Tenants say heating using far too much gas - what could it be?

(24 Posts)
jackstini Sun 20-Jan-13 14:54:55

Bit of background - have had 3 different plumbers visit in the past 5 months as tenants are saying house is too cold.

All plumbers have said boiler is fine.
5 months ago when our own hot water tank went, we even asked one plumber if it was worth swapping the boiler from our house (4 bed detached)
into the rental one (2 bed terraced) and he said, actually - the one in there is better.

All plumbers thought there was sludge in the system as raditors were cold at bottom/warm at top so I replaced all 7 raditors in the property last month, added thermostat valves and paid for a power flush too.

Tenants say is still costing them £100 a week in gas and they can't afford it.
They say they have no debt on the meter and nothing is wrong with it.

They also keep saying next door have a combi boiler and pay £30 a week so they want one too, but I can't spend that amount of money with no plumber saying I need to!

Any ideas?

why would you replace the rads? Surely bleed/flush was all that was needed?

If they are using £100 of heating a week, they either have hot water/heating on constant or your house isnt insulated very well.

Dont know what they want you to do though. hmm

jackstini Sun 20-Jan-13 15:01:04

He is out of work at the moment and says he has to have heating on all the time as if they turn it off it takes ages to get warm again. (Not my issue though if he wants it on all day!)

It is an end terrace, no cavity wall as 100 years old and got solid walls.
All loft insulation redone in October.

I did all rads as one was leaking and the difference between a power flush and having them all changed was only £300 - they were all old single ones so I decided to bite the bullet on that one

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 20-Jan-13 15:01:57

I'd ask to see the bills. Sounds like they want you to put in a new boiler, which will cost you thousands. Is it a care meter? If so, they could be paying a debt off for a previous tenant. As Jax says, look into insulating. Is there any in the loft? Putting foil down the back of the radiators will make the rooms warmer as well so tell them to do that. You're not responsible for their bills though, you've already gone above and beyond your obligations.

Tell them to move out
You have done all you can do. If the boiler has been checked and is working and they have new rads I dot know what they expect

Ask to see copies of their bills / meter top ups

janek Sun 20-Jan-13 15:06:23

Gas is REALLY expensive. Having our heating on for an hour uses 1 cubic metre of gas, which costs 56p. Only actually i think it uses i bit more than one cubic metre per hour.

They must have it on day and night though.

specialsubject Sun 20-Jan-13 15:06:40

Tell him to go out - down the library to learn something, to the job centre, to do some volunteer work. All free and heated.

if he keeps the heating on tropical all day it will cost that much.

they rented the place with the boiler that is there, you have clearly done the needed maintenance and beyond.

the answer is 'no'. If they wish to give notice and leave, they can.

jackstini Sun 20-Jan-13 15:10:47

Glad it is not just me thinking I am not doing anything wrong! Could have ended up with lots of YABU in the wrong topic...

I have said they can give notice if they want.

Lady Mary - yes, they have categorically said they want a combi boiler putting in - & I have categorically said no! Good idea about foil behind radiators - will tell them that one.

You have provided adequate heating facilities for the property and presumably they had an opportunity to see the energy performance certificate before they rented the property (though doubt they looked at it - most tenants don't - I didn't!). Your obligation as a landlord stops there.

If they are using the heating ALL day then yes it is going to cost a lot. I have a 2 bed house (but quite well insulated as fairly modern). I am home most days with a toddler but I dont have the heating on full time (morning and evening). We go out to the library (very warm!). But that's by-the-by as how he chooses to rack up the bills is his issue.

Even on a prepayment meter the tenant still needs to call the supplier at the start of the tenancy to register the account in their name so that they are not being charged for any debts left by a previous occupier. The utility company will reset the meter if needs be (this happens through the payment card - no need for supplier to come out).

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 20-Jan-13 15:26:24

Stick to your guns! I lived in my last house for 9 years. It was built in the 1980s and that's how old the boiler was. I just had to suck it up and pay the bills. I would have loved a new boiler but the landlady would rather pay out to have it repaired every few months, it was her choice. If they know it eats money then they should budget better, their supplier should offer help if they are on a low income. I found the tin foil helpful and I bought an electric heater and would only heat one room during the day using this as it was pointless to heat a whole house when we were only in one room.

MousyMouse Sun 20-Jan-13 15:30:58

I would say tough. you have done all you can but gas is expensive.

MousyMouse Sun 20-Jan-13 15:33:44

you can maybe give them advice, like closing curtains, only airing a few times a day (as opposed to leaving vents open all day), extra jumper...

Branleuse Sun 20-Jan-13 15:42:50

If he wants to have the heating on all day, its going to cost him. Some houses ARE cold and it is a cold winter. Their bills are not your responsibility. Noone else puts their heating on full time. He needs to put a jumper on.

Branleuse Sun 20-Jan-13 15:43:29

Maybe suggest they phone british gas and see if theyre on the right tarriff

Oreocrumbs Sun 20-Jan-13 15:43:50

Agree with the others, but do just check that they know how to use the thermostat. I got new tenants in a couple of months ago - brand new central heating, all checked and signed off etc - they rang to say it didn't work.

Sent plumber out - all is fine, then again, then again. It turns out they had the thermostat on 10 and hadn't turned it up hmm. (plumber had turned it up and then back down again when he left)

They were given a full tour and instrunction manual too.

Have your tenants got the thermostat on 30?

Same thing happened with a friend of mine, she moved house, had the heating on all day (in the summer because she had a baby and that is what you do confused ) bills came in sky high.

She asked me to have a look at it, she had the heating on 35, running 24/7!

This is a 30 odd yr old woman who has had her own home for 15 years!

She thought the jump in price was because she moved from a 2 bed to a 4 bed house.

OwlCatMouse Sun 20-Jan-13 15:49:12

Its likely that its because its single skin walls - houses like that are harder to heat, aaren't they. Is it single glazed as well?

Is there any way it can be changed to normal billing rather than a meter?

jackstini Sun 20-Jan-13 15:56:05

Thanks all.

As tenants I think they can decide to have a normal meter instead of card one, (was a normal one, but they put the card one in - or maybe BG made them - am not sure) although I would worry about them running up huge bills.

They have said they tried turning the rads down to 4 instead of 5 but temperature dropped to 16 which is too cold.

Is all double glazed.

I don't think there is a thermostat on the wall, just on the boiler, but the plumber said that was ok.

They have said they will ring BG and I have said am happy to go round if they do send someone out to look at it.

LIZS Sun 20-Jan-13 16:05:13

We only have the radiators set at 3 max so they are possibly overheating the system. We also don't have it on 24/7 , just daytime . Do they really need it on in all the rooms at once ? Can you turn down the water thermostat, do they also use gas for cooking or a gas fire?

ivykaty44 Sun 20-Jan-13 16:10:48

i have the heating on at 15 constantly at the moment, i think they are used to feeling warm all the time - I do wonder whether they wander around in t shirts or jumpers- it is them being odd though not you.

One last attempt if you were feeling generous would be to buy an electric heat or two so they can use those instead of the gas, that way they can move them form room to room and not have to heat up the whole house constantly.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 20-Jan-13 16:17:39

Hmm. If BG made them have a card meter then it means they owe them money, so they won't be using all of the gas that they are paying for as they will be paying off their debt as well. Card meters are more expensive as there's a standing charge for gas as well as the cost of the gas used and the cost of any repayment.

I have a combi boiler. I've no idea what the thermostat is supposed to be on but it's chilly (it's on 56 I think). We have jumpers and thick clothes on though. confused

GreenEggsAndNichts Sun 20-Jan-13 16:21:11

Do they have all rads on 5? If we aren't using a room, we don't heat it like we do when we're using it.

I'm currently a tenant (we've just completed on a house, but I'm speaking as a tenant here) and we knew we'd be stuck with the boiler the house had when we moved in. It's not terribly efficient and it would be a lot cheaper to run with a new one in there. Soon it won't be our problem anymore!

Have you lived in their house? How much did it cost to heat for you?

BertieBotts Sun 20-Jan-13 16:23:26

I can't believe they're still trying to blame you for this - just tell them no, I won't be replacing the boiler. Your gas bills are in line with what you're using. And then refuse to discuss it any more.

My gas bills were horrendous for a while because I live in a Victorian house - they probably will be after this winter too. I'd never bother my landlord about this - it's not his problem!

fortyplus Sun 20-Jan-13 16:32:15

I'm renting a 2 bed well insulated modern semi. It has pre-pay meters and a combi boiler.

I'm out at work all day and most evenings till about 10pm. I set the thermostat to 14 degrees the whole time except first thing in the morning and when I get back home. The house then warms up very quickly - a matter of minutes.

Also the 2nd bedroom has the radiator turned off completely except when my sons or a friend comes to stay - about once a week.

The max top up on the gas card is £49 and this is lasting me about 3 weeks at the moment, so about £65 per month for gas.

I can well imagine that an old house heated 24 hours a day could use £100 per week in gas. Having said that, it's more than the house I own which is a 4 bed Edwardian property!

jackstini Sun 20-Jan-13 20:23:12

No haven't lived in their house, although dh spent quite a bit of time in it doing it up before they moved in.

I wasn't this bad the previous 2 winters - they never mentioned anything. It used to be one tenant on her own and only since her df moved in have the issues been raised.

Yes - they say they have to have all rads on 5 or it's too cold hmm

I have said will not replace boiler.
Am not sure they know how to program it so will get plumber to check and show them as their annualgas certificate is due in 2-3 weeks anyway

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