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Must I provide a tumble dryer to my tenants?


My tenants have asked for a tumble dryer, but I am reluctant to buy one, I think there are other options available. I understand that they don't want wet clothes everywhere, but I have looked online and there's a launderette just down the road, and the property has a small area of garden that they could use. Am I obligated to supply a tumble dryer?


Whilst legally you do not have to provide a tumble dryer, it may be in you long term best interests to consider the investment…

If your tenants have raised this as an issue, it is possible that they are finding managing the washing a little tricky in the property. Whilst we have had some wonderful weather so keeping on top of drying clothes hasn’t been hard, as we move into the chillier months it will become harder, and if your tenants have a high volume of washing, this can be difficult.

Launderettes are not always practical, and with the weather not always on our side, drying clothes in the garden isn’t necessarily always an option… which leaves the inevitable draping over radiators and hanging over the bath scenario – frustrating for them and not good news for you either.

Drying clothes indoors can cause condensation and terrible mould if not ventilated properly. This can lead to not only severe damage to decoration, but lasting health problems for your tenants and even the deterioration of the actual structure of your property – and that’s a pricey problem!

If your tenants are having to dry clothes in their living space, especially as it gets colder, it is unlikely they’ll be opening the windows wide and ventilating the room as well as they should, so these issues are just waiting to happen.

With this in mind, although the initial outlay of a tumble dryer is a cost you may not have factored in, if your tenants have raised the issue as a problem, you can almost pre-epmt upcoming problems associated with drying clothes indoors. Maybe you should consider the cost/difficulty of dealing with them, against the cost of supplying a tumble dryer?

What to consider when buying a washer dryer/dryer

If you do decide to go ahead with a dryer and you have the space, it is best to get a standalone dryer rather than a washer/dryer. To wash laundry the clothes need to rub against each other so a washing machine's drum size is designed for this to happen. But to tumble dry, clothes need plenty of space to be able to open up and fall through the hot air.

A washer/dryer may still tempt tenants to dry some clothes, or large items like towels and bedding, in the property if there wasn’t space to get all the wet clothes in the dryer. No matter how big washing machine drums get they’ll always be able to wash a lot more than they can tumble dry!

Once you have identified a location for the dryer you can decide which of the types of dryer to choose:

  • Vented: hot and damp air from your laundry is removed through a flexible hose that takes it outside. It can be permanently vented through an outside wall using a vented kit, which is usually included, or through a flexible venting hose that can be temporarily hung out of a window when the dryer is in use.
  • Condenser: they need no venting because the steam created in the drying process is condensed into water which is collected in a tank. A light indicates when the tank is full and needs emptying. The main advantage of owning a condenser dryer is that you're able to conveniently place it almost anywhere, as no external venting is needed, giving you maximum flexibility.
  • Condenser tumble dryers with heat pump: some electric condenser tumble dryers now come heat pumps - a relatively new technology that dramatically reduces how much it costs to run compared to a standard condenser dryer. The job of the heat pump is to reheat the air that's circulating within the dryer.
  • Gas tumble dryers: they use gas as their heat source to dry the laundry. As with electric vented tumble dryers, damp air is expelled from the machine through a hose - but gas dryers use mains gas to heat the air inside the dryer. Electricity is used to turn the drum and power the control panel, but this is less than 10% of the total electricity used by an electric dryer.Tumble dryers are rated on a scale of A++ to G according to their energy efficiency. A++ appliances are most efficient and therefore cheaper to run; while G rated appliances are least efficient.
The most energy-efficient tumble dryers on the market are gas-vented dryers and condenser dryers with heat pumps. Both these types of dryer have typical running costs of as little as £30 a year, while regular condenser and vented dryers have typical running costs of just under £100 a year.

Tumble dryers can cost as little £150 for a basic C rated one up to the pricier condenser dryers with heat pumps which are generally in excess of £700.

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