Helpful Tips Property Management

Forum Spotlight: Broken dishwasher – are my tenants liable?

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

A landlord posted on our Forum recently with a question about an integrated dishwasher in their property.

In the contract, the landlord has included a specific clause that says a tenant must maintain white goods, in accordance with the information given in the house folder, (which booklets on all of the appliances in the house)

This includes things like keeping the dishwasher topped up with salt, as previously the dishwasher had broken down when it was not maintained in this way.

Inspection

A recent inspection was carried out at three months, and during this the landlord found that the salt level in the dishwasher in question was very low. Based on this, the landlord wrote in an inspection report that in future the tenant needs to make sure that this is kept topped up.

However, ten days after this inspection, the tenant got in touch with the landlord to say that the dishwasher had now completely broken down.

The landlord had asked the tenant whether she had looked in the manual or not, and she said she had not. While the landlord fully understood and accepted that it was his responsibility to ensure that the dishwasher was repaired or replaced, they wanted to know whether they could hold them liable in anyway, because it was clear to him that the tenant had not maintained it as per the agreement, even if this might be hard to prove.

What our forum users suggested

The first member suggested that it would be a good idea for this landlord to first get insurance cover. This member also said that if the landlord supplies the white goods, then they also fix it without question, especially if the cause of the problem cannot be proved.

Another member offered their opinion, and said that it would also be a good idea in future for this landlord to include things like cleaning out the filters on each appliance in they, the landlords regular maintenance inspections.

This is because in her experience, this kind of thing can be too technical for some tenants, meaning it gets left undone, and this lack of regular maintenance plays a part in causing appliances to break down. As the landlord, by checking that all filers are cleaned out every 13 weeks, it gives her peace of mind.

This members also suggested that it was probably not the lac of salt in the dishwasher that caused it to break down, but probably the tenant not clearing the filters in it of food and grease.

Response from our Landlord Advice Team

The landlord would struggle to hold the tenant liable for this, because of the lack of supporting evidence. It would be the landlords word against the tenants.

However, an engineer may be able to assess and highlight the root cause of the dishwasher motor not working, and this might go some way to providing some evidence, should the landlord want to pursue the tenant for this issue.

Find out more
  • The RLA runs a course on Property Repairs, which you can express interest for HERE
  • Read the original Forum Post here

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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