Landlords and rental property owners often reach out to our team with questions regarding appliances. Appliances can be a sticky subject, so we’re here to shed some light on whether or not you should provide them, what appliances we recommend providing and staying away from, and how to protect yourself when it comes to maintaining them.
Question 1: Am I required to provide appliances to my tenants?
Legally, the answer is no. Practically, the answer is yes. You are not required to provide any appliances to your tenants. The state of Colorado provides landlords with a Warranty of Habitability Code. The code outlines what property owners are legally required to provide their tenants. Items like working window locks, functioning plumbing and electrical, and trash receptacles must be adhered to by Colorado landlords. While appliances are not required by this code, practically speaking, the landlord should provide them.
There are some appliances we recommend you absolutely provide to your tenants. Refrigerators and stoves are the top two appliances necessary for a space to be truly habitable. Extra appliances like dishwashers, washers, and dryers are a bit more ambiguous. They are not necessary but can be a nice offering to potential tenants. This is especially the case if your competition is providing these additional amenities.
Be aware that some appliances typically require more maintenance than others. Dryers, for instance, have a tendency to break down. You should factor additional maintenance into your anticipated expenses when providing this kind of appliance to your tenant.
Question 2: Do I have to maintain the appliances I’m providing to my tenants?
The answer, in this case, is not cut and dry. What if you provide your tenants with appliances and they break due to tenant misuse or neglect? Your lease agreement needs to clearly outline how issues with appliances will be handled, as well as who is required to maintain them. If your lease is silent on appliances, by default, you will be legally required to maintain them the duration of your lease.
We recommend adding two clauses into your lease agreement around appliances. The language we use in our lease agreement is listed below.
Clause #1: “Tenant is responsible for tenant-caused damage and neglect.” This clause protects the landlord from being held responsible for the maintenance of appliances when they are deemed to have been abused or neglected by the tenant.
Clause #2: “Owner has option to repair, replace, or remove appliances if they cease to function.” This clause gives you more options when it comes to appliances in your rental property. For example, if you provide a dryer that stops working, you have the option to repair it, replace it, or remove it. Our suggestion to landlords and rental property owners is that you act in a way that keeps your tenants happy and well taken care of. However, this clause protects you from being legally bound to maintaining an appliance.
For more information on what we recommend as essential lease clauses, check out this post.
If you’re a client of Grace Property Management, our lease already has these types of clauses built in. If you are self-managing your rental properties or portfolio and have questions, please don’t hesitate to give our team a call. We are happy to be of service to Colorado rental investors however we can! 303-255-1990