When a tenant moves in, several appliances may be already present in the rental unit. The tenant is responsible for carefully using all these appliances and keeping them in clean condition. But what if an appliance broke suddenly? Whose responsibility is it to repair the broken appliances, especially the refrigerator?
Is it the landlords’ responsibility to repair the broken appliances? What if the broken appliance cannot be repaired? These common questions may come to your mind while moving in.
With every lease agreement, there is an implied warranty of habitability. This means that the landlord must keep the rental space in good and habitable condition. For example, if there is a broken refrigerator, the landlord’s responsibility is to repair and make it functional.
So, we can infer that the landlord has to repair or replace the broken appliances in most circumstances.
However, this is not always the case. Depending on what is written in your lease agreement also determines who is responsible for repairing the broken appliances.
It is also important that you know the expected repair timeline and what to do if the landlord is unwilling to fix it. Moreover, the exact specifications also vary from state to state.
Does the landlord have to replace the broken refrigerator?
As mentioned earlier, a warranty of habitability implies that the landlord should make the necessary repairs to make the unit habitable. He must fix the things that are in bad condition or replace them if fixing is not possible.
Regarding appliances, including refrigerators, most state laws do not obligate the landlords to provide the necessary appliances such as refrigerator, stove, oven, etc. So, if the landlord has provided an appliance in the rental unit, naturally expect that it is the landlord’s responsibility to repair any broken appliance.
Estimated time that the landlord must take to fix a refrigerator
Most states give landlords a deadline of reasonable time to repair appliances that violate the warranty of habitability or cause immediate health or safety risk. Usually, 14-30 days are given to make essential repairs after the landlord is notified of the issue.
Some states give 30 days, while some only allow 3-7 days for serious issues requiring prompt attention.
It is also imperative to notify the landlord as soon as you notice that your refrigerator is broken and needs repair or replacement. Most of the time, it is also written in the lease agreement to notify the landlord, or else you may be held accountable for the damage.
Further, follow the practice of informing your landlord in writing even if you have told him on call.
If the landlord cannot fix the broken refrigerator in the allowed time, the tenant has the right to repair the broken refrigerator and deduct the repair cost from the next month’s rent. However, this is not a lawful option, and if you do not proceed the right way, you may end up bearing a great deal of money loss and trouble.
➡LEARN MORE: How Long Can a Landlord Shut Off Water for Repairs?
Is the landlord responsible for the spoiled food due to a broken refrigerator?
Tenants may perceive that the landlord is responsible for all the losses to their personal belongings in all circumstances, but that is not the case.
The landlord cannot always be held responsible for the tenant’s loss unless it was due to the landlord’s negligence.
What does your lease say?
In the lease, it may be specifically written that the landlord will provide certain appliances. In such a case, he is responsible for their repair and maintenance.
Sometimes, the landlord may save his money by adding a clause in the lease stating that “appliances are in the rental space for the tenant’s use and are not part of the rent.”
Such clauses mean that if the tenant uses the appliances in the rental space provided by the landlord, the tenant is responsible for repairs and maintenance of appliances.
So, you must check the lease if such clauses make you responsible for the repair of appliances.