the current period).

  • Interesting thanks, I'll have to check if the contract says anything about speciffically having a gas boiler. Leaving the question open a while longer to see if I get any other feedback. Thank you – TolMera Oct 4 '18 at 19:16

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