Last month Whirlpool announced a product recall for washing machines manufactured under the Hotpoint and Indesit brand names between 2014 and 2018.
Product recalls are usually announced by large companies when there is a genuine problem with the products that have been sold or being sold by major high street or online brands. Whirlpool is such a large company and it has issued a product recall for its Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines.
The recall was announced following a number of complaints that machines were overheating and catching fire and, in some instances, destroying not only the machine but also other property.
On the PainSmith Helpline we have had some calls about this recall from agents who fear properties have these machines or may have these machines. A landlord’s responsibility extends to ensuring that properties and appliances they have supplied are safe. With this in mind landlords should ensure that any appliances they purchase for a rental property are registered with the manufacturer. Registration ensures that in the event of a product recall companies can get in touch and advise owners of the risk and the steps they need to take to resolve any issue.
If products can no longer be registered landlords are advised to ensure they obtain the make and model number of appliances supplied to tenants. This information will ensure landlords have the information necessary to carry out checks in the event of a product recall announcement.
Where an appliance is subject to a recall notice tenants should be advised, and an agreement reached on access for an engineer to carry out any repairs. If an engineer attends a rental property someone will need to be present at the property at the same time. Tenants cannot be required to attend but are required to provide access. If the tenant is not able or prepared to attend, then landlords will need to do so or ask their agent to do so on their behalf.
This particular recall notice states that if the appliance is subject to this recall it should be turned off and Whirlpool contacted. However, we are aware that some tenants are being advised or are electing to use the machine on a cold wash until such time as the machine is replaced or repaired. An appliance which is subject to a recall notice should not be used without someone present and ideally should only be used if the manufacturer advises that it is safe to do so. In this particular instance no such advice has been given so tenants should not be encouraged to do this.
In some instances, the landlord may not have details of the appliances they have supplied, and they may have difficulty gaining access to a property to obtain this information. On this occasion landlords can only stress the need for access to their tenants and hope that eventually access will be granted. Entry cannot be gained by force.
This situation will no doubt cause concern for landlords and agents, but it is important to ensure the model numbers of appliances are checked and then contact made with the tenant if necessary. If access to a property is proving difficult landlords are advised to seek legal advice to assist with access and resolve the situation sooner rather than later.
Where a landlord has expressed in the tenancy agreement that they will maintain or repair appliances then they will need to do so or provide an alternative. This means that if the appliance is unsafe to use landlords may need to compensate tenants who use a laundry or dry cleaners.
The contents of this blog post is not legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only. If legal advice is needed readers should contact a solicitor. No responsibility for any information contained within this post is accepted and PainSmith solicitors accepts no liability in respect of the contents or for action taken based on this post.
Published 16 January 2020