What are arguments against giving tenants dishwashers?

14 Replies

I know I know in some areas a dishwasher is a must while others it is not a must. In places where a dishwasher in a rental is npt standard, hardly any landlord have them. I've seen properties where the landlords simply ripped out a dishwasher after they bought a place with one already. 

My husband and I own a lot of units. And part of our philosophy on this business is to treat it as more than just business. We remember back when we were poor and living in a small house doing dishes was always a pain in the rear. So, we decided to put a dishwasher in every one of our units. 

I'm curious. In the past I have brought this up before and many on here and elsewhere were against the idea. Just curious what are some of the arguments against giving tenants dishwashers? 

Really the only one is cost, if it isn't mandatory people won't pay to put one in, and if there isn't one there you don't have to pay to fix it.  I am a fan of dishwashers by the way (at least if the property has a slot for one)

Maintenance costs and repair scheduling and higher water bills are the things that come to mind, plus it does take away some cabinet space in a small kitchen.

Tenants who don't know that dishwashers require a special soap, and put in hand dishwashing soap, then call for a repair for an "overflowing" dishwasher.  Another appliance that you have to maintain.

On the other hand, less water usage.

Originally posted by @Karen F. :

Tenants who don't know that dishwashers require a special soap, and put in hand dishwashing soap, then call for a repair for an "overflowing" dishwasher.  Another appliance that you have to maintain.

On the other hand, less water usage.

 We tell all our tenants about the special soap. So far, none has made such mistake. 

Dishwashers are not required here, but I have dishwashers in my units. However, I am rethinking their benefit to me as I replaced one recently that took up way more of my Saturday than I wanted it to. Moving forward, the new leases state that the working dishwasher will not be maintained by me, and will not be replaced if it fails. It will remain in place and be removed at the end of tenancy.

Hopefully, that sways people towards treating it more gently. In truth, I just want to be able to replace it at my leisure and not within a few days as I normally do. I don't believe that I'd ever consider living somewhere that didn't have a dishwasher again, and I want to treat my tenants as I'd like to be treated. Also, I appear to be going above and beyond if I offer something that's specifically not in the lease. 

@Lam N. The main issue would be cost. Typically, I’m with you and the others that I want to offer a place that I would live in. That means it would have a dishwasher. But if I bought units without dishwashers I very likely would not put them in until it was part of a bigger remodel.

Hi Lam, I, too like you, am always cognizant of offering tenants amenities that can translate into life comforts. Personally I have found that it generally increases tenant retention and tenant morale. But to address your thoughtful question regarding reasons for not having a dishwasher installed, some of the things I've had come up are:

1) They create one more place for water issues or damage to develop. 

2) So, the age of both the building and its plumbing are of the utmost importance

3) Consider cost of water and therefore who will be responsible for that bill (though it is highly relevant to note that repeatedly studies show that more water is used when hand washing and rinsing vs. machine washing and rinsing. So it could actually be a cost benefit for whoever is responsible for paying that bill.)

4) This point goes beyond the specific dishwasher addition blending into showers and baths as well, but are the units individually metered for water and electricity? This will give you info on how cost effective it is per unit, which in turn might assist you later in deciding how you will pass the cost on to your tenant.

5) What is the return on the investment? In other words, will it get you better quality tenants or better rental rates or higher ROI in event of sale.

6) Does it give you a competitive edge or assist you in competing with other units in the area? If so, than any disadvantage may be outweighed by the advertising benefit intrinsic in the amenity's desirability.

7) What will it add to your resale value? Does it uptick your rents enough to increase you NOI (Net Operating Income)?

In truth, every one of these items could be considered a "Pro" or "Con" depending on the individual answers.

In the end, it has always been a benefit to myself and my partners. 

Originally posted by @Dave Dawber :

My last tennant used the dishwasher to clean auto parts. I didnt really notice hwo bad the inside was until he was long gone,

 But this could be applied to just about everything in the rental unit. Tenants could be using toilets to flush down cocaine. The fridge could be used to store human body parts. The stove could be used as a mediaeval torture/execution device by a serial killer tenant. Heck, even the bathtub could be used to wash off blood evidence. 

it doesn't mean we should exclude any of these things in the rental unit. 

@Lam N. I’m all for it , I like to make my properties feel like a place even I would personally live in. That being said I always put dishwashers from Lowe’s when they’re on sale of course with the 5 year warranty.

@Lam N. If it is a higher priced single family rental than a dishwasher is not a bad idea at all. In apartments and lower priced rentals in general here are some arguments you will hear against them:

- another appliance to maintain

- if it leaks in an apartment on 2nd, 3rd floor now you could have issues on the floors below this increasing maintenance cost

- if other landlords in the area aren’t providing them for similar type apartments than why should I?

I've always added dishwashers when I can, but the trouble I'm having with one particular tenant is making me think twice. They seem to think the dishwasher doubles as a garbage disposal - I think I've been over there seven times this year to clean greasy crud that was plugging the drain line. Then the door seal was so filthy it was leaking a little. I don't know why I have to tell grown folks to occasionally wipe appliances down and keep them clean, but there ya go.

The poor unit is only two years old but it's starting to look like the ancient thing I pulled out of there when I redid the kitchen.

I have dishwashers in just a few of my units and can't say I've had problems. There was this one time where it seems a toy clogged the drain line and I had a hard time making tenant responsible for repair. Otherwise, it was mostly a space issue. Many of my kitchens just don't have the extra space for a dishwasher. I was also not convinced that all the extra effort and expense of installing a dishwasher was really worth it for some, smaller apartments.