Even if you’re letting your property unfurnished, tenants these days expect white goods and certain electrical appliances to be included, namely:
- Oven and hob
- Washing machine
- ...even a microwave
As with any investment for a rented property, it’s a balance between cost and quality. Appliances are built with an average lifespan, in terms of hours of usage or cycles, so when you’re buying – and there is a huge price range for every appliance - you need to think about how much usage something is realistically going to get. According to the White Good Trade Association, washing machines, for example, can last for just 600 hours at the cheapest end of the spectrum, while the most expensive models can last for 10,000 hours or more. If it isn’t stated on the product, a salesperson should be able to advise you of the approximate lifespan.
Consider how many tenants will be in your property and assess the approximate usage. Then you can work out how long you can expect an appliance to last and weigh up the initial cost against how soon you’ll probably need to replace it. Generally speaking, if you go for something mid-range, it could last for around ten years, but at the lower end of the market, appliances may only last a few years.
When you’re making your decision, do bear in mind that it’s not all about cost. Cheaper appliances often don’t work as well, primarily because they are built from cheaper parts. And if you get tenants complaining about faults, it may end up costing you more in time, effort and repairs than if you’d spent more on the appliance in the first place! According to Which?, customer feedback 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 just 45% at the bottom.
Also consider that, as utility costs and energy efficiency become increasingly important to tenants, the more you spend, the less costly an appliance will be to run. An inefficient fridge freezer could cost £620 more than an efficient one in running costs over ten years of use (Which?), meaning tenant’s budgets are more likely to be under pressure, or your own if an HMO with bills included.
In terms of ongoing costs, you can take out insurance to cover your white goods for breakdown and repairs, but be careful to look at the possible long-term cost and balance this with the price of a replacement appliance. And remember that as these are classed as ‘portable’ appliances, you should have them PAT tested by an electrician or certifiedPAT tester every year, to ensure they are safe for the tenant to use.