Who Is Responsible For Appliances In A Rental Property?
In Florida, the Landlord-Tenant law governs residential real estate leases. This statute covers many aspects of the landlord-tenant relationship and does not require landlords to provide or maintain appliances for their rental properties other than heat.
Many landlords purchase essential appliances for their rental units, making these properties more attractive to prospective tenants. They also typically take responsibility for maintaining and repairing these appliances. But unless the lease specifically requires them, landlords are not obligated to provide, maintain, or repair appliances (outside of heating units).
Based in Lithia, Eaton Realty works with investors, landlords, and renters throughout the Tampa region. We have substantial experience in all aspects of property management and can offer guidance to landlords and tenants based on our in-depth knowledge of Florida laws and the rental market. Whether you are a landlord, looking to invest in property in Hillsborough County, or seeking to lease a home, we can help. Give us a call today to talk to a member of our team.
Who Is Responsible for Providing Appliances in a Rental?
In any residential property, there may be many different appliances, including a washing machine and dryer, a stove, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a dishwasher. In Florida, these appliances are often provided by the landlord. However, Florida’s Landlord-Tenant Law does not require landlords to provide appliances in a residential rental unit.
This law is silent when it comes to appliances. Florida landlords are not obligated to provide basic appliances. The only exception is a furnace; landlords in Florida must provide functioning heat during winter. Landlords must also ensure their rental properties have running water and hot water. Surprisingly, even though Floridians use air conditioning more than heating, landlords are not required to provide their properties with central air or window air conditioners.
Even though they are not required to do so, many Florida landlords outfit their units with appliances. They may also put a laundry room in a multi-unit dwelling or apartment building for all residents to share. As a practical matter, many prospective renters either cannot or do not want to provide their own appliances, so it often makes sense to put a stove, refrigerator, and other basic appliances in a rental unit.
If you are a landlord, it makes sense from a business perspective to put appliances into your rental properties. When tenants choose between a rental with all appliances and one requiring them to spend thousands of dollars to purchase appliances, most will choose the former. You are not required to put in high-end appliances or every possible appliance. But if you want to ensure that your investment properties stay occupied, then having essential appliances is smart.
As a tenant, you cannot demand that your landlord provide appliances. You are also required to use any appliances that are in your home in a “reasonable manner.” If you destroy or damage an appliance, you may be responsible for its repair or replacement cost.
Who Is Responsible for Repairing and Maintaining Appliances in a Rental Property?
If there are appliances in a rental unit, then landlords usually repair and maintain them. However, much like providing appliances, landlords are not required to repair appliances unless the lease contains a specific provision to that effect. In other words, if your stove breaks, your landlord will typically not be required to fix it unless your lease requires them.
Most landlords choose to maintain and repair any appliances that they have purchased for a simple reason: they want to protect their investment. Even lower-end appliances can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and most landlords wouldprefer that the appliances be maintained and fixed correctly to avoid having to replace them.
Because Florida law does require landlords to provide heat, they are obligated to repair and maintain the furnace. If they fail to do so, then a tenant may have the right to withhold rent. Before doing so, tenants should provide written notice to the landlord. If the landlord fails to repair it within seven days, the tenant may be able to withhold rent. Tenants may also be able to move out or terminate the lease if a landlord fails to provide a necessity such as heat.
Importantly, landlords are obliged to maintain their rental properties in a safe and habitable condition, per local housing codes. Even if a landlord is not required to repair or maintain an appliance under the terms of a lease, there may be situations where a broken appliance makes the home inhabitable or unsafe. In this case, a tenant should make a written request for a repair to the landlord and may withhold rent if the repair isn’t made within seven days.
Finally, if tenants provide their own appliances, they are responsible for maintaining them and repairing them as necessary. This includes everything from air conditioning units to washing machines to refrigerators. Keep in mind that if a broken appliance causes damage to the rental unit, the tenant may be on the hook for any associated repair expenses.
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Eaton Realty is a full-service property management company. We can manage your rentals for you, so you can spend less time researching different aspects of managing a rental property. We want to help you turn your rental into a trustworthy source of passive income.
Eaton Realty works with landlords and tenants in the greater Tampa Bay area. We understand the market and are familiar with the laws and regulations surrounding rental properties in Hillsborough County, Florida. To learn more about our real estate services, including property management, fill out our online contact form or call our office at 813-672-8022.