Tenant wants to fix appliance

8 Replies

So this is my first issue as a landlord. I told my tenant that I will check with my "partner", which is really BP.

Basically there is a part in the washer that is broken. My tenant builds car engines and is confident that he can fix it. He says the cost of the part is $20 and is willing to buy it.

Also, getting an appliance guy out there is proving to be troublesome.

I would prefer to get someone licensed to fix it. Given the circumstance, what is the best way to handle this situation?

Thinking of him buying it, and me deducting from rent. Thoughts?

I don't believe that appliance repair people are licensed ... at least not near me. 

Appliance repair folks aren't licensed here, either.  Appliances aren't complicated.  Washers have the risk, though, that a bad repair results in a water leak and subsequent damage.  Warn him that if there's a problem and the washer leaks, he's responsible for damage.  That's mostly a matter of doing the repair correctly and checking for leaks.

If you provided the washer with the unit, and don't have a clause about its repair, I'd let him go ahead.  Otherwise, find a repair guy ASAP.  This is why I minimize appliances in rentals to the bare minimum.  Fridge and range, basically.

Is it a top loader? Those things will go on forever and as @Jon Holdman says they are not mechanically complicated. However there is also the risk of damage or flood in the worst case scenario. My appliance guy's call out fee is $50. Getting a pro might not be as expensive as you think.

Sorry I meant that he was willing to buy it and I would reimburse him.

I told him to send me a picture of the receipt via email and I would cut him a check for the part.

@Kyle M.  The only repairs I've had tenants do on my appliances in my rentals have been filter changes, and light bulb changes on appliances (which really aren't repairs actually).  Other than that I've had a repair man do it.  My recommendation would be to look up the problem in a YouTube video and see if it seems overly complicated or not (YouTube is an AWESOME source for repair how-to's).  If in the video you see it's a simple fix, then go ahead let him do it, along with a warning that if he causes more damage that it would be his responsibility (have that put in writing).  If it seems something that you would have trouble with repairing yourself, then I would look up a repair man in your area in the BBB listings and go that route instead.  Repairs are a business expense as far as your taxes are concerned so you'll get some help on that end as well.

Also note @Stephen E.  's comment of possible flooding...it happens.

I had my tenant offer to pick up from Lowes the new paid-for Dishwasher AND install it themselves. At no cost to me lol. I took their offer and credited $30 to their rent bill. Love these tenants. Appliance is not a huge deal. Don't allow them to touch electric or piping or gas appliances.

The famous garage door sensors that nee replaced all of a sudden is simply a 2 min re-align the sensor deal. :)

Have them send pics of the receipts. Understand that you're getting out cheap vs paying $85 service call + labor for a "licensed" guy. I saw guys asking for $220 to change a pilot light rod at the Water heater lol... the part is $20 at Home depot and takes less than 15 min to change it. While you save money pick careful, it may break again if not done properly or if it's a complex issue ti handle that is "butchered".

I wouldn't let them repair an appliance.  The $20 part turns into a troubleshooting mistake.  Then it's a $75 dollar part which didn't fix it.  Then it's a $149 part which didn't fix it.  Which results in an appliance person charging $300+ to fix it or you replacing it for even more.  Besides refrigerators... Appliances are slowly becoming a throw away and replace item.  

Washers and dryers are pretty easy to fix, especially if your tenant is a car mechanic, which is a lot harder.  I have an appliance guy I use who charges $50 service call plus parts...super honest and fast repairs.  I also use YouTube to check out what exactly needs to be done.  If the appliance is really old or if it continually breaks down, I would just purchase a used one from the Used Appliance store...for not much more than the cost of what it would be to repair it.  They also have free delivery and take the old one.  :0)  Or pick one up from Craigslist....great deals there!

Appliance techs are not licensed where I live either....  Hayward, CA

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