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Buying a New Home - How Do You Know The Boiler is Safe?
In July 2020, the government introduced a stamp duty holiday in order to kickstart the housing market into action after a tough start to the year following the outbreak of the pandemic. As a result, it meant that the threshold was increased from £125,000 to £500,000 which meant that many people have the potential to save thousands of pounds. While the incentive was due to end on 30th June 2021, it has been extended until the 30th September 2021 although previous stamp duty rates will be brought back in a staggered way. So, with the deadline looming, many people are looking to sell their property and make savings.
As many rush to make savings, many are now choosing to cut corners which means that they are not carrying out the usual checks that they would. This is particularly true when it comes to the boiler in your new home because avoiding any checks would mean that it might not be safe or fit for purpose.
Can You Demand that the Boiler is Serviced Before Completion?
Essentially, you cannot demand that this is done as the seller doesn’t have to conduct a service on their boiler prior to selling it. However, if they are keen to sell then you could ask them to do it as a gesture of goodwill. While they might be happy to do this, if you are in a rush to sell before the stamp duty holiday deadline, then they might be in a better position when it comes to holding back on fulfilling your demands.
Of course, you do have the right to ask for proof of servicing. The seller is legally required to complete a Property Information Form, so within this, they should be honest about a range of aspects of the property which will include stating that the boiler has been maintained and does not have any known issues. If no issues are declared and the boiler has been serviced over the last 12 months then that should be enough to give you confidence in the system.
It is recommended that boilers are serviced annually but it is not a legal requirement, so if they have not had it completed regularly, they have not broken any laws. This might be the case at the moment because many people might not have felt comfortable with having engineers in their home while covid restrictions are in place. If it has been a number of years since they had the boiler serviced last then this could be an issue and it could mean that the warranty becomes invalid. If it has never had a service then this is a serious cause for concern.
Arrange Your Own Service
If the sellers are not willing to cover the cost then you could offer to pay for the price of the service before completion. If they are not willing to let a boiler engineer in then you should probably question why that is the case. A boiler service will only cost around £70 and this could be money worth spending. If it turns out that the boiler is in need of work or even replacing then you could negotiate a reduction in price to cover the cost.
The Deadline is Coming
Of course, all of this relies on whether you can book a service and have that completed in time before the stamp duty holiday comes to an end which begins in a few weeks time. The issue is finding reliable engineers who have space in their diary, so this might be something that you want to consider. Another issue is whether it is possible to gain access to the property, especially if the buyers are not cooperating in a way that they should.
If it is not going to be possible before the purchase takes place and the boiler hasn’t been serviced for some time then the best thing to do is to arrange a service for a time after you have completed. If everything is fine, this will give you peace of mind and if there are any issues, it will mean that they can be rectified quickly and easily. Also, if the faults are obvious and they haven’t been added to the Property Information Form then you could go back and attempt to ask them to contribute towards the costs.
Either way, you need to make sure that your boiler is safe. Whether that is done before you complete or after comes down to your sellers and the situation.
Homeowners are still able to get a FREE boiler grant or insulation grant via the ECO scheme, which is still available to households that qualify. Warma UK are currently working throughout the UK helping privately owned and rented homes to improve home energy efficiency and save money on rising energy bills.
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