Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Best Man on My Big Day Was a Plumber; New Bride Victoria Whitlock Vows Not to Become Divorced from Tenants' Problems with White Goods at Her Rental propertiesThe Accidental Landlord

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Best Man on My Big Day Was a Plumber; New Bride Victoria Whitlock Vows Not to Become Divorced from Tenants' Problems with White Goods at Her Rental propertiesThe Accidental Landlord

Article excerpt

Byline: Victoria Whitlock

WHEN most brides walk down the aisle I expect they worry they're going to trip, or cry, or fluff their lines. Me? I was wondering if a washing machine repair man, who was scheduled to turn up at my rental property at precisely that moment, had arrived on time.

Normally, I would have gone to the flat to ensure that the repair was properly carried out but, it being my wedding day, I'd taken the risk of paying for the work in advance and asked the tenants to supervise.

However, one of my wedding guests told me what I should have known already, that landlords aren't legally responsible for maintaining so-called white goods supplied with the properties, so when the tenants called to tell me the washing machine was broken I could have told them to deal with it.

I'd always taken it for granted that if a landlord provided electrical items such as washing machines, dishwashers and fridges they were responsible for keeping them in good working order. However, this newbie landlord who was just in the process of acquiring his first buy-to-let pointed me to Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, which expressly states that landlords must maintain basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences (I think that's legal speak for the loo) but NOT other fixtures, fittings and appliances.

So if the washing machine floods or the oven conks out or the freezer no longer freezes, landlords don't have to sort out the repairs or foot the bill. How about that? To avoid any argument with tenants over who is or isn't responsible when an appliance breaks, the newbie landlord told me he plans to insert a clause in the tenancy agreement to make it clear to tenants that they will have to arrange and pay for repairs to white goods, not him.

I do know that such a clause won't take in gas appliances such as hobs or boilers, and landlords are legally obliged to maintain any heating and hot water systems. …

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