What Landlords Should Know About ‘White Goods’

White goods in rental properties, now that’s a subject that I’m sure no one has ever been excited to read or learn about. However, the reality is, it’s a subject all landlords (and tenants) need to consider when renting out their property. Most notably, what white goods should landlords supply, and what are they required to supply?

I’ve received a few emails from folks requesting the details of “White goods”, so I’ve inundated my blood with caffeine to take on the challenge. Hold onto your hats, it’s going to be the most uneventful journey of your life, probably.

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, as the landlord, personally take responsibility for repairing white goods, but I generally get 3-5 year warranties on all my products. If they need repair outside the warranty period, that probably means they’ve lived their life to the fullest.

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. It should be noted that tenants shouldn’t be held responsible for wear and tear or technical faults outside of their control.

If it is not stated who is responsible in the tenancy agreement, it can be implied that the landlord is responsible, unless damage has been caused intentionally or by negligence by the tenant.

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…

31 Join The Conversation...

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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...

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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.

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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 :)

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Ingrid Beal 19th June, 2015 @ 13:16

My agent has sent me a copy of the Shorthold Tenancy Agreement signed by them and the tenant which includes a clause that the white goods have "gifted" to he tenant and should be removed at the end of the tenancy.
A copy of the agreement was not sent to me before signing and now that I have objected both agent and tenant refuse to remove this clause saying that I am legally bound to comply.
Is "gifting" a common practice?

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andy 7th December, 2015 @ 20:16

I've got a tenant who I gave a fridge freezer to in good faith, other wise i'd of thrown it. but he said no i'll have it, to cut a long story short, I've got to travel 180 miles to replace it because it's broken down and 180 miles back, and cost me about £200 for a new one, and probably fuse has gone, aint happy with him or management agents. no more white goods for me. and by the way there are sacked, months notice

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Steve 20th January, 2016 @ 12:02

Hello,

I personally try to look after my tenants as much as possible, but I do rent mostly to families and professionals.

If you use companies like www.newlifeappliances.co.uk you can buy graded products at a fraction of the retail price. These products are essentially brand new and are just returns from large retailers. Everything I have bought that's still comes in the box has also included the manufacturers warranty.

They also sell refurbished items at a crazy cheap price with a year warranty that I've used in my one student letting. Again never with any issue.

Regards,

Steve

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Marko 8th July, 2016 @ 08:59

White goods -as result of removal depreciation allowances - this opening up a whole new business of rental white goods

Tenants enjoy peace of mind choice of white goods supplied with (Repair and Replace policy) and undertake responsibility of repair.

Recently new tenancies are offered choice white goods with repair service though third party suppliers

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Matthew 4th August, 2017 @ 17:46

I am a tenant paying above what I should for this house. I have raised complaints a few times over our fridge freezer and it just broke causing us to have to throw out all food and the fridge is actually warm. In my eyes I think the landlord should replace the fridge freezer and the food as I have mentioned a few times previous to this

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Pat Egan 19th October, 2017 @ 20:41

My Tenant has given Notice and advised me that she is taking all the white goods that she has replaced. I had no idea that there was anything wrong with the original white good nor that she had replaced them. Can she take the replacements and leave void spaces in the kitchen.

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Craig Bickerstaffe 8th January, 2018 @ 22:22

Ive moved into a housing association property with my 2 daughters. My kitchen worktops are a bit scruffy and the kitchen has a built-in gas hob and a space for the integrated oven but no oven. There's no space or electric installation point for a stand-alone cooker which i would have been awarded with my other white goods. The housing association says that they aren't responsible for the integrated oven but because their hob is built into the worktop, and their kitchen has the space for the oven (and the council dont supply integrated ovens) surely it has to be their responsibility??

If its not, can I ask them to provide the electric installation point and remove the hob, so i can get my own cooker?

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pete 9th January, 2018 @ 07:52

Hi Craig,
My view is that under the Housing Act the housing association will have a responsibility to provide heat and hot water, not a cooker. For them to now arrange to take out the hob and make good to allow you to fit a cooker is probably a relatively expensive exercise for them and in all fairness why should they pay for to do that.
If you are insistent that you want a cooker you could offer to pay their costs of works or to arrange the works with approved contractors to undertake it again at your expense (although most landlords and particularly housing associations would likely shy away from this for the risk of the tenant arranging sub-standard works themselves).
If you are worried about costs you could find a seconds oven which usually is because they have a dent in the side from delivery issues. As the oven is built-in you won't see it once installed but you will make quite a cost saving.
Hope that helps

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Graham Nicholson 2nd August, 2018 @ 19:07

I am a tenant I got white goods when I moved can take them with me to my new flat

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Andrea Borman 11th December, 2018 @ 19:22

I am looking for rented unfurnished accommodation( I am currently in a Council flat.) But I have found that most unfurnished flats already have white furniture provided by the landlord. Which I don't want because I have my own Fridge Freezer and washing machine. And want to take them with me rather than use someone elses.

But when I asked the letting agent if I could either have the landlords fridge freezer taken away myself so I can put my own in they said NO I cannot. Which I am very upset about, and one of the flats they showed me had a very old and dirty fridge freezer. So I asked if I took the flat if they would replace it they said NO. So I then asked if I would be allowed to buy my own and have the LL's Fridge taken away and replaced with my own, they also said NO I am not allowed to do that either.

Which is not fair as I don't see why I cannot bring mine or buy my own Fridge freezer or washing machine if I don't like the one that's in there. As I would be happy to be responsible for it myself since they are both mine and it would be easier for the landlord.
Since the white furniture would be my own.
But none of the letting agents I spoke to on the flats I viewed will let me.

I have just bought a new washing machine for £600 and I want to take it with me to my new flat not leave it behind. As it would only be taken away by the Council anyway. In a Council flat we are allowed to decorate and have our own furniture including our own fridges Freezers, cookers and washing machine.

But it seems that in private flats most landlords don't allow that. Even though the flats come unfurnished most of them have already got Fridge Freezers and washing machines in them and they won't let me change them.
So I don't know what to do about this. As I really want to take my own white furniture with not have to use the landlords which might not be working properly. And I don't see why I should have to when I have got my own.
I am very upset about this.
Andrea Borman.

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Ann 7th October, 2019 @ 05:02

I've moved in to a flat and it has not got a electricity cooker point or gas, I was just wondering if I have pay for a election to put one in myself or the landlord.

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David Phypers 16th November, 2019 @ 11:05

I've recently had to replace fitted electric ovens in a fitted kitchen. The 'landlord' (the Church of England Pensions Board) says these count as white goods and they are therefore my responsibility, even though it would be impractical to take the new ovens (and a fitted fridge and a fitted freezer) with us should we leave. There is nothing in my original agreement which clarifies this. Your comments, please.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th November, 2019 @ 11:09

@David
Are you referring to a private residential property? If so, why was it your responsibility to replace the electric ovens in the first place?

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Pauline 19th February, 2020 @ 00:14

Thankyou. I live in Australia and tenant in UK. Struggling to get exact dimensions to replace old integrated washing machine for current tenant, almost given up. Will persevere. All appliances covered for repair under British Gas Homecare policy which is excellent but sometimes things are just old.

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Peter 16th August, 2020 @ 12:28

What if the white goods are built in to a fitted kitchen? I am thinking of letting out my second home and when I had the kitchen refurbished we had fitted fridge, freezer and dishwasher installed. If one of them needs replacing who has to do it - and who does it then belong to? We are in England.

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Pete 16th August, 2020 @ 13:40

Peter,
Firstly, a landlord cannot write themselves out their legal obligations under the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985 - mainly section 11 - Google it!). However, the essence is:
The landlord must keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling house and keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling house for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating, and heating water.

You are not obligated to provide anything else. But, under an English residential tenancy, unless the tenancy contract says that the tenant is liable for, in this instance, other appliances than those covered above, and that were in the property when you let it to them, then you will remain liable for their repair /replacement should they go wrong.

You can (try to) reclaim the costs of repair or replacement if you can PROVE that it broke as a result of actions or inactions of the tenant.

But you are not able to claim for betterment, ie. you end up with a better machine than you had prior to the incident.

All appliances have lifespans and, for whatever reason, in a rental property those lifespans are considered shorter than in perhaps your own home. The deposit schemes have tables of example expected lifespans of appliances in tenanted properties.

IMO if the appliances are integrated into the kitchen, the landlord should stand by them if they go wrong (subject to seeking the costs from the tenant if they've caused the fault).

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Peter 16th August, 2020 @ 14:18

Pete,

Thanks very much, but I am now a bit confused.

"You are not obligated to provide anything else. But, under an English residential tenancy, unless the tenancy contract says that the tenant is liable for, in this instance, other appliances than those covered above, and that were in the property when you let it to them, then you will remain liable for their repair /replacement should they go wrong."

I get that - and in fact I think it would be unfair anyway to make a tenant responsible for anything actually fitted into the units, so I completely agree with your opinion. But at the start of this thread it says,

"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."

For me the questions is academic, but I am now confused as to whether a landlord is obliged to repair white goods supplied - or not.

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Pete 16th August, 2020 @ 15:01

Peter, Sorry now you're confusing me.

'It should state in the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement who is responsible for repairing White goods.'
Yes, it should. but if it doesn't and you as landlord provided the appliances with the property in return for receipt of rent, then it is the landlord who is liable.

In the same way that if you provide a working swimming pool with the property as part of the rent and the pool is then not working because the pump breaks, it would be the landlords responsibility to repair it.

Or are you suggesting that the tenant could be responsible for repairing white goods and then recoup the costs from the landlord ?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th August, 2020 @ 15:19

Apologies, I should have clarified in the original post.

But yes, Pete is correct, "if it doesn't and you as landlord provided the appliances with the property in return for receipt of rent, then it is the landlord who is liable."

Obviously, in either case, tenants shouldn't be held responsible for wear and tear, or technical faults.

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Peter 16th August, 2020 @ 15:28

What an incredibly helpful blog. Thanks so much. Just one more query if someone can help. I want to let my secind home. It contains some furniture upstairs (2 large chest of drawers and a huge wardrobe) that to remove them I would need to remove windows. If a prospective tenant was agreeable could I leave them their use without it becoming a furnished let? It did occur to me that I could let the house "completely unfurnished" then add an addendum to the leave hiring each said items to the tenant for 1p a year. If such a device was needed.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th August, 2020 @ 15:32

@Peter,
I would personally avoid leaving behind any furniture, it potentially adds unnecessary complications, and for nothing (i.e. you won't get more rent).

In my opinion, either "gift" it to the tenants (if they want it, that is) - and put it in writing - which means they can do as they please with them, and it's completely their responsibility.

Or, remove the items from the property.

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