If your washing machine has broken down, it can be a major annoyance which can cost you both time and money (especially if you have to run to your local laundromat to get your clothes washed).
So it’s completely understandable if you’re wondering how long a landlord has to fix your washing machine.
In this article, I am going to answer that question. I will also cover important related topics, such as when the landlord is obligated to fix the washing machine, the laws that apply to this situation, and what to do if the landlord is not being responsive to the repair request.
If you don’t have the time to read through it all, here’s a short answer to the question:
Generally, landlords must make needed repairs within a reasonable period (usually between 14 to 30 days). However, certain factors affect whether a landlord must fix a washing machine in the first place and the timeframe for doing so, including state and local laws, who supplied the washing machine, the lease, and availability of techs and parts.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
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Does My Landlord Need to Fix the Washing Machine in the First Place?
Before we can answer the question of how long a landlord has to fix a broken washing machine, we have to answer the more basic question of whether a landlord needs to fix the item at all.
The first place to look is your lease agreement.
In many cases, the lease will spell out which appliances are included in the lease. If the washing machine is included, then in most cases, the landlord will have some obligation to make repairs if it breaks.
Of course, if the tenant is at fault for the malfunction (e.g., they overloaded the washing machine or otherwise did not use it in the proper way), then the tenant should be on the hook to repair the damage they caused.
The lease may also detail the timelines for fixing broken items like the washing machine. If it does, then you likely have your answer.
However, the lease is not always the final word on the issue. In some cases, it may be silent on the point or ambiguous. In other cases, it may be flat out wrong and conflict with applicable law.
So if you are not satisfied with what the lease says, it is worth checking out your state and local laws to get a better sense of what your landlord’s obligations are in this regard. Let’s turn to that.
What Do State and Local Laws Say About Washing Machine Repairs?
In many states, appliances like washing machines are not required to be provided as part of the rental package. Some states may require certain kitchen appliances (such as a stove), but washing machines are often viewed as an amenity, not a necessity. It’s why laundromats exist.
However, in certain jurisdictions, a landlord is required to fix an appliance that they provided and included in the rental arrangement. Again, you will need to check your state and local laws to find out what applies in your situation.
For your convenience, here’s our 50 state reference table (including D.C.) that will link you to the official landlord tenant laws of your state.
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How Long Does My Landlord Have to Fix My Washing Machine?
Assuming that your landlord is required to fix the washing machine, the question then becomes how quickly must they do so.
As you can imagine, the answer will depend in large part on applicable laws in your jurisdiction.
While timeframes vary, a good rule of thumb is between 14 and 30 days to fix the washing machine. Again, the timing may hinge on a variety of factors, including the severity of the situation for the tenant and the availability of qualified repairmen and replacement parts.
If the landlord has received appropriate notice of the malfunction from you and is diligently working to repair the issue, then most states will provide a landlord a reasonable opportunity to perform. The above timeline is what I have seen as constituting that “reasonable” period across various states.
If the landlord fails to repair or replace the appliance within a reasonable time, you can choose to escalate matters. Let’s turn to that.
What Should I Do if the Landlord Refuses to Fix the Washing Machine?
If you have given proper notice and your repair claim is valid, you have several options if your landlord is unresponsive.
You can get help from a variety of free resources, such as your local tenants’ rights organization. You can also contact your local housing authority to see if an investigation will be launched, which may compel your landlord to make the needed repair.
Finally, depending on the rules in your jurisdiction, you may have self-help remedies such as repair and deduct, withholding rent until the repair is completed, or even abandoning the property.
However, because these remedies are not available in all areas, you must proceed with caution or risk being evicted for breach of lease or failure to pay rent.
So there you have it – a comprehensive look at how long a landlord has to repair a washing machine as well as tips on how you can respond to a landlord who is not making the repair promptly. Hope this has been helpful and happy renting!