Is the landlord responsible for appliance repair?

Learn when tenants might have to fix their own stove or refrigerator.

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Question

My refrigerator broke and my landlord says I have to fix it because that’s what my lease says. Isn’t that illegal?

Answer

Odd as it may seem, most state laws do not require landlords to provide major appliances such as refrigerators or stove, although many (probably most) landlords do. So, if you see a refrigerator or stove in a rental unit, you would naturally expect that if it breaks down, the landlord must fix it. Sounds logical, right? Think again. Some landlords, trying to save money, include a clause in their leases stating that the appliances are there for the tenant’s use, but are not part of the rent. These types of clauses usually say if the tenant uses the appliances, the tenant is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of the appliances. So, check your lease to see if it includes this kind of language making you responsible for the appliances. If it doesn’t see the Nolo articles on Getting Your Landlord to Make Repairs for advice.

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