By Dakota July 01, 2021

If you provide free appliances with your rental, you can expect to charge more. Having a dishwasher or a washing machine will make a rental more appealing for potential prospects and generally increases the property value. However, a common question arises: Who’s responsible for repairing and/or replacing appliances? Before considering this, let’s take a look at whether you should be including appliances at all. 

For starters, it may seem that letting renters purchase and provide their own appliances is less troublesome for landlords because they won’t be on the hook to handle any repairs. However, it’s not in your best interest if you’re trying to increase rental income rather than simply filling the vacancy. 

Do I have to provide appliances?

Well, you don’t have to but… (there’s always a but.) The real estate market is competitive enough that you should consistently search for new ways to effectively advertise your rentals and make them more attractive to potential renters. Any online listing platform allows you to show off your vacancies as much as you want; however, there could be multiple listings of the same price, in the same neighborhood and even with similar lease conditions. And an applicant is more likely to apply for the unit packed with appliances such as a refrigerator, microwave, or an oven as opposed to an unfurnished or semi-furnished apartment. 

By including basic appliances, you’re improving the marketability of your rental property and reducing the risk of letting it stay vacant for too long. Consider that the more you invest in a rental, the more income you’ll generate in the future. However, it doesn’t mean upgrading a rental should cost you a fortune. Installing energy efficient appliances will not only save you money but also will boost the value of your property. Energy Star certified appliances are overall a more sustainable and smart choice. For example, Energy Star certified clothes washers use 25% less energy and 33% less water than their regular counterparts. 

Do I have to fix/replace appliances in my rental units? 

In most cases, state laws don’t require landlords to fix appliances in rental units. However, tenants usually expect their landlord to cover any costs associated with repairing or replacing broken appliances. 

What is the best workaround here? It’s a good idea to add an extra clause to the lease agreement that differentiates between normal wear and tear and tenant-caused appliances damage. 

For example, make it clear in the lease agreement that if damage to an appliance has been caused by the tenant, the tenant is considered responsible, and the repair costs are deducted from the security deposit. On the flip side, if an appliance wasn’t in good working condition prior to the tenant moving in or an appliance breaks down due to normal wear and tear, the landlord needs to fix the problem or replace the appliance. 

It’s reasonable to list out all the appliances and maintenance responsibilities in the rental agreement to prevent any misunderstanding with residents. 

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