Property Manager Guide: White Goods Faults

Explore white goods vs. brown goods, causes of their failure, remedies, legal aspects, and property management tips.

What are White Goods and Brown Goods?

White goods refer to a category of large household appliances that encompass a wide range of essential electrical devices utilized in homes. These appliances include refrigerators, cooking ranges, microwaves, tumble dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners, central heating systems, freezers, trash compactors, and washing machines. The term “white goods” derives its name from the historical practice of these appliances being predominantly available in white enamel coatings.
White goods are available in a variety of colors, deviating from the traditional white appearance. Nevertheless, irrespective of their color variations, these appliances are still commonly referred to as white goods. Alternatively, some individuals may describe them as major household appliances.
The word household appliances refer to the machines and devices you use for heating, cooling, cooking, or washing in your home. Although TVs, radios, computers or game consoles can be household devices, they are defined as brown goods.

Where White Goods are Located in the Property?

 White good faults can occur anywhere in your home where large appliances use fuel to operate.
  • Kitchen: The faults can occur in large kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, microwave ovens, dishwashers, compact trash compactors, freezers, and cooking ranges.
  • Bathroom: Tankless instant gas water heaters and electric water heaters malfunction such as mineral buildup, flame failure, system failure, cold water sandwich, and exhaust blockage is referred to as white goods faults.
  • Laundry Room: Appliances such as washing machines, vented tumble dryers, and condenser tumble dryers can be affected.
  • Bedroom and Living Room: air conditioners and central heating systems can become faulty in bedroom, drawing room or living room spaces.
  • Attic, cellar, and garage: People often install white goods appliances such as water heaters and boilers in the garage and the attic that can malfunction at any time.

What Are the Causes?

 White goods faults cause 12000 fires in Britain. The main causes for large appliance failure are as follows.
  • Cheap and unreliable devices brands
  • Second-hand repaired white goods
  • Using white goods after the life expectancy period
  • Poor electrical and gas fitting to the white goods appliances
  • Not operating the appliances as per owner’s manual
  • Leaving surfaces wet around the white goods area
  • White goods appliances maintenance not done on time
  • Mould growth on white goods

What are the Remedies Available?

 To prevent the appliances from failing, it is important to exercise caution and make sensible purchasing decisions.
For property managers/landlords:
  • Never buy cheap, second-hand or unknown brands. Check online reviews before deciding to buy a device/appliance.
  • Use quality fitting material such as electrical leads, plumbing and gas pipes to overcome any electrical sparks or gas and water leaks.
  • Place your white goods in ventilated spaces.
  • Clean filters where possible on appliances.
  • Replace the appliances if they are over their life expectancy period or show any sign of a malfunction.
  • Follow the white goods maintenance schedule.
  • Provide tenants with manuals.
Ask tenants:
  • To defrost fridges and freezers at least once a year.
  • Never leave any appliances running unattended when they plan to leave the house or go to sleep.
  • Never overload your household appliances.
  • Check for mould in and around the white goods.

Are There Any Legal Implications?

If appliances are provided to the tenants at the start of the tenancy, unless stated otherwise in the agreement, landlords have a responsibility to take care of all appliances. However, it is essential to consider any legal contractual duty that might be present and agreed upon while signing the tenancy agreement, as this can further clarify who holds the responsibility for the repairs and replacement of white goods.
Secondly, it is totally up to the landlord to supply white goods to the tenant or not. However, it is a common practice nowadays to consider white goods as basic amenities for the tenant.
If the tenant is responsible for the damage to the appliance in the premises either accidentally or deliberately, he/she will pay for repairs and replacements. Otherwise, the landlord can sue the tenant to deduct the value of the device from the tenant’s security deposit if the tenant can’t afford or is unwilling to pay for the damage.
If the lease agreement stipulates that the landlord is accountable for white goods and the damage occurs due to inadequate safety protocols or faulty appliances, it may enable the tenant to pursue legal action.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

PAT testing, short for Portable Appliance Testing, is a crucial aspect of property management, particularly when it comes to white goods and electrical appliances. It is a safety procedure that involves the regular inspection and testing of portable electrical appliances to ensure they are safe to use.
PAT testing involves checking the safety of electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves, dishwashers, and other similar items commonly found in rental properties or managed buildings. The testing is typically conducted by a qualified electrician or a competent person trained in PAT testing.
During the PAT testing process, the technician examines the appliance for any visible damage or wear and tear. They also assess the internal electrical components to identify potential faults or defects that might lead to electrical hazards. Additionally, the appliances’ electrical insulation and earthing are examined to ensure they comply with safety standards.
If the appliance passes the PAT test, it is labeled with a sticker indicating the date of the test and the next due date for retesting. If any issues or faults are found during the testing, the appliance is either repaired or taken out of service until the necessary repairs are completed.

PAT testing is essential for property managers as it helps to:

Ensure safety:

Regular testing ensures that the electrical appliances in the property are safe to use for both tenants and visitors.


Property managers must adhere to safety regulations, and PAT testing helps demonstrate compliance with electrical safety standards.

Reduce risks:

Identifying and addressing potential faults early on can prevent electrical accidents, fires, and property damage.

Tenant satisfaction:

Providing safe and well-maintained appliances enhances tenant satisfaction and reduces the likelihood of complaints or legal disputes.
PAT testing is not a legal requirement and usually property managers try to avoid doing it, as it can be quite costly, but if landlords want this to be arranged, our property managers can do it.

What To Consider As A Property Manager?

As a property manager, you should inspect the rented property regularly in the following ways to check for white goods faults.
  • Work with the tenant to identify the white good faults locations
  • Establish who (Landlord or tenant) is responsible for the repairs by identifying the cause of the failure of the white goods
  • Troubleshoot the maintenance with the tenants to see if we can try and resolve the issue
  • Present evidence to the landlord in the form of pictures and videos
  • Keep a record of white goods warranty periods for repairs and replacement
  • Inspect for fried cables, tripped fuses, hot water leaky pipes, wet surfaces around white goods to prevent faults
  • Develop an appliance inventory system

Tenant Factsheet

It is the tenant’s responsibility to repair or pay for the damages for white goods if the cause of the failure was his/her doing. To prevent any device failure a tenant can:
  • Install fixtures and fitting with the consent of the landlord
  • Change fuses and plugs to prevent faults
  • Keep the home, especially bathrooms, attics, basements, laundry rooms dry and clean to avoid dampness and mould.
  • Make sure that the appliances are dry and clean after usage.
  • Use the white appliances according to the owner’s manual.
  • Report major faults to the property manager or the landlord.
  • Keep the evidence in form of pictures and videos to determine the responsible individual (Tenant or landlord)

Want your property management done right? Let’s talk!

Please, feel free to drop an email to or message us on WhatsApp at +44 330 321 3500 and we can show you how we can help.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x