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Log Burners in Rental Properties
Log burners and multi fuel stoves are a lovely, cosy method of providing heating. They’re also extremely contemporary and proving a big ‘must-have’ for many households.
But before you go off to buy one for your new rental property, believing it will attract a higher-paying tenant, it might be sensible to err on the side of caution. What are we talking about? Well, believe it or not, you may well need approval from your local building regulations department at the council to install one.
That’s because log burners are recognised as fire hazards in some conditions. For instance, the heat they arrive at and emit may result in nearby materials catching fire. At the same time, stoves and flues can end up choked with build ups of deposits. This too can prove a fire hazard.
What to Watch Out for When Placing Your Log Burner
If you don’t plan on sitting your log burner or stove inside an empty chimney hearth, but rather in the centre of the room or in a corner, then be careful about how you set it up. There should, for instance, be a certain amount of space between the burner and plasterboard wall (plasterboard proving a combustible material). You should also have a heat-resistant shield or a cement board.
Fit a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Your burner is fired up using solid fuel. As such the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning really can’t be ignored. For this reason, you should always have a CO detector nearby. In fact, it’s the law in tenancies these days.
Wood Burning Stoves and Your Landlord Responsibility
If the wood burning stove in your rental property was fitted after 2011 then you will have been issued with an installation certificate. To get this, it must have been fitted by a HETAS engineer. You’ll be able to show this to your tenants and your insurance company. The latter must be told of the existence of your wood burner – otherwise your landlord insurance could become null and void.
Another landlord stipulation is to have smoke detectors fitted. These shouldn’t just be in the room in which the log burner is, but throughout the property, including upstairs in the bedrooms. It’s a good idea to fit smoke alarms which don’t have batteries since then you’ll know they can’t be tampered with by tenants.
Guiding Tenants to Use Your Log Burner
Not everyone knows how to use a log burner. After all, many millennials may never have lived in a house with an open fire, having been brought up with gas or electrical versions of heating. So, it’s a good idea to go over with them how it works and the best ways to light and extinguish the flame. At the same time provide them with two copies of the instructions for using the log burner, get them to sign one and take it away for your records.
Point out that the wood they use must be seasoned ie dried out so that it doesn’t result in acrid smoke and dangerous deposits in the flue.
You could add a clause into the rental agreement about working the log burner. That way, if the stove is damaged you can claim money for its repair from the tenancy deposit. If your tenants dispute the sum and say they were never shown how to use the log burner, you’ll always have your copy of the signed instructions as evidence.
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