Helpful Tips Property Management

Call of the Week – Who is responsible for bleeding radiators?

Call of the week

As the weather gets much cooler, our Landlord Advice Team are receiving more calls from landlords around the maintenance of radiators.

This week our Call of the Week is from a landlord who phoned us about a request they’d had from one of their student tenants.

The tenant had complained that only the bottom of the radiator in their room was warm, and after researching the issue online, they had requested that the landlord came round to the property  bleed the radiator in their room.

The landlord wanted to make sure the issue was sorted for this tenant before the weather turns even cooler, but he wasn’t sure whether it was his responsibility or not to bleed the radiators. He called our team asking for advice about what he should do next.

How do you know if your radiators need bleeding?

If either you or your tenants notice the following unusual things about one or several radiators, it could be a sign they need bleeding:

  • The top of the radiator is cold, while the bottom of the radiator is heating up as normal. This could mean that air has been trapped in the radiator.
  • The entire radiator is cold (certainly a sign the maintenance is required)
  • More mould or damp in the house. This could be caused by condensation, which in turn is caused by uneven heating. Check out a recent call of the week about how to deal with condensation in your property
  • The radiator may make a rattling noise
The response from our Landlord Advice Team

There is no clear-cut answer to this, however technically speaking, responsibility for bleeding radiators lies with the tenant. This is because tenants are expected to behave in a ‘tenant-like manner’. If a tenant is unsure about how to bleed a radiator, then it is wise for the landlord to demonstrate this to them.

Behaving in a tenant-like manner means that tenants are responsible for carrying out every day maintenance in the property. For example changing lightbulbs and putting the rubbish out-after all it is their home.

However, if landlords decided they’d prefer to bleed the radiators themselves, then they are reminded that they still need to give the tenant 24 hours notice before entering the property to do this.

In the case of some tenants, for example those who are vulnerable, it may be a good idea for the landlord to offer to bleed the radiators themselves.

Combi Boilers

Landlords should also double check which boiler they have before allowing a tenant to do this. In the case of combi-boliers, its also a good idea to check or re-check the system before you bleed the radiator. If the system pressure falls too low, the boiler may not work correctly and the issue of the radiators not being effective may become worse.

For this reason, some landlords may chose to bleed the radiators for the tenant, in case the pressure in the system needs topping up afterwards.

The landlord was satisfied with this, and decided that because his tenants were students who had never lived away before, he was going to arrange to go to the property to demonstrate to them how to do this.

Landlord Advice Team Manager Rupinder Aujla said:

“Boilers should be serviced annually by a professional and radiators should be checked on a regular basis by tenants or landlords when completing regular inspections of their properties in the winter months.

“Landlords may also wish to keep a small supply of electric heaters on hand if the boiler was to break in the winter months. If there is no other heating method landlords must supply electric heaters to their tenants”.

  • Interested in learning more about tenant like manner, basic repair obligations and obtaining access to carry out repairs? Sign up to our eLearning Property Standards training course, which is £36 for RLA members and £45 for non-members.
  • Do you have a question relating to maintenance, repair responsibilities or perhaps something else to do with your lettings? Get in touch with our advice team, remember as an RLA member you can receive unlimited one to one advice.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

About the author

Landlord Advice

Landlord Advice

On-demand phone support from our landlord advisors is a big feature of RLA membership and is seen by many of our members as the most important service we offer. You can call the team in total confidence and be assured that the advice you'll receive is friendly, pertinent, up-to-date and practical.

Access to the advice team is FREE for all RLA Members.


  • Bleeding the radiators is straightforward but no mention has been made of the need to check/re-pressurise the system if a combi boiler is involved. If the system pressure falls too low the boiler will not fire up and the problem becomes worse.

  • RE; Call of the Week

    Landlords should be aware that if they depend on tenants bleeding radiators, they run the risk of orange rusty water being spilled over carpets. Whilst potentially this may create a deposit claim, arbitrators may have sympathy with tenants if they are attempting to solve a maintenance issue because the landlord has refused to assist.

    In many cases, it is sludge which causes malfunctioning, and this certainly cannot be solved by the tenant.

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