My tenant has asked for a Hive system to be fitted - should I consider?

Question

My tenant has requested that I have a Hive system installed so they can control their heating and hot water via their mobile phone. Should I consider this?

Answer

British Gas claim that the system can help save up to £150 a year in fuel bills – and whilst everyone wants to have a warm, toasty Christmas, the festive period a pricy time of year so it’s understandable that your tenant is keen to make some savings wherever they can.

The Hive systems are undeniably useful for controlling the heating in a property using wireless technology, which is accessed from a simple app downloaded onto a Smartphone.

As a landlord, you have a responsibility to provide your tenant with reliable heating and hot water (Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985), however if the boiler is in good working order and you have complied with all gas safety regulations, your tenant’s request to have further additions fitted isn’t necessarily something you have to consider.

However, if your property’s EPC is graded at under an E, as of April 2016 regulations state that you must act upon your tenant’s requests to carry out any improvements that would increase the energy efficiency of the property. Whilst it is unlikely that a Hive system would have a huge impact on the efficiency of the property (its usefulness is mainly down to user ability!) it would be sensible to consider following this up, so as not to fall foul of any loopholes within the regulations.

As with any tenant request, you could also consider the longevity of the investment within your property. With a Hive system (or similar) costing around £200, this is a small price to pay to maintain a happy tenant, and you could also consider that the change could increase the future rental potential of your property – after all, if your current tenant is keen to use the technology, it stands to reason that future potential tenants will be interested too! Maybe consider it as an investment in the property’s current and future rentability!


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