Author Topic: Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances  (Read 2328 times)

davisgang90

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Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances
« on: April 19, 2017, 10:16:39 AM »
Mustachian landlords, a question for you.

I've been renting the same house for 7 years.  The lease lists appliances that the owner is responsible to repair and those the owner is not responsible to repair.

I've had two issues pop up recently and want your thoughts on whether I'm being unreasonable.

The first is that we have a gas fireplace (which is covered by the owner for repair per the lease).  It has a blower assembly that circulates the warm air around the room.  Over the winter, the blower stopped working.  The property manager originally said she was looking for someone to fix it, but then said the owner wasn't responsible as it isn't in the lease. 

Second issue, several years ago, the water filtration system in the fridge (covered for repair per the lease) stopped working as the line kept freezing up.  After multiple attempts to repair, the prop manager and I came to the agreement that I would install an under sink filter connected to the sink faucet instead of replacing the freezer door (the repair recommended by the manufacturer).

The kitchen sink faucet started leaking a few months ago (no, not related to the filter) and ended up being replaced.  The plumber said he didn't have the parts with him to reconnect the water filter and he'd have to come back.  That was a couple months ago.  Now the prop manager says that the owner isn't responsible for the under sink filter as it isn't in the lease.

I like to think I'm a reasonable guy, I've accepted rent increases on an annual basis and always paid on time, but I'm starting to feel nickel and dimed with stuff I shouldn't have to either fix myself or suddenly live without.  I've got one more year in this place before I retire and move, so I have no interest in moving.

What are your thoughts and recommendations for how to proceed?

Goldielocks

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Re: Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2017, 10:25:05 AM »
Sink filter is 100% your responsibility, and you can even take it with you when you leave unless your agreement says otherwise.

Blower -- this is a grey area.  If the blower is optional to living in the home (unlike a broken fridge, oven or washing machine), then many land lords will not cover.  Consider yourself fortunate that it lasted this long, but keep trying if you can do so nicely.

Some fireplaces work just fine without the blower, they just don't heat the room as well .  Our fireplace has been turned off for two years and we can still live in the place just fine.

BUT -- if the fireplace is used to heat a room that is not well heated by another means, then the LL is responsible for providing you with adequate heating. 

If you can't use the fireplace at all (e.g. can't even use it with gas only for pretty viewing), then I would expect that a fireplace is a key feature of the rental during the walk through and advertisement, and should be repaired by LL.   If this is the case - you can try asking for a repair or a reduction in rent..  $20 per month, maybe, or its value to you.

« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 10:46:40 AM by Goldielocks »

therethere

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Re: Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2017, 10:29:45 AM »
Ugh sounds like you have a crappy landlord. I'd be pissed. Just keep hounding them. I mean you are accepting rent increases so they shouldn't treat you any different than a new tenant. If a new tenant came in, they would want these things working. My landlord is starting to do this to us now after living in the place for 5 years. They are claiming things broken are from misuse rather than wear and tear. Houses get old and need maintenance. Unfortunately, in long term rentals routine maintenance is usually ignored and then treated differently because the "repair" is usually a "surprise" to the landlord. They are separated from the property and forget about routine maintenance and expenses with owning a home and they try to deny responsibility.

Unfortunately, you don't really  have anywhere to go other than to keep at it. I would start with emails as at least then if you are being brushed off you have documentation. The first email should have an approximate timeline of events including recommendations from the contractors. Link or include any previous correspondence as evidence. Try to provide rational, real life scenarios (like a new tenant). Assuming you have a lease that goes until your target retirement, I would also start posting complaints about the management company on yelp, apartment ratings, etc.

The blower should definitely be fixed at no cost to you. I mean the fireplace is in the lease as owner's responsibility.
The water filter I can see an argument. Are you in an area where water filtration is very common? If not, the landlord can argue that it was an unintended bonus of the fridge. Especially if they weren't previously paying for replacement filters or the like.

MommyCake

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Re: Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2017, 12:28:22 PM »
When it starts getting cool out again, I would complain that the room is very cold and uncomfortable and you'd like the blower fixed.  If you say it's cold, the landlord/property manager is more likely to take action. 

The water filter.... honestly I don't think that's essential.  They probably are not going to fix that regardless of how often you complain.  A new tenant may not even notice or care that it's not working.


Dicey

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Re: Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2017, 10:39:48 AM »
Pursue the blower repair, primarily because you don't want to get dinged for it when you move out.

If you really need filtered water, buy a Britta water pitcher. I see them at thrift stores all the time. Costco sells the filters in a multipack and they go on sale periodically. A really savvy shopper might buy the filters first, so when a pitcher surfaces at a secondhand shop, you can make sure the filter fits. Or ask via a buy nothing/freecycle/NextDoor type site. Frankly, that's too much hassle for me. I'd just buy it new at Costco and be done with it. Which is exactly what we did during the drought when the water started tasting awful.

The Money Monk

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Re: Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2017, 03:46:32 AM »
claiming he isn't responsible for the under-sink filter were it to break is one thing. But from your description it sounds like the filter was working fine and was rendered inoperable during a repair on something that he IS responsible for. If that is the case, he is certainly responsible for making sure everything is put back to the condition it was when his repair guy showed up.

You could also tell him, ok well without the under sink filter I need you to fix the fridge then, which he is responsible for. That's the whole reason you did the under sink filter anyway, right?


Villanelle

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Re: Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2017, 04:13:21 AM »
For the sink, I'd tell them that if they aren't going to repair that, I need them to repair the fridge door, which is covered under their responsibilities.  The filter system was in lieu of a fridge repair, and it they are no longer going to honor that agreement, fine, then they need to fix the fridge ASAP.

Drifterrider

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Re: Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 01:09:06 PM »
As a landlord I am responsible for the appliances I provide.  I don't expect a tenant to pay a portion of anything that wasn't caused by their damage.  I expect them to pay for anything that is damaged through neglect or accident.

As a tenant you have to determine if it is worth your time to pursue.  If the fireplace came with logs and a working blower and that was a part of the provided equipment, I'd expect the LL to pay.  Was the logs/blower included?  If not, it is a convenience feature.  If you are otherwise satisfied with your living situation, live with it.

My mother once provided a washer BUT it was with the clear understanding (in the language of the lease) that it was provided at no charge and would not be repaired (in our market, washers and dryers are not usually provided). 

So, do you want to go to war?  Are you willing to move?  Can you get a better deal elsewhere?

Only you can decide that.

Goldielocks

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Re: Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2017, 11:25:39 PM »
Re the comments about the filter.  As a landlord, I would evaluate the cost of the hassle of the filter issue versus the cost of replacing the fridge with a simple rental style fridge (without extras like filtration).  Likewise, when I rented a place with an in-sink disposal, I learned to state that repairs / replacement were not included, if it crapped out, I would simply remove it from service.

I expect that a landlord with appliances stated in a an agreement only ever intended to cover those appliances.   

I am willing to assume that a fireplace that heat an otherwise poorly heated room with a fireplace (not mentioned otherwise) or simply the fact that a fireplace is an obvious sales feature would mean it should be repaired to a usable state.  If that usable state is only WITH blower, fine.  if it is usable, just a bit nicer, with a blower, I may decline and just remove the blower as my "repair".

paddedhat

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Re: Question for landlords regarding repair of appliances
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2017, 05:11:19 PM »
Just as a point of info. I have replaced,and added, blowers to factory built gas fireplaces on a few occasions. They were not only inexpensive (currently as low as $16 on Amazon) but really easy to do.  IMHO, the landlord is a dick, but I wouldn't suffer with the filter or blower issues, since both are inexpensive and easy to deal with.