"Included" vs "Complimentary"?

10 Replies

Do you make a clear distinction between what's included and what's complimentary?

In my mind if it included like a refrigerator than I am responsible to keeping it functional and repair or replace it when necessary.

Complimentary is when it is an extra that the tenants may use, such as a bbq grill, a kayak, a shed...if it breaks, gets stolen, it is at my discretion and I may or may not repair or replace it, but I don't charge extra for it.

Is complimentary the proper word to use in this context?

Another example is garbage disposer.  Once it breaks that's it, I will replumb the drain without it.

This would be something that definitely needs to be spelled out in the lease. 

My lease has the following clause:  "The following items of personal property are included in the premises without warranty and the landlord will not maintain, repair, or replace them:__________________________________."

Typically, I've used this clause for things like washers & dryers because I've included them in a couple rentals (since I had extras), but I didn't want to be responsible for their repair or replacement should they break down.

IMO it's neither "included" or "complimentary".  When I leave working appliances in a unit, my lease says:  

Although the Lessor has provided the Lessee with (washer, dryer, refrigerator etc), the Lessor shall not be responsible for maintenance, repair or replacement of said appliance."

I make sure to except any appliance that I'm not willing to maintain or replace.  Of course you can't do that with appliances and systems needed to maintain health and safety standards.  Also, I don't think you can except the stove for Section8 recipients as I think working stoves are required.  There may be required appliances in certain districts, I'd check for you area. 

Originally posted by @Kyle J. :

This would be something that definitely needs to be spelled out in the lease. 

My lease has the following clause:  "The following items of personal property are included in the premises without warranty and the landlord will not maintain, repair, or replace them:__________________________________."

Typically, I've used this clause for things like washers & dryers because I've included them in a couple rentals (since I had extras), but I didn't want to be responsible for their repair or replacement should they break down.

I do list them in my lease.  However I do not advertise it.

However I wonder if its ok to use it in the ad.

Using your washer dryer example, if you say "Complimentary washer and dryer" would it be considered misleading?  Same thing if I say "Complimentary paddle board and kayak".

It depends on your state law I think. In Ontario if you include something with the unit you as landlord are responsible for maintaining it and you cannot get out of this through any contractual language. I don't think that hair splitting over 'included' vs 'complementary' would change this in jurisdictions with similar laws. Even if there is no regulation of this nature simple contract law could present a problem. 

I am always wary of the discussion on BP of 'selling' appliances to tenants or simply saying that they won't be maintained, and I think of this in larger terms than just what you can get away with. Most renters don't have substantial incomes and appliance failure could present real hardship. Imagine a young family without a working washing machine, a few days and this could be a real problem. I have no issue with maintaining the appliances that I provide, and I see it as part of the service. My rent is Disneyland pricing in that all maintenance services are included and I stress this to tenants as an advantage of renting.

Appliance repair is a manageable expense in terms of maintenance overall. I use basic white models except in higher end condos which get low end stainless. They seem to be pretty reliable and I have a good appliance repair guy who works for reasonable rates. He also deals in used appliances so if the worst comes to the worst I can buy one of his as a replacement. For some reason I have had a problem with late model fridges; two new ones that I bought within the last two years had to be replaced. I looked at extended warranties but the cost of the warranty relative to the price of the appliances meant I was likely better off self insuring. They don't make them like they used to I guess.

If you really want to avoid the costs of maintenance, just remove the item before you lease the place. If it is not there it does not need to be maintained.

I suggest that if you include an appliance you just "man up to it" and take care of the maintenance.  if you won't wan to t do that call a charity and have them pick it up for free.

I maintain all the appliance I supply.

It's not a matter of maning up.

The one situation I had was a garbage disposer which I intend on removing because the kitchen drain stub out is too high and really not designed for a disposer.  The previous owner put one in anyways and I wanted to get rid of it but the applicant begged me to let them keep it under the condition that if and when it fails it goes.

Other than that most of the other items are not appliance.  My rentals are next to the river so I do provide kayak, paddle board, BBQ grill, and other stuff that's nice to have but I don't want to have to buy a new one if the old one breaks.  I MAY, but it has to be my decision.

In our standard Florida residential lease you have a list of items that are "included", but another section where you can designate who's responsible for the maintenance of it, Landlord or Tenant, so including an item does not automatically imply the item is to be maintained by the landlord.

I think your fine.  Fix the household items, but the extras for the stuff on the river and the grill are on them to "replace" if damaged.  Good luck getting that to happen, but at least your not replacing if they damage.  

Just a quick followup.

I guess I am thinking more in the context of an ad you put out when you advertise for an vacancy.

I am not worried about the lease.  My lease includes everything I am responsible for.  I maintain all appliances, HVAC, everything.  I also indicate in the lease who pays for electric, water etc...there is no ambiguity whatsoever.

However, I had previously put "complimentary blah blah blah..." in the ad.  Those items like kayak, paddle board, BBQ grill, lawn furniture, floor mounted pull up exercise bar, stationary bike...stuff like that which the tenants are free to take advantage of but it is not part of what the rent includes.

I think hotels do that when they say they have "complimentary newspaper service, complimentary WIFI".  You get your choice of newspaper on your door handle in the morning, but it's technically not included in a sense that you can't refuse to pay because you didn't get your morning paper, or if the WIFI is down.

Another landlord I saw advertises "Complimentary Cable TV".  I think it's the same idea.  You get cable TV, but you can't count on it being always available, and it may be withdrawn at any time for any reason, and it's not included in your rent.

So having said all that, my question is whether this is overly complicated?

Certainly some items are considered nice "features" to set your property apart from competition.  However, if they are "available until it breaks" then is it misleading to advertise them?

It depends on your local laws. Where I am if the tenant receives it when they start the lease, whether it is a good or service, they are entitled to keep it throughout the tenancy. If you remove it you have to agree with them to a rent reduction. 'Complimentary' would not get around this, the mere fact that it is there at the outset creates an obligation on the landlord's part.

I wouldn't advertise the non-appliance items you mention as included or as complimentary. But at the showing or upon move-in, I might say there is added value in that I will "loan" them the use of the "extras".  I would list each on the move-in check list as present when the place was rented. That being said, sage advice from my mother was "never loan more than you are willing to lose." So if the items get damaged or stolen, it will be a loss for both me and the tenant. No obligation to repair or replace.

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