Is a Landlord supposed to be responsible for replacing kitchen appliances in a Rental House FOREVER?
I own a house in Chicago that I’m renting out for $1,050 per month. Right now it has a working refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and window a/c. Do I, as the Landlady, need to be responsible for replacing these items for the couple who rents from me for the rest of their lives? (They plan on living there until retirement – right now they’re only in their 20s) I would like to change the next contract renewal to say that I will not be responsible for replacing these items, but will of course be responsible for repairing or replacing the furnace and hot water tank, or any other repairs that have to do with the structure of the house itself. Is this fair – I’d like to hear from other Landlords and also from people who rent homes. Thank you.
James Conley answers:
If you rented it to them with those things there, and in working order, there is an assumption you will repair or replace them. If you have a yearly lease or a month to month rental agreement, you can make changes to the agreement. You really should give the renters at least a 30 day notice of any changes which could impact them to give them time to accept or reject them, things like increases in rent, etc.
Why do so many Americans put up with cheap, crappily-built houses – even when those houses are “McMansions?”
It’s kind of amazing. Americans are willing to buy housing made from extremely cheap materials that will fall apart after only a couple decades, or at least require expensive repairs. Why?
When I was looking around to buy a house, the real estate agents kept trying to steer me to these crappy wood-framed garbage houses that looked the same as every house nearby, like they were all part of the same cheap development. I demanded to know where the “real” houses with brick architecture and sturdy roofing were located, and they tried to pretend like such houses didn’t exist.
This was false; I eventually found a house built back in 1925 with brick walls, a real wood stove, a real basement and cellar, and so on. No inch-deep fake stone cladding – this was the real stuff. After having it renovated and wired for high-speed internet and putting in solar panels and a ground heat pump, the house was ready to go, and at the same price as a cheapo McMansion in the distant suburbs.
This is an EXTREMELY political question. Politics allowed this to happen. Local zoning boards, all the way up to the federal government giving tax breaks to builders and new housing developments.
My question is, why, politically and socially, do Americans tolerate this? A lot of this recent housing stock is ABYSMAL in quality.
James Conley answers:
I am similarly dismayed with the lack of taste and good judgment Americans have when buying a house.
All those plastic McMansions sicken me. When I see them, I can’t believe that anyone would be fooled into thinking they are living in a substantive house. They are living in a phony shell. A lot of those houses have thin walls, bad plumbing, and even the lawn is fake. They sold off the topsoil that was there and substitued cheap fill. Hence, that sod will have to be watered forever, because the roots will never get well established in that rocky, sterile mess.
What really irritates me are the fake, non-working shutters. To me, they are like a sign screaming, “We’re here to compensate for a complete lack of architectural design and aesthetics.”
But these are the same people who shop at discount stores, see a Tommy Hilfiger shirt for $20, and jump with joy for an “outstanding bargain”, never realizing that all the designers have several tiers of clothing, and the garbage they just bought was the bottom of the barrel. The good stuff is not sold at your local TJ Maxx.
I used to know this girl in Chicago who was married to a very rich man. They bought the Playboy coach house. When they renovated it, everything was obviously just cheap imitation materials. There was nothing of substance there; it was all for show. Nothing was real, except for the marble countertops, which they somehow managed to make look like you were in some cookie-cutter, mid-priced residential hotel. It was plastic and sterile and boring.
Gas line crossed with neighbor?
When the 3rd floor tenant moved out my gas heater, dryer, and water heater stopped working. I had the gas company come in only to find out that my gas pipe is crossed with the 3rd floor’s (I’m on the 4th). So my heater, dryer, and water heater is on the 3rd floor’s meter while my stove is on the 4th floor meter. I assume it is vice versa on the 3rd floor. People’s Gas left a note saying that the gas lines need to be properly “marked”. Does he mean redo the piping. What do I do in this situation? Know any contractor’s in the Chicago area who has experience with this?
James Conley answers:
There is no easy fix to this problem. A creative piper can minimize the drywall damage by figuring out the best way to remedy the situation without causing to much wall to repair but in a nut shell it is a problem. I would track down the builder to see if the gas piper is still around but I am sure he is long gone. You are looking at up to $1000 or more in gas piper retro and the cost of to fix the walls. Pretty stupid thing that was done, to make that many misdirection, he had to work at it or completely out of it. .
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