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Should I take out boiler breakdown cover for my rental property?

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boiler breakdown cover


It might still feel like summer, but autumn will soon be here with tenants everywhere ramping up their central heating. For landlords, having boiler breakdown cover is certainly good for peace of mind. It’s reassuring to know that you just need to pick up the phone to summon an engineer, should your tenants report a problem with their heating and hot water. But is breakdown cover really an essential?

In the past, many commentators didn’t recommend it, suggesting instead that you have a list of reliable plumbers and heating engineers to hand should there be an emergency. However, with competition in the market and good value policies, opinions are changing. Modern combi boilers can also be highly technical and difficult to fix by a regular high street plumber.

The first thing to bear in mind about breakdown cover is that it is essentially an insurance policy. Like other products of this nature, it is important to shop around for the best deal and to be prepared to switch provider each year.

It isn’t always advisable to go for the cheapest, but to look carefully at the cover provided. Some policies with very low premiums come with a call-out excess of £100 and don’t include an annual service, which is advisable in a rental property.

Also beware that some policies place a limit of £500 on the repairs that are covered. They also tend to have clauses, which don’t cover you for problems caused by the build-up of sludge in your radiators – a common problem.

If you have recently replaced the boiler in the property, you probably don’t need cover. Most new combi boilers come with good warrantees – some of seven to 10 years. The only requirement is that you have the boiler serviced annually.

For older boilers, and if you don’t know a good plumber who’ll come out at short notice, plans can be a good idea. Look for one that includes servicing and has a minimal excess. If you decide to pay monthly, keep an eye on rising costs. Some loyal customers have reported paying more than £800 a year for their policies – amounts which could have bought them a brand-new boiler.

Another alternative is to look at replacing the boiler in your rental home. As well as bringing with it a good warrantee, a new combi boiler will be more efficient than your existing one, meaning a warmer home and cheaper bills for your tenants – and a better-rated energy performance certificate, when you come to re-let the place.

Read more about this story in The Guardian.

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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