Appliances – What every landlord needs to know
Electrical and gas appliances – What every landlord needs to know
Large electrical and gas appliances, sometimes referred to as ‘white goods’ can include a cooker (hob and oven), fridge, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer and microwave.
It’s completely up to you whether you choose to provide them (and that includes cooking appliances). However, many landlords do because most tenants consider them to be basic necessities.
Without them, prospective tenants could be discouraged from renting your property if they have to go to the trouble and expense of supplying their own.
As mentioned in our previous post about rental yield here, you should be seeking to command a good rent whilst avoiding void periods. Providing quality white goods is a simple solution.
It should be noted that if you do decide to supply white goods, the property is still strictly “unfurnished” if it comes with no other furniture.
Electrical and gas appliances – your responsibilities as a Landlord
This is a much misunderstood area judging by the volume of queries on landlord and tenant forums.
A lot of people think that if you, the landlord, supplies the appliances, then you are also responsible for repairs.
However this is not the case. A landlord’s maintenance obligations under Section 11, Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 here clearly state that unlike the structure, drainage, sanitary appliances and heating – white goods do not form part of your mandatory responsibilities.
It should be noted however that gas and electrical safety does. Relevant safety checks like an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) need to be performed and kept up to date (at least every 5 years in the case of an EICR). Gas appliances must have a valid Gas Safety Inspection from a Gas Safe Register engineer for each appliance in the property.
Although cookers and fridges are hardly considered ‘portable’, Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is also highly recommended every two years and is mandatory in the case of HMO properties.
Safety is an issue you should never take lightly. House fires can are often caused by faulty white goods. Supplying appliances in good working order, not subject to product recall and subject to periodic checks is good, risk mitigating practice.
So who is responsible for appliance repairs?
To avoid the hassle of arguments down the line, the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) should clearly state who is responsible for the repair and replacement of appliances supplied by the landlord at the start of the tenancy.
Many landlords do take on the responsibility, with many on forums recommending the supply of free standing rather than built-in or integrated appliances for easier maintenance and lower cost replacement.
To avoid unexpected costs, you can purchase extended warranties or landlord appliance cover. Sometimes this can be included as part of your landlord’s insurance but do check.
If the AST states that the tenant is to be held responsible for repairing or replacing the supplied appliances, we would recommend pointing this out before the tenant signs the contract. This will avoid any problems if and when your tenant is informed they’re responsible.
However when it comes to the deposit, your tenant should not be held responsible for wear and tear or technical faults outside of their control should they decide not to repair or replace a supplied appliance.
But on the flip side, your tenant can be held liable if damage has been caused intentionally or by their negligence.
Similarly, they should not walk off with the appliances that you supplied at the end of their tenancy without your permission. Don’t forget to get a professionally compiled inventory at the start.
Appliances – What every landlord needs to know – In conclusion
Landlords are under no obligation to supply white goods or even maintain and replace them unless stated otherwise in the contract.
However, savvy landlords will supply high quality appliances to attract quality tenants and command a good rent value. They will also keep them maintained and avoid unexpected costs through insurance and extended warranties.
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