The last call you want to receive from a tenant is a frantic plea for help saying the air conditioner has stopped working, the plumbing is leaking, or the electricity is out. If you are the landlord of a rental property, these are all issues covered by the liveability standards. These standards include the basic needs for shelter.
On the other hand, a tenant pays to live in a unit as described in the Lease Agreement. Basic needs to be provided by the landlord include power, water, sewage, pest control, heating, and air. Suppose the unit falls short of that description. In that case, the landlord has an obligation to fix the item to the specification in the agreement and according to those same standards of liveability.
Appliances are another topic altogether.
So, who is responsible for appliance repair?
First, a landlord is not required to provide appliances at all, a fact many potential renters do not know. These optional appliances include:
- Washing machine and dryer
- Stove-top and oven
These are all a part of the package the landlord provides at his/her own discretion. For instance, college town apartments will typically include all appliances due to the students’ financial situation.
Homes for rent sometimes do not include appliances. It is the decision of the homeowner which appliances they want to supply. The appliances are then listed, and responsibility will be added to the lease agreement.
As for the repairs…
If the landlord provides all appliances, the landlord will often want to care for them, protecting the investment. The rental/lease agreement will define the terms and the extent of responsibility.
If the tenant supplies the appliance, the tenant is the one who will pay for repairs and maintain the instrument. The tenant also will take the appliances with them upon the termination of the lease agreement.
However, if the landlord has supplied the appliances and the tenant damages the appliance, that is another subject. If a tenant burns dinner on the stove, cracks the glass on the oven door, or runs a bottle of nail polish through the washer, the repair or replacement will be on the tenant. In cases like these, the tenant will want to confess to the accident and ask the landlord how they would like them to handle the issue. Honesty and transparency is the best policy.
When an Appliance Issue Arises
Should an appliance need repair, look over your lease agreement and report the repair need to the landlord. Agreeing on the way to proceed is beneficial to both parties. Not to mention, renters are often required by the terms of the agreement to report issues as they arise.
In turn, landlords are required by law to provide notice before scheduling or entering for a repair. They must also provide written notice for rental/lease violations.
Landlord/Tenant Communication is Key
In any partnership, communication is key to a positive working relationship. You can avoid a misunderstanding by keeping one another informed of the unit’s condition and all its working parts.
Before move-in, a tenant should inspect all appliances for damage and function. These issues should be noted and agreed upon by both landlord and tenant. This way, the tenant is sure to be held responsible only for the damage created while occupying the residence and not the previous renter.
Quick DIY Appliance Repairs & Maintenance
Some reasonable wear is expected, depending on the length of the rental. Damages are entirely different and can come out of the tenant’s security deposit or require replacement. Again, this is where knowing the language stated in the lease agreement is so important. Even an issue like nail holes in the walls and landscaping/lawncare should be covered in the documents.
Appliance repairs & maintenance can be a headache, but there are some simple and easy tricks you can do in just 5-10 minutes that might extend or fix your appliances. Here are a few tips from Gulf Coast Appliance Repair:
- Clean your dryer exhaust
- Check to make sure your appliance fuses are working properly
- Clean your air conditioners filter
- Change your refrigerators water filter
- Clean dishwasher float switch and valve screen
- Clear out the ice that’s stuck together or to the icebox
Providing appliances and the responsibility there-in can be a burden on a landlord. But they are often necessary items for the tenant to decide the place is worth renting. It really depends on the tenants, themselves, and the market expectations for the area.
The decision is ultimately up to the landlord. It’s particularly important for first-time landlords to make sure they’ve clearly communicated whose responsibility the appliances are.
With some time spent on a well-written lease agreement and a bit of communication, the landlord and tenant can come to peaceful resolutions to any appliance repair issues.