Landlords should make sure their rental home can be well heated and ventilated. Tenants are responsible for ventilating the home during their tenancy.
Heating your rental home
Landlords must provide a form of heating in any living room under the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947. Some councils may provide information on approved forms of heating. If they don't, the Tenancy Tribunal may consider an inexpensive plug in heater (or similar) to be enough.
The standards currently being developed under the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act will provide more clarity on this.
The home should also have plenty of power points for tenants to plug in their own heaters. Landlords may choose to ban some types of heaters, eg unflued gas heaters. These heaters release moisture and pollutants into the indoor air. You can add this into the tenancy agreement.
Keeping the home ventilated
Good ventilation reduces the amount of moisture in your home. This helps keep tenants healthy and also makes the home easier to heat.
If you’re a landlord, think about how the tenant can ventilate the house while keeping it secure. You might want to think about:
- window stays
- extractor fans that vent to the outside in the kitchen and bathroom
- a dryer that vents to the outside
- a central ventilation system that sources air from the outside
Tenants should also open doors and windows regularly to let fresh air in, even in winter.
It also helps to open windows when cooking or showering, to get rid of excess moisture in your rental home. Keeping the bathroom door closed during and after showering can help prevent steam from spreading further.
Poor heating and ventilation can lead to mould growth and dampness.
Maintaining heaters and ventilation systems
Landlords are responsible for maintaining any heaters and ventilation systems. If there’s a usable fireplace, the chimney needs to be safe and regularly cleaned. This may also be required for your insurance. If a fireplace is not usable, it’s best to block it off. This makes sure no one uses it, and helps stop draughts.
Benefits for tenants and landlords
When a home is warm and dry, tenants are less likely to suffer health problems caused by cold and damp. This includes respiratory illnesses like asthma and more serious diseases like rheumatic fever.
Avoidable illnesses can result in unplanned medical bills and time off work. These extra costs can increase the risk of missed rent payments. Tenants are also likely to stay longer if their home is warm and cheap to heat.
A well-insulated home that has energy-efficient heating and appliances is easier to market and can attract a higher rent.
EECA Energywise’s buying and renting checklist(external link) can help show you how warm and comfortable the home is.