Dave’s here to answer your questions every Wednesday, so send them to him at tenant@sfappeal.com, here’s what to make sure to include in your letter.

Dishwasher.jpegMy roommate and I have been living in our Victorian flat for 2.5 years. It was built in 1900, has 3 units, and all are owned privately by the same woman. She installed new appliances a couple years before we moved in, but we are well equipped with a dishwasher and a washer and dryer.

Our dishwasher recently stopped working and when I reached out to her to see if someone could come take a look, she said that it was our responsibility to pay for repairs. I asked about a warranty for the dishwasher or if there was repair history, and she said no. I don’t think we should have to pay for repairs when we don’t technically own the dishwasher, and we would practically pay for her updates since we wouldn’t take it with us when we move out. But at the same time, I know that not all apartments in the city come with dishwashers, as they are considered more of a “luxury item.”

Do you have any advice?

When you initially rent an apartment, any amenities that come with the apartment are factors that determine the unit’s initial value. For example, a top-floor apartment with a view may be more expensive than an apartment in the same building without a view. Amenities and services are factors that prospective tenants use to make their decision to rent.

A dishwasher is a housing service provided as part of your initial rent. Who knows, you may have decided to rent the apartment specifically because it had a dishwasher. You are paying a portion of your rent, albeit a small one, for working dishwasher and it is the landlord’s responsibility to repair the dishwasher when it breaks.

Your tenancy is governed by the San Francisco Rent Ordinance. Rent Ordinance ??37.2(g) defines housing services:

“Services provided by the landlord connected with the use or occupancy of a rental unit including, but not limited to: quiet enjoyment of the premises, without harassment by the landlord as provided in Section 37.10B; repairs; replacement; maintenance; painting; light; heat; water; elevator service; laundry facilities and privileges; janitor service; refuse removal; furnishings; telephone; parking; rights permitted the tenant by agreement[…]”

Take a look at your lease. Hopefully the dishwasher is specifically mentioned as a service provided by the landlord, but even if it is not, you should not be deterred.

You should write the landlord a letter explaining that your dishwasher need to be repaired and point out that you will file a petition for a decrease in services with the Rent Board to reduce your rent accordingly until the repairs are made. Give the landlord a date certain to repair. If she refuses or fails to do so, file the petition.

Is this a luxury problem? Sure, in that the ceiling isn’t caving in and it will soon be raining in your kitchen. Nevertheless, your landlord is in breach of the lease. You are not receiving the services that you paid for and it’s worth making the landlord perform her obligation under the contract.

Dave Crow is an attorney who specializes in San Francisco landlord tenant law. However, the opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author, do not constitute legal advice, and the information is general in nature. Consult the advice of an attorney for any specific problem. You understand that no attorney-client relationship will exist with Dave Crow or his firm, Crow & Rose unless they have agreed to represent you. You should not respond to this site with any information that you believe is highly confidential.

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the author

Dave Crow is an attorney who specializes in San Francisco landlord tenant law. However, the opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author, do not constitute legal advice, and the information is general in nature. Consult the advice of an attorney for any specific problem. You understand that no attorney-client relationship will exist with Dave Crow or his firm, Crow & Rose unless they have agreed to represent you. You should not respond to this site with any information that you believe is highly confidential.

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  • Christine Borden

    Today I learned! So helpful. 🙂

    Thanks, Dave!

  • Christine Borden

    Today I learned! So helpful. 🙂

    Thanks, Dave!

  • cedichou

    This reminds me of my landlord in the Sunset who, when the FRIDGE broke down, refused to repair it, but “kindly” offered to SELL US a new one.

    And guess what? My roommate AGREED. So the scumbag landlord buys a fridge, offsets it as an expense from his own accounting sheet, then turns around and sells it to my roommate.

    When my roommate comes to us, her other roommates to let us know, of course, trouble happens. Because I ain’t paying for no fridge in my rental apartment.

  • cedichou

    This reminds me of my landlord in the Sunset who, when the FRIDGE broke down, refused to repair it, but “kindly” offered to SELL US a new one.

    And guess what? My roommate AGREED. So the scumbag landlord buys a fridge, offsets it as an expense from his own accounting sheet, then turns around and sells it to my roommate.

    When my roommate comes to us, her other roommates to let us know, of course, trouble happens. Because I ain’t paying for no fridge in my rental apartment.

  • Randy

    If the repair technicians are not knowledgeable and certified, there is a high probability that they would not be able to do HVAC, refrigerator and heating repair properly and at worst; they can cause damage to your appliance. The mishandling during the heating and HVAC repair can give you a big hit on your budget, as you will be then in need of the whole new appliance.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7428166
    Appliance Maintenance Cincinnati

  • chelsea

    I am renting a house with a pool. I was having a problem with a leak and called a pool service company and was told their is a cracked housing on pool pump. My landlord does not want to fix it, what can I do? Whose responsibility would this be? Landlord or tenant?