The occurrence of chimney fires, especially in the winter months, highlights the importance of ensuring that all chimneys are swept annually by a professional chimney sweep. However, a chimney’s primary function is to carry dangerous flue gases from the fireplace or wood burner safely out of the property.
The Landlord is legally responsible for ensuring the safety, working and servicing of all heating and hot water installations in a rental property. Although the wording can seem ambiguous, this also refers to open fires, Rayburns, Agas, coal and wood burning stoves. This responsibility includes all flues and ventilation, and it is the landlord’s responsibility to have all chimneys swept annually in a rental property.
Under the tenant fee ban, landlords cannot ask tenants to pay for the services of a third party, including chimney sweeping services. If the tenants prefer to employ the services of a third party, they will be responsible for any associated costs.
However, if the tenancy agreement prohibits tenants from using a fireplace or to have the chimney swept, and the tenants failed to comply with the restriction or obligation and this causes damage to the property or additional expense, the landlord may seek to recoup this loss from the tenancy deposit.
Bruce Vickery, Operations Director at Davis Tate concludes, "Given that a chimney fire could potentially cause considerable damage to a property, it should give Landlord’s piece of mind to know that a chimney is being regularly cleaned and inspected."