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appliance damage

Hi, we had a tenant move in and she didn't like the gas range. She asked if she could buy her own stove and when she moved out she would take it and reinstall our gas range. She did not reinstall it when she left, and we then discovered the range has been destroyed by rats. Since it was stored in the basement of the rental unit, and we did not know about the rats, is the tenant liable for the range replacement, or do we eat the cost since the rats were in the unit?

Was this a verbal or written agreement about the range?
verbal...  Although reading the fine print on the lease agreement it says there must be a written agreement, we did verbally say it was OK to use her own stove if she reinstalled the existing one when she moved out.
You just learned a valuable lesson. Verbal’s never work in the rental business. The bottom line here is that if this was taken to court, it becomes a “he said-she said” and more than likely you would lose since Judges tend to give the tenant the benefit of doubt especially since there is nothing in writing…… Having said that, let’s look at what could happen if the matter was never discussed. You check the unit and found it in the condition you described above. You took lots of pictures. You deducted/requested the cost of replacing the stove (prorated) plus the cost of replacing it back to when tenant received the unit. Tenant refuses to pay or demands their sec.dpst in full. The matter went to court. You pointed out to the court that the contract required a written agreement by the parties and that no such agreement was made. Your chances of winning are better……. As always, winning doesn’t mean you will collect the judgement. That’s another issue. The lesson here is never, never, never do verbal’s. Any change to the contract must be in detailed writing and signed by all parties. -----Disclaimer: Since I’ve been answering a lot of questions, I thought I would make the following statement. I’m not affiliated with EZlandlord Forms. I’m just here (not sure how long) to help those that have questions. Having 40+ yrs with Rental Property and done well, it’s my way of “Pay it Forward (check out the movie).” However, it is up to you to become familiar with Fed/State/Local and Tax Laws. I always like to know if the suggestions I offer are helpful. Feel free to comment anytime. Thanks in Advance. BTW...check out the Rental Property Organizer at Free Trial Download. A great program at a great price!
Probably would be considered as wear-n-tear
I'd call that a "damage" ... I had the same thing happen to my stainless steel fridge, it actually looked like a lunch/fist dent and I told them they'd have to replace this door or pay equal to the cost to replace it. That's not a "normal" thing to dent a fridge. IMO it's different that getting a carpet a little dingy, normal wear and tear for a fridge would be like scratching the shelves when your pulling food out or something, that's about the same as punching a hole in the wall-not normal. Anyways, I'm sure you ether decided to deduct or not already, but that's my thought process.
Britt didn’t state how large the dents were.  My assumption was that the dents were about the size of a dime or nickel. Britt also didn’t state the damage had cause the fridge to malfunction…… I believe Britt would have a hard time convincing the court (if the tenant sued) that a replacement (door for example) would be justified……  Dents in appliances (washers, dryers, etc.) are ”Normal”, especially with children present….. The question a landlord needs to ask, “is this worth (time/$$$$$) going to court over?” The next question to ask, “if I win, will I be able to collect the judgment?”…….. I guess Britt could always deduct a value on the dents from the sec.dpst and if tenant balks give it back.
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