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Responsibilities and Liabilities (England) | Tenant Obligations (England)

sweeping chimney – who’s responsiblity?

12 Nov 2016 | 4 comments

I have a DSS tenant in my property. There is an open fire that she uses occasionally but she told me recently that she hasn’t had it swept for a couple of years. I told her that it needs to be swept, and a certificate issued, otherwise my buildings insurance will be invalid if there is a chimney fire.
Can you let me know who’s responsibility it is to have it swept, please. If it is the responsibility of the tenant, how can I make sure that it’s been done?
Many thanks



  1. guildy

    The first thing that jumps to mind is that you must ensure a carbon monoxide detector is installed in the room where the fire is located as it is a legal requirement where there is a “solid fuel appliance”.

    In respect of responsibility, you should check the terms of your tenancy for the answer. Our tenancy agreement (in more recent updates) prohibits the use of a fireplace without prior written consent from the landlord. You would then give consent subject to conditions such as cleaning the chimney and at what intervals etc.

    If there is no agreement, the position is less clear. It has been held in 1953 that a tenant should clean the chimneys. Whether that would still apply in the modern world of letting is unclear although for now, no decision has overruled that one.

    • sambam47180

      Hello Guildy

      Thanks for the reply, and the advice on the CO2 montior – I think there is one in there, but I’ll double check anyway.

      There is nothing in her contract about sweeping the chimney (and she is out of contract now anyway), so I think I’ll bite the bullet and arrange to have the chimney swept myself. That way I know it’s been done, and I have a bit more control over the situation.

      Thanks again

  2. JungleProperty

    How can you make sure it has been done? If it is the tenant’s responsibility ask the tenant to provide a copy of the chimney sweeping certificate. If the chimney has not been swept for a couple of years I would advocate you have the chimney inspected for defects – our sweep puts a camera up the length of the chimney at no additional cost and points out any defects such as loose bricks.

    • sambam47180

      Dear Jungle Property

      Thanks for your reply – what I mean is, if she doesn’t have the chimney swept, how can I ensure that she doesn’t use it? Basically I can’t, so I think I’ll bit the bullet and pay for it to be swept myself. That way I have the peace of mind regarding the insurance.

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