Do Landlords Have to Fix Kitchen Appliances?

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Most states don’t require landlords to fix broken or missing kitchen appliances or “amenities”. However, the lease or rental agreement may require either the tenant or the landlord fix the amenity - these agreements are usually enforceable. Some states require landlords who supply amenities to maintain them. Any broken appliances that cause a danger to the tenant must be fixed or removed by the landlord at their expense.

Check the Lease

First, check the lease because the terms of the lease typically override any default state or laws about appliances. Despite any legal requirements, most tenants and landlords follow the principle that if the apartment came with amenity, then the landlord fixes the appliance when it breaks from normal wear and tear. Part of the reason is that tenants generally expect working kitchen appliances when renting a place. When the current tenants move out, the landlord may have a tough time renting to new tenants if things are broken. Because the landlord is typically incentivized to repair the problem eventually, it makes sense most of the time to fix it immediately for the benefit of the current tenants.

Broken Amenities - No Lease

Most states don’t require landlords to fix amenities unless they promised to do so in their lease. However, it is common for landlords to repair these amenities because the cost of finding new tenants to move into an apartment without working kitchen amenities is high and can exceed the cost of making the repairs. Some states, especially states with heavy tenant populations, may require landlords to fix any amenities that were provided when the tenant moved in. Alternatively, many tenants and landlords agree to a reduction in rent in exchange for an appliance that no longer functions.

Dangerous Situations

Landlords are generally required to fix appliances at their own cost if it causes a danger to tenants, regardless of what’s in the lease. For example, a broken stove that’s leaking gas needs to be fixed by the landlord such that the hazard of fire is eliminated. In every state except Arkansas, leases include an “implied warranty of habitability” which requires apartments to be safe and livable. It exists as a tenant right even if there is no written lease, it’s not mentioned in the lease, or even despite a lease that says the landlord is not responsible. The exact details of what needs to be fixed to keep the apartment safe and livable depends heavily by state, but the key factors are health and safety (not comfort, annoyance, or quality). The landlord cannot charge tenants for these repairs and tenants are free to break a lease if the landlord doesn’t fix the problem in a reasonable time (some jurisdictions specify exact time periods by which landlords must fix issues). Some dangerous conditions caused by appliances may be a violation of the implied warranty, depending the state. In breaking the lease and moving out, tenants are entitled to their deposit back, but in practicality, it may prove difficult to get the landlord to hand back the money. Tenants should be careful when breaking a lease to move out. Their next landlord may discover the incident in the tenant’s rental history, so they should be prepared with the documented story of why it was necessary to move out.

Tenant’s Fault

Landlords are generally not required to fix any appliance where the tenant is responsible for its breaking. Most commonly, this occurs when tenants misuse garbage disposals, but misuse of any appliance is usually the responsibility of the tenant. In the rare case that a lease explicitly says that the landlord is responsible for repairs regardless of who’s at fault, the landlord would be required to fix the problem.

Check the Lease


First, check the lease because the terms of the lease typically override any default state or laws about appliances.

Despite any legal requirements, most tenants and landlords follow the principle that if the apartment came with amenity, then the landlord fixes the appliance when it breaks from normal wear and tear. Part of the reason is that tenants generally expect working kitchen appliances when renting a place. When the current tenants move out, the landlord may have a tough time renting to new tenants if things are broken. Because the landlord is typically incentivized to repair the problem eventually, it makes sense most of the time to fix it immediately for the benefit of the current tenants.

Broken Amenities - No Lease


Most states don’t require landlords to fix amenities unless they promised to do so in their lease. However, it is common for landlords to repair these amenities because the cost of finding new tenants to move into an apartment without working kitchen amenities is high and can exceed the cost of making the repairs. Some states, especially states with heavy tenant populations, may require landlords to fix any amenities that were provided when the tenant moved in. Alternatively, many tenants and landlords agree to a reduction in rent in exchange for an appliance that no longer functions.

Dangerous Situations


Landlords are generally required to fix appliances at their own cost if it causes a danger to tenants, regardless of what’s in the lease. For example, a broken stove that’s leaking gas needs to be fixed by the landlord such that the hazard of fire is eliminated.

In every state except Arkansas, leases include an “implied warranty of habitability” which requires apartments to be safe and livable. It exists as a tenant right even if there is no written lease, it’s not mentioned in the lease, or even despite a lease that says the landlord is not responsible. The exact details of what needs to be fixed to keep the apartment safe and livable depends heavily by state, but the key factors are health and safety (not comfort, annoyance, or quality). The landlord cannot charge tenants for these repairs and tenants are free to break a lease if the landlord doesn’t fix the problem in a reasonable time (some jurisdictions specify exact time periods by which landlords must fix issues). Some dangerous conditions caused by appliances may be a violation of the implied warranty, depending the state.

In breaking the lease and moving out, tenants are entitled to their deposit back, but in practicality, it may prove difficult to get the landlord to hand back the money. Tenants should be careful when breaking a lease to move out. Their next landlord may discover the incident in the tenant’s rental history, so they should be prepared with the documented story of why it was necessary to move out.

Tenant’s Fault


Landlords are generally not required to fix any appliance where the tenant is responsible for its breaking. Most commonly, this occurs when tenants misuse garbage disposals, but misuse of any appliance is usually the responsibility of the tenant. In the rare case that a lease explicitly says that the landlord is responsible for repairs regardless of who’s at fault, the landlord would be required to fix the problem.

Last Update : July 22, 2018 UTC

Comments discussing Kitchen Appliance

about 1 year ago
0
votes

I don't think my landlord is supposed to be renting this place as a studio apt
Renter in Las Vegas, NV, USA
Kitchen Appliance
about 2 years ago
0
votes

No idea
Renter in Chicago, NJ, USA
Kitchen Appliance