A Landlord’s Guide to Boiler Flue Regulations

If you’re a property owner or a landlord, it’s essential to have a good knowledge of boiler flue regulations in order to maintain a safe home for yourself or your tenants. It’s also good to know how the regulations can affect your property. Here, we take you through the details in our quick guide to boiler flue legislation.

What is a boiler flue?

Gas boilers work by using gas to create heat, in order to provide heating and hot water. The boiler flue is the pipe attached to a gas boiler that allows the fumes resulting from the heating process to be released safely from the building. For safety reasons (to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning – if this dangerous gas was not properly dispersed from the building), your boiler flue must be positioned in accordance with strict boiler flue regulations. As a landlord, your boiler flue positions will be inspected during your annual gas safety check.

What are my obligations as a landlord?

All landlords are legally required to organise an annual gas safety check with a Gas Safe registered engineer. As part of the inspection, the engineer will require access to the boiler flue. For many boilers, this isn’t a problem. However, if the engineer is unable to inspect the boiler flue, they will deem your boiler “At Risk”, as they cannot guarantee its safety. So, if any part of your boiler flue is hidden or concealed, it is important to have an inspection hatch fitted, to enable the engineer to ensure that the flue is operating safely.

Fitting a new boiler

Building Regulations set out a number of regulations for property owners and landlords. Included in these, boiler flue position regulations state that, when fitting a new boiler:

  • Any newly installed flues must be over 30cm away from a window, in order to stop fumes coming back into the building. This means that if you are replacing a boiler, the flue may need to be re-run to a new position beyond the designated distance.
  • You may need planning permission if the flue needs to be fitted outside.

Practical implications of the boiler flue regulations

All of these legal responsibilities can have implications for landlords and tenants in several ways. Here are some real-life examples from our own experience:

  • Neighbours. Boiler flues are sometimes run in a way that means they terminate near their neighbours’ balconies. Boiler flue regulations dictate that these may require repositioning in order to maintain a safer distance from neighbouring living quarters.
  • Fittings. Old flues may sometimes be updated with replacement flues that are not in keeping with the building. Any unauthorised installations may look out of place and may well have to replaced at additional expense to the Lessee. Please check before proceeding.
  • Communication. The terms of your lease will almost certainly prohibit you cutting into the external wall without written consent. Consent would not usually be withheld, however permission must be obtained before any works commence.  This also allows an opportunity for a landlord to communicate any stipulations for example regarding colour or style. Please be mindful that Leaseholders are liable for any damage caused to the building as a result of such works.

In summary, in most cases any alterations to the structural walls will require permission. Please ensure that you do not accidentally breach the terms of your lease by failing to seek permission from the competent landlord to avoid being liable for costly rectification or legal fees.

For more information about boiler flue regulations, contact us or check out this guide to gas safety for landlords from the Health and Safety Executive.