Fireplace conversion left undone

My sister rented a wonderful house, but one part of it just boggles my mind. She has a gorgeous living room in her rental house–the whole thing is a Colonial in stunning condition–but the fireplace has been reduced to nothing more than a decoration. What’s worse is that she has to work very hard to keep it covered so that no hot air from her gas boiler escapes up the flue. I asked why she didn’t have it lit the last time I was over–I was ready to bring by some firewood for her to keep in the garage if she needed some. She explained the fireplace is the one blight of the house because it cannot be used. The property owner apparently tried to convert the fireplace from a wood burning fireplace to a more modern gas system, but sadly they ran into some kind of problem so it was never finished. However, the fireplace flue has much of the pipework needed for the gas fireplace, and so it can’t even be used for a proper wood burning fire. The pipe also means she doesn’t have a flue cover, so she can’t even put a little fake electric fire heater in it for a little warmth and ambiance–the whole hearth has to remain closed up for the sake of the central heater at least. My wife and I are debating buying her a space heater that looks like a fireplace to put in front it, that way my sister at least has something nice and homey to enjoy in her otherwise beautiful home.