Does A Landlord Need To Repair Appliance

Does a Property Management Company, Or Landlord Need to Repair or Replace Broken Appliances in a Rental Property?

In the ever-evolving landscape of property management, especially within the vibrant city of Philadelphia, one question that frequently emerges revolves around the responsibility for the maintenance and replacement of appliances within rental properties. This topic, as raised by Ryan in a recent episode of the Grow Real Estate Investing Podcast, touches on whether owners must always fix and remove appliances like refrigerators, washers, and dryers before a new tenant moves in, or if they can advertise the lease as "as is," with no repairs by the owner.

The Rental Lease Agreement:

The foundation of any agreement between a landlord and a tenant is the lease. Our lease agreements meticulously outline which appliances and features are included in the rental and designate them as the owner's responsibility. This clarity ensures that both parties have aligned expectations from the onset. For example, if a property is equipped with a microwave, garbage disposal, or central air unit, we state explicitly in the lease that maintaining these appliances falls under the owner's purview. The rationale here is straightforward: if an appliance was present and assumed to be in working order at the time of the tenant's viewing, it's reasonable for the tenant to expect it to function upon move-in.

Handling Items Left Behind by Previous Tenants

A common scenario we encounter involves items left behind by previous tenants, such as a high-quality grill. While these items might add value for the next tenants, we make it clear that the responsibility for such "bonus" items does not fall on the owner. Our lease includes a section specifically addressing this, informing incoming tenants that while they're welcome to use these additional items, their maintenance or replacement is not guaranteed by the property owner.

Specifying Responsibilities Of Property Owner

The key to managing expectations and responsibilities regarding appliances lies in the specificity of the lease agreement. Property owners have the flexibility to define what will and will not be covered in terms of appliance repair and replacement. For instance, it's entirely within an owner's rights to state in the lease that while a refrigerator, washer, and dryer are provided, their repair or replacement is not the owner's obligation should they break down during the tenancy. The crucial factor here is transparency and ensuring that the tenant is fully informed before signing the lease.

The Importance of Clear Communication

Our approach at our Philadelphia property management company is rooted in the belief that clear communication and upfront agreements prevent misunderstandings and foster a positive landlord-tenant relationship. By using straightforward, legally sound language in our leases—and providing explanations for any technical terms—we aim to make our contracts as clear and understandable as possible.

Conclusion: Balancing Fairness with Flexibility

In conclusion, the question of appliance maintenance and replacement in rental properties highlights the importance of clear, detailed lease agreements. As a leading Philadelphia property management company, we strive to balance fairness with flexibility, ensuring that both landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities from the outset. Whether you're a property owner preparing a rental for the market or a tenant about to sign a lease, remember that clarity and communication are key to a successful and harmonious rental experience. Here's to creating transparent, fair, and mutually beneficial agreements in the vibrant Philadelphia rental market.


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

View all posts by Joe White