White goods: What are landlords’ appliance responsibilities?
Last week Whirlpool was ordered to recall 500,000 faulty tumble dryers in what was described as an “unprecedented” government move.
Many of these unmodified machines, produced between 1 April 2004 and 30 September 2015, are estimated to still be in use in UK homes, with thousands believed to be in private rented properties.
The Whirlpool recall highlighted the potential risk of white goods and put a spotlight on landlords’ responsibilities when it comes to the safety of appliances in their rented properties.
Tumble dryers, fridges and other white goods can be a fire risk if they are faulty or not maintained properly. And even with unfurnished property expected to have a fridge-freezer, an oven with a hob and a washing machine – and increasingly in modern properties, a dishwasher – every landlord should be aware of their duties when it comes to the proper upkeep of white goods.
Who is responsible for the maintenance of white goods?
By law, a landlord must make sure the electrics in a property are safe and in good working order, for example, sockets and light fittings and all appliances they supply such as cookers and kettles.
Usually, any repairs will be the landlord’s responsibility unless otherwise stated in the tenancy agreement. Make sure you go through what you are and are not responsible for with prospective tenants before leasing and ensure you include terms in the lease that if a tenant causes damage to an appliance, it will be their responsibility to have it repaired.
If the appliance cannot be repaired, and it was listed in the tenancy agreement, you will need to replace it.
In the case of the Whirlpool recall, landlords should double check the make and model of any tumble dryers in their properties and speak to the company if it affects them. They should also warn tenants not to use the tumble dryer in the meantime.