Broken ice-maker: fix it or provide tenant with ice trays?

10 Replies

Hey guys!

Our tenant just reported that the ice maker at our 3-bedroom home in Lubbock stopped working. Typically ( in Lubbock ) refrigerator, washer/dryer, dishwasher are NOT provided by landlords: tenants bring their own. When we purchased the property, the fridge came with it though.

Now, instead of FIXING the ice maker, which is expensive, I thought just to provide the tenant with ice trays, which cost a lot less. After the ice maker broke at our HOME RESIDENCE, we just got ice trays with my husband, so I don't see why we can't offer that option to the tenant.

What do you guys think?


unfortunalty what we are willing to do in our own residence is very different than what a tenant paying for a service is willing to put up with. Personally as much as you want to nt replace it unless you have it in your lease as/is there is going to be an expectation that it is repaired/replace to be brought up to the previous condition. 

Trust me I know how you feel! I can't tell you how many repairs we have done where I felt I was treating the tenant nicer than myself. Unfortuanlty welcome to landlording. I just add the stuff into the lease so if it comes up again. It isn't am issue.

@Elizabeth C., it is actually in the tenant's lease that "all repairs, whether to be done OR not are at the discretion of the landlord". 

@Edita D.  

I am a landlord 5 times over in addition to managing my parents 4 rentals. I also live with an ice maker required for tenacy husband. While you can always try, my practice is that I will always repair to maintain the status quo. I will not improve unles it fits my plans but I am required to keep it the same.

For example, you advertise a house with stainless gourmet steel appliances. If something breaks you can't replace with cheap apartment style stove that is white.

Hi Edita,

My wife and I just leased out our rental property in Lubbock and we had the same issue you do.  When we bought the house it came with a nice refrigerator but the ice maker does not work.  We did not even think about fixing it.  We fixed a lot of other things in the house that are more important like the plumbing, the roof, the garage door, etc.  We just told prospective tenants that the ice maker does not work and they would need to buy some ice trays if they wanted ice.  It did not deter anyone and we had it leased in a week. 

As @Steven Ellington and @Elizabeth C.  have said...if something doesn't work when they move in, let them know. I would put that in the lease the next time around. We have occasionally given a tenant  a window air conditioner that came from another property, and told them they're welcome to use it, but if it breaks, we will not fix it. That was in the lease as well.

When a tenant rents a place with something that works, then it breaks, unfortunately you are obligated to fix it. An ice maker is not required as a standard of living, as the refrigerator itself might be, so you can put it off if you need to. But if these are good tenants, I would be inclined to make that repair sooner than later.

I'm going to pile on with the others.  Because you rented it with a working fridge and ice maker, either fix it or replace the fridge.

thanks guys!

@Edita D.  I just flew into Lubbock today! Re: your question, I think it depends on if you want to keep them in there for a long time or not. If so, then get them an ice maker that works - that will show goodwill and even if they do move out you'll have that for the next resident. 

There are always kitchen items that are maintenance hassles.  Garbage disposer and ice makers are two such items.

Many landlords would actually remove the disposer, or terminate the ice maker line to avoid such hassles.  Kind of depends on your local market expectation, I kept the disposers because in my locale not having one is an exception.

Ice maker is a bit more challenging, not only the ice maker assembly can break, the line behind it can break, kink, or pull loose as tenants push the fridge closer to the wall and you end up with a leak.  In the past you can shut off the valve behind it and just tell your tenant the ice maker "feature" is not included with the property.  Nowadays that's harder with so many refrigerators come standard with WATER and ICE dispensers turning that line off disables both features, and those built in water filters are expensive!

But yes I think you have to replace/fix it since it's working.  Unless you have a clause in your lease to exclude that feature.

I have one unit in Fort Lauderdale, where the previous owner had installed a garbage disposer when she shouldn't.  She did the remodel and put in a deep kitchen sink and a disposer, and the disposer outlet is too high in relation to the drain's wall connection, so the disposer is always half filled with water.  I don't advertise having a disposer and give the tenant a choice - keep the disposer as is until it breaks and then it will be removed, or have it removed prior to occupancy.  Each of them opt to keep it with the understanding that once it breaks it's gone.

Well... I am going to go against the current... and say it really depends on what the tenants expect, what type of market you are in, and how expensive of a repair you are facing. Personally, we don't use ice makers or water dispensers in our home. We never provide them for our rental units either.  I would ask the tenants how often they use the ice maker and if it is important to them that it be fixed, or would ice cube trays be sufficient to meet their needs. They may go either way with it. That's where I would start. I wouldn't assume the ice maker is important to them just because they reported it broken.

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