With any investment for a rented property, it’s a careful balance between cost and quality. In terms of appliances, even if you’re letting your property unfurnished, tenants now expect white goods and certain appliances to be included:
- Oven and hob
- Washing machine
Every model is built with an average lifespan - hours of usage or cycles – and there’s a huge price range for every appliance. According to the White Good Trade Association, the cheapest washing machines can last for just 600 hours, while the most expensive models can last for more than 10,000 hours. Some manufacturers display this lifespan on the product, but if it’s not there, a salesperson should be able to advise you.
As a landlord, you need to think about how much usage something is realistically going to get. So, consider how many tenants will be living in your property, then you can work out how long you can expect an appliance to last and weigh up the cost against how soon you’ll need to replace it. If you go for something mid-range, it should last around ten years, but the cheapest appliances could only last a few years.
Bear in mind that as utility costs and energy efficiency are becoming more and more important to tenants, the more you spend, the less an appliance will cost to run. According to Which?, an inefficient fridge freezer could cost you £620 more than an efficient one over ten years of use. This means your tenant is spending more money on heating, having less for rent, or if you are paying the bills, it’s money out of your own pocket.
And when you’re making your decision, remember that cheaper appliances often don’t work as well, mainly because they’re built from cheaper parts. Customer feedback via Which? gives the highest-rated dishwasher brand a satisfaction score of 89%, but the bottom just 55%. For built-in ovens, it’s 81% at the top and 45% at the bottom. The reality is that if you get tenants complaining about faults, it could end up costing you more in time, effort and repairs than if you’d spent more on the appliance in the first place!
Remember that because these are classed as ‘portable’ appliances, you should have them Portable Appliance Test (PAT) tested by an electrician every year, to make sure they’re safe for the tenant to use. You can take out insurance to cover your white goods for breakdown and repairs but do look at the possible long-term cost of this and balance it with the cost of simply replacing the appliance.