View Full Version : Faulty wood burner

20-12-2011, 14:32 PM
Hi everyone,

Would be grateful if someone could give me some advice on the following matter.

Our property has a wood burning stove. We arranged for the landlord to have the chimney swept before winter a few months ago and the chimney sweep told us that the chimney couldn't be swept because the flue on the stove was too small.

The landlord called out a HETAS registered engineer referred to by the chimney sweep who confirmed that the stove did not comply with building regs (landlord owns a construction company so should know this). Apparently we're supposed to have a certificate to show that it complies.

When I informed the landlord of this and asked him to make the fire place safe and legal and to provide me with certificate to show that it conforms with building regs, he has decided to remove it althogether instead of paying to make it safe.

Can he do this? I signed a contract this year unfurnished, but including fixtures and fittings. Can the landlord just remove the stove (I have central heating, but wood is much cheaper) as I rented the property partly due to the fireplace?

20-12-2011, 20:27 PM
Is the wood burner identified specifically on the inventory ?

As you DON'T have a certificate for the woodburner the next obvious question is.....is there a valid gas safety certificate ?

20-12-2011, 20:39 PM
the flue on the stove was too small.

That does not sound right, sweeps have brushes of all sizes, down to 2 or 3 inches I think. Presumably the fire was fitted and was working before so what's changed? Building regs may have changed since the fire was fitted but that does not automatically make the fire dangerous.

20-12-2011, 20:42 PM
Unfortunately not as I moved in 4 years ago and the wood burner was installed 2 years ago. I don't have a gas certificate as I have oil central heating, which doesn't require one. The boiler broke two years ago as it had never been serviced and now I have to phone up annually to make sure it is serviced, which I shouldn't have to do really.

Landlord seems to do as little as possible and he should know better as he has over 100 properties and a whole team dealing with his lettings - unfortunately I'm too lowly to be able to speak to him directly so have to go to a go between...

20-12-2011, 20:45 PM
The fire has a 4 inch flue, which opens into the chimney, which has a 12" flue. The size of the brush that fits through the 4" flue will therefore not touch the side of the actual chimney.

We used the wood burner for two years after installation before and were there when they installed it. Only realised once my parents had one installed that it need to conform to building regs and have a certificate.

Also have family in the building trade who told us that they also had to inform the council, which hasn't been done.

20-12-2011, 20:51 PM
OK. I understand there is a product that will get rid of any build up of soot in the chimney, I have no idea what it's called but it needs to be put in the fire and ignited then it burns away the contaminants, someone will know what it's called.

Ps. Don't burn pine wood or palletes.

20-12-2011, 22:04 PM
errr, the stove is a multi-fuel burner so we have burnt coal and wood on it. According to building regs, the chimney needs to be able to be accessed for sweeping (have researched quite a lot about wood burners).

Also, a wood burning stove puts 80% of heat into room and only 20% up chimney, which means that a lot of tar builds up in the chimney due to condensation - problem with a 4" flue going into a larger flue is that soot, etc falls onto the register plate around the flue coming out of the stove. As this can't be swept as it's underneath where the brush comes out of the stove flue it presents a real risk of chimney fire.

As to the pine and pallets - soft wood is good for starting the fire and then hard wood once it's going. Just annoyed that the landlord is removing it altogether rather than making it safe - he knew that it didn't meet requirements when he installed it - just hoped we didn't know legislation. Now we're wise he's removing it to cover his back instead of paying an engineer to make it safe and legal. :(-:

The flue has come away from the register plate due to the bodge installation so that if we try and use it, the room fills with smoke. Have underfloor heating downstairs, which uses about £120 heating oil per month to heat as it's terribly inefficient, which is why I wanted him to repair the burner so we could heat the downstairs with wood as we have done the last two winters.

Pretty disappointed to say the least when I've paid him about £50K in rent so far.

21-12-2011, 03:06 AM
LL is only required to provide space heating & hot water (oil c/h?)
If wood burner does not appear on move-in inv then T is exoneated from its removal IMO and LL can remove without discussion if installed by LL or without LL express permission.
Lord Denning (court of Appeal) decided that routine maintenance eg chimney sweeping is Ts resp. I know of no leg that requires T to have Cert for flue compliance, other than GSC requirements. LL may have breached bldg regs but that is matter between LL & Council.

21-12-2011, 09:07 AM
Thanks for the reply. The certificate is not for me, but for the property (it's a fixed metal plate)- building regs. As you say the landlord has breached building regs, which is a matter between him and the council, but in doing so has failed in his duty of care for my health and safety, which he is responsible for as the landlord.

It's also not possible to put in any legally binding contract to have the tenant be responsible for sweeping the chimney due to the landlord passing his duty of care onto the tenant, but that's not an issue here. LL was happy to sweep the chimney - just not fix the fire - that reminds me - need to arrange to have the boiler serviced! :)

We're moving soon anyway...

Cheers ta!