Can Renters Buy Their Own Appliances?

Renters, have you ever lived in a rental with the kind of refrigerator that could only fit a pint of milk and an apple? Ever dreamed of a top-load washing machine that didn't shred your favorite T-shirts? Ever wish you had a dryer that actually dried your towels in the first cycle rather than the fourth?

Sometimes being a renter can mean your appliances are not necessarily ones your building manager would choose for his or her own family home, but rather ones chosen to meet a bottom line. In other words, you might end up with the kind of oven that not only can't fit a whole turkey but also would inevitably undercook it even if it could.

So, what are the rules? Can you as a renter invest in your own appliances? What if you are downgrading from an owned home to a rental and want to bring along the awesome Frigidaire with the extra crisper drawer you took such pride in buying a few years ago?

"I once had a tenant who had their own refrigerator and wanted to bring it along with them when they moved in," says Brooklyn building manager Martin Joseph. "I accommodated her by moving the one that was there and putting it in another apartment."

Some renters can and do bring in their own appliances into their homes. Here's how:

1. Don't Live in Government Housing

"In a rent stabilized or rent controlled situation, the answer is a definite no," says landlord and tenant attorney, Jason Fuhrman. You, the tenant, should be wary about taking Search Apartments and Homes for Rent See photos of apartments and homes for rent in your area on RentedSpaces the furniture and storing it or disposing of it yourself. Think of it like a college dorm: Just because those spring beds and inch-thick mattresses feel about as good as one that is prison issued, they are the property of the school and cannot be swapped out or upgraded or the whole system will implode -- or at least cost you money.

2. Communicate With Your Management

In almost all cases, all you have to do is communicate that you are going to be bringing in your own appliances. Chances are, your landlord will be able to use the ones in your unit in another unit. More than likely, they will be happy to remove the existing appliances without you having to lift a finger, or call a mover.

"If you want to buy a new appliance, simply tell your landlord you're doing so, and ask him/her to remove the one that belongs to the them," says Fuhrman. "It's a non-issue from a landlord's point of view."

3. Just Because It's Broke, Doesn't Mean You Can Fix It (Legally)

Perhaps your not-very-cold fridge has spoiled one too many gallons of milk. Or maybe you have had it with all four of your burners unable to...burn. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. "Theoretically if the tenant [bought a new appliance] on an emergency basis, then they might work out a `replace and deduct' deal, where the cost is taken off the rent immediately," suggests Furhman.

Although even if you are angry about a broken appliance, your building management is allowed sufficient time to remedy the situation before you can expect that they will pay you back. "One tenant I had was not happy with their refrigerator and the timeliness of the repairs so he purchased one on his own," cautions Martin Joseph. "When we went to court the judge ruled against reimbursing him. He had no right to make the decision to purchase a new [appliance] and deduct it from the rent."

4. Make Sure Things Are Installed Properly

"Liability in case an appliance breaks is always an issue," says Fuhrman, "but with proper installation, it is rarely an issue."

In other words, don't drain your washing machine into your sink to avoid connecting it to the building's plumbing. And for everything else, make sure you are protected by investing in renter's insurance. "The landlord's consent is irrelevant," continues Fuhrman. "If it's your property, and it causes damages, you're the one whose liable."

5. Don't Expect a Change in Rent

The only thing to expect from upgrading your apartment's appliances is a better appliance.

"If the tenant buys their own appliance, they can take it with them when they leave, but that's it," says Fuhrman. "There is no obligation for the landlord to reduce the rent, and no reason for the landlord to do so."

"In my opinion you should always try to accommodate people, or at least try to when you can," says Joseph. For the woman whose personal refrigerator he made room for, it was a good call. He explains, "She is currently renting from me and has been for over seven years now."


Want to know how to deal with other rental issues? Here are some AOL Real Estate guides that can help:

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Disa

I have had several homes I have rented in the past. A signed lease credit check and the lease WORDED Firs't month's rent & last month's rent. And a CLEANING DEPOSIT WEAR & TEAR CONSIDERED. Cleaning deposit 1.000.00 these where nice homes .But the CLEANING deposit instead of SECURITY deposit made a big diffrence.And walking trough the house and the outside yard care with the renter with my cell phone with a camera option is now so easy. Sounds drastic but I never had a problem with any off my tennants. Had to paint the inside of course fill in nail holes part of wear and tear.And one more thing if there was a reason VALID that they had to move I would not hold them to the lease,not just military so many family unfortunate things that can happen .Anyway I was very lucky with all my renters, my property's where always in good condition when they vacated the property. Good luck out there both renter's & owners.

March 27 2011 at 3:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Brian

There are many reasons to rent as opposed to buying. I was in the military, so for many years, with periodic deployments and change of assignments, buying just wasn't a viable option. It wasn't because I was a deadbeat, or 'trashed' my credit; it was more feasible to rent, and let someone else worry about the yard and repairs. Some landlords were cool, but others were out to collect as much rent as possible while giving as little support as possible. Self repairs were sometimes necessary if you wanted appliances that worked. One tried telling me I had to provide my own w/d..no big deal..and I'd be required to leave it when I moved; yeah, right. All of them seemed to find numerous 'faults' as excuses to keep my deposits. One charged me several hundred dollars to 'clean the carpets', which he promptly tore out and replaced as soon as I vacated the premises. My experience, owners and landlords take advantage of tenants far more than the opposite.

March 27 2011 at 2:05 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
drminwy

The reason you rent is probally because you have trashed your credit by having the who gives a **** attitude so don't expect your landlord to feel sorry for your lazy ass get off it and buy your own house and quit thinking everyone should feel sorry for you its your own fault

March 27 2011 at 12:55 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to drminwy's comment
DOXPET 5

Learn to spell. And get educated. Sometimes It doesnt pay off to buy.

March 27 2011 at 1:03 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to DOXPET 5's comment
drminwy

take your own advice dosent dosen't in your case it wood knot pay ouf

March 27 2011 at 1:41 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down
drminwy

loks lik sumun else dosen''''t kno much

March 27 2011 at 1:44 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down
Brian

You know, you're a real dick. Not everyone who rents is a deadbeat. Some chose to out of convenience, amenities, location, and yes, sometimes out of necessity. Coming up with down payments, closing costs, insurance, financing, and lawn/gardening tools isn't always easy. Some people just don't enjoy mowing or maintaining flower beds. Some people travel alot and enjoy the security of a managed community. So, for you to come on here and put down someone else because they don't share your passion, or means, for home ownership, is crass, and shows a complete and utter lack of class or culture. My mother used to say, when I was growing up, "if you can't find something good to say, don't say anything at all." Sorry Mom, I couldn't let this one pass...

March 27 2011 at 2:12 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
mesager42

The last renters trashed the house so badly, that they didn't get back their security deposit. We had to rip out carpet, repair walls inside and the yard outside.

March 26 2011 at 11:36 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mesager42's comment
Brian

Can certainly understand your frustration. Unfortunately, not all renters are considerate as to care and upkeep of the home and appliances they are 'borrowing'. Myself, I was always good about going overboard on caring for the homes I rented, and went to great lengths to leave the unit/home in better shape than when I moved in. Unfortunately, time after time, even after having professional cleaners go thru, landlords always came up with some reason to keep my deposits. Whether it was charges to clean the carpets that the professionals just cleaned, to replacing the blinds that were nasty when I moved in, there were always excuses why $10 here or $40 there was charged against my deposit. I finally got tired of even bothering, and left my last places without cleaning anything. I figured, if they were going to keep my deposit anyways, and I was in a different state and couldn't do anything about it, why bother. I know, but the point is, it's not always that renters are the bad guys, sometimes it's that we know when we have a bad landlord, and don't feel any obligation to 'clean up' if he's just going to take it out of our deposits anyways. I mean, to live in an apartment for 5 years, and the landlord did NO improvements, then be charged for repainting when I left, even though I'd scrubbed til the walls shined...sheez.

March 27 2011 at 2:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mesager42

We had one renter who insisted on having their own refrigerator, so we stored the one for the house in the garage. They plugged it in and used it too. Our current set of renters want to use the freezer garage refrigerator, but it died, so we bought a cheap chest freezer and put it in the garage for additional food storage. The stove top is built in, so we had to provide it. The renters have to supply their own washer and dryier.

March 26 2011 at 11:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lukedude27

In my rentals I dont provide any appliances. If they want a fridge, washer or dryer or dishwaher they buy it, That way its just one thing less they will steal or deface when they are evicted or leave. Sorry for the negativity its just the level of people in the rental home business in my area you deal with. I own 8 homes in Warenn and Madison Heights MI.

March 26 2011 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lukedude27's comment
Brian

You definitely know the caliber of renters in your units. That said, there are bad tenants, and bad landlords, everywhere you go. I've had friends and family who were landlords, yet never took the time and expense to check a potential renter's references. They charged the $25-50 app fee, then never ran the credit check. They never called the references. They never checked with previous landlords. In those cases, I really think you have no room to complain when those tenants 'trash' the unit, or end up having to be evicted. There's a definite obligation on the renter's part to respect the property they're renting, but it's also an obligation on the landlord's part to insure the tenant he's allowing onto his property is financially, and morally, able to fulfill the role they're applying for. If all your renters are stealing your appliances, maybe you should be a little more discerning on who you allow to rent your units. just a thought...

March 27 2011 at 3:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aphidavis

As a landlord, I have found that most damages occur when people are moving in/out large appliances.

March 26 2011 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Barb

what if the landlord will not repair or bicthes because you replace the roof or appliance yourself and deduct it from rent? sorry but my landlords are slumlords for the last 12 years

March 26 2011 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lesli

I guess this might work with a private landlord, but in most complexes, the answer is always no. At least, in any lease I've ever been a part of, and it is definitely there in writing. Sure, most of the time you can bring your own washer and dryer because most places don't provide those, but as far as the stove and the fridge goes, you are out of luck. Quite frankly, for them, I'd have to think its an insurance issue. As, if you bring in a second hand gas stove and its damaged and causes a fire or worse an explosion, then they have to deal with the outcome regardless of whether you have renter's insurance. Your insurance might pay for the damanges but they still have to deal with having the repairs done. If it's their stove and fridge, they can control it, and know its history.

March 26 2011 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rfenfert

I live in a rent controlled apt. and the Landlord allows you to buy your own appliances. they may charge a small fee to "store" their applance.

March 26 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rfenfert's comment
hatsoffspurson

if your getting charged to store an owners property... check out the cheapest smallest storage agreement and see who is cheeper... and if you can find something cheeper... let the landlord know you will just store it till you move... face it how do you know if the owner takes it out of "Your Storage" and putting it in another renters unit?

March 26 2011 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply