OpenRent Community

False advertising?

I have just put down a holding deposit for a flat that I’m about to start renting. I love the flat and I definitely want to stay there, however, I have just found out that, contrary to the advert which states there is a “washer/dryer”, it actually just has a regular washing machine.

This has been very disappointing to find out as it will mean I have to spend more money than I had planned to on clothes drying related equipment such as a heated dryer. This may not seem such a big deal to some, but is quite pricey when you concider that this is an unfurnished flat and my first ever place on my own so I am having to buy everything from scratch.

Even if you ignore the money side of the issue, it dawned on me that surely this counts as false advertising which is illegal and presumably they are therefore obliged to provide me with the facilities advertised? Not 100% sure how the law around false advertising works but would really appreciate it if anyone could give me some advice on what would be the best course of action?

(just for reference the flat only has electric heating so I cannot use the radiators to dry my clothes, there are no communal dryers or washing machines and I have no outdoor area to dry my clothes)

It may well just have been a simple error on the part of whoever wrote the advert (especially if it was an agent) seeing as there is a machine there and from what you have said it would appear to be a nice property.
Think you should initially approach the landlord or agent and explain that the washing machine is just that. No need to go in with all guns blazing at this stage.
If I was the landlord I would supply the machine as I would consider it an investment if it prevented condensation because tenants were drying clothes on airers with no dehumidifier in sight.
A heated dryer can be had from £40.
You may be surprised that the landlord responds positively but if not it depends how much of a song and dance you want to make of it. Although I do appreciate it is a disappointment and inconvenience for you.

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If you dry the clothes over racks in the bathroom with the window open a little they should dry in a day or so and it shouldn’t cause excess moisture. Most people in the country, including me, manage without a clothes dryer.

There is no window in the bathroom sadly so I will be unable to do that

If you haven’t moved in you can ask for your holding deposit back on the grounds that its not as advertised, or you could ask them to remove their washing machine so that you can supply your own washer/dryer if the flat is rented as unfurnished there shouldn’t be one there anyway?

I assume there is an extractor fan in the bathroom. If you run that and supplement it with a dehumidifier, it will cost far less to run than a tumble dryer.

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My thoughts are that it would be grounds to pull out and get your deposit back now. But if you carry on and sign a contract in the knowledge that it has no dryer, I don’t think you’d have any grounds for further complaint because you signed in the knowledge that there wasn’t a dryer.

You should avoid drying washing on heated dryers or radiators etc anyway if you can because it causes damp in the flat if you don’t sufficiently ventilate.

So, you could point that out to them and ask if they’d be willing to replace it with a washer dryer because it would be better for the flat.

If you pull out and won’t return your deposit, then, if it’s an agent, you’d have to go through their complaints process and then potentially take it to their trade body if they are registered with one.

If it’s not an agent then it might be harder, but if it’s advertised through someone like Openrent, you could ask them for help.

If they continue to advertise it as having a washer dryer, then you could probably report it to trading standards or their trade body if it’s an agent because it is not just a simple mistake then.

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It’s not as advertised so you can pull out and get your holding deposit back . If you really like the place though just fire off an e mail to the agent or LL pointing it out and ask ( nicely) if the washer could be replaced with a WD. They will say no or they will say yes but if it’s the latter it needs to be in something provable (hence I suggested e mail )so it’s on the record not just a deniable phone call.
The risk in bringing this up at all is the LL may decide you will be a fussy tenant and reject you altogether .

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Thank you for the advice everyone. I called the estate agents and politely explained the situation and that because I want to make sure that I leave the flat in the same condition as when I arrived I wondered whether the landlord would be willing to swap the washing machine for a washer dryer as advertised, as I was concerned about potentially causing any damp issues from leaving clothes out to dry in the flat. Sadly they told me that they didn’t think the landlord would be willing to do that and just told me to keep the flat well ventilated when leaving my washing out to dry as some of you have mentioned. It still says washer/dryer on the ad. Frustrating but at the end of the day it’s the best flat I’ve come across so I’ll just have to deal with it.

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The agents have not actually asked the landlord if they said the ‘don’t think’ the LL would be prepared to change it. Agents do try and shield the LL, but also if the agent, at best, assumed the appliance was a washer/dryer or at worst, deliberately misrepresented what was being supplied, they would not want the LL to know this, as either way they are in the wrong.
There should be the LL’s details on your AST so you could contact directly. If not, the agents are obliged to provide them by law if you request them.
My son was a tenant in a flat as you describe. He had an airer up constantly in a small bedroom and it is an inconvenience. Hard to dry sheets and towels too.
You could wait a few months, summer is coming up so easier to get things dry then, and if you are on a six month AST you could then bring the matter up again, or they may approach you to find out your intentions to stay or go, and tell them then you have tried to manage but it really is an inconvenience not being able to get washing dry properly.
By then you would have proved your worth as a tenant and if the LL were to lose you they would have to be paying a lot out to the agent to find another tenant. The agent would not be complaining at this, so if they still refuse, it would be a good ploy to approach the LL directly.
You may be able to find a heated airer on places like Freecycle or there will be students at this time of year getting rid of such items as their final term will shortly be ending.
Ms.T.

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