Dispute on Appliance Ownership

By Tenant

Because apartments have had a lot of previous owners, then nothing can ever be truly new once you move in – most of the time. Sometimes, the appliances could be broken and unusable. Who gets to fix or replace them would depend on what’s stated in your lease agreement.

Most of the time, your landlord will claim the responsibility because after all, it is an investment. The appliances would remain in the apartment even after the tenant has moved out and another tenant moves in. But there are a handful of cases wherein the lease agreement would say that the tenant can replace the appliances at his own expense and he can take them with him once he moves out. It’s clearly stated in the lease agreement but what if your landlord forgot and would insist on keeping the appliances that you have bought as replacement? What happens then?

Here are some tips to establish your ownership on the appliances that you have bought out-of-pocket.

  1. Make sure to document every purchase. Keep the receipts and take photographs.
  2. Take pictures of the old appliances and put them side by side the new ones. This may require a bit of editing. If you don’t know how to do this digitally, you can just glue the pictures next to each other in a sheet of paper.
  3. When you move out, make sure to show your landlord a copy of the lease agreement saying that the appliances are yours to keep.
  4. You would also need to note all the repairs that need to be done, if there are any, so you would have a general idea as to how much of the security deposit you would have left.
  5. If you will be charged, ask for receipts as well as detailed explanation of the charges. You want to make sure that the landlord is not just charging you because of you took the appliances with you.

At all times, you must be well-aware of your rights. Naiveté will only hurt you. There are landlords who will do everything that they can to try to keep your security deposit or bend the lease agreement in their favor. Never allow that.

If that happens to you, know that there are companies that are willing to help you out. One of them would be the RPA, which accepts and processes complaints via their complaint center. Here’s the link http://www.rentalprotectionagency.com/complaint_center.php.

Edited on: Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 8:03 pm

10 Responses to “Dispute on Appliance Ownership”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


February 12th, 2013 1:40 am

I don’t understand. It’s in the lease agreement so why is the landlord acting like he just forgot about it? In the first place, it was the landlord who initiated that lease agreement and even if he did not create it, he should be aware of all the provisions.


February 12th, 2013 5:40 pm

The issue on the security deposit and the appliance should be taken differently. If there are repairs that need to be done then that would be taken against your security deposit, not on the price of the appliance. But then again, if it were me, I’d say I’d just leave the appliance and get my full security deposit granted that the value of the appliance does not exceed the repairs down. Anyway, appliances depreciate over time so they’ll soon lose value.


February 13th, 2013 9:40 am

I would suggest that in cases like these, the tenant should immediately write the landlord and highlight a part of the lease agreement that determines appliance ownership. Make sure to mail this so you would have proof that it was sent and received by your landlord.


February 14th, 2013 1:40 am

If this were my landlord, I’d sue them in a small claims court. Not only are they breaching the lease agreement, they are also trying to trick me out of my money.


February 14th, 2013 5:40 pm

The breach agreement is legally binding so in that area alone, the landlord will not have a stand in court.


February 15th, 2013 10:00 am

Well, if you get an offer for the appliances and it sounds reasonable, you can just sell them to the landlord. Anyway, this will also save you from having to move the things from one place to another. Anyway, your new apartment may have them so there’s no need to double. You may not be getting the exact amount because the value of appliances depreciate over time and depending on use but just make sure you hit a reasonable offer.


February 16th, 2013 2:20 am

You know what, there is something that you can do to tip the scale in your favor. If you have a lawyer friend, you can ask him to create a formal letter in your behalf. If that’s not an option for you, there is a cheaper alternative and that is by going with some mediator companies who could step in and try to find a resolution to your problem.


February 16th, 2013 6:20 pm

Did the landlord send a written note that the appliances will be used in place of the security deposit? Did you get a copy of this? If you didn’t, then as per state laws and your lease agreement, you are due the full amount of your security deposit.’


February 17th, 2013 10:20 am

Sounds like a smart landlord to me.


February 18th, 2013 2:20 am

This should be a lesson learned. Next time, make sure to have every receipt signed by your landlord so that in case of disputes like this, you have proof that you’ve already talked about this.


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