Q&A: My tenants want a tumble dryer, do I have to buy one?

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My tenants want a tumble dryer, do I have to buy one?

Technically… no. Legally, you don’t have to provide a tumble dryer, but it’s worth considering as it may be in your long-term best interests.

Have your tenants raised this as an issue?

We always recommend keeping communications open with your tenants, so if they’ve raised it as an issue, hear them out. While you might not understand why it’s tricky, they are the people in the property, so try to see their point of view.

This is particularly true if there is some outdoor space – while this negates the need for a tumble dryer in the warmer months, the Great British Summer is notoriously unreliable and the chillier months make outdoor drying almost impossible.

If there is a launderette nearby, this is also not always a solution. With full-time jobs and other commitments, getting to the launderette just isn’t always practical – and is often quite costly!

What you don’t want is your tenants resorting to indoor drying – clothes horses around the flat, damp towels over radiators and doors, smalls suspended over the bath. Drying clothes indoors can cause condensation and mould if not ventilated properly. During the colder months, it’s very unlikely they’ll be throwing open the windows to ventilate the rooms as they dry their laundry. The condensation and mould then leads to severe damage to decoration and possibly even deterioration of the structure of your property – which will cost you a lot more than the price of a tumble dryer to fix!

You also have your tenants themselves to consider, as mould can lead to lasting health problems, particularly if they have underlying health concerns like asthma.

With all that in mind, you can see how the initial outlay can actually save you money (and your tenants’ stress!) in the long run.

A washer-dryer or a standalone dryer?

Space is often at a premium, but if you have it, it is better to get a standalone dryer rather than a washer-dryer. When washing clothes, the items need to rub against each other to get clean, so the drum is much smaller. The opposite is true for a dryer – you want plenty of space, so that the air can get between the clothes and dry them more quickly. In a smaller washer-style drum, it will take longer to dry them, which will cost your tenants more and is much less environmentally friendly.

A smaller drum may also mean that larger items like towels and sheets may still end up draped around your property – so if you have the space for a standalone dryer, definitely go for that!

What types of dryer are there?

Now we’ve sold you on a standalone dryer, it’s time to consider what type to get because, oh yes, there are a multitude of options!

Vented: Hot and damp air is vented (hence the name!) through a flexible hose that takes it outside. This can be permanently vented through an outside wall or temporarily hung out of a window when in use.

Condenser: No venting needed! The steam created in the drying process is condensed into water and collected in a tank and the machine indicates when the tank needs emptying. The main advantage here is that you can put this dryer anywhere, you don’t need to have access to an outside wall or nearby window.

Condenser with heat pump: Some condenser dryers now come with heat pumps. This is a relatively new technology that dramatically decreases the running costs (which will make you popular with your tenants!) as the pump reheats the air that’s circulating in the dryer.

Gas: As you might expect, this version uses gas as the heat source. Just like electric vented dryers, the damp air is expelled through a hose, but the gas dryer uses mains gas to heat the air inside the dryer, while electricity turns the drum and powers the control panel. 

Tumble dryers are rated on an energy efficiency scale of A++ to G, with A++ the most efficient. The most efficient dryers on the market are gas-vented dryers and condenser dryers with heat pumps, both of which have a typical running cost of as little as £30 a year, while the others are closer to £100. 

We’d always encourage you to get the most energy efficient items you can – think of your EPC rating! – but the prices vary greatly. For around £150 you can snag yourself a basic C rated dryer, while a condenser dryer with heat pumps are usually over £700. So you may well be constrained by your budget.

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