Furniture and equipment
If you rent privately and the place is furnished, it’s likely that both you and your landlord have responsibilities to repair or replace furniture and other household items provided.
How can an inventory help?
When you move in to a new place, you should always check that there’s a detailed inventory. This should list all the items of furniture and equipment provided by the landlord and the condition they were in when you moved in. If the landlord doesn’t provide an inventory, do one yourself and ask the landlord to sign it as a witness. If s/he refuses, ask someone else to do so, and send a copy to your landlord.
When you move out, inspect the property with your landlord and check the condition of all the items on the inventory. If anything is missing, damaged, or broken (except through normal wear and tear), your landlord can keep all or part of your deposit, to cover the cost of repairing or replacing it.
Print off our sample inventory to help you.
What if furniture or equipment gets damaged?
If any items in your home become dangerous or unusable through everyday wear and tear, you should report the problem to your landlord straight away. They can then decide whether to repair or replace the item.
Your landlord is not allowed to charge you for reasonable wear and tear and should not keep your deposit to pay for it.
Take a look at our video on tenancy deposits to see what should happen.
Are there any standards for furniture safety?
Any furniture and equipment supplied by your landlord should be of reasonable quality and suitable for the purpose it’s provided for. This doesn’t mean that it needs to be brand new; but it should work and shouldn’t be dangerous.
Any new or replacement upholstered furniture (sofas, armchairs, mattresses, head boards and cushions) provided by your landlord after 1 March 1993 should be fire resistant. There should be a symbol on the label to show that it meets fire safety standards. If they do not conform to fire safety standards or seem in any way unsafe, ask your landlord to replace them.
What about gas equipment?
All gas appliances provided by your landlord, must be inspected every year by an engineer on the Gas Safe Register. Your landlord must keep a copy of the engineer’s report (s/he should give you a copy) and a registered gas engineer should fix any problems identified.
Any repairs or maintenance carried out on gas appliances must be done by a Gas Safe registered engineer. You can check if a gas engineer is registered here.
If you’re worried about gas safety in your home, report any problems to your landlord immediately and don’t use anything that you think is unsafe. See our section on home safety for more information.
Don’t take risks and never DIY with gas – it’s illegal to do so!
What about electrical appliances?
If your landlord supplies electrical appliances such as a fridge or washing machine, they may be responsible for fixing them if they break down. However, much will depend on what was agreed between you at the outset of the tenancy, and how important the item was to you when you decided to take up the tenancy. If you have a tenancy agreement check to see if it says whether the landlord is responsible. You are responsible for maintaining any electrical goods that you own.
Any electrical equipment provided by your landlord should be safe, but there is no requirement for a safety certificate.
What if I damage the furniture or equipment?
Always report any damage to your landlord straight away. If you suspect the furniture or appliance may be unsafe as a result of the damage, don’t use it.
If you damage furniture or equipment provided by your landlord, you are liable for repairing or replacing it. This is the case regardless of whether the damage was deliberate or accidental. Your landlord can probably keep all or part of your deposit to cover the costs involved. And s/he might be able to use this as a reason to evict you.
Where can I get help?
If you are having problems with furniture or equipment and aren’t sure of your rights, contact a local advice centre.
It’s important to consider how easily your landlord can evict you before you decide whether to take action. S/he may consider doing this to avoid carrying out expensive repairs. But if your home is dangerous, you have strong tenancy rights or you are locked into a long-term agreement, it is probably worth it. Speak to an adviser if you’re not sure.
If you think furniture, electrical or other equipment in your home is unsafe and your landlord refuses to do anything about it, you can also get advice from your nearest trading standards office. They may take action against your landlord.
If your landlord refuses to comply with gas safety standards, you should get in touch with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).