Recent figures show that fires caused by faulty white goods have cost the economy more than £118m in the last five years, with many tenants still at risk.
Since 2011, firefighters from the London Fire Brigade have attended 2,072 fires caused by faulty white goods – almost one blaze per day. A defective Indesit tumble dryer even caused a notorious fire in Shepherd’s Bush back in August of last year.
As part of its company recall policy, major home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool maintains that customers may continue to use the affected tumble dryers while they are waiting for them to be modified, as long as they are not left unattended. However, the London Fire Brigade strongly disagrees, urging anyone with one of the models to immediately unplug the machine and stop using it.
The average success rate of an electrical product recall in the UK is just 10-20%. This means that there are potentially millions of faulty white goods still in use in owner-occupied and rental properties. As most of these products have been recalled because they pose a risk of electrical shock or fire, they present a serious hazard to tenants.
Jax Kneppers, the Founder and CEO of Imfuna, says: “Many landlords provide white goods in rental properties, including fridges and freezers that are switched on 24 hours a day. Landlords and agents should check to see if their fridges and freezers have been recalled and immediately advise tenants of any issues.
“Landlords and agents should also ensure their properties have fully working smoke alarms. Landlords are legally required to fit smoke alarms in rented homes, as well as offer protection against carbon monoxide poisoning. They are also required to check all alarms are working when a new tenancy starts, with potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they don’t comply.”
He adds: “Thorough property reports, which flag items in need of repair, are an essential part of ensuring that tenants remain safe in rented accommodation and that landlords avoid paying heavy fines.”
To ensure that all white goods are compliant with the required safety checks at the start of each new tenancy, you must remember to keep a detailed record of the property’s contents as part of your check-in and inventory report. Information in how to compile a good inventory can be found here: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/landlords-guide-inventories-avoiding-disputes/
Remember that you should check whether you have any faulty white goods in your rental properties at the start of each new tenancy and during your periodic inspections in order to keep your tenants safe.