A good landlords insurance policy
Your tenant has access to a 24 hour phone line
Peace of mind for tenant and landlord
Can cover electrics, heating controls, boiler and drains
Room for negotiation on price.
Poor communication between British Gas, their engineers and the landlord.
Can be expensive compared to other products unless you haggle
British Gas Homecare 400 claims to offer landlords and property owners peace of mind by covering emergency boiler, central heating and boiler repairs for a fixed monthly fee.
In 2009 I became an accidental landlord and since I was in a position where the rent I received would only just cover the interest on my mortgage it was important that I was able to ensure that any problems my tenants had with the properties electrical and heating supply could be dealt with quickly and professionally.
I have now been covered by the Homecare agreement for 12 months for a cost of Â£432.00. This review will show my positive and negative experiences and my advice about wether this service is right for everyone.
My Experiences with British Gas Homecare
When British Gas Homecare Works.
Just before Christmas my tenants young son managed to rip a plug socket off the wall in their bedroom. Luckily as a result of the electrical safety check I had carried out when my tenants moved in the R.C.D protection the property stopped the little bleeder being barbecued. The tenant was however left with no electricity to the sockets and some bare wires in her children's bedroom.
My tenant phoned the 24 hour helpline and an electrician was at the property within 2 hours. They replaced the plug socket and the tenant was left delighted with the service.
When British Gas Homecare Does Not Work
In December 2009 Britain was hit by a bitterly cold winter. My property is fitted with a condensing boiler and like many other property owners I was hit with the problem of a frozen condensation pipe. The trouble is I was not made a ware of it until my tenant had been caused a great deal of distress and discomfort.
My tenant phoned British Gas three days in a row when she woke up to find her flat freezing cold. Each time British Gas sent a contractor to the property and unfroze the pipe using her hair-drier and got the boiler working again.
However the contractor did not contact British Gas to tell them what work would need to be carried out to fix the problem long term. I therefore was not informed. It was only when my tenant contacted me directly that I was made aware of the problem.
The pipe had not been lagged properly to protect it from frost. This was done for Â£30.00. Thee is no way such a small job and small fee should have caused my tenant so much grief.
Is British Gas Homecare Worth The Money?
For my Â£432.00 I have had 3 gas engineers and an electrician called out to carry out work. I have also had the boiler serviced. Therefore in my opinion it has been good value this year, even with the mistakes surrounding the problems with the boiler. However it is important to remember that there are other companies in Britain who can supply the same service. British Gas are aware of this and will try to match any offer.
I called British Gas Homecare and advised them I was thinking of changing to Homeserve. They asked why and I advised them I could get the landlords gas safety check, an annual boiler service and the same level of cover for Â£25.00 per month. They checked this with Homeserve then immediately offered me the same deal for Â£23.00 per month.
herefore I will now only be paying Â£276.00 next year for a service I am already happy with. An annual boiler service and Gas Safety certificate alone would cost over Â£100.00.
As a landlord you are legally required to supply your tenant with a safe habitable home. Problems with a boiler or electrics can put your tenant at risk or at least cause them discomfort. If you do not have access to funds to carry out major repairs to your property straight away then I would strongly recommend British Gas Homecare as an insurance against most of the problems your tenant will need to contact you about.
An excellent product for new landlords who may have trouble funding expensice repairs straight away. Similar levels of cover are also available from Homeserve so haggling over the monthly fee with a British Gas Homecare sales rep is advised.