Should I provide a tumble dryer for my tenants?

Question

Am I wrong in not wanting to buy a tumble dryer for a 4 bed HMO?? They have asked for one because they don't all want to have clothes drying in the lounge (who does!). By having a quick look on google I have spotted a launderette at the bottom of the road, would it not make more sense to just pop down there for half an hour and it's all done!! I had to take all my washing to one when I first moved out, no one supplied me with a dryer!!!

Answer

If the launderette is as close as you say it is then it would make sense for your tenants to take their washing to the launderette. There are not so many launderettes around these days and you are lucky to have this choice. However, the culture of going to a launderette has changed so they may not be willing and launderettes can be expensive.

See how they react to you telling them about the launderette and get a feeling whether they will act on your suggestion. If they then don’t do this and continue to use the living room, you may be the one regretting not buying the tumble dryer.

Tenancy Agreements and drying clothes

Drying clothes indoors can cause condensation and terrible mould and you could end up with a hefty re-decorating bill when the tenants move out. If it is also their living space they use to dry clothes, it is unlikely they’ll be opening the windows wide and ventilating the room in the middle of winter, which is what you should do when drying clothes indoors.

Many tenancy agreements including the one provided by URBAN have a clause giving guidance on the drying of clothes in properties. The URBAN agreement states: 'You must not dry washing inside the property, except in a ventilated room suitable for such purposes.’ You should check your tenancy agreement to see if you have such a clause.

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 they need plenty of space to be able to open up and fall through the hot air.

A washer/dryer may tempt tenants to dry some clothes 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 dryer energy efficiency and cost

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 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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