Who is responsible for the appliances at a rental home?

The ongoing debate between landlord and tenant

At Oak City Properties, we handle a lot of different issues when dealing with the rental homes we manage. Concerns and questions pertaining to the proper running and maintenance of the property. When it comes to an appliance that is no longer working or not functioning as intended, the question is always- Who is responsible: the landlord or the tenant?

The appliance breakdown (pun intended)

To start with, the landlord is required to provide a fair and habitable premises for use by the tenant in exchange for rent. When it comes to appliances, this can be somewhat ambiguous as to whether or not a repair is required. So let’s break down each appliance and go from there.

Must repair appliances

Refrigerator- A fridge is considered to be something that must be repaired or replaced by the landlord. A refrigerator is a necessity which makes this debate rather cut and dry. If the refrigerator breaks, the landlord needs to fix/replace the item immediately.

Stove/Oven- A stove/oven is also considered to be something that a landlord must replace or repair if it breaks due to it being a necessity to the tenant.

Appliance “fuzzy” area

Dishwasher- A dishwasher is an appliance where it gets a little fuzzy. A dishwasher, by most accounts, would fall into the category of “must fix” by the landlord if offered in the listing. However, it can be an item that isn’t covered by the landlord because it is categorized as a luxury item. The best way to look at this situation is- what would you want done if you were renting a home? If (as a landlord) you provided the refrigerator, best practice would be to fix/replace when needed. If you want to make sure to cover the issue fully, feel free to add stipulations in the lease before the tenant signs.

Microwave- This is also somewhat of a luxury rather than a necessity. If you have an oven/stove, you do not “need” a microwave. The best way to look at this is… if the microwave is built into the cabinets it should be treated like part of the house and repaired. If the microwave is free standing, it is up to the landlord/tenant to come to an agreement.

No need to replace

Garbage Disposal-A garbage disposal is not a necessity and does not have to be repaired by the landlord.

A controversial replacement item

Washer and Dryer- This is the most controversial of all appliances! The item(s) that demands the most debate. Most landlords, nowadays, like to provide a washer and dryer in their property with the caveat that if they break they will not warrant them. Fundamentally, a washer and dryer are not a necessity and are not required to be repaired by the homeowner. However, in our opinion at Oak City Properties, if you are offering a washer and dryer, you should fix them. If you are not interested in dealing with the repair of the items, then don’t bother offering them with the home.

Final thoughts about appliances

When it comes to fixing appliances, the rule of thumb (in our opinion) is: if you are going to provide the appliance, you should honor the tenant and fix the broken item. If you have reservations about repairing the item, simply remove it and eliminate the element of chance.

Want help renting your home?

If you’re not the kind of person who wants to deal with tenant issues and maintenance concerns that arise when renting a home, contact a property management service. At Oak City Properties, we work with you each step of the way when renting your property. Our full management property service will market the property, locate prospective tenants, and show the home. Once a tenant is placed in your rental property, we will: collect rent payments, assess and collect late payment fees, provide 24/7 maintenance, help with accounting/tax services, and deal with any court appearances in the event of an eviction.

If you are interested in learning more, give us a call at (919)-232-9222 or check out our website: https://oakcityproperties.com

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