What are responsbilities of landlord for home appliances?

What is the rule on furnished rentals with regard to the tenant’s or landlord’s responsibilities for appliances? My tenant claims the cost for the replacement of the hot water tank thermostat is my responsibility. J.S.

The general rule is that matters that are part of everyday normal maintenance, including some replacement of small parts – washers, for example – falls to the tenant, whereas more major work, especially replacing whole appliances, falls to the landlord (who is also responsible for ensuring that the property is fit to live in, which would include having supplies of hot and cold running water).

Repairs that are not considered general maintenance but that can be considered to be due to vétusté of the equipment – meaning it is old and worn-out – are also generally the landlord’s responsibility (however, this may not apply if an item is found to have broken because of improper use by the tenant).

Replacing a broken thermostat is more than simple main­tenance, so would usually be the landlord’s responsibility. However, if there is a problem, courts generally take the view that the tenant should inform the landlord rather than simply paying for work and seeking reimbursement.

Once the landlord orders the work, it is clear the tenant fulfilled this obligation. If the landlord does not respond then a tenant should then send a recorded delivery letter with reception slip, retaining a copy of it and the slip, as proof of delivery, formally placing them on notice to do the work with wording such as ‘je vous mets en demeure de faire effectuer les travaux’.

A list of items which may be considered part of the maintenance and small repairs that are the tenant’s responsibility can be found at: tinyurl.com/TenantsRepairs

As this area can be complex, one way of checking on such matters is to ask your local ADIL, part of a network of bodies advising free of charge on accommodation (see anil.org/lanil-et-les-adil/votre-adil/).

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