What Landlords Should Know About ‘White Goods’

I’ve been getting a few emails from folks regarding the details of “White goods”, so I thought I’d quickly jot down what I know about the issue. It’s not exactly the most exciting topic, but it’s an area worth knowing about if you’re a landlord.

What are “white goods”?

White goods refer to large electrical home appliances that are typically finished in white enamel. In letting/rental terms, they generally refer to the major kitchen appliances, such as fridges, washing machines and dish washers.

You’ll notice a lot of rental adverts declare that they do provide white goods. They’re generally referring to the major kitchen appliances.

Do I need to supply white goods in my property?

No, it’s completely up to the landlord. However, it’s important to note that most rental accommodation these days do come with white goods. Consequently, by failing to provide what is considered as “basic amenities” you could be scaring away a lot of potential tenants away. Some times it’s worth loosening the purse strings and providing white goods for the sake of getting tenants.

Who is responsible for repairing white goods?

This is a bit of a misunderstood area, as a lot of people think that if landlords supply the goods, then they also become responsible for repairs by default. When actually, that’s not the case, as it’s made very clear that White goods do not form part of the landlords repairing/maintenance obligations under section 11, Landlord & Tenant Act 1985.

It should state in the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement who is responsible for repairing White goods. I personally take responsiblity for repairing White goods, but I generally get 3-5 year warranties on all my products. If they need repair outside the warrenty period, that probably means they’ve lived their life.

If the tenant is responsible for repairing the white goods and it is stated in the AST, I would recommend discussing this before the tenants sign the contracts. This will avoid any problems if your tenants are unexpectedly informed they’re responsible for repairing/replacing any white goods.

If a property comes with white goods, is it considered “furnished”?

No, this is not the case. A property is still strictly “unfurnished” if it comes with only basic white goods and no other furniture.

Condition of white goods

White goods provided by the landlord must be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order. All gas and electric appliances MUST be safe.

There is no statutory obligation on landlords or agents to have professional checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances. However, under Common Law and various statutory regulations: The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, The Housing Act 2004, The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation for landlords to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe.

Gas appliances must have a valid Gas Safety Certificate from a Gas Safe Register Engineer for each appliance in a property.

Did I miss anything?

Does anyone else out there know any other useful facts/myths about the exciting world of white goods? If so, let me hear what you got…

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10 Comments- join the conversation...

Guest Avatar
sheldon 15th December, 2009 @ 01:44

crap I've been paying money to repair mine when I could leave it up to the tenant?

Unless laws are different in ontario canada...

1
Guest Avatar
Petrona 15th December, 2009 @ 08:39

In Perth, Western Australia, if white goods are provided and they break down for no obvious reason, it's the landlord's responsibility to repair them (as it's considered to be normal wear and tear). If the tenant has caused the item to break (eg. by swinging off the fridge door, as one ex-tenant of mine did while on suspicious substances) then it's the tenant's responsibility to repair it.

2
Guest Avatar
Sam 15th December, 2009 @ 13:31

It's best practice to get all portable electrical appliances PAT tested (i.e. microwaves) PAT stands for portable electrical appliance. If I can shamelessly plug - you can test up to 20 items for just £59 via VirtualLetz - anywhere in the country and we liase we tenant. Plug over :)

3
Guest Avatar
Paul 7th January, 2010 @ 12:38

In UK, outside of statutory obligations, it largely depends on what is written in the tenancy agreement and therefore what is agreed between the parties.
If the T/A states that the tenant must jump over the garden wall on every full moon, and the tenant agrees to it by signing the T/A (provided the requirement is clearlt written) then I suspect you could enforce that they do it - so long as the landlord provides any tools required :-)
In terms of white goods I think that if the rent charged includes the provision of white goods, then generally the landlord will have the obligation to continue to provide them. So even if the tenant could be made to pay for repair, if they were beyond reasonable repair, then the landlord would need to provide a similar machine & model.

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Guest Avatar
Justin Berkovi 18th September, 2011 @ 07:29

Great site!

We have moved into a property and the kitchen appliances really have come to the end of their natural life - the dishwasher only works sometimes, the fridge freezer is over 8 years old and cannot regulate temperature and the oven is so filthy that our food reeks of burnt grease when we use it to cook.

Does the landlord have to replace them?

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Guest Avatar
Donna 23rd September, 2011 @ 12:21

A friend has rented her property with white goods (tumble drier, dishwasher etc). The tenants who have moved in to the property are now demanding them to be removed, assumingly so they can replace with their own. Does she legally have to honour this (she's moved to Aus so isn't close by). My assumption is the tenants took on the property knowing the goods where there so have to live with what's been provided.

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Guest Avatar
neil 15th January, 2012 @ 16:39

Hello, i am a landlord and i supplied integrated kitchen white goods ie fridge, freeze & washing machine unfortuantely the freezer has since seized to work! I supplied the white goods in goodfaith although it did say in the T/A they would not be replaced should they malfunction the tenant now informs me its my obligation to replace the freezer simply because it was integrated and not a stand alone unit !!! Help i am struggling to pay the home insurance let alone another freezer

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Guest Avatar
cordel 11th August, 2013 @ 19:37

Great piece it makes ita lot clearer, you quote the relevant legislation. But you mention
"White goods provided by the landlord must be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order"

This makes perfect sense but on what legislation do you base this on, does a good state of repair mean it lasts 3 months before it brokes down for instance!

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Guest Avatar
Bruce Jenkins 14th April, 2014 @ 10:14

Hello.
If the landlord has 'gifted'the white goods to me in writing (not part of the short term Assured Tenancy Agreement) are they mine to remove when I leave the property?
Thanks

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Guest Avatar
S Roberts 1st June, 2014 @ 20:45

We have new tenants and they are complaining that the integrated freezer is not working. We have let them know we will replace it with an alternative but will not be branf new. They have told us that they will not accept a second hand one and that they will be contacting their lawyer. Do we have a legal requirement to provide brand new appliances?

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