Washing Machine/Dryer replacement issue

12 Replies

Long story short, I had a repair guy come out to repair a washing machine. While he was trying to fix it and stepped away, apparently my tenant touched a few things and shorted washer AND dryer, making both nonfunctional. I was not present at the time (maybe my mistake was not overseeing the repair myself) so this is just my best version of retelling the story as I've heard it from both sides. Anyways, we've decided to replace it. 

Based on the verbiage in our rental agreement, all repairs for attached appliances are the landlord's responsibility, and unattached appliances are shared responsibility of tenant and landlord, though how much isn't specified. He is a good tenant, paid on time (even during COVID), and hasn't bothered me once in 1 year. We just signed a new 1 year lease a month ago and I didn't raise the rent due to timely payments during COVID.

How would you guys handle this situation? My thought is to replace the unit, take the loss this year, then raise rent next year to recoup my losses. If he moves out, then I should be able to get more rent from the next tenant anyways. 

Thoughts?

Just replace an move on down the road. But going forward you may want to do like my firm. We do not provide washer/dryers in houses. However if there happens to be some onsite, they are provided as a convenience and not warrantied by us. If they break the break.

Forgot the company name, but they'll put in coin-operated washer/dryer, do any/all maintenance on it for a small monthly fee. You collect ALL coins.

Unless the tenant was completely negligent and disobeying some instructions, this sounds like an accident. I would replace and move on. I'm curious how he could touch something and short out two separate appliances. The dryer should be on it's own circuit? Or is this a stacked / combined unit?

Washers and dryers tend to be one of the most abused appliances. I would consider selling them and removing them after this tenant. Make new tenants provide their own. 

The repairman is clearly trying to sell you a line of bull to cover his own incompetence. Both the washer and dryer "shorted" because the tenant "touched something"? If it's an electric dryer, we're even talking two different circuits.

I agree with others that shorting out both appliances seems weird. If that really happened from touching something, you are lucky the tenant didn't get electrocuted. That all being said, appliances should be unplugged for servicing. It sounds more likely that the repair man damaged the appliances, unless the tenant is admitting fault.

I would not provide a washer and dryer going forward. One option is tell the tenant you want them to buy their own. Offer him something like $200 credit towards the purchase and tell him he is responsible going forward. The last washer and dryer I put in a rental property lasted 6 years before the washing machine motor went bad. Even buying new, you are looking at 3-6 years before they need repair or replacement. 

Thanks, everyone for the replies. I will be replacing the unit this weekend and not charging the tenant. I'm growing more suspicious of the repair company that came out. I agree; it seemed odd that the unit wasn't unplugged when they were trying to replace the panel. That's been my biggest challenge with my units: Finding good help for maintenance. I'm not experienced to know whether or not I'm being upcharged for costs. 

The unit when purchased came with all appliances (refrigerator, washer and dryer). After this replacement, they will both be in good condition. I will factor possible future repairs into the price of the rent moving forward. As is, I may have under-rented my unit, but such is life. 

@Byron Kim

The nicest part about not supplying W/D and refrigerators is I don’t have to deal with any of this. Get new ones, moving forward don’t repair or replace.

If they were working on the equipments electronics while plugged in, their fault.

Regarding supplying appliances. It has to be market dependent. If you didn’t provide a washer/dryer in Vegas your property would sit on the market at least an extra 2 weeks to a month each turnover costing you $700-$1400, plus you’d get lower rent, plus you’d risk damage as these items are moved in and out. I bet you’d eliminated 1/2 the tenants with that rule. All to avoid spending $700-800. (Don’t buy the cheapest thing they sell, but even the second cheapest is usually ok for an extra $50-$100)

While you’re at it, why provide a fridge? They break twice as often than washers and dryers combined and cost twice as much. I usually get 10 years out of my units with MAYBE one $200 repair. Heck, spend $200 and get the 5 year extended warranties. 

@Byron Kim

I'll take a slightly different position on W/D and for the first time in a long time disagree with @Joe Splitrock . It depends on the class of the unit. In my personal opinion I think that you almost need to have them in A/B+ class rentals and other areas that have a transitory population (such as areas with high military renters). I don't know what type of rental yours is, but if your target market renter makes 150%+ of the median wage in your area, then I'd think long and hard about not having a W/D in the unit. Now I'm not saying that you don't charge more for it, I also look up how much buying/renting costs and add 50-75% of that amount to the rent each month and in the long term its worked out for me. 

At the end of the day, going back to first principles, we all should run our rentals for the convivence of our tenants, not our own personal ease. 

Your mileage may vary. 

I will agree with most of the other posters that story about the tenant shorting out both units seems fishy. So much so, I'd think about call the tenant and asking them about it. If they throw the BS flag, call and make a skink to the repair company. 

Man, this is why this community is awesome. This info is fantastic and will help me moving forward with my rentals. Thanks, everyone.

@Bill Brandt  

All appliances (fridge included) came with the unit when purchased. It was turnkey. I didn't consider selling it, but I may in the future when I buy more units.

 

@Bill F.  

The unit is Class A/B in Orange County, CA. I appreciate your insight as to considering the type of unit and target tenant. I have another class C unit in the area that also came with a refrigerator, but is older. When that tenant moves out, I will very likely consider selling the refrigerator to avoid this issue in the future.